Prime Minister Ian Smith charged today that the United States is being dragged along by Britain into imposing a reconceived solution on Rhodesia" and offered scant hope of any movement toward accepting the Anglo-American peace plan.
Smith appealed to the Carter administration to separate from Britain and involve itself independently as an "umpire" in the search for a peaceful solution of the crisis, a crisis that he said could lead to a "disaster."
In a interview at his office on a soft spring day in outwardly tranquil Salisbury, the dour Rhodesian leader seemed to be dashing cold water on the tentative hopes aroused by such developments as his own recent surprise visit to Zambia for talks with President Kenneth Kaunda, and hisinvitations to the United Nations and Britain to consult here on the Anglo American plan.
Smith showed no interest in approving even in principle the elections based on one man, one vote, as the plan specifieds, unless he could be persuaded that this would protect "individual rights" better than under the present qualified franchise. It is by this system that Rhodesia's white minority has excluded tha black majority from power.
On the key issue of the Anglo-American proposal to dismantle the white-led Rhodesian army and create a new "Zimbabwe National Army, Based on the "liberation forces," Smith said: "I don't think this is an area where it is possible to have a breakthrough because I see no alternative to the status quo. I can't honestly credit that there are people who think otherwise."
As for the suggested U.N. peace keeping force, he said, "It is difficult to see what contribution they could make."
He said that he had altered none of his initial objections to the Anglo-American plan, whose main proposals he had termed as either "crazy" or "insane". He was careful to add, however, that he had "not ruled out anything."
The prime minister, in making his pitch to the United States to take its own look at Rhodesia, apart from Britain, used as his takeoff point the visit here in August by British Foreign Secretary David Owen and U.S. Ambassador Andrew Young.
Smith described Owen as "arrogant . . . .For the first time we detected this desire to seek revenge, to exact retribution." The British Labor government, which was in power when the Rhodesian whites declared independence in 1965, is widely regarded here as bent on humiliating Smith and determined to crush the "rebellion" at whatever cost to the 270,000 Europeans now living in this country of 6.5 million Africans.
In contrast, Smith said he found Young "interested in the reasoning behind our ideas. Young left with a different view than the one he had come with. He had been brainwashed by the British government.
"This is the danger in the kind of situations that approaches us now, of the Americans trying to help but not participating fully so that they completely understand the problem, not getting onto the field.
"If they sit on the (Rugby side) lines and communicate with the British government, I believe they will get the wrong picture, a falsepicture of Rhodesia. We'd like them to have the full picture, the facts, the truth and then to make their assessments and judgments accordingly."
London has had one middle-ranking diplomat here since September. Washington has had none for the past decade.
As to what he believes the U.S. role should be, Smith paused and said:
"The best thing American can do is to state that she believes that we have got to have a correct solution, that the principles of this must be left to Rhodesians themselves to chart the course . . ."
Such as approach would be in sharp contrast to the current British-American attempt to detail the procedures for a transition to black majority rule and to lay down the basic principles for a new consitution.
"It is necessary to have countries such as America insuring, satisfying the rest of the world, that this is being done correctly. Because, wrongly I believe, the rest of the world thinks that we are trying to pull a fast one, that if it is left to us it will be an unfair solution. It is because we have no intension of trying to resort, to that sort of thing that we would be happy for any system of umpires or referees, people to come and observe and see for themselves that what is done is done absolutely scrupulously, justly, and in keeping with whatever the laws of the game are."
Smith ended the interview by seeking to assure the outside world that white Rhodesians would stick to any agreement that they reached on their own with black nationalists.
"It would be the end of us, so that kind of behaviour on our part, I think, is quite unthinkable and is impractical . . . That seems to me to be the best guarantee the rest of the world could have that we would not do that. We've got to go on living in this country. I've got enough sense to know I've got to go on living with all the other Rhodesians, black as well as white. For me to make an agreement and then go back on that, to break that agreement would mean I couldn't go on living in Rhodesia."
"The ultimate sanction?" we asked.