77. Address by Secretary of State Kissinger 1

United States Policy on Southern Africa

President Ford has sent me here with a message of commitment and cooperation.

I have come to Africa because in so many ways the challenges of Africa are the challenges of the modern era. Morally and politically, the drama of national independence in Africa over the last generation has transformed international affairs. More than any other region of the world, Africa symbolizes that the previous era of world affairs, the colonial era, is a thing of the past. The great tasks you face—in nationbuilding, in keeping the peace and integrity of this continent, in economic development, in gaining an equitable role in world councils, in achieving racial justice—these reflect the challenges of building a humane and progressive world order.

I have come to Africa with an open mind and an open heart to demonstrate my country’s desire to work with you on these great tasks. My journey is intended to give fresh impetus to our cooperation and to usher in a new era in American policy.2

The United States was one of the prime movers of the process of decolonization. The American people welcomed the new nations into the world community and for two decades have given aid and encouragement to economic and social progress in Africa. And America’s responsibilities as a global power give us a strong interest today in the independence, peace, and well-being of this vast continent comprising a fifth of the world’s land surface. For without peace, racial justice, and [Page 414] growing prosperity in Africa, we cannot speak of a just international order.

There is nothing to be gained in a debate about whether in the past America has neglected Africa or been insufficiently committed to African goals. The United States has many responsibilities in the world. Given the burden it has carried in the postwar period, it could not do everything simultaneously. African nations, too, have their own priorities and concerns, which have not always accorded with our own. No good can come of mutual recrimination. Our differing perspectives converge in a common purpose to build a secure and just future for Africa. In active collaboration there is much we can do; in contention or apart we will miss great opportunities. President Ford and the American Government and people are prepared to work with you with energy and good will if met in the same spirit.

So it is time to put aside slogans and to seek practical solutions. It is time to find our common ground and act boldly for common ends.

Africa is a continent of hope, a modern frontier. The United States from the beginning has been a country of the frontier, built by men and women of hope. The American people know from their history the meaning of the struggle for independence, for racial equality, for economic progress, for human dignity.

I am not here to give American prescriptions for Africa’s problems. Your program must be African. The basic decisions and goals must be African. But we are prepared to help.

Nor am I here to set African against African, either among your governments or among factions of liberation movements. African problems cannot be solved, and your destiny cannot be fulfilled, except by a united Africa.

America supports African unity. We urge all other countries to do the same.

Here in Africa the range of mankind’s challenges and potential can be seen in all its complexity and enormous promise.

The massive power and grandeur of nature is before us in all its aspects—as the harsh master and as a bountiful servant of mankind.

Here we can feel the rich and living cultures which have changed and invigorated art, music, and thought around the world.

And here on this continent we are tested, all of us, to see whether our future will be determined for us or by us, whether humanity will be the victim or the architect of its destiny.

The Issues of Southern Africa

Of all the challenges before us, of all the purposes we have in common, racial justice is one of the most basic. This is a dominant issue of our age, within nations and among nations.

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We know from our own experience that the goal of racial justice is both compelling and achievable. Our support for this principle in southern Africa is not simply a matter of foreign policy but an imperative of our own moral heritage.

The people of Zambia do not need to be reminded of the importance of realizing this goal. By geography and economic necessity, Zambia is affected directly and grievously by strife in southern Africa. Political stability in this region means more to Zambia than to many others. Yet Zambia has chosen to stand by her principles by closing her border with Rhodesia and enduring the economic consequences. This is a testimony to the determination of the people of this country and to the statesmanship of its great leader, President Kaunda.

And it was in this city seven years ago that leaders of east and central African states proclaimed their Manifesto on Southern Africa.3

One is struck by the similarity of philosophy in the American Declaration of Independence and in the Lusaka Manifesto. Two hundred years ago Thomas Jefferson wrote:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

And seven years ago the leaders of east and central Africa declared here in Lusaka that:

By this Manifesto we wish to make clear, beyond all shadow of doubt, our acceptance of the belief that all men are equal, and have equal rights to human dignity and respect, regardless of colour, race, religion or sex. We believe that all men have the right and the duty to participate, as equal members of the society, in their own Government.

There can be no doubt that the United States remains committed to the principles of its own Declaration of Independence. It follows that we also adhere to the convictions of the Lusaka Manifesto.

