PROBABLE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA

Created: 10/20/1952

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SECRET-

NO.OR THE CHIEF,

& DISTRIBUTION DIVISION DEPT.OF STATE

INTELLIGENCE ESTIMATE

PROBABLE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA

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Advisory Committee participated with the CentralAgency in the preparation of this estimate: The mteUujence organisations of the Departments of State, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Joint Staff.

All members of the Intelligence Advisory Committee concurred tn this estimate onctober ItiZ.

CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY

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RiUUetzger 2

PROBABLE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE UNION OF SOUTH AFRICA

THE PROBLEM

To assess tbe strategic importance of the Union of South Africa; analyze the political and racial situation in the Union; and estimate future developments which may affect US interests.

CONCLUSIONS

strategic importance of the Union of South Africa arises chiefly from itsproduction of chromite,and amosite asbestos; from its potential production of uranium; and from the fact that in event of general war the Union's bases and port facilities would be valuable, especially if the Suez Canat were closed.

We believe that under presentthe Union will probably remain for at least four years unable to meet itstoull armoredfor Middle East defense within three months after the outbreak of war. If war should break out now, South Africa could not provide the division in less than one year, even with prompt, substantial, outside material aid.

The chief immediate problem in South Africa is the extreme political tension between the Nationalists and theNationalist and Opposition leaders will endeavor to avert civil war, butthey intend to press their positions to the Hrr.it, short ofonflict, and because they may miscalculate theirto control their followers insituations, the possibility of civil war cannot be excluded.

Over the long run the repressive racial policy of the whites will almost certainly lead to rebellion of the non-whiteCommunist influence, presently small, will probably play an increasing part in stimulating unrest.

The tensions in South Africa arefor the next several years toseriously with the export of strategic materials, but they may limit the Union's ability to dispatch forces outside the country in event of war. In the longer run. when rising racial tensions erupt into widespread disorders, the outflow of strategic materials will be hampered or even halted.

Racial tensions in South Africa will almost certainly have an increasinglyeffect on race relations elsewhere in Africa and on the relations of India and' the rest of Asia with the West If the UN intensifies its criticisms of theacial policy, the Union may carry out its threat to withdraw from the UN.

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DISCUSSION

Strategic Importance of Soufh Africa

Economic. The strategic economicof the Union ot South Africa arisesfrom its large-scale producUon of chro-mite, manganese, androm the Union come about one-quarter of the West's supply of chromite (including practically all chemical-grade chromitene-quarter of total Western manganese supply, and.the entire Western supply of the strategic grades of amositeouth Africanof corundum, antimony, and industrial diamonds is also important. The Union isotential source of other strategicUnder US contracts, the production of uranium,y-product of gold mining, is just beginning. This development promises to make the Union of South Africa asource of uranium. In addition, the Union's gold production is important to the financial stability of the UK and the Sterling Area.

Military. South Africa's armed forces are at present undermanned, poorly trained, and inadequately equipped. Their regular strength totals lessnd theirless0 men. One fighter-bomber squadron, with US equipment, isin Korea. The Nationalist Government Is apathetic regarding military matters.the current military budget hassomeercent over the previousyear, and stands9 percent of the total national budget, it constitutes onlyercent of the Union's national income.the Government's administration of the military establishment has been inept and Its appointments and promotions in the three services have been largely based onrather than professional qualifications. Morale In the services is low, retirement of able officers has accelerated, and few inducements exist to attract recruits. Union armed forces

'The US stockpile of chromite and manganese Is great enough to offset tor three or fourotal loss of the South African source o( supply. The US stockpile of the strategic grades ofasbestos Is very small.

are almost completely dependent uponsources far armaments.

