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Second National Consultative Conference: Report of the Commission on Foreign Policy

June 1985

A. Basis of our Foreign Policy

The foreign policy of the ANC derives from the concrete realities of the
situation obtaining within South Africa itself and is, in turn, influenced by
the climate and balance of forces internationally. The international situation
at the time of our Conference being characterised by the world peace and
democratic forces engaged in the frustrating of constant attempts of the
aggressive imperialist circles, led by the United States, to regain lost
initiatives by escalating the arms race and the build-up of nuclear weaponry
both on earth and in space; by support for reactionary regimes and interference
in the affairs of other nations and unheedful of the fact that all mankind today
recalls the horrors of militarism and Nazism defeated forty years ago, and is
determined that these shall not be repeated.

The South African state is colonial, racist, fascist and capitalist in its
nature; it is colonialism of a special type, with the white minority population
exercising the authority of a colonial power over the black majority population
within the same geographic territory. The major contradiction therefore exists
between the forces of national oppression on the one hand, and those of national
liberation on the other.

This contradiction cannot be resolved by the colonisers themselves reforming
the colonial system out of existence. The South African state, which is the
effective colonial power, will itself have to be abolished and destroyed through
struggle by the colonial and oppressed majority of the South African population.

The ANC pursues the strategic goal of the seizure of political power by the
revolutionary forces of our country; the transfer of that power as well as
economic power from the white fascist minority to the democratic majority, for
the creation of a democratic, non-racial and unitary South Africa as envisaged
in the Freedom Charter whose 30th anniversary we celebrate at this time.

Our struggle has grown and intensified both within the country and
externally, to a level where its victory is no longer in doubt. We have
registered significant achievements in our efforts to get the international
community to recognise the true nature of the apartheid system, to denounce this
system and to work for its destruction.

There exists today an extensive worldwide anti-apartheid movement which
reaches into virtually all countries and draws in millions upon millions of
people of various shades of political opinion, all united in their condemnation
of the apartheid system, and ready to make their contribution towards its
elimination .

As a result of the struggle of our people, under the leadership of the ANC,
and the consequent exposure of the apartheid system, the racist regime was
suspended from the United Nations Organisation in 1974. The South African
liberation movement in general, and the ANC in particular, has come to be
accepted by the broad sections of the international community as the authentic
representative of the South African people - - in direct measure as the
apartheid regime is denounced as criminal and illegal.

The work of the anti-apartheid movement, stimulated and encouraged by the
ANC, has done sterling work towards isolating the racist regime internationally
in the fields of diplomacy, politics, culture and sports. In this connection the
Conference should commend those international artists and sportsmen who have
used their talents in support of our struggle. In spite of the support given to
apartheid South Africa by multinational corporations and governments of the
Western powers in particular, inroads have been made against the policy of
investment and collaboration by these through the activities of the
anti-apartheid and liberation support movements, especially in such areas as
Great Britain and North America. Economic and military, including nuclear,
collaboration of Western powers and Israel continues to be exposed by the
worldwide anti-apartheid movement.

Here the Conference should pay tribute to the campaigns for South African
freedom being carried out in the USA - a campaign which has angered the US
administration and helped to undermine its attempts to convince the world and
the South African people of the dishonest `constructive engagement` policy.

We also hail the support given to the ANC by the OAU, the Non-Aligned
Movement, and other international organisations, and should press for full
recognition by such bodies and our acceptance as the sole representatives of the
South African people. We should further work for the strengthening of public
activity in Africa in support of our struggle, while welcoming the support of

We should seek greater co-operation with authentic liberation movements,
those people fighting against colonialism, Zionism and fascism and for their
inalienable right to self-determination, independence and freedom in Africa,
Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

All these activities and their successes have contributed to the
international crisis within the world reactionary forces and to that within
South Africa. We should strengthen our efforts on the international front still
further - an important front for the downfall of the racist regime.

The escalation of our struggle internally continuously pushes the regime into
committing various acts of desperation in an attempt to salvage itself from the
ever-deepening crisis at home and abroad. But each new venture has only
succeeded in worsening its position and gained us further solidarity and

The latest of these acts is the criminal and unprovoked aggression against
the Republic of Botswana. This bloody and gross violation of Botswana`s
sovereignty, resulting in the death of South African patriots and Botswana
citizens, has further outraged the international community and embarrassed the
allies of the regime.

Such a situation is favourable for the intensification of our campaign for
the total isolation of the Pretoria regime, which we initiated as far back as

The pre-Conference meetings and regional conferences have been of immense
value in carrying out a thorough review and assessment of our relations and
efforts internationally. On the basis of the reports and papers presented at our
Second National Consultative Conference, it has been the task of this NCC on
Foreign Policy to reflect the opinions and views of the membership on the
current and strategic plans for the further isolation of the South African
racist regime.

