US embassy cable - 90CAPETOWN623

AMBASSADOR'S SPEECH ON US FOREIGN POLICY TOWARDS SOUTH AFRICA

Identifier: 90CAPETOWN623
Wikileaks: View 90CAPETOWN623 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Consulate Cape Town
Created: 1990-03-16 13:49:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: OPRC SF
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
P 161349Z MAR 90
FM AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5796
INFO USIA WASHDC PRIORITY 0629
AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
AMCONSUL DURBAN
AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 CAPE TOWN 00623 
 
DEPT FOR AF, AF/S, AND AF/P 
 
USIA FOR VOA AND WIRELESS FILE 
 
FROM EMBASSY CAPE TOWN 
 
E.O. 12356:  N/A 
TAGS:  OPRC, SF 
SUBJECT:  AMBASSADOR'S SPEECH ON US FOREIGN POLICY TOWARDS 
SOUTH AFRICA 
 
1.  FOLLOWING IS THE TEXT OF A SPEECH WHICH THE 
AMBASSADOR DELIVERED TO THE "PERSPECTIVES FORUM" IN 
DURBAN ON MARCH 14, 1990: 
 
QUOTE: 
 
THIS IS A PARTICULARLY APPROPRIATE MOMENT TO DISCUSS 
UNITED STATES POLICY TOWARDS SOUTH AFRICA AS EVENTS IN 
SOUTH AFRICA ARE MOVING SWIFTLY.  PARTICIPANTS AND 
OBSERVERS ALIKE ARE HARD PRESSED TO KEEP PACE AS SOUTH 
AFRICA SUDDENLY FINDS ITSELF SPOTLIGHTED IN 
INTERNATIONAL NEWSMAGAZINES ALONGSIDE COUNTRIES SUCH AS 
EAST GERMANY AND ROMANIA, WHERE THE WINDS OF CHANGE ARE 
NOT BLOWING BUT HOWLING. 
 
FOR MANY SOUTH AFRICANS, IT IS DOUBTLESS INVIGORATING TO 
BE ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF HISTORY -- AS IT MUST BE FOR 
EASTERN EUROPEANS.  BUT ANALOGIES ARE SUPERFICIAL AND 
SOMETIMES MISLEADING.  SOUTH AFRICA IS NOT EASTERN 
EUROPE.  SOUTH AFRICA'S PROBLEMS ARE UNIQUE.  SO TOO ARE 
THE SOLUTIONS WHICH SOUTH AFRICANS THEMSELVES MUST BRING 
TO THOSE PROBLEMS.  IT IS SOUTH AFRICA'S UNIQUENESS THAT 
POSES A PARTICULAR CHALLENGE TO AMERICANS AND OTHERS 
TRYING TO FORMULATE A COHERENT FOREIGN POLICY TOWARDS 
THIS COUNTRY. 
 
THERE ARE CONSTANT ELEMENTS IN U.S. POLICY TOWARDS SOUTH 
AFRICA WHICH SPAN THE YEARS.  I'D LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT 
THESE.  IN ADDITION, THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION DEVELOPED 
ITS OWN APPROACH WHEN IT TOOK OFFICE IN EARLY 1989, AN 
APPROACH WHICH HAS SOMETIMES BEEN MISUNDERSTOOD OR 
MISINTERPRETED IN THIS COUNTRY.  I WOULD LIKE TO CORRECT 
THE RECORD.  FINALLY, I'D LIKE TO DESCRIBE WHERE I 
BELIEVE U.S. POLICY STANDS TODAY, IN LIGHT OF 
ACCELERATING HISTORICAL TRENDS IN SOUTH AFRICA 
 
