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Digital Archive International History Declassified

November 08, 1985

COVER LETTER FROM SOUTH AFRICAN FOREIGN MINISTER PIK BOTHA TO US SECRETARY OF STATE GEORGE SHULTZ

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

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    Letter from South African Foreign Minister R. F. "Pik" Botha to U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz contesting American arguments against supporting UNITA.
    "Cover letter from South African Foreign Minister Pik Botha to US Secretary of State George Shultz," November 08, 1985, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Available at www.aluka.org. Included in "SOuthern Africa in the Cold War, Post-1974," edited by Sue Onslow and Anna-Mark Van Wyk. https://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/118368
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MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Private Bag X152

Union Buildings

Pretoria

0001

Tel

286912

MB 10/1/31 a

85110702u20

8 November 1985

Dear Mr. Secretary

I should like to address a number of points which have arisen during the current debate in the United States on the provision of assistance to UNITA.

On 29 October 1985 commenting on proposals that the United States should assist UNITA, Assistant Secretary of State Crocker told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa that he believes that the American people would not want to see the United States involved with South Africa in a regional alignment in the Angolan conflict. South Africa cannot see how the provision of assistance, particularly humanitarian assistance, to UNITA would involve the United States in any such “regional alliance”. A number of other countries in Africa and elsewhere give aid to UNITA without there being any question of their involvement in an alignment with South Africa.

South Africa has also taken note of reports that the State Department is using the argument in Washington that any assistance to UNITA at this would upset the negotiations on Cuban withdrawal which have regained momentum after the recent talks between South Africa and the United States in Vienna and Washington.

It has never been South Africa’s view or intention that the current negotiations should be used as a reason to deny assistance to UNITA. We have consistently held the view that UNITA should not suffer any disadvantage as a result of the negotiation/settlement process. Nor do we believe that such assistance would necessarily jeopardise the negotiations. On the contrary, it would exert pressure on the MPLA to enter into serious negotiations. We have reason to believe that moderate elements in the MPLA who favour Cuban withdrawal and national reconciliation would be encouraged by such assistance to UNITA since it would strengthen their position against the radicals in the party. The granting of assistance to UNITA would also be welcomed by moderate African States which are looking for signs of Western resolve in counteracting Soviet expansionism in Africa. Finally, a decision to aid UNITA would send a clear signal to the Soviet Union concerning its expansionist policies in southern Africa. Such a signal at this time is more urgent and critical than ever. There are strong indications that the Soviets and the Cubans might be planning to renew the offensive against Mavinga within the coming days. There is a possibility that one or two Cuban regiments might participate directly in the initiative. Any such development would entail the risk of a serious escalation in the conflict in southern Angola.

South Africa, like the United States, supports the ideal of negotiated settlements. But negotiations which are not backed up by resolution or which are divorced from the realities of power, will not achieve our common objectives. After consultations with UNITA this week South Africa is now in the process of completing its reply to the United States on the point which were raised during our talks in Washington at the end of September 1985.

Yours Sincerely

[signature]

R.F. Botha

Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Africa

The Honorable George Shultz

Department of State

Washington DC

20520

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