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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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For the origins and implementation of this policy see A. C. Palfreeman, ‘The White Australia Policy’, and A. T. Yarwood, ‘Attitudes Towards Non European Migrants’, in Stevens (ed.), Racism, Vol.1, pp. 136-44 and 145-55. For a conservative response to some of the arguments against restrictive immigration see John Ray, ‘In Defence of Australia’s Policy Towards Non-White Immigration’, in Stevens (ed.), Racism, Vol. 3, pp. 233-39.

Richard Gardiner Casey, Friends and Neighbors (East Lansing: Michigan State College Press, 1955), p.

123.

Ibid., p. 125; and Menzies, Afternoon Light, pp. 201 and 225.

Ward, The History of Australia, p. 317. Ward suggests that greater tolerance was fostered by conditions of full employment in Australia and the fact that visiting foreign students returned to their countries of origin. The Colombo Plan for Co-operative Economic Development in South and Southeast Asia emerged from a meeting of Commonwealth ministers in Ceylon in 1950.

study that indicated a majority of the Australian public (55 per cent) was in favour of replacing the White Australia Policy of total exclusion with controlled, selective immigration from Asian and African countries. 53 Nevertheless, whilst public attitudes were beginning to change it is difficult to detect much sympathy in the Australian Government for a new direction in immigration policy. Menzies and the Australian Government were troubled by the Commonwealth debates about South Africa and Southern Rhodesia because they feared that they could potentially lead to Commonwealth discussion of racial problems and policies in Australia. 54 In his memoirs Menzies admitted: ‘My colleagues and I were not unconscious of the dangers to our immigration policy inherent in the proposition that a matter normally one of domestic jurisdiction can become one of international jurisdiction if it excites criticism and hostilities in other lands.’ 55 In New Zealand there was also racial tension, between whites and Maoris. The official position on race relations was that ‘Maoris have a natural and legal right to full equality with all other New Zealanders.’ 56 However, although Maoris were entitled to equal

treatment they often fared badly compared with whites, as one commentator observed:

‘Although Maoris do not face the same extremes of prejudice and poverty as Aborigines Immigration Reform Group, Control or Colour Bar? (University of Melbourne, 1960). Cited in Ward, The History of Australia, p. 318.

T. B. Millar, Australia’s Foreign Policy (Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1968), p. 152.

Menzies, Afternoon Light, p. 193. This was a point that Australian officials also appreciated: see discussion below, pp. 185-87.

‘Integration of Maori and Pakeha’, Department of Maori Affairs (Wellington, 1962), in W. D. McIntyre and W. J. Gardner, Speeches and Documents on New Zealand History (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), pp.

438-41.

they can still appear to occupy something of an equivalent position to white society.’ 57 Their rates of child mortality were higher (though this was diminishing); they did not have the same access to high quality land that whites enjoyed; they attained lower standards of educational achievement (only 10 per cent of Maori boys gained a School Certificate, compared with 50 per cent of European males); they were poorly represented in the professions (just 8 per cent of Maoris compared with 40 per cent of the European workforce) and worked mainly as labourers (50 per cent of Maoris compared with 35 per cent of Europeans), which meant that they were more vulnerable in times of economic depression; and they were disproportionately likely to end up in prison (60 per cent of inmates were Maori, yet Maoris constituted just 8 per cent of the New Zealand

–  –  –

indicators was ‘a thick underlay of privately (and less commonly publicly) expressed prejudice’ towards Maoris. 59 Unsurprisingly, Maori self-consciousness increased and they rejected the Government’s concept of integration, which was felt to be tantamount to assimilation. 60 There was little open racial conflict in New Zealand, which may be explained by the fact that Maoris adopted non-traditional methods of protest: they demonstrated, distributed literature, and used the news media to publicise racial discrimination. 61 From the late 1960s Maori pressure began to produce changes in official thinking about race relations. The 1967 Education Institute Report on Maori Education, Howe, Race Relations, p. 73.

Ibid.; and Keith Sinclair, A History of New Zealand (London: Oxford University Press, 1961), pp. 271Howe, Race Relations, p. 76.

Graeme Dunstall, ‘The Social Pattern’, in Rice (ed.), Oxford History of New Zealand, pp. 477-78.

