123. Telegram From the Department of State to Certain Posts 1

22646. Subj: Security Council Meeting in Addis Ababa. Ref: Nairobi 641 NOTAL.2

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1. Summary. Security Council meeting in Addis Ababa achieved relatively balanced outcome considering deadline Council working against and tense atmosphere in which regional concerns were focus of attention. More radical Africans, stimulated by intercessions of liberation group leaders and egged on by Sov and PRC dels, dominated early stages of meeting and pressed for extreme resolutions. Western representatives achieved reasonably well coordinated position opposing extreme passages and by end of session, less radical Africans regained influence and agreed to substantial modifications of five resolutions tabled. US was able to support three: two resolutions on Namibia (one of which offers some slight hope in new approach calling for SYG to contact SAG and other parties involved in Namibian issue) and resolution on Apartheid. US abstained on overly one-sided Portuguese res passed by SC 9–0–6 and on Rhodesian res which prejudged Pearce Commission findings and was vetoed by UK. US abstentions do not appear to have upset Africans overly and our overall African relations emerged from meeting in relatively good state of repair. During voting in final session PRC del stated SC should condemn US and other countries violating Rhodesian sanctions and noted that reses on Portuguese Territories and Apartheid failed condemn US and UK which support colonialist regimes. End summary.

[Omitted here are paragraphs 2–4; for text see the first 3 paragraphs of Document 124.]

5. Staging SC meeting in Africa probably served as safety valve and demonstrated to Africans that their concerns receive careful consideration in Council. However, working against deadline in atmosphere where regional concerns were focus of attention clearly generated additional pressures on us and like-minded friends.

6. Specific resolutions:

Namibia: There were two resolutions: (1) with our support Argentina sought and obtained priority for constructive res that offers some slight hope by new approach. It invites SYG in consultation with SC group (Argentina, Yugoslavia, Somalia) to initiate contacts with South Africa and other parties “with a view to establishing the necessary conditions” which would enable Namibians “to exercise their right to self-determination and independence.” The resolution passed 14–0–0, China not voting. (2) Other resolution reiterated old formulae, terming SA presence in Namibia illegal and condemning South Africa for violation of UN resolutions. It passed 13–0–2 (UK and France). Earlier version which sought to involve the five permanent members in administration of Namibia and to move Council toward invocation of mandatory sanctions was withdrawn.
Rhodesia: Under Western pressure res was substantially modified but still prejudged Pearce Commission, called for it to desist from [Page 237]implementing its proposals, and demanded immediate convocation of constitutional conference in Rhodesia. UK almost secured sufficient abstentions to defeat this res. This would have been in return for their agreement not to veto second res which called for SYG and President of SC to visit London to present points of view voiced in SC. Unfortunately, British instructions arrived too late, and Argentina was unwilling to be swing vote after it had incurred displeasure of Soviets and Africans by its helpful efforts on Namibia. The resolution then had to be vetoed by UK; 9–1(UK)–5(US, France, Belgium, Italy and Japan). One sidelight: we came under direct attack from the People’s Republic of China for violating the SC sanctions through the Byrd amendment.
Portuguese Territories. The resolution was one-sided and went further than 1965 Security Council resolution but not further than several General Assembly resolutions. Provisions new to the Council but not to General Assembly recognized legitimacy of struggle of liberation movements in Portuguese territories for self-determination and independence and called on Portugal to “cease immediately its colonial wars in Africa.” It narrowly escaped defeat by abstentions when Japan went along after Africans accepted a Japanese-proposed modification. The vote was 9–0–6(US, UK, France, Belgium, Italy and Argentina).
Apartheid: Final resolution was essentially a reiteration of previous resolutions, condemning South African policy and urging strict compliance with arms embargo against South Africa. It was adopted by vote of 14–0–1(France).

6. PRC del put forward standard PRC line on AF issues which resulted in strong statements, particularly at end of meeting, complaining about weakness of reses and obstructionist attitude of “certain big powers.” PRC del stated on SR res that SC should condemn both Smith regime and UK as well as US and other countries violating sanctions. In wrap up statement PRC del said reses on Portuguese territories and Apartheid failed condemn US and UK which support colonialist regimes.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, UN 3 SC. Confidential. Drafted by Armitage and Halsted; cleared by Spigler, Martin, John C. Griffiths, and Winthrop G. Brown; and approved by Moore. Sent to all posts in Africa and repeated to Belgrade, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Lisbon, London, Moscow, Panama City, Paris, and Tokyo.
  2. Telegram 641 from Nairobi, February 7, summarized the voting on the five resolutions adopted by the Security Council. (Ibid.)