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Sunday Express, London, 4 July 1971
Caning Row Hits Talks In Rhodesia
Sunday Express Diplomatic Correspondent
A STUDENT demonstration in Salisbury, Rhodesia, which resulted in a number of African schoolboys being taken before a magistrates' court and caned has led to a British protest. For the canings took place while Lord Goodman was leading a British team seeking a solution to the Rhodesia independence issue.
The British delegation had no knowledge of the demonstration, which was quickly dispersed by police with dogs in Central Salisbury.
It happened on Thursday. Two hundred students and boys, mostly Africans, took part in a protest against African teachers receiving lower pay than European teachers. In court all pleaded guilty to staging an illegal demonstration.
Those over 19 were either fined 15 or remanded to appear in court at the end of the month. Schoolboys aged 18 or under each received six strokes with a light cane the same afternoon.
Lord Goodman heard of the episode when he arrived back at his hotel after a late-night negotiating session.
He insisted on seeing the Rhodesian negotiators again immediately. At this meeting he was accompanied by Sir Philip Adams, a deputy secretary to the British Cabinet. I understand both men conveyed their personal indignation to the Rhodesians.
Both Lord Goodman and Sir Philip stressed that the atmosphere of the negotiations, which had until then been friendly, was now seriously damaged.
I understand that Lord Goodman was deeply disturbed that a peaceful demonstration should result in such tough action; and that after several days of useful discussion, the Rhodesians were shaken by the vehemence of the British protest.
Rhodesia's Attorney-General, Mr. Tony [name illegible on photocopy of cutting], is understood to have told Lord Goodman and Sir Philip that he had not been consulted, and that the matter had been handled by junior officials.
The Attorney-General, I am told, assured Lord Goodman that he had given immediate instructions that no further arrests or penalties of this nature would take place without reference to him.
The next day a considerable part of the morning negotiating session was, I understand, taken up with a full discussion about the demonstration and the sentences.
This weekend there is no doubt that Lord Goodman is disappointed about the Rhodesian action, but the conciliatory attitude of the Rhodesian leaders and their anxiety to disclaim responsibility make it even possible that some good could come out of the situation.
Clearly there can now be no doubt of the sincerity of the British determination to safeguard the civic rights of the Rhodesian African.
On Friday Lord Goodman flew to South Africa to visit relatives. He was expected to return to Salisbury last night and lead the British team back to the negotiating table today.
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