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«THE RHODESIAN CRISIS IN BRITISH AND INTERNATIONAL POLITICS, 1964-1965 by CARL PETER WATTS A thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham For the ...»

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Andrew F. Cooper, Canadian Foreign Policy: Old Habits and New Directions (Scarborough, Ontario:

Prentice-Hall, 1997), p. 40.

Sir Robert Menzies, Afternoon Light: some memories of men and events (London: Cassell, 1967), p. 213.

In Canada the Federal Government has a ‘fiduciary responsibility’ for native peoples such as the Innu, and as no other groups in Canadian society have such a direct relationship with the state, ‘These legalities constitute natives as a separate category of citizen. By doing so, the law, itself imposed, exposes the colonial nature of the relationship between the state and native peoples.’ Colin Samson, ‘Rights as the reward for simulated cultural sameness: the Innu in the Canadian colonial context’, in Jane K. Cowan et al (eds.), Culture and Rights: Anthropological Perspectives (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), pp. 227-28. During the 1950s and 1960s the Provincial Government in Newfoundland pursued a vigorous sedentarisation policy towards the nomadic Innu, which resulted in the formation of two settlements in Labrador. Through their acceptance of cultural sameness the Innu acquired rights to housing, healthcare, work, welfare and schooling. Ibid., pp. 230-33.

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association of peoples of every race, freely joined together as equals in the hope that they have something to offer one another and can give the world an example of inter-racial as well as international friendship and co

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In Australia there were no such plaudits for the Commonwealth. After the Sharpeville Massacre, Robert Menzies had expressed to the Australian House of Representatives his regret at the loss of life in South Africa but he refused to condemn apartheid. 23 Menzies felt that apartheid was an issue on which Australia and the Commonwealth should not interfere and deplored the ‘busy-bodies’ who believed that they had the right to pass

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somewhat different as it had, since 1957, accepted that the United Nations had some competence to discuss apartheid on the grounds that: ‘The human rights provisions of the Charter imposed a general obligation on all states to move towards rather than away from increasing respect for human rights. Extreme and deliberate breaches of these provisions in effect forfeited the protection of Article 2 (7).’ 25 Pearson, Mike, Vol. 3, p. 312.

A South African newspaper, the Transvaaler, carried a cartoon showing a young girl - representing South Africa - shaking hands with Menzies and saying Dankie Oom Robert (‘Thank You, Uncle Robert’). Alan W. Martin, Robert Menzies: A Life (Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 1999), Vol. 2, p. 413.

Menzies, Afternoon Light, p. 193.

H. C. Templeton, ‘New Zealand and Africa’, in New Zealand External Affairs Review, Vol. XVII, No. 1 (January 1967), p. 9. Templeton was First Secretary in the New Zealand Mission to the United Nations.

Quoted in R. Kennaway, New Zealand Foreign Policy 1951-1971 (Wellington: Hicks Smith, 1972), p. 136.

At the 1961 Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Meeting Keith Holyoake, the Prime Minister of New Zealand (1960-72), cautioned against the withdrawal of South Africa from the Commonwealth because it would ‘lead to exclusion of some nine or ten million coloured people of South Africa.’ 26 Holyoake put a gloss on the outcome of the Meeting, as he later told the New Zealand House of Representatives: ‘I believe that by its determination to stand for the principle of racial equality the Commonwealth, far from beginning to disintegrate, has demonstrated its strength and its capacity to serve great and worthwhile ideals.’ 27 Yet Holyoake, like Menzies, had reason to lament the attention that

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commentator observed: ‘There is a fear … that once the hypothesis that a member can be judged for offending against Commonwealth principles has been accepted, no member is immune from the hostility of a majority’. 28 To understand the reasons behind such fears it is necessary to analyse the links between the domestic and foreign policies of Australia and New Zealand.

A background factor that explains why the Australian Government was so concerned to preserve the right of domestic jurisdiction was the traditional legalistic emphasis in Australian constitutional politics, which was also reflected in the formulation and conduct Holyoake to Marshall, 15 March 1961. Holyoake blamed South Africa’s withdrawal on Verwoerd’s intransigence as much as Afro-Asian pressure. Quoted in Malcolm McKinnon, Independence and Foreign Policy: New Zealand in the World Since 1935 (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1993), p. 234.

