Page 2, 30th December 1966

30th December 1966
Page 2
Page 2, 30th December 1966 — RHODESIA: ULTIMATUM OF A CONQUEROR

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Organisations: Catholic Church


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YOUR editorial on Rhodesia

(December 9) comes very badly after Vera Barclay's honest letter in the same number. The Tiger working document required total surrender by Rhodesia as an essential condition of independence after a period of Commonwealth (i.e. Wilsonian) domination. This was, in any case, an ultimatum of a conqueror to an utterly vanquished enemy and since Rhodesia has, so far, had by far the best of the fight forced upon her, it must have been obvious, even to so complacent a politician as Harold Wilson, that refusal was inevitable.

Apart from that, however, even if the Rhodesians had been willing generously to save Mr. Wilson's humiliated face by taking one step back, does his record make it humanly possible for anyone to trust Mr. Wilson to permit Rhodesia's two steps forward? Not to mention the highly probable machinations of the African majority at the next Commonwealth meeting.

According to the Observer Mr. Smith made it plain, as agreed by the Governor and Chief Justice of Rhodesia, that his reason for taking the working document with him when he left Tiger was to discover if his Cabinet thought any better of it than he did. He felt no great confidence that they would.

Your claim that Mr Smith's conveyance of the document to his Cabinet is proof that he accepted its terms goes by the board. To adduce as further evidence of acceptance the length, some hours later, of his cabinet's discussion of a cornplicated and vital document is a non sequitur of unique extravagance. Because, you say, his cabinet took a long time to discuss the document, therefore Mr. Smith had agreed to it some hours before! The logic is all your own.

Negotiation is the only way to settle this wholly unnecessary quarrel; it is heartening to be able to agree with you on one point at any rate. Negotiation, however, is not possible by ultimatum in the Wilsonian manner and it does demand trust between the negotiators. Mr. Wilson certainly has not deserved the trust of the Rhodesians. His application to UNO for selective mandatory sanctions is but one broken promise.

It is strange that your exposition of the Rhodesian affair does not make clear the sheer illegality of UNO's interference in this domestic matter. By its own Charter that institution is expressly forbidden to do this. Yet, at the dishonourable request of Mr. Wilson it seems that UNO is willing to stultify its own constitution.

However un-constitutional Mr. Smith's refusal to submit to the false doctrine of the divine right of majorities may have been, it is utterly dishonest to class him, as you do, with criminals. As for rebel, he Is the same sort of rebel as were our Catholic forefathers

who were martyred by the score for refusing to obey the unjust, though legal, demands of the legal, though immoral, governments of their day. Mr. Smith is no more a rebel against the Crown than were our martyred forebears. He, poor man, had to choose between constitutionalism with national suicide and unconstitutionalism with national life.

You must know very well that Rhodesia's de facto government offers no slightest threat to the peace of anyone. You must know that majorities, as such, are invested with no moral authority. You must know that untimely majority rule in Rhodesia could not but lead to torture, rapine and barbarous slaughter, for black more than for white, and the ruin of a well-administered, prosperous and contented modern state. Yet, claiming to speak for the Catholic Church —what else can the CATHOLIC. HERALD imply?—you give the whole weight of your considerable influence to a judaeomasonic doctrine; a doctrine which, with others of the same begetting, is forcing us all into Godless, totalitarian slavery. Rhodesia is but one of many symptoms.

With nothing but most sincere good wishes for you personally, as a fellow Catholic and a fellow man, I offer myself to God as a victim on your behalf that you may recognise and acknowledge the truth and use your talents in its behalf before it is too late.

Major W. Hewett

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