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October 1979

SVR Guidelines in light of London Conference

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation





1. The management mechanism of the National Security Force Base responsible for the management of national safety in ZR, the ZRGBS, drew up, on 9 October 79, a report on the possible result and implications of the London Conference. It is given verbatim in Annexe A. The findings of the ZRGBS are also endorsed by the Information Committee of the SVR’s Information Summary which is attached as Annexe B. Both these documents have been used as background for the following exposition.


2. The political situation can be summarised as follows:


(a) The PF have succeeded in prolonging the negotiation process in London. This has a detrimental effect on the situation in ZR.


(b) Concessions by ZR delegation were mainly to the advantage of the Black population and have therefore probably somewhat improved Muzorewa’s status amongst them.


(c) Concessions by ZR delegation with regard to protective measures for rights of Whites, without British Gov. taking a clear stand in respect of the lifting of sanctions and role of Zim.-Rhod. Security Forces during transitional period, has resulted in division among Whites: one faction is optimistic; the other pessimistic. There is division in the ZR delegation regarding the acceptance of the British constitutional proposals between Mr. Ian Smith and the rest of the delegation.


(d) As a result of British assurances behind the scenes that sanctions will be lifted, that the Whites must be retained in ZR, that the ZR DFs will not be affected and that they wish to keep the present moderate government in ZR it is clear that the UK’s aim is an internationally acceptable settlement; in spite of reports by the CIO that events have thus far gone according to plan at the London


Conference and that the ZR delegation has made only the concessions which they were, in any case, prepared to make, there are, in certain official circles in ZR, no illusions about the probable game played by the British government. (I.e. the Salami process: Pressure for more and more concessions by the GNU in order to obtain an internationally acceptable settlement). It is hoped that the British are honest, but there is not much talk of optimism.


3. The economic situation can be summarised as follows:


(a) The reconfirmation for the application of continued sanctions / boycotts by the UN, EEC and OAU could, to date, not force ZR’s foreign trade to a standstill which points to large-scale RSA support.


(b) Since 1975 the ZR economy has shown a negative rate of growth. Although, mainly because of improved price conditions on world markets, a moderate upswing in economic activities has been observed during the second half of 1978, and which has lasted for the first half of 1979, it cannot be expected, owing to the ever greater demands the war-attempt is making, that the improvement will be strong enough to place the economy on a positive road towards growth [in the short term]. Ability of ZR economy to carry the present war burden and to keep going is closely related to the country’s present dependence on RSA for procuring essential means, as well as using RSA for import and export routes and will remain like this in the foreseeable future.


(c) Favourable economic prospects are in an important degree connected to lifting or partial lifting of sanctions. Should present sanctions and/or boycotts against ZR continue to exist it could reasonably be expected that it would continue exerting a restraining influence on ZR’s national economy and particularly on ZR’s military ability [resources].


(d) Serious problems that are at present being experienced in agricultural sector like drought and unstable security situation, could add to ZR’s present economic situation weakening further.


4. The military situation can be summarised as follows:


a. There is ever an increase in terrorist numbers within ZR. Terrorist incidents do not increase accordingly, yet threat has increased in so far as it concerns terrorist action in ZR’s vitally important territory (VAG: Vital assets ground).


b. Vast majority of terrorists within ZR are still ZANLA (10 ZANLA against 3 300 ZPRA). Increasing infiltration, however, by ZPRA along entire border area with Zambia, but especially between Kariba and Feira during past month (September).


c. With the increase in terrorist numbers in ZR the possibility of urban terrorism also heightens.


d. The ZR DFs at present still succeed in maintaining the security situation. Important limiting factors are still shortage of manpower and equipment. Successes have been achieved with the maintenance of balance between internal action and external operations with an eye on disruption of command–and–control as well as logistic system of terrorist organisations. It is, however, constantly becoming more difficult to maintain a healthy balance between protection of vitally important area and necessary offensive action. The hesitation to act overtly against targets in neighbouring states during London Conference as it could possibly be used against ZR in the negotiations, is at present an additional limiting factor for ZR DFs. In contrast with this terrorist organisations have complete freedom of movement and they further use the opportunity to consolidate.


