408. National Intelligence Estimate1

NIE 70–1–67


The Problem

To estimate the character and prospects of the movements, commonly called liberation movements, that seek to end white minority rule in Southern Africa, their relations with other African states and with Communist countries, and the implications for the US.


The liberation movements which are attempting to depose the white regimes of Angola, Mozambique, Southern Rhodesia, South Africa, and South-West Africa stand little chance of significant progress through 1970, and probably for some considerable time thereafter. Most of the liberation groups will probably continue to suffer the disabilities, especially the lack of broad indigenous support, that so far have limited their efforts. But even with greater success in recruitment, none of the liberation groups is likely to expand its insurgency operations sufficiently to shake the determination of the white regimes to resist all challenges to their domination of affairs.
The liberation cause has broad support among African states, and many of these believe that the US and the other great powers should [Page 699] take action that would terminate white rule in Southern Africa. The continued frustration of the liberation movements, therefore, will complicate US relations with African states and also US efforts to garner African support at the UN. But US relations with the African states are influenced by a number of factors and the impact of its positions with respect to Southern Africa will vary. The liberation issue alone will have the greatest impact on US relations with Tanzania and Zambia, states that border on the white dominated areas, are engaged in operational support of liberation forces, and fear retaliation by the white regimes.
The USSR, Communist China, and Cuba seek to expand their influence in Africa by providing limited, yet much-appreciated, military and financial assistance to the liberation groups. If the capacity of these groups to use aid effectively were to grow, the Communist states would probably provide increased assistance, but it is highly unlikely that the USSR or China would engage in direct military intervention.

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  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency: Job 79–01012A, ODDI Registry of NIE and SNIE Files. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the cover sheet, the estimate was submitted by Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Rufus Taylor and concurred in by the U.S. Intelligence Board on November 24.