Rhodesia's Prime Minister, Mr Ian Smith, in holiday in South Africa, has said he will retire from politics once the transition to black majority rule in Rhodesia has been completed -- possibly by the end of this year.
CU: Rhodesian Prime Minister, Ian Smith, speaking to reporter.
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 1: SMITH: "I think this is a typical example of how the West reacts too late, perhaps insufficiently Tragically we've had quite a lot of this. It's the history of the last few years. So, it's sad for those of us who are on the side of the free world. We're not getting support from our friends. If you're ??? Communist, then of course the leading Communist countries step in very quickly and give you all the support that you need. I hope though, that this tragedy, which is a big tragedy, does seem to be having an influence on the thinking of the free world, will influence them in such a way that it might bring them to their senses, and perhaps mean that they're going to use their influence a little more positively in order to curb the Communist encroachment on the African continent. This is what we all hope, I think."
REPORTER: "Do you think this could be the fact that turns the tide?"
SMITH: "There is always a chance, but no, from past experience, one can only be a little disillusioned at the free world, so I don't want to appear too optimistic. I would rather be a little on the conservative side and hope that I'm going to be surprised at what eventually comes from the free world."
REPORTER: "Prime Minister, Mr Hove has been (indistinct) in your transitional government. Do you think there are now less chances that the transitional government will split asunder?"
SMITH: "YOU know, I don't think there was ever any chance of it splitting asunder. This was a good thing for the media, it produced a bit of excitement. It was emotional to build up the possibility of break. Bit I can assure you from my position where I was, I knew that there was no chance of this happening. Clearly this man was a misfit. He was speaking in public against the agreement -- which his own leader signed -- that was the only reason why he was moved out. There was lot of talk about ganging up against the UANC. There was no such thing, there was no truth in that. There were suggestions that the Executive Council was acting almost unconstitutionally, not in keeping with the agreement that was signed. I want to assure you that there was no truth in that. But right from the outset we've always acted in complete accord with the agreement."
REPORTER: "Prime Minister, and your own role in politics. Have you considered withdrawing at any stage?"
SMITH: "Well, for a long time, I don't mind telling you, I've been hoping to just become a farmer again, to get back to my farm. I believe the time is now approaching when I can do this."
REPORTER: CHARL POWE
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Rhodesia's Prime Minister, Mr Ian Smith, in holiday in South Africa, has said he will retire from politics once the transition to black majority rule in Rhodesia has been completed -- possibly by the end of this year. During his stay he has had talks with the South African Prime Minister, Mr John Vorster, and with the Foreign Minister, Mr Pik Botha. In an interview in Cape Town on Friday (26 May) he said he hoped the recent rebellion in Zaire would cause the free world countries to use their influence to curb Communist encroachment in Africa -- though he wasn't too optimistic. Mr Smith was first asked whether he thought the West should have become involved in Zaire at a sooner date.