10 FEBRUARY 1961, Page 4

New Hope

TVIE prospects for a reasonable settlement from the Northern Rhodesia Constitutional Con- ference now appear brighter than they were at the time Harry Franklin and T. R. M. Creighton, whose articles on the subject appear in this issue, were writing. The African leaders now seem to have been reassured that Sir Roy Welensky has not been obstructive—which pre- sumably means that his emissary, Mr. Green- field, was not here as they suspected to threaten the Government with dire consequences if Sir Roy's wishes were not obeyed. This is excellent news; though it may reasonably be asked why all the secrecy was necessary—giving as it did the impression that threats were being made.

Possibly the agreement reached in Salisbury this week pulled the rug out from under Sir Roy Welensky. It is a complex and in some ways un- satisfactory affair, but the essential point is that agreement has been possible; for that, Mr. Sandys must be given all credit. And what has been achieved in Southern Rhodesia, groping and tentative though it may appear, may have made it just that much more difficult for the Federal Party in the NOrth to persist in their obstructive attitude.