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Kenneth H. Towsey Collection


Access Restriction

 Open for research. This collection is stored at an off-site facility. Researchers interested in using this collection must contact Archives and Special Collections at least two business days in advance of their planned visit.

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Summary Information

University of Mississippi Libraries
Kenneth H. Towsey Collection
7.0 boxes 7 boxes
Dimensions note
7 boxes (9.5 linear feet).
Language of Materials
Kenneth H. Towsey ran the Information Office of Rhodesia in Washington, DC after the United States denied diplomatic recognition to the white minority regime following its 1965 declaration of independence from the United Kingdom. The collection contains correspondence with officials in Rhodesia and members of the United States Congress as well as files, clippings, and publications on Rhodesia and Zimbabwe.

Preferred Citation

Kenneth H. Towsey Collection, Archives and Special Collections, University of Mississippi

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Biographical Note

Born in Nottingham, England on 9 January 1920, Ken Towsey flew fighter planes in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm during World War II. After the war, he earned a master’s degree in modern languages from Oxford University and moved to Southern Rhodesia where he worked in the Department of the Prime Minister and the Ministry for External Affairs.

In 1964, Towsey was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and traveled to the United States as Counselor for Rhodesian Affairs at the British Embassy. Although the British government was prepared to grant Southern Rhodesia independence, it required colonies to first establish majority rule. When the white leaders of Rhodesia unilaterally declared independence in November 1965, Britain denounced the move as illegal and the United Nations called for sanctions and the severance of economic ties with the minority regime. The United States denied Rhodesia diplomatic recognition, but Towsey established the Information Office of Rhodesia in Washington, DC under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Following a Bush War with African nationalists, London negotiations resulted in Rhodesia temporarily reverting to colonial status in 1979 with independence granted to the New Republic of Zimbabwe after an internationally supervised election gave the presidency to Robert Mugabe in 1980. Towsey remained as Charge d’Affaires of the embassy in Washington, DC until the arrival of the new ambassador. He retired from diplomatic service in 1981 and later worked as an administrator for a biomedical business in Bethesda, Maryland.

Towsey and his wife, Joan, had three daughters: Hilary Stemp, Virginia Hawkins, and Celia Larsen. Towsey died of a heart attack on 3 September 1993 in his Bethesda, Maryland home.

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Scope and Content

The Kenneth H. Towsey Collection primarily holds material related to his official and unofficial diplomatic service in Washington, DC on behalf of Rhodesia. The “Correspondence with Rhodesia” files are dominated by communications with the office of the Secretary for External Affairs and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs discussing Towsey’s meetings and speeches, events in Rhodesia, background on and opinions of U.S. officials, African activity in the U.S., and U.S. reaction to Rhodesian policies. Many of the letters are stamped “Confidential” or “Secret.” The collection also includes Towsey’s letters with members of Congress, material related to his speaking engagements, subject files, and newspaper clippings.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

University of Mississippi Libraries 2017

Access Restrictions

The collection is open to researchers. However, since the collection is stored at an off-site facility, advance notice is required two business days before an intended visit in order to arrange the transfer of requested boxes to Special Collections.

Copyright Restrictions

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.


No further additions are expected to this collection.

Acquisition Information

Kenneth H. Towsey’s daughter, Ceclia Towsey Larsen, donated the collection in May 2017.

Processing Information

Political Papers Archivist Leigh McWhite processed the collection and encoded the finding aid in June-July 2017.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

Photographs are stored in cold storage in Modern Political Archives Photographs Box 5, Folder 25.

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Kenneth, Towsey, 1920-1993


  • United States – Foreign relations – Zimbabwe
  • Zimbabwe – Foreign relations – United States

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Collection Inventory

BOX 1 

Folder 1-1. 45rpm record “The Deafening Silence: Sermon Preached by the Dean, the Very Rev. J.R. da Costa, in the Cathedral of St. Mary and All Saints in Salisbury, Rhodesia, on Friday, 8th September, 1978, at the service for those who died and were massacred in the Viscount Air Disaster, Sunday, 3rd September, 1978.” 

Folder 1-2. 503 Club 

Folder 1-3. African National Council (1 of 2) 

Folder 1-4. African National Council (2 of 2) 

Folder 1-5. Annual Reports 

Folder 1-6. Briefing Papers 1979-1980 (1 of 2) 

Folder 1-7. Briefing Papers 1979-1980 (2 of 2) 

Folder 1-8. Carnegie-Mellon University 

Folder 1-9. Cartoons 

Folder 1-10. Chrome [Byrd Bill] 

