Mission of H.E. Mr. B. Akporode Clark

18-30 May 1980

Meeting with Officials of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland

Helsinki, Finland, 20 May 1980, 9:30 a.m.

Amb. Clark thanked Finland for the excellent facilities provided for the Special Committees International Seminar on Women and Apartheid.

Until recently, there were three major issues - strands of a common theme - in southern Africa.

After independence of Zimbabwe, there was light at the end of the tunnel for Namibia. The law of inevitability is at play.

If the world waits until SWAPO wins on the battlefield, as Patriotic Front had done in Zimbabwe, the result would be tragic. There might be complications as in Angola.

Finland had always had a prominent role to play on Namibia.

In South Africa itself, the present regime is more subtle. The Prime Minister agrees that the system is bad and many things were wrong. He wants to diffuse the combustible element - the demonstrations by Coloured students etc. - in order to prevent an uprising and an outflow of capital as after Sharpeville and Soweto.

Botha hopes to cultivate West especially because of the breakdown of détente, and argues that South Africa was indispensable to West because of strategic location, minerals and military strength.

Botha continued territorial apartheid (bantustans). Economic apartheid has not changed much - e.g. migrant labour, dispossession of black people.

South Africa is at the crossroads after Zimbabwe independence.

Countries do not have to wait for Security Council decisions. There were many precedents. Action must be taken at personal and national level. The Security Council waits until massive conflict before taking action.

He concluded by thanking Finland for all its support.

Mr. Thornuld(?) said they tried to be optimistic on Namibia, but were frustrated by delays. Finland was ready to contribute to the independence plan. There would be no end of international attention to South Africa, after Namibia is free, until change comes about in South Africa.

There has been considerable progress in southern Africa in the past decade. South Africa was too much isolated in the sense that they were insulated from impulses from the international scene. Perhaps there should be radio programmes to South Africa.

Finland has implemented various measures and the sports boycott against South Africa. The Nordic countries had set up a committee to discuss further measures. The matter was under continuing review.

Nordic countries have tried to reduce dependence on trade with South Africa. But they preferred to see action on sanctions through the Security Council. Public opinion strongly supported the efforts of Nordic countries to take action which will have an impact.

Finland does not cut off diplomatic relations as a means of foreign policy. The legation in South Africa has been a useful source of information in relation to the Namibia plan.

Finland always hoped for peaceful change.

Amb. Clark said the difficulties on Namibia were not insurmountable.

As regards South Africa, he would not press for the closing of the legation. Each country should decide for itself.

As regards sanctions, a decision by the Security Council is the best. But Nordic countries should consider breaking economic relations with South Africa in response to General Assembly resolutions. They should not wait on all occasions for the Security Council to endorse General Assembly recommendations, before taking national action.

South Africa was more dependent on the West than the West on South Africa.

Meeting with Representatives of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Finnish Parliament

Helsinki, 20 May 1980, 12:00 noon

Amb. Clark said that on Namibia he was working closely with the Finnish mission to the United Nations and Mr. Ahtisaari. He was optimistic of success within a year.

As regards South Africa, there was a shrewd propaganda campaign about change, liberalisation, reform of trade union laws etc. The changes were not even cosmetic: they were diversionary tactics. The intention of codes of conduct may not be bad, but in the context of the political struggle, they were a diversion to keep foreign investments.

None of the South African arguments about dependence of West etc., stand serious examination.

This was the moment to act. Otherwise people will fight and Angola may be repeated.

A programme of sanctions was essential - arms embargo, oil embargo and other pressures.

He thanked the Finnish Government and Parliament for what they had done, but would ask for more. They should decide whether maintaining of diplomatic relations with South Africa was useful. Finland had very little trade with South Africa. South Africa was dependent on Finnish paper. Finland can do without South African fruit. Action should be taken even if symbolic, and Finland should not wait for the Security Council.

The Chairman of the meeting said that diplomatic relations with South Africa were at a very low level. The legation in South Africa was the only legation Finland maintained and it had only two persons. Commercial relations were very little - may be meteorological instrumentation and grapefruit in the off season.

Even those who want relations to be cut agree that minimum relations may be useful for Finland to play a role on Namibia.

He felt personally that diplomatic relations should be maintained as they do not imply approval.

