Henry Kissinger: Negotiating Black Majority Rule in Rhodesia (B)

Case Solution

James K. Sebenius, Laurence A. Green
Harvard Business School ()

In 1976, US Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger led a series of complicated multi-party negotiations in southern Africa to persuade Rhodesia’s white leader, Ian Smith, to join the majority black government. Kissinger’s efforts, carried out toward the end of President Gerald Ford’s term and against considerable opposition in the United States, culminated in Smith’s public announcement that he would accept majority rule in two years. This laid the groundwork for subsequent negotiations at Lancaster House, which resulted in the actual transition to the black majority. The report describes this case in detail, but does not analyze or draw lessons from these difficult negotiations.

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