• Short Summary

    A document, now being circulated by the United Nations claims eleven western countries are collaborating with South Africa in its development of a nuclear capacity.

  • Description

    SCU Don Smith speaking in English

    SCU Visnews Trevor Watson speaking

    SCU Stan Smith speaking

    SMITH: "And the real point is that the whole picture of collaboration with South Africa, is like a big jigsaw. And every piece in that jigsaw has got its place. And what can be judged ind the short term as being a contribution to peaceful nuclear development, in the long term becomes a contribution a military nuclear development, because it's so hard to separate military and peaceful uses in nuclear technology."

    WATSON: "So, are you suggesting that these countries are aware that South Africa is going to use the technology for weapons development, and yet they continue to provide that technology?"

    SMITH: "We know they are aware, because the CIA reported in 1974 that South Africa was approaching the development of nuclear weapons. It reported it again in 1977. It said that South Africa could have nuclear weapons in a few months, if it initiated a crash programme. In 1977 also, a test site for nuclear weapons was discovered in the Kalahari. And the South Africans have made no real secret of their interest in nuclear weapons, and have dropped a series of hints over the past twenty years. They at least have that in their minds."

    WATSON: "So you're saying they are in direct contravention of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty."

    SMITH: "Well, they ought to be. The problem is that the nuclear non-proliferation treaty is not as water-tight as it should be."

    WATSON: "Your report is being circulated by the United Nations. What sort of action could the United Nations take, if any?"

    SMITH: "Well, the United Nations Security Council could be. It could impose a mandatory embargo on certain kinds of trading in South Africa. And I would like to see a complete nuclear cut-off from South Africa."

    WATSON: "What reason, given its strategic strength in southern Africa, would South Africa have to develop a nuclear capacity, anyway."

    SMITH: "I think, first of all, that the strategic strength is sometimes a little bit over-rated. Their forces received rather a handling in Angola, during the intervention there. I think that might have rubbed home the thought that a little bit more was required than ordinary conventional forces."

    WATSON: "Who would they use such weapons against?"

    SMITH: "Well, I think there are two targets basically - guerrilla camps and training bases should a war of liberation start in South Africa, and the towns of the states who are supporting those guerrillas. But the important thing, of course, is not that they use them, but that they can threaten to use them, and therefore deter aid being given to any black liberation movement in South Africa. And also, by threatening to use them, that they can deter the western states who are their major trading partners, from dropping them, for fear that, should South Africa be isolated, then it would launch a nuclear catastrophe."

    Initials dn/


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: A document, now being circulated by the United Nations claims eleven western countries are collaborating with South Africa in its development of a nuclear capacity. The report, prepared by Mr Dan Smith of the World Campaign Against Military and Nuclear Collaboration with South Africa, named Belgium, Britain, Canada, France, Iran, Israel, Japan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States and West Germany, as "collaborators" in the South African enterprise.. It acknowledged that, compared to many countries, South Africa's nuclear capacity was fairly modest, but that the country was moving towards an impressively-rounded capacity. United Nations officials said the report was essentially a summary of available data, and had been released to coincide with the setting up of a U.N. panel to enquire into South Africa's nuclear weapons capacity. Visnews reporter Trevor Watson spoke with Dan Smith in London.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    Media URN:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Issue Date:
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Time in/Out:

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment