181. Telegram From the Department of State to Multiple Diplomatic Posts1

297008. Subject: Additional Points in Vance-Owen Discussion of Rhodesia, December 8, 1977. Ref: Secto 12013.2

1. In addition to points contained reftel, the following items were also discussed in the course of the Secretary’s breakfast with British Foreign Secretary David Owen on December 8, 1977.

2. The provisions of the proposed transition arrangements dealing with an Advisory Council were noted. It was suggested and the two Secretaries agreed that when presented, this feature of the transition arrangements should be cast in the most positive form. As it now stands in the British draft the limitation that the Council is to be strictly advisory with no real powers, stands out a bit too starkly. Moose suggested recasting its presentation so as to specify areas of particular concern to the Council. It was agreed, nevertheless, that the Council should remain advisory only.

3. Owen noted that Smith may be seriously thinking of trying to provide some sort of role for himself in the transition or post-independence government. We have various intelligence reports that suggest this is his wish. All were agreed that Smith’s inclusion in any transition or post-independence government would be unwise.

4. Moose noted that various parties had reported Smith’s alleged concern over his own personal safety. Owen recalled that the British proposal does provide for amnesty and indicated that his government was prepared to provide additional assurances in this respect (Owen also noted that when we had presented the plan to Smith in Salisbury, some of the Rhodesians had asked whether the amnesty would include forgery and perjury).

5. The two Secretaries agreed that UN Secretary General Waldheim should be briefed on the results of the discussion at the earliest possible opportunity.



  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy File, P850056–1873. Confidential; Immediate; Exdis Distribute as Nodis. Sent to Pretoria, Lusaka, Maputo, Lagos, London, Dar es Salaam, USUN, and Gaborone. Drafted and approved by Moose.
  2. See Document 179.