In the period leading to Zimbabwe’s independence, UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher played an important role of facilitating talks, meddling and trying to influence the outcome of the revolution. The Margaret Thatcher Foundation has made available official files during her reign as Prime Minister, 1979-90. This is the first time in Britain that the declassified archive of a head of government has ever been published in full, paper or online. These files help to shed light on what was taking place during the final months, weeks and days before and after Zimbabwe became independent. We have provided a few important files that will shed some light on the all important Lancaster House Conference and how Zimbabwe’s relationship with Britain evolved.
DECLASSIFIED FILES: UK AID TO ZIMBABWE
Declassified files from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office with a request from Bishop Muzorewa to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for financial help with security and education costs for his family.
Following the Meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government held in Lusaka from 1 to 7 August, the UK 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. 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.
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