Britain's Lord Soames arrived in Rhodesia on Wednesday (12 December) to reassert British rule there for the first time in fourteen years.
Britain's Lord Soames arrived in Rhodesia on Wednesday (12 December) to reassert British rule there for the first time in fourteen years. His job will be to guide the territory to fresh elections and legal independence under the latest peace proposals worked out in London. As part of those proposals, Lord Soames is to run the territory in the transitional period after a ceasefire in the ten year civil war has been declared. That ceasefire has still to be agreed, but if and when it is, British supervised elections will take place to choose a black leader of an independent Zimbabwe.
SYNOPSIS: As the Royal Air Force VC 10 landed Rhodesia had only minute of independence left.
From the moment that Lord Soames stepped out of the aircraft the country once again became a British colony. Waiting to greet him was Bishop Muzorewa. Not as the prime Minister of the country, as he was up until the day before when the Rhodesian Parliament voted itself out of existence, but as the leader of his political party, the United African National Council. Former Prime Minister, Mr. Ian Smith, who had declared Rhodesia independent in 1965, had decided to stay away from the welcoming ceremony.
"God Save The Queen" was played once again as the country's national anthem. The police band had been practising for several days to get it right.
Small crowds gathered along Lord Soames' drive into Salisbury. Some were black supporters of Bishop Muzorewa's party. There were also whites who seemed pleased that Rhodesia was again a British colony. The ??? Governor will live at Government House, which now flies the Union Jack.
Lord Soames' first major task was a television address to the nation.