579. Briefing Paper Prepared in the Department of State1


  • South Africa and South West Africa



Current and contemplated actions of the South African Government in South West Africa threaten to bring about a critical situation in the Security Council involving strong and legally valid demands for enforcement measures to support International Court decisions any time from April this year through the spring or summer of 1965, when a final Court judgment on the merits of pending cases is expected. New and extreme apartheid measures in South Africa will complicate this situation further when reflected in the report of the UN Study Committee on this subject in June.
A review of basic US interests, of the urgent timetable and of the risks and advantages of various courses of action open to us in the face of predictable developments points to the following recommended courses of action:
Delay UN confrontation with South Africa as long as possible through a series of diplomatic actions, and attempt to put off consideration of major enforcement measures until after a final Court decision next year.
Undertake immediate review of problems relating to our space tracking stations in South Africa and move to locate them elsewhere as quickly as possible.
Continue our existing policy of refusing sales to South Africa of arms, ammunition, equipment to manufacture arms, military vehicles, firearms and other items of significant use in combat or in training for armed police or para-military forces, except for the fulfillment of existing contracts and the reservation of right to supply under the “strategic exception” provision in case the international situation so warrants. Continue to postpone decision on possible sale of submarines, other naval vessels and spare parts and equipment for naval vessels, pending developments with respect to the South West Africa situation. Decisions on the [Page 974] latter category would be made in the light of developments with respect to South West Africa, and might constitute an element which can be utilized as an inducement to bring about a change in South African policy.
Warn major US investors of new risks they face in South Africa and cease US Government loans and guaranties for investments in South Africa during this critical period.
Undertake a modest program of increased contact with and limited covert aid to non-communist African political refugee leaders from South Africa and moderate groups of all races within South Africa.
Launch without delay a series of studies to permit evaluation of the probable effectiveness of various possible measures against South Africa, which to some extent may ultimately be needed to support a final judgment of the International Court of Justice and to protect basic US interests elsewhere.

[Here follows the body of the paper.]

  1. Source: Department of State, S/S-NSC Files: Lot 70 D 265, Box 7, NSC Subcommittee Meeting, January 1 through December 31, 1964. Secret. No drafting information appears on the source text.