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Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Embassy of the Tahoe Republic in Transvaal Message 1244D

Encryption Code: Yellow

Public Key: Ministry of Foreign Affair Directive

From: Ambassador Seamus O'Grianna

To: Foreign Minister Hendrik Strijdom

Subject: Overseas Military Base

Classification: HIGHTENED

/Begin Message

Your Excellency,

I would appreciate a meeting with you and officers of the Transvaler Krygsmagte regarding the aquisition of an overseas military base located within your territory. Our defense ministry is concerned with Northern African aggression towards nationalist regimes, as evidenced by the recent military activity against Italian Somaliland, and feels that a forward air base would serve as an effective deterrent and staging ground for Tahoan defense of our Transvaler and Rhodesian allies.

At your earliest convenience,

Seamus O'Grianna

Ambassador to Transvaal

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

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GEHEIM – SECRET

TO AMBASSADOR Ó GRIANNA:

In light of recent, unfortunate events in Somalia against allied and friendly nations, our Government would be pleased to meet with you to discuss arrangements for an air base in the Republic. The Government of Transvaal would welcome a Tahoe prescene in Africa to counter the bellicose and antagonist policies of the democratic fundamentalist regimes of Northern Africa.

I have made arrangements for our military high-command, consisting of the commanders-in-chief of the army, air force, navy, and rocket corps to be present along with myself and any other government personal you may deem necessary to attend. I have spoken with both Staatspresident Botha and Prime Minister van Matteus and they are in agreement to permit such a base on our territory.

Since you are Dean of the Foreign Diplomatic Corps in Pretoria and thus entitled to attend Volkstaad sessions and Executive Cabinet meetings, we recommend that Government House in Pretoria would be a suitable location and under the disguise of a closed door Volkstaad session so as to not arouse the prying eyes and ears of any potential spies which may be operating in Pretoria.

Sincerely,

H Strijdom

Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Trasnvaal

Minister of Foreign Affairs

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Dear Minister Strijdom,

It would please me greatly to attend a meeting with you and your military commanders in the Government House. My military attaché, Colonel Peter van Haesten, will meet with you at your earliest convenience, that is, whenever the next Volksraad session is scheduled.

Sincerely,

Seamus O'Grianna

Ambassador to Transvaal

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Edited by Emperor Mudd
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Government House in Pretoria

Hendrik Strijdom arrived on foot to Government House, the seat of power in the Republic. That day’s general session in the Volksraad regarding a development proposal to construct a national highway system in Transvaal had been postponed – therefore there was very little activity going on inside the government buildings as most Volksraad representatives had taken the day off.

As Strijdom walked through the main central hallway leading from the front entrance into the Volksraad chamber, he noticed Field Marshal Paul Cruywagen waiting outside smoking in the quiet afternoon sun. As soon as he noticed Strijdom, Cruywagen put out his cigarette and walked over to Strijdom.

“Good afternoon Deputy Prime Minister, the others are already here… we are now just waiting for Ambassador Ó Grianna and the rest of the Tahoe delegation to arrive.”

The two men walked into the massive Volksraad chamber. Strijdom put down his briefcase at the head of the table; he would chair the meeting on account of him being the most senior government official in attendance.

“So, who else from Tahoe will be attending?” the field marshal casually asked Strijdom.

“Apart from Ó Grianna, I believe that their military attaché Colonel Peter van Haesten will also be here.”

“Van Haesten?” The name stirred in Cruywagen’s mind, “He sounds familiar from somewhere…”

“Yes, he should...” replied Strijdom. “He is that rather resourceful officer who assisted us in suppressing the Azarian insurrection last January… a rather intriguing and fascinating man indeed, if I may say so. And Staatspresident Botha himself was pleased to find out that he was subsequently posted to Pretoria.”

Along with Cruywagen and Strijdom, in the chambers were Flight Commander Leonard Wise of the air force, Admiral Rudolf Kruger of the navy, and Field Marshal Petrus Malan, of the Rocket Crops – and who was ultimately responsible with the maintenance of Transvaal’s small nuclear arsenal. Also present was a coloured man, Ambassador Andries Joubert, Transvaal’s representative in Tahoe and most senior diplomat, who had flown in on Strijdom’s request to sit in and keep him informed of any Transvaler-Tahoan developments.

