Nyerere Letter to Reagan uncovers why Tanzania Influence on Foreign Policy is not new

November 8, 2013 9:01 pm0 comments by:

In this article we feature Nyerere letter dated 07 June 1982, a letter which shed a light on Tanzania influence on global politics and diplomacy since its independence.

Also in this letter, Nyerere highlights the key points of his discussion with Lieutenant General Vernon Walters who was a U.S. deputy director of the CIA, and ambassador to the UN who conveyed Reagan message in Dar-Es-Salaam.

Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Elliott Trudeau greeting President Nyerere of Tanzania arriving for the Commonwealth Conference, Ottawa, 1973.

Prime Minister of Canada Pierre Elliott Trudeau greeting President Nyerere of Tanzania arriving for the Commonwealth Conference, Ottawa, 1973.

Dear president Reagan,

I was very pleased to receive your kind letter of 28th may 1982 and to have the opportunity for an extended discussion with general Walters. I am grateful to you for taking the initiative in writing and for sending to Dar- Es salaam such a very able envoy.

General Walters will undoubtedly report to you in full about the content of our discussions. I hope he will emphasize the cordial atmosphere which prevailed throughout our meeting, and which I attribute in part to the tone and the note of urgency and commitment in your own letter.

I also hope that i managed to convey to General Walters the depth and sincerity of our own desire to assist any effort directed at achieving a rapid and peaceful transition to genuine independence for Namibia.

It is therefore in that context that I write regarding two areas of doubt about the outline plan presented to me.

Both my areas of doubt relate to the question of linkage between the Namibian issue and matters which fall squarely within the competence of the sovereign nation of Angola and its government.

General Walters did show awareness by you and your government of this concern by us, and I appreciate your endeavours to understand our position. At the same time it would be wrong of me to pretend that my worries have been removed.

The international demand that South Africa should abandon its illegal occupation of Namibia has nothing to do with what goes on in any other country. It is a demand which is valid in its own right, and to the

Pursuance of which both of our countries are committed through a number of united nations resolutions.

I think it is necessary that all of us should be very clear on that point, before we consider the genuine problems of how to get South Africa to withdraw from Namibia without further fighting.

It is this last question which you are addressing when you give emphasis in the outline plan to the simultaneous withdrawal of Cuban troops from Angola and South African troops from Namibia. And indeed, as I understand it, the same question of ‘South Africa confidence’ is also being addressed by a new ‘pre-implementation plan’ which involves South African troops withdrawing from Angola itself and Angolan troops moving still further north — in their own country — than they have already been pushed. The effect of this will be to create a kind of extended no-man’s land in Angola where the Angolan governments will not run.

Your idea is to give to South Africa such reassurances about its own security that it will have no excuse for refusing to accept Security Council resolution 435.

South African troops are in Namibia contrary to the wishes of the Namibians; no independent government called for their assistance or is likely to do so.

The Angolan government did ask for ‘Cuban troops; it did so when it needed help to repel an actual invasion by South Africa. The continued presence of those Cuban troops in Angola has, however, not prevented renewed and very damaging South African attacks on Angola. It has not prevented the occupation of part’ of Angola by South Africa. No-one has ever suggested that Angolan troops have invaded South Africa, or even that they have crossed the border into Namibia.

Thus it is not only legally that there is a distinction between Angola and South Africa; there is also a very obvious difference in aggressiveness and in the power they can bring to bear on the other.

The second aspect of my concern relates to the internal security problems of Angola. I did notice the assurances of general Walters that no-one expects the Angolan government to commit suicide, and i do agree

That it would be helpful to the whole region if there was no armed group of Angolans fighting against the Angolan government. Yet an attempt to link this question of internal security — even indirectly — with negotiations leading to the independence of Namibia strikes me as inviting certain faziurr,

Any suggestions of such a link can also ‘be taken as evidence that the purpose of the ‘pre-implementation pull-back’ of both South African and Angolan troops is the establishment of a ‘Savimbi area’ in Angola. From such a base an attempt could be made either to secede or to drive a bargain with the Luanda government.

I explained to general Walters why Angola cannot accept that. Any African country could have its own savimbi; he would rightly be treated as a traitor and not as a possible colleague. Believe me, Mr. President; none of us in the front line states can put pressure on Angola to accept what we would have categorically rejected if we were in Angola’s position.

Mr. President, your letter and the discussions with general Walters have convinced me of your genuine desire to try once again to implement Security Council resolution

I hope you accept that we in Tanzania have a very great desire to cooperate to that end with you and the other members of the western five. It is because we both want success that I feel it to be my duty to point out an insistence on those two linkages will, almost certainly, lead to another impasse.

Allow me to take this opportunity to express my warm personal good wishes FOR your continued good health despite the heavy pressures of feur manifold tasks and responsibilities.



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