519. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Zambia1

1084. Embassy is requested to deliver the following reply from President Johnson to President Kaunda’s letter of December 15 (urtel 993):2

“Dear President Kaunda:

Thank you for your letters of December 15 and December 18 in which you express your concern which I share for the situation in Rhodesia and its ramifications on your own country.

By now you have been informed of our willingness to assist the British in mounting an airlift to provide Zambia with the petroleum products denied to your country by Southern Rhodesia as a consequence of the recently declared oil embargo. I want to assure you that I am most sympathetically aware of Zambia’s difficult position and that we will continue to be as helpful as possible during these trying days.

Secretary Rusk and other officials of the Department of State welcome the opportunity that you gave them for direct conversations with Foreign Minister Kapwepwe and Minister of Mines Zulu. The exchange of views we have had with them has been most useful and constructive.

Rest assured that the United States is keenly aware of the need to safeguard the position of Zambia in this period of crisis.

Lyndon B. Johnson

  1. Source: Department of State, Central Files, POL 16 RHOD. Secret; Priority; Exdis. Drafted by McElhiney and Chalfin on December 23, cleared by Mann and Haynes, and approved by Williams.
  2. Dated December 16. (Ibid.) See footnote 4, Document 514.