588. Special National Intelligence Estimate1

SNIE 73–64



The Nationalist government is firmly entrenched in power, despite some internal differences on specific applications of apartheid policies. The white opposition is divided. Virtually all the white population supports white supremacy. The nonwhite majority has virtually no political [Page 989] rights and is disorganized. The police are well armed and highly efficient and will ruthlessly suppress any outbreaks of violence. We do not believe that internal developments alone will cause a significant change in basic domestic policies for the next year or two and probably for considerably longer. (Paras. 1, 5–10)
Calls for more severe international action, particularly economic sanctions, may come in response to the bloody suppression of rioting, as a result of various discussions in the UN, or in the event of a South African refusal to comply with UN demands arising from the final ruling of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on South West Africa. (Paras. 17–20)
We consider it unlikely that any outside pressures brought to bear on South Africa would cause the government to alter its basic domestic policies.2 They might only harden the Nationalists in their determination to go their own way. However, there is some flexibility and possibility of accommodation with respect to South West Africa. South Africans regard the US attitude toward international pressures as important and almost certainly believe that the US and UK would be likely to take a strong position in respect to a final ICJ decision on South West Africa. (Paras. 12–16)

[Here follows the body of the paper.]

  1. Source: Central Intelligence Agency: Job 79–R01012A, ODDI Registry of NIE and SNIE Files. Secret; Controlled Dissem. According to a note on the cover sheet, the estimate was submitted by Director of Central Intelligence John A. McCone, and concurred in by the U.S. Intelligence Board on May 20.
  2. The Director of Intelligence and Research, Department of State, believes that there is an even chance that a military enforced blockade against South Africa would produce a realignment of forces within the white community and a shift away from present apartheid policies. [Footnote in the source text.]