One member of Parliament asked if South Africa was more open to world opinion after independence of Zimbabwe?

Amb. Clark said that South Africa was stepping up propaganda for image-building as revealed in the Muldergate scandal. The international climate and war psychosis make it difficult for some people to see things clearly, particularly in the United States during an election year.

There was actually no liberalisation in South Africa but more repression and increase in military budget.

The Chairman thanked Amb. Clark and said that all members were favourable to support of the activities of the Special Committee against Apartheid.

(Note: Nine members of the Parliament were present at the meeting.)

Meeting with the Under-Secretary of State for International Development Cooperation of Sweden, H.E. Mr. Hans Blix

Stockholm, 27 May 1980, 10:00 a.m.

Mr. Blix referred to the Parliament debate on South Africa. He said the Foreign Minister, Mr. Ullsten, would join in the appeal for the release of Nelson Mandela.

Amb. Clark felt that there was a waning of interest, at public level, on South Africa. People wait for tragedies like Sharpeville. Apartheid cannot be reformed, but must be abolished.

Sweden had taken the lead in action on apartheid. But more had to be done to convince South Africa and their friends.

If SAS stops flights to South Africa, that would not be a mere gesture.

He wished to exchange views on the proposed UN/OAU Conference on sanctions against South Africa. He hoped that Sweden would be represented at high level and he would welcome assistance by Swedish experts.

Referring to IUEF, he said the Fund should not be crippled. Otherwise South Africas strategy for infiltration would have been rewarded.

He had met Lars-Gunnar Eriksson in Stockholm and he was candid about the problems.

His own concern was political objectives rather than management.

He recalled that Mr. Blix was involved in the Geneva Conference which drafted the protocol on the status of prisoners of war. Perhaps Amnesty, ICJ and other NGOs should be involved in pressing for that status for South African freedom fighters.

The Special Committee was planning for its own side of the Mandela campaign, linking release with the demand for a non-racial society.

Mr. Blix said Sweden wanted progress in UN on the investment resolution.

Amb. Clark said they should look at reinvestment. Britain claimed that four-fifths of the new investment was really reinvestment.

Mr. Blix said action by major Western States would have great impact. He expressed support for the Sanctions Conference. Sweden would do what it can about IUEF.

Amb. Clark said the Sanctions Conference may focus not only on Security Council but also on unilateral action by States.

Mr. Blix said that only Security Council can decide on sanctions. Why not use "Uniting for Peace" resolution?

The focus should perhaps be on necessity rather than on procedures.

Meeting with the Foreign Minister of Sweden, H.E. Mr. Ola Ullsten

Stockholm, 27 May 1980, 10:30 a.m.

Amb. Clark thanked the Foreign Minister and his Government for their support. A tragedy was building up in South Africa, with the making of a second Soweto. He asked for support of the Mandela campaign.

He hoped that the debate in the Swedish Parliament on South Africa will lead to similar debates in other Parliaments.

A system which does not treat people equally cannot be reformed.

Mr. Ullsten asked about the effect of Zimbabwe independence on Namibia. Will South Africa become more willing to cooperate or will there be less pressure on South Africa?

Amb. Clark said that the line peddled by the British - as in Margaret Thatchers statement in New York - was that South Africa should be rewarded with the end of isolation if it cooperates with the British on Zimbabwe. Without armed struggle there would have been no settlement.

South Africa would not withdraw from Namibia unless it feels that after Zimbabwe, entire international community will focus on Namibia.

Namibia is not an African problem but an international problem. There can be no concessions.

Many South Africans say that change is inevitable. All they are doing is trying to buy time.

Mr. Ullsten said sooner or later South Africa will have to change. The Rhodesian whites were also intransigent.

Amb. Clark said that Namibia could be free by next year.

We will accept the Western proposal, 20 bases in DMZ and no SWAPO bases etc., to call the South African bluff. We believe SWAPO will win. Time is on our side.

Mr. Ullsten doubted if time was on our side.

Amb. Clark said that in short term SWAPO will win. In medium term, South Africa will build Turnhalle. But if the international community resists, that will collapse like Muzorewa in Rhodesia.

South Africa is strong but sanctions - e.g. oil embargo - can cripple it.

