168. Telegram From the Department of State to Certain African Diplomatic Posts 1

1374. Subject: Presidential Message on Angola.

Please deliver following letter from President Ford to head of host government as soon as possible:

Quote Dear Mr. President:

As the OAU summit approaches I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on the Angolan problem. I hope that you will feel [Page 421] free to give me your own, as well as any further suggestions you may have concerning further initiatives that might be undertaken by you or by my government to promote a settlement in Angola that does not leave that country in the hands of the Soviets.

My government remains determined to support the FNLA/UNITA forces in Angola until the MPLA is convinced it must negotiate and precipitate the withdrawal of their Soviet and Cuban support for the MPLA. We intend to utilize the means which are still available to us in the most effective way to enable us to continue and increase our present efforts. The vote in the Senate on December 19 was primarily directed against covert assistance and, should it be necessary, we will renew our efforts to obtain wider Congressional backing for additional resources to block Soviet and Cuban intervention in Angola’s internal affairs.

On the South African question, about which there has been so much concern in Africa, I believe you are aware that the US in no way sought or encouraged the South Africans to become involved in Angola nor was our advice sought. It is reasonable to assume that they acted in defense of their national interest as they see it. We did not initiate any consultation with them and have maintained our military embargo on all arms to South Africa. Our desire is that a negotiated solution can be found so that all intervention—Soviet, Cuban and South African—ceases. We are confident that once Cuban and Soviet forces are withdrawn the weight of world opinion will bring about a withdrawal of South African forces as well.

The upcoming OAU summit meeting on Angola can clearly be extremely important in promoting an early end to the fighting and a peaceful settlement of the civil war. It is our hope that through your efforts and those of like-minded chiefs of state the OAU will insist upon a prompt end to all foreign involvement in Angola, arrange a standstill ceasefire between the forces in Angola, and bring about negotiations among the Angolan groups. My government would support such an initiative and cooperate with it, provided other distant powers do so as well. We would also in that case urge South Africa to end its involvement. I wish again to assure you, however, that we cannot stand idly by if the Soviet and Cuban intervention persists.

I would hope we can continue to exchange views on this and other matters of mutual concern as the need for further consultation arises. Sincerely, Gerald R. Ford. Unquote.

French text being sent septel except to Lusaka.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P850083–2272. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Schaufele, cleared in NSC and AF, and approved by Kissinger. Sent to Kinshasa, Lusaka, Libreville, Dakar, and Abidjan.