140. Message From the United States Government to the Soviet Government1

We have viewed with astonishment the precipitate action of the U.S.S.R. in extending on November 11 immediate diplomatic recognition to only one of the three political factions and to one purporting to be the legal government of the Republic of Angola, when in fact that group represented a minority of the population and controlled less than one-third of Angolan territory on that date. Moreover, the Soviet Union must be conscious of the fact that it has extended its recognition in the face of an appeal from the Organization of African Unity for all countries to refrain from extending diplomatic recognition to any of the three liberation movements while the Organization undertakes efforts to obtain a negotiated solution to the Angolan problem.

Together with the rest of the world the United States is fully aware of the large quantity of sophisticated arms, military equipment and personnel which the Soviet Union has caused to be sent by air and by sea to enable the aforementioned minority faction to perpetuate a tragic and bloody civil war in a country that has already suffered much. In our opinion the conduct of the Soviet Union in this matter has now surpassed all bounds of restraint, and has additionally placed it in serious conflict with the great majority of the members of the Organization of African Unity. It is not in the spirit of our mutual efforts to reduce tensions in the world; it is not consistent with the Declaration of Principles we both signed and if continued can set back the progress of détente.2

We urge the Soviet Union to give serious consideration to a re-examination of its present policy in Angola. We propose that the Soviet Union discontinue the efforts it is now making to escalate the fighting in Angola, to give public support to the efforts of the O.A.U. to promote a cease-fire and the subsequent initiation of peaceful negotiations among the three Angolan movements and to issue an appeal to all nations to cease their intervention in Angola’s internal affairs.

The United States for its part pursues no unilateral interests in Angola and is exclusively concerned with seeing the people of that country live in peace, independence and well-being. We oppose any ac[Page 355]tion that would make Angola an arena for competition between external powers. Our policies and actions are designed to assure achievement of these objectives and we are prepared to cooperate in any effort that insulates Angola from major power conflict.

We are willing to play any helpful diplomatic role that promises to lead to a cease-fire and to peaceful negotiations toward a solution in Angola which will be acceptable to the three political movements.

  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Kissinger-Scowcroft West Wing Office File, Box 30, General Subject File, USSRDobrynin/Kissinger Exchanges, Items 98–105. No classification marking. A notation on the message reads: “Hand delivered to USSR Embassy from State Department, 8:00 a.m. 11/22/75.”
  2. At the summit in May 1972, Nixon and Brezhnev signed a code of conduct for U.S.-Soviet relations.