Oil embargo, closing of airline connections etc., would be crucial.

Mr. Ullsten said that South Africa may counteract and frontline States may find it difficult to survive without economic relations with South Africa.

Amb. Clark said that South Africa should not be given chance to consolidate. He said Nordic countries should cooperate on Mandela campaign etc.

Mr. Blix said that apart from stopping of investments, Sweden had concentrated on aid to frontline States. In the past few years it had contributed some five billion kroner.

Large amounts of money are given to ANC: the figures are not published.

Is it possible to convince SWAPO to call the South African bluff?

Amb. Clark said that SWAPO should take a risk. The frontline States would speak to SWAPO.

Mr. Ullsten said he had advised SWAPO last year along those lines so that the international community will know who is to blame. Sweden invited Sam Nujoma for a visit in August.

Mr. Blix asked about movements other than ANC in South Africa.

Amb. Clark said Sweden had not contributed to the UN Trust Fund for Publicity against Apartheid. He asked about IUEF.

Mr. Blix said there had been a mishap and poor administration. They had discussed the matter with Oliver Tambo.

Sweden cannot let the organisation disappear. There was an obligation for students under IUEF scholarships. The scholarships may be cut down. But so long as Africans support IUEF, Sweden will go along.

Mr. Ullsten said that Nordic Foreign Ministers discussed a proposal for a meeting with Foreign Ministers of frontline States and Nigeria. He thought such a meeting would be useful.

Amb. Clark said he had mentioned the proposal in Helsinki. He was thinking of a meeting which would focus international attention. He did not know when the Nigerian Foreign Minister would arrive for the General Assembly session in New York. The meeting will need to be planned in New York.

Mr. Ullsten suggested keeping the idea alive.

He said he would speak later in the day at the African Liberation Day meeting organised by African ambassadors and would call for the release of Nelson Mandela.

(We attended the meeting.)

Meeting with Officials of the Foreign Ministry of Sweden

Stockholm, 27 May 1980, 11:00 a.m.

Mr. Kettis asked Amb. Clark about his reaction to the Namibia Plan of the five Western Powers.

Amb. Clark said he would accept 20 bases in DMZ if they would be withdrawn after 12 weeks. SWAPO should take the risk, and call the bluff.

The ambassadors of frontline States recommended to their governments to press Sam Nujoma to accept.

Calling the bluff puts pressure on the West and strengthens the hand of the African States in going to the Security Council for sanctions.

Mr. Kettis asked what can realistically be done on the sanctions programme and selective sanctions.

Amb. Clark said the main concern was the environment of discussion.

We have to deal with the immensity of the problem - not reform or changes.

Sanctions can be a symbolic gesture. Sanctions can be a part of total world effort - oil embargo was very important because of the need of oil for the small and mobile armed forces. Action should be considered on airlines, nuclear collaboration, transfer of technology through recruitment of personnel, investment etc.

The mechanics of implementation should be considered.

Military attaches should be withdrawn.

He wanted to ask for cancellation of SAS flights to South Africa. SAS propaganda was in contradiction to public posture of Nordic countries. He intended to take up the matter of airline connections with Kenya.

Mr. Kettis said that Sweden would consider any contribution to the forthcoming Sanctions Conference and he would keep in contact with Mr. Reddy.

Under its UN law, Sweden can take action on UN decisions and recommendations. But it bases itself on Security Council decisions as regards trade or communications boycott.

Amb. Clark asked about a contribution to the UN Trust Fund for Publicity against Apartheid.

Mr. Kettis said he would look into that.

Amb. Clark expressed the hope that Sweden would consider joining the Special Committee. One of the great contributions of Sweden has been to globalise the problem of apartheid.

Lunch Hosted by Foreign Ministry of Sweden

Stockholm, 27 May 1980, 12:30 p.m.

Amb. Clark said that South Africa was in the eye of the storm. After independence of Zimbabwe, there was no other cause to divert attention in Africa.

He referred to the ferment among students, workers, churches etc., in South Africa.

This was the time to speak out - and isolate the system which drives women and children to fight the most sophisticated and well-equipped army with bare hands. We should not wait for another Sharpeville massacre.

The changes in South Africa were window-dressing. They were refinements of tactics to consolidate minority rule.

