214. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in South Africa1

243197. Subject: Secretary’s Response to Personal Message from Ian Smith. Ref: Pretoria 4458.2

[Page 603]
You should get hold of Fourie and convey to him following response from Secretary to Ian Smith:
“Dear Mr. Smith: I have just received your message in which you express your concern about the situation which has developed in the aftermath of your courageous public declaration. I can understand your concern and I appreciate the fact that you have remained steadfast in the face of the difficulties which have arisen. We are aware of the pressures under which you are operating.
“I must stress, however, that we reject the proposition that we forced you into making the announcement which you made on September 24.3 It was clear to me from our discussions in Pretoria4 that you understood, as I do, the realities which Rhodesia faces are the compelling reasons behind your decision. It is my firm judgment that had you not taken the wise decision the objective facts in one year would have compelled you to seek a settlement under worse circumstances. Our offer gave an opportunity—but not a guarantee—for a moderate solution. I want to repeat what I told you in Pretoria. If you prefer to fight rather than to negotiate the decision is up to you. Whichever course you choose will have no consequence for the United States. I must remind you, however, that you can expect no help from us.
“I share your concerns about the radicals. It may well be their strategy as well as that of the Soviets to delay the convening of the conference and the installation of moderate African leadership in order to improve their military position. We should not allow that strategy to succeed and the best way to do so is to insure that an interim government under moderate leadership is installed rapidly.
“We did not know the Angolan Prime Minister would be present at the Lusaka meeting5 and were as surprised as you. Nor did we appreciate the rhetoric used in Lusaka. I have made it clear to the front-line presidents that certain of the public statements made in other African capitals have not contributed to progress towards a negotiated settlement. It is important, however, to remember that the front-line presidents have their own political constituents.
“In our judgment the way to a negotiated settlement is open. We have studied carefully the statements which the presidents made in Lusaka. There has been no significant rejection of the five points. Nor, in fact, has there been a conclusive rejection of the two ministries being held by the Europeans.
“We believe that the final shape of an interim government will emerge in a manner much more acceptable to you through direct discussions with the Rhodesian nationalists than if we and the British try to negotiate the subject with the front-line presidents before the conference begins. As you know, the British, with our strong support are moving quickly to call the conference. They have done this on the understanding that this was something you thought would be helpful.
“It is in all of our interests to organize rapidly a meeting which will set up an interim government. The Rhodesian nationalists who wish to participate in the interim government have different purposes. I suggest you defer your judgment on the positions they will take until we have a chance to see what proposals they will put forward.
“If we are to continue to be helpful, we cannot do so unless the misrepresentations and press leaks cease immediately. Newsweek has given me a report based on Salisbury sources of my conversations in Pretoria. The Newsweek article is highly tendentious and misleading.
“Assistant Secretary Schaufele, accompanied by Rowlands, will come to Salisbury in the next few days and go through in greater detail our perception of the settlement. They will share with you and your colleagues our assessment. In our view the essence of point 3 in the proposals we advanced to you can form the basis for a solution.
“I look forward to hearing from you further after Assistant Secretary Schaufele has had an opportunity to share with you my views. Best regards, Henry A. Kissinger.”
  1. Source: Ford Library, National Security Adviser, Presidential Country Files for Africa, Box 6, South Africa—State Department Telegrams, From SecState—Nodis. Secret; Cherokee; Niact Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Seelye and approved by Covey.
  2. Document 213.
  3. See Document 209.
  4. See Document 206.
  5. See footnote 2, Document 213.