The Foreign Relations of the United States series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the United States Government. The Historian of the Department of State is charged with the responsibility for the preparation of the Foreign Relations series. The staff of the Office of the Historian, Bureau of Public Affairs, under the direction of the General Editor, plans, researches, compiles, and edits the volumes in the series. Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg first promulgated official regulations codifying specific standards for the selection and editing of documents for the series on March 26, 1925. Those regulations, with minor modifications, guided the series through 1991.

Public Law 102–138, the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, established a new statutory charter for the preparation of the series which was signed by President George H.W. Bush on October 28, 1991. Section 198 of P.L. 102–138 added a new Title IV to the Department of State’s Basic Authorities Act of 1956 (22 U.S.C. 4351, et seq.).

The statute requires that the Foreign Relations series be a thorough, accurate, and reliable record of major United States foreign policy decisions and significant United States diplomatic activity. The volumes of the series must include all records needed to provide comprehensive documentation of major foreign policy decisions and actions of the United States Government. The statute also confirms the editing principles established by Secretary Kellogg: the Foreign Relations series is guided by the principles of historical objectivity and accuracy; records should not be altered or deletions made without indicating in the published text that a deletion has been made; the published record should omit no facts that were of major importance in reaching a decision; and nothing should be omitted for the purpose of concealing a defect in policy. The statute also requires that the Foreign Relations series be published not more than 30 years after the events recorded.

Structure and Scope of the Foreign Relations Series

This volume is part of the subseries of the Foreign Relations series that documents the most important decisions and actions of the foreign policy of Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford. The subseries provides a comprehensive documentary record of major foreign policy decisions and actions of both administrations. This volume documents the U.S. policy towards Southern Africa, 1969–1976. Although both administrations developed policies that were discrete to the region, [Page IV] those policies often impacted other countries on the continent. The Nixon and Ford administrations’ policies in sub-Saharan Africa are covered in volumes E–5 and E–6.

Focus of Research and Principles of Selection for Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, Volume XXVIII

This volume documents the foreign policy of the Nixon and Ford administrations toward Southern Africa. The volume does not cover all countries in the region, but focuses on the countries where U.S. interests and concerns were greatest. Both administrations were concerned about Communist influence in sub-Saharan Africa and the potential for even greater encroachment as a result of the nationalist insurgencies in Angola, Namibia, and Rhodesia. Growing opposition to apartheid presented another, thornier challenge, due to South Africa’s dominance and influence in the region as well as their stalwart opposition to Communism.

The first chapter documents the Nixon administration’s policy discussions and decisions for Namibia, South Africa, and Rhodesia. These policies evolved and changed throughout the course of both administrations under pressure from the British, the Front Line Presidents (Kaunda, Nyerere, Machel, and Kama), the United Nations and the U.S. Congress. Despite these pressures, neither administration directly condemned the South African Government over apartheid or their administration of Southwest Africa. Both Presidents sought to maintain a constructive relationship with a strategic partner they viewed as necessary to preserve stability in a volatile region.

The second chapter, on Portuguese Africa, begins with the Nixon administration’s efforts to persuade the Portuguese Government to improve their relations with black African countries and the insurgents in Angola and Mozambique, without antagonizing an important NATO ally. Much of the chapter is devoted to the evolution of U.S. involvement in Angola, particularly following the Alvor Agreement in January 1975. The Ford administration’s covert action in Angola is covered from a policy rather than operational perspective. The chapter ends with the official departure of the Portuguese on November 11, 1975.

The third chapter chronicles the deteriorating prospects for both UNITA and the FNLA in light of major gains by the MPLA and their Cuban allies. It documents the administration’s attempts to continue support for Holden Roberto and Jonas Savimbi despite conditions on the ground in Angola and the passage of the Tunney Amendment on December 19, 1975. Finally, the chapter covers deliberations leading to the termination of the covert action program in Angola, debate over the establishment of diplomatic relations, and Angola’s admission to the United Nations.