The latest aggression against Botswana and South African patriots once more
vindicates our position to the international community that racist South Africa
constitutes the main source of tension and war in Southern Africa; that racist
South Africa poses a threat to the independence, stability and development of
Africa and gravely undermines world peace.

Strategic Goals

The upsurge of mass political action by our people, led by their vanguard the
African National Congress, has contributed significantly to the rising support
of our struggle on the international front. This situation has opened new vistas
for the consolidation and strengthening of our efforts on this front, which
represents one of the pillars of our strategic goals.

The objectives of the foreign policy that the ANC should continue to
relentlessly pursue are:

  1. The total isolation of the white minority regime in South Africa, leading
    to the imposition of comprehensive and mandatory sanctions under Chapter VII
    of the Charter of the United Nations.
  2. The recognition and support of the ANC as the sole and authentic
    representative of the overwhelming majority of the people of South Africa.
  3. The establishment of bilateral and diplomatic relations between the ANC
    and governments, as well as with the international democratic forces
    committed to the establishment of a united, non-racial and democratic South

Towards the attainment of the above-mentioned objectives the ANC should
intensify its campaigns:

  1. To expose the criminal and aggressive nature of the apartheid system.
  2. To call for the termination of political, diplomatic, economic, military,
    sporting and cultural ties with the racist minority regime.
  3. To withdraw the membership and rights of participation of the racist
    minority regime from all international bodies and fora.
  4. To popularise the ANC, its policy, strategy and tactics and on this basis
    secure the maximum moral. political, diplomatic and material support for our
    movement and liberation struggle.
  5. To further consolidate our close co-operation with Swapo of Namibia in
    pursuance of the common struggle against a common enemy.
  6. To strengthen relations with the African states, in particular with the
    Front Line and neighbouring countries, and urge the international community
    to provide all-round support to these countries.
  7. To consolidate our relations with those Western governments and parties
    with whom we have bilateral relations and to encourage others to give
    unconditional support to the ANC. To further strengthen relations with the
    democratic and progressive organisations and peace movements in the Western
    countries, including those countries that pursue policies of collaboration
    with racist South Africa, and to work to win more and more to our side.
  8. To consolidate our relations with the socialist countries and the world
    anti-imperialist movement, to fight for the unity of this movement and,
    within its ranks, to contribute to the international struggle for national
    independence, democracy. social progress and peace.
  9. To forge and consolidate our relations with international political,
    religious, cultural and sporting bodies and inter-governmental
  10. To strengthen relations with those governments in Latin America, the
    Pacific, Asia and the Arab countries with whom we have bilateral relations
    and to encourage others to support the ANC unconditionally. To further
    strengthen our relations with the democratic and progressive organisations
    in these countries.
  11. To co-operate closely with authentic liberation movements of those people
    fighting against colonialism, Zionism and fascism and for their inalienable
    right to self-determination, independence and freedom in Africa, Asia, Latin
    America and the Middle East.

Recommendations on Organisation of the International Department

To achieve the strategic goal of International work, the Conference
recommends that the International Department:

  1. Should be responsible for the formulation of foreign policy in
    consultation with the NEC.
  2. Should prepare an annual planned programme of work and activities.
  3. Should present an annual report assessing achievements and identifying
    obstacles as well as proposing solutions.
  4. Should be manned by:
  1. Head
  2. Deputy Head
  3. Administrative Secretary
  4. Secretaries for:
  • African Affairs
  • Western European Affairs
  • Socialist Community
  • North, South and Central American Affairs
  • UN, UN Agencies and International Organisations
  • Information, protocol etc.
  • Asia and Australia
  1. Should set out tasks and job specifications for the aforementioned
  2. The appointment of chief representatives should be reviewed every five
    years. Appointment of personnel should be preceded by political briefing,
    basic training in diplomatic work and office routines.
  3. Should ensure the smooth ;hand over in case of transfer of chief
    representatives and other personnel
  4. Should strictly ensure that chief representatives provide detailed
    quarterly reports on their work:
  • Recommends that meetings and consultations of all chief representatives
    are held at Headquarters at least once every two years. In addition,
    regular regional consultations could be held where feasible. In between
    these consultations/meetings briefings should also be arranged with NEC
    members on missions abroad.
  • Should liaise with DIP to facilitate a regular flow of information for
    the representatives.
  • Should co-ordinate with all other departments in their international
  • Should send delegations to areas where the creation of support units is
  • Should ensure that delegates assigned to international conferences are
    properly briefed and ~hat such delegates present reports for necessary
    assessment and follow up. These reports should be made available to other
    departments which in turn would also make similar reports available.
  • Should plan special programmes or campaigns for specific target areas,
    eg. West Africa, Japan, Arab countries, Front Line States, etc.
  • Should initiate international and regional conferences, seminars and
    workshops with the aim of mobilising solidarity and support.
  • All departments at Headquarters should co-ordinate their work in
    external missions through the International Department.

