Angola–United States relations
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Angola – United States relations are diplomatic relations between the Republic of Angola and the United States of America. These relations were tense during the Angolan Civil War when the U.S. government backed National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) rebels, but have warmed since the Angolan government renounced Marxism in 1992.
- 1970s to 2002 – U.S. support for FNLA and UNITA 1
2002 – U.S. recognizes MPLA 2
- Current initiatives 2.1
- Principal U.S. officials 3
- Embassies 4
- Consulates 5
- See also 6
- References 7
- External links 8
1970s to 2002 – U.S. support for FNLA and UNITA
Starting in the 1970s, the U.S. supported the National Liberation Front of Angola (FNLA) and then UNITA, insurgents opposing the ruling political party, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola.
When it was discovered that Communist Cuba had 30,000 troops in Angola, the Republican administration of President Ford attempted to counter them. This was thwarted by the Tunney/Clark amendment, passed by a Democratic congress forbidding any involvement.
The United States opposed Angola's membership in the United Nations from its declaration of independence in 1975 to its acceptance in December 1976. Angola did not have formal relations with the United States until 1993.Fidel Castro regarded the attitude of the United States:
"Why were they vexed? Why had they planned everything to take possession of Angola before 11 November? Angola is a country rich in resources. In Cabinda there is lots of oil. Some imperialists wonder why we help the Angolans, which interests we have. They are used to thinking that one country helps another one only when it wants its oil, copper, diamonds or other resources. No, we are not after material interests and it is logical that this is not understood by the imperialist. They only know chauvinistic, nationalistic and selfish criteria. By helping the people of Angola we are fulfilling a fundamental duty of Internationalism".
In a meeting by the National Security Council (NSC) on 27 June 1975 including President Gerald Ford, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger, and CIA Director William Egan Colby among others, the U.S. took a closer look at the development in Angola, especially after they became aware of Soviet aid for the MPLA. They found that the Portuguese left the country without any preparation for independence. It was clear that whoever owned the capital owned the country, similar to the situation during the civil war in the Congo, where the U.S. helped their allies succeed in holding the capital Leopoldville, thus eventually securing or regaining control of all of Zaire.
The U.S. considered neutrality or a diplomatic campaign, both of which Kissinger dismissed. In the further course of the conversation President Ford declared, in spite of planned elections, it is important to get “his man” in first, referring to Savimbi. Secretary Schlesinger thought that the US "might wish to encourage the disintegration of Angola. Cabinda in the clutches of Mobutu would mean far greater security of the petroleum resources". In any case success must be certain before anything is done otherwise the US should remain neutral. For the president it was unacceptable to do nothing. He ordered the preparation of options.
The United States had known of South Africa's covert invasion plans in advance and co-operated militarily with its forces, contrary to Kissinger's testimony to Congress at the time, as well as the version in his memoirs and what President Ford told the Chinese, who were worried about South African engagement in Angola.
A report by Henry Kissinger of 13. January 1976 gives an insight into the activities and hostilities in Angola, inter alia:
- A: Diplomatic
- (1) Two Cuban delegations were present in Addis Ababa. During the just concluded Organization for African Unity (OAU) meeting, one …..(delegation?), headed by Osmany Cienfuegos, PCC ? Official concerned with Africa and Middle East and member of the PCC Central Committee, visited the Congo, Nigeria, Uganda and Algeria prior to the OAU meeting. Another Cuban delegation was headed by Cuba’s ambassador Ricardo Alarcon.
- (2) In late December early January an MPLA delegation visited Jamaica, Guyana, Venezuela and Panama to obtain support for its cause. The delegation is still in the region.
- B: Military
- (1)It is estimated that Cuba may now have as many as 9,000 troops in Angola, based on the number of Cuban airlifts and sealifts which have presently transited Angola. Military assistance to the MPLA may have cost Cuba the equivalent of U.S. $30 million. This figure includes the value of the military equipment that Cuba has sent to Angola, the costs of transporting men and materiel, and the cost of maintaining troops in the field.
- (2)Cuban troops bore the brunt of fighting in the MPLA offensive in the northern sector last week which resulted in MPLA capture of Uige (Carmona). The MPLA may be preparing for an offensive in the south, partially at the request of the SWAPO (Sout Africas Peoples Organization).
- (3)Eight Soviet fighters, probably MiG-17s, are reported being assembled in Luanda. These fighters arrived from an unknown source at the end of December. Eight MiGs, type unknown, are expected to be sent to Angola from Nigeria, numerous Cuban pilots arrived during December. The pilots are operating many aircraft now available to the MPLA including a Fokker Friendship F-27. The Cubans will operate the MiGs.
- (4)Cuban troops are in complete control of Luanda by January 9. They are conducting all security patrols, operating police checkpoints, and will apparently soon assume control of Luanda’s airport complex.
- (5)Cuba may have begun to use 200 passenger capacity IL-42 aircraft (Soviet) in its airlift support operations. The IL-42 has double the capacity of Bristol Britannias and IL ? which Cuba has previously employed and has a longer range as well. IL-42 left Havana for Luanda Jan. 10. and Jan. 11.
- C: Other: All Portuguese commercial flights now landing at Luanda carry as cargo as much food as possible. Food supplies available to the general population have become tight.
2002 – U.S. recognizes MPLA
After the government renounced Marxism, the US recognized the Angolan government. In 1995 António Franca became the first Angolan ambassador to the United States. United States Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Angola and Gabon in September 2002 and among other subjects, discussed petroleum.
