Case #817.0

Rhodesia Becomes Zimbabwe (B): The Lancaster House Conference

Publication Date: January 01, 1988
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This is Part B of a two-case sequence. HKS Case 816.0 is Part A: In September of 1977, the US and Britain announced a joint proposal for bringing majority rule and independence to Rhodesia, whose white minority government had for years been embroiled in a civil war with black guerrilla forces. In 1979, Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith conducted elections under a constitution which granted blacks limited civil rights, and Bishop Abel Muzorewa, a moderate black leader, was elected prime minister in a campaign that effectively excluded the rebels. The Carter administration found Smith's "internal" settlement inadequate, and pushed for retention of the economic sanctions the US had imposed. Offending neither the rebels nor the US Congress--which was wary of any policy that appeared to favor radical guerrillas over an elected moderate--required the administration to walk a precariously thin line. This case, Part B, tells the dramatic story of British Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington's successful Lancaster House negotiations which led to the end of Rhodesia and the creation of an independent, black-run Zimbabwe. This case illustrates several features common to international negotiations: the assessment of different parties' motives and interests, the prediction and evaluation of likely outcomes, and the role negotiations can assume as ends in themselves when no satisfactory settlement is in sight.

Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Marc Levy
Faculty Lead:
Gregory Treverton
Pages (incl. exhibits):
Funding Source:
Pew Charitable Trusts