Edited by Botha
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A tan Land Rover owned by the Tahoan Embassy pulled up in front of Government House. The driver, a black African employed by the Embassy, quickly hopped out and opened the door for Ambassador O'Grianna and Colonel Van Haesten. The Ambassador, keen with local customs, wore a light brown suit with sunglasses and a broad brimmed hat over his grey hair while the Colonel wore the khaki summer uniform and black beret of the Armtha-SS with its distinctive insignia unlike any other unit in the Tahoan Military (which made since, because technically the SS was the paramilitary, special activities division as part of the Tahoan Intelligence Agency: G2). The two men made their way into the Government House, where they were directed to the Volksraad Chamber.

Entering, Colonel Van Haesten saluted the numerous Transvaler officers as Ambassador O'Grianna shook hands all around. Taking their seats, O'Grianna leaned forward and said, "Well gentlemen, I trust you all know why we are here, and I do thank Minister Strijdom for seeing us on such short notice." Seeing the Transvalers nod, he continued, "As you know, my government is deeply disturbed with the unfortunate events to the north. That is precisely why we are requesting permission to build and operate an overseas military base on your territory. This not only serves as a deterrent towards the hostile nations to the north, but in case of war allows us to assist you immediately and resupply and reinforce your forces without having to go through diplomatic channels, which, as my attaché here can attest, are very much held in contempt by you military types."

O'Grianna glanced at the quick smirk on face of Van Haesten that quickly faded to its usual expressionless glare. He continued, "I trust you understand the nature of our request?"

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After the arrival of the Tahoe delegation, pleasantries were exchanged for a few minutes before Strijdom brought the meeting to order and saw everyone to their seats.

The entrance of Colonel Van Haesten caused the most stir. Although he kept a low profile when in Pretoria, he was Tahoan figure more known in Transvaal than his own homeland. He had a lot of clout and respect from all branches of the Transvaal armed forces.

He was viewed as the foreign ‘darling’ of Strijdom, Van Matteus, and other National Party ‘rightists’ – but even Marshal Cruywagen acknowldeged his ability, once stating in private to Ó Grianna during a diplomatic reception at the Tahoe embassy that ‘the only thing more absolute and uncompromising in the face of danger than Van Haesten was the Holy Bible itself’

After being the centre of attention for some minutes, Van Haesten excused himself to get some refreshments which had been left out. From there he surveyed the scene around him in the Volksraad and its participants.

The Tahoan colonel noted to himself the rather interesting – and intriguing – observation that every one of the Afrikaners here in attendance had at some time or another held the Number 2 post in the Republic.

Cruywagen and Strijdom had been elected prime minister in their own right, although it had been some years now in Cruywagen’s case. Admiral Kruger and Field Marshal Malan had both headed the Republican Military Junta during the Karma War, although Kruger’s tenure was only for a few days.

Strijdom had been prime minister when Van Haesten was first posted to Transvaal – but since the assassination attempt against Strijdom, the African rebellion, and simply surviving the Karma War as a civilian member of the RMG, Van Haesten noted that Strijdom seem to have found his niche as foreign minister in Van Matteus’ government. He recalled that at the time of the rebellion, Van Matteus and Strijdom had been at loggerheads with each other but in subsequent months the two had formed a strong political team and brushed aside any prior differences.

As for the two other Transvalers also at the meeting, both of them were likewise rather unique individuals within the larger government bureaucracy.

Flight Commander Leonard Wise was as English as any Anglo-South African could be, but he seemed to be liked by all. He fully accepted his secondary ‘place’ within the Afrikaner government circles with tact and dignity - and because of that, he showed no political ambitions unlike Malan and Kruger had in the past. He could exercise no ambitions under the current regime even if he wanted to – and because he and everyone knew that, Wise also had made very few enemies despite being viewed as a close ally of Masrhal Cruywagen, one of the so-called ‘progressive’ members in the National Party regime.

