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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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of the problem and discussed it with the Canadian Government even before the break up of the Central African Federation. Dr Bernard Chidzero, a Rhodesian who was head of the United Nations Office in Nairobi, told one Canadian diplomat of his fear that in the event of African majority rule in Rhodesia many Europeans would resign from the civil service, which would cause a crisis in government unless sufficient numbers of trained Africans were available. 19 George Nyandoro, Secretary-General of the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union, also shared these concerns. He observed that whereas British civil servants had administered most British colonies in Africa, by contrast European settlers had administered Rhodesia. Nyandoro therefore anticipated that European settlers would deliberately intrigue against an African majority government, causing administrative collapse. 20 At the same time that the Canadian Government was receiving reports of African concerns about the lack of education and training opportunities in Rhodesia, it was also pursuing the issue with the Rhodesian Government. Canadian officials and ministers questioned whether the Rhodesian Government might do more to facilitate African educational advancement so that more Africans would then be enfranchised. Jack Howman, the Rhodesian Minister of Internal Affairs, explained that the Rhodesian Government had so far concentrated on providing elementary education to the majority of African children, and having achieved its goal the Government intended to expand facilities for secondary education. Faster progress to African majority rule would National Archives of Canada, Ottawa [hereafter NAC]: RG 25, Vol. 10071, 20-1-2-SR, Part 1.1, N. F. H.

Berlis, Canadian High Commissioner, Dar Es Salaam, to Director General, External Aid Office, Ottawa, Letter, 17 September 1963, para. 2.

NAC: RG 25, Vol. 10071, 20-1-2-SR, Part 1.1, George B. Nyandoro, London, to George Ivan Smith, Head of United Nations Office, Dar Es Salaam, 12 September 1963. Extract enclosed in Berlis to Director General, External Aid Office, Ottawa, Letter, 17 September 1963.

depend upon increased foreign investment in Rhodesia to provide the funds for the development of educational facilities. 21 Over the next few months, the Canadian Government considered what it might do to assist African development in Rhodesia. In March 1964 Paul Martin met with Oliver Bennett, who emphasised that it was important for the United States, Britain, and the Commonwealth to provide educational and economic assistance to Rhodesia in order to accelerate African participation in government. According to Bennett both forms of assistance were necessary otherwise an educational programme would produce an additional problem of unemployment among qualified Africans. Martin told Bennett that the Canadian Government was prepared to offer technical assistance but questioned the necessity for large-scale financial aid, as ‘it was his impression that Southern Rhodesia, at least in African terms, had a relatively prosperous economy.’ 22 The following month the Canadian Government made a formal offer to provide three Canadian teachers for African schools in Rhodesia and two technical assistance advisers, and up to 25 places for Rhodesian Africans to train in Canada. Thomas Carter, the Canadian official who conveyed the offer to Salisbury, reported that the Rhodesian Government was grateful for the technical assistance programme, which it considered ‘a useful way of demonstrating 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, African and Middle Eastern Division [hereafter AMED], DEA, 19 September 1963, paras. 8-10. ‘Visit to Ottawa by Mr J. H. Howman, Minister of Internal Affairs, Local Government and African Education of Southern Rhodesia, Sept. 12-13 1963’, Memorandum by D. B. Hicks, AMED, DEA, Ottawa, 21 October 1963, para.


NAC: RG 25, Vol. 10071, 20-1-2-SR, Part 1.1, ‘ Meeting of Mr Bennett (Southern Rhodesia) with Minister, March 17’, Memorandum by R. E. Collins, AMED, DEA, 18 March 1964, para. 2.

