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SOUTHERN AFRICA IN THE COLD WAR, POST-1974History and Public Policy ProgramCritical Oral History Conference SeriesSOUTHERN AFRICA IN THECOLD WAR, POST-1974Edited by Sue Onslow and Anna-Mart van Wyk

History and Public Policy ProgramCritical Oral History Conference SeriesSOUTHERN AFRICA IN THECOLD WAR, POST-1974Edited by Sue Onslow and Anna-Mart van Wyk

Woodrow Wilson International Center for ScholarsOne Woodrow Wilson Plaza1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NWWashington, DC 20004-3027www.wilsoncenter.orgISBN# 978-1-938027-06-2Cover image: Soviet and East Bloc military advisors in Angola. “Soviet Military Power,” 1983, Page 92,U.S. Department of Defense, 2013 Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Southern Africa in the Cold War, Post-1974ContentsAcknowledgements vOpening Remarks 1Session 1: The Angola/Mozambique CrisisBriefing Paper 15Discussion 43Documents on Angola 74Timeline on Angola 153Session 2: The Rhodesia/Zimbabwe ConfrontationBriefing Paper 159Discussion 183Documents on Rhodesia 217Timeline on Rhodesia 309Session 3: South West Africa/NamibiaBriefing Paper 323Discussion 335Documents on South West Africa/Namibia 378Timeline on South West Africa/Namibia 453Session 4: South AfricaBriefing Paper 455Discussion 466Documents on South Africa 492Timeline on South Africa 524Closing Remarks 535iiiiii

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars is the national, livingU.S. memorial honoring President Woodrow Wilson. In providing an essential link between theworlds of ideas and public policy, the Center addresses current and emerging challenges confrontingthe United States and the world. The Center promotes policy-relevant research and dialogue to increase understanding and enhance the capabilities and knowledge of leaders, citizens, and institutionsworldwide. Created by an act of Congress in 1968, the Center is a nonpartisan institution headquartered in Washington, D.C., and supported by both public and private funds.Conclusions or opinions expressed in Center publications and programs are those of the authorsand speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Center staff, fellows, trustees, advisorygroups, or any individuals or organizations that provide financial support to the Center.The Center is the publisher of The Wilson Quarterly and home of Woodrow Wilson Center Press,Dialogue radio and television. For more information about the Center’s activities and publications,please visit us on the web at Harman, Director, President, and CEOBOARD OF TRUSTEESJoseph B. Gildenhorn, Chairman of the BoardSander R. Gerber, Vice ChairmanPublic Members:James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress; John F. Kerry, Secretary, U.S. Department of State;G. Wayne Clough, Secretary, Smithsonian Institution; Arne Duncan, Secretary, U.S. Departmentof Education; David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States; Fred P. Hochberg, Chairman andPresident, Export-Import Bank; Carole Watson, Acting Chairman, NEH; Kathleen Sebelius,Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human ServicesPrivate Citizen Members:Timothy Broas, John T. Casteen III, Charles Cobb, Jr., Thelma Duggin, Carlos M. Gutierrez,Susan Hutchison, Barry S. JacksonWilson National Cabinet:Eddie & Sylvia Brown, Melva Bucksbaum & Raymond Learsy, Ambassadors Sue & Chuck Cobb,Lester Crown, Thelma Duggin, Judi Flom, Sander R. Gerber, Ambassador Joseph B. Gildenhorn &Alma Gildenhorn, Harman Family Foundation, Susan Hutchison, Frank F. Islam, Willem Kooyker,Linda B. & Tobia G. Mercuro, Dr. Alexander V. Mirtchev, Wayne Rogers, Leo Zickler

