Kissinger - Gary Allen

The Rising Red Tide in Africa

Gerald Ford was actively campaigning for re-election to the Presidency by March 1976. So it was not surprising that he had some tough things to say about the presence of 15,000 Cuban mercenaries in Angola, who were helping secure victory for the Soviet-backed faction in the rich African nation's civil war.

Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was also saying the right things—or at least some of the right things. He, too, was "distressed" that Communist Cuba and the Soviet Union had intervened so blatantly in the newly independent nation. In none of his comments, though, did the Secretary even whisper a hope that a pro-Westem faction might win. But at least Super K had finally begun to admit that something was going wrong in the strategic African country.

As the Los Angeles Times editorialized on December 17, 1975, until recently Herr Henry had pretended nothing at all was wrong:

In the five months since Kissinger has known of the Soviet buildup [in Angola], he has behaved toward Moscow as if nothing were happening, negotiating a new, long-term grain-sales agreement, forwarding a new strategic arms pact, planning another Soviet-American summit as if detente were in no way threatened.

In fact, when Kissinger met with African foreign ministers at the United Nations several months earlier, he could not even bring himself to use the words "Soviet Union" in condemning the blatant intervention of Communist countries in Africa. He intoned about "extracontinental powers" active on the continent. Tsk, tsk.

The Times could have added, but didn't that Henry K was also well aware of the fact that Cuban troops had been pouring into Angola for months, but rather than issue even a mild rebuke to Fidel Castro, Kissinger went charging right ahead with his plans to legitimize the Communist conquest of Cuba and even help his Comrades achieve their goal of a "de-Americanized" Panama Canal.

In the meantime, Henry's attitude about Angola appears to have pivoted a bit in recent years. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Kissinger had concluded back in 1969 that the national interest did not "justify consideration of U.S. military intervention" in Angola or any other country in Southern Africa. But six years later the Secretary acknowledged that the Soviets were intervening on a massive scale, and he suggested that the U.S. should greatly expand its military assistance to the area.

But Henry the K was well aware—he had to be—that all anti-Communists had fled the area when "freedom" had been delivered on the point of a sword. Who would we help? The situation was so fouled up (or was it?) that the U.S. wound up being on the same side as Red China. Both supported the National Front for the Fiberation of Angola (FNFA). The other allegedly pro-West faction, the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (described in one government report as "twelve guys with knives"), also received some U.S. support.

But it was the Marxist Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) which got the enormous backing of the Soviet Union and Cuba. By 1976 the Soviet Union was well on the way to establishing a client state in mineral-rich Angola. The Soviets thumbed their noses at detente , and Kissinger made sure that they got away with it.

While Congress refused to deliver any further U.S. aid to any of the factions in Angola, President Ford refused to put any pressure on the Soviets—such as threatening to withhold American grain shipments—to curtail Soviet activities in the area. Henry explained that bartering with the U.S.-Soviet grain agreement would do "irreparable damage to detente, far in excess of anything the Angola issue might be worth".

So there we have the curious picture of our Secretary of State telling the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (on January 29, 1976) that:

"The effort of the Soviet Union and Cuba to take unilateral advantage of a turbulent local situation where they have never had any historic interests is a willful, direct assault upon recent constructive trends in U.S.-Soviet relations and our efforts to improve relations with Cuba".

But he refused to permit anything to be done which would have deterred the Soviets or their Caribbean captives from their aggression.

You could practically hear the laughter all the way from Red Square. Kremlin commentator Vikenty Matveev relayed the Politburo's views on Angola and detente when he declared, in December, 1975:

"The process of detente does not mean—and will never mean—a freezing of the social and political status quo in the world, or a halt to the anti-imperialist struggle. . ."

But why Angola? What are the stakes there?

The immediate goal is political. As the Richmond News Leader recently summarized:

"Strategically, Angola could be used as a base for attacks on South West Africa. A Communist-leaning Angola would be a threat to that ultimate South African domino, South Africa. Control of southern Africa would enable the Communists to cut the West's lifeline—the sea lanes along which oil must travel to reach Europe and the Western Hemispheres."

In his brief tenure as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, tough-talking Daniel P. Moynihan warned of the military threat that a Soviet Angola would pose. In a sane world, such anti-Communist, pro-Western nations as south Africa and Rhodesia would be acknowledged as important allies of America.

But our kowtowing to "third world" mini-countries has meant watching from the sidelines as the United Nations branded Rhodesia "a threat to world peace" and demanded that the beleaguered country be boycotted.

A previous ban on the importation of chrome ore from Rhodesia—which made the U.S. totally dependent on the Soviet Union for this strategic mineral—had been overturned in congress by the Byrd Amendment, but last October, President Ford and Secretary Kissinger pushed hard to repeal the amendment, which would re-impose the ban on Rhodesia chrome. Happily, the House of Representatives defeated the bill, but the debate graphically revealed where Ford and Kissinger stood.

Before the limp-wristed State Department policy makers pulled the rug out from under him, Ambassador Moynihan had warned that, should communists take over Angola, they would "considerably control the oil shipping lanes from the Persian gulf to New York". Not only that, he could have added, the Communists would have a lot more petrol of their own. For once again, there are oily overtones to the whole picture.

As of 1974, the former Portuguese territory was already the fourth-largest oil producer in Africa. Aside from its wealth in coffee, diamonds, iron ore, cotton, and grazing grounds, Angola—which is twice the size of Texas and has a relatively sparse population of 6 million—is known to possess untapped uranium and off-shore oil deposits, it is, in a word, rich.