5. Possible Scenarios. Owing to uncertainty of further course and result of London Conference it is difficult to foresee specific result. Depending on British aims/handling GNU and PF could react in various ways under different circumstances. Basically four scenarios are foreseen with various permutations:


a. Scenario one: Both factions of PF withdraw and negotiations are continued with GNU.


b. Scenario two: GNU are compelled to withdraw.


c. Scenario three: Only Nkomo (ZAPU) takes part in negotiations while Mugabe withdraws.


d. Scenario four: Both factions of PF take part in negotiations together with GNU.


6. Summary of Threat Analysis based on the Preceding Scenarios. After a detailed analysis of the various scenarios the ZRGBS came to the conclusion that:


a. In all scenarios, however, the war will continue in varying intensity…


b. In the event of PF participation or take-over the possibility of a civil war is strong.


c. Should conference fail terrorist struggle [war(fare)] will continue:


i. Should GNU bear blame struggle will escalate.


ii. Should PF bear blame struggle will still continue for considerable time, yet with suitable assistance could be de-escalated.


d. RSA’s involvement in any case plays a key role which varies from an extreme form of extensive involvement to prevent Marxist take-over, to suitable action and involvement to utilise a situation to advantage of South Africa.


e. Moderate Black government would probably move away from South Africa to establish connection with international community and Africa. Would not, however, be possible in medium term. Suitable contingency planning must therefore now be initiated in order to thwart such a tendency.


f. In light of possible Marxist take-over suitable contingency planning must therefore now be initiated in order to prepare the correct ethnic groupings for a resistance movement to exploit the situation to the benefit of South Africa.


g. It therefore appears as if Scenario 1 will serve ZR’s interests best.




7. The ability of South Africa to execute a total national strategy in support of ZR must be viewed against the background of ZR’s geographical position, economic dependency on the RSA and the ZR’s readiness to support the RSA in seeing a Southern African Strategy implemented.


8. In determining the RSA’s ability to support ZR in ensuring its national security it is of paramount importance to evaluate ZR’s power [capacity, potential] as “ally” in the execution of the Southern African Strategy. With the support of the RSA ZR at present succeeds in maintaining the NS [National Security] of ZR. Through joint action of the RSA and ZR against the neighbouring states of ZR especially; namely Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique the situation could probably in the short/medium term be settled in favour of ZR and Southern Africa. The support which is desired from the RSA could escalate, should ZR be overthrown, to such a degree that the RSA would have to replace the ZR’s ability in order to ensure the RSA’s NS on own territory. It is in the interest of the RSA that such a situation should be avoided in consideration of the RSA’s own ability and domestic priorities.


9. The readiness of the government of ZR to undertake jointly with the RSA the execution of the Southern African Strategy is contained in ZR’s TNSD 1/79 dd 23 March 1979. Through that the RSA’s power [capacity] would be considerably enhanced. During the Southern African Conference of 15–16 June 1979 ZR’s Prime Minister, Bishop Abel Muzorewa, in his opening speech confirmed the letter and spirit of the ZR’s TNSD 1/79. ..




11. It is accepted that the aim, objectives and policy as spelt out in Books 1, 11 and 111 and Section 1V and as amplified by the contributions of different states departments, will be approved and the Southern African Constellation of States indeed materialise.


12. The RSA Gov.’s security objective with regard to Southern Africa, which includes ZR, is to assist in protecting the national security of the various states against aggression, in whichever form, by united action of the Southern African Constellation of States through the implementation of a total national strategy,.


13. To realise this security objective in practice the RSA Gov. has, inter alia, accepted the following security policy:


a. To consider applications for support from governments of Southern African states in order to oppose communist aggression


b. To assist, at the request of governments of Southern Africa, with the establishment, build up and maintenance of stable, effective security forces, for the protection [security] of territorial areas, maintenance of law and order and the assurance of their independence.


c. To ensure, through pro-active action outside the territorial area of the RSA, the safety of the constellation and to oppose any aggression against members of the Southern African Constellation of States.


