• Short Summary

    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.

  • Description

    GV Rhodesian Prime Minister, Ian Smith, talking to residents in Umtali.

    GV PULL OUT Armoured vehicles patrolling streets.

    LV Armed soldier walking along street.

    SV Civilians wearing pistols in holsters. (2 SHOTS)

    SCU INTERIOR Prime Minister Smith enters Queen's Hall to mixed reception.

    SV Man voicing strong opposition to Mr. Smith's policies is asked to sit down by Chairman of meeting. (2 SHOTS)

    CU PULL OUT TO SV Man calling Mr. Smith a traitor sits down after asking him to resign him position.

    SV Man putting case of people who have been settled in Rhodesia for many years.

    SV Woman asks Mr. Smith what he is going to do about the plight of farmers in the Umtali area.

    SV Mr. Smith responding to settler's questions.

    PROTESTOR:"Mr. Smith, I've called you a traitor this morning. I don't take that back at all. But Mr. Smith, please resign in the interests of the country before you betray us any more."

    SETTLER:"The situation is pretty hopeless. There are people who have been on their property for eighty years having to leave. They're in the process of leaving their property now. And nothing seems to be able to be done to assist these people. Please, sir, come up and try and do something for these people before there's nobody left in that area."

    FARMER:"At this very time, we are forced to leave an area where several other farmers have pulled out, and where more are leaving. We can't stay. We can't stay on our own. Every day, all day our lives are in danger. But we've go??? to leave there now. There's no prosperity for us. For the last two years there hasn't been any. What is going to be done about that?"

    SMITH:"And I have great sympathy for them. My heart goes out to them. And I say to her and her friends, please keep in touch with us. We will try to help you. But I don't want to pretend we can do things we can't do. I just hope that God will bless you."

    Under the proposed constitution, whites will be in a parliamentary minority, but will have a major say for at least ten years in the day-to-day running of the judiciary, civil services, police and armed forces. During the meeting Mr. Smith was asked about black conscription, which started in January. He admitted that twelve hundred of the fifteen hundred blacks supposed to report for duty on Wednesday (10 January) had failed to appear. He said there was widespread intimidation, with many blacks fearing for their families lives if they did military services.

    Initials JS/

    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: 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.

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    Reuters - Source to be Verified
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