INTRODUCTION: The chances now seem better for a resumption of talks with Britain on the transfer of power to Rhodesia's black majority.
INTRODUCTION: The chances now seem better for a resumption of talks with Britain on the transfer of power to Rhodesia's black majority. Rhodesian premier Ian Smith was on Monday (18 April) given a free hand by a special congress of the ruling Rhodesian Front Party to negotiate the country's constitutional future. He received a personal mandate to negotiate with British Foreign Secretary Dr David Owen on new Anglo-American proposals for a settlement conference leading to majority rule.
SYNOPSIS: The one-day party congress was held at a big hall in a suburb of Salisbury, the Rhodesian capital, and party members gathered in the grounds before going in. They were later to vote on two crucial resolutions going against right-wing objections. The most vital of these authorised the government to negotiate a settlement, but urged it to strive to abide by the principles and policies of the party.
Premier Ian Smith is now no longer tied rigidly to his party's principles, which in effect prevent integration of the races. However, Mr Smith has already broken those principles. Last month, he pushed through parliament a series of amendments to the government's Land Tenure Act, one of the results of which was the opening of all hotels and bars to non-whites. The government's moves to modify the segregation laws caused a rebellion by 12 Rhodesian Front MPs, who claimed the government was betraying its party's principles in order to reach a sell-out settlement.
The 450 congress delegates, who broke from their session for lunch, heard right-wingers call for a flight to the end against black domination. But Mr Smith described it as a "good day".