Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith on Friday (9 July) denied that the effect of sanctions had prompted and agreement to open negotiations once more with Britain.
SV Salisbury Street scene
SCU Smith seated SOF STARTS: "Why are you...." SOF ENDS: "....find ourselves."
TRANSCRIPT: REPORTER (SEQ. 2): "Why are you negotiating now again sir? Is it the effect of sanctions on your economy?
SMITH: "No, quite the reverse, as far as sanctions are concerned it is less reason for us to negotiate now than any other time. We are more sure of ourselves now than we have ever been. The economy is booming. The embarrassment today is that things are going at such a pace that we can hardly keep up with these things. The thing that motivates me more than anything else is the fact that we are members of the free world, we always have been. We stood by and fought with them. We are now in the incredibly stupid position, we find that we are being attacked more by our friends in the free world than by our enemies in the communist world. This is just stupid and I, being a practical sort os a chap, think that we shouldn't go on like this if we can possibly change the position.
REPORTER: "Is it still not true that you are suffering from very strong foreign exchange difficulties?"
SMITH: "Yes. This is because our rate of expansion is such that it is difficult to keep up with it.
REPORTER: "Isn't the cost of breaking sanctions losing you a lot of money?"
SMITH: "This is a factor but it is not the main factor."
REPORTER: "Doesn't it take you dependent on South Africa?"
SMITH: "No, I can assure you quite the reverse and if anybody is trying to get you to believe that South Africa is sponsoring us well, they are wrong. We are standing on our own feet and I think any economist examining the papers produced by our treasury, can see this.
REPORTER: "Is the break with the Crown final?"
SMITH: "I think it would be wishful thinking to believe that it could be anything else. When one looks at the composition of the commonwealth today, I don't think there is any hope of the present members wishing to be associated with Rhodesia. If it was the old commonwealth, of course the position would be different, but we must be realistic and practical with the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
Initials BB/0355 TA/DW/BB/0359
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith on Friday (9 July) denied that the effect of sanctions had prompted and agreement to open negotiations once more with Britain. Mr. Smith, speaking to a British Broadcasting corporation reporter, said that as far as sanctions were concerned, it was less reason to negotiate at the present that at any other time.
He brushed off as irrelevant the five principles Britain has laid down for a settlement of the long dispute over Rhodesia's seizure of independence in 1965.
Mr. Smith was particularly cautious about prospects of success in the current Angle-Rhodesian peace probes. He was asked if this time anything was going to be different from previous -- abortive -- negotiations despite optimism expressed on each occasion. he replied "I don't know, and if I were you I would not believe that anything was going to be different."