PORTUGAL AND SOUTH AFRICA: CLOSE ALLIES OR UNWILLING PARTNERS IN SOUTHERN AFRICA DURING THE COLD WAR?

Paulo Correia, Grietjie Verhoef

Abstract


The popular perception of the existence of a straightforward alliance between
Portugal and South Africa as a result of the growing efficacy of African nationalist
groups during the 1960s and early 1970s has never been seriously questioned.
However, new research into recently declassified documents from the Portuguese
military archives and an extensive overview of the Portuguese and South African
diplomatic records from that period provide a different perception of what was
certainly a complex interaction between the two countries. It should be noted that,
although the two countries viewed their close interaction as mutually beneficial, the
existing political differences effectively prevented the creation of an open strategic
alliance that would have had a greater deterrence value instead of the secretive
tactical approach that was used by both sides to resolve immediate security threats.
In addition, South African support for Portugal’s long, difficult and costly
counterinsurgency effort in three different operational theatres in Africa – Angola,
Mozambique and Guinea Bissau – was not really decisive since such support was
never provided on a significant scale.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5787/37-1-59

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Copyright (c) 2018 Paulo Correia, Grietjie Verhoef


ISSN 2224-0020 (online); ISSN 1022-8136 (print)

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