50. Telegram From the Department of State to the Consulate General in Cape Town 1

83977. Subject: Diggs Rejoinder on Segregated Facilities in South Africa. Ref: State 72440 and 75658; Tananarive 673.2

In response to letter sent him along lines State 75658, Congressman Diggs has replied with following telegram.
“Dept’s letter dated May 6 regarding Ambassador Hurd unsatisfactory.3 South African press report which I have indicates Ambassador had already accepted invitation to attend opening of Malan Opera House in Cape Town. Fact that he later arranged to be out of the country irrelevant. Do not agree that policy cannot be devised which will permit our mission representatives to visit segregated facilities if the conduct of official business is necessary in the strictest sense. Any use of facilities outside of this narrow context represents complicity with apartheid policy. We cannot say that we deplore the degradation of apartheid in such facilities and then turn around and use said facilities without admitting hypocrisy, particularly if such use is related to unofficial business. Use of American-controlled facilities on a nonsegregated basis is morally correct and therefore hardly releases us from criticism. I fully realize the restrictive dimensions of this proposal, but it would not compare with the restrictions imposed by the racist South African Government upon its non-white citizens and foreign visitors.”
Unless Embassy has other suggestion, we not planning comment further on Opera House inauguration in response to Diggs but will confine comments to his proposal re non-use of segregated facilities. While we appreciate manifold problems latter would pose, we believe it would be useful to consider whether there are not some areas in which abstention from visits to or use of segregated facilities by US personnel could be achieved without counterproductive results. Would appreciate Embassy views and specific suggestions re this possibility.
Would also appreciate information about tenth anniversary celebration events at which SAG will expect US official representation and which might present further problems.
  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 14 S AFR. Confidential. Drafted by Nelson on May 12; cleared in AF/P, H, and AF; and approved by Crosby. Repeated to Pretoria, Durban, and Johannesburg. A handwritten note reads: “Cape Town for Embassy.”
  2. Telegram 75658 is printed as Document 49. For telegrams 72440 and 673, see footnotes 2 and 3 thereto.
  3. Letter from Abshire to Diggs; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, SOC 14 S AFR.