Therefore, here in Lusaka, I reaffirm the unequivocal commitment of the United States to human rights, as expressed in the principles of the U.N. Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We support self-determination, majority rule, equal rights, and human dignity for all the peoples of southern Africa—in the name of moral principle, international law, and world peace.

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On this occasion I would like to set forth more fully American policy on some of the immediate issues we face—in Rhodesia, Namibia, and South Africa—and then to sketch our vision of southern Africa’s hopeful future.

The U.S. Position on Rhodesia

The U.S. position on Rhodesia is clear and unmistakable. As President Ford has said, “The United States is totally dedicated to seeing to it that the majority becomes the ruling power in Rhodesia.” We do not recognize the Rhodesian minority regime. The United States voted for, and is committed to, the U.N. Security Council resolutions of 1966 and 1968 that imposed mandatory economic sanctions against the illegal Rhodesian regime.4 Earlier this year we cosponsored a Security Council resolution, which was passed unanimously, expanding mandatory sanctions.5 And in March of this year we joined others to commend Mozambique for its decision to enforce these sanctions even at great economic cost to itself.

It is the responsibility of all who seek a negotiated solution to make clear to the Rhodesian minority that the world community is united in its insistence on rapid change. It is the responsibility of those in Rhodesia who believe in peace to take the steps necessary to avert a great tragedy.

U.S. policy for a just and durable Rhodesian solution will therefore rest on 10 elements:

—First, the United States declares its support in the strongest terms for the proposals made by British Prime Minister Callaghan, then Foreign Secretary, on March 22 of this year: that independence must be preceded by majority rule, which in turn must be achieved no later than two years following the expeditious conclusion of negotiations. We consider these proposals a basis for a settlement fair to all the people of Rhodesia. We urge that they be accepted.

—Second, the Salisbury regime must understand that it cannot expect U.S. support either in diplomacy or in material help at any stage in its conflict with African states or African liberation movements. On the [Page 417] contrary, it will face our unrelenting opposition until a negotiated settlement is achieved.

—Third, the United States will take steps to fulfill completely its obligation under international law to mandatory economic sanctions against Rhodesia. We will urge the Congress this year to repeal the Byrd amendment,6 which authorizes Rhodesian chrome imports to the United States, an act inconsistent with U.N. sanctions. In parallel with this effort, we will approach other industrial nations to insure the strictest and broadest international compliance with sanctions.

—Fourth, to insure that there are no misperceptions on the part of the leaders of the minority in Rhodesia, the United States, on the conclusion of my consultations in black Africa, will communicate clearly and directly to the Salisbury regime our view of the urgency of a rapid negotiated settlement leading to majority rule.

—Fifth, the U.S. Government will carry out its responsibility to inform American citizens that we have no official representation in Rhodesia nor any means of providing them with assistance or protection. American travelers will be advised against entering Rhodesia; Americans resident there will be urged to leave.

—Sixth, as in the case of Zambia a few years ago, steps should be taken—in accordance with the recent U.N. Security Council resolution—to assist Mozambique, whose closing of its borders with Rhodesia to enforce sanctions has imposed upon it a great additional economic hardship. In accordance with this U.N. resolution, the United States is willing to provide $12.5 million of assistance.

—Seventh, the United States, together with other members of the United Nations, is ready to help alleviate economic hardship for any countries neighboring Rhodesia which decide to enforce sanctions by closing their frontiers.

—Eighth, humanitarian provision must be made for the thousands of refugees who have fled in distress from Rhodesia into neighboring countries. The United States will consider sympathetically requests for assistance for these refugees by the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees or other appropriate international organizations.

—Ninth, the world community should give its support to the people of Rhodesia as they make the peaceful transition to majority rule and independence and should aid a newly independent Zimbabwe. To this end, we are ready to join with other interested nations in a program of economic, technical, and educational assistance to enable an independent Zimbabwe to achieve the progress and the place in the [Page 418] community of nations to which its resources and the talents of all its people entitle it.

—Finally, we state our conviction that whites as well as blacks should have a secure future and civil rights in a Zimbabwe that has achieved racial justice. A constitutional structure should protect minority rights together with establishing majority rule. We are prepared to devote some of our assistance programs to this objective.

In carrying out this program we shall consult closely with the Presidents of Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Zambia.

