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Digital Archive International History Declassified

April 02, 1979


This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy Foundation

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    Chief Kayisa Ndiweni explains his visit to Europe, including the heated argument with Foreign Secretary Owen that transpired.
    "Telegram, Personal for Secretary—My K11," April 02, 1979, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, South African Archives, Department of Foreign Affairs, BTS 1/156/3/4. Included in "Southern Africa in the Cold War, Post-1974," edited by Sue Onslow and Anna-Mart Van Wyk.
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Top Secret No K21 (K21)

Personal for Secretary

My K11

Chief Ndiweni (of UNFP) came to see me immediately after return from visit to Europe.

Ndiweni explained that purpose of visit to London was to inform the British of danger of Civil War if the UNFP did not get enough votes in forthcoming elections which would immediately raise fear under Matabele of domination by the Shona. He also explained the UNFP’s concept of federation in Rhodesia to Owen.

Owen said he was not basically against a Federation but that it should be left to the people of Rhodesia to decide on that. Owen then applied pressure on him to pull out of the election with veiled promises of financial aid to promote the idea of federal government. Ndiweni reacted angrily to this and flatly refused to be used by Owen. He then listed a long range of Owen’s failures criticising his policies towards Rhodesia, especially failure to find a solution. Owen lost his composure and said he would remind them that under no circumstances would he recognise the April elections. He added that he would not deal with any Government in which Smith had any say. Owen continued angrily, that after the elections he would then invite to an all party conference whom he Owen, wanted to, implying that Ndiweni would be left out. Ndiweni replied, “We shall have to see if you yourself are still around.” Ndiweni apparently had successful discussions with reps of the Conservative party and made good contacts in Germany and one or two other countries which he would not disclose. He also had discussions with a number of Nkomo’s aides in London and was much encouraged by those discussions that would be passed to the Ndebele to vote for Ndiweni.

Ndiweni told me he was confident of getting at least 15 seats in the Zim/Rh parliament and possibly 26 if he could get sufficient financial support.

His needs for the election are estimated 70,000 dollars and he indicated that he will get all that except for about 20,000 dollars which he would like to ask us for.

As indicated in previous submissions strongly recommend assistance of about this figure. (even if could not get Ndiweni to see Minister.)