88. Memorandum From Acting Secretary of State Christopher to President Carter1

Namibia. There has been a breakthrough in the Namibian negotiations. After two days of negotiations in Luanda, the Contact Group and SWAPO reached agreement on our proposal.2 With respect to security, SWAPO agreed to the positioning of a 1,500-man South African force at one or two locations in northern Namibia, but asked the Contact Group note its “preference” that the force be located at only one site.

On Walvis Bay, the Contact Group and SWAPO agreed to a Security Council resolution calling for the “initiation of steps to ensure the re-integration of Walvis Bay” into Namibia. We believe the agreed text can be presented in the Security Council in such a way as to make it clear that the issue should be resolved in negotiations between South Africa and an independent Namibian state.

A joint press statement was issued noting that after two days of “frank and cordial negotiations,” the parties had agreed to proceed to the Security Council as soon as possible to conclude a just and peaceful settlement. SWAPO and the Front Line States said they wished to take our proposal to the OAU Summit (which opens July 17) to obtain its endorsement.3

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The Contact Group will now prepare for its presentation to South Africa at the end of the week. The South Africans may have problems with the Walvis Bay formulation, and we will have to present the matter carefully.4

[Omitted here is material unrelated to Namibia.]

  1. Source: Carter Library, Plains File, Subject File, Box 38, State Department Evening Reports, 7/78. Secret. Carter initialed the memorandum.
  2. In telegram 22215 from Paris, July 13, the Embassy provided a detailed account of the negotiations in Luanda between the Contact Group and SWAPO. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780287–0544)
  3. In telegram 3301 from Khartoum, July 22, the Embassy reported on Nujoma’s July 20 address at the OAU Summit. (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780302–0027) For the OAU response see Keesing’s Contemporary Archives, 1978, p. 29259.
  4. In telegram 4013 from Pretoria, July 15, the Embassy reported on the meeting with Botha and noted: “Botha’s immediate reaction was to say that it was his ‘sad duty’ to inform us that our stated position on the Walvis Bay problem ‘terminated the whole process of negotiations between us.’ He said that our views on Walvis Bay ‘deviated substantially and drastically’ from what we had repeatedly told the South African Government before. There was virtually no hope left of proceeding with our proposal.” (National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, D780291–0393)