200. Memorandum of Conversation1


  • Dr. Henry A. Kissinger, Secretary of State
  • Charles W. Robinson, Deputy Secretary of State
  • Amb. Philip C. Habib, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
  • Winston Lord, Director, Policy Planning Staff
  • Amb. William E. Schaufele, Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
  • Frank G. Wisner, Country Director for South Africa
  • Peter W. Rodman, NSC Staff

Schaufele: We have the British beef. [He gives the Secretary Frank Wisner’s report, at Tab A.]2

Kissinger: [Reads it:] I didn’t know Sir Anthony Duff was going to Fourie.

Schaufele: We just found out yesterday.

Kissinger: The British perception is 100% the opposite of ours. They want to tie up the South Africans totally before any other move.

Schaufele: And they want more traditional negotiations.

Lord: Two out of three of their gripes are hogwash. Obviously the time frame has to be short, and obviously they’re not bound unless the others are.

Kissinger: Their method will lead to a stalemate. Fourie will say no; that immediately stalemates their efforts in black Africa.

Wisner: The Duff mission was first meant to backstop yours, and to show it has British full faith and credit.

Kissinger: Bullshit. It’s our full faith and credit that’s important to South Africa.

Lord: If you give the South Africans the full text, they’ll nitpick.

[Page 521]

Kissinger: No, I gave them only the summary because the full text was too favorable to the whites. I’m afraid we won’t be able to deliver it all.

Get Samuel in and tell him: We’ll make absolutely sure the South Africans understand it’s a summary. Second, we agree it should be under two years; in fact we think it should be one year.

Third, we urgently disagree with passing the full document because once that’s accepted, it deprives us of all flexibility in the negotiation. Once we get off it, it’ll lead to massive difficulties.

In addition, their method won’t work. Support [Suppose] Fourie says fine; Duff will run up to Dar and give the document there. It will explode.

Maybe they think they’ll conduct the negotiations.

Schaufele: They know the South Africans don’t trust them.

Kissinger: They may think that with the South Africans signed up, they can do it.

My objection was that the document was too favorable to the Rhodesians and deprived us of flexibility. We want their general agreement so we can wrap it up in one final assault. Instead of this stately process.

Robinson: Is there any difference between the summary and final document?

Schaufele: I don’t think so. The qualifiers aren’t there, though.

Kissinger: The inconsistency is between what we want and what they want. They want to topple Smith; we want a solution. They think they can conduct the negotiation.

Robinson: Did they accept the text?

Kissinger: It’s their text.

Wisner: They have a domestic problem with overextending their responsibilities. They can say to Parliament this is as far as they can go.

Kissinger: They misread the South Africans. And if they go to the blacks and say it’s accepted by the South Africans, they certainly won’t accept a South African plan. We’ll give the blacks even less.

Wisner: That’s their assumption. Samuel knows that.

Kissinger: Why should we give to the South Africans now, to hang onto, the concept of three rolls?

Tell Samuel I’ll meet with Vorster in Europe and then I’ll give him the full text. If he jumps off, that’ll give us a safety margin.

When he says, “His government,” that means Duff.

Schaufele: And Rowlands, the Minister of State.

Rodman: Duff is a nitpicker.

[Page 522]

Schaufele: Here is something in Tanzania. [He hands the Secretary the report of his meeting with Tanzanian Ambassador Bomani, Tab B.]3

Kissinger: Did you tell him we haven’t agreed with Vorster on anything?

Schaufele: Yes.

Kissinger: The whole point of the exercise is to get his agreement.

What did you say about factions [point 2 of Bomani’s complaint]?

Schaufele: I said the whole point was to avoid another Angola.

Kissinger: And on the third point?

Schaufele: The third point is Namibia. I told him we were doing it.

Kissinger: [Turns to talking points drafted for Schaufele/Rogers trip to Africa:] These talking points are inadequate.4

Don’t make it liberal bullshit about bloodshed. They don’t mind bloodshed.

Lord: Make it in terms of a rapid settlement versus a protracted one.

Kissinger: Yes, put it in terms of a protracted conflict with its increasing possibilities of outside intervention: I need the backing of the Africans; I’m not going there to produce a South African solution. But we have to prepare the ground.

If Duff wants to leave the paper there, OK. But I think it could be embarrassing to the South Africans. Tell Samuel they have our absolute assurance that if we fall off the paper, if anything it’ll be more onerous on the Rhodesians. They’re so beaten up by Ian Smith they think we’ll use the latitude to strengthen the restrictions.

We’re trying to create the conditions where South Africa can bring pressure. We’re asking them to bring pressure on Namibia and Rhodesia too, and there is a limit to what the traffic will bear.

And hint here [in the trip talking points] that the British role isn’t that crucial.

Robinson: Will these be reviewed with Duff?

Schaufele: No. Later, yes.

Kissinger: Say, I want to review the concept with them.

Don’t give them the 1978 date yet. We’ll do it later. I don’t even want to give it to the British.

“We know there are reservations.” Shall I send a violinist along? We’re not paying people to stay. We’re creating incentives to stay—they get paid only for leaving, but they get paid less if they leave ear[Page 523]lier. The reason for this is, one, domestic reasons in the United States; two, domestic reasons in South Africa; three, domestic reasons in Britain, whatever these pantywaists say; and four, the economy of Zimbabwe.

Habib: Give them something about the time frame.

Kissinger: Say it has to be rapid.

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 347, Department of State, Memoranda, Memoranda of Conversations, Internal, August 1976. Secret; Nodis. Initialed by Rodman. The meeting was held in the Secretary’s office. Brackets, except those that indicate corrections, are in the original.
  2. Tab A is a memorandum from Wisner to Schaufele, August 17, summarizing British reservations about a summary (Tab B to Document 199) that Kissinger gave Botha on August 16. The British reservations were that the summary implied the British would assume responsibility for Rhodesia during the interim period; that the summary did not emphasize that majority rule had to be reached within one and one-half to two years; and that the summary did not stipulate that the plan had the full financial and political support of the British Government. The British wanted Botha to have the full text, not just the summary.
  3. Not attached.
  4. Not attached.