• Version
  • Download
  • File Size 314.67 KB
  • File Count
  • Create Date July 13, 2020
  • Last Updated July 13, 2020

Zimbabwe Lancaster House Agreement, 21 December 1979

Lancaster House Agreement, 21 December 1979.
1. Following the Meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government held in Lusaka from 1 to 7 August, Her Majesty's Government issued invitations to Bishop Muzorewa and the leaders of the Patriotic Front to participate in a Constitutional Conference at Lancaster House. The purpose of the Conference was to discuss and reach agreement on the terms of an Independence Constitution, and that elections should be supervised under British authority to enable Rhodesia to proceed to legal independence and the parties to settle their differences by political means.
2. The Conference opened on 10 September under the chairmanship of Lord Carrington, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs. The Conference concluded on 15 December, after 47 plenary sessions. A list of the official delegates to the Conference is at Annex A. The text of Lord Carrington's opening address is at Annex B, together with statements made by Mr Nkomo on behalf of his and Mr Mugabe's delegation and by Bishop Muzorewa on behalf of his delegation.
3. In the course of its proceedings the Conference reached agreement on the following issues:
— Summary of the Independence Constitution (attached as Annex C to this report)*
—arrangements for the pre-independence period (Annex D)
—a cease-fire agreement signed by the parties (Annex E)
4. In concluding this agreement and signing this report the parties undertake:
(a) to accept the authority of the Governor;
(b) to abide by the Independence Constitution;
(c) to comply with the pre-independence arrangements;
(d) to abide by the cease-fire agreement;
(e) to campaign peacefully and without intimidation;
(f) to renounce the use of force for political ends;
(g) to accept the outcome of the elections and instruct any forces under their authority to do the same.
*The Constitution, which was enacted by Order in Council on 6 December 1979, gives full effect to this Summary.
Lord Carrington (Chairman) Sir I Gilmour Bt Sir M Havers* Lord Harlech* Mr R Luce Sir M Palliser Sir A Duff* Mr D M Day Mr R A C Byatt* Mr R W Renwick Mr P R N Fifoot Mr N M Fenn Mr G G H Walden Mr C D Powell Mr P J Barlow Mr R D Wilkinson Mr A M Layden Mr R M J Lyne Mr M J Richardson* Mr C R L de Chassiron* Mrs A J Phillips* Mr M C Wood
*Replaced by Sir J Graham, Mr S J Gomersall, Gen M Farndale, Mr R Jackling, Col A Gurdon, Col C Dunphie and Mr B Watkins for some sessions of the Conference.
Mr J M Nkomo Mr J M Chinamano Mr E Z Tekere Gen J M Tongogara Mr E R Kadungure Dr H Ushewokunze Mr D Mutumbuka Mr J Tungamirai Mr E Zvobgo Mr S Mubako* Mr W Kamba Mr J W Msika Mr T G Silundika* Mr A M Chambati Mr John Nkomo* Mr L Baron* Mr S K Sibanda* Mr E Mlambo* Mr C Ndlovu* Miss E Siziba
*Replaced by Mr W Musarurwa, Mr D Dabengwa, Mr A Ndlovu, Mr R Austin, Mr R Mpoko, Mr R Manyika and Mr L Mafela for some sessions of the Conference.
Bishop A T Muzorewa Dr S C Mundawarara Mr E L Bulle Mr F Zindoga Mr D C Mukome* Mr G B Nyandoro* Rev N Sithole Mr L Nyemba* Chief K Ndiweni Mr Z M Bafanah* Mr I D Smith Mr D C Smith Mr R Cronje Mr C Andersen Dr J Kamusikiri Mr G Pincus* Mr L G Smith Air Vice Marshal H Hawkins Mr D Zamchiya Mr S V Mutambanengwe Mr M A Adam Mr P Claypole
*Replaced by Mr A R McMillan, Mr D V M Bradley, Gen P Walls, Mr K Flower and Mr P K Allum for some sessions of the Conference.
Mr J M Willson Mr R S Dewar Mr R P Ralph Mr N E Sheinwald
Lord Carrington: I am glad to welcome you to this Conference and to open its proceedings.
When the British Government issued invitations to this Conference on 14 August, after extensive consultations, we naturally hoped for and expected a positive response. Our consultations had revealed a strong desire that the United Kingdom should take the initiative in making a further attempt to achieve a final settlement of the problem of Rhodesia, in fulfilment of its constitutional responsibilities. There was also a widespread feeling that continuation or intensification of the war was not in the best interests of any of the parties to the dispute, nor of the people of Rhodesia as a whole. Nevertheless, it is not a simple matter for those who have been involved in a bitter and tragic military confrontation to sit round a conference table together. The British Government felt strongly that it had the responsibility to bring that about.
When inviting you here we appealed to you, in the interests of the people of Rhodesia, to approach these negotiations in a positive spirit and to seek to build up areas of agreement. We hope thereby to lay the foundations for a free, independent and democratic society in which all the people of Rhodesia, irrespective of their race or political beliefs, would be able to live in security and at peace with each other and with their neighbours. The act of coming together is important. It is now up to us to build on that.
Since 1965, and indeed long before, many meetings have been held to try to resolve this problem. I am under no illusions, nor are any of my colleagues with me under any illusion, about the magnitude of the task before us. The problem is one which has defeated the efforts of successive British Governments, all of whom sought to achieve the objective of a peaceful settlement in conditions which would guarantee to the people of Rhodesia the full enjoyment of their rights. But I have no intention of going back over the history of those attempts; and I hope that you also will be prepared to look to the future rather than to the past.
I would like to hope that there is a difference between this meeting and those which have preceded it. This is a constitutional conference, the purpose of which is to decide the proper basis for the granting of legal independence to the people of Rhodesia. Many conferences like this have been held in this very building. A great many former dependent territories of the United Kingdom have successfully made the transition to independent statehood on the basis of constitutions agreed here. It is our intention to approach this Conference on the basis of the
same principles and with no less strong a determination to succeed than in the case of those other conferences, which resulted in the granting of independence by this country to our former dependent territories. I believe that we can take some pride in the part we have played at conferences held at Lancaster House in the process of decolonisation. As Commonwealth leaders agreed at Lusaka, Britain has had no lack of experience as a decolonising power.