 
I.  UNDERLYING PRINCIPLES 
 
FOR YEARS THERE HAS BEEN ONE CONSTANT IN THE AMERICAN 
APPROACH TO SOUTH AFRICA, ONE UNASSAILABLE PRINCIPLE 
UPON WHICH VIRTUALLY ALL AMERICANS AGREE:  NORMAL 
RELATIONS BETWEEN OUR TWO COUNTRIES ARE IMPOSSIBLE AS 
LONG AS APARTHEID EXISTS AND A WHITE MINORITY HOLDS 
POWER BY DENYING POLITICAL FREEDOM TO EVERYONE ELSE. 
VIRTUALLY EVERY OTHER ASPECT OF OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH 
SOUTH AFRICA IS SECONDARY TO THIS CONSIDERATION.  IT IS, 
WE BELIEVE, A STANCE WHICH A MAJORITY OF SOUTH AFRICANS 
EXPECT FROM THE UNITED STATES.  THE ROAD OF APARTHEID IS 
A DEAD END. 
 
OPPOSITION TO VIOLENCE HAS BEEN ANOTHER CONSTANT FEATURE 
OF U.S. POLICY TOWARDS SOUTH AFRICA.  THIS IS NOT ONLY A 
MORAL POSITION, BUT A PRACTICAL ONE AS WELL.  VIOLENCE 
SIMPLY HASN'T WORKED.  OFFICIAL VIOLENCE HASN'T DEFEATED 
BLACK PROTEST; IT HAS DRIVEN THAT PROTEST UNDERGROUND 
AND INTENSIFIED IT.  THERE IS A HIGH PRICE TAG ATTACHED 
TO VIOLENT REPRESSION.  GOVERNMENT NEGOTIATORS, SADDLED 
WITH A LEGACY OF BLACK DISTRUST AND SUSPICION, MAY SOON 
BE IN A GOOD POSITION TO ASSESS THAT COST. 
 
ANTI-APARTHEID VIOLENCE HAS ACCOMPLISHED LITTLE EXCEPT 
TO RATIONALIZE, FALSELY, IN THE MINDS OF SOME THE 
GOVERNMENT'S REPRESSIVE POLICIES.  THE ANC'S UNBANNING 
AND DE FACTO SUSPENSION OF VIOLENCE HAS ALREADY LED MANY 
SOUTH AFRICANS, FOR THE FIRST TIME, TO VIEW THE ANC AS A 
LEGITIMATE COMPETITOR FOR POLITICAL POWER. 
 
THE LONG-TERM, STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE FOR THE 
ANTI-APARTHEID MOVEMENT OF THIS SHIFT IN WHITE 
PERCEPTIONS SHOULD NOT BE UNDERESTIMATED.  THE ROAD OF 
VIOLENCE, LIKE THE ROAD OF APARTHEID, IS A CUL-DE-SAC. 
 
THERE IS, FINALLY, A THIRD LONGSTANDING COMPONENT TO 
U.S. POLICY TOWARDS SOUTH AFRICA.  IT IS OUR SUPPORT FOR 
NEGOTIATED SOLUTIONS.  SOME YEARS BACK, IT MIGHT HAVE 
BEEN POSSIBLE TO ENVISION A REFORM PROCESS CONCEIVED AND 
UNILATERALLY IMPLEMENTED BY THE GOVERNMENT.  MOST SOUTH 
AFRICANS WOULD AGREE THAT THAT IS NO LONGER A REALISTIC 
POSSIBILITY.  INDEED, IT IS DIFFICULT TO SEE HOW A 
PEACEFUL TRANSITION TO A NON-RACIAL DEMOCRACY CAN OCCUR 
WITHOUT NEGOTIATIONS.  THERE ARE SIMPLY NO ALTERNATIVES, 
PARTICULARLY IF THIS TRANSITION IS EXPECTED WITHIN THE 
NEXT FEW YEARS.  BOTH THE ROAD OF APARTHEID AND THE ROAD 
OF VIOLENCE HAVE LED NOWHERE.  THE ONLY ROAD OPEN TO 
SOUTH AFRICA, THEREFORE, IS THE ROAD OF NEGOTIATIONS. 
 
