"Tomorrow, a new era commences". With these words Premier Ian Smith of Rhodesia called on?
"Tomorrow, a new era commences". With these words Premier Ian Smith of Rhodesia called on his countrymen to face a new future under predominantly black rule. He spoke at the last session of the white-dominated Parliament in Salisbury.
SYNOPSIS: Rhodesia's Parliament, symbol to many of minority racial supremacy, officially ceased to exist on Wednesday (28 February). Fifty white members and sixteen black members assembled for the final session, and unless there is an emergency in the country they will not return until after one man one-vote elections are held in April. The pool will practically reverse the content of the House with 72 black members far outnumbering 28 white members. Premier Ian Smith delivered the final speech.
Mr Ian Smith led his countrymen to independence in 1965 when he unilaterally declared independence from Britain. But, faced with ever-increasing war, he has worked out with three Rhodesia-based nationalist leaders a new constitution which accepts universal suffrage and officially ends racial discrimination.
Mr Smith told the assembly that under the new constitution Rhodesians are ending a great and proud era, and beginning a new one. He called on them to dedicate themselves to the future.
Before the House rose Mr Smith spent much time attacking what he called the treachery of Britain, which he said had betrayed Rhodesia, giving its colony no option but to seize its independence and henceforth pursue a lonely course in world affairs. But as the parliamentarians left to face the electorate at the polls, the war continued against those nationalist groups based outside Rhodesia that have refused to accept the new constitution under which the vote will be held.