25. Memorandum for the Record1


  • British Démarche on Rhodesia

The British Minister came in at his request to request clarification of Ron Ziegler’s statements to the press today2 concerning the status of our Consulate in Salisbury following the declaration of the Republic of Rhodesia. Roger Morris participated in the discussion. Mr. Millard was furnished the text of Ziegler’s comments at the afternoon briefing today and was also referred to McCloskey’s statement at noon today.

Millard then said on instructions that he wished to convey the utmost concern of HMG concerning our Consulate and to ask that a decision to withdraw it be made before midnight on Sunday.3 We explained that a decision one way or the other was unlikely in this time frame but that the status of the Consulate would of course be reviewed in the light of the new situation, as our public statements had indicated.

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Millard said he had come to the White House, rather than the State Department because it was thought that the matter had come up between the President and Prime Minister. I said I could not recall whether it had but that of course the Secretary of State had told Foreign Secretary Stewart that declaration of the Republic would bring about a new decision point.4 We told Millard that he should feel free to convey his instructions to the Department of State.

Millard was visibly disturbed about the possibility that no US decision would be forthcoming in the next two days. He said the British were asking us to withdraw because they hoped this would inhibit others who might be thinking of recognition (he did not know what countries might do this) and would also induce those countries maintaining consulates to withdraw them.

I assured Millard that I would bring his comments to the attention of Mr. Kissinger, noting at the same time that we were of course already fully aware of HMG’s views.

Helmut Sonnenfeldt 5
  1. Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 726, Country Files, Europe, United Kingdom, Vol. II. Confidential. Sent to Kissinger. Printed from a copy that Haig initialed.
  2. Telegram 30031 to Salisbury, February 28, transmitted Ziegler’s statement that the United States would maintain the Consulate in Rhodesia following the declaration of a Rhodesian republic, however, “this did not constitute recognition of Salisbury regime.” (Ibid., RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 16 RHOD)
  3. March 1.
  4. See Document 16.
  5. Sonnenfeldt initialed “HS” next to his typed signature.