 
II.  THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S APPROACH 
 
SOUTH AFRICA PRESENTED THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION WITH ONE 
OF ITS FIRST FOREIGN POLICY CHALLENGES.  THE NEW 
ADMINISTRATION'S RESPONSE WAS TO ADJUST U.S. POLICY IN 
SEVERAL IMPORTANT RESPECTS. 
 
FIRST, THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION EXPRESSED THE BELIEF THAT 
SANCTIONS HAD CONTRIBUTED TO A NEW SENSE OF REALISM ON 
THE PART OF THE WHITE LEADERSHIP.  THE BUSH 
ADMINISTRATION RECOGNIZED, HOWEVER, THAT SANCTIONS WERE 
ONLY ONE AMONG MANY ELEMENTS, WITH THE INTERNAL AND 
EXTERNAL OPPOSITION TO APARTHEID BEING THE PRIMARY FORCE 
FOR CHANGE. 
 
SECOND, ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS AGAINST SOUTH AFRICA WERE 
RULED OUT IN LIGHT OF THE GOVERNMENT'S PROGRAM TO 
ABOLISH APARTHEID.  THOSE ALREADY IN PLACE HAD 
ACCOMPLISHED THEIR PURPOSE OF EXERTING PSYCHOLOGICAL 
PRESSURE AND IMPOSING OPPORTUNITY COSTS ON THE 
MAINTENANCE OF APARTHEID.  BUT IT WAS ALSO DETERMINED 
THAT NEW SANCTIONS COULD BRING US TO A POINT OF 
DIMINISHING RETURNS AT A TIME WHEN ALL SIDES ARE 
COMMITTING THEMSELVES TO A PROCESS OF NEGOTIATIONS 
LEADING TO FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE AND A NEW CONSTITUTION AND 
POLITICAL ORDER. 
 
THIRD, THE PRESIDENT MOVED QUICKLY TO MEET WITH KEY 
SOUTH AFRICAN REPRESENTATIVES OF THE ANTI-APARTHEID 
MOVEMENT AND TO ASSURE THEM OF OUR CONTINUING, STRONG 
SUPPORT.  PART OF THAT SUPPORT COMES FROM OUR UNUSUAL, 
ALBEIT MODEST, AID PROGRAM IN SOUTH AFRICA, WHICH AIMS 
TO ASSIST THE VICTIMS OF APARTHEID AND TO PROVIDE BLACK 
SOUTH AFRICANS WITH THE EDUCATION AND MANAGERIAL, 
ORGANIZATIONAL AND ENTREPRENEURIAL SKILLS NEEDED TO 
ASSUME NEW LEADERSHIP RESPONSIBILITIES IN A NON-RACIAL 
DEMOCRACY.  THERE IS STRONG BIPARTISAN SUPPORT IN 
WASHINGTON FOR ENLARGING OUR ASSISTANCE WHEN FUNDS ARE 
AVAILABLE. 
 
CLOSER COORDINATION WITH THE CONGRESS WAS ANOTHER VITAL 
OBJECTIVE OF THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION.  WITHOUT 
BIPARTISAN AND BICAMERAL CONSENSUS, NO COHERENT U.S. 
POLICY TOWARDS SOUTH AFRICA WAS CONSIDERED POSSIBLE. 
SOME IN THIS COUNTRY HAVE INTERPRETED THIS SENSITIVITY 
TO CONGRESSIONAL CONCERNS AS RELUCTANT PRESIDENTIAL 
LEADERSHIP.  IN FACT, IT IS PRAGMATIC LEADERSHIP AND IT 
IS PRODUCING RESULTS BENEFICIAL TO BOTH THE U.S. AND 
SOUTH AFRICA. 
 
A CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION RECENTLY IN SOUTH AFRICA 
NOTED THAT CONGESS AND THE ADMINISTRATION, FOR THE FIRST 
TIME IN MEMORY, WERE SPEAKING TO SOUTH AFRICA WITH ONE 
VOICE.  WHAT AMERICANS ARE SAYING IS THEY RECOGNIZE THAT 
CHANGE IS AT LAST TAKING PLACE AND THAT THE PROPER ROLE 
OF THE UNITED STATES IS TO ENCOURAGE THE PROMISING 
TRENDS SOUTH AFRICANS THEMSELVES HAVE SET IN MOTION. 
THE ADMINISTRATION'S STRATEGY OF CONSULTING CLOSELY WITH 
CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP HELPED MAKE THIS CONSENSUS 
POSSIBLE. 
 
THE BUSH CONSENSUS STRATEGY IS A MARKED IMPROVEMENT OVER 
THE TIME WHEN CONFLICTING SIGNALS FROM WASHINGTON WERE A 
SOURCE OF FRUSTRATION TO ALL SIDES IN SOUTH AFRICA. 
REGARDLESS OF WHETHER THEY AGREE WITH US, SOUTH AFRICANS 
ARE BETTER OFF KNOWING WHERE THE UNITED STATES STANDS. 
 
THESE BASIC ELEMENTS CONSTITUTE THE BUSH 
ADMINISTRATION'S APPROACH TO SOUTH AFRICA:  A FIRM 
STANCE ON SANCTIONS; STRONG SUPPORT FOR PEACEFUL 
RESISTANCE TO APARTHEID; OUR INVESTMENT THROUGH OUR AID 
PROGRAM IN SOUTH AFRICA'S HUMAN POTENTIAL; AND CLOSE 
COORDINATION WITH CONGRESS. 
 
 
III.  ADAPTING TO NEW REALITIES 
 
MANY BELIEVE THAT THE TIME HAS COME FOR FURTHER 
ADJUSTMENTS IN OUR APPROACH TO SOUTH AFRICA.  A 
CONSENSUS HAS DEVELOPED IN THE U.S. THAT A 
TRANSFORMATION IS UNDERWAY IN SOUTH AFRICA AND THAT 
THERE CAN BE NO GOING BACK TO THE STATUS QUO OF THE 
PRE-DE KLERK PERIOD.  PRESIDENT DE KLERK HAS GONE BEYOND 
WORDS TO COMMENDABLE DEEDS.  HIS SINCERITY IS NOT IN 
QUESTION. 
 
IN RESPONSE, THE UNITED STATES IS LENDING DIPLOMATIC AND 
POLITICAL SUPPORT TO PRESIDENT DE KLERK'S POSITIVE 
STEPS.  HIS ACTIONS DESERVE ENDORSEMENT, A POINT WE ARE 
MAKING IN FOREIGN CAPITALS.  LAST MONTH, THE SOVIET 
UNION JOINED US IN ISSUING A STATEMENT APPLAUDING THE 
LIBERALIZATION IN SOUTH AFRICA AND UNDERSCORING OUR 
COMMON BELIEF THAT NEGOTIATIONS, RATHER THAN CONTINUED 
CONFRONTATION, WERE THE ONLY WAY FORWARD.  PRESIDENT 
BUSH HAS INVITED BOTH PRESIDENT DE KLERK AND MR. NELSON 
MANDELA TO WASHINGTON.  WE ANTICIPATE MORE HIGH-LEVEL 
EXCHANGES BETWEEN OUR GOVERNMENTS IN THE WEEKS AHEAD. 
 
U.S. SANCTIONS REMAIN A CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECT WITHIN 
SOUTH AFRICA.  PRESIDENT BUSH HAS MADE IT CLEAR THAT HE 
INTENDS TO ADHERE CLOSELY TO THE PROVISIONS OF THE 
COMPREHENSIVE ANTI-APARTHEID ACT.  HE WILL CONSULT 
CLOSELY WITH CONGRESS BEFORE SUSPENDING ANY SANCTIONS. 
CERTAIN PRECONDITIONS MUST BE MET BEFORE THE PRESIDENT 
CAN EXERCISE EVEN THAT OPTION.  SOME OF THOSE 
PRECONDITIONS HAVE ALREADY BEEN MET, SUCH AS A 
COMMITMENT BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT TO ENTER INTO 
GOOD FAITH NEGOTIATIONS.  FULFILLMENT OF CERTAIN OTHER 
PRECONDITIONS, SUCH AS ENDING THE STATE OF EMERGENCY AND 
RELEASING ALL PERSONS WHO HAVE BEEN DETAINED FOR THEIR 
POLITICAL BELIEFS, ARE WITHIN REACH.  IF AND WHEN THESE 
PRECONDITIONS ARE MET, MODIFICATION OF OUR SANCTIONS 
LEGISLATION IS POSSIBLE. 
 
