The 1979 Commonwealth conference: The Triumph of Quiet Diplomacy

The Commonwealth has, in the past two decades, faced several major upheavals which threatened its very existence. The paper gives the groundwork of the major split at the Lusaka Conference. The British conservative Government wanted to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe Rhodesia, thus inviting a head-on collision with particularly the African member states who would countenance no such move. As the conference neared, Australia and New Zealand cautioned Britain on the dangers of recognising the Muzorewa government. Britain toned down on its stated commitments to Zimbabwe Rhodesia as the conference neared. The paper then gives the details of the Lusaka deal and what came of it and the sanctions on Zimbabwe Rhodesia. The new outline noted that Britain had accepted constitutional responsibility for granting legal independence to Zimbabwe but made no suggestion of Britain lifting sanctions or recognizing Muzorewa Government.