Prime Minister Ian Smith told a meeting of white Rhodesians on Thursday (11 January) that the country could not win the guerrilla war, and should accept the inevitability of majority rule.
Prime Minister Ian Smith told a meeting of white Rhodesians on Thursday (11 January) that the country could not win the guerrilla war, and should accept the inevitability of majority rule. Mr. Smith, who got a mixed reception from white settlers in Umtali near the Mozambique border, was speaking at the first of a series of meeting before the white electorate votes in a referendum of a new constitution at the end of January, If adopted, the constitution would bring black majority rule in April.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Smith took the chance to talk with local residents before the meeting. The area around Umtali has seen some of the fiercest fighting in the bush war since its escalation in 1972. Nationalist guerrillas make swift attacks on farms and villages, and avoid security forces by retreating the few miles to relative safety across the Mozambique border. Armoured vehicles and troops are commonplace in the streets, and many civilians carry guns.
The Prime Minister received a standing ovation from most of the seven hundred people in Queen's Hall. He said that, although he didn't like the idea, black rule was inevitable. Rhodesia needed support from the free world, and could not end terrorism without it. These, he concluded, were the reasons for a 'yes' vote in the referendum. Not everyone was a Smith supporter. A number called for immediate action from the Prime Minister.