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This week in 1966 | From the Observer archive

British and Rhodesian prime ministers Harold Wilson and Ian Smith meet to discuss Smith’s declaration of independence

It used to be argued in Britain in the last century that we could not afford to abolish slavery; it would ruin the country’s economy. The same argument is heard today: we cannot afford to abolish political slavery in Rhodesia.

Whatever has happened in the talks between Mr Wilson and Mr Smith on board HMS Tiger, the basic issue in Rhodesia is plain and inescapable. It is whether 95 per cent of the people of Rhodesia are to be forced to accept a detestable racialist dictatorship, or whether the remaining 5 per cent will agree to a peaceful transition to government by consent.

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