279. Briefing Memorandum From the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (Crocker) to Secretary of State Shultz1


  • Your Meeting with the President and Admiral Poindexter on Africa Policy

As you asked last Friday,2 I have drawn up two short papers to help you obtain the President’s reaffirmation of the basic elements of our strategy toward Africa and of our authority to carry it out.

I suggest that you lead into the discussion by noting that:

Policy disarray and indiscipline within the Administration contributed importantly to the defeat we suffered on the South African sanctions bill.3
The aftermath of the sanctions debate has seen an increase, not a decrease, in such policy confusion, with both the NSC staff and the political side of the White House asserting policy lines at variance with those of the Department. (Attachment B4 provides detailed evidence of this from which you may wish to draw.)
As a first step in restoring order to the policy process, you would like the President’s reaffirmation of our strategy toward Africa. (Attachment A contains a brief summary of policy objectives in Africa for you to go over with the President.)

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Attachment A

Paper Prepared in the Department of State5


I. Africa is moving in our direction, but we are walking away:

President’s African Economic Policy Reform Program (AEPRP) producing real results;
Continent-wide abandonment of statist economies, turn away from Soviets, toward West;
Substantial levels of US aid needed to ease difficult transitions:
  • AEPRP funding already far short of amounts announced by President; Congressional cuts worsen situation; U.S. credibility at stake
Southern African Front Line states (FLS) under heavy South African pressure; Soviets seeking openings; FLS look to U.S. for leadership of allied effort to reduce vulnerability, foster free enterprise economies;
Need supplemental appropriation from new Congress to sustain AEPRP, Food for Progress,6 President’s Hunger Initiative, the Southern African Regional Initiative;
Continued aid essential to avoid giving Soviets, Libyans opening they wouldn’t otherwise have; keep Africa moving our way.

II. In southern Africa:

Post sanctions, need to rebuild influence with the South African Government (SAG) and acquire influence with black opposition, including the ANC, Buthelezi, etc.;
Seek SAG military restraint against neighbors and in nuclear programs, lessened internal repression, greater willingness to negotiate with black opponents;
Press ANC and other opposition groups to avoid terrorism and negotiate with the SAG;
Work with the British, Germans and other allies to shape Western initiative to make clear common stand and help open dialogue in [Page 1226] South Africa; help South Africans negotiate representative system of government, end racial injustice;
Keep pressure on Luanda and Moscow to withdraw Cubans from Angola in return for SAG agreement to Namibia settlement:
  • Sustained support for Savimbi key
  • Maintain active dialogue with MPLA and SAG on Namibia/Angola deal
  • Help Savimbi achieve MPLA-UNITA reconciliation he seeks as only way to peace in Angola
Need to buttress FLS against South African pressure and Soviet inroads by joining allies in aiding growth of trade, private investment, transport and Western economic influence in tile region; seek funding in supplemental;
Support Mozambique’s Westward turn against SAG pressure, Soviet efforts to recoup losses in wake of Machel’s death:7
  • Distinguish clearly between U.S. support of nationalist, anti-Cuban struggle by UNITA, and SAG effort to destabilize Mozambique through RENAMO (which risks Soviet/Cuban counter-intervention)
  • Draw sharpest possible contrast between aid, investment, other benefits Mozambique gets from pro-West orientation, and Angola’s decline under Soviet/Cuban

III. Taking on Moscow and Tripoli:

Fundamental US requirements:
  • No default on aid commitments that would erode our influence throughout the continent, create openings for Soviets and Libyans
  • Productive relations with military/intelligence partners (Kenya, Somalia, Zaire, Liberia) sustained by adequate levels of military, economic aid
  • Continued burden sharing with France to contain Qadhafi
  • Sustained military and economic aid to threatened states (e.g. Chad, Somalia, Sudan)
  • Cultivate emerging regional power in Nigeria

IV. Meeting Africa’s basic needs

More than any other people, Africans are ravaged by hunger, disease, unchecked population growth;
Unless our strategy is accompanied by humanitarian vision, it will not ultimately succeed;
This takes resources; if we want to do something about hunger, we must put our money where our mouth is.

  1. Source: Department of State, Executive Secretariat, S/S Files, The Executive Secretariat’s Special Caption Documents: Lot 92D630, Not for the System—October 1986. Secret; Sensitive; Not for the System. Quinn also initialed the memorandum. Also scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. XXVII, Sub-Saharan Africa.
  2. October 17.
  3. Reference is to the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 (P.L. 99–440; H.R. 4868; 100 Stat. 1086) enacted into law on October 2 over the President’s veto. The act, in addition to other provisions, imposed additional sanctions on South Africa, required the President to begin negotiations with other countries towards an international agreement on sanctions and report to Congress within 180 days, legally codified the sanctions outlined in the September 9, 1985, Executive Order, authorized additional aid to South Africans and victims of apartheid, and allocated funds to the Department’s human rights fund. (Congress and the Nation, vol. VII, 1985–1986, pp. 183–184)
  4. Attached but not printed is an undated paper entitled “Examples of Indiscipline,” which is referred to here as “Tab B—Chapter and Verse on Disarray within the Administration.” It is scheduled for publication in Foreign Relations, 1981–1988, vol. XXVII, Sub-Saharan Africa.
  5. Secret; Sensitive. No drafting information appears on the paper.
  6. Reference is to the Food Security Act of 1985 (P.L. 99–198), colloquially known as the 1985 U.S. Farm Bill. The act modified P.L.–480 to add a Food for Progress (FFP) provision, which conditioned P.L.–480 Title I agreements on recipient nations’ willingness to support free enterprise.
  7. Machel died on October 19, 1986.