171. Telegram From the Department of State to Certain African Diplomatic Posts1

10166. Subject: Angola and the OAU Summit.2 For Ambassador from the Secretary.

We are encouraged by the leadership and unity demonstrated by moderate African states at the OAU summit, but recognize they will probably be under renewed pressure from pro-MPLA radicals to shift their position in the name of OAU unity. We also anticipate that the radicals will prefer to blame us rather than African states for split at the OAU, thereby keeping door open to moderates to “return to the African fold.” Some countries, however, particularly those recently visited by Assistant Secretary Schaufele, may be singled out for abuse as “American lackeys” who split the OAU at Washington’s bidding.
We will need, therefore, to be as supportive of our African friends as we can in the coming crucial weeks but we will also need to do so discreetly in ways which will not over-identify them with us. Rather than relying on top-level correspondence that may leak, or visits, at least at this time by high US officials, we will look to each of you to maintain a discreet dialogue following up on the OAU summit and developments in Angola.
It will clearly be crucial in the coming weeks that the moderate states continue to display the leadership and unity which they demonstrated at Addis. To encourage them to think in these terms, you should seek an early appointment with the highest appropriate official to follow up on the OAU summit and developments in Angola. You [Page 426] should express your gratification at seeing the moderates of Africa for once so united and effective in defense of their principles, and argue that the battle is only just starting. Now it will become even more essential, but also difficult for the moderates to act together to blunt pro-MPLA efforts to gain recognition. You should also encourage your host leadership to go on the offensive, using their prestige and resources to rally OAU members in support of a policy of conciliation.
You should encourage host government official to discuss options facing us all in light of OAU standoff and try and elicit:
  • —Any playback of impressions from the summit (including who were the main driving force on the MPLA-side, who were the compromisers, what was the role of the Cubans, did the Soviets play any roles)?
  • —What is host government’s estimate of the recognition situation (stalemate, continued danger of more recognitions of MPLA, likelihood someone will recognize the “Huambo government”)?
  • —Are there any plans for further coordination among the anti-MPLA grouping? What is moderates’ next step?
  • —Are there any specific steps which host government can suggest which might be taken by moderate African states and/or by us which would help build pressure for a withdrawal of all foreign forces and the establishment of some form of compromise coalition?
You should also use occasion to reaffirm the main lines of US policy (cease fire, withdrawal of all foreign forces, efforts to conciliate the factions and form a government of national unity) and say that the administration intends to do whatever it can to see that an equitable solution along the above lines eventually emerges. You should draw upon the pertinent parts of the Secretary’s January 14 press conference3 (sent by septel) and provide a copy to the official.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P840096–1674. Secret; Nodis. Drafted by Buchanan, cleared in AF, and approved by Kissinger. Sent to Rabat, Monrovia, Bangui, Libreville, Nairobi, and Yaounde.
  2. The OAU meeting was held in Addis Ababa January 10–13, 1976. All delegations condemned South African entry into Angola; however, discussion of the issue of the MPLA regime in Angola ended in stalemate, with 22 members voting in favor of recognition, and 22 voting in favor of a government of national unity. (Keesing’s Contemporary Archives, 1976, pp. 27662–27663)
  3. Kissinger’s press conference on January 14 addressed the impact of Soviet intervention in Angola on U.S.-Soviet relations and the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks. For the complete text of the news conference, see Department of State Bulletin, February 2, 1976, pp. 125–132.