207. Telegram From Secretary of State Kissinger to the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Scowcroft)1

Hakto 27. 1. Please pass following report to President.

2. Begin text: From Pretoria I flew to Lusaka, Zambia, Monday to report to President Kaunda what I had obtained from Vorster and Smith.2

3. I went over with Kaunda in a three-hour private meeting the Rhodesia program that Smith had accepted—the five points I reported to you yesterday, for majority rule in two years and an immediate provisional government. I told him this is what they had been seeking for eleven years and now was the time to move.

4. Kaunda was speechless, and I think it took him a while to absorb what I was saying. After a long pause, the first question he asked was what guarantee we had that this would be carried out. I told him that Smith could have no illusion about what it would mean to doublecross the U.S. and South Africa. He brought some of his ministerial and party colleagues into the room and I went over it again.

5. Kaunda expressed gratitude. As I expected, he said that of course he would have to consult his fellow presidents. He sent three of his closest advisers to make an immediate tour of neighboring capitals. We agreed that after I saw Nyerere on Tuesday, I would come back to either Dar or Lusaka to talk with them again.

6. Then I went over the Namibia concessions I had obtained from Vorster—moving the Windhoek conference to Geneva, inviting SWAPO to participate, allowing UN involvement, and pledging South Africa to accept the results. On this Kaunda was even more positive. He expressed satisfaction and believed this procedure would succeed. “We can see light here.” If we could arrange that Waldheim would simultaneously call a Geneva conference, so the blacks could call it a new conference, SWAPO would probably go along. SWAPO is based in Lusaka, so Kaunda is attuned to SWAPO’s thinking.

7. I came back for a small dinner with the President and Chona. We went over the Pretoria meetings, the opportunity presented to Africa if Smith indeed announces on Friday his support for the plan, and the [Page 577] need for strong support from the African presidents for the peace initiative in that event. He gives every appearance of having decided to push it, and is turning his attention most seriously now to lining up his fellow heads of state. Evidently he shares my sense that Nyerere is the question mark; if he will go along, the others will, too.

8. I will be in Dar es Salaam today, and we will know the answer.3

  1. Source: Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box CL 266, Cables File, Kissinger, Henry, August 7–September 23, 1976. Secret; Sensitive; Exclusively Eyes Only. Kissinger was presumably en route to Dar es Salaam.
  2. Kissinger met with Kaunda September 20, 1:45–4:43 p.m. at State House in Lusaka. A memorandum of conversation is ibid., CL 345, Department of State, Memoranda, Memoranda of Conversations, External, September 20–23, 1976.
  3. Kissinger met with Nyerere at State House in Dar es Salaam on September 21, 12:20–1:45 p.m. The Secretary briefed the President on negotiations with Vorster and Smith. Nyerere expressed concerns with arrangements for both conferences, and argued that (a) the British should convene a constitutional conference for Rhodesia before choosing an interim government and (b) the Namibian constitutional conference could not be an extension of the Windhoek conference. Nyerere was adamant that conference participants include South Africa (the de facto power), Namibia (represented by SWAPO), and the United Nations. Kissinger suggested Nyerere meet with Kaunda to resolve any issues of concern and clarify their position. A memorandum of conversation is ibid.