Rhodesian Prime Minister Mr. Ian Smith says that black 'extremists' at the Geneva constitutional conference?
CU: Interviewer, and Prime Minister Ian Smith being interviewed. (6 shots)
REPORTER: "Cannot this time schedule be concertinad at all?"
"Well, yes. And we have indicated that we are happy to try to co-operate in this direction. I have made it clear that if it is possible to reduce the time from two years then we will do what we can to assist this. And as a result of discussions which our constitutional expert had in Geneva with the British expert, Mr. Steel, and suggestions which came forward that we might be able to concertina certain of these phases, we worked to a position of, I think, twenty three months, which was two or three months less than our original estimate."
REPORTER: "So effectively, what you're saying is that the electoral process cannot take place, the administration of getting all the electors on the register, cannot be done with the time scale being suggested by Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe?"
SMITH: "Well, we're satisfied that it is impossible, and in fact quite ridiculous. We believe that, with due respect, British representatives there are more inclined to agree with us than with the black delegates."
REPORTER: "But if you're right about the length of time that the election would take, do you think that Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe realise the problems?"
SMITH: "No, I don't think they do. I don't believe they want to realise the problems. This whole thing is a political gimmick."
REPORTER: "Mr. Smith, it seems to me that you're causing a dilemma. You're playing the peaceful transition to majority rule along quite rational, European settler lines, When in fact the force of black idealism is ushering history along at a much greater pace."
SMITH: "If you want a safe bet, you can bet that they'll get into line with me, and I won't get into line with them. I put it to you that way, because in the end logic must prevail. And in the end if you try to do things which are stupid, and indeed impossible, then where do you end up? And I believe that the British Government and the black politicians at Geneva will just have to face up to the realities of life."
REPORTER: "Mr. Smith, it seems that the situation in Geneva to outside observers is deadlocked; there's a feeling of limbo here in Salisbury - do you have any optimism about it at all?"
SMITH: "I don't believe it's deadlocked. I believe these people make an extreme stand. But you'll find that they always come crawling back."
REPORTER: "Will you require the British Government to take a more active role now?"
SMITH: "They've got to get on and run the conference. This is their job. They have a chairman, and he must get on and do his task. But I have a feeling in spite of all that is said and done -- you will find that in the end these extremists will toe the line; will come back again. That's another pretty safe bet that you could take if you were that way inclined."
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Background: Rhodesian Prime Minister Mr. Ian Smith says that black 'extremists' at the Geneva constitutional conference 'will come crawling back'. Mr. Smith was speaking in Salisbury, the Rhodesian capital, about disputes in the Swiss city over a time limit for black majority rule. Nationalist leaders Mr. Joshua Nkomo and Mr. Robert Mugabe say they want the transition from white minority rule to take place in 15 months at the latest. Mr. Smith says 23 month is the minimum to allow the necessary hand-over procedures to be completed.