Sinclair, A History of New Zealand, p. 272; Dunstall, ‘The Social Pattern’, in Rice (ed.), Oxford History of New Zealand, p. 479.

for example, declared: ‘It must be remembered that the Maori is both a New Zealander and a Maori. He has an inalienable right to be both.’ 62 Faced with an increasingly effective protest movement at home, the Government of New Zealand did not welcome developments in its external relations that added an additional dimension to domestic problems in New Zealand. In 1960 the issue of apartheid spilled over into a fundamental feature of New Zealand culture: sport. When the New Zealand Rugby Football Union excluded Maori from the All Blacks team that toured South Africa, it produced ‘No Maori, No Tour’ protests. 63 The New Zealand Government generally refused to take any action to discourage sporting contacts with South Africa but in 1965 the South African Government made it clear that it would be unacceptable to include Maori players in an All Blacks tour planned for 1967, the New Zealand Government did intervene. Keith Holyoake issued a statement declaring that the New Zealand Government regarded the principle of racial equality as basic to the New Zealand way of life and did not consider that New Zealand could ‘as a nation be truly represented in any sphere by a group chosen on social lines.’ 64 On that occasion the New Zealand Rugby Union cancelled the planned tour, which shows just how sensitive feelings were about race relations. 65 Similarly, the subject of Rhodesian independence also exposed the Quoted in Ranginui J. Walker, ‘Maori People since 1950’, in Rice (ed.), Oxford History of New Zealand, p. 508.





Denoon et al, A History of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, p. 376.

New Zealand Foreign Affairs Review, Vol. XX No. 10 (October 1970), p. 84. Quoted in Kennaway, New Zealand Foreign Policy, p. 136.

For a detailed study see Malcolm Templeton, Human rights and sporting contacts: New Zealand attitudes to race relations in South Africa, 1921-94 (Auckland: Auckland University Press, 1998).

Government of New Zealand to scrutiny of its own handling of race relations issues, especially in the wake of UDI. 66 James Barber has observed that in the case of South Africa the Commonwealth had sidestepped a racial clash, but there was no prospect that it could do so over Rhodesia.

Although the members of the Commonwealth ultimately agreed on the desirability of African majority rule in Rhodesia, throughout the 1960s they remained divided over the timetable and means by which to achieve this. 67 These divisions were evident not only in relations between the Old Commonwealth and the Afro-Asian members (which were articulated clearly during Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conferences), but also in

–  –  –

understand these divisions – which are explored in the next chapter – it is first necessary to examine Canadian, Australian and New Zealand attitudes towards Rhodesia more closely.

The Old Commonwealth and Rhodesia Canadian politicians felt sympathetic towards the aspirations of Africans in Rhodesia and were anxious to support Britain in its search for a reasonable settlement, but they were also conscious of the need to avoid alienating the European settlers lest this provoke a

–  –  –

Pearson recalled in his memoirs that although the Canadian Government was entirely Bruce Brown, New Zealand Foreign Policy in Retrospect (Wellington: Institute of International Affairs, 1970), p. 43. Brown served as First Secretary in the New Zealand Mission to the United Nations (1963-67).

Barber, ‘The Impact of the Rhodesian Crisis on the Commonwealth’, p. 86.

behind the African members of the Commonwealth on the issue of racial equality, ‘it was quite impracticable to do some of the things they wanted, such as enforcing racial equality on Rhodesia by military action, if Rhodesian independence were declared unilaterally.’ 68 Similarly, Paul Martin, the Secretary for External Affairs (1963-68), wrote that in the autumn of 1963 he had opposed African attempts to have the United Nations assume a greater role in the issue, but when Jack Howman, the Rhodesian Minister of Internal Affairs, visited Ottawa, Martin ‘left him in no doubt that we were opposed to any plan that denied suffrage to Rhodesia’s black majority.’ 69 In a later meeting with a Rhodesian representative Martin also stressed the Commonwealth

dimension in the Rhodesian problem, pointing out that:

The future of the Commonwealth is a matter of increasing concern to Canada, because of the implications for future relations between the West and the Afro-Asian nations if we fail to strengthen and develop the more and more tenuous bonds which now exist between its members. 70 Arnold Smith, who served as Assistant Under-Secretary for External Affairs in Ottawa (1963-65) before he became the first Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, was convinced that ‘for Britain to agree to the independence of any African Pearson, Mike, Vol. 3, p. 283.