[Canadian] interest in Southern Rhodesia without implying any interference in their constitutional problems.’ Sensing an opportunity for progress, Carter recommended that the Canadian Government should consider extending its assistance through its new longterm, low interest low programme. 23 Yet within just a few days, developments in Rhodesia threatened to jeopardise the Canadian aid package. Ian Smith ousted Winston Field as Prime Minister, which signalled a further shift to the right in the Rhodesian Government. The Canadian External Aid Office called into question the rationale of providing assistance designed to facilitate African advancement in circumstances where the Rhodesian Government showed no commitment to that objective. This was not an unreasonable assessment, but as one senior External Affairs official concluded, if the Canadian Government went back on its offer, it would have a negative effect on its relations with Rhodesia and could preclude Canada from playing any further part in

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recommended that the Canadian Government should follow through with its offer. 24 Even though the political situation in Rhodesia was not promising, Canadian officials did not abandon the hope that the Commonwealth might be able to influence future developments by focusing on Rhodesia’s economic requirements. In a brief for the 1964 Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Meeting Canadian officials noted that the Rhodesian economy was in recession, and badly needed investment had dried up because of political uncertainty. Like other African countries, Rhodesia would require high levels of NAC: RG 25, Vol. 10071, 20-1-2-SR, Part 1.1, ‘Southern Rhodesia – Canadian role’, Thomas Carter, AMED, DEA, c/o Canadian Embassy, Cape Town, to Paul Martin, Ottawa, Despatch No. 142, 7 April 1964, para. 7.

NAC: RG 25, Vol. 10071, 20-1-2-SR, Part 1.1, Marcel Cadieux, Acting Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, to Director General, External Aid Office, Letter, 30 April 1964.

government spending and private investment for development projects and expansion of educational facilities, but as long as the political situation remained unsettled the

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observed that financial aid could be offered to the Rhodesian Government as an inducement for a commitment to African political advancement, and it was suggested that

the Prime Ministers’ Meeting:

might aim at producing a statement on Southern Rhodesia which would not give grounds to the present Southern Rhodesian Government to claim that the Commonwealth was attempting to interfere in Southern Rhodesia’s internal affairs and which would at the same time give hope to the Africans and to liberal white Southern Rhodesians that the Commonwealth as a whole would be willing to give material support to help African educational and economic advancement. 26 As noted in Chapter One, in May 1964 the former Rhodesian Prime Minster, Garfield Todd, suggested that the British Government should be prepared to offer substantial assistance of £10 million per year for ten years in order to facilitate an agreement in Rhodesia. 27 The Old Commonwealth was willing to contribute only limited funds in respect of aid and technical assistance to Rhodesia, though Canada was willing to go much further than either Australia or New Zealand. Canadian officials advised ministers NAC: MG 31-E47, Vol. 66, ‘Southern Rhodesia’, Confidential Brief, 26 June 1964, paras. 8, 9, and 11.

Ibid., para. 15.

Ibid., para 12; Archives New Zealand, Wellington/Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga [hereafter ANZ]:

ABHS 950, W4627, 245/8/3, Part 9, Garfield Todd and Hardwicke Holderness to Sir Alec Douglas-Home, Letter, 15 May 1964.

that there was scope for Canada to increase the scale of its technical assistance from the initial figure of $125,000 and to allocate grant aid funds and special development loans to Rhodesia, but this could not take a disproportionate share of the $10 million allocated for aid to all Commonwealth countries in Africa, nor be greater than that offered to other countries with an equal or larger population. 28 The figure that the Canadians had in mind by the time of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Meeting in July 1964 was around $1.5 million.29 This was a small figure in relation to Garfield Todd’s suggested total assistance package in the sum of £100 million, but it represented more than a tenfold increase in Canada’s initial technical assistance allocation for Rhodesia.

The Australian Government was prepared to contribute very little financial assistance to Rhodesia, which reflected the limitations of its overall external aid budget and the priorities that dictated allocation of funds. As one contemporary commentator noted: ‘In Australia overseas aid has a low rating as a subject of political interest.’ 30 Australia’s aid budget in 1965-66 was around $115 million, which was 0.6 per cent of GNP. This was slightly higher than Canada’s external aid budget in relative terms (0.45 per cent of GNP) but not in absolute terms ($190 million). The majority of Australian aid, some 76 per cent, was directed to Papua and New Guinea, leaving only $34 million for wider NAC: MG31-E47, Vol. 66, ‘Southern Rhodesia’, Confidential Brief, 26 June 1964, paras. 13 and 14.

