Letter to the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee Reporting on the Situation in Zimbabwe

July 7, 1981

Dear Mr. Chairman:

In accordance with the provisions of Section 720 of the International Security and Development Cooperation Act of 1980, I am submitting the following report on the internal situation in Zimbabwe.

In the period that has elapsed since the last Report to Congress on Zimbabwe, the country has continued to gain political and economic momentum in an atmosphere that can be characterized as both dynamic and stable.

The overwhelming response from Western donor nations and international organizations at the March Donors' Conference, which resulted in $2 billion pledged over the next three to five years, will allow the government to move forward immediately with its economic development program and its plans for reconstruction and land resettlement. The success of the conference vindicated Prime Minister Mugabe's decision to turn to the West for economic and political support and allows the West to play a role in the emerging political/economic structure.

Recently there has been a significant increase in the volume and stridency of public exchanges between the governments of South Africa and Zimbabwe. The exchanges derive primarily from a concern of both countries that the other is giving support to anti-government groups. Despite this development, there remains a strong basis for cooperation, given the extensive interrelationship between the two countries in trade and communications.

The disarmament process in Zimbabwe is now well on its way to being completed. Approximately 18,000 former guerrillas in seven camps around the country have been completely disarmed. While it is likely that arms caches and illegally armed men are still present in the country, the disarmament that has occurred represents one of the most significant achievements since independence.

There has been some concern expressed by the business community lately on the foreign investment climate in Zimbabwe, with particular reference to the possibility that the government may decide to participate in the sale of Zimbabwe's minerals through a Minerals Marketing Board. Prime Minister Mugabe has publicly stated that his Government's policy is to provide an acceptable and effective marketing system for all minerals and metals produced in Zimbabwe with a view to increasing sales and profits. The Prime Minister made a general reference to the Marketing Board again in his May 1 speech but no determination has yet been made about the functions the Board will perform.

Sincerely,

Ronald Reagan

Note: This is the text of identical letters addressed to Charles S. Percy, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Clement J. Zablocki, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.