Last year, a European political commentator named Pierre de Villemarest released this interesting report on events leading to the fall of Caetano government in Portugal (which led not only to the political turbulence in Portugal and the near-Sovietization of that country, but also made possible Portugal's surrendering of its overseas territories, including mineral-rich Angola):

"In December 1971, David Rockefeller's Chase Manhattan Bank pressured Prime Minister Marcelo Caetano to accept its assistance. At the same time, negotiations were going on between Lisbon and Washington, for the use of the Portuguese Azores as a military post. According to Villemarest, chase Manhattan offered to help Lisbon in the negotiations and also pledged to bring in a flood of American investment dollars for the modernization and industrialization of Portugal."

The bank also offered to use its "good offices" to see that Portugal would be admitted into the Common Market. The price for all this help was high: Caetano was to promise "rapid democratization" and a decolonization program to give Portuguese Africa independence within two years.

Caetano knew what the chaotic results of that might be. He also knew that the Rockefellers were eyeing the oil resources of Cabinda and Angola. He refused. Within a few weeks he had been deposed, and scant months later an "independent" Angola was well along the road to being an official Soviet satellite.

But wait, there is more.

In February 1976, Gulf Oil Company reported that Henry Kissinger had given the company permission to pay the Soviet-backed regime in Angola about $100 million in oil royalties that Gulf previously had placed in escrow. Gulf holds the concession to operate the oil fields in Cabinda, and Angolan province separated from Angola proper by Zaire. The $500 million annual royalty payment for the oil fields is the Angolan government's single largest source of income.

All of this, unfortunately, is only part of the ever-worsening picture.

As part of the Kissinger-maneuvered "Middle East Peace" the Suez Canal is now open to the Soviet fleet—but not the American Navy, this, of course, meant an enormous strategic gain fore the Soviets, since it gave them (but not us) greatly increased access to the Persian gulf and Indian Ocean.

And there is still more:

In June 1975, then-Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger startled Congress with photographic evidence that the Soviet Union was building a missile base at Berbera, Somalia, in northeast Africa. The port guards the entrance to the Red Sea and overlooks the oil routes between the Persian gulf and Europe.

The Communists scoffed at Schlesinger's warning, claiming that the photographs were actually of a large meat-packing plant. But in July members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committees visited Somalia and confirmed that the "meat-packing plant" was indeed a soviet military base. Even Newsweek reported that:

"The legislators saw a huge missile-storage building, complete with crates that apparently contained Soviet-made anti-ship Styx missiles, a clearing for a new airfield and a communications station manned by soviet personnel."

The Soviet build-up in Africa now includes military advisers in Guinea-Bissau, port and airfield rights in Guinea, advisers and arms in Equatorial Guinea, backup supplies in the Congo (Brazzaville), communications centers, airfield and naval facilities and the missile-storage sites in Somalia, and military aid to rebel forces in Nambia, a South African protectorate.

Ever since his appointment as National Security Adviser to the President, Henry Kissinger had maintained that the Soviets placed "a low priority" on Africa—particularly the central and southern portions of the continent. Apparently very few officials dared challenge his views; after all, why would the Communists be at all concerned about the massive oil reserves, the uranium fields, the gold mines, the strategic ports, or the other rich mineral potential, when things were going so well for them to the north?

So while our attention was focused on the Middle East, and the apparent Soviet setbacks in Egypt, the Communists have been preparing the groundwork for a Communist coup from the Sahara to south Africa. While all this goes on, it is super K's policy to treat any friends the U.S. has left in the area as enemies, while insisting that our avowed enemies be treated as friends.

Despite his occasional wrist-wringing, Herr Kissinger has made it clear that it is official United States policy to support black rule in Africa, no matter how violent or savage a regime's leaders might be. And when super K declares that the U.S. "will give no encouragement to illegal regimes" in Africa, he—and his listeners—know that he is talking about Rhodesia and South Africa.

During his good will visit to six African countries in May 1976, herr Henry was even more outspoken. The United States will use "unrelenting" pressure against Rhodesia, he pledged, until that stable, anti-Communist government has collapsed.

When Kissinger finished describing a ten-point anti-Rhodesia program the Ford Administration is adopting, Zambia's communist dictator Kenneth Kuanda was so overjoyed he publicly embraced the Secretary of Ste. Kissinger's program calls for, among other things, a U.S. boycott of Rhodesian chrome ore—which would once more make us dependent on the Soviet Union for this strategic metal.

And as detente goes rolling right along, pity the poor official who gets in the way of it.

Daniel Moynihan spoke out forcefully at the United Nations about Soviet advances in Africa. His comments about the Communists' "new colonialism", and his unkind remarks about Africa's native leadership, "third world" shenanigans, and Communist duplicity were not in keeping with the spirit of detente. Friction with the State Department and even with Kissinger, his former mentor, was inevitable. Soon Moynihan had resigned.

For Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, who can hardly be accused of harboring rightwing sentiments, the price of his dissent was to be summarily fired after differing with Administration policy over detente.

Even a close Kissinger friend, Establishment columnist Joseph Kraft, acknowledged on November 5, 1975, that

"Resentment of his [Kissinger's] power was so great that two of the best men in the Administration—Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert Ellsworth and Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Charles Cooper—have quietly resigned their jobs because they couldn't even get a hearing on issues where they differed with Kissinger".

No one in government—no one—challenges Kissinger's "Grand Design" and gets away with it. As a result, in Africa and elsewhere, the Red tide, like Of Man River, just keeps rolling along. Henry K is making sure that no one can stop it.