460. Memorandum From Ulric Haynes of the National Security Council Staff to the President’s Special Assistant for National Security Affairs (Bundy)1



  • Southern Rhodesia—Possible Weekend Flap

FYI. African member-nations of the UN have successfully requested a Security Council meeting on the Southern Rhodesian question which they consider a threat to international peace and security.

The sessions will begin tomorrow (Friday) at 10:30 a.m. with Senegal, Algeria, as spokesmen for the Africans, and the Soviet Union taking up most of the time venting their spleen on the UK for its failure to take stronger action to grant political rights to Southern Rhodesia’s African majority. The Security Council will probably adjourn over the weekend and reconvene on Monday.

The UK is expected to give its formal reply some time on Monday along the following lines:

UK will not grant independence for Rhodesia under conditions other than majority rule;
UK will resort to sanctions if the Southern Rhodesian Government unilaterally declares itself independent; and
UK will continue to negotiate with the Southern Rhodesians to find a way out of the current impasse.

The US is expected to speak on Tuesday in general support of the UK. Our ace-in-the-hole is a public announcement of our policy of a total arms embargo (already in effect) on Southern Rhodesia. We’ll save this ace for the most propitious time.2

The UK would prefer to defeat an unfavorable Security Council resolution by obtaining five abstentions. However, they are prepared to exercise the veto, if necessary.3

I’ll follow closely.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Rhodesia, Vol. I, Memos and Miscellaneous, 12/63–1/66. Secret. Copies were sent to Gordon Chase and Komer.
  2. In a June 15 speech on U.S. policy toward Rhodesia, Assistant Secretary Williams stated that the United States had supplied no military arms or equipment to Rhodesia since the dissolution of the Federation in December 1963. For text, see American Foreign Policy: Current Documents, 1965, pp. 677–679.
  3. On May 6, the Security Council adopted Resolution 202 opposing a possible Rhodesian unilateral declaration of independence by a vote of 7 to 0 with 4 abstentions (including the United States and the United Kingdom). For text, see ibid., pp. 675–676. Ambassador Stevenson explained that the U.S. delegation had abstained because the resolution called for action exclusively by the United Kingdom, and he stated that the United States would not recognize a unilateral declaration of independence.