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Southern Africa Moves Closer To

Southern Africa Moves Closer To image Southern Africa Moves Closer To image
Parent Issue
Day
24
Month
September
Year
1976
OCR Text

From International Bulletin Secretary of State Henry Kissinger has been flying back and forth across the Zambezi Riversouthern Africa's Mason-Dixon line-in what some commentators are calling "Kissinger's last liurrah": an all-out effort at shuttle diplomacy to negotiate settlements in Rhodesia (Zirribabwe) and the South African colony of Namibia. "Time is running out," Kissinger told reporters last week. "lf we can't get negotiations started in Rhodesia by the end of the year, it will be a bloody mess." The rainy season begins next month in Rhodesia and the guerrilla forces fighting to overthrow the white-minority regime of Prime Minister Ian Smith are expected to launch a major offensive. A summit conference of five black African presidents held in Tanzania Sept. 6-7 failed to reconcile the rival nationalist factions in Rhodesia but agreed "to further intensify the armed struggle." The Zimbabwe Liberation Army- the movement based in Mozambique- claims to have 6,000 guerrillas inside Rhodesia and 22,000 in training in Mozambique and Tanzania. A spokesperson for the guerrilla movement stated last month that "Smith 's fall may be a question of months, not years" if the U.S. and Britain "do not interfere." Kissinger wants very much to interfere. He knows that the Smith regime is doomed, but he wants to prevent a "radical movement" like the Zimbabwe Liberation Army from coming to power. Similarly, in Namibia, he knows that SWAPO, the guerrilla movement, must be included in talks if there is to be any chance of negotiating a settlement, but he opposes a SWAPO takeover. Kissinger's strategy has been to enlist South African aid in ending white-minority rule in Rhodesia and Namibia "before it is too late" and the guerrilla movements come to power. Through negotiated settlements, he hopes to avoid "another Angola" and oversee the emergence of moderate, pro-Western black regimes. Indoingso.he also hopes to limit Soviet ence in southern África. "The white populations of Rhodesia and Namibia must recognize that majority rule is inevitable," Kissinger told a black audience in Philadelphia Aug. 31. "The only issue is what form it will take and how it will come about." The State Department is now conducting a wide-ranging study which is based on the assumption that there will be a transition to majority rule in Rhodesia and Namibia. Two top Kissinger aides have also been touring África, gathering information from black leaders and explaining Kissinger's new África policies. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs William Schaufele and Undersecretary for Economie Affairs William Rogers consulted a wide range of leaders from Zaire's pro-Ü.S. president Sese Seko Mobutu to Mozambique's leftist head of state Samora Machel. At the same time, Kissinger has been closely coordina! ing his moves with British Prime Minister James Callaghan and touching bases with French President Giscard d 'Esta i ng and West Germán Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Kissinger briefed all three Western allies as soon as he completed his talks with South African Prime Minister John Vorster Sept. 4-6 in Zurich, Switzerland. Whether Kissinger's intense diplomatic efforts can pulí off the kind of settlements he envisions in Namibia and Rhodesia is highly questionable. Kissinger himself acknowledges only a 50 per cent chance of success. Kissinger's mission "will not be easy," notes the London Economist, "first, because this American initiative has been left so late; second, because he must work through South Africa's Prime Minister John Vorster, whose timetable is entirely different from Mr. Kissinger's-and who hopes to exclude his own country from the gathering momentum of drastic change [in southern África] ." When Kissinger, after months of African diplomacy, finally denounced apartheid in his Aug. 31 speech-calling it "incompatible with any concept of human dignity"- Vorster responded bitterly, saying that no outside person or country could díctate to South , África and that "moral lessons and threats" would never influence his regime. Vorster must answer to a powerful constituency within his ruling National Party that is suspicious of any compromise in South Africa's foreign policy and is adamantly opposed to change in the domestie policy of apartheid -the cornerstone of white South African society. Kissinger, on the other hand, must push for fundamental changes in South Africa's foreign policy to get quick results in Namibia and Rhodesia. And he must publicly condemn apartheid j in order to maintain any credibility with black African leaders. lf he remains silent on apartheid, Kissinger also has no chance of building support for his African diplomacy among black Arnericans, whose endorsement he is now actively seeking. Some observers believe that Kissinger's entire strategy of allying with South África to secure changes in Rhodesia and Namibia is no longer tenable given the Soweto rebellion last June and the vast protest movement that has swept South África without interruption ever since. Undoubtedly, Vorster 's ability to influence Smith to accept majority rule has been greatly reduced by Soweto. Smith sees that Vorster's own response to massive black general strikes in Johannesburg and mulatto protests in the heart of Cape Town isrepression: paramilitary pólice, shotguns, tear gas, wholesale arrests. Smith then asks why he should not employ the same tactics in coping with black insurgency in his country. The Rhodesian prime minister told NBC Sept. 7 that he would not accept any compromise solution for Rhodesia worked out in talks between Vorster and Kissinger. Between Smith s intransigent position and the African summit conference decisión to intensify the armed struggle in Rhodesia, there seems to be little room for Kissinger's diplomacy. The ace up Kissinger's sleeve in the Rhodesia negotiations is a U.S.-British plan to "pay off" Rhodesia 's 250,000 white settlers if they agree to majority rule. Under the proposal, a consortium of Western nations would establish a $1.5 to $2 billion fund to compénsate white Rhodesians if they emigrate and guarantee their financial assets if they stay. Barring a major shift n South African policy, Kissinger's prospects n Namibia also appear dim. Kissinger has been trying to convince Vorster to allow SWAPO to join a round-table conference of 1 1 ethnic groups discussing the future of Namibia-the same conference that lias tried to avoid United Nations sanctions by ting Dec. 31, 1978 asa target date for Namibia's independence from South África. But SWAPO president Sam Nujoma announced Sept. 8 in Tanzania- after winning solid support from the African summitthat his movement will only negotiate with South África directly, not as part of any conference, and that talks are out of the question until the apartheid regime withdraws all its troops and releases all political prisonersfn Namibia SWAPO will not talk "at gunpoint", he declared. Kissinger cannot expect much Pi i i tg ■HATLl.M.tJ4:l-'ünlJ,l.!.il1J'Ü..IJi.i.-TW'''v''aaK.na BilJ.ilnlJ..lílJJJJPI.....IJ.I.iWJ4Jllti.iM.'.!J.M.iUJ4JIIHf4itTB'liUtl" help from the five so-called "frontline" presidents-the leaders of the black countries bordering on I what is left of white-ruled África. At their summit, they backed SWAPO, the Zimbabwean guerrillas, and the two liberation - movements in South África, the ANC and PAC. d Wlien Kissinger announced that the convenor of the group, Tanzania 's Julius Nyerere, had invited him to begin shuttle diplomacy in África, the Tanzanians immediately shot back that Kissinger had invited himself. Nyerere, Angola's Agostinho Neto and Mozambique's Samora Machel constitute the group's left wing, which is at best highly suspicious of Kissinger. Zambia's Kenneth Kaunda and Botswana'sSeretse KJiama-whose country has no army and is virtually an economie hostage of South Africa-are more open to Kissinger's diplomacy. But even Kaunda-who suppórted the U.S. in Angola and cooperated with Vorster last year in trying to reach a settlement in Rhodesia-now says he was doublecrossed by the West and proclaims "Now we fight." !l.lMI,,IJ.I.iliU4i-i.iÜJ,?MaJ.4WIllMÍMli,llJa4llli,l.rill.M,i,H.i.UVJ.-l i