AcknowledgementsGathering together former antagonists to compare perspectives and reflect on decisions,backed by primary documents from a variety of international sources, is a well-establishedexercise in ‘Critical History’—a methodology pioneered by historians Jim Blight and janetLang, and used extensively to good effect by the Wilson Center’s History and Public PolicyProgram, and its partners around the world.Employing Critical Oral History as a research tool in the Southern African contextwas both an innovation, and a daunting challenge, as the region’s past is very much aliveand kicking. That is one reason why the planning of this first-ever Critical Oral HistoryConference on Southern Africa in the Cold War took over five years.The conference itself could not have taken place without the financial support of theAluka Project, the Nordic Afrika Institute, the Journal of Southern African Studies, andthe generous backing and provision of excellent facilities by Monash South Africa.In addition to the kind contribution from the speakers at this two day meeting, andthe input from our fellow academics Professor Vladimir Shubin, Professor Chris Saunders,Professor Brian Raftopoulos, Professor Tilman Dedering, Professor Iain Edwards, and Dr.Thula Simpson, we would also like to thank the following academics and administratorsfor their steadfast support: Professor Arne Westad, Co-Director of LSE IDEAS, AssociateProfessor Dina Burger, Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at Monash South Africa,Dr. Proscovia Svard, Dr. Graham Dominy and Neels Muller of the South African NationalArchives, and Dr. Christian Ostermann (Director) and Tim McDonnell, at the WilsonCenter in Washington, D.C. We are also deeply grateful for the continued interest andadvice from Professor Mervyn Frost and Professor Jack Spence of the Department of WarStudies at King’s College, London. But our most profound thanks and appreciation go tothe ‘witnesses’ themselves.Dr. Sue Onslow and Associate Professor Anna-Mart van Wykv

Opening RemarksIain Edwards and Sue OnslowEDWARDS: The terms “the Cold War” and “the Iron Curtain” are certainly amongst themost well-known terms in the post-World War II political lexicon. The Cold War was an epicperiod in world history, probably the first period in history that we can speak of as global history. South Africa was a cause celebre in the “life and times of the Cold War” and southern Africawas a significant geographical area within this global contestation. This would serve as a periodof around thirty years. Within this period in southern Africa we can identify five broad historical processes: first, decolonization; second, the rise of the apartheid state; third, the growingpower of anti-colonial national liberation movements and the ideological and organizationalforms of “Third World-ism;” fourth, the increasing importance and complexity of superpowerand other foreign interventions in the area; and finally, war. From small-scale sabotage to thearticulation and operational conduct of various forms of armed struggle, from conventional toasymmetrical warfare, the Cold War in southern Africa was very often a hot war.Historical analysis is always under continual revision. Ever since the outbreak of theCold War, academic debates on the origins and characteristics of the Cold War havedominated the field of contemporary history. As the Cold War proceeded, the historiography of the Cold War developed its own dynamics. In the early phases of the ColdWar academic discourse was ideologically partisan, fiercely divergent and even combative. Indeed historians and their works were part of the Cold War. Later historical workbecame far more nuanced. However, historians were still very much shackled by therealities of this continuing global conflict happening around them as they researchedand wrote. The situation has now changed. Four features of this contemporary scholarlydebate are salient and will provide much of the intellectual direction for this conference.First, since the end of the Cold War, the historical context is much more open-ended,providing sources of both opportunity and confusion. Historians seek to review earlierapproaches and assertions and, probably more excitingly, explore new areas of research.1

Opening RemarksThe Cold warwas not adeclared war.It’s simple, butyou don’t knowhow deep thatconcept goes.2Historians are reviewing their concepts and methods and are posing new questions.Historians seek new and relevant knowledge.Second, during the Cold War secrecy and openness interrelated in complexly importantways. For the most part, the Cold War was a conflict conducted within shrouds of secrecybut carried out within the gaze of enormous publicity and propaganda, and with effectswhich could not be hidden. Historians need to understand how this wider process manifested itself in various situations, regions and periods. For historians, this is a critical issue ofboth evidence and analysis. State secrecy, when combined with all governments’ legitimatearchival restrictions, has served to decisively limit historians’ access to crucially importantprimary sources. Inevitably, this limited historians’ analytic abilities. This is now changingacross the world as more and more primary source material is becoming publicly accessible.However, the processes of archival opening have by no means been universal, continuous oruncomplicated. Historians still need to seek out further primary source material.Third, throughout the world very many key Cold War figures live on. Historians have aresponsibility to engage with these people. The Cold War was not a huge moment in historyleaving only a documentary trail. It was a period of dramatic human agency. These actorshave places in history. In a time of massive popular fascination with autobiography andmemoir, many of these figures have written memoirs. Many more such works will doubtlessfollow. However, Cold War historians must seek a dialogue with these figures. Cold Warhistorians must listen and learn. It is here that the contemporary historian, in the case of theCold War, must embrace oral history. As with all contemporary historians, historians of theCold War must be oral historians too. This must be a conference of listening and learning.Finally, despite its ending, the legacy of the Cold War lives on, and is pervasive. TheCold War will cast a long shadow. Good historical work on the Cold War will remain ofenormous contemporary importance. It is only now that a wider informed and decisionmaking leadership and public are recognizing this. This is so for southern Africa as it is forthe rest of the world. It is the responsibility of us all, historians and actors, to join togetherand to develop different forms of understanding and knowledge. It is for exactly this reason that across the world scholars and actors are meeting in conferences such as this one.The importance of this conference is that it is the first time such an initiative has takenplace to discuss the history of the Cold War in southern Africa.In order to ensure that the discussions which are to commence can develop effectively,it is important to accept certain basic assumptions and understandings. Five are important.

