[Dear Kathy: I am writing to update you on the tremendous progress of the Shell Boycott …]

by Kenneth S. Zinn, United Mine Workers of America
Washington, DC, United States
June 16, 1988
3 pages
Type: Correspondence
Coverage in Africa: South Africa
Coverage outside Africa: United States
Language: English
Letter to Kathy Devine from Kenneth S. Zinn, Deputy Administrator, Office of Corporate Campaign, United Mine Workers of America. The letter says I am writing to update you on the tremendous progress of the Shell Boycott and to ask your assistance in furthering the campaign to pressure Royal Dutch/Shell to leave South Africa; in the past few months, several prominent South African leaders have spoken out publicly against Shell's involvement in South Africa; this May, at the shareholders meeting of Royal Dutch Petroleum in the Hague, James Motlatsi, President of the National Union of Mineworkers of South Africa, addressed the meeting. The letter says support for Shell's withdrawal from South Africa has grown immensely among elected officials, shareholders, and churches; at the annual Shell shareholders meeting, a list of over 100 American and European Mayors who had joined together to call on Shell to leave South Africa was released; this list included the mayors of some of America's largest cities (see enclosed list). The letter says shareholders of Royal Dutch Petroleum, representing 13.6 million shares or $1.58 billion worth of stock, have joined together to call for an extraordinary shareholders meeting to vote on Shell's withdrawal from South Africa (see enclosed list); this action was necessitated because the company refused to allow a vote at its annual meeting on a resolution demanding its withdrawal from South Africa. The letter says support for the boycott has grown in the religious community as several major denominations have recently endorsed the boycott while others will consider an endorsement later this summer; the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, and the National Council of the Churches of Christ, U.S.A., which represents 32 denominations with a total membership of 44 million Americans, have all recently endorsed the Shell Boycott. The letter says in the coming months, the focus of the Shell Boycott campaign will be two-fold: 1) national legislation to impose comprehensive economic sanctions against South Africa, and 2) ending municipal contracts with Shell. The letter says in just a few short weeks, the U.S. House of Representatives is scheduled to begin debate on H.R. 1580, the Comprehensive Anti - Apartheid Amendments of 1988; this bill would impose comprehensive economic sanctions on South Africa; of particular importance is a provision that would mandate the disinvestment of U.S.-based oil corporations from South Africa, and deny European-based oil corporations, like Shell, the privilege to bid on U.S. oil, gas and coal leases if they remain in South Africa; we strongly urge you to communicate with your Representative to support H.R. 1580 and to communicate with your Senators to support its counterpart, S. 2378. The letter says enclosed please find a sample ordinance requiring a city to ban purchases from oil companies doing business in South Africa; by severing city contracts with Shell, we can make a major impact on the company's profits; we hope that you will use this ordinance as a sample for passage in your city council. We hope to have several major cities declared "Shell-Free" by the end of the year. The letter discusses Archbishop Desmond Tutu, effective economic pressure, apartheid, Mobil Oil, the National Council of Churches (NCC), local unions, churches, chapters of the national organizations that have endorsed the boycott, Ann Werboff, the Shell Boycott Education Project, mass-rallies, letter-writing or postcard campaigns, and phone banks.
Used by permission of Kenneth S. Zinn.
Collection: Kathleen M. Devine papers