411. Memorandum From William H. Brubeck of the National Security Council Staff to President Kennedy0

Guidance for Governor Stevenson on a US position on the South African issue in the Security Council went to New York last night on a provisional basis pending your approval. It includes a recommended position (Tab A) and draft language for Stevenson’s speech (Tab B)1 scheduled for 11:30 this morning but postponable for an hour or so if necessary.
It is not proposed that we initiate a resolution but that we propose modification of an African resolution with regard to arms embargo. Our position goes beyond what you have previously approved in this important respect: it supports a recommendatory (not mandatory) total arms embargo but with a qualification—a phrase which explicitly says that the embargo is “without prejudice to requirements which may arise for maintaining international peace.” If the Africans refuse to accept this language we would fall back to accepting unqualified language but in voting would make explicit our reservation on arms for “maintaining international peace.”
State believes that Africans have eight votes for such a permissive total arms embargo, that France will abstain on any such resolution, and that the British will probably go along with us.
Since the issue will not come to a vote until next week the immediate problem is to clear draft language for Governor Stevenson’s speech today i.e., a public announcement that we will end sale of military equipment to South Africa this calendar year reserving the right to interpret this in light of requirements for “maintenance of international peace and security” if “the interests of the world community require the provision of equipment for use in the common defense effort.”2
William H. Brubeck3
  1. Source: Kennedy Library, National Security Files, Countries Series, South Africa. No classification marking.
  2. Neither Tab A nor Tab B is attached to the source text.
  3. On August 2, Ambassador Stevenson told the U.N. Security Council that the U.S. Government expected to end the sale of all military equipment to South Africa by the end of the calendar year, although he noted that there were existing contracts to supply limited quantities of strategic equipment for defense against external threats, such as air-to-air missiles and torpedoes for submarines, that must be honored. Stevenson added that the United States reserved the right in the future to interpret this policy in the light of requirements for assuring the maintenance of international peace and security. For text of his remarks, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1963, pp. 683-689.
  4. Printed from a copy that bears this typed signature.