[Page V]

The final chapter documents the administration’s efforts to broker a negotiated settlement to the conflicts in Rhodesia and Namibia. The majority of the chapter covers the negotiations on Rhodesia, where Kissinger worked with and through the British, South Africans, and the Front Line Presidents to bring Ian Smith and the black nationalists to the negotiating table. Despite an intensive effort that resulted in a framework for negotiations and the convening of a conference to produce an interim government, the participants failed to reach an agreement.

Editorial Methodology

The documents are presented chronologically according to Washington time. Memoranda of conversation are placed according to the time and date of the conversation, rather than the date the memorandum was drafted.

Editorial treatment of the documents published in the Foreign Relations series follows Office style guidelines, supplemented by guidance from the General Editor and the chief technical editor. The documents are reproduced as exactly as possible, including marginalia or other notations, which are described in the footnotes. Texts are transcribed and printed according to accepted conventions for the publication of historical documents within the limitations of modern typography. A heading has been supplied by the editors for each document included in the volume. Spelling, capitalization, and punctuation are retained as found in the original text, except that obvious typographical errors are silently corrected. Other mistakes and omissions in the documents are corrected by bracketed insertions: a correction is set in italic type; an addition in roman type. Words repeated in telegrams to avoid garbling or provide emphasis are silently corrected. Words or phrases underlined in the original document are printed in italics. Abbreviations and contractions are preserved as found in the original text, and a list of abbreviations is included in the front matter of each volume.

Bracketed insertions are also used to indicate omitted text that deals with an unrelated subject (in roman type) or that remains classified after declassification review (in italic type). The amount and, where possible, the nature of the material not declassified has been noted by indicating the number of lines or pages of text that were omitted. Entire documents withheld for declassification purposes have been accounted for and are listed with headings, source notes, and number of pages not declassified in their chronological place. All brackets that appear in the original text are so identified in footnotes. All ellipses are in the original documents.

The first footnote to each document indicates the source of the document, original classification, distribution, and drafting information. [Page VI] This note also provides the background of important documents and policies and indicates whether the President or his major policy advisers read the document.

Editorial notes and additional annotation summarize pertinent material not printed in the volume, indicate the location of additional documentary sources, provide references to important related documents printed in other volumes, describe key events, and provide summaries of and citations to public statements that supplement and elucidate the printed documents. Information derived from memoirs and other first-hand accounts has been used when appropriate to supplement or explicate the official record.

The numbers in the index refer to document numbers rather than to page numbers.

Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation

The Advisory Committee on Historical Diplomatic Documentation, established under the Foreign Relations statute, reviews records, advises, and makes recommendations concerning the Foreign Relations series. The Advisory Committee monitors the overall compilation and editorial process of the series and advises on all aspects of the preparation and declassification of the series. The Advisory Committee does not necessarily review the contents of individual volumes in the series, but it makes recommendations on issues that come to its attention and reviews volumes, as it deems necessary to fulfill its advisory and statutory obligations.

Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act Review

Under the terms of the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act (PRMPA) of 1974 (44 U.S.C. 2111 note), the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has custody of the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The requirements of the PRMPA and implementing regulations govern access to the Nixon Presidential historical materials. The PRMPA and implementing public access regulations require NARA to review for additional restrictions in order to ensure the protection of the privacy rights of former Nixon White House officials, since these officials were not given the opportunity to separate their personal materials from public papers. Thus, the PRMPA and related implementing public access regulations require NARA to notify formally the Nixon estate and former Nixon White House staff members that the agency is scheduling for public release Nixon White House historical materials. The Nixon Estate and former White House staff members have 30 days to contest the release of Nixon historical materials in which they were a participant or are mentioned. Further, the PRMPA and implementing regulations require NARA to segregate and return to the creator of files private and personal materials. All Foreign [Page VII] Relations volumes that include materials from NARA’s Nixon Presidential Materials Staff are processed and released in accordance with the PRMPA.

