195. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Kenneth Kaunda, President of Zambia
  • Elijah Mudenda, Prime Minister
  • Rupiah Banda, Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Seteke Mwale, Zambian Ambassador to the U.S.
  • Grey Zulu, Secretary General, U.N.I.P.
  • Mark Chona, Special Assistant to the President for Foreign Affairs
  • Peter Kasanda, Deputy to Mark Chona
  • Ruben Kamanga, Chairman, Sub-Committee on Political, Legal, Constitutional and Foreign Affairs United Nat’l Independence Party Central Committee
  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Charles W. Robinson, Deputy Secretary of State
  • Jean M. Wilkowski, U.S. Ambassador to Zambia
  • William E. Schaufele, Jr., Assistant Secretary for African Affairs
  • Winston Lord, Director, Policy Planning Staff
  • Harold E. Horan, Senior Staff Member, National Security Council (Notetaker)

Kaunda: I want to welcome you, Mr. Secretary, to Zambia, and I know that my colleagues had the opportunity to extend their welcome yesterday on your arrival. We would like you to know that this is a very welcome visit. You are the second Secretary of State who has visited here, and we also had a visit by Vice President Humphrey.

Kissinger: How long did he speak? (Laughter)

Kaunda: Quite a short time. (Laughter) Mr. Secretary, when I was in Washington last year and met your President,2 I said that southern Africa was at a turning point and that the situation was very worrisome [Page 495] indeed. We have been operating as a team cooperating on two common programs, and I will explain in more detail in our enlarged meeting. I will confine myself here to what I see of the solutions your Government might wish to participate in.

As far as Rhodesia is concerned, we don’t see any solution to the problem as long as Smith is there. His record shows that we have to get Vorster involved because he is Smith’s colonial master in the area, but still the only solution is for Smith to get out. But how do we do this? We don’t know, but we have to work together to find a way. We have to fight and the African countries are backing the liberation groups to the hilt. Smith depends very much on the white settlers, and we would like to believe that the Western Governments can support moves to erode that support. If the British, French, West Germans and others would help to underwrite the certain financial losses that some of the settlers might suffer, this would accomplish an outflow of the settlers if they would then see they could go to places like Australia to begin a new life. We would also like to believe that the United States could pressure Vorster to be more cooperative now that Mozambique has closed its borders. South Africa is the key to Rhodesia. I know that your Government fears Russian and Cuban interference in Rhodesia, but I also know of no African leader who has spoken of this possibility. We do not want to see outside interference at all, and we would not like to see outside support for factions in Rhodesia. They should be left alone; that is the only way to avoid an Angolan situation in Rhodesia. Once the United States Government understands the problem clearly I see no chance of outside interference.

On Namibia our stand is clear, and the role the U.S. should play is most important. In defying the United Nations, Vorster is saying that Namibia is his. We do not want Bantustans in Namibia but one government, nor do we want to see interference from the outside there, but the delays in independence make that possible. The role you can play is to put pressure on South Africa to respect the decision of the United Nations. Your influence on South Africa is important, and you could use it to make Vorster see sense. If he does not, there will be fighting and dying.

South Africa itself is an independent African state which is not a colonial power, and we accept that fact. We do not, however, accept apartheid, and we support those who are struggling to change apartheid. Once again, the United States has a great deal to do with changing the situation in South Africa. South Africa exists because of western commerce and investment.

Whether in Rhodesia, Namibia or South Africa, African leaders have never said they were chasing away anybody. We are all Africans, and the whites in South Africa have their own right to live in their own [Page 496] country. But the issue of southern Africa is a question of life and death. For you, Mr. Secretary, the question for your decision is what you want to do to make life more meaningful for all. Your decision to come here shows that you want to find solutions to the southern African problems.

Kissinger: Thank you for your kind remarks. The warmth and friendship that you and your delegation have shown me has meant a great deal to me. You are admired in my country for your courage and wisdom. We remember well your remarks in Washington on the principles of equality and your call on us to live up to these principles.

We have come through a difficult period in the United States, but we have made our decision. I don’t make ceremonial visits, and I am here to develop a program. A few years ago it was said that we have no Middle East program, but events belie that statement. While it is true that within the United States there will be resistance to my speech today, we have made our decision. We are totally behind majority rule, and we will work with the four presidents. You appreciate, of course, that we cannot make public statements calling for armed struggle. In any case, I hope you agree that any struggle must end in negotiation.

We will use our economic and diplomatic pressures on Rhodesia. My speech3 appeals to Vorster to bring an end to apartheid and set a timetable for the independence of Namibia. I hope that African leaders will find an opportunity to emphasize the positive in our position so that we will not be caught in a crossfire of criticism.

As for Zambia, we respect you as one of the intellectual and political leaders, and we appreciate the cooperation we have received in certain matters. We want to assist in your development, and after I return to Washington we will look at new programs of assistance to Zambia.

If foreign intervention is kept out of southern Africa, the United States can give you its maximum support. I appreciate your idea of the need to help the settlers find new homes, and we are prepared to assist economically in such a program. It is important for the four presidents to refer to minority rights and for any constitution to protect those rights. This will not keep many settlers from leaving, but it is important for us psychologically. We have told the British, by the way, that we will cooperate in any resettlement effort. There is no longer any ambiguity. We support you.

We see it as a practical matter. The first problem to tackle is Rhodesia, then Namibia and lastly South Africa. We need South Africa’s help in solving the other two problems, although I have stated in [Page 497] my speech that apartheid must end. Of course, we have no problems with you or your Government, Mr. President.

We are prepared to have normal relations with Mozambique, and I hope to see a representative of that country in Nairobi. There is no organized hostility against Mozambique in the United States, although some see it as a Soviet satellite.

Let me thank you once again, Mr. President, for receiving me and my delegation and for your warm hospitality.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 99, Geopolitical File, Africa, Trips, 1976, Apr.–May, Resource Book. Secret; Nodis. Initialed by Horan. The meeting was held at State House. Brackets are in the original.
  2. See Document 103.
  3. See footnote 3, Document 194.