• Short Summary

    Mr. Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia, told the Annual Congress of the ruling Rhodesia?

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    GV Smith on platform before microphone

    SV Smith speaking

    GV Smith on platform

    MV Smith speaking

    Mr. Smith: "Of the 26 civilians killed since the beginning of the year, 18 were Africans. Of the 15 civilians injured in the same period, 10 were Africans. In other words, there have been more than twice as many African casualties as European. And this does show an interesting change in the tactics of the terrorists. As most of you know, the Communist technique is to try to find the call of discontent in the country and to work on that and exploit it. If they are not successful in persuading people, they bribe them and they buy them. If they are not successful in either persuasion or bribery, then of course they start resorting to force, start resorting to intimidation. It seems as though they have found that they are not as successful as they anticipated in getting the Africans, the Rhodesian Africans, on to their side, so they have got to resort to murder, intimidation, abduction.

    "It is correct and fair for me to say that, for a while, we had been hanging fire on getting together with the African politicians and trying to produce solutions to our problems. For very good reasons, ladies and gentlemen; it is difficult to work with people who say they don't want to work with you, and which is virtually the answer that Pearce gave us. And so we were hoping that we could finalise this, and put ourselves in a position where we knew which Constitution we were working on and then we would know which way to go, and which way to try to take the Africans with us. That was why we delayed, I concede. However, we have come to the conclusion that we can no longer go on delaying."

    Initials APSM/2328 PD/BOB/BB/2323

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: Mr. Ian Smith, Prime Minister of Rhodesia, told the Annual Congress of the ruling Rhodesia Front Party on Friday (21st September), that a settlement with Britain of the eight-year-old Constitutional issue must be forgotten. At the same time, he disclosed that negotiations were continuing with the African National Congress (ANC), but declined to name the politicians or give any details.

    Much of Mr. Smith's speech focused on the wave of guerrilla incursions that began late last year along the north-eastern borders. He said the country could be reassured that the situation was coming under control. Commenting on the frequent call-up of reservists, he said that the size of the regular army would be increased.

    Mr. Smith received two standing ovations from the delegates, in sharp contrast to last year's Congress when he faced criticism over his government's performance in implementing party policies and principles. The approval of the Congress was seen as evidence of his Party's support in handling the country's problems.

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    Reuters - Including Visnews
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