197. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • United Kingdom:
    • Anthony Crosland, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
    • Sir Anthony Duff, Deputy Under Secretary Foreign and Commonwealth Office
    • Ewen A.J. Fergusson, Private Secretary to Mr. Crosland
    • Richard C. Samuel, Counselor, British Embassy
  • United States:
    • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
    • Brent Scowcroft, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs
    • Amb. Philip C. Habib, Under Secretary for Political Affairs
    • Winston Lord, Director, Policy Planning Staff
    • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff


  • Kenya; UN Security Council; Rhodesia; Namibia

[Omitted here is discussion unrelated to Rhodesia or Namibia.]


Kissinger: [takes out the UK draft on guarantees, Tab A]2 The trouble I have with this paper is I wish I could tear it apart and prove how superior . . . Basically it’s what we have in mind. I have a few practical points.

You seem to think Smith has to be replaced first, before negotiations. My view is the longer he stays in place before things start unraveling, until the blacks are organized, the better it is. Things could unravel.

My impression is Vorster would go to Smith first and to David Smith only if it didn’t work. If this were essential to your plan . . . But I don’t think it is.

Crosland: Let’s go through the timetable to see how the procedures are.

Kissinger: Let’s do that. Paragraph 13.

[Page 504]

Crosland: Paragraph 14, really, first. These are things we’ve got to decide ourselves over the next 3–4 weeks. First, we must agree on elements of a program and do some joint planning so it’s not unilateral.

Kissinger: Good.

Crosland: Then we’ll need broader ministerial authorization. The Cabinet.

Kissinger: Can it be kept secret in London?

Duff: At this stage, and with ministers if it’s a small group.

Kissinger: You seem to think this program requires $1.5 billion over a 20–25 year period. £1.3 billion. South Africa’s estimate is $1.3 billion. But I would assume it will last over 25 years. There may be a stampede.

Duff: It may be irregularly phased, with peaks and troughs.

Kissinger: The larger the appropriation in any one year, the bigger the domestic problem.

Crosland: There should be joint planning.

Duff: We should get, in the next few days, the State Department, and some economists.

Kissinger: The man who is the most ingenious at this is Robinson.

Habib: I’m afraid he won’t have the time to do it. Rogers will be back by the end of the week.

Kissinger: All right, Rogers. But he’ll be very ingenious at coming up with financing schemes.

So, we authorize joint planning. We’ll give Rogers the responsibility but see what Robinson can come up with.

Crosland: Then, who else do we talk to?

Kissinger: I’ve discussed it generally with the Germans.

Crosland: We have too.

Kissinger: They are more willing to help in Namibia.

Crosland: That is my impression exactly. Then the Germans and French.

Kissinger: Not until our plan is ready.

Crosland: That’s what I wondered. We have this European Council, and Jim and I could pull Schmidt and Giscard off to the side.

Kissinger: Not all the Nine.

Crosland: No. The Prime Minister will do it. That’s number two.

Kissinger: So the British and we will work out an inducement scheme, and they will talk to the Germans and French.

I’ve promised to keep the South Africans informed. I’ll tell them a little less than we’ve told the French and Germans—that we’re working out an inducement scheme but it’s not ready yet.

[Page 505]

Crosland: When do we actually unfold the scheme to Vorster? Hopefully the end of July.

Kissinger: Yes.

Crosland: We can encourage them in the meantime, but at the end of July you—in other words, an American—would go to them and unfold the plan and hold him to the pledge he gave you.

Duff: I’m told they have an Ambassador here . . .

Kissinger: He was present at all the meetings.

Duff: So you could give your encouragement through him. The bigger scheme . . .

Kissinger: They are eager to get me to go to South Africa. I’m willing to do it if they can assure me he’ll accept. I won’t go there for a failure.

Duff: I heard that Vorster didn’t want to associate the next step in Namibia with your meeting.

Kissinger: With the meeting in Germany. On the next phase they do want to associate us. We do, as you say, have to move with speed. Because the Soviets, Ian Smith, and the radical Africans will all have an incentive to destroy it.

Tony, should you and I do something jointly in putting a package together to the blacks? I don’t want to be the one who deals with the whites while you deal with the blacks.

Crosland: That suits me fine! [Laughter] It seems to me that talking to the blacks should be immediately after putting it to Vorster.

Kissinger: There is something to be said for doing it simultaneously. To go to the blacks first, then to Vorster, then to the Africans again.

Duff: Schaufele is there now.

Kissinger: Presenting the concept. As Jim suggested, we’re urging them to ask you to do something. You are relatively in the clear as far as the black states are concerned.

We’ll keep you informed. And if we can know what you’re doing . . .

Duff: We have done nothing yet.

Kissinger: We are just telling them the concept—that there is opposition in the U.S. but it can be handled if we move rapidly; that issues like the Byrd Amendment3 can be handled if it’s settled; and third, the idea of guarantees should be explored. And if it’s agreeable, we’ll go to you.

[Page 506]

Schaufele is instructed to talk only with the heads of governments. And without our Ambassadors.

Where should the planning be? Washington is easier for us.

Duff: London is easier for us, but we’ll do it here.

Habib: Rogers will be here Saturday.4 We should start Monday.

Duff: We wanted to start next week.

Crosland: The timing of the approaches . . .

Kissinger: My idea is as close to simultaneous as possible.

Crosland: That is a point of disagreement. We were considering approaching the blacks and Vorster at the end of July, but not have it completed until the end of September.

Duff: Tactics depend on how to approach the white Rhodesians. Our concept was that it would be only the incoming Rhodesian government that would get the goodies.

Kissinger: I have to rely on what Vorster told me. He felt confident he could sell it to Ian Smith. And if it didn’t work he was sure he could get David Smith to do it. I don’t have the sense that Vorster is one who talks idly.

Duff: No.

Kissinger: It would be easier domestically for us with Smith.

Crosland: It would be easier for us the other way.

Duff: The key is what will work best with the Europeans in Rhodesia. It used to be the wisdom that only Ian Smith could do it. Lately, we’ve changed. The problem is that anything associated with Ian Smith will stink in African nostrils.

Lord: The British weren’t sure David Smith had the stomach for it.

Duff: Could our two services get together to work on it?

Kissinger: To get information, or to undermine Smith?

Duff: Both. I’m not sure we want to undermine Smith.

Kissinger: If turmoil begins in Rhodesia while we are putting this together, the black Africans will have no incentive to settle it.

Crosland: A new government will come in only if there has been a change in opinion, which this package is precisely designed to bring about.

Kissinger: Why would it hurt domestically if Ian Smith turned it over to you?

Crosland: Our party will note that the financial inducements going to a small group of whites are more than to the rest of the world. There is deep mistrust and hatred of Smith.

[Page 507]

Kissinger: It will be hard to convince black Africa that Smith means it. No question about it.

Duff: Once the constitutional principles are agreed on and we come in, the governor will form a mixed government in a transition period to majority rule. Will Ian Smith be in it?

Kissinger: No, no. Smith won’t be in it. The only difference is the nuance of whether the agreement by which he is replaced is signed by him or by someone else. If it is someone else, it would look like a coup.

Crosland: The appearance of a coup will have enormous advantages in Britain—and would change the political atmosphere.

Kissinger: Smith is an obstacle but is also a bargaining chip. If they think he’s hard to dislodge, they have an incentive to agree. If he’s replaced by someone who has no stomach for fighting, they may decide to keep the war going.

Crosland: It’s the problem of deciding the fate of a country which one knows bugger all about.

Kissinger: Yes. We’ll see. Maybe when I see Vorster he’ll say it can’t be done with Smith.

Lord: The psychology of the white Rhodesians is important.

Kissinger: In a way I’m a prisoner of Vorster’s judgment. He says he’ll get Ian Smith to accept it and if not he’ll get David Smith to. With David Smith we will need even more speed [to keep it from unraveling].

Crosland: We can decide these two options at a later time.

At the moment, white Rhodesian opinion has no idea these inducements are being offered. But the government is to be changed before these are offered.

Kissinger: I personally think getting an agreement signed is more important than who signs it. Because in either case, he leaves. So the question is whether in order to get an agreement, we have to get rid of Ian Smith.

Crosland: Yes.

Kissinger: In which case, we will need more time. It may be we have no option, and what you have here is the only way to go.

Crosland: I see the point. But it may be the other way around. The next stage is the Prime Minister of Rhodesia—Smith or whoever—goes to Nkomo and says, “I accept the terms I rejected last year on that—whatever the name of that bridge.”5

[Page 508]

Duff: But can he be trusted?

Kissinger: Why do we care? If he accepts all the terms. Once the agreement is signed, a new government is constituted. It is that government which organizes the elections, not Smith. To be plausible, it will be headed by a black.

Duff: But the agreement should lay out the principles on which majority rule will be done—majority rule within two years, entrenched rights. Would there be an intermediate stage, where Smith says he recognizes what has to be done and urges his fellows to accept and then resigns?

Kissinger: I don’t mind that.

Duff: That could be one way to do it.

Kissinger: I think it’s very important to keep the threat of Smith’s resistance to get this done. It’s the prospect of a five-year guerrilla war.

Crosland: That’s with the three peaceful Presidents.6

Kissinger: Yes, with the three peaceful Presidents. Machel, one doesn’t know. He may not be so tough but one has to assume it.

What is your present best estimate on the financial side? What do we have to commit to per year?

Duff: £50–60 million a year over 20 years. It depends on how much in fact one has to pay out in pensions. For the people who stay, the Rhodesians can pay the pensions. I think £2,000 million total.

Kissinger: How much will you be expected to assume?

Crosland: Whatever we can’t persuade you and the Germans to assume. [Laughter]

Kissinger: We’ll have a hell of a time in the Congress.

Lord: How many countries will be involved?

Crosland: The Germans will contribute a bit. The French may do a token bit, just to establish their standing.

Kissinger: The Germans will contribute in Namibia—it will help—but their contribution won’t be spectacular in Rhodesia.

Duff: South Africa will contribute.

Kissinger: No. He said he would not. Not money.

Duff: But many are Afrikaners.

