239. Note From the Soviet Leadership to President Ford 1

Moscow, naturally, continues to follow closely the developments in Angola and in this regard is ready to maintain an appropriate contact with the American side.

We have in respect of Angola one clear and consistent policy. If we say that the Soviet Union is against foreign interference in the affairs of Angola, we say it to everyone and publicly too.

It is important, certainly, to discern a clear dividing line between a real interference in the affairs of Angola, meaning the military intervention of the Republic of South Africa and the actions of her accomplices, and the support rendered by many states to the lawful government of that country precisely for putting an end to such interference, for securing freedom, independence and territorial integrity of Angola.

When the foreign interference—not the fictitious but the real one—in the affairs of the sovereign state of Angola is stopped and the people of Angola get an opportunity to manage by themselves their affairs, then, it goes without saying, there will be no need to render them assistance in the form required by and granted to the People’s Republic of Angola now. Then the question about anybody’s “military presence” in Angola will solve itself in a natural way.

That is the principled position of the Soviet Union. It is our deep belief that it contains nothing which would hurt anybody’s interests in[Page 898]cluding those of the United States. Therefore it cannot and should not lead to any complications in the Soviet-American relations.

We would like to hope that the United States will not permit rash actions in connection with Angola, including actions against countries rendering assistance to her lawful government, which could really complicate both the Soviet-American relations and the cause of relaxation in general.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Lot File 81D286, Records of the Office of the Counselor, Box 7, Soviet Union, Jan.–April 1976. No classification marking. According to marginalia, the note was received on January 9 and was a “reply to HAK–AD talk of Jan. 5.” No record of the meeting between Kissinger and Dobrynin on January 5 has been found, but see Document 236.