GIBRALTAR, OCTOBER 11........ Hopes for a settlement of the Rhodesian independence issue slumped still further?
MS Smith and ministers board HMS Kent (2 shots)
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Background: GIBRALTAR, OCTOBER 11........ Hopes for a settlement of the Rhodesian independence issue slumped still further on Friday (Oct. 11) after British Premier Harold Wilson and Rhodesian leader Ian Smith ended their second day of talks officially described as "very tough going".
The curt description came from both sides and it followed Thursday's "tough going" description at the opening session of the talks aboard the British assault cruiser Fearless in Gibraltar harbour.
Informed sources stated the two sides were still bogged down on the very first principle Britain has laid down for Rhodesia's independence - guarantees of unimpeeded progress towards African majority rule. Smith is believed to be still sticking to his policy that merit, irrespective of race or colour was Rhodesia's criterion for the franchise. He would not accept any immediate "one man one vote" policy for his country, the sources said, but maintained that his Government was introducing a new education bill to advance the status of the Africans more quickly.
The sources added that some progress had been made on the "Tiger" constitution rejected by the Smith Cabinet in 1966, but it was not possible at this stage to measure the progress.
On-the-spot observers believe that unless some sort of package deal can be worked out before the probable end of the talks on Sunday, the result will be another stalemate.