Lord Pearce and his commission, in Rhodesia to sound out public opinion over the proposed Anglo-Rhodesian independence settlement, held a public session on Wednesday (26 January) with leaders of the multi-racial Centre Party to hear their views on the settlement question.
SV Lord Pearce enters rooms
SV Pearce seated at table PAN to Bashford sitting down
SV Pearce talking to Lord Harlech
SV Bashford sits down ZOOM BACK TO SV..Rhodesian delegation (2 shots)
GV EXTERIOR..Meeting hall
SV Africans and Europeans leaving meeting
CU Mr Michael Bhebe speaking to press
SOUND IN "YES......"
SOUND OUT: "....understand"
SV Pearce leaving meeting
SV Bashford leaving
CU Bashford interviewed
SOUND IN: Mr. Bashford......"
SOUND OUT: ".... in the way that we're doing"
MR. BHEBE: "Yes, (indistinct) is mine, but the thing is this that I know that the greater number of our people have not had time to have this proposal explained to them. In fact it has been through the clumsy arrangements. I believe that this proposal should have been first of all debated in Parliament before the response of the people to acceptability. Well, at the present moment what is the point of them accepting something they don't quite understand."
INTERVIEWER: "Mr. Bashford, if you had as many reservations about the proposals as you said today, why did you accept them?"
MR. BASHFORD: "Because they are literally Hobson's Choice. I tried to make it clear to the Pearce commission and I must make it clear to the rest of the world that we have a de facto problem arising from our population explosion and if we don't stop this constitutional argy-bargy soon and get on with the development of our country we shall have a problem of stark hunger on our hands. We can't go on in the way that we are doing."
Initials ES. 1730 ES. 1755
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Background: Lord Pearce and his commission, in Rhodesia to sound out public opinion over the proposed Anglo-Rhodesian independence settlement, held a public session on Wednesday (26 January) with leaders of the multi-racial Centre Party to hear their views on the settlement question.
The Centre Party, which has already expressed qualified support for the proposals, was in a state of disarray because of internal differences over the party settlement policy. Tow of the party's seven African Member of Parliament have come out against acceptance of the proposals and on Tuesday night (25 January) the party's African Deputy-Chairman, Mr. E.T. Goduza, resigned over the issue.
The Centre Party President, Mr. Pat Bashford, told Lord Pearce his party favoured the proposals as a "last chance" to settle the political deadlock in Rhodesia, but other officials expressed many reservations during the two-hour hearing. Mr. Bashford and the Centre Party's African Head of Caucus, Mr. Michael Bhebe, both spoke to newsmen after the meeting.