Government

gov23. Letter from Malcolm Rifkind to Des Starrs

Letter from Malcolm Rifkind, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, replying to a request from Des Starrs, Chair of Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS), for the British government to intervene on behalf of the Kassinga detainees. In 1978 South African armed forces killed around 600 Namibian refugees at Kassinga refugee camp in Angola and took hundreds more prisoner. Five years later some of them were still held in detention in Namibia. Malcolm Rifkind turned down the request for a meeting on the grounds that he had already met an AAM delegation to discuss repression in the Ciskei.

gov30. Letter from Trevor Huddleston to Margaret Thatcher

Letter from AAM President Bishop Trevor Huddleston to Prime Minister Thatcher asking her to stop the English rugby tour of South Africa in 1984. The government refused to intervene and the tour went ahead in spite of widespread protests.

gov27. Letter from Trevor Huddleston to Margaret Thatcher

Letter from AAM President Archbishop Trevor Huddleston expressing the widespread opposition in Britain to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s invitation to President P W Botha to visit Britain in June 1984. Thatcher held talks with Botha at her country residence Chequers, rather than at 10 Downing Street, in order to avoid protesters. More than 50,000 people marched through central London on the day of the talks, the biggest anti-apartheid demonstration to date.

gov26. Memorandum to the Prime Minister

President P W Botha’s visit to Britain in June 1984 was the first such visit since South Africa left the Commonwealth in 1961. It followed South Africa’s adoption of a new constitution in 1983. This memo sought assurances from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that the British government was committed to universal suffrage in a united South Africa. Thatcher was sufficiently concerned about opposition to the visit to agree to meet a delegation from the AAM.

gov28. Letter from Margaret Thatcher to Trevor Huddleston

Letter from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher about her meeting with P W Botha in June 1984. Instead of calling for one person one vote, she told him that the British government would accept a system of government that had ‘the consent of the South African people’. She said she had ‘expressed concern at the continued detention of Nelson Mandela’.

gov29. Letter from Margaret Thatcher to Robert Hughes

Six leaders of the United Democratic Front and the South African Indian Congress entered the British consulate in Durban to avoid detention by the South African authorities in 1984. Three of them were immediately detained on leaving the consulate. This letter from Prime Minister Thatcher to the AAM’s Chair Bob Hughes MP defended the British government’s decision to bar access to the lawyers of the remaining three men. Five of the six were charged with high treason.

gov31. Britain and Namibia: A Memorandum to the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary

Memorandum arguing for a review of British government policy on Namibia. The memorandum urged the British government to support mandatory measures against South Africa under Chapter VII of the UN Charter if South Africa continued to obstruct talks on Namibian independence.

gov34. Letter from Geoffrey Howe to Trevor Huddleston

Letter from Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe in response to the AAM’s memorandum ‘Britain and Namibia’. He stated that although the British government did not regard the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola as an essential precondition of Namibian independence, in practice withdrawal offered the best prospect for the success of negotiations.