9. Memorandum From the President’s Assistant for National Security Affairs (Kissinger) to President Nixon 1
- Black African Manifesto on Southern Africa
Fourteen states held the fifth East and Central African Summit meeting earlier this month in Lusaka, Zambia. The main product of the summit was a joint manifesto which is rather remarkable for its conciliatory tone toward the white states in Southern Africa. Attached is a copy of the manifesto,2 which is worth skimming as background for the upcoming NSC consideration of U.S. policy toward Southern Africa. (I have taken the liberty of marking important passages in the document).
The black Africans are never at a loss to condemn minority rule in the white regimes or to criticize the West for its failure to take tougher [Page 15]action on the problem. But this latest statement is notably more moderate than those of the past. Some of its main points:
- The “liberation” of Southern Africa does not mean racialism in reverse. All people now living in the area are judged to be “Africans” regardless of skin color.
- The Portuguese hold on Mozambique and Angola was criticized not for racialism, but for “the pretense that Portugal exists in Africa.” If the Portuguese would accept the principle of self-determination, the African states would try to get the guerrilla movements in the territories to put down their arms and work for a peaceful transfer of power. White settlers would be welcomed by new black governments, however, with the hope that a “liberated” Angola and Mozambique would simply become African versions of Brazil.
- the British should “re-assert” their authority in Rhodesia to bring about majority rule (just how this is to be done the statement doesn’t make clear);
- the UN should enable Southwest Africa to exercise self-determination (again the means are not specified); and
- South Africa should be kicked out of the UN and generally ostracized by the world community.
We should not read too much into the manifesto. The hard political realities of the area remain: (1) for reasons of domestic politics and racial pride, African leaders will not abandon their basic opposition to white minority rule, yet (2) they can’t reach their objective in Southern Africa without outside—and especially U.S.—support. The long-run problem here for black Africa is how to reconcile their passion with that dependence.
We certainly cannot deduce the ultimate thrust of black policy from this manifesto. But it is interesting for its departures from the standard rhetoric. For the moment at least, the Africans may have found tactical reasons for trying a milder approach in talking about their problem.
- Source: National Archives, Nixon Presidential Materials, NSC Files, Box 747, Country Files, Africa, Zambia, Vol. I. Confidential. Sent for information. A stamped notation on the memorandum indicates the President saw it.↩
- Attached but not printed. The Fifth Summit Conference of East and Central African States was held April 14–16. The “Manifesto on Southern Africa” was issued on April 16.↩