It was a colonial situation in a society based on the master race theory. Apartheid cannot be reformed but must be abolished. It was not compatible with the independence of fifty African States.

The struggle was similar to that in Zimbabwe. It may take longer because the South African regime was devoting large resources for its war machine and has many friends. Africans, however, would not accept status quo; they would fight.

The debate in the Swedish Parliament was of great significance since the only option short of war is sanctions.

He hoped that Sweden would participate actively in the international conference on sanctions which the Special Committee against Apartheid had decided to organise.

Botha says "adapt or die." But it is the Africans who are dying.

He could not justify any national airline going to South Africa.

By taking firm action, Sweden would again be blazing the way.

Mr. Blix agreed that changes in South Africa were cosmetic and stressed the importance of assistance to frontline States and liberation movements.

The international community cannot relax after the independence of Zimbabwe. The momentum should be kept up for freedom of Namibia and South Africa.

The debate in the Swedish Parliament - on the report of the Foreign Affairs Committee on further action against apartheid - was timely.

Meeting with the Chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Sweden, Mr. Olof Palme

Stockholm, 28 May 1980, 9:00 a.m.

There was a general discussion.

Mr. Palme said that the proposal to stop SAS flights to South Africa was defeated in Parliament by one vote.

South Africa, he said, was taking advantage of the poisoned international atmosphere.

He planned to activate the Socialist International on southern Africa.

Meeting with the Foreign Minister of Norway, H.E. Mr. Knut Frydenlund

Oslo, 29 May 1980, 9:45 a.m.

Mr. Frydenlund asked: after Zimbabwe independence, what are the prospects in southern Africa?

Amb. Clark expressed appreciation to Norway for all its contributions - political, diplomatic and material - in support of freedom in southern Africa.

Victory in Zimbabwe - brought about by armed struggle and the democratic process of elections - cannot but have direct and immediate impact on South Africa. There was a ferment among students, workers and churches in South Africa and a movement was launched for the freedom of Nelson Mandela.

The Boer political elite saw the writing on the wall. Some whites support the campaign to free Mandela.

But will white leaders act in the right direction? Time was running out, and international community seems to take things for granted. There was callousness and silence when children were dying. The West should speak out. It must support the Mandela campaign.

Mr. Frydenlund said that the Parliament was asking what Norway could do about Mandela as a symbol. Perhaps he can send someone to South Africa or go personally.

Amb. Clark suggested action by Parliaments, by Socialist International etc. It was not merely the question of release of one man, and must be coupled with change to a new society.

Mr. Frydenlund suggested that Amb. Vraalsen be given mandate to work out what can be done by Norway about the Mandela campaign.

Amb. Clark said that the international community must act on the killing of children in South Africa. There was perhaps more sensitivity in 1960.

Mr. Frydenlund said the Socialist International was meeting in Oslo on 12 June. Perhaps Norway can take up the issue there.

Norway, he said, would continue to support frontline States as a peace factor.

Meeting with Officials of the Foreign Ministry of Norway

Oslo, 29 May 1980, 10:00 a.m.

Amb. Vraalsen welcomed Amb. Clark.

Amb. Clark referred to many significant changes in UN in the last twenty years. The most important was liberation. He paid tribute to Norway on behalf of Africa.

The unfinished business of decolonisation was South Africa and Namibia. Namibia was a special case - technically not decolonisation - and a test case for the credibility of UN.

There was a duty to see that change in South Africa would be in accordance with the principles of the UN.

He referred to the increased ferment in South Africa, the killing of children, the campaign centering around Mandela etc.

South Africa was at the crossroads. Unless they resolve the political problem by abolishing apartheid, there would be conflict. It would be a tragedy if the world merely waited.

Tinkering would not help. The so-called reforms only tighten restrictions.

He hoped that Norway would assist the forthcoming conference on sanctions against South Africa by high-level participation and provision of experts.

Amb. Vraalsen felt that Mr. Mugabes success would have a positive effect on South Africa. Zimbabwe needs help for rebuilding.

Norway welcomed the move of central African States to hold a meeting on regional cooperation. Economic cooperation would strengthen them politically.

Norway was giving development assistance to Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique and Tanzania.

Zimbabwes effect on South Africa can work both ways. Conciliation can help people to adopt similar approach in South Africa.

There were some encouraging signs on the South African scene - e.g. statements of Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. But later developments do not give reason for hope. Recent killings of students are cause for concern.

There is no fundamental change in philosophy.

What role can ANC and PAC play?

Mugabe and Machel take the position that there will be no military bases of liberation movements on their territories. In view of that, what would be the role and strength of the movements?

He also referred to internal problems of PAC.

Amb. Clark said that there was no change of substance or philosophy in South Africa. The changes are window-dressing, not even cosmetic.

South Africa is concerned that a major conflagration would lead to flight of Western capital. It is manipulating to avoid that. But the recent events show that the situation is getting out of hand. Repression is increasing.

ANC was formed five years before the Bolshevik revolution in Russia. The struggle in South Africa is for land.

South Africa is not an invincible fortress. It is a colossus with clay feet.

The organisation of people is most important. The frontline States cannot avoid help.

Struggle in South Africa is not merely against racial discrimination as in some other countries but for full citizenship rights and land.

(No notes taken of rest of discussion.)

Meeting with the Prime Minister of Norway, H.E. Mr. Ordvar Nordli

Oslo, 30 May 1980, 10:00 a.m.

Mr. Nordli welcomed Amb. Clark and recalled his first visit to Africa to attend the Lagos Conference in 1977.

Amb. Clark recalled the contributions of Norway in support of the struggle in South Africa and said there was no need to convince Norway. He was touched by the honour of being received by Mr. Nordli.

Mr. Nordli said many things happened after the Lagos Conference, mainly in the right direction. We followed, he said, with sympathy and admiration how new and young nations of Africa found the beginning of way to "your" form of democracy. We can give our experience, but you have to find your way. We can aid but your nations have to find the way to cooperating in a world system.

We are not satisfied at all with the different conferences, but we have the idea of a New International Economic Order. We have not found solutions but we have to take small steps daily. It is a question of justice and humanity.

Amb. Clark said that in Africa the attention has been on decolonisation rather than development. But Zimbabwe was free. Now the focus should be on South Africa.

African nations have not contributed enough to various debates on NIEC.

He then spoke about killings of children in South Africa, military and nuclear build-up in South Africa etc.

Alternative to international action is a bloodbath and the conflict will not be confined to South Africa. Western countries and Africa had a big responsibility to prevent a terrible tragedy.

Apartheid cannot be reformed. Africans do not want to change imperialisms. A solution can come only through dialogue and consultations.

Nordic countries can help Africa by supporting Mandela campaign, by acting as spokesmen for Africa, etc.

Meeting with the Foreign Relations Committee of Norwegian Parliament

Oslo, 30 May 1980, 10:30 a.m.

Amb. Clark thanked Norway for its support and made general remarks on the situation in South Africa (along the lines of his statements in earlier consultations in Oslo).

He said he was worried that unless action is taken fast, there would be a vast explosion of terrible dimensions. This was the time for friends to speak out and act. There is much we can do together for justice and liberty in South Africa.

Mrs. Aasen asked which groups in South Africa were working for change, apart from ANC.

Amb. Clark said ANC and PAC were recognised by OAU. Both were banned but very much alive.

The Chairman asked about prospects in South Africa.

Amb. Clark said that depends on the response to challenge. If nothing happens in South Africa in five years, there will be a real war. There was Soweto after Mozambique, student revolt after Zimbabwe.

Another member asked about Namibia.

Amb. Clark said he expected progress.

South Africa would not willingly leave Namibia because of strategic and economic interests and because freedom of Namibia will result in pressure inside South Africa.

He hoped Namibia would be free in 1981. He could not see how United Nations could put up with the intolerable situation in Namibia much longer.

He then spoke about the oil embargo against South Africa. He said OPEC countries could not understand how Norwegian tankers could be supplying oil to South Africa. Just as oil companies agreed not to sell oil to South Africa, the tanker companies should agree not to transport oil to South Africa. He was saying this not in a spirit of criticism of Norway. He hoped Norway would continue to maintain its proud record.

The Chairman said, on behalf of the Committee, that they regretted supply of oil to South Africa by Norwegian tankers. They would do what they could to stop such things.

He wished success to the efforts of the Special Committee.


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