Programme of Action

Towards the total isolation of the Pretoria regime, Conference recommends the
following action:

  1. Economic
  1. In collaboration with Sactu, the mobilisation of trade unions,
    especially dock workers, to refuse to service vessels to and from South
  2. To initiate punitive action against oil companies that circumvent the
    oil embargo.
  3. Initiate work stoppages in solidarity with the black workers of South
  4. Convening the UN Security Council Meeting to impose comprehensive and
    mandatory sanctions.
  5. To maintain close contact and collaboration with support groups,
    non-governmental organisations, legislators and community organisations to
    intensify the campaign for legislative action against apartheid in the US
    and other Western countries.
  1. Culture and Sports
  1. Honour outstanding campaigners against apartheid, including sports
    persons and artists who have complied with UN resolution on Cultural and
    Sporting contact with South Africa.
  2. Promote international boycotts of those defying the above Resolutions.
  3. Introduce floating trophies in order to promote cultural and sports
    contests, towards the mobilisation of public opinion, particularly in
  4. To promote tours of ANC Cultural Groups, as a weapon for mobilising
    international support.
  1. Political and Diplomatic

Campaign for the severance of diplomatic relations with the Pretoria regime
and the establishment of direct bilateral relations with the ANC.

  1. OAU

Seek exclusive recognition of the ANC as the sole and authentic
representative of the people of South Africa.

  1. Non-Aligned Movement

To eventually seek admission as a full member of the Non-Aligned Movement.

  1. Arab League and Islamic Conference

To seek observer status

  1. ANC Missions

To establish additional ANC missions and information centres in Africa,
Latin and Central America, the Caribbean, Asia, the Middle East and the
Pacific, and to strengthen the important ones that are understaffed.

  1. UN Specialised Agencies

To appoint resident personnel to selected UN Specialised Agencies.

  1. Youth, Women, Workers etc

To establish close ties with youth, students`, women`s, workers` and
religious organisations in Africa and other areas.

  1. Negotiations with the Regime

We endorse the President`s Political Report on his remarks on negotiations
with the Pretoria regime and recommend that the NEC formulate a set of
preconditions which form the basis for any negotiations.

  1. Religious Organisations

That as a matter of urgency a number of people be seconded to work full
time on the religious front and to establish a co-ordinated approach to
internal and external work, including the adoption of short-term and long-term
strategies for mobilising the religious community in support of our struggle.

  1. South Africans Abroad

To mobilise all South Africans living abroad to support the ANC. All
proposed contacts with bodies or organisations in South Africa should be
carried out in consultation with the ANC.

Additions in Plenary Session

  1. In view of the volume of work done by the International Department,
    Conference urges the speedy re-organisation and strengthening of the
    Department. This must include the programmed selection of potential cadres
    to work in this Department for training in diplomatic work, exploiting the
    offers thus far made by our friends and exploring the possibilities of new
  2. The Secretary General`s Office should keep the ANC`s missions and
    representatives abroad abreast of developments inside the country through
    regular briefings and ensure prompt feedback and regular reports.
    Representatives abroad should never make claims or disclaim any matter that
    they have not thoroughly checked with Headquarters.
  3. The tasks of our Chief Representatives in areas such as Botswana, Lesotho
    and Zimbabwe should be more clearly defined, taking due regard of the
    specifics of each area. Conference urges the NEC to be seized with this

In general we need to launch a concerted diplomatic offensive in this area
to canvass the support of both government and the mass organisations. We have
openings to and varying degrees of access to the mass media in these
countries, which should be utilised in a more organised fashion to reach the

  1. Conference urges that we strengthen and consolidate our links with the
    OAU, Front Line States, the Arab League, the Non-Aligned Movement and other
    international organisations. Special attention needs to be paid to the Arab
    states in order to win their active support for our struggle.
  2. The Movement must launch a well-planned and concerted diplomatic offensive
    among the states of Latin America and the Caribbean where the regime seems
    to enjoy a measure of support by default.
  3. We should work towards the recognition of the ANC as the sole
    representative of the authentic liberation movement in South Africa by the
    OAU, the UN and other international bodies. .