222. Note From the Soviet Leadership to the Department of State1
Assertions made in the approach by the State Department of November 22 concerning the Soviet position with regard to Angola2 could not be viewed other than as an attempt to divert attention from the real causes underlining the events which are taking place in that country.
As has already been stated earlier to the US Government the information disseminated in the USA alleging mass shipments of arms by the Soviet Union to Angola and the presence there of “hundreds” of Soviet military personnel is without foundation. Not a single Soviet man is taking part in the hostilities in Angola. Likewise the Soviet side rejects assertions that it is the support by the Soviet Union of the legitimate Government of the People’s Republic of Angola which is recog[Page 862]nized already by many states in the world is the cause of what is going on in Angola.
The real causes of that are an open secret. It is well known that the foreign monopolies which for scores of years were masters in the land of Angola were in no way happy by the beginning of the process of decolonization in this country which was bound inevitably to lead and had led to the victory of the national patriotic forces. That was why even prior to the granting of independence certain foreign circles banked on splitting the national liberation movement in the country and encouraged and supported militarily those separatist movements which bound themselves with foreign interests.
Now the events have reached the point when a direct intervention of neocolonialist forces has begun in Angola, in the first place, on the part of the Republic of South Africa. Regular units of the SAR, detachments of South African and Rhodesian mercenaries are participating in the military actions. It is also known that these groupings receive an extensive aid, including military aid, from the United States. In other words, the original cause of the continuing bloodshed in Angola lies in the interference into the internal affairs of that country by the forces, which do not wish to reconcile themselves to the loss of their position there. And the US Government knows all this.
As far as the Soviet Union is concerned, being a consistent supporter of the liquidation of remnants of colonialism, it recognized the People’s Republic of Angola and its Government, formed by the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), which enjoys a wide support of the Angolan people as a leading national patriotic organization. It is not by chance that by the present moment the People’s Republic of Angola has been already recognized by nearly 30 states of the world, half of which are the African countries—members of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). It shows in itself the groundlessness of statements that the Soviet position on this question supposedly contradicts the position of the African states.
It is also known that after concluding in January 1975 an agreement among the three Angolan movements on the order of granting independence to Angola and on establishing a transitional Government with the participation in it of representatives of those movements the USSR welcomed the creation of such a Government.
Yet, shortly after, the FNLA and the UNITA embarked on the path of undermining the transitional Government thus frustrating its normal functioning and eventually starting military actions which were encouraged and supported from the outside.
The Soviet Union never was and could not be in favour of unleashing a civil war in Angola. It has always supported and is acting in support of the aspirations of the Angolan patriotic forces, as well as of [Page 863] the efforts of the African states designed to ensure national independence and peaceful development of Angola. The Soviet Union would only welcome such mode of action which would be pursuing the goal of consolidating in Angola all the forces that are striving for a genuine independence and free development of this country.
The Soviet Union firmly adheres to the position that armed aggression in Angola be ceased and the right of its people be safeguarded to decide by itself how to build the new life under the conditions of independence and territorial integrity without any outside interference.
The Soviet Union is prepared to state publicly about it. If the USA is also prepared to make a similar statement and act accordingly, we would welcome this.
In the light of the above-stated attempts to lay some sort of blame on the Soviet Union for the present developments in Angola are devoid of any foundation. Equally groundless are the endeavours to present this matter in such a way as if the policy of the Soviet Union toward Angola is not consistent with the Soviet-American documents.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 4, Angola. No classification marking. Dobrynin forwarded the note under a November 28 letter to Kissinger. According to marginalia on the letter, it was delivered at 5:45 p.m. that day. In his memoirs, Kissinger described the note, which he incorrectly dated November 22, as “a long and polemical message [demonstrating] the growing influence of the Politburo’s ideological faction.” “But once the obligatory bluster was out of the way,” Kissinger recalled, “the Soviet note turned more cooperative.” (Kissinger, Years of Renewal, pp. 818–819)↩
- Document 221.↩