32. National Security Decision Memorandum 551


  • The Vice-President
  • The Secretary of State
  • The Secretary of Defense
  • The Director, Office of Emergency Preparedness
  • The Secretary of the Treasury
  • The Secretary of Commerce


  • South West Africa

The President has reviewed the response to NSSM 892 (South West Africa) and has decided that:

Present restrictions on official visits to, military contacts with, and overflights of South West Africa shall remain in effect.
The United States will officially discourage investment by U.S. nationals in South West Africa.
Export-Import Bank credit guarantees and other facilities3 shall not be made available for trade with South West Africa.
U.S. nationals who invest in South West Africa on the basis of rights acquired through the South African Government since adoption of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 2145 (1966) shall not receive U.S. Government assistance in protection of such investments against claims of a future lawful government of South West Africa.
The United States will encourage other nations to take actions similar to the above, but will not exert pressure on them to this end, either in the United Nations or in our bilateral relations.
The United States will support, but will not propose, United Nations action to request an advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice on the legality of aspects of South Africa’s administration of South West Africa.
The United States will not seek a recommendation to the General Assembly of revision of the terms of reference of the Council on Namibia or the creation of a new continuing body.
If a resolution is introduced into the Security Council requiring member states or the Secretary General to report periodically on application of the arms embargo against South Africa, the United States will not oppose such a resolution. We shall vote for it only if this course is not objected to by our allies; otherwise we shall abstain. In no case will we actively support such a resolution, or introduce one ourselves.
The United States will continue all forms of assistance presently being provided on behalf of South West African refugees, but will not seek at the present time to contribute to special funds to which Congress has disapproved contributions.

The President intends that the foregoing decisions be regarded as concerned solely with South West Africa. They are not to be regarded as a precedent for application of similar restrictions and policies to South Africa or the Portuguese Territories.

The President desires that the United States continue to make clear its opposition to mandatory economic sanctions against South Africa or the Portuguese Territories and to any use of force in southern Africa.

The Under Secretaries Committee shall report on the implementation of the above decisions by June 30, 1970.4

Henry A. Kissinger
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 SW AFR. Secret. Copies were sent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Director of Central Intelligence, and Director of the U.S. Information Agency. The NSDM was originally issued on April 17.
  2. Document 29.
  3. When page 1 was revised on May 22, “and other facilities” was added to the sentence.
  4. See Document 33.