Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith, having just survived a serious diplomatic row with the South Africa Government, repeated on Tuesday (21 October) that his controversial remarks in a British television interview had been misinterpreted by the Press.
GV EXTERIOR Union building in Pretoria
SV INTERIOR Smith and Vorster walking
CU Smith being asked a question by newsman
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 3: REPORTER: "Do you still feel that Mr. Vorster's detents initiatives are responsible for your failing to reach agreement with Black Nationalists in Rhodesia?"
SMITH: "Well, you say do I still feel that. I don't believe I've ever felt that. I think this is the misinterpretation which I hope we've succeeded in clearing up today. We have not succeeded in reaching an agreement in Rhodesia because the ANC in Rhodesia reneged on the agreement between us -- the first agreement which I made last year with Mr. Vorster and then subsequently on the Victoria Falls Bridge. I think, as you know yourself, that was only about a week after they had agreed with the so-called Pretoria agreement and then they reneged on it, the victoria Falls Bridge, this is the problem."
REPORTER: "Now in the television interview you were quoted as saying that 'I believe that had this new initiative not been taken by Mr. Vorster, I believe we would have had a settlement by now'."
SMITH: "Yes, I was perhaps being wise through hindsight. We believe in Rhodesia that this is a possibility -- it is a matter of opinion."
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Background: Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith, having just survived a serious diplomatic row with the South Africa Government, repeated on Tuesday (21 October) that his controversial remarks in a British television interview had been misinterpreted by the Press.
Mr. Smith, in an interview recorded shortly after his meeting in Pretoria during which he apologised for embarrassing Prime Minister John Vorster, said the African National Council was to blame for the failure of a settlement in Rhodesia -- not South Africa.
The Rhodesian leader had said in the television interview that the detente efforts of Mr. Vorster and other Southern African Heads of State had prevented an early solution to the Rhodesian constitutional problem.
Asked about these remarks, Mr. Smith said: "I was perhaps being wise through hindsight. We believe in Rhodesia that this is a possibility -- it is a matter of opinion."
After the two leaders of the last remaining White-ruled nations in Africa met for four hours, relations between Rhodesia and South Africa appeared to have returned to normal.
But for Mr. Smith, now back in Salisbury, the apology was almost certainly one of the most humiliating moments of his political career.
South African cabinet ministers had demanded a full retraction and there had even been suggestions that any future South African initiatives in the Rhodesian problem should not include Mr. Smith.
This film includes comments made by Mr. Smith to newsmen about remarks he made about Mr. Vorster. A transcript appears below.
In Pretoria, Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith has apologised to Prime Minister John Vorster for remarks he made about South Africa's involvement in the Rhodesian problem. But Mr. Smith maintains his remarks were misinterpreted.