MY OWN VIEW IS THAT ALTOGETHER TOO MUCH EMPHASIS HAS 
BEEN LAID ON SANCTIONS.  THE CONTINUATION OR, FOR THAT 
MATTER, THE SUSPENSION OF SANCTIONS SHOULD NOT BECOME 
THE LITMUS TEST OF U.S. INVOLVEMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA. 
RATHER, DECISIONS ABOUT SANCTIONS SHOULD BE WEIGHED IN 
THE BALANCE OF NEGOTIATIONS -- THAT IS, WILL RETENTION 
OR SUSPENSION OF A SANCTION ADVANCE OR RETARD THE 
NEGOTIATIONS PROCESS?  IN ANY EVENT, THE KEY QUESTION IS 
THE ROLE THE U.S. PLAYS IN FOSTERING DIALOGUE AND 
NEGOTIATION. 
 
THERE ARE AT LEAST TWO WAYS IN WHICH THE U.S. CAN MAKE A 
MODEST CONTRIBUTION TO THE PROCESS.  ONE IS TO MAKE OUR 
OWN VIEWS ON SOUTH AFRICA AS CLEAR AS POSSIBLE. 
OBVIOUSLY, IT IS FOR SOUTH AFRICANS THEMSELVES TO DECIDE 
HOW MUCH IMPORTANCE SHOULD BE ATTACHED TO OUR VIEWS OR 
TO THOSE OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY. 
 
THE SECOND CONTRIBUTION WE CAN MAKE IS TO OFFER SOUND 
COUNSEL.  OUR RECENT EXPERIENCE IN MEDIATING THE 
ANGOLA/NAMIBIA SETTLEMENT SUGGESTS THAT OBSERVERS CAN 
HELP TO IDENTIFY COMPROMISES AND TRADEOFFS WHICH ARE 
SOMETIMES NOT READILY APPARENT TO THE NEGOTIATING 
PARTIES THEMSELVES. 
 
IN THAT VEIN, I'D LIKE TO OFFER A FEW OBSERVATIONS AND 
PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS. 
 
WE BELIEVE THAT A NEGOTIATED TRANSITION TO DEMOCRACY IS 
IMPERATIVE.  THERE IS NO WAY AROUND THIS REQUIREMENT. 
THE UNITED STATES WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SUPPORT A SOLUTION 
IMPOSED BY ONE SIDE ON THE OTHER.  NOR CAN WE BE HELPFUL 
IF NEGOTIATIONS ARE USED BY THE PARTIES AS A PRETEXT FOR 
GAINING UNILATERAL ADVANTAGE.  BY DEFINITION, ANY 
POLITICAL SETTLEMENT WHICH IS UNACCEPTABLE TO ANY OF THE 
MAIN PLAYERS WILL BE FRAGILE AND PROBABLY SHORT-LIVED. 
 