Martin, A Very Public Life, Vol. II, pp. 412-13. The official records of the visit by J. H. Howman to Ottawa in September 1963 are in the National Archives of Canada [hereafter NAC]: RG 25, Vol. 10071, 20-1-2-SR Part 1.1.

NAC: RG 25, Vol. 10071, 20-1-2-SR Part 1.1, ‘Meeting between Mr Bennett (Southern Rhodesia) with Minister, March 17’, Memorandum by R. E. Collins, African and Middle Eastern Division [hereafter AMED], Department of External Affairs [hereafter DEA], 18 March 1964, para. 3.

country on any other basis than actual majority rule was to invite conflict and disaster.’71 The senior Canadian figures were therefore very much in accord when it came to dealing with the issue of Rhodesian independence.

At the official level the Canadian approach to the problem was sophisticated and thoroughly pragmatic. Officials in the Department of External Affairs distinguished subtle shades of opinion among Rhodesians, as one Canadian diplomat observed: ‘all white Rhodesians are not of one mind on the political situation, even though the “embattled minority” attitude is in all to a greater or lesser degree.’ 72 In conversations with Rhodesian Ministers Canadian officials took care to emphasise that Ottawa did not have a ‘doctrinaire approach’ to the problem of granting independence. 73 They advised Canadian politicians that it was unrealistic to suppose that Rhodesia could proceed directly to majority rule, though they also recognised that it was ‘equally unthinkable that the Africans will wait for fifteen years for majority rule to evolve under the present constitution.’ 74 Canadian officials were careful not to alienate the Rhodesian Government because they feared the international implications of a UDI, particularly the prospect that UN sanctions might be extended to South Africa and the ramifications for Arnold Smith, Stitches in Time: The Commonwealth in World Politics (New York: Beaufort Books, 1983), p. 26. For a brief discussion of the Commonwealth Secretariat see below, Ch. 5, pp. 282-84.

NAC: RG 25, Vol. 10071, 20-1-2-SR, Part 1.2, J. C. Wood to T. Carter re: Visit of Air Vice Marshal Bentley, Southern Rhodesian Representative, British Embassy, Washington, 7 June 1965.

NAC: RG 25, Vol. 10071, 20-1-2-SR, Part 1.1, ‘Meeting with Mr J. H. Howman, Minister of Internal Affairs, for Southern Rhodesia’ [on 12 September 1963], Memorandum by R. G. Hatheway, AMED, DEA, 19 September 1963, para. 13.

NAC: MG31-E47, Vol. 66, Brief for Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Meeting, 26 June 1964, para. 6.

the Zambian economy. 75 Above all else, they were anxious to provide assistance to Britain in its efforts to deter a UDI and, if this failed, to support economic sanctions. 76 In this respect the attitude of Canadian officials was markedly different from that of Australian officials, who did not necessarily see the interests of Britain or the Commonwealth as coterminous with their own national interests. 77 During the 1950s and early 1960s, before Rhodesia’s UDI, there were few pluralist pressures on the Canadian foreign policy establishment. Parliamentary discussion of foreign affairs was growing, but less than 20 per cent of members of the House of Commons had sufficient interest or expertise to contribute effectively to foreign policy debates, and there were very few instances where parliamentary opinion had any significant influence on the initiation, development and shaping of government policy. 78 Neither was the Canadian Government subject to any overwhelming pressures from the press, academic and professional experts, interest groups, or the general public in relation to foreign policy. 79 Thus, as one academic study commented: ‘The hallmark of the Pearson era of Canadian foreign policy was a coherent but relatively closed approach to NAC: RG 25, Vol. 10071, 20-1-2-SR, Part 1.1, ‘Record of Discussion on Southern Rhodesia’ [on 28 October 1964], by L. M. Berry, AMED, DEA, 30 October 1964, para. 4; MG31-E47, Vol. 66, Brief for Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Meeting, 7 June 1965, p. 2. Unlike Australia and New Zealand, Canada was involved in the contingency planning to provide assistance to Zambia.

NAC: RG 25, Vol. 10071, 20-1-2-SR, Part 1.1, ‘Record of Discussion on Southern Rhodesia’ [on 28 October 1964], by L. M. Berry, AMED, DEA, 30 October 1964, para. 7.

See next chapter for the development of this theme.

Robert Barry Farrell, The Making of Canadian Foreign Policy (Scarborough, Ontario: Prentice-Hall, 1969), pp. 148-49.

Ibid., pp. 71-76.



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