New Zealand Debates, House of Representatives, 4 July 1961, p. 220. Quoted in Miller, Survey of Commonwealth Affairs, p. 156, n. 5.

Holmes, ‘The Impact on the Commonwealth of the Emergence of Africa’, in Padelford and Emerson (eds.), Africa and World Order, p. 31.

of Australian foreign policy. 29 Robert Menzies, who was a barrister by training, was particularly wedded to constitutional conventions. 30 Yet Australian defence of domestic jurisdiction was far from a simple matter of legal principle. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Australia was gripped by a debate about race relations that was both controversial and multi-faceted, involving the rights of Aborigines, discrimination in Papua New Guinea (which Australia administered on behalf of the United Nations Trusteeship Council), and prohibition of non-European immigration. 31 These matters exposed the Australian Government to international criticism that it wished to avoid, and as one critic of Australian foreign policy suggested, ‘it was largely in her membership of the Commonwealth that Australia revealed the racialist prism through which she viewed international reality.’ 32 In Australia, the socio-economic cleavage between whites and Aborigines was immense.

Aboriginal living conditions were extremely poor: their ‘settlements’ were often adjacent to rubbish dumps and the shacks in which they lived lacked electricity and hygienic toilet J. D. B. Miller, The Conduct of Australian Foreign Policy (Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1969), p. 4.

Paul Hasluck, Sir Robert Menzies: A Life (Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 1980), p. 24.

Bruce Grant, The crisis of loyalty, a study of Australian foreign policy (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1972), p. 37. For a detailed study of these various aspects of the race problem in Australia see Frank S.

Stevens (ed.), Racism: The Australian Experience (New York: Taplinger, 3 Vols. 1971-1972). Volume 1:

Prejudice and Xenophobia, examines the experience of migrants and Australian attitudes towards them.

Volume 2: Black Versus White, discusses Australian treatment of Aborigines. Volume 3: Colonialism, analyses the effects of domestic prejudice and government policies on Australia’s external relations.

Joseph A. Camilleri, An Introduction to Australian Foreign Policy (Milton, Queensland: Jacaranda Press, 2nd edn., 1975), p. 26.

facilities. 33 Given these extremely basic living conditions it is not surprising that Aborigines suffered from high death and disease rates due to communicable diseases and Aboriginal infant mortality was far higher than among the white population. 34 Few Aborigines received any education beyond primary schooling, which severely restricted their opportunities for social improvement. 35 Paul Hasluck, who was a distinguished historian before he entered government service, professed his humanitarian concern for Aborigines. 36 As Minister for Territories (1951-64) he achieved little for them. The Aboriginals Ordinance deprived them of rights of citizenship and made them wards of the Federal Government, but in 1953 people of mixed blood were exempted from the Ordinance, unless they were living in the manner of Aborigines or were under the age of 18 and subject to the Director of Native Affairs.

As one Australian historian commented:

‘It is a measure of how strongly racist Australian society still was, as well as of Hasluck’s conservatism, that this measure at the time was considered a wonderful forward step by almost everybody’. 37 Really beneficial changes in the status of Aborigines took a long time. In 1962 Aborigines were enfranchised by the repeal of discriminatory provisions in K. R. Howe, Race Relations: Australia and New Zealand, a comparative survey 1770s-1970s (Wellington: Methuen, 1977), pp. 62-63.

See Peter M. Moodie, ‘The Health Disadvantages of Aborigines’, in Stevens (ed.), Racism, Vol. 2, pp.


Howe, Race Relations, p. 64.

In his account of his early years Hasluck recalled his interest in Aborigines from an anthropological perspective, which later developed into a political concern to achieve social justice for them. Paul Hasluck, Mucking about: an autobiography (Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 1977), Ch. 17, ‘Aborigines’, pp. 202-27, and Ch. 22, ‘Politics’, pp. 267-87.