Despite its present military weakness, South Africa has considerable militaryIn World War II the South Africans demonstrated excellent fighting qualities and technical adaptability. Byereiven time andsubstantial ground and air forces could again be made available for Middle Eastand naval and air forces for operations In the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

South Africa hasommitment tc the UK to contribute one armored division for the defense of the Middle East* within three months after the outbreak ofwar. The Government has. however, made little preparation to meet thisWe estimate that at least one year would be required forivision to betrained, and transported to theEast, even If the equipment were made available promptly from outside sources-

The Union's naval, air, and port facilities would also be of considerable value in event of general war, as In World War II, especially if the Suet Canal were denied the West. These facilities. Including the Britishnaval base at Simons town, would be useful for ship and aircraft maintenance work, air and sea operations againstconvoy organization and protection, storage and resupply operations, and troop staging operations.

The Popufction

two chief problems confrontingtbe present extreme tensionGovernment and Opposition anddeterioration of race relationsfrom the conflicting aspirationsof the Union's heterogeneouselements. Thereasic divisionthe dominant white minorityil-

Trie Union did not and wUl not permit non-whites to sene In combatant status, though It uses them In auxiliary services.

Iiod and the ten million Natives.nd Asiatics. In addition, the whiles themselves are divided into two hostile political groups, the Nationalists, predominantly Dutch-descent Afrikaners, and the Opposition, mainly of British descent.

The Whites, The Union's white, orminority totally controls the political and economic life of South Africa. About GO percent are Afrikaners. These speak aversion of Dutch called Afrikaans; and most belong to the intensely conservative Dutch Reformed Churches. The Afrikaners have been predominantly rural, but annumber are entering business and the pro'. essions.

The remainingercent of the white population is largely of British descent. This group is mainly urban and commercial, and Is economically the more powerful. Whilebetween Afrikaners and Britishthe Boer War, the two groupsommon Interest in the perpetuation of white supremacy and in the economic development of South Africa.

The Son-Whites. Theillion Natives (Bantuillion Coloreds (mixedsiatics (mostlyhese three groups have little in common exceptof the whites. The large Native majority is divided into several major linguistic groups and hundreds of tribes speakingargely illiterate.ew thousand Natives haveecondaryand there are few college graduates and professional people. Aboutercent of the natives are engaged In primitivepursuits in the native reserves, about one-third live In or near white urban areas, mostly in slums, and the remainder work on white farms. The Natives do most of the unskilled manual labor.

The Coloreds and Asiatics are betterand culturally more advanced than the Natives. The Coloreds, SO percent of whom live in Cape Province, regard themselves as an adjunct of white society. They work for the whites as waiters, factory workers, artisans, and farmhands. The Asiatics, of whomercent live in Natal Province, are mostlyThey maintain close culturalwith India, and many are graduates of Indian or British universities.mall number are wealthy businessmen, most are small traders, truck gardeners, waiters, and workers in light Industry.

The Nationalist-Opposition Controversy and the Prospects of Civil War

Character and Policies of the Nationalist Government. The Nationalist Party of Prime Minister Malan came to power In8lim majority of five Assembly seats, although it received onlyercent of the popular vote. It has since Increased- itsto thirteen seats by winning one'by-elec-tion and sweeping the South West Africa* electionhe Malan Government represents an extreme. anti-British. Afrikaner nationalism. The Cabinet is whollyand the ffationalist Party and Itsalmost entirely so. The Party finds Its main Inspiration tn the ideals of the early Boers: racial purity (free even fromhite supremacy, republicanism,atriarchal society founded on the teachings of their church. The Party'sauthoritarianism is evident in theencroachments on civil liberties and in its moves to insure for theermanent grip on political power in the Union.

A fundamental element of the Nationalist Party program is its policy of apartheid, meaning strict racial segregation, designed to Insure continued white supremacy.has been practiced by the whites forbut influential Nationalists believe white superiority divinely ordained and they carry the policy to extremes. Thehas deprived non-Europeans of scanty privileges they had previously enjoyed, has In-

"The former German colon? of South west Africa was mandated to the Union by the Leagueona9 the Unionaw granting South West Africa representaUon In the Union Legislature, and the first election based on that law was held

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tensifled segregation regulations, and hasrogram Involving: the physical transfer of long-established non-European communities. The Nationalists allege that more thorough segregation will facilitate the economic and social development of the non-Europeans and minimize Inter-racial friction.

