Records of the Sahara Action Committee

Scope and Content

The records of the Sahara Action Committee (SAC), 1977-1983. The records include: administrative papers; reports and papers; correspondence with UK government departments and politicians, press cuttings relating to Western Sahara; and Sahara Action Committee newsletters.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Sahara Action Committee (1977-1984) was an ad-hoc campaign organisation established to oppose the control of Morocco and Mauritania over Western Sahara, formerly known as the Spanish Sahara, and to support the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people in the disputed-territory. Following the withdrawal of Mauritanian forces from Western Sahara in 1979, the committee continued to oppose what it viewed as the ongoing Moroccan occupation of the territory.

The Sahara Action Committee was established in London in May 1977 with George Dunk as Chair and Roger Hardy, a writer on Middle East affairs who had previously worked with the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding, as Co-ordinator. Individuals attending the founding meeting included the journalist Francis Ghiles, Jeremy Swift and John Gretton, academics from the Anti-Slavery Society; Steve Vines from the Labour Party International Department; and representatives from the Young Liberals, Communist Party of Great Britain; and Third World First. Kemal Lajiar was present as the UK representative of the Polisario Front, the Sahrawi national liberation movement.

Public sponsors of the committee included Labour party politicians Lord Fenner Brockway and William Wilson MP; Liberal politician David Alton MP; anti-apartheid activists Ruth First and Peter Hain, historian Thomas Hodgkin, and the archaeologist John Mercer.

In 1978 the Sahara Action Committee held its first public meeting at the Africa Centre in London. The was involved in petitioning against the UK government's position of neutrality on the Western Sahara conflict; it organised pickets of the Moroccan Embassy in London; and produced newsletters about the situation in the disputed territory. It campaigned against Queen Elizabeth II's state visit to Morocco in 1980.

The Sahara Action Committee was succeeded as a campaign group by the Western Sahara Campaign in 1984.

Access Information

Open

Acquisition Information

Donated to SOAS Library by the Western Sahara Campaign in January 2013

Archivist's Note

Catalogued

Accruals

Not expected