Southern Africa in the Cold War, Post-1974First, historians of the Cold War are fully acquainted with power politics: realpolitik. Let usface these issues of power directly. Second, the Cold War was a bipolar creation of complexcontestation. Let’s acknowledge that this will be central to our discussions. Third, secrecywas a key component in the Cold War. Let us accept that we understand that all is never asit seems. Fourth, the Cold War was a period of a dramatic worldwide engagement and alsoof minor detail. Let us not, as humans, seek only the dramatic large scale, dismissing the personal and the human as mere anecdote of minor, trivial import. Finally, as humans, we havepartial, but nevertheless always legitimate forms of historical understanding and knowledge.Let’s express ourselves openly in this human way. This is the essence of listening and learning.ONSLOW: Thank you very much, Iain. I would just like to begin by saying that we willbe having time for questions in this opening session so that we all understand exactly whatthe brief of this meeting is and its purpose. I would like to welcome everyone. I wouldagain like to thank Monash South Africa (MSA) for hosting this conference. I’d also liketo set out, in broad terms, the origin of this meeting, because I genuinely believe it is a historic occasion in itself—the gathering together of former enemies in a meeting to discusspast wars. It is a unique occasion, I believe, for the southern African region, and I thankyou all very much indeed for your participation here.The aim of the overall project with which I’m involved is to explore the complexities of the impact of the Cold War on the southern African region. It recognizes thatthere are many historical narratives, as Iain pointed out to you. There is the narrativeof decolonization. There’s the narrative of nation building, and this is taking place, ofcourse, in an era of a global battle of systems and ideas. So, these narratives are equallylegitimate—they could be parallel, they could overlap, and they can also be complex:separate as well as connected. Part of my particular research approach as a historian istherefore to explore these complexities, and also to recognize the fragility of the written record. And this is where I believe oral history is a particularly rich source whichneeds to be explored and used to supplement written record. Oral history also bringsunderstanding to the documents which are available, because documents can lie just asmuch as people. We need to understand the past, through both oral and written history,to show its importance and to point to the enduring legacies of the Cold War for contemporary southern Africa. Because this is not the past: its legacies continue to roll outinto the present day and to affect the future. So then, this meeting is part of a journeyAny discussionthat takesplace hereis almost anextension of thebattle of theCold War.3

