United Nations Security Council Resolution 418
|UN Security Council
|Date||4 November 1977|
|15 voted for
None voted against
|Security Council composition|
|International opposition to
apartheid in South Africa
United Nations Security Council Resolution 418, adopted unanimously on 4 November 1977, imposed a mandatory arms embargo against South Africa. This resolution differed from the earlier Resolution 282, which was only voluntary. The embargo was subsequently tightened and extended by Resolution 591.
The ban had a direct impact in some of the following ways:
- Last minute cancellation of the sale of D'Estienne d'Orves-class avisos and Agosta-class submarines by France.
- The purchase of Saar 4 class missile boat from Israel, some of which had to be built covertly in South Africa instead.
- South Africa's inability to purchase modern fighter aircraft to counter the air superiority of Cuban Mig 23s over the SAAF in the South African Border War.
- The growth of the modern day multi-billion dollar South African arms industry.
- The end of shipments by the United States of enriched uranium fuel for South Africa's SAFARI-1 research nuclear reactor.
Circumvention of the embargo
The apartheid government worked around the embargo in a number of ways to source military technology and components that it was unable to procure openly. This resulted in United Nations Security Council Resolution 591 being passed in 1986, which tightened up some of the loopholes and extended the embargo.
Many armaments were wholly designed and manufactured in South Africa, as reflected by the growth and export business of Armscor.
Notable operations that came to light were:
- The 1984 case of the Coventry Four. Four South African businessmen in the UK were found to be operating a front company on the behalf of Kentron that was sourcing materiel in defiance of the ban.
- The arrest and imprisonment of Gerald Bull for developing the G5 howitzer for Armscor
- The nuclear weapons programme reached its peak during the embargo; According to David Albright, components for the programme were imported without the knowledge of the international community, or put to ingenious uses that had not been envisaged by the enforcers of the ban.
Dual purpose equipment
Computer and air traffic control radar systems ostensibly destined for civilian use were diverted to the military.
Use of foreign specialists
The South African government was able to hire the services of foreign technicians, for example Israeli specialists who had worked on the Lavi fighter aircraft were recruited by Atlas Aircraft Corporation to work on the Atlas Cheetah and Atlas CAVA.
Co-operation with other states
- Armscor (South Africa)
- History of South Africa in the Apartheid era
- List of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 401 to 500 (1976 – 1982)
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 181
- "Resolution 418". United Nations. November 4, 1977.
- "Victor Moukambi dissertation.doc" (PDF). University of Stellenbosch. 2008-10-13. Retrieved 2009-02-27.[dead link]
- Andre Wessels (20 April 2007). "The South African Navy During The Years of Conflict In Southern Africa, 1966-1989" (PDF). Sabinet Online Ltd. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
- Hilton Hamann (2001). Days of the Generals. South Africa: Zebra. pp. p99. ISBN 1-86872-340-2. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
- David Albright (July 1994). "South Africa and the Affordable Bomb". Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: 37–47.
- "Resolution 919". United Nations. May 26, 1994.
- Geldenhuys, Deon (1990). Isolated States: A Comparative Analysis. Cambridge University Press.
- "Africa Review" (PDF). National Security Archive. 1981-06-08. Retrieved 2008-08-26.
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