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October 30, 1979

Telegram, Visit of Mr. Els to Salisbury

This document was made possible with support from Leon Levy Foundation

top secret 30.10.79

The Accredited Diplomatic Representative, Salisbury


YOUR TELEGRAM NO 226 OF 25 October 1979


Acting on a ministerial instruction, the Psychological Action Committee (ISAK) met on 2 October 1979 to consider how assistance could be rendered to Zimbabwe Rhodesia, in the event of an anticipated further election a) to bring out the voters and b) to ensure that Bishop Muzorewa’s government would win. It was decided to send Mr Els of INSA to Salisbury to ascertain i) whether in the light of the different current of political opinion, South African help was welcome, ii) what the physical and material requirements of the Rhodesians would be and iii) what the anticipated cost of the required South African support would be, ie to draw up a budget. It was assumed that the Head of Mission would be kept informed by the Information Counsellor and within the framework of the ZRGBS. We shall in future as far as practicable ourselves keep you informed of such visits. In our view Mr Els’ task as outlined in i) above was of a delicate nature, requiring an up to date assessment of the political climate and contacts in the party political field, which you would have been in a position to assist. Mr Els reported on 29th Oct that South African assistance for an election would be welcome but that in some white circles there was less enthusiasm than in others and, moreover, that some felt that it would be in the white interest if Muzorewa won only very narrowly. Mr Els tabled a list of equipment the Information Department would require for an election. This would be for an open promotion of the election, persuading voters to go the polls again relatively soon, explaining the voting process etc., although there could be a clandestine component. South African cooperation would of necessity also be clandestine. Mr Els had also been in touch with the Psychological Operations Unit of the Zim. Rhodesian Defence Force but had ascertained that their requirements for essentially clandestine operations had been transmitted to us at service level. The Defence representatives at the meeting of 29th October outlined these requirements and any duplication between the Information and Military lists was eliminated. ZRGBS will doubtless be informed in this regard. It is planned that Mr Els should work inh close collaboration with the ZRGBS.


Signed P R Killen, Secretary for Foreign Affairs.




Telegram recalls conversation regarding the involvement of South Africa in any pre-election campaigning and clandestine operations in Rhodesia.


Associated Places

Document Information


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


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Leon Levy Foundation