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Angola – United States relations are the international relations between Angolamarker and the United Statesmarker. These relations were tense during the Angolan Civil War when the U.S. government backed UNITA rebels, but have warmed since the Angolan government renounced Marxism in 1992.

1970s to 2002 - US support for FNLA and UNITA

Starting in the 1970s, the U.S. supported 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 was heavily involved with 30,000 troops in Angola, the Republican administration of President Ford attempted to counter them. This was permanently thwarted by the Tunney/Clark amendment, passed by a Democratic congress forbidding any involvement.

The United States opposed Angola's membership into 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.

The U.S. would have considered this to be a strategic threat. In a meeting by the National Security Council (NSC) on 27. June 1975 including President Gerald Ford, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Secretary of Defence 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, comparing the situation to the civil war in the Congo, where the U.S. and their allies had succeeded in holding the capital Leopoldville, thus eventually securing or regaining control of all of Zaire.

Different options for the U.S. to respond to the situation were considered: neutrality and keeping out of everything or a diplomatic campaign, which Kissinger thought nothing of. The first two options mentioned before were discarded. In the further course of the conversation President Ford declared, in spite of planned elections, it is important to get “his man” in first, meaning that Savimbi should be in control of Luanda before the elections. An insightful comment of Secretary Schlesinger was, 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 at odds with the version in his memoirs and in contrast to 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:"2. There follows an updated situation report based on classified sources.
  • A: Diplomatic
  • (1)Two Cuban delegations were present in Addis Ababa. During the just concluded 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. dollars 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.


In 1977, Jeremias Chitunda, UNITA's representative to the United Statesmarker, convinced the U.S. to shift their support from the FNLA to UNITA following the MPLA's decisive victorymarker over the FNLA.

2002 - US recognizes MPLA

After the government renounced Marxism, the US recognized the Angolan government. United States Secretary of State Colin Powell visited Angola and Gabonmarker in September 2002 and among other subjects, discussed petroleum.

U.S. assistance to Angola amounted to 188 million USD in 2003, much of it in the field of health services and disease control. USAID's food for peace program gave over 30 million USD 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 of oil per day, second only to Nigeriamarker in all of Africa. This is expected to rise to per day by 2008. A 2005 visit by Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos to Washington, D.C.marker 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."[390377]

Current initiatives

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--Dan Mozena
  • Deputy Chief of Mission--Francisco Fernandez
  • USAID Director--Susan Brems
  • Defense Attaché--LTC Chris Grieg


The Embassy of the United States is located in Miramar, Luanda, Angola. The Embassy of Angola is located at 2000 and 2008 16th Street, NW in Washington, D.C.marker


See also

External links

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