President Robert Mugabe told incoming United States ambassador Charles Ray that his predecessor James McGee, and the United States government itself, had sought regime change in Zimbabwe and McGee had become the right hand man of the opposition.
Ray told Mugabe that he sought cooperation and not confrontation and was committed to helping Zimbabwe regain its status as the Jewel of Africa.
He was going to listen and not lecture but to move forward, it was necessary for everyone to play by the rules.
Ray said that the future of Zimbabwe was up to the Zimbabwean people.
Mugabe said that he would not visit “the sins” of the Ray’s predecessors on him but hoped that Ray was extending an olive branch.
Viewing cable 09HARARE955, AMBASSADOR PRESENTS CREDENTIALS TO MUGABE
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DE RUEHSB #0955 3431304
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R 091304Z DEC 09
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5202
INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3201
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3310
RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1737
RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2571
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STATE PASS TO USAID FOR J. HARMON AND L. DOBBINS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/09/2019
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR PRESENTS CREDENTIALS TO MUGABE
Classified By: Ambassador Charles A. Ray for reasons 1.4 (b) & (d).
¶1. (SBU) Ambassador Ray presented his credentials to
President Robert Mugabe today. The Ambassador was the fourth
of four ambassadors to do so (after Cuba, Sudan, and Ghana)
and we were told there would be a 10-15 minute sit down after
the presentation of credentials and photos. Instead, Mugabe,
who was accompanied by Foreign Minister Mumbengegwi and
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Bimha,
engaged the Ambassador in a 45-minute discussion (mostly
monologue) at which tea and snacks were served.
¶2. (SBU) As customary, Mugabe immediately launched into his
“history lesson,” beginning with the revolutionary struggle
for one man, one vote, continuing to the Lancaster House
agreement, proceeding to the betrayal of the British in
failing to fund land reform compensation, and ending with
sanctions. He blamed British policy on land reform on
British desires to keep their farmers on the land; British
refusal to support land reform forced Zimbabwe to proceed
with land reform on its own, which then resulted in targeted
sanctions. President George W. Bush, according to Mugabe,
then imposed even harsher sanctions (he mischaracterized
ZDERA as preventing U.S. companies from doing business in
Zimbabwe) than Britain to reward Prime Minister Tony Blair
for supporting him on Iraq.
¶3. (SBU) Mugabe averred that Zimbabwe was democratic. Like
anywhere, there may have been incidents of police misconduct,
but there was no policy that resulted in human rights abuses.
He added that, despite the (necessary) land reform program,
not all land had been seized. Commercial tea and sugar
estates still existed, as well as wild life conservancies.
No business investments had been indigenized or nationalized.
¶4. (SBU) During a pause in the monologue, Ambassador Ray
broke in. He noted the spirit of friendship which had been
extended to him by Zimbabweans (to which Mugabe quipped that
Zimbabweans remained friendly despite the imposition of
sanctions). The Ambassador said he sought cooperation rather
than confrontation and that he was committed to helping
Zimbabwe regain its status as the “jewel of Africa.” He
wished to listen, not lecture. But to move forward, it was
necessary for everyone to play by the rules. The Ambassador
concluded that the future of Zimbabwe was up to the
¶5. (SBU) Mugabe responded that he would not visit “the sins”
of the Ambassador’s predecessors on the Ambassador. He hoped
the Ambassador was extending an olive branch; he expected
better relations with the U.S. Without referring to him by
name, he accused Ambassador McGee, the previous U.S.
ambassador, and the U.S. government, of having sought regime
change; and charged that McGee had supported the opposition
and become the right-hand man of the opposition.
¶6. (C) Mugabe appears unchanged from several conversations
we have had with him over the last couple of years. He is
fixated on land reform and sanctions, and is almost
trance-like (monologue, soft voice) in discussing these
Qtrance-like (monologue, soft voice) in discussing these
subjects. But he is generally alert and can keep up with a
conversation. Physically, Mugabe is frail He appears
uncomfortable when seated — he slouches and frequently turns
his body as if to find a better position, and then sits
straight up and speaks in a louder voice for a few seconds
before lapsing back into the barely audible soft voice. END