President Kenneth Kaunda made a strong personal appeal to the Carter Administration yesterday to reject the agreement signed last week in Rhodesia by four white and black internal leaders and to press forward instead with the rival Anglo-American proposals for a settlement of the worsening Rhodesian conflict.
He also urged the United States to take over now from Britain the main burden of carrying out the Western peace plan. "If you Americans want to be useful in averting the racial and ideological conflagration which Zambia has been expressing anxieties about since 1966, then you must take over the initiative," Kaunda said.
"They have the capacity, they have the ability, and I think now they have a man determined to implement human rights the world over. So they have three ingredients which the British lack" he said in an interview at the Zambian presidential residence.
Kaunda, probably the most pro-Western of the five African frontline leaders, also issued a warning to the Carter administration regarding the possibility of Zambia turning to the Soviet Union and Cuba for help to defend his country should Rhodesian incursions continue. Rhodesian forces attacked Zambia earlier this week.
While refusing to say outright whether he already had firm assurances of Soviet or Cuban aid, he pointedly remarked that "in principle" he "would not sit here and see my country destroyed by forces which claim to be killing my people in name of Western Civilization and fail to approach the Russians or Cubans, if they are ready to come, on the ground that Western countries might misunderstand us."
Casting aside earlier doubts about Anglo-American proposals as a basis open to us which can bring genuine peace."
He simultaneously warned of dire
Consequences of the Carter Administration did decide now to back the internal settlement in Rhodesia.
"Either you use the Anglo-American initiative to help bring genuine peace to Zimbabwe or you go ahead and support the internal settlement and ern Africa," he said. Zimbabwe is the bring hell here to everybody in south-African name for Rhodesia.
His warning came just one day after the biggest Rhodesian incursion ever into this frontline country, and just as Zambia was preparing to take the issue to the U.N. Security Council for its sharp condemnation.
Kaunda said there had been fighting "at various points" along the Rhodesian-Zambian border Monday and Tuesday but commented that the Rhodesian attack was mainly confined to air raids on Zambian industrial targets in an effort to carry out "an economic sabotage." On Tuesday, Zambia had said it shot down six Rhodesian warplanes.
His reference to economic sabotage seemed to confirm specialists here that the Rhodesian attack was aimed as much at intimidating Zambia into ending its support for the militant Soviet-backed Patriotic Front as it was against the guerrilla camps themselves.
The Rhodesian security forces have admitted that they struck into Zambia but mentioned hitting only one guerrilla camp 10 miles west of Kayemba across the Zambei river. They said 36 guerrillas were killed in what they describe as a preemptive attack to prevent a suspected nationalist guerrilla offensive from Zambia.
If Zambia did turn to the Communist countries for assistance, he said, this would not mean it was abandoning traditional nonalignment.
"We are truly independent in Zambia and we are proud to be independent. When we ask people to come and help us we ask them as human beings, as equals, we don't go to them as per puppets."
At the same time, he criticized the current uproar in Washington over the growing activities of the Cubans and Soviets in Africa, asking whether in a malaria campaign the Carter administration thought the better course was to dish out medicine or wipe out the breeding grounds for mosquitoes.
"In my opinion, this concern about Soviet and Cuban involvement in Angola and Ethiopia is really dealing with the effects rather than the causes," he said.
Referring to the Communist-backed nationalist struggles in the former Portuguese African colonies where Soviet and Cuban backed governments have taken power with independence, Kaunda asked, "Have we forgotten that these people knocked at the door of the Western countries asking for their help and they all opposed it?
Drawing a parallel to the present situation in Rhodesia, he added, "Just know Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe are knocking at the door of the West." The two men are co-leaders of the Patriotic Front which has agreed to hold talks in Washington and London on the Anglo-American proposals.
The gray-haired Zambian leader now Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mubage were ready to continue negotiations on the Western plan and expressed his dismay that the British-American plan had been "frozen, literally frozen" in favor of the internal settlement talks in Rhodesia.