British Foreign Secretary James Callaghan departed from the scheduled itinerary for his six-nation tour of Africa when he flew to south Africa on Saturday (4 January) for talks with Prime Minister John Vorster.
British Foreign Secretary James Callaghan departed from the scheduled itinerary for his six-nation tour of Africa when he flew to south Africa on Saturday (4 January) for talks with Prime Minister John Vorster. The detour came after Mr. Callaghan had spent several hours in discussion with Botswana's President, Sir Seretse Khama, in the country's capital, Gaborone.
Before leaving Gaborone in a Zambia Airways 'plane, Mr. Callaghan spoke to reporters in a Zambia Airways 'plane, Mr. Callaghan spoke to reporters about the progress he had made so far in his tour towards a possible solution of the Rhodesia question. He said that the work of Sir Seretse Khama and other African leaders at the Lusaka talks last month had brought solution closer. A transcript of the British Foreign Secretary's comments appears overleaf.
The meeting between Mr. Callaghan and Mr. Vorster - the first time a British Foreign Secretary has visited South Africa since the country left the Commonwealth in 1961 - took place in the coastal town of Port Elizabeth. The two men held what were later described as "businesslike" and "worthwhile" discussions lasting two and a half hours, in the eighth-floor suite of the town's only multi-racial hotel.
They discussed the future of Rhodesia and of southern Africa in general, with particular reference to the mandated territory of Namibia (South West Africa) which South Africa continues to administer despite a United Nations ruling. In the separate news conferences held following the historic meeting, neither leader would elaborate on issues they had discussed. Mr. Callaghan referred to the way he had been able to transmit the views not only of the British Government but also of African leaders he had spoken to during his tour, while the South African Prime Minister expressed optimism for a solution to the Rhodesia situation provided "the necessary goodwill" was shown among all leaders concerned.