The agreement reached at Lusaka has made it possible for the British Government to convene this Conference with the very real hope that it will lead to an internationally acceptable settlement. I would like to pay tribute to the Commonwealth Heads of Government and the Commonwealth Secretary-General, all of whom worked so hard at Lusaka to establish an agreed position. In summary, the Commonwealth Heads of Government at Lusaka confirmed that they were wholly committed to genuine majority rule for the people of Rhodesia, and accepted that this requires the adoption of a democratic constitution including appropriate safeguards for minorities. They reiterated that it is the responsibility of the British Government to grant legal independence to Rhodesia. They agreed that the government formed under the independence constitution must be chosen through free and fair elections, properly supervised under British Government authority, and with Commonwealth observers.
They welcomed the British Government's intention to convene this Conference, and recognised that the search for a settlement must involve all parties to the conflict. We should do well, I think, to bear in mind throughout our discussions the framework thus set out in the Lusaka communique. Not only does it incorporate the views of the British Government, but it sets out the approach which the Commonwealth will support and which will gain international acceptance.
Against this background I approach the search for a fair constitutional settlement in Rhodesia with the conviction that it is illusory to think that any settlement can fully satisfy the requirements of either side. An agreement can only be reached if there is a willingness to compromise.
The British Government has put to you an outline of the kind of constitution on the basis of which we would be prepared to grant independence. We wish to discuss these proposals with you at this Conference, and will be prepared to elaborate them in the light of our discussions. If we can reach agreement at this Conference, there will be an end to the war. That is an outcome which I believe will be greeted with immense relief by the people of Rhodesia and throughout Africa. Rhodesia will proceed to legal independence with a government formed by whichever party and whichever leader can show that they command the confidence of the people. I must confess that I find it difficult to see how any party or group or leader can hope to benefit from what would follow failure to reach agreement along the general lines we have put before you, and those who would suffer most would be the people of Rhodesia, towards whom our real responsibility lies.
A quarter of the population of Rhodesia has been born since 1965. Their lives have been overshadowed, not merely by a tragic and unnecessary political dispute, but by armed conflict. Many of them have died as innocent victims of the war. Or they have lost their parents, or their brothers or their sisters. Or they have lost their homes. Many of them, black and white, face the prospect of themselves having to fight, on one side or the other, or of being deprived indefinitely of peaceful residence in the land of their birth - a quarter of a million people are now in refugee camps in other countries. If we, who are assembled in this
room, cannot agree on a way to end the fighting and to provide for you to settle your differences by political means, this is what will happen.
This generation now at risk had no part in the initial causes of the conflict. It was not born when the problem of Rhodesia came to a crisis in 1965. But now there is acceptance by all the parties of a society free from racial discrimination, of universal suffrage and majority rule. We can make this objective a reality if - and only if - we are prepared to look at the problems on the basis of principles on which both sides should be able to agree. I believe that the people assembled in this room have it in their power to end the war and to enable the people of Rhodesia to decide their future by peaceful means. We - you and I - bear a heavy responsibility, and I do not believe that the people of Rhodesia will readily forgive any party which deprives them of this opportunity to settle their future by peaceful means. That is a thought which should be in all our minds throughout the whole of this Conference.
It is, I must say, a matter of great regret and disappointment to me and my colleagues that hostilities are continuing during this Conference. Progress towards agreement on political issues - which I hope we are all determined to achieve - will by definition mean progress towards removing the causes of the war. It must be our objective to proceed as soon as possible to a stage at which there can be agreement on a ceasefire. We shall fall short of what we ought to achieve for the people of Rhodesia if we do not give them a chance to make a fresh start, its causes and its consequences put firmly in the past.
Gentlemen, Britain has at times, and variously, been described on the one side as choosing to stand with arms folded on the touchline; and on the other as not being serious in its determination to decolonise. Let me assure you today, if anyone is in any doubt, that we could not be more serious in our intention to achieve a satisfactory basis for the granting of legal independence for the people of Rhodesia, and in this attempt to bring about an end to the war.
Since we were elected the government of this country at the beginning of May we have engaged in extensive consultations on the best way of achieving these objectives. Lord Harlech visited Africa early in the life of this Government to consult with the parties to the dispute and with the Commonwealth and other African governments most closely concerned. He found a general conviction that a solution to the problem of bringing Rhodesia to legal independence must stem from Britain as the constitutionally responsible authority, and that we must put forward proposals to achieve that objective. He also found that there was criticism of the present constitutional arrangements, in particular of the blocking power given to the white minority over a wide range of legislation, and of the character of the Public Service and other Commissions.
In the period of consultations, we made it clear that we would attach particular importance to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting at Lusaka. At Lusaka the British Prime Minister said that the British Government were wholly committed to genuine majority rule in Rhodesia. The principle of majority rule has been accepted by all the delegates at this Conference. The Prime Minister, at Lusaka, also recognised the importance of encouraging the European minority to remain as an integral part of the community. The Prime Minister emphasised that Britain fully accepted its constitutional responsibility to bring Rhodesia to legal independence on a basis of justice and democracy, comparable with the arrangements we have made for the independence of other countries

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *