2. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate General in Cape Town 1
Washington, February 17, 1969, 2112Z.
- Department seriously concerned by press reports on SWA Affairs Bill introduced in Parliament last week and already through second reading. Reportedly, bill will give SAG power to apply any SA law to SWA without reference to Parliament and also to change these laws as it deems fit. This and reported provision in bill for acceleration apartheid program in SWA appear represent such flagrant defiance of UN authority and world opinion that Dept believes quick reaction important.
- Therefore, even in advance of receiving details of bill, Dept proposes urgent Embassy approach to SAG along following lines: (a) Your remarks would of necessity be couched in general terms, but should express our concern over challenge this legislation poses to international status of SWA, to UN responsibility for the territory and to rights of inhabitants to international safeguards and self-determination. (b) You could emphasize inevitable heightening of international tensions at moment when Afro-Asians have decided call for SC meeting to consider SWA, and point out bill is retrograde step bound to harm instead of further SWA’s own interests and particularly its efforts improve re[Page 4]lations with other African states and throughout the world; SWA Affairs Bill will repel not only potential friends, but also nations with which SAG already has good and constructive relations. (c) You should urge SAG weigh these considerations in light its own best interests and the overwhelming world opposition to direction of movement concerning SWA.USG sincerely hopes SAG will reconsider and take action to ensure bill is not adopted.
- Dept hopes foregoing can be conveyed urgently, as approach would be more effective if made before final adoption SWA bill. Same approach should be made, but urging non-implementation, if Bill already adopted.
- Please keep info addressees advised.
- Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1967–69, POL 15–2 S AFR. Confidential; Priority. Drafted by Crosby on February 14, cleared in IO/UNP and L/AF, and approved by Palmer. Repeated to Pretoria, London, Paris, USUN, Maseru, Gaborone, Mbabane, Durban, Johannesburg, Stockholm, Tokyo, Bonn, Helsinki, Madrid, Lusaka, Taipei, Dakar, Dar es Salaam, Addis Ababa, and Monrovia.↩
- The primary location of the U.S. Embassy was Pretoria, where the majority of the executive branch of the South African Government was located. The Chief of Mission and members of the country team relocated to Cape Town when the South African Parliament was in session.↩
- In telegram 196 from Cape Town, February 12, the Embassy summarized the South African Parliamentary debate over provisions of the South West Africa Affairs Bill, which effectively turned South West Africa into a province of South Africa. (Ibid.) Telegram 431 from USUN is ibid., POL 19 SW AFR/UN. Telegram 203 from Cape Town was not found.↩