Parliamentary OppositionUnited Party of the late Fieldleads the Opposition.8 Itpercent of the popular vote, seventhan the Nationalists, butdue toand over-representation ofonlyercent of the AssemblyParty's supporters are mainly ofbutubstantial minorityAfrikaners. The party leaderbeen an Afrikaner. Because ofvarying widely from liberalthe relative disinterest inmuch of the English-speakingthe current unimpressive leadership,Party has virtually no positiveof its own and has confined itselfcriticism of Nationalistmall Labor Party, composedintellectuals and English-speakingcooperates generally with the

Torch Commando. Two yearsUnited Party leaders createdevice to arouse andalarm over the Nationalist threatdemocracy. It is primarilyorganization, well financedembership of aboutmembership is mostlyincludes an Important minority ofAfrikaners Many thousandconstitute the hard core of theA number of distinguishedand civilians are members, and aof the permanent and reserve forcesor sympathizers. Within many towns, the Commandoon expanding itsrallies and protest meetings,anti-Nationalist sentiment, and gettingregistered. Although itsthat of the United and LaborIts leaders work closely with the United Party, many Commando members arcwith the cautious conservatism of the United Party leadership.

Issues Between the Parties. Therearge area of agreement between theand the white Opposition over national policies. Foreign policy Is not an Issue,that the Opposition firmly supports the Commonwealth tie Both groups favorexpansion and resent foreign criticism of the Union. Both arc strongly antt-Com-munist. Both stand for white dominationarge measure of racial segregation, but the Opposition criticizes Nationalist racial policy as needlessly provocative andimpracticable. It istrongly aroused against the Nationalists' grants to administrators of sweeping powers over civil liberties and the press without allowingto the courts.

The issue which above all has inflamed relations between the Nationalists andhas arisen over the Government'sefforts to override legal andchecks in order to perpetuate Itself In power. Last year the Government passed, as part cf Its segregation program, an act which transferred Colored voters from the common electoral rolls- Since the Coloreds regularly vote United Party, the effect of this act would be to Insure Nationalist victoriesumber of marginal constituencies. The act.was declared invalid by the Supreme Court, on the grounds thathange in the "entrenched clauses" of the South Africa Act9 (the Unionwo-thirds majority of both houses of Parliament sitting together. Thethenecond act whichParliament itself as the highestbody empowered to pass on the validity of its own acts. This attempt to circumvent constitutional checks has resulted ingreater than at any time since the Boer War.

he Supreme Court will almost certainly rule In the near future that the second act is also Invalid on the same grounds. Wethat the Government will probably defy this ruling and proceed to transfer the

ored voters, unless It Is convinced thatourse would provoke civil war. Defiance of the Supreme Court will raise tension tofor the Opposition has declared itsto "defend the Constitution" against Nationalist "dictatorship" andeet force withhile the Nationalists, with equal passion, are determined to place the supremacy of Parliament beyondchecks and to carry out their pro-

The next general election is expected in May orlthough it may be called as early as February. The election campaign will be even more heated than' usual. The Nationalists, solidly supported in the rural areas and bolstered by such devices as ating of constituencies and the prospective transfer of the Coloreds, will probably win5-year term. If the aged Malan retires or dies, his successor as Prime Minister will probably be the able and emotional extremist. Strydcm. perhapshort interregnum under the moderate llavenga. Strydom. ever, more than Malan, would carry forwardNationalist policies

Prospects for Civil War. All whites desire to avoid an armed conflict primarily for fear of jeopardizing white control over the large non-white majority. In addition thealthough determined to carry out their program by one means or another, willtake care not to provoke an armedin which they would be opposed by half ot the white population, Including mostand most of the regular militaryAlthough some hot-heads In the Torch Commando already advocate armedto what they regard as Inationalist coup d'etat, we believe that the conservative leadership of the Opposition can and will restrain them, at least until the next general election has been held. If theshould win that election, and if they should then take steps further to entrench themselves In power, the danger of armed reaction by the Torch Commando would be great. Even in that case, however, given the general fear of the consequences of civil war on white supremacy, we believe that theof both parties and influential business interests would exert themselves to avertonflict. However, because leaders of both parties wish to press their positiers to the limit, short of civil war, and because they may miscalculate their ability to control their followers In Inflammable situations, theof civil war cannot be excluded.