WE ALSO BELIEVE THAT ALL SOUTH AFRICANS SHOULD AIM AT A 
SETTLEMENT WHICH TAKES INTO ACCOUNT GLOBAL TRENDS AND 
DRAWS UPON INTERNATIONAL EXAMPLES.  APARTHEID HAS 
ISOLATED SOUTH AFRICA FROM ITS NEIGHBORS AND THE REST OF 
THE WORLD.  A POLITICAL SOLUTION WHICH IS NOT TRULY 
DEMOCRATIC WILL ONCE AGAIN LEAVE SOUTH AFRICA ISOLATED 
AND ALONE.  A SETTLEMENT WHICH PERPETUATES OR EXTENDS 
CENTRALIZED STATE INTERFERENCE IN THE ECONOMY WILL HAVE 
THE SAME TRAGIC EFFECT.  IT IS IN NO ONE'S INTEREST THAT 
SOUTH AFRICANS WIN THEIR FREEDOM, BURY APARTHEID AND 
THEN PROCEED TO REPEAT THE MISTAKES WHICH MANY OTHER 
DEVELOPING COUNTRIES ARE NOW TRYING DESPERATELY TO 
RECTIFY. 
 
FINALLY, WE BELIEVE THAT A NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT MUST 
TAKE INTO ACCOUNT THE REALITY OF SOUTH AFRICA'S GREAT 
DIVERSITY.  UNLESS THIS REALITY IS ACCOMMODATED, SOUTH 
AFRICAN WILL REMAIN HAUNTED BY THE DANGER OF 
INTER-COMMUNAL STRIFE.  NATIONALISTIC UPHEAVALS ACROSS 
THE GLOBE ARE A STARK WARNING TO SOUTH AFRICA.  TO 
EMPHASIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF GROUPS, ON THE OTHER HAND, 
IS TO PERPETUATE THE ERRORS OF APARTHEID.  A COMPROMISE 
MUST BE FOUND. 
 
IN CONCLUSION, I AM OPTIMISTIC ABOUT SOUTH AFRICA AND 
ABOUT ITS FUTURE RELATIONS WITH THE UNITED STATES.  THE 
BITTER POLARIZATION OF THE PAST IS BEING REPLACED BY A 
BROAD CONVERGENCE OF VIEW AT THE CENTER OF THE POLITICAL 
SPECTRUM.  COMPARE THE ANC'S HARARE DECLARATION WITH THE 
STATEMENTS OF PRESIDENT DE KLERK.  IT IS ENCOURAGING TO 
ENUMERATE THE AREAS OF AGREEMENT.  WHAT IS TO PREVENT 
THE CREATION OF GUIDELINES AROUND WHICH A NEW 
CONSTITUTION CAN BE NEGOTIATED?  AGREEMENT NOW ON A 
CONSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK OF UNIVERSALLY-RECOGNIZED 
DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES WOULD BUILD MUTUAL TRUST, INSTILL 
CONFIDENCE IN THE NEGOTIATING PROCESS AND CREATE A SENSE 
OF MOMENTUM. 
 
THERE ARE OTHER WAYS IN WHICH LOCATING COMMON OBJECTIVES 
CAN BUILD CONFIDENCE AND TRUST.  ALL SOUTH AFRICANS ARE 
VICTIMS WHEN BLACKS ARE DENIED JOBS, A GOOD EDUCATION, 
ADEQUATE MEDICAL CARE, AND DECENT HOUSING.  THESE SOCIAL 
ILLS WILL OUTLAST APARTHEID TO BECOME THE CRUCIAL TEST 
OF SOUTH AFRICA'S LONG-TERM PROSPECTS FOR RACIAL 
RECONCILIATION AND A DEMOCRATIC FORM OF GOVERNMENT.  THE 
SOONER THE GOVERNMENT AND THE BLACK OPPOSITION COME 
TOGETHER TO DISCUSS AND TO ATTACK JOINTLY THESE 
PROBLEMS, THE SOONER SOUTH AFRICANS WILL HAVE A SENSE OF 
COMMON PURPOSE AND SHARED NATIONHOOD. 
 
THE YEAR 1989 WAS HISTORIC FOR SOUTH AFRICA AND THE 
WORLD.  THE YEAR 1990 PROMISES TO BE EVEN BETTER FOR 
SOUTH AFRICA -- A GOAL TO WHICH THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND 
GOVERNMENT ARE COMMITTED. 
 
UNQUOTE. 
 
 
SWING 

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