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    The following is the text of the Prime Minister's address to the Portuguese Trade Delegation at the opening of discussions today (February 17).

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    "Your Excellency, Ministers and Distinguished Delegates."

    "Gathered here today we have, in our Portuguese visitors, representatives of the first European culture to come to this part of Africa and, in our Rhodesian hosts, representatives of the nation most recently inspired by the ideals of that culture. It is common knowledge that Africa, except for it northern extremities, was almost entirely unknown to Europe until the Portuguese explorers, fired by the zeal of Prince Henry and undaunted by fearful hazards, probed further and further down the West Coast until, ultimately, they rounded the Cape in 1487. What is perhaps less well known is that early in the 16th Century, Portugal established a regime of Christian enlightenment in the north of present day Angola. So impressed was the paramount chief, known to history as King Afonso, with the value of Christianity and Portuguese civilization, that again and again he requested Portugal for more missionaries, teachers and advisers. It is, in retrospect, quite remarkable that one country in Europe, an area itself only just emerging from medieval times, should have come to Africa with enlightenment as its aim."

    "Here, in this country, we are very conscious of the fact that it is to the records of the early Portuguese explorers that we look for the primary source of our written history. It is hardly necessary to recall that, apart from a few courageous hunters, traders and missionaries, the first White Rhodesians to come here in any numbers on a permanent basis, did so only a decade before the beginning of this century, but nevertheless we hope we may be forgiven for displaying pride at the transformation which has taken place here during the last 75 years. Proud as we are of our achievement, we are very conscious of what still has to be done. We need the help of older, longer established countries and we feel it would be singularly appropriate if some of that help could come from the country with the longest experience of civilizing Africa."

    "We also think that co-operation between the nations is nowadays more necessary than ever to improve the living conditions of the different peoples. The majority of the plagues which afflict the world nowadays - ignorance, poverty and illness - would be more efficiently fought, in these times of vertiginous material progress, if the different nations put aside their hatreds and their passions and more closely co-operated in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

    "I am sure, Mr. Prime Minister, that these ideas are also shared by the Government of Rhodesia. The presence of the Portuguese Delegation in this beautiful town is an evidence of our strong wish to co-operate with the Rhodesian authorities to improve the living conditions of our respective populations. And in order to avoid any misunderstanding of the sense of our words, I shall add that it is also our wish to extend our co-operation to all the other neighbouring countries in those fields in which the solution of the problems requires a wider international co-operation or in any other field of mutual interest between those countries and ours.

    "The talks which now start relate to the negotiation of a Trade Agreement and to the establishment of a more close co-operation between the Provinces of Angola and Mocambique and Rhodesia in the fields of transport, common use of rivers, agriculture, veterinary, tourism, I am sure that both delegations are inspired by the same spirit of mutual understanding and willingness to co-operate and that the results of these talks will be most useful for both our countries.

    "Mr. Prime Minister, I thank you once again for your kindness and I express my most sincere wishes for the well-being and happiness of the Rhodesian people under your vigorous and inspired leadership."

    "The former Colonial Powers bequeathed to Africa a valuable tradition of scientific and technical co-operation. It is tragic that this has now largely collapsed, and that such co-operation, where it is at all effective, depends mainly upon agencies whose principal resources are provided by overseas powers. It is also tragic that a line is being drawn across Africa through which the former flow of scientific and technical knowledge from the southern reservoirs can no longer pass northwards to countries where it is sorely needed. This cessation of assistance from the more developed parts of Africa is not of our making. The sufferers are, of course, the ordinary people.

    "But, freed from responsibility of contributing to the overall progress of Africa, we are at liberty to concentrate our efforts on co-operation between ourselves, for the benefit of all our peoples. It is readily apparent that in some fields co-operation between contiguous countries is essential. It is, for example, vital that, in such fields as animal, plant and human health, neighbouring territories should advance together in the progressive development of their services. But although it is less obvious, co-operation is no less vital in all scientific and technical fields. Under an efficient system of co-operation, all knowledge is pooled, all fresh discoveries are reported to all concerned regardless of nationality, duplication in research is eliminated, and large scale projects which are possible only on a supra-national basis may be undertaken.

    "We, in Rhodesia, intend to make every effort to ensure the continuance of the closest possible co-operation and friendship with all our neighbours, and it is therefore with the deepest sense of satisfaction that my government sees senior Portuguese representatives assembled here for the purpose of strengthening existing economic, scientific and technical co-operation between our two countries, and of finding fresh areas in those fields in which it will be profitable to work in association. I am convinced that our endeavours will be successful and that this day will mark the beginning of a new era of scientific and technical advance in the areas under our control.

    "Rhodesia has had the good fortune to be blessed with kindly and helpful neighbours. This has engendered feelings of affection and respect in our people for the Portuguese. I am sure I am right in saying that this feeling is reciprocated by the people of Portugal towards the people of Rhodesia. The work which we are beginning today will most certainly bring us even closer together.

    "In these difficult times - difficult for those of us who are not prepared to abandon principles and to shed responsibilities so as to avoid facing an ill informed and irresponsible clamour - we in Rhodesia have taken much encouragement from the steadfast stand by Portugal. Just as Portugal pioneered the bringing of civilization to Africa, so today she stands in the forefront of the battle to prevent a return to conditions which can only be described as the very negation of freedom and democracy.

    "Portugal's steadfastness in the 1960's will go down in the history of the African continent, and Rhodesia is very much proud, in these times of the collapse of integrity and courage, to be able to join the fight for what we believe to be right, and to face adversity with resolution.

    "Have no fear, we will not fail or falter. We will resist until the justness of our cause is acknowledged. Those of like mind may rest assured that Rhodesia will always be a staunch ally.

    "It remains for me only to declare these proceedings open, and to state again that I am confident of your success and of the benefits which this now era of co-operation between our two countries will secure for our peoples.


    "Mr. Prime Minister,

    "I thank you most gratefully for the kind reference to our country which you were so kind to make here today. In a world where the most different interests cause people to forget sometimes the most elementary duties of justice and loyalty, it is reinvigorating to hear such noble words of friendship and understanding. Just to start with, I wish to state - and I am sure that the whole Portuguese Delegation agree with me - that I am enraptured with this first contact with your beautiful country. The effort which was made here to improve the living conditions of man is admirable and deserves our deepest respect. We who come from the old Europe with a long experience in the work of disseminating throughout the world the benefits of the Western culture, wish to express most vehemently and sincerely our great admiration for the magnificent work which has been done here. Those who produced such an evidence of civilizing capacity have a moral authority which cannot be denied.

    "It is difficult to build, and it takes time; it requires previous knowledge, tenacity and sacrifices of all kind. It is easy to destroy. And what took generations to create, can be easily destroyed in a day. This is the tragic reality forgotten by many who, inside our own community, let themselves be influenced by supposedly generous ideas which in fact are divorced from reality or influenced by interests which owe nothing to generosity.

    "Let us preserve then what we built with so much sweat and so much blood and represents a sacred heritage; and let us try to improve our work, as human works are never terminated. Let us try each time to uplift the level of our populations, let us do it, however, in order and with the respect for the rights of each one.

    "Rhodesia and Portugal are neighbours in Africa. Our most sincere wish is to maintain with our neighbours, whoever they are, the best neighbourly relations. This is a fundamental principle which has guided for centuries the Portuguese foreign policy.

    "We never sought to interfere in the internal affairs of any other nation. And obviously we do not like others to interfere in ours.



    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: The following is the text of the Prime Minister's address to the Portuguese Trade Delegation at the opening of discussions today (February 17).

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