230. Note From the Soviet Leadership to President Ford 1

The considerations of the President on Angola in his talk with the Soviet Ambassador2 were attentively studied in Moscow.

We, as the President, cannot of course be but concerned by the attempts of certain circles within and outside the United States to use the events in this African country for bringing complications into the Soviet-American relations.

Since there is no real foundation, as we are convinced, for such a turn of events, the task consequently is not to give the upper hand to these attempts. And here a considered, sound approach is needed including in the public statements which have been made in connection with the Angolan affairs.

As to the considerations of the President concerning the ways of ending the war and establishing peace in Angola, the Soviet Union, as we already told the American side, never has been and could not be a champion of unleashing a civil war in that country. We would only welcome such type of actions which would aim at consolidating in Angola all the forces striving for real independence and free development of their country.

The case, however, is, that what is happening in Angola is not simply an “internal strife”, but a direct military intervention, in particular, on the part of the Republic of South Africa, with the use of both the foreign mercenaries and splinter groupings inside Angola who tied themselves to foreign interests alien to the people of Angola.

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It would be unjustified to equate foreign interventionists, who use as their tool separatist groups in Angola, with the lawful Government of that country, who are fighting back the intervention, and consequently to equate those who are helping the interventionists with those who are supporting the lawful Government.

That is why it seems to us unjustified, and unjust to make an appeal for cessation of hostilities in Angola to all belligerent parties there, thus putting on the same level the interventionists and the patriotic forces headed by the lawful Government of the Peoples Republic of Angola. What should be pursued now is the end of foreign military intervention in that country so that its people could in reality be ensured the right to decide by themselves the questions of building new life in conditions of independence and freedom without any interference from outside.

The Soviet Union continues to be ready to make an appropriate official statement. We would welcome such a statement also on the part of the United States, as well as its practical actions leading towards the above goal.

In conclusion we would like to underline once again that the President can rest assured that the Soviet side is in no way interested in having the events in Angola viewed from the angle of “confrontation between Moscow and Washington” and as “a test of the policy of relaxation of tension”.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, 1955–1977, Box 4, Angola. No classification marking. According to marginalia, the note was delivered by Dobrynin on December 18 at 7 p.m. For their memoir accounts of the note, see Kissinger, Years of Renewal, pp. 824–825, and Dobrynin, In Confidence, p. 361.
  2. See Document 224.