We believe these are important measures. We are openminded with respect to additional actions that can help speed a resolution. The United States will consult closely with African leaders, especially the four Presidents, and with other friends on the Rhodesian problem. For the central fact that I have come here to stress is this: The United States is wholly committed to help bring about a rapid, just, and African solution to the issue of Rhodesia.


Rhodesia is the most urgent but by no means the only critical problem in southern Africa. The status of Namibia has been a source of contention between the world community and South Africa for over three decades.

The Territory of South West Africa turned into a source of serious international discord following World War II. When the United Nations refused to accede to South Africa’s proposal for annexation of the territory, South Africa declined to enter into a trusteeship agreement and since then has refused to recognize the United Nations as the legal sovereign. In 1966 the General Assembly terminated South Africa’s mandate over the territory.7 In 1971 the International Court of Justice concluded that South Africa’s occupation of Namibia was illegal and that it should withdraw.

The United States voted for the 1966 General Assembly resolution. We were the only major power to argue before the International Court that South African occupation was illegal. And in January 1976 the United States voted in favor of the U.N. resolution condemning the occupation of Namibia and calling for South Africa to take specific steps toward Namibia’s self-determination and independence.8

We are encouraged by the South African Government’s evident decision to move Namibia toward independence. We are convinced [Page 419] that a solution can be found which will embody equal rights for the entire population and at the same time protect the interests of all who live and work there. But we are concerned that South Africa has failed to announce a definite timetable for the achievement of self-determination, that all the people and all political groupings of Namibia have not been allowed to take part in determining the form of government they shall one day have, and that South Africa continues to deny the United Nations its proper role in establishing a free and independent Namibia.

Therefore the U.S. position is as follows:

—We reiterate our call upon the South African Government to permit all the people and groups of Namibia to express their views freely, under U.N. supervision, on the political future and constitutional structure of their country.

—We urge the South African Government to announce a definite timetable, acceptable to the world community, for the achievement of self-determination.

—The United States is prepared to work with the international community, and especially with African leaders, to determine what further steps would improve prospects for a rapid and acceptable transition to Namibian independence. We are convinced that the need for progress is urgent.

—Once concrete movement toward self-determination is underway, the United States will ease its restrictions on trade and investment in Namibia. We stand ready to provide economic and technical assistance to help Namibia take its rightful place among the independent nations of the world.

South Africa

Apartheid in South Africa remains an issue of great concern to those committed to racial justice and human dignity.

No country, no people, can claim perfection in the realm of human rights. We in America are aware of our own imperfections. But because we are a free society, our problems and our shortcomings are fully aired and made known to the world. And we have reason to take pride in our progress in the quest for justice for all in our country.

The world community’s concern with South Africa is not merely that racial discrimination exists there. What is unique is the extent to which racial discrimination has been institutionalized, enshrined in law, and made all-pervasive.

No one, including the leaders of black Africa, challenges the right of white South Africans to live in their country. They are not colonialists; historically, they are an African people. But white South Africans must recognize as well that the world will continue to insist that the in[Page 420]stitutionalized separation of the races must end. The United States appeals to South Africa to heed the warning signals of the past two years. There is still time to bring about a reconciliation of South Africa’s peoples for the benefit of all. But there is a limit to that time—a limit of far shorter duration than was generally perceived even a few years ago.

A peaceful end to institutionalized inequality is in the interest of all South Africans. The United States will continue to encourage and work for peaceful change. Our policy toward South Africa is based upon the premise that within a reasonable time we shall see a clear evolution toward equality of opportunity and basic human rights for all South Africans. The United States will exercise all its efforts in that direction. We urge the Government of South Africa to make that premise a reality.

In the immediate future, the Republic of South Africa can show its dedication to Africa—and its potential contribution to Africa—by using its influence in Salisbury to promote a rapid negotiated settlement for majority rule in Rhodesia. This, we are sure, would be viewed positively by the community of nations as well as by the rest of Africa.

A Vision of the Future

Southern Africa has all the prerequisites for an exciting future. Richly endowed with minerals, agricultural and hydroelectric potential, a favorable climate, and most important, great human resources, it needs only to overcome the human failure of racial strife to achieve bright prospects for all its peoples. Let us all strive to speed the day when this vision becomes a reality.

The United States stands ready to work with the nations of southern Africa to help them achieve the economic progress which will give meaning to their political independence and dignity to their struggle for equality.

