582. Memorandum for the Record1



  • South African Arms Policy

Mr. Vance has reported to me the following conclusions, and his own observations, on the NSC Standing Group Meeting, Wednesday, 18 March, concerning U.S. policy toward the Republic of South Africa:

1. Tracking Station.

General conclusions were that we have a maximum of 18 months to two years before the SAG will invite us out of the tracking station at Grootfontein, in view of the fact that we cannot relax our pressure on the SAG to revise its apartheid policy, and further in view of the fact that the squabble over Southwest Africa following the World Court decision (next year) will also find us on the side of the UN against the SAG.

Accordingly, Mr. Vance instructed that the appropriate agencies within DOD should continue to survey alternative sites for the tracking station on a carefully controlled basis so as not to reveal our intentions to the SAG.

2. Arms Policy.

It seems to be the general opinion of the Standing Group that the gold flow considerations involved in the proposed submarine sale are no longer sufficient to support the sale and that we should not go any farther with it. He said that his own feeling was even stronger than that of the Standing Group that this was the sort of visible support to the South Africans that we should not provide. NESA and ILN should take such actions as are necessary to dampen out the submarine question.

Mr. Vance is also of the opinion that the Standing Group will support a policy of supplying not only the spare parts and equipment for which contracts were in existence in August 1963, but also any spare parts or components that would be ordinarily necessary to keep equipment purchased from the U.S. in operation, together with limited supplies of other materials associated therewith and not designed to improve the internal security capabilities of the South African forces.

As there was no firm decision on this point at the Standing Group Meeting, the next step indicated seems to be a conference between ISA and Alex Johnson’s shop to get the matter ironed out.

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3. Summary.

I think the principal aim of the U.S. Government should be to maintain the SAG in an equable frame of mind as long as possible in order to protect the tracking station, while realizing that our basic policy in South Africa is certain to bring the arrangement to an end sooner rather than later.

F. Sloan
  1. Source: Washington National Records Center, RG 330, OASD/ISA Files: FRC 68 A 306, 470 South Africa. Secret. Prepared by Frank K. Sloan. A stamped notation in the margin reads: “Mr. McNaughton has seen.”