Rhodesia's Prime Minister, Ian Smith, has warned Rhodesians not to be over optimistic about chances of success of the latest Anglo-American proposals for a peaceful transfer of power to the black majority.
GV Newsmen at news conference by Rhodesian Prime Minister, Ian Smith in Salisbury
MV Smith speaking to reporters (6 shots)
Mr Smith spoke of the effects of their expulsion.
SMITH: "So I am in the position where I've now got to face up to whether to have a general election, and this is a possibility, but of course if the 12 dissidents resign and stand for by-elections, then I believe that possibility would move out of the picture. There is no doubt that, especially in the eyes of the outside world, my negotiating power is weaker now than it was before. It's all very well for Rhodesians to say that these people don't really enjoy a great deal of support, but as far as the outside world is concerned, my two-thirds majority which I had in Parliament has now gone by the boards. But a general election at this time will not be to the benefit of Rhodesia so I must try to desist it. It will create uncertainty -- it will probably set back the settlement proceedings by a matter of say three or four months during the planning and holding of elections.
These things are obviously contrary to the national interests of Rhodesia so if I can avoid it, I must. As I say too, the simple way is for the 12 dissidents to resign their seats and let the nation make their decision. If they don't, the problem is aggravated and we will then have to see what to do."
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Background: Rhodesia's Prime Minister, Ian Smith, has warned Rhodesians not to be over optimistic about chances of success of the latest Anglo-American proposals for a peaceful transfer of power to the black majority. He was speaking at a news conference in Salisbury on Monday (2 May) and said there was an atmosphere of "euphoria" prevailing in some quarters. Mr Smith was questioned about the expulsion of 13 right-wing rebels from his ruling Rhodesian Front Party last week. The rebels are now likely to form an opposition group -- the first white Parliamentary opposition.
Observers quoted by Reuters news agency believe Mr Smith planned the purge to avoid the continuing embarrassment of having Members of Parliament and leading party members opposing a transfer of power to the former British Colony's overwhelming black majority.