14. The implementation of the RSA Gov.’s security objectives, within the specified security policy, assumes that the RSA and ZR continually remain in close contact in order to ensure that their objectives, policy and strategies, especially in respect of Southern Africa, are pursued.


15. In consequence of the strategic situation which developed as a result of the London Conference the SVR approved the following guide-lines in respect of ZR on 15 October 1979:


a. Pressure must be kept up on the British for the lifting of sanctions against ZR and on Bishop Muzorewa to continually insist thereupon. International recognition is a matter for the future. The RSA would accept de facto recognition of ZR which is accompanied by the lifting of sanctions, but campaign against de jure recognition which might remove ZR from the sphere of influence of the RSA. The Whites in ZR must be influenced and motivated to unite with the ZR government.


b. Bishop Muzorewa must be clearly informed that the RSA will support him provided that his Gov. remains anti-marxist and retains a pro-RSA attitude.


c. Bishop Muzorewa must be clearly informed that should matters go wrong for him and he makes a public appeal to the RSA, the RSA will assist ZR. The RSA is not prepared to allow ZR to collapse or a troublesome [unreasonable] regime to cause chaos in ZR. The RSA would then have to act with the sanction of parliament, although it would have to be assembled ex-post facto.


d. Information suggests that Nkomo wishes to jump [leave] the PF and join the Muzorewa group with an eye to a later coup d’état. Under no circumstances must Nkomo be accommodated.




16. The RSA Gov. has accepted as aim, objectives, policy and strategy that the national security of the RSA must be ensured by a Southern African strategy. The conflict situation in ZR must be handled within the scope of this [these specifications]. Therefore the point of departure of any action taken by the RSA must be directed at influencing the ZR Gov. and ZR negotiation party in London to let the outcome of the conference not take a course which would be detrimental to the objectives of the Southern African strategy. Furthermore it is accepted that the ZR is still in earnest about their goal, objectives and policies as has been set out in TNSD 1/79 dd 22 March. The ZR Gov. must continuously be reminded and referred back to the contents thereof.


17. The KTS for ZR as approved by SVR on 16 July 1979 must be executed [implemented] by all State [Govt.] Departments and organisations. In the implementation of the strategy the guide-lines as stated below must be taken into consideration.




18. To ensure that the ZR, as an anti-communist state, remains free of international sanctions within the sphere of influence of the RSA.




19. To realise the directive the following tasks must be implemented:


a. Task 1. Pressure must be exerted on Bishop Muzorewa and his negotiation party not to comply with any further demands of the British Gov. or the PF.


b. Task 2. The influencing of White political and other leaders on:


i. The ZR. Gov.that their interests be protected and in exchange for that influence Whites not to leave ZR.


ii. The Whites to support the ZR Gov.


c. Task 3. Emphasis on the close bond for continued existence and survival which exists at present between ZR and RSA.


d. Task 4. Influencing of the PF to reject the British constitutional proposals.


e. Task 5. Influencing of the British Conservative Party not to accommodate the demands and aspirations of the PF.


f. Task 6. The continued implementation of the KTS of ZR—including all reasonable military and police assistance.


20. Guide-lines for the implementation of the tasks:


a. Task 1. To exert pressure on Bishop Muzorewa and his negotiation party not to comply with any further demands of the British Gov. or the PF.


i. Through political channels Bishop Muzorewa must be informed that the RSA Gov. cannot guarantee his personal position if he accommodates the PF in his government. No further concessions may be made in the present negotiations.


ii. The dissatisfaction of the Whites regarding the impairment of their rights which were embodied in the entrenched clause must be pointed out as a serious threat to retaining his position of power. Should he further continue to adversely affect the power position of the Whites, the RSA does not see its way open to influence and support the Whites in giving him the necessary support.


