ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Commonwealth Escapes Showdown

"Social control" over banks is recommenThe Commonwealth has demonstrated, once again, its durability.It did not come apart over the Rhodesian issue. The African members did not walk out. Those who had feared, or hoped, that they would, had misread the signs. The absence of the most prominent African heads of Government at Marlborough House — the only ones present were those of Malawi, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Gambia — did not indicate their final loss of faith in the Commonwealth or acceptance of the inevitability of its collapse. In fact, it seems, they stayed away for the opposite reason: to leave themselves room to manoeuvre, should matters really come to a head at the Conference.ded but the issue of bank nationalisation

The Commonwealth has demonstrated, once again, its durability.It did not come apart over the Rhodesian issue. The African members did not walk out. Those who had feared, or hoped, that they would, had misread the signs. The absence of the most prominent African heads of Government at Marlborough House — the only ones present were those of Malawi, Uganda, Sierra Leone and Gambia — did not indicate their final loss of faith in the Commonwealth or acceptance of the inevitability of its collapse. In fact, it seems, they stayed away for the opposite reason: to leave themselves room to manoeuvre, should matters really come to a head at the Conference.

In avoiding a showdown, the Africans, and others who share their concern over Rhodesia, seem to have been guided above all by the realities of the Rhodesian situation. There being not the slightest chance of ever persuading Wilson to agree to use force against the Smith regime, they had a choice between continuing their efforts to press Britain to take the Rhodesian issue to the United Nations or to take it there themselves if they had decided to take it to the Security Council themselves over Britain's protests; Britain would have been able to organise enough abstentions to block the resolution unless it had the support of the United States, an unlikely eventuality.The United States, it is true, has been preparing for some months for the possible collapse of Britain's Rhodesia policy and with an eye on African opinion has been gradually dissociating itself from it.However, while it may not be averse to making some political capital out of Britain's predicament, on mandatory sanctions by the UN its reasons for baulking are hardly less compelling than Britain's own.Both fear that South Africa and Portugal would ignore the mandatory sanctions and come to the rescue of Rhodesia so that the economic boycott would inevitably have to be extended to them.

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