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This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Foundation, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.





(1). Thanks for NEC minutes and report of mess up re core plus subsequent decision re expanded core.  Made a quick print out of this and sent Masha to give same to Kathy to read to X with request that it be passed to Sipho who arrives here tomorrow 11 a.m. and leaves with X for Bloemfontein 12.30 same day.  Was informed that on Mon they all including X leave for Lusaka.  Regret it would be impossible to expect the core of five to meet to send collective views before Tuesday.  Besides logistics of matter and whether the other four will have time, there is security aspect re how Theo could join them at a meeting.  Hope you are not forgetting Theo is illegal here.

(2). Have looked at above report with Carl and Masha.  All 3 disquieted by report.  As for Theo let me report that he has informed Carl and Masha that he is immediately RETIRING from ANC and SACP.  Also he has informed X likewise by note.  Decision is neither discussable nor revocable.  Have transferred command to Carl.  Will need max. of 4 weeks to transfer all matters, give Carl as much help to take over, possibly assist with Daniel entry if it takes place within time limit I have given myself.  Meantime please take formal note of this decision.  By this Sun/Mon proper formal letter of RETIREMENT will be sent to both organizations from Jessy's after I get there tomorrow.  You are free to do with it whatever you think best – whether to place before NECF and PB or not.  Meantime ask you for following help:  Please arrange with Big S to have visa and ticket available at Delhi for Ebrahim Sheik; allow entry to Big S's to resume appearance, collect Indian passport, facilitate UK visa (including help of UK Chief Rep), plus ticket from Big S to UK.  Please inform me when I can expect visa and ticket in Delhi.  Do not propose to come Lusaka nor meet with either organisation. Retirement takes immediate effect.  Other aspects will be dealt with in formal letter to follow.  No public disclosure at this stage that Theo has been in country – will keep to legend so as to minimize any ill effects to movement.  In period effecting transfer to Carl will keep minimal line open with you all for exiting purposes.  Otherwise please communicate with Carl at Lobby.

(3). Strongly urge you keep Carl briefed timeously.  Please send him PMC report which formed basis of NEC and NWC discussions.

All for now Theo



Carl to John

1.. Please redirect the last message which you sent on Sunday 25/02 to Theo at Jessy's as well.

2.. The funds have to be deposited with the usual banker.  Please say when you are ready to do so in order to enable me to communicate with his connections here.

3.. Your suggestions for improved and faster comms should take into account that we are still operating illegally and are still liable to all the wiles of the security murderers if we are caught.

2 Kay/Norman

Can we get the speediest clarification on the role of the underground in the unfolding situation.  What role are our underground structures going to play in the new legality?  How do we ensure that the new emergent legal structures are well balanced with people who went through the grind and discipline of illegal activity?  Certainly the underground has to be consulted where it exists about who should constitute the new interim leadership in the area where it has been operational?  Given that in the new legality the role of the underground is no longer that of political leader and its functions will of necessity be drastically curtailed, should consideration not be given to the best of the comrades to surface?  Hope you have received from Theo some of our recommendations.  Please brief us timeously about the relevant discussions of meeting with X and Sipho.




Norman and Kay for Theo:

Below are copies of 2 documents adopted by the NEC yesterday.  It would be useful if you gave a quick response on the document on organisation before Tuesday.



1.1. Our strategic perspective is one of a protracted struggle in which partial and general uprisings will play a vital role in the transfer to power to the people.  The bedrock of this perspective in the central and active role of the masses in all forms of struggle.

1.2. The precise form in which transfer of power will take depends on a combination of many factors present and still unfolding.  Whatever form it takes – negotiations of seizure of power – the strength of our political and military forces will be crucial.

1.3. In this perspective which guide the steps we take in this changed situation.  Our actual organizational work and public pronouncements will determine whether or not we frustrate de Klerk's strategic objectives and turn the present shift to our own advantage.

1.4. We should sue for duality of power as part of the process towards the transfer of power.  This requires speedy, but also careful, tactical adjustments on our part.


2.1. The question of negotiations have become a strategic issue and not a tactical one.  This means that we must not engage in reactive moves but address it as terrain which is captured through active and sustained initiatives.  We must take control of the process.

2.2. The only way we can ensure consistency between engaging in the negotiated process and still maintaining our long-term perspective is by ensuring the active role of the masses in the negotiation phase.

2.3. De Klerk has seized on some elements of our negotiations




Received your message of 21/2 in which you deal with the saga connected with the appointment of the core.  I am afraid that there has been a great deal of confusion through a combination of what appears to be unmandated initiatives by Rachel and press statement of the SG.  In summary the history of the affair is:

(a). As already reported to you the Stockholm meeting decided to appoint a core of 5 (Sipho, X, Raymond, Rachel and yourself).  This core was to consult and make recommendations to the NEC which would be charged with the task of launching the legal ANC nationally.  It was also to discuss the whole question of relating to the underground.

(b). The comrades in Stockholm undertook to meet immediately and to send us their recommendations before the NEC meeting.  A phone message was received by SG from Rachel that the recommendations had been worked out and that a courier had been dispatched with them.

(c). The document containing the recommendations which was placed before the NEC was assumed to be an authentic view of the core and was dealt with as such.  It included recommendations of additional members which you mention in your comms.

(d). The NEC accepted the names but decided to have a further special meeting to consider the rest of the document including further suggestions for inclusion in the expanded internal leadership core.

(e). It has very recently come to our notice that X was not present at its adoption and it is clear that you too, were ignorant of its contents.

(f). Unfortunately at the press conference which presented the NEC statement, in a reference to setting up an expended internal leadership core, the SG questioned by a journalist inadvertently mentioned the names of the core.

1.. At this morning's meeting of the NEC the true state of affairs was reported and the following was decided on this aspect:

1.1. An expanded internal leadership core should be created consisting of the original 5 plus one person from each region (the sub-divisions of regions is still being discussed) plus the heads of a certain number of HQ structures which is still to be discussed this afternoon plus all members of the NEC who are and who will be sent into the country.

It should be emphasized that the above is not regarded as our final approach.

2.. Our thinking will be discussed at the forthcoming NEC meeting with Sipho, X and some of the others who may come.  We will also propose that the determination of the persons who will head the different regions as well as the heads of the HQ structures should be made after the initial core of 5 has discussed and made recommendations to the NEC.

3.. At the end of the day, the body which will be charged with launching the ANC both nationally, regionally etc shall consist of the categories mentioned above.

4.. It is absolutely vital that the core of 5 should exchange ideas about our tentative proposals before the arrival of Sipho and Co on Tuesday.

5.. The NEC would also request an explanation as to the origin of the document upon which the NEC based its decision.  Your own document was placed before a PMC meeting and its broad terms were accepted.  It was decided to marry it to a similar PMC document for presentation to the NEC.  We have not yet reached this point on our agenda.

Generally, please ensure that you send us a separate report on the outcome of your discussions before Tuesday.

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