• Short Summary

    South Africa has expelled three United States Embassy staff whom it has accused of spying.?

  • Description

    SV Prime Minister Pieter Botha and Foreign Minister Pik Botha seated. Prime Minister Botha speaking

    BOTHA: "It is my duty tonight to inform you of a grave violation of South African sovereignty by members of a diplomatic mission in South Africa. It has been established that members of the Unites States Embassy have been engaging in espionage against South Africa. this is doubly serious because the espionage has been conducted not by civilians but by Embassy personnel who enjoy diplomatic immunity in this country. The South African Foreign Minister who is with me tonight a short while ago summoned the United States Ambassador to inform him that the personnel involved are required to leave South Africa within one week. The disgraceful facts are as follow. The United States Embassy has until now been permitted to maintain an aircraft in South Africa for the use of the Ambassador on certain conditions in the execution of his official duties. This aircraft was converted for use as a spy plane by the installation of an aerial survey camera under the seat of the copilot. In flight the device enabled the camera to take photographs of the earth below. Photographs in our possession reveal that the Embassy aircraft was engaged in a systematic programme of photography of vast areas of South Africa including some of our most sensitive.....installations. The Foreign Minister has informed the United States Ambassador that in the light of the use of which the Embassy aircraft has been put the privilege of maintaining it in South Africa is summarily terminated. It is to be removed as soon as South African technicians can be satisfied that all photographic equipment has been removed from it to prevent further photography on its outward flight. The South African government has expressed its profound shock and dismay to the United States government at this reprehensible act by the representatives of a country with which South Africa maintains diplomatic relations. I would add that I am bitterly distressed to learn how South African hospitality has been abused. These actions against South Africa are actions which I
    would have anticipated from the Russians but not from the leading Western country."

    South Africa on Thursday (12 April) recalled its two top diplomats to the United States, Ambassador Donald Sole and Chief United Nations representative Riaan Eksteen. However, a South African Embassy spokesman in Washington said the recall of the two men had nothing to do with the spy charges....They were needed in South Africa, he said for a major parliamentary debate on the budget.

    Initials BB/


    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: South Africa has expelled three United States Embassy staff whom it has accused of spying. Prime Minister Pieter Botha announced in a television broadcast that an aircraft used by the United States Ambassador, William Edmonson had been discovered to be fitted with a special camera to spy on South African defence installations. The United States has revealed that the Embassy staff expelled are the defence attache and two other military personnel.

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