586. National Security Action Memorandum No. 2951


  • Secretary of State
  • Secretary of Defense
  • Secretary of the Treasury
  • Director, U.S. Information Agency
  • Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration


  • U.S. Policy Toward South Africa
[Page 985]
The State Department should as a matter of urgency develop a comprehensive program of diplomatic activity, based on the response of the South African Government to our two aide-memoires, to the end of assuring that the implementation of the Odendaal report is deferred as long as possible and, hopefully, until the decision on the merits of the case in the International Court of Justice. In developing this program, the Department should consider all available diplomatic techniques, including the use of special emissaries, Presidential communications, etc. It should include modes of securing concerted or parallel action by other interested governments, particularly those in Western Europe.
Existing policy regarding military sales to South Africa will be continued. Decision regarding possible sales of submarines or any variations in existing policy will be postponed and considered only in light of further developments, including those in the South West Africa-ICJ problem.
US Government lending agencies will for the time being suspend action on applications for loans or investment guarantees with respect to South Africa. There should be no avoidable disclosure of this policy to interested parties, however, and agencies should continue to accept and process applications. No policy of warning private investors not to invest in South Africa will be undertaken pending further developments.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Department of Defense should immediately undertake such planning for and construction of alternative stand-by facilities as would be required if it became necessary to evacuate the facilities in South Africa on six months’ notice. In support of this, the Department of State will determine immediately the political acceptability of countries which the DOD and NASA may indicate as technically feasible and desirable. The Department of State will give priority to accomplishing required site surveys and negotiating necessary base agreements and assisting in needed land acquisition recommended by DOD and NASA. This program shall be carried out in such a manner as to avoid its coming to public notice as long as feasible, and in close consultation with the Department of State particularly so that the public aspects and the diplomatic aspects of our relations with South Africa may be coordinated.
The State Department will develop a program for actions during the months ahead, pending final ICJ decision in the South West Africa case, aiming to persuade the South African Government to acceptance of the Court’s decision. In addition to use of available pressures, particular attention will be given to exploring possible bases for accommodation and understanding with more moderate members of the South African [Page 986] white community along the lines proposed by the State Department’s memorandum of March 10th.2
The State Department, in consultation with other interested agencies, will develop a program to explain privately to interested African countries the character and objectives of our program in order to try to obtain their understanding and cooperation.
The Department of State shall immediately undertake a comprehensive analysis of the various sanctions that could be considered if South Africa does not accept the ICJ decision on South West Africa. This analysis should include an estimate of the effectiveness on South Africa of the sanction if general compliance were obtained and of the prospects for obtaining such compliance.
McGeorge Bundy
  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, NSAMs, NSAM 295, U.S. Policy Toward South Africa. Secret. An information copy was sent to the Secretary of Commerce. Copies were sent to Bundy, Brubeck, Haynes, Johnson, and NSC Files.
  2. Reference is to the March 10 Department of State briefing paper prepared for the NSC Standing Group; see Document 579.