The Labour Government and Southern Africa: The Case of Apartheid in South Africa, 1964-1970


In the 1960s, the British government was in a very awkward position in South Africa. The apartheid regime represented something contrary to western democracy principles, but for several reasons both London and Washington could not ignore the importance of that country. Strictly anti-communist and located at the junction of the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean, South Africa was pivotal to the defence of commercial and military sea-routes. Moreover, gold and uranium trading made Pretoria the most important partner of the West in the whole African continent. Finally, white regimes in the area, the Afrikaner one as well as those of Rhodesia and in the Portuguese territories of Angola and Mozambique, granted the stability necessary to pursue Anglo-Saxon interests and at the same time contain the communist influence. In a word, when the Nixon Administration issued NSSM 39, stating that the whites were there to stay and that the only thing to do was collaborating with them, with the aim of persuading them to gradually reduce racial discrimination, London had already come to the conclusion that such a racist government was of paramount importance to the stability of area. Therefore, it was decided not to follow the recommendations of the United Nations to the letter

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22808949a5n1p49

Keywords: Apartheid; Southern Africa; South Africa; Containment; Gold; Uranium; Decolonisation

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