U.S. assistance to Angola amounted to US$188 million in 2003, much of it in the field of health services and disease control. USAID's food for peace program gave over US$30 million to Angola's population in 2005. Angola is currently the second biggest trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa of the U.S., primarily because of oil; Angola produces .0014 billion barrels (220,000 m3) of oil per day, second only to Nigeria in all of Africa. This is expected to rise to .002 billion barrels (320,000 m3) per day by 2008. A 2005 visit by Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos to Washington, D.C. was a sign of warm relations between the two nations. In May 2007 the Council on Foreign Relations said, "Few African countries are more important to U.S. interests than Angola."
USAID's development program in Angola in FY 2007 was consistent with the country's status as a developing country at a pivotal juncture in its development and reconstruction. In FY 2006, the program budget was $25.5 million and focused on civil society strengthening, improved governance, and democratization; market-oriented economic analysis and economic reform policy; agricultural sector productivity; maternal and child health; HIV/AIDS prevention, education and voluntary counseling; and workforce development. Angola also launched a major program to fight malaria through the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI). The Governing Justly and Democratically objective strengthens constituencies and institutions required for democratic governance by strengthening civil society organizations and promoting local government decentralization; fostering an independent media, government transparency, accountability, and capability, and improved dialogue between citizens and government; and laying the groundwork for free and fair elections. The Investing in People objective aims to improve maternal and child health and prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases by helping communities and institutions to provide necessary health services and to conduct HIV/AIDS prevention programs. The PMI is the largest health program and expands efforts to scale up proven preventive and treatment interventions toward achievement of 85% coverage among vulnerable groups and 50% reduction in morbidity due to malaria. The Economic Growth objective fosters economic policy and financial sector reform; credit access for micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises; and expanded trade and investment.
To assist with economic reform, in FY 2007 the State Department provided $2.2 million to work on land tenure, economic policy, and the financial sector. An additional $143,000 in grants was provided to community development projects and non-governmental organization (NGO)-sponsored democracy and human rights projects. $152,000 in International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds was provided for English language training to the Angolan Armed Forces. Professional training for law enforcement personnel at the International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in Gaborone, Botswana continued. The Safe Skies for Africa program provided around $800,000 in equipment and training to the Angolan civil aviation authority. As part of its public diplomacy program, the Embassy provided nearly $434,000 in English language training, educational exchanges and fellowships, and information resource services. The State Department provided $6 million for ongoing landmine, small arms, and munitions destruction projects throughout the country. These projects have played a major role in clearing agricultural land and opening critical road networks and increasing access in those areas of the country most impacted by landmines.
At the same time, the energy-based U.S. trading relationship continues to expand and spark other ties. One offshoot has been the development of a Sister City relationship between Lafayette, Louisiana and Cabinda and between Houston, Texas and Luanda. The Catholic University of Luanda has close links with a number of American institutions and has received support from the Angola Educational Assistance Fund, a U.S. non-profit organization organized by Citizens Energy of Boston. Sonangol has a longstanding program of educating its professionals in U.S. universities, complementing Chevron's policy of U.S. training for its own growing pool of Angolan professionals.
Principal U.S. officials
- Ambassador--Christopher J. McMullen
- Deputy Chief of Mission—Francisco Fernandez
- USAID Director—Randall Peterson
- Defense Attaché—LTC Chris Grieg
The consulate opened in 2001. The consulate is located in Houston because of the city's ties with the petroleum industry in Angola. Simon Romero of The New York Times described the consulate as "a luxurious corporate suite discreetly decorated with the burgundy and gold colors of the nation's flag." EDI Architecture designed the consulate suite. Consular services at the facility include issuing of birth, marriage, and death certificates, administration of the military census, issuing of identity cards, and the issuing of travel documents.
- George Washington University National Security Archive accessed March 26, 2008
- 895 Days that changed the world accessed March 4, 2008
- Steven A Holmes (1993-05-20). "Washington Recognizes Angola Government". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
- "Une Odyssee Africaine" (France, 2006, 59mn) directed by: Jihan El Tahri
- http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB67/gleijeses6.pdf (Document obtained from Gerald Ford Library, NSC Meetings File, Box 2)
- Gleijeses, Piero: Conflicting Missions: Havana, Washington, and Africa, 1959–1976 (The University of North Carolina Press)
- http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB67/gleijeses1.pdf (Document obtained from Department of State files through FOIA)
- Brittain, Victoria (1998). Death of Dignity: Angola's Civil War. p. 11.
- Klare, Michael T. (2004). Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependency on Imported Petroleum. p. 227.
- "Consular General." Embassy of Angola in Washington, DC. Retrieved on January 18, 2009.
- "Uptown District Map." Uptown Houston District. Retrieved on January 30, 2009.
- "Welcome." Consulate-General of Angola in Houston. Retrieved on January 30, 2009.
- "Consul-General of Angola, Mr. Simão Manuel Pedro." Consulate-General of Angola in Houston. Retrieved on November 17, 2009.
- Romero, Simon. "Energy of Africa Draws the Eyes of Houston." The New York Times. September 23, 2003. Retrieved on January 30, 2009.
- "Consular services." Consulate-General of Angola in Houston. Retrieved on November 17, 2009.
This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Library of Congress Country Studies. This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State (Background Notes).
- History of Angola - U.S. relations
- US Department of State Background Note on Angola
- Official website of US embassy in Angola
- U.S. Policy Towards Angola from the Dean Peter Krogh Foreign Affairs Digital Archive
- "Angola: U.S. Must Strengthen Ties to Protect Strategic Energy and Security Interests" Council on Foreign Relations, 7 May 2007
- Angola resists pressure on Iraq