Letter from Cranley Onslow, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, acknowledging receipt of the AAM’s petition calling for sanctions against South Africa in November 1982.
In November 1983 the South African Supreme Court turned down an appeal by Umkhonto we Sizwe activist Benjamin Moloise against the death sentence. This letter from Des Starrs, Chair of Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS), asked Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe to intervene with the South African Foreign Minister, who was visiting London. Benjamin Moloise was hanged in October 1985.
Letter from Malcolm Rifkind, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, replying to a request from Des Starrs, Chair of Southern Africa the Imprisoned Society (SATIS), for the British government to intervene on behalf of the Kassinga detainees. In 1978 South African armed forces killed around 600 Namibian refugees at Kassinga refugee camp in Angola and took hundreds more prisoner. Five years later some of them were still held in detention in Namibia.
In May 1983 the AAM’s new office in north London was broken into and burgled. This memorandum set out evidence showing that the break-in was the work of South African agents and listed other similar incidents. It repeated the proposals for government action in the AAM’s memo of October 1982 and asked the Home Secretary to make a formal protest to the South African government.
The 1980s Conservative government was strongly opposed to sanctions against South Africa, arguing instead for ‘internal reform’. This letter from Malcolm Rifkind, Minister of State at the Foreign Office, followed up a meeting with a delegation from the AAM which focused on Namibia, sanctions and South African involvement in the building of an airfield in the Falkland Islands in the aftermath of the Falklands war.
President P W Botha’s visit to Britain in June 1984 was the first such visit since South Africa left the Commonwealth in 1961. It followed South Africa’s adoption of a new constitution in 1963. This memo sought assurances from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher that the British government was committed to universal suffrage in a united South Africa. Thatcher was sufficiently concerned about opposition to the visit to agree to meet a delegation from the AAM.
Letter from AAM President Archbishop Trevor Huddleston expressing the widespread opposition in Britain to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s invitation to President P W Botha to visit Britain in June 1984. Thatcher held talks with Botha at her country residence Chequers, rather than at 10 Downing Street, in order to avoid protesters. More than 50,000 people marched through central London on the day of the talks, the biggest anti-apartheid demonstration to date.
Letter from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher about her meeting with P W Botha in June 1984. Instead of calling for one person one vote, she told him that the British government would accept a system of government that had ‘the consent of the South African people’. She said she had ‘expressed concern at the continued detention of Nelson Mandela’.
Six leaders of the United Democratic Front and the South African Indian Congress entered the British consulate in Durban to avoid detention by the South African authorities in 1984. Three of them were immediately detained on leaving the consulate. This letter from Prime Minister Thatcher to the AAM’s Chair Bob Hughes MP defended the British government’s decision to bar access to the lawyers of the remaining three men. Five of the six were charged with high treason.
Letter from AAM President Bishop Trevor Huddleston to Prime Minister Thatcher asking her to stop the English rugby tour of South Africa in 1984. The government refused to intervene and the tour went ahead in spite of widespread protests.
Memorandum arguing for a review of British government policy on Namibia. The memorandum urged the British government to support mandatory measures against South Africa under Chapter VII of the UN Charter if South Africa continued to obstruct talks on Namibian independence.
Letter to Prime Minister Thatcher urging her to support the imposition of Commonwealth sanctions against South Africa at the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government held in Nassau in October 1985.
Letter from Prime Minister Thatcher to AAM President Archbishop Trevor Huddleston rejecting his appeal for the British government to impose sanctions against South Africa. She argued that change would come about through the operation of market forces.
Letter from Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe in response to the AAM’s memorandum ‘Britain and Namibia’. He stated that although the British government did not regard the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Angola as an essential precondition of Namibian independence, in practice withdrawal offered the best prospect for the success of negotiations.
AAM memorandum arguing that British and US policies were the main obstacles to effective international action against apartheid. The memorandum was presented to Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe by a delegation led by AAM President Bishop Trevor Huddleston on 18 June 1986.
Letter from Richard Caborn MP asking Prime Minister Thatcher to withdraw her remark describing the ANC as a ‘typical terrorist organisation’.
Letter from Prime Minister Thatcher defending her description of the ANC as a ‘typical terorrist organisation’ and reiterating her opposition to sanctions.
Letter from AAM President Archbishop Trevor Huddleston sent to Prime Minister Thatcher on behalf of anti-apartheid supporters demonstrating in favour of sanctions against South Africa in October 1987.
Letter from Prime Minister Thatcher replying to Trevor Huddleston’s letter of 24 October. Thatcher reiterated her opposition to sanctions and argued that change was already taking place in South Africa. She said the British government would press for the release of Nelson Mandela ‘in the context of a cessation of violence on all sides’.
Memorandum drawing attention to the steep rise in death sentences for political offences in South Africa. The memorandum made detailed proposals for intervention by the British government and asked it to initiate action by the UN Security Council, the European Economic Community and the Commonwealth.