As you know, Deputy Secretary Robinson, an expert in economic development, is accompanying me on this visit. This is the first time that an American Secretary of State and Deputy Secretary together have come on such a mission, reflecting the importance we attach to the economic development of southern Africa. Mr. Robinson and I are discussing development needs with African officials in the various capitals, and we shall continue these consultations at the UNCTAD [U.N. Conference on Trade and Development] meeting in Nairobi next week. After my return to Washington, based on what we have learned, we will urgently study a new aid program for this continent.

Africa and its friends face a dual challenge: immediate and long-term growth. In the short term, economic emergencies can arise from natural disasters or sharp swings in global economic conditions over which developing nations have little control. These economic [Page 421] shocks must be dealt with if the nations of the region are to maintain their hard-won progress toward development. For example, the sharp drop in world copper prices has had a devastating impact on the economies of Zambia and Zaïre. The United States will deal with this problem in its bilateral assistance programs for these countries and in our programs for multilateral action—to be proposed at UNCTAD next week—for resource development, buffer stocks, and earnings stabilization.

But our basic concern must go beyond responding to emergencies. We need to develop urgently programs to lay the foundations for sustained growth to enable the developing nations of southern Africa to deal effectively with global economic shocks and trends.

Let me mention four that are especially relevant to southern Africa: trained local manpower, rural development, advanced technology, and modern transportation.

—For Namibia and Zimbabwe, training programs should be intensified now so that needed manpower will be ready when majority rule is attained. Existing programs to train Namibian and Zimbabwean refugees as administrators and technicians should be expanded as rapidly as possible. We have requested additional funds from Congress for this purpose. We urge other donors and international organizations to do more.

—Development for all of southern Africa involves a process of transforming rural life. We are prepared to assist in agricultural development, in health programs, in manpower training, in improving rural transportation, through both bilateral and multilateral programs.

—A revolution in development planning could be achieved by the use of satellites to collect vital information on crops, weather, water resources, land use, and mineral exploration. The United States has already shared with developing nations information from our earliest earth resources survey satellites. We are now prepared to undertake much larger programs to apply this technology to Africa, including training programs and the development of training facilities and satellite-receiving stations in Africa itself.

—Perhaps the most critical long-term economic need of southern Africa is a modern system of regional transportation. The magnitude of the effort extends beyond the capacity of any one nation or group of nations. For this reason the United States proposes that the World Bank undertake as a priority matter the organization of a multilateral consultative group of donors to develop a modern regional transportation system for southern Africa. For our part we promise our full cooperation in working out a long-term program and in financing appropriate portions of it.

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And finally, I can announce today that we expect to triple our support for development programs in southern and central Africa over the next three years.

In addition, the United States has offered leadership in many international forums to promote development through multilateral cooperation. The industrial nations, the newly wealthy oil producers, and the developing countries themselves must collaborate for the goal of development. Africa is a principal beneficiary of the many U.S. initiatives in multilateral institutions and programs—to enhance economic security through supporting export earnings in the face of sharp economic swings, to promote growth through better access to capital markets and technology transfers, to accelerate agricultural production, to improve the conditions of trade and investment in key commodities, and to address the special needs of the poorest nations.

Many of the proposals we have made are already being implemented. Next week in Nairobi, I will put forward new proposals to further advance progress in relations between developed and developing nations.

Today I have outlined the principles of American policy on the compelling challenges of southern Africa.

Our proposals are not a program made in America to be passively accepted by Africans. They are an expression of common aspirations and an agenda of cooperation. Underlying the proposals is our fundamental conviction that Africa’s destiny must remain in African hands.

No one who wishes this continent well can want to see Africans divided either between nations or between liberation movements. Africans cannot want outsiders seeking to impose solutions or choosing among countries or movements. The United States, for its part, does not seek any pro-American African bloc confronting a bloc supporting any other power. Nor do we wish to support one faction of a liberation movement against another. But neither should any other country pursue hegemonial aspirations or bloc policies. An attempt by one will inevitably be countered by the other. The United States therefore supports African unity and integrity categorically as basic principles of our policy.

There is no better guarantee against outside pressure from any quarter than the determination of African nations in defense of their own independence and unity. You did not build African institutions to see outside forces fragment them into competing blocs. The United States supports Africa’s genuine nonalignment and unity. We are ready for collaboration on the basis of mutual respect. We do so guided by our convictions and our values. Your cause is too compatible with our principles for you to need to pursue it by tactics of confrontation [Page 423] with the United States; our self-respect is too strong to let ourselves be pressured either directly or by outside powers.

