193. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in the United Kingdom1

70264. Subject: Callaghan’s Message to the Secretary on Southern Africa.

Following is summary of long message from Foreign Secretary Callaghan to the Secretary on southern Africa, received via British Embassy March 15:2
The Foreign Secretary restated his belief that indigenous influences would operate to reduce the internal consequences for Angola of Soviet/Cuban intervention. This in no way meant that he did not feel as strongly as we did about the wider effects of Soviet/Cuban intervention. Although the success of their intervention in Angola may encourage them elsewhere in southern Africa, Callaghan thought that given the differing circumstances elsewhere, there was not necessarily any immediate danger of such adventurism. The principal worry, however, is that African perceptions of any efforts we might make that appear to prop up Ian Smith or South Africa would be colored by the black/white aspect of the problem to the complete exclusion in the Africans’ view of any concern with Communist intervention.
The task then is to preempt the possibility of further Communist involvement so that the problem is never faced. The three danger areas are Angola, Rhodesia, and Namibia. In Angola, the continued presence of South African troops and the ensuing possibility of action in the Security Council against South Africa could leave HMG in the position of having to go along with a resolution calling for South African withdrawal. The important step is to remove the cause of the possible actions by pressing for complete South African withdrawal, and HMG to this end is making it clear to SAG that it would not have their support in the SC. HMG is also joining its EC partners in a forceful démarche to the SAG concerning withdrawal.

On Rhodesia, HMG was told in recent discussions with Mozambique’s FonMin Chissano that the GOM believed the point was past where majority rule could be attained through negotiations. While accepting material and technical aid from the Communists for the guerillas, Chissano said the GOM would not permit the presence of foreign troops unless there was foreign intervention on Smith’s side. Callaghan thought this line of GOM thinking should be encouraged and mentioned HMG’s interest-free loan on pounds five million to help offset sanctions losses in this regard.

Even though the odds are turning against it and Smith seems as cagey as before, Callaghan thought it more important than ever that something be done to reach a settlement based on early majority rule. HMG has made clear to Smith that there is no possibility of British support for him. Callaghan is considering the options available for further HMG involvement in the search for a settlement. The four Presidents3 seem resigned to guerilla activity. When he saw Banda, the Foreign Secretary told him he would be willing to visit Nyerere (their chairman) if he and Banda thought it worthwhile, to try and devise a package of [Page 484] proposals based on early majority rule. To date, no reply had been received from either.

Namibia is the third danger area. Even if South Africa is persuaded to withdraw its troops from Angola, the larger problem of Namibia itself remains. In Callaghan’s view, the essential thing is to get the SAG to accept that the transfer of power to the Namibians must come sooner rather than later—in his opinion, in six months rather than the three to four years the SAG seems to be thinking of.
Callaghan mentioned our recent démarche on aid to Zaire and Zambia,4 noting that HMG had decided to give an additional pounds five million to Zambia and pounds one million to Zaire. He also said HMG had raised the subject with its EC partners.
The Foreign Secretary took the occasion to point out that HMG will probably offer some money to the Angolans for reconstruction in the belief that this would help restore the traditional European position in Angola and serve to offset Communist influences.
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Europe and Canada, Box 16, United Kingdom—State Department Telegrams, From SecState—Nodis (5). Secret; Priority; Nodis. Drafted by Stephen W. Worrel (EUR/NE); cleared in EUR, C, and S; and approved by Sonnenfeldt.
  2. The letter from Callaghan is attached but not printed.
  3. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Samora Machel of Mozambique, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, and Sir Seretse Khama of Botswana.
  4. See Documents 179 and 180.