Report on Southern Africa Meeting

November 1979
8 pages
Contents: Overview of Current Situation • What issues/strategies in 1980 are likely to be the most productive? • Refugees • South African War Resisters • Resource Material • Information Sharing • Idea of AFSC Visit to South Africa • Western Sahara • Minutes of a meeting held on November 14, 1979. The meeting minutes says participants were Dumisani Kumalo (Campaign to Oppose Bank Loans to South Africa), George Houser and Paul Irish (American Committee on Africa, ACOA), Ted Lockwood (Washington Office on .Africa, WOA), Beth Perry (Friends Peace Committee), Wilfred Grey and Ken Carsens (International Defense and Aid Fund), Jerry Herman, Bill Sutherland, Ginny Hill, David Sogge, Jim Bristol, Mary Wade, Ron Young (American Friends Service Committee, AFSC). The meeting minutes say Bill Sutherland, AFSC's Southern Africa Representative just returned from a swing around the frontline states, made the following points in reviewing the situation: there is a sense of intensification of the war, including in Zambia, Angola, Mozambique, Botswana, with increased destruction and economic hardships; it is important to look at what western countries are doing, while they talk about negotiations, including continuing to provide arms in spite of UN sanctions and continuing to train South African personnel who play a role in the military confrontation; there is some improvement in the defenses in Mozambique, but South Africa continues to control the air; there has been a change of tactics since 1974 when South Africa seemed to be attempting to woo neighboring countries, while tightening repression internally to a situation, now, where South Africa has stepped up its military attacks on neighboring states, while making certain minor changes at home; what happens is influenced to a large extent by what some observers view as a white Rhodesian, South African Western reactionary axis. The meeting minutes say Paul Irish reported briefly on a recent conference he attended in London and indicated that there will be a series of conferences by nongovernmental organizations on the issues of sanctions, leading up to a United Nations/Organization of African Unity Conference in September 1980. The meeting minutes say George Houser asked for some time to discuss the situation in the Western Sahara, which George believes should be more of a focus for our attention than it is; the United States’ commitment to Morocco, including provision for supplying counter insurgency weapons, threatens the decolonization process which is underway; George believes that Polasario is a very effective liberation movement similar in character to the PAIGC; there is a demand being offered through the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) for a referendum; in the next couple of months there will be an issue before the Congress related to a new U.S. commitment of arms to Morocco. The meeting minutes discuss union, Bantustans, Sharpeville, Soweto, political prisoners, the Freedom Charter, the United Nations Decade for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, Rhodesia, the UN arms embargo against South Africa, the White House Conference on Africa, Congressman Solarz, divestment, NARMIC, nuclear developments in South Africa, Randall Robinson, the Sullivan Principles, the Mennonite Central Committee, Robert Mossman, and liberation movements. 
Used by permission of the Africa Action (successor to the American Committee on Africa). American Friends Service Committee, and the Washington Office on Africa.