iii. Should he continue yielding to the PF and the British Gov., and make concessions which are not in the interest of the RSA’s Southern African strategy, the RSA Gov. has to state clearly that it does not see its way open to further grant him the privileges of the RSA’s assistance and infrastructure. It must be pointed out to him that, in such a situation, he would become dependent on the allies of the PF, namely marxist Mozambique.


iv. A repeat of the assistance the RSA gave him in order to hold a free and fair election cannot simply be accepted without further ado for a second election, especially if the PF are allowed to take part in the election.


v. It must be pointed out to him that, should he act against the RSA’s Southern African strategy, he cannot simply rely thereon that the economic, financial, social and security support for his government will continue unqualified.


vi. If, however, he acts according to TNSD 1/79 dd 22 March 79 he can be assured thereof that the RSA, as in the past and on an increasing scale, will support him in keeping his government in power. It could even include action in terms of the approved KTS against the host countries [countries which are hosts??]. Bishop Muzorewa must, however, publicly ask the RSA for overt support. Should ZR prefer, the RSA will also accept to recognise his government as the only legally elected government.


b . Task 2. The influencing of White political and other leaders on the ZR. Gov. that their interests be protected and in exchange for that influence Whites not to leave ZR. The Whites to support the ZR Gov.


i. Through White political and others leaders, to claim the rights of the Whites on the Muzorewa government so that they do not sacrifice their democratic rights for international recognition. If Muzorewa does not react to this appeal, he will have to accept the consequences of the withdrawal of the White power basis and the consequent instablity which might result from this. It could lead to a marxist take-over by the PF.


ii. To assure the Whites that the RSA, within its ability [power] will support them to maintain their security should the negotiations be suspended.[postponed].


c. Task 3. Emphasis on the close bond for continued existence and survival, which exists at present between ZR and RSA:


i. Through diplomatic channels and if regarded as absolutely necessary, Bishop Muzorewa must be warned that the RSA will make known the assistance and support which it has given to ZR The announcement of this information could, however, should Muzorewa prefer it, also be done to indicate the close co-operation of the ZR and the RSA against Soviet imperialism. Should the first course of action be taken, the ZR will be compromised disadvantageously, whilst the second action would lead to ZR’s voluntary closer co-operation with the RSA.


ii. If the ZR’s negotiation party acts against the interests of Southern Africa, the ZR must be notified that the RSA does not see its way open to covertly support them militarily. If, however, it is prepared to act according to the policy spelt out by its government in TNSD 1/79 and is prepared to request military assistance from the RSA in public, the RSA would be prepared to provide it.


iii. Emphasis on the fact that the RSA, also in the interest of the Southern African strategy, will continue maintaining diplomatic relations with ZR and will proceed with close economic co-operation. If ZR should prefer it, it would be done openly with diplomatic recognition.


d. Task 4. Influencing of the PF to reject the British constitutional proposals. Through psychological campaigning action the PF must be prevailed upon to reject the proposals.


e. Task 5. The influencing of the British Conservative Party to give up accommodating the demands and aspirations of the PF.


i. To persuade the right wing of the Conservative Party, through diplomatic and and psychological means, to convince Mrs. Thatcher of the unreasonableness of the PF demands.


ii. To exert pressure on the right-winged in the Conservative Party for the complete lifting of sanctions against ZR.


iii. The British must be influenced not to yield to the demands of the PF to establish an indemnity fund. Bishop Muzorewa must be influenced to oppose the steps which the PF take to establish the fund.


e. Task 6. The continued implementation of the KTS with regard to ZR. Actions as laid down in the KTS, must be followed.




21. The implementation of the strategy must continuously be directed towards bringing the negotiation process with the British Gov. to a successful conclusion as soon as possible without making any concessions which affect the interests of Southern Africa detrimentally.



Guidelines spelling out what course of action the Republic of South Africa should pursue based on the different scenario's posed regarding future Zimbabwian-Rhodesian developments.


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South African Archives, Department of Foreign Affairs BTS 1/156/3 SADFA BTS 1 / 156 / 3 VOL. 4. Included in "Southern Africa in the Cold War, Post-1974," edited by Sue Onslow and Anna-Mart Van Wyk.


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