409. Paper Prepared in the Policy Planning Council1


[Here follow a table of contents, a map of Africa, and Introductory Notes.]



The confrontation between black and white-controlled Africa—with the Zambezi the approximate dividing line—is deepening. The [Page 700] African liberation movements, staging through Zambia, Tanzania and the Congo, have stepped up their activities. While these operations remain relatively low-level and containable by white-regime security forces, the outlook is for an insurgency of gradually rising intensity which could lead to cross-border retaliations. The Communists, most strikingly the Chinese through their support of the proposed TANZAM railroad, are responding to the Southern African target by increasing their presence in Tanzania and Zambia and by material support for the African insurgents. The South African government has expanded its area of security operations implicitly to include much of the white-controlled area, a development which makes the South African problem regional rather than national in character.

The U.S. relationship to Africa, involving links with both black Africa and the white-controlled countries of southern Africa, is under increasing pressure. On the one hand, the U.S. supports the aspirations of the African states—and implicitly of the African liberation movements—on racial discrimination and colonialism and possesses valuable interests in the black African countries. On the other hand, the U.S. has a range of material and strategic interests in the white-controlled states and a commitment to the peaceful adjustment of racial relations in southern Africa.

Essential U.S. objectives in southern Africa are to:

  • —encourage long term constructive change in the area;
  • —moderate trends towards violence and confrontation; and
  • —minimize the adverse effects of violence on U.S. interests.

These objectives cannot be satisfactorily achieved either by intensified pressures on, or by closer association with, the white minority regimes of the area.

In regard, therefore, to South Africa we need a policy that will:

  • —continue pressures to move towards racial equality and majority rule;
  • —continue to avoid such conspicuous association as would result in U.S. identification with repressive racial policy;
  • —where not inconsistent with the foregoing, continue contacts and relationships of material benefit to the United States (e.g. in the fields of trade, scientific and technical exchange, routine naval visits, tracking stations, etc.); and
  • —encourage wider exposure of South Africans to the outside world through cultural contacts and exchanges in the hope that such exposure may marginally contribute to constructive evolution in South Africa.

The other side of the coin is equally important: the strengthening of the black states of the region. To do this we need:

  • —assistance to these states through the UN and bilaterally in all available peaceful means to maintain their territorial integrity and political independence;
  • —maximum utilization of existing USG aid instrumentalities (regional, self-help, Peace Corps, PL–480, investment surveys), and encouragement of private input;
  • —recognition of these countries as eligible for U.S. bilateral aid programs, especially technical assistance;
  • —active cooperation in UN and other Free World aid projects; and
  • —encouragement of their non-political cooperation with neighboring white-controlled states.

Vis-à-vis the Portuguese Territories, we should:

  • —maintain our support for the principle of self-determination;
  • —prepare for future change by contacts with Brazil, other European and African states, and the post-Salazar political elements in Portugal; and
  • —avoid involvement in likely bloodshed in those colonies.

In Southern Rhodesia: leave lead to UK unless the latter so clearly betrays the principle of unimpeded progress toward majority rule as to force the U.S. to weigh the relative pros and cons of explicit U.S. disassociation from the UK position.

In the case of South West Africa: maintain our support for self-determination and the direct responsibility of the UN; protest infringement of the rights of the inhabitants and seek to protect their interests whenever possible through practical programs and judicial relief, while seeking to encourage a South Africa dialogue with the UN on the future of the territory.

The foregoing measured approach contains only a limited hope of avoiding inter-racial bitterness and eventual large-scale violence. It may, however, offer some hope of limiting the effects of that confrontation:

  • —by strengthening the stability and independence of the black states;
  • —by identifying the U.S. with their aspirations; and
  • —by avoiding seeming to align the U.S. with repressive white regimes, while seeking to encourage constructive long-term change in these areas.

In short, it is a policy which will be damage-limiting for the range of U.S. interests in southern Africa and may ultimately have some slight constructive influence on long-term trends in the area. Meanwhile, by giving tangible support to the black states, we would hope to make them less dependent upon the white-ruled states and prevent achievement by the communists of an eventual monopoly of black aspirations in the area.

The major changes in existing policy are:

1. Emphasis on African States

In two concrete ways, the present paper innovates policy in connection with the five new African countries of the region: Zambia, Malawi, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. These are: [Page 702]

The restoration of U.S. bilateral aid programs (primarily technical assistance) in Zambia and Malawi, where these programs are currently being phased-out; and the establishment of similar bilateral aid programs in Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. The implementation of this change of policy will require modification of the number-of-country limitations in current aid policy towards Africa.
Careful consideration is to be given to justified defense requirements of African states of the region threatened with white-regime retaliatory attacks for insurgent activities mounted from their territory. As a practical matter this is likely to be applicable only in the case of Zambia.

2. South Africa

This paper opens the possibility of eventual resumption of austere routine visits to South African ports by U.S. official ships for refueling, supplies and repairs, where such calls can be organized in a way which will not submit U.S. personnel to discriminatory treatment ashore and which can be carried out in a low key manner. (Present U.S. policy has suspended such calls pending a study of the problem.)
A requirement is added for a political review by the Department of State of EXIM Bank medium-term loan guarantee applications covering planned exports to South Africa.
A study is called for of continued South Africa participation in the U.S. sugar quota.
The U.S. would disassociate itself from Inter-Governmental Committee on European Migration (ICEM) projects which aim at the encouragement of European immigration to South Africa.

3. Reinforcement of UN direct responsibilities for South West Africa

In the maintenance of continued pressure on South Africa, by protest and other peaceful means, as in connection with the training of South West Africans and on the question of UN issuance of travel documents to such persons, the present paper provides for U.S. support for the UN’s responsibility for South West Africa and for efforts to protect the rights of the inhabitants.

4. Rhodesia

Two new policy elements are involved here: (a) The concept of seeking at an appropriate point to persuade the South African Government to use its influence with the Rhodesian regime not only to take a more moderate line with the UK but also to fulfill its commitments under any settlement; and (b), the statement that the U.S. should follow the UK lead in a UK-Rhodesian settlement unless the agreement lacks reasonable protection for progress toward majority rule in which case the U.S. would have to weigh the related pros and cons of disassociation.

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5. Toward the Portuguese Colonies

The current U.S. self-limitation on the shipment of arms to Portugal which might be used in the insurgent conflict is tightened to include shipment of sporting arms and ammunition (in line with the U.S. implementation of the Security Council arms embargo against South Africa).
EXIM Bank loans would not be available to Portuguese colonial agencies for financing major infrastructural-type projects such as the Caborra Bassa Dam in Mozambique.

6. USIA Activities

As the result of treating the area for the first time as a single region, rather than a series of individual countries each competing for its share of available resources, priority is given to the independent black African states.

  1. Source: Department of State, S/S Files: Lot 70 D 263, SIG/MEMO: #107—11/22/68—U.S. Policy Toward Southern Africa, 47th SIG Meeting. Secret; Noforn. Filed with a November 22 memorandum from Staff Director Arthur A. Hartman to SIG Members transmitting a revised text of the draft National Policy Paper on Southern Africa for discussion at the 47th SIG meeting on December 3. No drafting information appears on the source text, but Hartman’s memorandum notes that the new text reflected certain areas of agreement that emerged from the IRG/AF meeting on November 14, and a number of minor changes and amplifications. The Introductory Notes to the paper state that, when approved, it would rescind the National Policy Paper on South Africa approved by Secretary Rusk on January 18, 1965 (see Document 600), and supersede the preliminary draft NPP on Southern Africa dated April 26, 1967.