184. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate General in Cape Town1

66402. Cape Town for Embassy. Subject: South African withdrawal from Angola.

During meeting with Secretary March 17 UK Ambassador Ramsbotham informed us of Soviet approach to HMG concerning South African withdrawal from Angola.2
According to Soviets, SAG authorities now ready to get in touch with MPLA but latter did not feel able to establish direct contact. Therefore since MPLA desires settle question of peaceful withdrawal of South African troops they had approached Soviet Government in order that South African authorities could be informed the following:
Direct contacts between Angola and SAG are impossible as long as SAG troops remain in the territory of Angola.
Hydroelectric power station on the Cunene River is the property of the people of Angola and it has no intention whatsoever of destroying it.
The Government of the People’s Republic of Angola does not wish to harm the people of Namibia by depriving it of electricity supply.
The Government of the People’s Republic of Angola respects UN resolutions on Namibia.
The Government of the People’s Republic of Angola wishes South African troops to pull back from the border with Angola.
Your British colleague has been instructed to inform SAG of above approach and will urge it to accept message as assurances it has sought from MPLA in order withdraw. (British assume assurance in point C includes water supply for Namibia and point E to mean withdrawal of South African forces to unspecified but not necessarily considerable distance from the Angolan frontier.)
UK will suggest, for public consumption, that SAG state it has decided to withdraw forces on receipt of satisfactory assurances privately conveyed but not at liberty to disclose. British realize that this will not hold up long.
UK plans to inform EC–9 partners of above at Political Directors meeting at Luxembourg March 18.
You should inform SAG3 that UK has informed us of Soviet démarche. We understand African group at UN plans begin Angolan debate4 March 22 while SAG wishes it delayed to March 27. According to British, current Chairman African UN group said that public statement by SAG of its intention to withdraw within short time would obviate necessity for SC meeting even if actual withdrawal occurs later in week of March 22.
You should inform SAG that although we realize point E is a troublesome one with which we do not associate ourselves, we concur in British recommendation and urge SA to announce its withdrawal from Angola to be completed within one week.
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Africa, Box 6, South Africa—State Department Telegrams, From SecState—Nodis. Secret; Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Schaufele and approved by Kissinger. Repeated Immediate to USUN and repeated to London.
  2. Kissinger met with Ramsbotham in his office, March 17, 6:20–7:05 p.m. (Memorandum of conversation; National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P820117–1574)
  3. No record of a meeting has been found.
  4. For an account of the Security Council debate, see Yearbook of the United Nations, 1976, pp. 172–178.