Russel Ward, The History of Australia: The Twentieth Century (New York: Harper and Row, 1977), p.


the Federal Electoral Act. 38 In 1967 a referendum approved a proposal to amend the Constitution so that Aborigines would be counted as Australian citizens (though the margin in favour was lowest in those States that contained the highest proportion of Aborigines). 39 It was not until 1975 that an Anti-Discrimination Act was passed, which was followed in 1976 by the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act. 40 Between the 1950s and the 1970s, therefore, Aborigines experienced elements of continuity and change. On the one hand there was still a great deal of racial prejudice in white communities towards Aborigines, and Aborigines experienced little socioeconomic improvement compared with rising standards of living among the population as a whole. On the other hand Aborigines enjoyed a theoretical legal equality, were subject to more sympathetic and constructive government policies, and were no longer prepared to tolerate a subservient position in Australian society. 41 The status of Papua New Guinea also led to domestic and international criticism of the Australian Government. Until the 1960s the Australian Government regarded Papua New Guinea not as a colony, but as a territory, which created considerable vagueness about its future as either a fully independent state or a state within the Australian Federation. 42 Paul Hasluck, the responsible Minister, came under increasing pressure from the United Nations to set a target date for independence but refused to be drawn into a specific Donald Denoon et al, A History of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000), p.

386, n. 10. See also Colin M. Tatz, ‘Aborigines: Law and Political Development’, in Stevens (ed.), Racism, Vol. 2, pp. 97-109.

Ward, The History of Australia, pp. 372-73.

Denoon et al, A History of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, p. 370.

Howe, Race Relations, p. 62.

Denoon et al, A History of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, p. 399.

commitment. 43 Hasluck presided over many improvements in the provision of health care and education, encouraged indigenous people out of subsistence farming into the slowly growing cash economy, and implemented a rapid growth in local government. 44 However, many discriminatory practices, some of which were justified in paternalistic terms, were slow to disappear. 45 For example, the regulations that banned indigenous peoples from drinking alcohol were not repealed until 1962 (following recommendations from a UN committee). 46 Even after the Discriminatory Practices Ordinance of 1963 made many forms of discrimination illegal, there were still restrictions on natives of Papua New Guinea who wished to enter Australia. 47 The big questions surrounding the future of Papua New Guinea were tackled in the second half of the 1960s, partly as a result of pressure from indigenous people and partly due to savage criticism of government policy by Edward Gough Whitlam, the Leader of the Opposition. When a delegation of legislators from Papua New Guinea asked if they had a real option to join the Australian Federation, ‘the Australian Cabinet took fright at three million Melanesians crossing the Torres Strait to demand jobs, schools, pensions and other rights of citizens.

Denoon et al, A History of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, p. 347; Ward, The History of Australia, p. 319.

Denoon et al, A History of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, p. 347; Ward, The History of Australia, p. 319.

See Edward P. Wolfers, ‘Trusteeship Without Trust: A Short History of Interracial Relations and the Law in Papua and New Guinea’, in Stevens (ed.), Racism, Vol. 3, especially pp. 116-27, which deals with the period 1951-1969.

Denoon et al, A History of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, p. 347; Wolfers, ‘Trusteeship Without Trust’, in Stevens (ed.), Racism, Vol. 3, p. 123.

Denoon et al, A History of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, p. 347; Wolfers, ‘Trusteeship Without Trust’, in Stevens (ed.), Racism, Vol. 3, p. 125.

Instead they resolved that Papua New Guinea’s destiny was independence – eventually, after much economic development.’ 48 The restrictions on non-European immigration were known informally as the White Australia Policy. 49 Richard Casey, the Australian Minister for External Affairs (1951wrote that the Australian Government was determined to avoid ‘the formation of substantial minorities or pockets of people who do not fit into the pattern of the rest of the community.’ 50 According to Casey and Menzies, the purpose of such a policy was to avoid the racial conflicts like those that existed in South Africa, the United States and Britain. 51 The Australian historian Russel Ward suggested that the Colombo Plan – which exposed Australia to significant numbers of Asian and African students – had only a marginal impact on the recipient countries of South-East Asia but a major impact on Australia because it helped ‘significantly to break down the racist sentiment which still sustained the White Australia Policy.’ 52 In 1960 the University of Melbourne produced a Denoon et al, A History of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, pp. 399-400.

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