60. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassies in South Africa, the United Kingdom, and France, and the Mission to the United Nations 1

184166. Subj: South West Africa.

Following up Secretary’s talk with FonMin Muller of South Africa,2 Assistant Secretary Newsom saw Permanent Under Secretary Fourie in New York Oct 4.
Newsom asked Fourie how he saw development of South West Africa issue from South African viewpoint. Newsom noted that U.S. position was and would continue to be determined by its respect for court’s decision and by its necessary awareness of both United Nations and African relationship to South West African problem. U.S. did not wish to get in middle of problem. At same time, U.S., involved as it is in UN consideration, would be interested in any paths which might exist for satisfactory outcome of issue.
Fourie said he was speaking privately and personally and Quote might not perhaps say the same thing in Pretoria Unquote. He felt it was necessary and he felt this was the Minister’s position, to avoid closing off in the present consideration of the problem any possible avenues for resolving it. South Africa, he said, wishes to rethink this [Page 153] whole question. Much will depend on determining what people of South West Africa want and South Africa hopes to do this over next several months by quiet soundings. South Africa will not necessarily be bound by assumptions of past. When Newsom asked about SWAPO, Fourie said South Africa was not clear whom SWAPO really represented. He did not exclude possibility that SWAPO might at some point play role in solution.
Newsom said he also, speaking personally, had felt that at least some Africans recognized realities South West African problem and that South Africa should not exclude possibility of Africans accepting approach to issue which recognized in some form African interests.
South Africa had expressed its readiness discuss area with Secretary General of UN. Would South Africa also be prepared for OAU representatives accompany SYG? Fourie said SAG would be unable accept anyone coming under OAU label. He did not rule out possibility individual Africans, including President of OAU in national capacity, coming to South Africa.
Newsom asked whether despite South Africa unwillingness accept conclusion of ICJ opinion South Africans might be prepared leave this question aside and talk about future, including removal of legal irritants, such as Terrorism Act. Fourie said, again speaking personally, South Africa might be prepared put less stress on legal status and perhaps talk about future leading toward conferences with peoples or referendum.
Pressures of time did not permit further conversation. Fourie expressed appreciation for discussion and said he would perhaps be floating some thoughts with Ambassador Hurd after SAG had given matter additional thought.

For London and Paris—Ref State 174301: 3 Without referring to foregoing conversation you may inform respective governments that U.S. has suggested to South Africa possibility their receiving Secretary General perhaps accompanied by some Africans and discussing future of SWA possibly without direct reference to Court decision. U.S. had impression South Africa may be rethinking approach to SWA in which ways suggestions from friends for more flexible outlook may be helpful.


  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 19 SW AFR. Secret; Exdis. Drafted by Newsom on October 6, cleared in AF/S, and approved by Newsom.
  2. Telegram 2878 from USUN, September 25, transmitted the memorandum of conversation between Rogers and Muller. (Ibid.)
  3. Document 54.