Briefing Paper

Chester Crocker on American policies in Southern Africa

This document contains the text of a statement by US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Chester Crocker, before the US House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa in Washington, DC, on September 16, 1981. It is followed by the text of Mr Crocker’s speech in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 29, 1981. In both texts, Mr Crocker discusses US policies in Southern Africa, to which the Reagan Administration has devoted much attention. Its strategy underscores that Southern Africa is important to US and Western economic and strategic interests, that it could become a target for East–West tension, and that Southern Africa is characterised by both substantial interdependence and an absence of a political basis for regional cooperation. There is no easy course for American foreign policy. US will not choose sides, but will foster conditions in which all South Africans can participate in the economy and political process. There is a significant change in strategy compared to previous administrations, and this document indicates how it has been applied to the questions of Namibia and Angola over the past eight months. Mr Crocker addresses a number of problems, among others the influence of the Soviet Union and its surrogates in Africa, as well as economic crises.