Nixon White House Tapes

Access to the Nixon White House tape recordings is governed by the terms of the PRMPA and an access agreement with the Office of Presidential Libraries of the National Archives and Records Administration and the Nixon Estate. In February 1971, President Nixon initiated a voice activated taping system in the Oval Office of the White House and, subsequently, in the President’s Office in the Executive Office Building, Camp David, the Cabinet Room, and White House and Camp David telephones. The audiotapes include conversations of President Nixon with his Assistant for National Security Affairs, Henry Kissinger, other White House aides, Secretary of State Rogers, other Cabinet officers, members of Congress, and key foreign officials. The clarity of the voices on the tape recordings is often very poor, but the editor has made every effort to verify the accuracy of the transcripts produced here. Readers are advised that the tape recording is the official document; the transcript represents an interpretation of that document. Through the use of digital audio and other advances in technology, the Office of the Historian has been able to enhance the tape recordings and over time produce more accurate transcripts. The result is that some transcripts printed here may differ from transcripts of the same conversations printed in previous Foreign Relations volumes. The most accurate transcripts possible, however, cannot substitute for listening to the recordings. Readers are urged to consult the recordings themselves for a full appreciation of those aspects of the conversations that cannot be captured in a transcript, such as the speakers’ inflections and emphases that may convey nuances of meaning, as well as the larger context of the discussion.

Declassification Review

The Office of Information Programs and Services, Bureau of Administration, Department of State, conducted the declassification review of all the documents published in this volume. The review was undertaken in accordance with the standards set forth in Executive Order 12958, as amended, on Classified National Security Information, and applicable laws.

The principle guiding declassification review is to release all information, subject only to the current requirements of national security as embodied in law and regulation. Declassification decisions entailed concurrence of the appropriate geographic and functional bureaus in the Department of State and other concerned agencies of the U.S. Government. The declassification review of this volume, which began in [Page VIII] 2006 and was completed in 2009, resulted in the decision to withhold 2 documents in full, excisions of a paragraph or more in 13 documents, and minor excisions of less than a paragraph in 41 documents.

The editors are confident, on the basis of the research conducted in preparing this volume and as a result of the declassification review process described above, that this volume is an accurate record of the foreign policy of the Nixon and Ford administrations toward Southern Africa between 1969 and 1976.


The editor wishes to thank Bridget Crowley and the staff at the Nixon Presidential Materials Project of the National Archives and Records Administration (Archives II), at College Park, Maryland. The editor would also like to acknowledge the Richard Nixon Estate for allowing access to the Nixon Presidential Recordings and the Richard Nixon Library and Birthplace for facilitating that access. The editor wishes to thank Geir Gunderson, Karen Holzhausen, Donna Lehman, Helmi Raaska, and the rest of the staff at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor, Michigan for their invaluable assistance. Thanks are due to the Historical Staff of the Central Intelligence Agency, who were helpful in arranging full access to Agency files and to John Haynes of the Library of Congress, who was responsible for expediting access to the Kissinger Papers. The editor was able to use the Kissinger Papers with the permission of Henry Kissinger. The editor would like to thank the staff in the Manuscript Reading Room at the Library of Congress for their assistance. The editor also wishes to thank Sandy Meagher for her assistance in expediting the use of files of the Department of Defense.

Myra Burton collected, selected, and annotated the documentation for this volume. The volume was completed under the supervision of Laurie Van Hook, Chief of the Middle East and Africa Division and Edward C. Keefer, General Editor of the series. Chris Tudda coordinated the declassification review under the supervision of Susan Weetman, Chief of the Declassification and Publishing Division. Renée A. Goings and Aaron W. Marrs did the copy and technical editing. Breffni Whelan prepared the index.

Bureau of Public Affairs

July 2011

Ambassador Edward Brynn
Acting Historian