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Rhodesia's “Pro-Settlement Groups” and the Anglo-Rhodesian Constitutional Dispute

  • Tony Kirk


The present political uncertainty in Rhodesia has complex origins. Until 1965 the country was a member of the British Commonwealth. It enjoyed “Responsible Government” (in the constitutional sense) which allowed its politicians much latitude in running affairs to suit their own desires. The black majority of the population had virtually no voice in the government. Britain retained a few residual legal rights arising from the situation when Rhodesia was colonized in 1890. In 1965 the Rhodesian politicians representing the white population of under 250,000 renounced their obligations in terms of these British rights and proclaimed their country a sovereign, independent power. The British government responded to the unilateral declaration of independence (U.D.I.) by imposing an economic blockade on Rhodesia. Rhodesia's financial assets abroad were frozen and its export trade embargoed. Its access to foreign money markets to raise investment capital was blocked.



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1 Public statements by all individuals named were printed in the Rhodesia Herald (an English-medium daily newspaper) in March and April 1973.

2 Summaries or extracts from the Annual Reports mentioned appeared in the financial columns of the London Times in the first three months of 1972.

3 British Parliament, Report of the Commission on Rhodesian Opinion under the Chairmanship of the Right Honourable the Lord Pearce. Ref: Cmnd. 4964, London, HM Stationary Office, May 1972, para. 182, p 49.

4 Sunday Mail, 20 May 1973.

5 Rhodesia Herald, 12 April 1973.

6 Weekly Express, 31 March 1973.

7 The quotes are from a circular sent by the Committee to Organise Support for a Settlement (C.O.S.S.) to Rhodesian businessmen on 26 January 1972.

Rhodesia's “Pro-Settlement Groups” and the Anglo-Rhodesian Constitutional Dispute

  • Tony Kirk


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