237. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Zambia1

3466. Lusaka for Ambassador only, Dar for Edmondson only. Subject: Message to President Kaunda.

[Page 704]
Please pass the following message from the Secretary to President Kaunda.2
“Dear Mr. President: I have been in frequent communication with the British Government and have followed closely Ambassador Ivor Richard’s mission to southern Africa. I continue to hope that he will be able to develop with you, your colleagues the front line presidents, the Zimbabwean nationalists, the Salisbury authorities and the South Africans an acceptable basis for reconvening the conference in Geneva and proceeding to a settlement of the Zimbabwean question.
I need hardly tell you that the United States retains an intense interest in a solution to the problem of Zimbabwe. We remain committed to the rapid achievement of majority rule within the period agreed to at the Geneva conference. As I wrote you from London on December 11,3 we support the formation of a transitional government which will have majority African representation. Britain’s willingness to play an important role during transition is the new element in the settlement which you have sought. I understand Ambassador Richard is describing in detail British views on this subject. The British have our full backing and will continue to receive our support.
The British proposals, which you are considering, are nevertheless a substantial departure from the framework we originally developed which brought Smith to Geneva. Some means to bridge the gap between the new British position and the original framework must be found if we are to achieve rapidly the settlement we all seek. The information available to me indicates that one way to bridge the gap could be a commitment that once an interim government has been formed and installed in office the war would come to an end. An indication of this nature, I believe, could help to improve the atmosphere in Pretoria and Salisbury and may make it easier to elicit the acceptance of the new British proposals. A guarantee of this nature would make it easier for us to use our influence in Pretoria and Salisbury and work towards an acceptance of a new framework for a Zimbabwean settlement.
In the days ahead, and especially at the time the front line presidents meet in Lusaka, great importance will be attached to public statements which follow your deliberations. An indication that the search for peace underlines all our objectives would be helpful.
I understand that you and your fellow presidents will also be discussing the Namibian situation. The United States remains firmly [Page 705] committed to a peaceful settlement of the Namibian question and an outcome which will guarantee the full independence of Namibia. Much time has passed, but I believe the proposals I have discussed with you in the past still offer an acceptable basis for an agreement. I continue to hold to the view that the South African Government could be persuaded to accept a firm date for Namibian independence, a meeting under UN auspices of Namibian parties, including SWAPO at an acceptable international site and a substantial release of political prisoners. As I have told you before, the present Windhoek conference would only send a representative delegation and South Africa would send a representative who would negotiate all issues concerning Namibia’s relations with South Africa. It is my hope that the President of SWAPO and your colleagues will give these proposals serious consideration. They will, in my judgment, lead inevitably to Namibian independence and secure SWAPO’s position. If you, the presidents and SWAPO agree this is the course to pursue, the United States will use its influence to make sure these vital objectives are achieved.
I look forward to seeing Mark Chona in Washington4 and would appreciate at the time of his visit or before any further views you wish to send.
With warm regards, Henry A. Kissinger.”
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files. Secret; Niact Immediate; Nodis. Drafted by Wisner, cleared by Schaufele, and approved by Kissinger. Repeated Immediate to Dar es Salaam.
  2. Telegram 49 from Lusaka, January 7, reported that Kissinger’s message was given to Chona that day. Chona emphasized the importance of sending a similar letter to Samora Machel. The letter was sent to Machel January 7. (Ibid.)
  3. See footnote 5, Document 233.
  4. Kissinger met with Chona on January 14, 3:40–4:40 p.m., to discuss proposals for reconvening the Geneva conference on Rhodesia and the status of negotiations on Namibia. (National Archives, RG 59, Records of Henry Kissinger, 1973–1977, Lot 91D414, Miscellaneous Documents, Telegrams, Etc., 1975)