The policies of Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith "have not only provoked widespread guerrilla warfare but have brought Christianity into disrepute and have made the western world appear hostile to the African people," a former missionary to Rhodesia said here.
Roman Catholic Bishop Donal Lamont, who was arrested and ultimately expelled from Rhodesia last year for allowing nuns in his diocese of Umtali to give medicine to guerrillas, gave his views at a press conference here during the controversial visit to the United States of the Rhodesian prime minister.
Lamont said that the "image projected by the Rhodesian government that it is working for the elimination of racism . . . does not correspond to actual fact."
Smith was brought to power, he pointed out, "by 3 percent of the white adult population" in a country where there are "26 times more blacks than whites."
He denounced the Rhodesian Internal Settlement of last March, in which Smith included three black leaders in the government with him. The settlement, Lamont charges, will not change anything substantive, for 10 years, and the African people are not willing to wait that long."
He warned that if the current government in Rhodesia "receives the approval of the western powers, it will diminish the African people's confidence is the western power."
The Churchman, who had been a missionary in Africa for 31 years until his expulsion last year, said inequality in education was at the "root of the Rhodesian problems.
"No African child has the right under the law to any form of education," he said, contrasting this with the compulsory education laws for Rhodesian white children.
"This being so, there is no possibility for the African to have the opportunity to better himself," he said.
Because of the education inequities, Lamont said in response to a question, there was "no substance" to Tuesday's announcement from Rhodesia that racial discrimination had been outlawed there.
In order for that action to have any practical effect, he said, "it would require millions of pounds and thousands of teachers and they (the government) haven't got them."
The churchman took particular issue with what he said was the "publicly proclaimed" stance of the Smith regime in recent years, that its policies were "necessary for the preservation of Christianity and western civilization."
On the contrary, he maintained, such policies have "provoked widespread guerrilla warfare."
He charged that "the present white racist minority regime of Mr. Smith's Rhodesian Front party has done more to promote interest in communism among the black people in Rhodesia than all the Marxist or Leninist propaganda has ever been able to accomplish."
Questioned about the attacks last summer on missionaries, he called those deaths "brutal murder," but warned against the assumption that the guerrillas were guilty.
"It could easily have happened" at the hands of government forces, he said. He recalled that priests and nuns of his diocese have been arrested by Rhodesian soldiers or police, "taken into the bush and with a pistol at their head told: 'One dead missionary is as good as 100 dead terrorists."
The Irish-born bishop suggested that Britain "resume its legal responsibility" in Rhodesia. Under the white-dominated government of Ian Smith, Rhodesia broke away from British rule more than a decade ago rather than accept British proposals for a racially inclusive independent state.
"If the British were to move a small force into Salisbury or Bulawayo, it could solve a lot of problems," Lamont said. "There would be a great response by the Africans if the British determined they were going to do something practical at the moment."
He was mildly critical of the U.S. State Department for giving permission to Smith and one of his African associates, Ndabandingi Sithole, to enter this country.
"Confidence of the African people is being sorely tried," Lamont said."They will find it hard to believe that the United States is not giving a cachet of approval to Mr. Smith" by making possible his visit here, he said.