THE Rhodesian declaration of its new, selfassumed, status as an independent Republic ends with the words : "God Save the Queen." This pathetic ambiguity epitomises the confused reasoning of most white Rhodesians since Ian Smith put them on the tragic road that led to U.D.1.
In essence the affair has been incongruous from beginning to end, but the white Rhodesians have at least been consistent in their actions, if not in their words. Many other powers have been consistent in word only. The object of mandatory sanctions has been publicly welcomed but privately sabotaged.
This accounts for the confusion as to whether the Smith regime is now (or soon will be) recognised by other countries, notably the United States. The State Department has asserted that it will not be recognised, but the maintenance of the American consulate in Salisbury might be seen to imply de facto recognition.
It would be tempting to say: let such de facto recognition be granted, and let sanctions be scrapped. This is the temptation which may, largely for commercial reasons, prove irresistible to several nations. There are strong indications that, given a change of Government., one of these powers might be Britain herself.
The history of sanctions shows that they never work effectively. The same is true in the present case. But now that they are in operation we are landed with them. Furthermore it is the only material weapon we have to demonstrate to Africans and white liberals in Rhodesia that they are not forgotten.
Quite apart from ethical considerations however, Britain, in terms purely of trade, let alone good will, would be highly vulnerable throughout Black Africa if sanctions were now abandoned.