THE REAGAN ADMINISTRATION AND NAMIBIA: POLICY OR PLOY

by Jean Sindab, Washington Office on Africa
Washington, DC, United States
June 4, 1982
Publisher: Washington Office on Africa
6 pages
Type: Report
Coverage in Africa: Angola, Namibia, South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States, Cuba, United Nations
Language: English
The report says the Reagan Administration’s policy on Namibia has never been designed to produce a settlement. Its actual objectives were to remove the Cuban troops from Angola and to win South Africa's confidence and address its concerns by limiting SWAPO influence in an independent Namibia. Towards these goals, Washington and Pretoria have recently intensified their propaganda campaign against SWAPO, the national liberation movement of Namibia. SWAPO is increasingly portrayed as intransigent and the major obstacle to implementing the new plan proposed by the Reagan Administration. Also, the Reagan "constructive engagement" policy is being credited with encouraging South Africa to move toward a Namibian settlement. The report says that, in an attempt to satisfy the South Africans, the U.S. has replaced United Nations as the chief negotiator of an independence plan, and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Chester Crocker has replaced the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. as the principal negotiator. Even the Contact Group has played a reduced role in the negotiating process, and the U.S. and South Africa have become the major designers of the new, three-phase plan, which substantially changes U.N. Resolution 435 that calls for an election for a constituent assembly to write a constitution and a ceasefire. Nevertheless, support for SWAPO is growing inside Namibia as it launches successful attacks against South African aggressors. The report urges SWAPO supporters in the U.S. to develop strategies to counter the propaganda campaign against SWAPO. The report discusses Senator Jeremiah Denton, the Subcommittee on International Security and Terrorism, African National Congress (ANC), Jack Anderson, San Nujoma, the State Department, Anthony Lewis, and Congressman Ben Gilman.
Used by permission of the Washington Office on Africa.
Collection: Aubrey McCutcheon Southern Africa Papers, Michigan State University Libraries, Special Collections