The lone non-white face in the entire group was that of Ambassador Andries Joubert, a coloured Griqua man whose heritage was a fusion of Khoi bushman and Afrikaner. When Joubert was first assigned as Ambassador to Tahoe by Staatspresident Botha himself no less, many eyebrows were raised in both Pretoria and Cruachan. However Joubert, like Flight Commander Wise, was able to work around his social hurdles and detractions and had gained much respect at home and abroad. He may have a dark complexion, but the ambassador was as god-fearing and civilized as any Transvaler Boer – which endeared him to his Afrikaner colleagues.

Van Haesten occasionally thought (as a contingency move) that if Transvaal were ever forced to have a non-white leader, Joubert would be the best suitable candidate on account of the common, shared culture between Griqua and Afrikaner. The man was probably the only dark face that most Afrikaners regarded as a full equal – and he could probably even win an election despite the race restrictions. But Joubert being a quiet man not fond of the limelight, preferred his posting in Tahoe – regarded as the most prestigious in Transvaal’s foreign office. For him, to work with one of Transvaal’s closest and oldest allies, that was satisfaction enough.

“Excuse me everyone, if you would please take your seats” said Strijdom, his voice raised against the general hum of discussion going on.

Strijdom began with the government response to Tahoe’s request for a base. Judging from the reaction of Wise and Kruger, the air force and navy had not been informed of the nature of the meeting.

“Gentleman, I have met with both Staatspresident Botha and Prime Minister van Matteus regarding the request by the Tahoe Republic to establish a military base within our Republic. Both of them readily agreed to support and approve such a move, although ultimately the final decision rested with the Staatspresident on account of possible sovereignty issues with other foreign powers.”

“Prime Minister van Matteus suggested that Swakopmund in Namibia, near our Walvis Bay naval installations, would provide a suitable location. There is an airfield there which is not being used – plus the location in proximity to our harbour, drydock, and shipyard facilities would be a boon for Tahoe in supply and replenishment options.”

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Proposed base at Swakopmund

“The only question which came up during my discussions with the Staatspresdident was he was concerned what foreign reaction would be to a Tahoe military presence in Africa. While he himself has no qualms and in fact welcomes Tahoe to the region, he does wonder how some of Tahoe’s more vocal and critical enemies will view this base – especially in light of Tahoe’s anti-colonial policies in America. He wants to know whether Tahoe has examined the reaction and ramifications of this base?”

Edited by Botha
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"Before I begin, I have agreed with the good Colonel here to handle only the diplomatic and civil affairs regarding the proposed military base. All military matters will be handled by Colonel Van Haesten. Now, the foreign reaction, if there is one, will be negative. There is no point in denying this. We will be accused, perhaps rightfully" O'Grianna mused, "of being hypocrites and liars. Simply put, my government does not care. International bad press is not a concern, not with a National Party Government in power...perhaps if Labor was the ruling party we would be swayed by internaional opinion, but I assure you the President and Prime Minister are totally behind this, no matter what the international press corps says."

O'Grianna continued, "That said, I feel we have some very good basic options to deal with this. First, we simply deny it is our base. We do this by announcing that it is being used for joint operations including a sizable Tahoan contingent and, for plausibility reasons, either have some Transvaler troops around or give some of our troops Transvaler uniforms so we can take picture of both nationalities being on the base - which I might add will happen either way, especially with the wargames taking place. There will already be large numbers of Tahoan troops in the country as it is. And we simply won't announce it to anybody, either way. Second, we use the socialist strategy of creeping towards the endgoal. For them it is slowly implementing statist policies until the public is numb to a socialist takeover, and for us it shall be slowly building up the Tahoan forces there. The bad media will be at the beginning, when there are perhaps a hundred Tahoans and twice that number of Transvalers. By the time the whole thing has blown over we will have the station fully staffed. I doubt most national intelligence agencies will even monitor the base. To conclude, yes, gentlemen, we have considered the diplomatic fallout and devised ways to counter. I'll let my colleague comment on the military considerations."

Van Haesten had returned to the table by this time to listen to O'Grianna's diplomatic considerations. It was a simple plan, but the simple plans were often the successful plans. He pulled a few maps that had been provided over to him and looked them over for a minute before beginning.