Kissinger: Maybe it was not his last word, but I didn’t press him.

Crosland: The trouble is, we have to make these expenditure cuts for no objective reason—because of that fresh-faced young Harvard man of yours.

[Page 509]

Kissinger: Parsky! First of all, he’s Princeton [Laughter]. I don’t think we can do more than 50 percent of it.

If you can give us your best estimate of how that curve will run.

Duff: We don’t have to tie it to requests. We could limit it per year.

Lord: But wouldn’t it be front-loaded?

Kissinger: But their scheme is designed to increase the funds if they stay. But there might be a mass exodus.

Duff: Less money, more quickly.

Lord: Then it is geared to certain groups.

Duff: We may have to come off that.

Kissinger: Would Canada contribute?

Crosland: The white Commonwealth might contribute, certainly if resettlement became a problem. Certainly at that point. Whether they would contribute to the initial fund, I don’t know.

Kissinger: Let us know what the Germans and French say.

Duff: We will. Through the Embassy.

Kissinger: Do it through the State Department people here.

Crosland: When does Schaufele get back?

Kissinger: The end of next week. But we will give you interim reports.

We will have something from [his meeting with] Kaunda tomorrow or Saturday.7 I’ll let you know on the yacht.


Crosland: Anything else, Henry, on this? Or have we taken it as far as we can?

Kissinger: Namibia. You know what we are doing on Namibia.

Crosland: I don’t know if we have a total meeting of the minds.

Duff: We are a little worried about Vorster’s proposition. I told this to Bill Schaufele. Our feeling is that moving the Windhoek Conference to Geneva won’t be sufficient to get SWAPO.

Kissinger: This grew out of Nyerere’s letter.8 He said we should move it to Lusaka and he would see to it that SWAPO dropped its claim. So we put it to Vorster. He agreed, but not to Lusaka.

Duff: We are not sure.

[Page 510]

Kissinger: What else would have to be done?

Duff: Probably call it a different conference. I agreed with Bill Schaufele that we had 2 different perceptions. We will hear from Schaufele next week.

Kissinger: It is not an American scheme. I think it will be difficult to sell another conference to Vorster, at least until the end of August.

Duff: We have an official in Windhoek who has been trying to soften them up there. He’s in fact talking to Schaufele today in Lusaka.

Kissinger: What does your official say?

Duff: He reports cautious interest among the ethnic groups in Namibia. There is one thing that does bother us—that this same official was told that the South Africans are working on a statement for use in the UN in August. We feel that August would be too late.

Kissinger: I agree. But I don’t think Vorster has told too many of his people. Of course, Namibia and Rhodesia don’t have to be done together. But certainly before the UN debate.

Duff: Probably you are right, sir. The South African Foreign Ministry doesn’t know all that is in their Prime Minister’s mind.

What have you told the French?

Kissinger: I’ve discussed it with Giscard, who told me explicitly not to raise it with the Foreign Office. At Puerto Rico, when the President tried to raise it with Sauvagnargues present, Giscard steered it away. Which means Jim should raise it with Giscard . . .

Crosland: Without Sauvagnargues.

Duff: On Namibia, we have always acted tripartitely.

Kissinger: On Namibia, I have told them very little, only that there is an idea to move it. Nyerere has raised it with a number of the EC–9 countries.

Duff: Yes. This is where we got a number of different interpretations.

Kissinger: Giscard didn’t know the subject very well. So we discussed it only briefly. Perhaps because he wanted to talk with Sauvagnargues first, or because he wanted to discuss it without Sauvagnargues.

The President and Giscard had a breakfast, and when the President raised it he pointedly steered it away. We have not gone into it with the French in such detail.

Crosland: Okay?

Kissinger: Okay.

Crosland: Thank you very much.

Kissinger: You like short meetings.

[Page 511]

Crosland: This is short? An hour?

Rodman: An hour and ten minutes.

[The meeting concluded.]

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 344, Department of State, Memoranda, Memoranda of Conversations, External, June–July 1976. Secret; Nodis. Initialed by Rodman. The meeting was held in the Secretary’s office. Brackets, with the exception of those indicating omission of unrelated material, are in the original.
  2. Tab A is not attached. Presumably a reference to the paper, “International Support For a Rhodesian Settlement.” (Ibid., Box CL 91, Geopolitical File, Africa, Chronological File, August 1–5, 1976) Regarding the British proposal on guarantees, see footnote 4, Document 196.
  3. See Document 55.
  4. July 10.
  5. A reference to the Victoria Falls Bridge, which linked Zambia and Rhodesia. The meeting was held in late August 1975 on a train positioned to allow the Rhodesians to negotiate in Rhodesia and the ANC in Zambia.
  6. That is, Kaunda, Nyerere, and Khama.
  7. Telegram 1750 from Lusaka, July 8, reported on Schaufele’s meeting with Kaunda. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P840083–0723)
  8. Telegram 2093 from Dar es Salaam, June 6, transmitted Nyerere’s letter to Kissinger. (Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Trip Briefing Books and Cables for Henry Kissinger, Box 26, June 6–13, 1976, Latin America Tosec (1))