87. Letter From President Carter to Zambian President Kaunda1

Dear Mr. President:

Thank you for your letter of June 13 concerning the Luanda Summit and commenting on the situation in Namibia.2 Laying the groundwork [Page 233] for the Luanda meeting is but one more example of your unstinting and crucial efforts toward a peaceful, internationally acceptable settlement.

I enjoyed tremendously our discussions and fellowship during your recent visit.3 Your wise advice and counsel, and your consistent courage in meeting the difficulties for Zambia from this dangerous situation, help sustain us as we push towards just and peaceful resolutions of problems in southern Africa.

As you undoubtedly know, representatives of the Five in Dar es Salaam have received President Nyerere’s report on the Summit and have been in contact with him about the next steps in the Namibia negotiations.

At President Nyerere’s request, we have already informed the South Africans of the views expressed at the Frontline Summit,4 and they maintained positions they have taken in the past. Our settlement efforts are clearly entering a difficult phase, but one we hope will lead to a successful conclusion.

The two remaining major issues, Walvis Bay and the location of the South African residual force, are of considerable importance, given the interests both SWAPO and South Africa feel are at stake.

Before the Luanda meeting, the Contact Group informed you of the position which the five governments would be prepared to take in the Security Council on the Walvis Bay issue in the context of SWAPO’s acceptance of our proposal. I note that in your letter you make the point that Walvis Bay should be part of an independent Namibia. That position is quite similar to our own. I am confident that the representatives of the Contact Group and the Frontline states in New York, who are now working on this matter, will be able to devise a mutually acceptable formulation of a Security Council resolution. The United States takes its involvement in the Walvis Bay question most seriously as part of a Namibia settlement.

The issue of the South African troops during the transitional period must also be treated with great care. We are confident that the substantial UN presence we envisage will eliminate any offensive threat to Angola or Zambia. At the same time, we are aware of the important psychological factors involved for SWAPO, and we hope that we can find a way to satisfy these concerns without giving South Africa a reason to withdraw its acceptance of the Five’s proposal.

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I hope that the Five will be able to move forward quickly towards the Namibia settlement we all desire. I am heartened by the fact that you and I are working together, in the context of our personal friendship. I look forward to your continuing insights on attaining our shared goals.


Jimmy Carter
  1. Source: Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Brzezinski Material, Brzezinski Office File, Country Chron File, Box 58, Zambia: 1978. No classification marking.
  2. Kaunda’s letter was transmitted in telegram 2127 from Lusaka, June 14. Kaunda noted that the two main issues in negotiations with SWAPO and the Contact Group were Walvis Bay and the location of South African residual forces. (Carter Library, National Security Affairs, Staff Material, North/South, Richardson, Chron File, Box 107, 6/78)
  3. See Document 209.
  4. In telegram 1175 from Cape Town, June 13, the Embassy reported on the meeting with Botha, during which he was given a report of the Front Line summit and a copy of the Luanda communiqué. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780246–1236)