658. Memorandum From the President’s Special Assistant (Rostow) to President Johnson1


  • Civil Aviation Agreement with South Africa

Attached is a memo from Nick Katzenbach2 recommending that you approve an amendment to the 1947 U.S.-South African Air Transport Agreement.

The amendment will:

  • —enable the South African airlines to fly to the U.S. for the first time. They probably would open service to New York near the end of the year—at the earliest. (South Africa was given rights to serve the U.S. in the original agreement, but the routes were not defined. Up to now, they did not wish to exercise their rights.)
  • —give U.S. airlines additional routes to South Africa.

The overall agreement and the new route exchange is a very good economic bargain for the U.S. TWA is completely satisfied with the amendment; and Pan American has not objected. The CAB recommends approval.

The only problem is political. The UN General Assembly in 1962 passed a resolution, without U.S. support, requesting member governments [Page 1109] to refuse landing and passage facilities to South African aircraft. We may, therefore, receive some criticism in the UN from African states, and from domestic critics of South Africa.

On the other hand, neither we nor any other industrial country apply commercial sanctions to South Africa. At present the South African airline flies to the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Australia and other industrial countries.

Checks on the Hill did not turn up any opposition to the amendment. In fact, most of the sentiment was favorable.

I concur in State’s recommendation that you approve this amendment.




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  1. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Country File, Africa, Union of South, Vol. III, Memos and Miscellaneous, 10/66–9/68. Confidential.
  2. Not printed.
  3. This option is checked.