"Yes, Swakopmund...South West Africa...Namibia I mean...should be fine. The airfield is to small, based on what I see here relative to the size of the buildings it cannot be more than a mile long, so it will have to be expanded to double that. Our fighters can operate out of a short field, but not intercontinental transports or KC-130 in-air refueling aircraft. There is plenty of room for expansion to the northeast, though. Other than that, its on a slight ridge so will be easy to defend once we have a perimeter built and of course will need barracks and hardened aircraft shelters, but those won't be a problem. I estimate troop composition to be an Air Group - two squadrons - and accompanying ground crew. Two or so infantry battalions, no more than 600 troops, for security or rapid response to local problems, probably a special forces group as well. All increases in military will be reported to your government of course. We probably will want to build the facilities to house up to a brigade or so in case of emergency, as well as family housing."

airbasetransvaaal.jpg

He took a pen out of his pocket and drew on the map, saying, "This is the outline I would expect for the base perimeter, to allow for the final length of the runway plus all the construction we will be undertaking. This line, on the end of the runway, is a rough estimation of how long the final runway will be, which I expect to be paved. The final details are up to you, though."

Edited by Emperor Mudd
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As Strijdom looked at the revised map that Colonel Van Haesten had handed him, there was the slight buzz of murmured talking from amongst the Transvaler high command. Strijdom felt interrupted or distracted enough that he turned to them, and barked “Excuse me gentlemen, is there something you would like to say? I am trying to concentrate here on these proposed revisions.”

Field Marshal Cruywagen stood up and spoke for the rest of them.

“I am sorry sir, I apologise both to you and our Tahoan friends here – it is just that the high command is pleased that the good Colonel is involved with managing this base. But what we want to know is: does this mean he will be appointed as the base commander?”

Once Cruywagen had finished and sat back down, Strijdom addressed the Tahoan delegation.

“The extension of the runway makes perfect sense to me, therefore I see no reason why we cannot grant you the necessary extension of base grounds. Our original proposal was simply based on what we saw as the most feasible for security purposes however the runway extension simply goes beyond on to land unused by the locals, so it would not be infringing on anyone there.”

“As for foreign reaction, my government would agree that any foreign reaction will be negative. However as long as Tahoe is fine with dealing with the aspects which may affect their own foreign image, Transvaal sees no need at all to hide the base. Our main concern in bring the topic up was just to confirm that your government had addressed the potential problems expected from foreign powers less than thrilled to see a Tahoan precence in Africa.”

“If anything, after the despicable acts of aggression against our two Italian friends – one of them a close ally which due to logistics and political ramifications we were unable to assist militarily – we would like nothing more than to see Southern Africa become a nationalist thorn in their imperialistic delusions… that as much as they may dream about eradicating their perceptions of fascism, they cannot and will not be able to alter the reality here in Southern Africa – which will always remain a nationalist beacon against both communism and democratic fundamentalism for the rest of the world.”

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Van Haesten spoke first, answering Cruywagen's question, "Yes sir, as the senior Tahoan officer in Africa, I would assume the command of the base, initially at least. I do not know if the Ministry of Defense has there own plans for the future regarding command, or if they plan to turn Africa into an independent military command. I have requested that my old unit, the 23 Battalion of the Armtha-SS be deployed as one of the infantry units, as they have the most experience in Africa. I expect the other unit will be one of the units participating in the wargames."

O'Grianna continued, "We have indeed considered the consequences, and should you feel it wise to annouce the public existance of the base, then we will not oppose that."

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O'Grianna continued, "We have indeed considered the consequences, and should you feel it wise to annouce the public existance of the base, then we will not oppose that."

It is our intention to include (...or bury) the base announcement along with a couple of important domestic annoucements which the Government will be making in the next 24 hours. One of those announcements is the evacuation of our Mogadishu enclave; we like the timing of the two exchanges.

We expect that general popular opinion in Transvaal will come out in support of the base, as events in Somalia and Italy have made many of our civilians (and military, for that matter) uneasy.

The base properties will be officially handed over to Tahoe tonight, one second after midnight on December 22 (update time). As far as Transvaal is concerned, the Swakopmund Base Territory (or whatever Tahoe decides to name it) will be regarded as sovereign Tahoe territory and Republican laws will not apply to Tahoe citizens while on the base.

As an aside, our liason with the Swakopmund base will be the Namibian provincial governor, Edmund Thomasson.

Edited by Botha
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