150. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Rupiah Banda, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Zambia
  • Mark Chona, Assistant to the President of Zambia
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Peter W. Rodman, National Security Council Staff


  • Angola; Rhodesia

[Photographers were admitted briefly.]

Kissinger: How are things in Zambia?

Banda: The struggle continues, as they say in Mozambique.

Kissinger: Is that a Mozambique saying? That’s a good slogan.

How is your President?

Banda: Very well.

Kissinger: How is his singing?

Banda: He still sings!

Kissinger: When I go to Africa, I look forward to visiting Zambia. I’m thinking of March.

Chona: That’s the best month for Zambia.

Kissinger: Should I go to Mozambique?

Banda: You shouldn’t worry about Mozambique.

Kissinger: What’s going on in Angola? All I know is what Moynihan says. [Laughter] I’m going back and I’ll get him under control.

Banda: Not just him but the other one, too. What’s his name?

Kissinger: Bennett.2 I’ve already reprimanded him. It is unnecessary and untrue. Above all unnecessary. Our UN mission will unify Africa. [Laughter]

What is your view on Angola?

Banda: We still think they should stop fighting, and efforts toward a government of national unity should be made. Some in the OAU believe one group can win but we don’t. Because each one is entrenched [Page 386] in its area. UNITA is very popular in the South. And we believe Soviet intervention is very dangerous and would set the whole area on fire.

All external forces should come out.

Kissinger: Should we make such a proposal?

Banda: We would support that.

The Tanzanian government newspaper attacked our President today, immediately after the visit of our President there yesterday. Our President and Samora Michel visited there and we thought they had agreed to stick to the common line.

Kissinger: What do you think that means?

Banda: It means we each have to stick to our own position.

Our question is: Will you continue to see that Soviet arms are balanced?

Kissinger: Yes.

Banda: In spite of the [reported Senate subcommittee] vote?

Kissinger: Yes. That was a minority vote of one committee. We will see to it that the Soviet force will be balanced, and then seek a negotiation.

You can tell your President that. We have made a decision for another [dollar amount not declassified]

Banda: What about something directed to the internal organization of the country?

So the vote won’t be steamrolled by one side.

Kissinger: We need your advice. Make a proposal to us.

I wish in retrospect we had listened to your President when he was in Washington.3

Chona: What about a radio station? They have a very powerful radio. We need one.

Kissinger: We’ll look into that. That should be possible to do.

Banda: If the OAU does meet—now it is for January 12—at that point we will all call for the withdrawal of all Soviet, South African and Cuban forces. Because the Soviets have been there and done more work in training cadres, the other units may be at a disadvantage. Could anything be done to train them?

Kissinger: Between now and January 12?

Banda: And after.

Kissinger: The President of France said he’d send 1,000 men down there. It is difficult for us to do because of our domestic situation.

[Page 387]

Chona: It will be necessary for you and France to make a diplomatic offensive.

Kissinger: We are sending a diplomatic note to every African country—except those that are lost—about what we think about Soviet support and the MPLA.

Banda: I talked to Mr. Garba of Nigeria. He said there was pressure from you. I said we don’t see it that way. I said we have had some notes which were very candid. While the Soviets are really pressurizing us.

Kissinger: How do you explain Tanzania?

Banda: Tanzania sent a note to Zambia and others and said it was because of South African involvement. But Samora Michel said this decision should not have been arrived at without consultation between heads of state. Mozambique was not happy about it. According to our President, they agreed they would support the call for all outsiders to get out.

Yugoslavia said they’d support it too. Should we believe that? They said they’re there so the MPLA doesn’t go totally Soviet.

Kissinger: That may be partly true.

I think your position is the correct one. You should stick to it. We will balance the Soviet arms.

Banda: We will support a ceasefire, getting all foreign forces out, getting all foreign arms out, and a government of national unity.

Kissinger: Should we call a Security Council meeting for that?

Banda: Wait for the summit meeting.

After 11 November we think it is legal according to the Charter to consider that Angola is liberated and that all three liberation movements are political parties; therefore, no state has the right to choose one or the other. That is interference in its internal affairs.

Kissinger: That’s a good point. [To Rodman:] We should put that in our note.

Chona: We could have recognized one of them as a liberation movement before November 11, but after November 11, we’ve lost that right.

Kissinger: That’s right. That’s a good point.

Banda: On Zimbawe, we think this is a very important period. We are optimistic because we feel the conference has resulted in agreement that they will talk about majority rule. So this is the psychological moment to bring the greatest pressure on Vorster and Smith.4 Because it [Page 388] could be another Angola. Our analysis is that if there is armed struggle, Nkomo will be backed by the Soviets. His group is united; the other group is a conglomerate of three.

Kissinger: What can we do?

Banda: Make sure South Africa sees to it there is no armed struggle. Once there is agreement, the rest is mechanics.

Kissinger: All right.

When I come to Africa, you’ll attack American imperialism?

Banda: Yes, so they’ll listen to the rest. [Laughter]

Chona: On Rhodesia, the President’s thinking always has been that we need not only indirect action through South Africa but direct action. We have been there. Our people have been in Salisbury. The Soviet Ambassador now says he wishes to deliver arms to Nkomo. The other groups are already moving to the border.

Kissinger: What should we do?

Chona: Work on Mr. Smith. He is the only obstacle.

Banda: Smith thinks he’s fighting for the West. He’s not.

Chona: Also in Namibia. Then the whole area will be quiet from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean.

Kissinger: Please give my regards to your President.

Banda: Thank you. And our regards to your President.

[The meeting ended.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 344, Department of State, Memoranda, Memoranda of Conversations, External, September–December 1975. Secret; Nodis. Initialed by Rodman. The meeting was held at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence. All brackets, except those indicating the omission of material, are in the original.
  2. William Tapley Bennett, Jr., Deputy U.S. Representative to the United Nations.
  3. See Document 103.
  4. In a September 3 letter to Ford, Kaunda sought U.S. Government pressure on Rhodesia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom to facilitate the resumption of negotiations on majority rule for Rhodesia. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Correspondence with Foreign Leaders, Box 4, Zambia)