Folder 1-11. Clippings 1953-1989, Undated 

Folder 1-12. Clippings 1963-1978 

Folder 1-13. Clippings 1966-1979 

Folder 1-14. Clippings 1976-1977 

Folder 1-15. Clippings March-April 1978 

Folder 1-16. Clippings October-December 1978 

Folder 1-17. Clippings by Malcom Muggeridge 

Folder 1-18. Correspondence with Family 1952 

Folder 1-19. Correspondence with Family 1954 

Folder 1-20. Correspondence with Family 1965 

Folder 1-21. Correspondence with Family 1969 

Folder 1-22. Correspondence with Family 1972 

Folder 1-23. Correspondence with Family 1973 

Folder 1-24. Correspondence with Family 1975 

Folder 1-25. Correspondence with Family 1976 

Folder 1-26. Correspondence with Family 1977 

Folder 1-27. Correspondence with Family 1978 

Folder 1-28. Correspondence with Family 1979 

Folder 1-29. Correspondence with Family 1983 

Folder 1-30. Correspondence with Family 1984 

Folder 1-31. Correspondence with Family 1985 

Folder 1-32. Correspondence with Family 1986 

Folder 1-33. Correspondence with Family Undated 

Folder 1-34. Correspondence with Others 1965-1977 

Folder 1-35. Correspondence with Rhodesia 1960 

Folder 1-36. Correspondence with Rhodesia 1965 

Folder 1-37. Correspondence with Rhodesia January-June 1966 

BOX 2 

Folder 2-1. Correspondence with Rhodesia July-December 1966 

Folder 2-2. Correspondence with Rhodesia January-June 1967 

Folder 2-3. Correspondence with Rhodesia July-December 1967 

Folder 2-4. Correspondence with Rhodesia January-August 1968 

Folder 2-5. Correspondence with Rhodesia September-December 1968 

Folder 2-6. Correspondence with Rhodesia January-June 1969 

Folder 2-7. Correspondence with Rhodesia July-December 1969 

Folder 2-8. Correspondence with Rhodesia January-June 1970 

Folder 2-9. Correspondence with Rhodesia July-December 1970 

Folder 2-10. Correspondence with Rhodesia 1971 

Folder 2-11. Correspondence with Rhodesia 1972 

Folder 2-12. Correspondence with Rhodesia 1973 

Folder 2-13. Correspondence with Rhodesia 1974 

Folder 2-14. Correspondence with Rhodesia 1975 

Folder 2-15. Correspondence with Rhodesia 1976 

Folder 2-16. Correspondence with Rhodesia 1977 

Folder 2-17. Correspondence with Rhodesia 1978 

BOX 3 

Folder 3-1. Correspondence with Rhodesia 1979 

Folder 3-2. Correspondence with Rhodesia 1980-1982 

Folder 3-3. Correspondence with U.S. Congressmen and Senators February 1967 – June 1971 

Folder 3-4. Correspondence with U.S. Congressmen and Senators 1970-1973 

Folder 3-5. Correspondence with U.S. Congressmen and Senators 1974-1976 

Folder 3-6. Correspondence with U.S. Congressmen and Senators 1977-1979 

Folder 3-7. Communism in Africa 1966 – 1976 

Folder 3-8. Correspondence with Richard Griggs [of Duluth, Minnesota] 

Folder 3-9. European, Asian, and Colored Education 

Folder 3-10. Extradition [re: Louis Steinberg; original folder stamped “Secret”] 

Folder 3-11. London Negotiations October 1965 [original folder stamped “Top Secret”] 

Folder 3-12. Manuscript “The Crippled Eagles” by Robin Moore. Note: International Creative Management label on title page. 

Folder 3-13. Joshua Nkomo 

Folder 3-14. Papers and Articles by Ken Towsey 

Folder 3-15. Peace Commission 

Folder 3-16. Personal/Biographical Information 

Folder 3-17. Prime Minister’s Visit [to Washington, DC] July 1979 

Folder 3-18. Publications about Africa 

BOX 4 

Folder 4-1. Publications about Rhodesia (1 of 3) 

Folder 4-2. Publications about Rhodesia (2 of 3) 

Folder 4-3. Publications about Rhodesia (3 of 3) 

Folder 4-4. Publications by Rhodesia (1 of 2) 

Folder 4-5. Publications by Rhodesia (2 of 2) 

Folder 4-6. Publications Miscellaneous 

Folder 4-7. Racial Discrimination Commission 

Folder 4-8. Rhodesia 

Folder 4-9. Rhodesian Viewpoint (Published in the United States of America by the Rhodesian Information Office) 1968-1977 

Folder 4-10. Security [Intelligence] 

Folder 4-11. Speaking Engagements 1967-1970 

Folder 4-12. Speaking Engagements 1970-1973 

Folder 4-13. Speaking Engagements 1974-1977 

Folder 4-14. Speaking Engagements 1977-1978 

Folder 4-15. Speaking Engagements 1980 

BOX 5 

Folder 5-1. Speeches 

Folder 5-2. Students’ Political Activities in United States 

Folder 5-3. Terrorism 1977-1978 

Folder 5-4. Terrorism 1978-1979 

Folder 5-5. Terrorism 1979-1980 

Folder 5-6. Ken Towsey’s Recollections 

Folder 5-7. U.S. Presidential Campaign 1968 

Folder 5-8. U.S. Statements November 1965 – December 1966 

Folder 5-9. U.S. Statements, Some Correspondence with Congressmen, Some Canadian Views 1966 

Folder 5-10. U.S. Statements 1967 

BOX 6 

Folder 6-1. U.S. Statements 1969 

Folder 6-2. U.S. Statements 1970 

Folder 6-3. U.S. Statements 1971 

Folder 6-4. U.S. Statements 1972-1973 

Folder 6-5. United States Treasury Investigation of Robert P. Mackey 

Folder 6-6. Zimbabwe (1 of 6) 

Folder 6-7. Zimbabwe (2 of 6) 

Folder 6-8. Zimbabwe (3 of 6) 

Folder 6-9. Zimbabwe (4 of 6) 

Folder 6-10. Zimbabwe (5 of 6) 

Folder 6-11. Zimbabwe (6 of 6) 


Campaign buttons “Nixon Agnew” (2) 

Campaign button “Nixon’s the One!” 

Campaign button “McCarthey” 

Campaign button “Humphrey Muskie” 

Campaign buttons “Nixon Agnew” (2) 

Campaign buttons “nixon agnew” (2) 

Campaign buttons “nixon” (2). 

Modern Political Archives Photographs, Box 5, Folder 25 

Separated Materials

Photographs have been separated from the collection for cold storage.