hould civil war occur, we believe that it would be prolonged and disorder would be widespread. The Nationalist Government could count on the loyal support ofouth African police, whose keyare Nationalists. The police serve as both local police and national gendarmerie; their morale, training, and efficiency are The government could also rely on most of the Skiet Commando units,f which are organized throughoutembership totalinglmost entirely Afrikaners. Their mission is mainly to insure Internal security in their local areas. Though equipped with rifles, these units are untrained and have littleeffectiveness. inority of the armed forces woukt also remain loyal to the The Opposition forces would include most of the war veterans and youngerof the Torch Commando, as well as the mujority of regular, reserve, and retiredpersonnel. Though virtually unarmed at present, the Torch Commandoormidable force. It couldcertainly acquire plenty of arms through its numerous supporters in the services. It Is already organized on military lines anddirected. Neither side would arm non-Europeans.

believe that, If civil war shouldOpposition wouldetter thanof overthrowing the Government;however, estimate subsequentIn the Union.

The Race Relations Problem

longer range threat to Southis the growing hostility of thepopulation toward the dominantThis hostility had beenyears before the Nationalists came to

power.3 the severe repressions by the Nationalists have sharply stimulated the ominous trend in relations between the races. The desire to overthrow white domination ls latent throughout the non-Europeanand certain advances have been made Ln the past few years toward organizing for this purpose. Influenced by the equalltarian tenets of western liberalism, by the political advances of non-Europeans elsewhere, andimited extent by Communists, the leaders of urban non-European groups havesome capacity to organize unitedThe current series of deliberateof racial regulationsoint project of Indian and Native organizations. These organizations have also cooperated withbodies in resisting the Government'son the Colored franchise. This passive resistance campaign Ls almost certainly an early steprogram to overturn white supremacy.

Generally, however, the non-Europeans are disunited and as yet appear to be poorly organized. While existing intelligence on this subject is scanty, they appear to have no widely recognized centra! leadership. Except among the small, educated elite, culturalare great between Colored, Native, and Indian; and even within each groupand enmities hamper the growth of non-white unity. Native organization isLocal or tribal leaders have their few hundreds or thousands of followers, but the masses are politically apathetic andabsorbed in day-to-day problems of mere existence. The attitudes of the few educated native leaders are not typical of those of the majority of natives, and there is no evidence that they are effectively converting or even contacting most of those whom they claim to lead.

For some years the non-Europeans'will be too few and too inexperienced, their economic and arms resources too meager, and their unity and organization too weak for an effective nation-wide revolt. The knowledge that the Government would react harshly is another deterrent. Local urban disorders may come earlier, but they will almostbe ruthlessly quelled. Even If theand Opposition were to fight an early civil war, the non-Europeans wouldcertainly be unable to exploit theeffectively.

Nevertheless, we believe that racewill continue to deteriorate, and will eventuallyerious challenge to white domination. The prospectiveof the harsh race policy will stimulate the non-white resistance movement, so that major disorders and widespread rebellionalmost certain In the long run. More moderate treatment would not alter non-white aspirations for equality, although such benefits as better housing and economicand more freedom of movement wculd slow the pace toward rebellion.

Communist Influence. The small South African Communist Party publicly dissolved itself inhortly before thevoted to outlaw It. Its membership was only.ard core ofctiveourth of the membership was white, and the bulk ot the remainder were Indians, though Communism was spreading among the Colored* It made very slight progress among the Natives, although they had longajor target. Forcedthe Party's influence remains small White workers will not tolerate Communist opposition to the color bar. Among non-European groups, the spread of Communism is hampered by the internal dissensions over tactics, lack of organizers, and the ignorance, conservatism, and distrust of the masses. Moreover, civil officials are alert to suppress Its influence.