Opening Remarksto understand the past. I recognize that it may be partial, it may be imperfect, but it isstill very necessary.Now, this meeting itself will take the form of effectively a series of group interviews. InLondon we call them “witness seminars.” It is a gathering of contemporary actors. It willtake the form of a chair and a scholar who has prepared a paper. In your document packyou will find a detailed briefing paper supported by original documents which draw uponour own research and other sources which were kindly contributed. Key questions will beposed and the framework of discussion will then be guided by the chair. But it is for you,the participants, to reflect and to interact. In each session there will be time for the widergathering to pose questions but also to comment. So, that is the general form.Now, these interviews, or this series of interviews, are being recorded. In your packthere is a very necessary consent form, because with the recording comes, of course, thetranscription that will be returned to each of you to be verified. If there should be anythingin the transcript which is an error, or if there is anything in there that you wish to redact,to remove, this will be done. Any additions will be added as addendums to the back of thetranscript. So, in other words, people can speak with honesty, they can speak with dignityin the knowledge that their words will be respected. You will have a chance, of course, toread through the entire transcript, to check it. This transcript will then be published andthe recording amended as necessary and will be made available for historians.As Iain has pointed out, there are key concepts and themes that we will be exploring in thediscussion here. It raises the key question of what was the Cold War in southern Africa? Ofcourse different actors here, different participants, have different understandings of the ColdWar and these are all very relevant. I was discussing with Lord Owen, former British ForeignSecretary, about the Rhodesian conflict and he heartily denied it had anything to do with theCold War! I explained that perhaps there was another way of looking at it, that the Cold Warwas an integral part of that struggle and Ian Smith’s government’s resistance. So, what wasthe Cold War in southern Africa? We will be looking at key themes and concepts, the role ofideas, the role of perceptions, the role of violence—violence at many different levels; violenceas conceived by powerful institutions, violence conceived as serving a political purpose, beingused as a political language; the violence used at a much lower level, the violence experienced bypeople. We will be looking at the role of key actors and institutions but also overall, of course,the immensely personal experience of the struggle. And so, here you are in your professionalcapacities but also in your personal capacities as your own witnesses to history.4

Southern Africa in the Cold War, Post-1974In all of this, we are not trying to give an all-embracing history of the region. Thatis impossible. We are trying to explore avenues; we are trying to open up new areas ofresearch; we are trying to refine our own understanding. So, I look forward to your discussions in opening up these new areas to be explored. I want to underline with Iain ourrole as scholars: we are here to listen and we fully recognize two days is not enough. But,as General Geldenhuys has instructed me to say, “We look forward to this discussion andwe will have a wonderful time.” In all seriousness, it will be an excellent occasion and I’mlooking forward to it very much indeed.There is also the question of ethics which I, as an oral historian, need to address absolutely upfront. I emphasize that this meeting is being recorded, but that you will havethe right to check the record. That right will be respected, your words will be verified byyou and everything you wish will be removed from the record. We’ll also be dealing withthe events of thirty years ago. I also fully recognize that for many of you, this is yesterday.This is very real, very alive in your memories. There is of course the question of how muchscholars can expect human beings to be able to recall events from so long ago. But in myexperience, for key emotional moments, key points which may vary from individual toindividual, people can have excellent recall in a way that in fact really enhances, perhapsrather drives, our understanding of these past events.There is also the question of language. This is something I am very interested in as aBritish historian, teaching international history to foreign students. I’m working in a verydifferent area of the world and this is where I very much appreciated my discussion yesterday with Iain because, if you like, I am a Northern Hemisphere Cold War historian, heis a Southern Hemisphere Cold War historian. That brings with it different perceptions,and this cross fertilization of ideas, I think, is very, very valuable. Language, and the use oflanguage, is key. We coming afterwards can look at language and not understand exactlywhat was meant by the use of certain words. Certain words can have weight and value inthe cultural context. When that context is removed, we can fail to understand exactly whatwas meant. I was reflecting on this talking to Professor Shubin about “military training.”Now I, as a woman, coming from Britain, might not necessarily understand exactly whatthis encapsulated, and this is what I try to explore here. Use of language—what exactly ismeant? Certain words can assume significance to some people which is not intended; others have a great significance, which is not appreciated. But what we are trying to do hereis not to touch any moral equivalents to suffering, any moral equivalents of right. We are5

Opening Remarkstrying to explore in a neutral way exactly why what happened, happened. I’d just like toconclude my remarks by saying whilst you are here, you are going to be talking about thepast. I believe that what you will be saying is of immense value for the future.EDWARDS: Let us use this discussion to become familiar with our environment, theequipmen

Cold War, academic debates on the origins and characteristics of the Cold War have dominated the field of contemporary history. As the Cold War proceeded, the histori-ography of the Cold War developed its own dynamics. In the early phases of the Cold War academic discourse was ideologically partisan, fiercely divergent and even combat- ive. Indeed historians and their works were part of the .

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