ANZ: ABHS 950, W4627, 245/8/3, Part 9, J. S. Reid, New Zealand High Commissioner, Ottawa, to Secretary of External Affairs, Wellington, Letter, 15 June 1964.

J. A. Camilleri, An introduction to Australian foreign policy (Milton: Jacaranda Press, 2nd edn. 1975), p.

27; David Scott, ‘Some Aspects of Overseas Aid’, in M. Teichmann (ed.), New directions in Australian foreign policy, ally satellite or neutral? (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969), p. 117.

distribution.31 Africa was not a priority, and in any case Australian officials were not particularly enthusiastic about facilitating change in Rhodesia. In documents prepared before the 1964 Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Meeting Australian officials commented: ‘We, and perhaps others, would not wish to see Africanisation of the administration for its own sake … we doubt whether the idea would do much to help persuade the European community to accept an African-based government’, which demonstrates clearly that they did not share the optimism of their Canadian counterparts.

Officials advised Ministers that it if they were pressed it would be possible to train around 20 Rhodesian African administrators through the SCAAP, at an annual cost of £35,000.32 At the conclusion of the Meeting there appeared to be a more optimistic tone in the Australian Department of External Affairs, which admitted that technical assistance to Rhodesia could have two useful results: first, it might help to diminish the validity of the argument put forward by Europeans that Africans were not suitably equipped to run the country; second, it could allay European fears that an African majority government would reduce standards to an unacceptable level. However, the Australian Government had not received any request for financial assistance from the Rhodesian Government (and there was no mention of any offer). 33 When the Zimbabwe African National Union solicited Australian scholarships for Rhodesian Africans it was told that the Australian Scott, ‘Some Aspects of Overseas Aid’, in Teichmann (ed.), New directions in Australian foreign policy, p. 119.

National Archives of Australia, Canberra [hereafter NAA]: A1838, 190/10/1, Parts 2 and 3a, two confidential papers on Southern Rhodesia for 1964 Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Meeting [n.d. but June 1964].

NAA: A1838, 190/11/162, Part 1, DEA, Canberra, to Australian High Commission, London, Cable No.

18191, 15 July 1964.

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Rhodesian Government was obviously not disposed to nominate members of African nationalist movements, so they were bound to be disappointed.

The New Zealand external aid budget was smaller than that of Canada and Australia in both relative and absolute terms. During the 1950s, under the Colombo Plan, New

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UNCTAD target date for developed countries to donate one per cent of their GNP to developing countries annually), New Zealand’s Official Development Assistance had risen to just 0.22 per cent of GNP, or $22,486,000. This placed New Zealand towards the bottom of the international aid league table in absolute and relative terms. As with Australia, the overwhelming proportion of the aid budget was directed towards Asia and the Pacific, and New Zealand donated only tiny sums to Africa (around $120,000 in 1971-72). 35 One analyst of New Zealand foreign policy, Richard Kennaway, observed that some New Zealanders felt that this was an entirely appropriate arrangement, because it reflected national interests and regional priorities. However, Kennaway argued that ‘New Zealand has few enough links with large areas of the world, such as the African continent, and those few channels of communication and interchange of ideas which do exist – for example, through SCAAP and Commonwealth Education schemes – are therefore especially valuable.’ 36 The idea that New Zealand should develop a greater interest in Africa did not, however, carry any weight in the Department of External NAA: A1838, 190/10/1, Part 5, F. W. Truelove, First Secretary, Dar-Es-Salaam, to DEA, Canberra, Letter, 23 September 1965.

R. Kennaway, New Zealand Foreign Policy 1951-1971 (Wellington: Hicks Smith, 1972), pp. 138-41.

Ibid., p. 141.

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