What Africa needs now from the United States is not exuberant promises or emotional expressions of good will. What it needs is a concrete program, which I have sought to offer today. So let us get down to business. Let us direct our eyes toward our great goals—national independence, economic development, racial justice, goals that can be achieved by common action.

Africa in this decade is a testing ground of the world’s conscience and vision. That blacks and whites live together in harmony and equality is a moral imperative of our time. Let us prove that these goals can be realized by human choice, that justice can command by the force of its rightness instead of by force of arms.

These are ideals that bind all the races of mankind. They are the mandate of decency and progress and peace.

This drama will be played out in our own lifetime. Our children will inherit either our success or our failure. The world watches with hope, and we approach it with confidence.

So let it be said that black people and white people working together achieved on this continent, which has suffered so much and seen so much injustice, a new era of peace, well-being, and human dignity.9

  1. Source: Department of State Bulletin, May 31, 1976, pp. 672–679. Kissinger delivered the address at a luncheon hosted by Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda. All brackets are in the original. Kissinger arrived in Lusaka on April 26 for talks with Kaunda on the political situation in Rhodesia, the third stop of a two-week visit to Africa. Between April 24 and May 6, Kissinger traveled to Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Zaire, Liberia, and Senegal for meetings with the leaders of those countries, and attended the UNCTAD conference in Nairobi May 3–6. In his memoirs, Kissinger recalled that the “principal purpose” of the Lusaka speech and the entire African trip, his first to the continent, was to “place the United States squarely behind majority rule in Southern Africa.” (Kissinger, Years of Renewal, p. 925)
  2. NSSM 241, April 21, ordered a review of U.S. policy toward Southern Africa. The study was to develop policy options based on a definition of U.S. interests in Southern Africa, the examination of majority rule and the likelihood of foreign involvement in Rhodesia, a description of scenarios for a settlement of the problem of Namibian independence, and an analysis of the impact majority rule in Rhodesia and Namibia would have on South Africa. See Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume XXVIII, Southern Africa, Document 84.
  3. The Manifesto on Southern Africa was issued on April 16, 1969, at the conclusion of the Summit Conference of East and Central African States held in Lusaka. A summary of the Lusaka Manifesto, declaring the right of “all men to participate as equal members of the society in their own government” and condemning South Africa’s apartheid regime is ibid., Document 9.
  4. Adopted on December 16, 1966, U.N. Security Council Resolution 232 (1966) imposed a series of economic sanctions on Rhodesia, including an embargo on the supply of oil and oil products. The text of the resolution is printed in Yearbook of the United Nations, 1966, pp. 116–117. U.N. Security Council Resolution 253 (1968), adopted May 29, 1968, extended existing sanctions against Rhodesian imports and exports to cover all commodities except medical, educational, and humanitarian supplies and tightened restrictions on both travel to Rhodesia and travel by Rhodesian passport holders. The text of the resolution is ibid., 1968, pp. 152–154.
  5. U.N. Security Council Resolution 388 (1976) was adopted unanimously on April 6. The text is ibid., 1976, p. 157.
  6. See footnote 9, Document 49.
  7. U.N. General Assembly Resolution 2145 (XXI) was adopted October 27, 1966. The text of the resolution is in Yearbook of the United Nations, 1966, pp. 605–606.
  8. U.N. Security Council Resolution 385 (1976) was adopted unanimously on January 30. The text of the resolution is in ibid., 1976, pp. 782–783.
  9. On May 13, Kissinger reported to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on his African trip and the state of relations with African countries. Kissinger stated that a “sound relationship between America and Africa is crucial to an international structure of relations that promotes peace, widening prosperity, and human dignity.” His trip, he argued, “laid a sound foundation” for “bringing about moderate, negotiated solutions to the urgent political problems of southern Africa; the long-term economic development of the continent; and strengthening our ties with Africa in the service of interests we share—peace, independence, prosperity, respect for human dignity, and justice.” (Department of State Bulletin, June 7, 1976, pp. 713–719) In a speech to the National Urban League, August 2, Kissinger revisited many of these same themes, adding that America’s ties with Africa were determined by “practical considerations,” but also by a “profound human and moral dimension.” (Ibid., August 23, 1976, pp. 257–265)