However, the Communist Party's longer run prospects among urban non-Europeans appear good. As non-European grievances multiply under repressive Nationalist policies, increasing racial tension and sporadic violence should expand the opportunitiesumber of the top non-European leaders are Communists- The Nationalist actions against the Coloreds will probably turn more of them to theeservoir of educated party workers. Though Communist progress will not be swift

among the mass of the Natives, themay have greater success in acquiring positions of leadership among the Native or ganiza tio ns.

External Effects of Prospective Developments

Repression of the non-Europeans in the Union is inevitably deepening the suspicions and dislike of whites by non-whites elsewhere in Africa, particularly in British Central and East Africa, and thus contributing tothere. The continuation of Nationalist racial policies will confirm the belief of the non-European intelligentsia in the Britishthat similar measures would be likely In their own areas if the British Colonial Office relinquished control. The Nationalists' racial measures, well-advertised In those areas, are helping to undermine Britain's efforts toasis for racial partnership in Its colonies.

Prospective developments In the Union will almost certainly further isolate the Unionajority of UN members. Moreover, failure of the US and UK toirm stand in the UN against South Africa would expose them to charges of race prejudice and support for colonialism, and would probably create another divisive issue between the Western and Asian powers. If the US and UKtand against the Union, it would costignificant measure of South African

The internal tensions in the Unionwill not in the short run have any greatly adverse effects on the flow of strategicto the US and UK. All white South Africans are interested in the maintenance and expansion of commerce. However, the internal political situation will probablyattention and energies from existingand transport problems, andof the materials will probably fall short of US and UK expectations. In the longer run, when rising racial tensions erupt into widespread disorders, the outflow of strategic materials will be hampered or even halted.

Probable Foreign Policies

many in the Nationalist Partytoward isolationism, Southfor US-UK markets and capital, itsallies, and its fear of Communism willgovernment to continue to cooperateWestern Powers.

The Nationalist Government currentlyCommonwealth membership asuseful. However, the old Afrikaner aim of an Independent republic, the diametric difference between Britain's racial policy in Africa and that of the Union, Britain'sopposition to the Union's expansionist aspirations, and South African irritations with India will probably lead In time toof the Commonwealth tie by arelationship with the UK. As anstep the Union may declareike India) while remaining In the Commonwealth.

The Nationalists denounce the UN as futile and meddlesome; they may carry out their threat to withdraw if the UN Intensifies its criticisms of the Union's racial policy.

South Africans have long aimed to extend the Union's rule and influence In Africa. The present Government has urged the UK to cede the British protectorates of Basutoland, Bechuanaland, and Swaziland. Almosthowever, this aspiration will befor the foreseeable future by Britain's firm opposition. The Nationalists also have cultivated relations with the white settlers In Central and East Africa and may haveencouraged Afrikaner emigration into Southern Rhodesia. They hope withina generation to absorb the Rhodesias.

Since virtually all whites axe anti-Soviet and since both major parties would almost certainly desire to help defend Africa, the Union Government wouldtrong effort to send forces to the Middle East as soon as possible In event of general war. On the other hand, the Nationalist Government will probably not In peacetime Improvethe effectiveness of Its armed forces. We therefore believe that under presentthe Union will probably remain for at

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least four years unable toulldivision for Middle East defense within three months after the outbreak of war. If war should break out now. South Africa could not provide the division in less than one year, even witb prompt, substantial, outsideaid. Moreover, rising racial tension will increase manpower and equipmentto insure Internal security: and, if war should break out while the controversythe white gToups remains Intense,for foreign service would probably

be handicapped by the preference of men to remain at home and support the interests of their group.

s an ally in the event of war. South Africa would be available to the Westase.on-belligerentan unlikely status In event of warcale sufficient to make its facilities important to the Westthe Union could probably be persuaded to cooperate by economic inducements oron the part of the UK and US.

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