On Wednesday (15 January) Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith re-affirmed that no policy exists to hand the country over to black majority government.
GV & SV Factory and flag (2 shots)
CU Smith speaking
TRANSCRIPT: MR. SMITH "We have no policy in Rhodesia to hand over our country to a black majority Government. There has never been such a policy in Rhodesia. The examination of our present constitution will make this clear, moreover previous constitutions will also make this clear. In Rhodesia we have always had constitutions which ensure government by the majority of those eligible to vote under the qualifications laid down under our constitution. In other words, responsible majority Government. Not irresponsible majority Government. Government with all Rhodesians--irrespective of race, colour or creed--participating. This has always been the Rhodesian system, and I would like to know what is wrong with it, if anything? I say to our South African friends that I am not repudiating my own policies. Far from being illogical I am being completely logical and consistent. Moreover, to anyone who takes the trouble to study our case--and news editors who criticise us should at least do that--our attitude is totally comprehensible."
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The soundtrack with this film contains of Mr. Smith's speech.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: On Wednesday (15 January) Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith re-affirmed that no policy exists to hand the country over to black majority government.
Speaking at the opening of a new factory at Norton, near Salisbury, Mr. Smith said that a yawning chasm separates his Government and its black nationalist opponents.
He also said that he hoped his estimation of the country's current settlement negotiations would prove wrong. But Mr. Smith added: "We have no policy in Rhodesia to hand over the country to a black majority Government."
He then re-stated his policy of gradual black political advancement under Rhodesia's system of a qualified franchise and said the country had always had "responsible majority Government--Government with all Rhodesians--irrespective of race, colour or creed--participating".
Under a peace agreement negotiated in Lusaka last month, between the African Nationalist Council and the Rhodesian Government, the Government agreed to convene a constitutional conference and release black political detainees, while Rhodesia's black nationalist guerrillas undertook to lay down their arms.
But last week the Government stopped releasing detainees, saying that some guerrillas were not observing the ceasefire.
The move appeared to be part of a Government campaign to retain the political initiative in the run up to the constitutional conference and observers felt Mr. Smith's speech could be viewed in the same light.