25 AUGUST 1979, Page 16

The Lusaka proposals

Sir: A few days ago I was reading the editorial, 'A good beginning', in your issue of 4 August. It ended: 'Firm purpose evident at home and signs of infirmity abroad'. I fear the last four words have proved prophetic.

The Prime Minister's courage and resolution have deserved both respect and support. Especially, among many, her announced intentions regarding Zimbabwe Rhodesia have earned both approval and votes. Does not Mrs Thatcher realise, 41 years after 1938, that timely resolution still earns respect, and weakness, contempt? This goes for Africa as perhaps nowhere else. What dragons' teeth has she sown!

The Republic of South Africa, which cannot be ignored in this context, and would have been well satisfied with an equitable settlement, has already protested. And as I sit here I hear that Mr Mugabe has said that he will agree with the outline proposals, but that any security forces required must be provided from his personal terrorist followers.

And why should Bishop Muzorewa be called upon to repeat elections, which have been virtually universally accepted as being fair and reasonable, for the benefit of those who were given every opportunity of taking part, but refused? This is no compromise. It is a receipt for probable disaster and certain dishonour.

0. S. Swainson Thie-ny-Chibbyr, Colby, Isle of Man Sir: I searched in vain in Patrick Cosgrave's euphoric piece (4 August) on that beanfeast of hypocrisy and double standards, the Commonwealth heads of government conference, for the key-word, `Mugabe'.

This worthy has repeatedly said that the only form of government he will accept for Rhodesia is a totalitarian dictatorship, with himself as dictator. There is no reason to suppose that he does not mean what he says, or that he will change his mind as a result ofa constitutional conference, supposing that he condescends to attend one. As long as he continues to play a role, and is backed by the communist tyrannies of Mozambique and A ngola, t here is no hope of reducing Russian influence in Southern Africa. Surely Mrs Thatcher (and Dr Cosgrave) realise this.

As for the spectacle of our Prime Minister grovelling before an unsavoury bunch of African dictators, it has for the most part aroused nausea rather than admiration. W.R. Heeler 35A Marshall Street, Ferrer, ACT