President Carter will join in talks today with British Foreign Secretary David Owen over the rejected Anglo-American attempt to produce a peace settlement in Rhodesia.
It will be the second time this week that the President will be dealing with a volatile international issue, following his talks with Israeli Prime Minister Menahem Begin on Arab-Israel diplomacy.
Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith announced Monday that he was rejecting Britain's proposals as unacceptable and called for the dissolution of Rhodesia's parliament and new elections on Aug. 31.
Smith said he would turn again to an "internal settlement" with Rhodesia's 6 million blacks who are now ruled by 270,000 whites. His call was opposed by Rhodesia's moderate black leaders, and ridiculed by militants engaged in an expanding guerrilla war across Rhodesia's borders.
In an additional setback the wekk before, Britain's cabinet opposed any British contribution to a Commonwealth peacekeeping force in Rhodesia during a transition to black majority rule. Many black Commonwealth nations are also uneasy about involvement.
Alternatives for a peacekeeping force in Rhodesia will be a major issue in Owen's talks today with the President, Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance, National Security Affairs Adviser Zbigniew Brezezinski and other officials. United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young is also expected to participate in the discussions.
In an unusual Saturday schedule, with an atmosphere of urgency surrounding Owen's visit, Vance and Owen will meet at 8 a.m., attend the White House talks starting at 9:30, and hold later discussions at the State Department.
The Carter Administration has deeply committed its prestige in a search for peace and majority rule throughout southern Africa. Smith has said Rhodesia cannot accept "one man, one vote" for Rhodesia and "no special representation for whites" in a new constitution.
The formula pressed upon him, Smith said, includes unacceptable "preferential treatment" for "the terrorists," as he calls the guerrillas, "in our security forces."
Since the foundering of attempts by former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger in 1976 to bring peace to Rhodesia, the control of Rhodesia's army and police during a transition to majority rule has been a constant roadblock. Owen called Smith's latest rejection "a great tragedy." British and American officials are now seeking a new way to generate diplomatic momentum.