Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith yesterday fought off rightist objections and overwhelirgly won a personal mandate to negotiate a transfer of power from Rhodesia's white rulers to the black majority.
He also received tacit approval to continue easing the country's racial discrimination laws which make more than 6 million blacks subservient to slightly more than a qarter million whites.
After a special meeting of his Rhodesian Front Party, Smith said he now had a free hand to confer with British Foreign Secretary David Owen on new Anglo-American proposals for a Rhodesian settlement.
"I am now awaiting an approach from Dr. Owen, who has to go and contact other people and clear the lines, and then I believe he will communicate with me," Smith told reporters.
In London, meanwhile, Owen reported progress toward a settlement with Rhodesia. Returning from his eight-day trip through southern Africa, he said he has teken the prospects for a settlement a few steps forward, but stressed that "to achieve any peaceful transition on majority rule is going to be extremely difficult."
During his tour, he had suggested convening a constitutional conference under British and U.S. sponsorship aimed at leading the country to black rule in 1978.
At the special congress of the ruling all-white Rhodesian Front Party, the 800 delegates approved by more than a two-thirds majority a resolution giving Smith power to negotiate a settlement. Its wording leaves the door open for him to abandon the party who voted against revisions of race laws.
A black nationalist leader, meanwhile, called for an intensification of the guerrilla was in Rhodesia.
"Settlement in Rhodesia will come thrugh a bazooka," said Robert Mugabe, according to the Rand Daily Mail, in Johannesburg. He made his statement in an English broadcast to Rhodesia on Radio Mozambique, claiming his guerrila forces had won important victories recently.
Mugabe, joint leader with Joshua Nkomo of the Black Patriotic Front guerrilla organization, and other nationalist leaders met five hours in Angola yesterday with the presidents of the official Angolan news agency reported.
Attending the meeting were Presidents Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, Saamora Machel, of Mozambique, Seretse Khama of Botswana, and Agostinho Neto of Angola.