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Digital Archive International History Declassified

September 29, 1976

DISCUSSION BETWEEN SWAPO WITH DR HENRY KISSINGER, US SECRETARY OF STATE, IN NEW YORK

This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation, Carnegie Corporation

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    Dr. Kissinger expresses his proposal for a conference on Namibia to be attended by SWAPO (South West Africa People's Organization), Turnhalle members, and South Africa. The Conference concerned the ongoing struggle for independence by Namibian guerrillas from South African rule. Kissinger pledged US support to SWAPO as the leading force in Namibia, but Namibian delegates responded that they would not attend the conference unless South Africa met all preconditions including the withdrawal of troops from Namibian territory.
    "Discussion between SWAPO with Dr Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State, in New York," September 29, 1976, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, SPARC 02014590-001/2 https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/115286
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SPARC 02014590-001/2

Discussion with Dr Henry Kissinger, US Secretary of State, New York, September 29, 1976

SWAPO USA

1. Comrade Sam Nujoma

2. Comrade Theo-Ben Gurirab

3. Comrade Obed Emvula

4. Comrade Kapuka Nauyala

USA

1. Dr Kissinger

2. Two others (secretaries)

On Dr Kissinger’s own initiative, the President accompanied by four [sic] SWAPO officials met and held discussions with the U.S.A. Secretary of State in New York on September 29th 1976.

Dr Kissinger put forward a proposal for a “Namibia Conference” to be attended by SWAPO, the Turnhalle puppets and South Africa. He was “convinced” that SWAPO would obviously emerge as the leading force from the “Conference”. Dr Kissinger also promised that the United States Government would give its support to SWAPO as the leading “group” in Namibia, and that, with SWAPO’s standing recognition by the U.N. as the authentic representative of the Namibian people, there could be no doubt that SWAPO would take the leading position at the “Conference” and would emerge from there as a leading force in the Government of an independent Namibia.

In reply, Comrade President pointed out, point blank, that, until racist South Africa accepts all SWAPO’s preconditions to talks, SWAPO will never participate in any talks or conference.

Comrade President also told Dr. Kissinger that the so-called “Namibia Conference” should be a new venture altogether, and not a continuation of the Turnhalle tribal talks. SWAPO will not accept to renegaded [sic] to the level of puppets.

SWAPO’s pre-conditions to talks are:-

1. SWAPO has been and is still ready to talks directly with the South African Government regarding the modalities for transferring power to the people of Namibia under the leadership of SWAPO.

2. SWAPO demands that the participants at the Namibia Independence Conference shall be SWAPO, South Africa and the United Nations.

3. SWAPO demands that the United Nations shall convene and chair the Conference.

4. SWAPO insists that before any talks the South African Government must release all political prisoners, detainees and restrictees. Some of the leaders now in detention, restriction and in prison are likely to be part of the SWAPO delegation

to Independence Talks.

5. South Africa must make prior commitment to withdraw all its armed forces from Namibia and to end its repression of the Namibia population.

6. The talks must be on entirely new basis reflecting the unity of the whole people of independence [sic] and some reign [sic] Namibia as a unitary state.

Dr.Kissinger then decided to go back to Vorster to inform him of SWAPO’s position.