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No independence before majority rule

No independence before majority rule (abbreviated NIBMAR) was a policy adopted by the United Kingdom requiring the implementation of majority rule in a colony, rather than rule by the white colonial minority, before the empire granted its colony independence. It was sometimes reinterpreted as no independence before majority African rule.[1]

In particular, this position was advocated with respect to the future status of Rhodesia as a sovereign nation. British Prime Minister Harold Wilson was pressured into adopting the approach during a conference in London. Wilson was not initially inclined to do so, fearing it would slow down the rate at which Rhodesia could be granted independence, but Lester Pearson, the Prime Minister of Canada, formulated a draft resolution committing Wilson to NIBMAR. Wilson defended the policy when it was attacked as disastrous by opposition Conservatives.[2] The accomplishment was short-lived, however, as Wilson continued to extend offers to Ian Smith, which Smith ultimately rejected.[3] This lead Smith to declare a unilateral declaration of independence without British consent, and Smith then established the white minority ruled government of Rhodesia.


  1. ^ Ashton, S R; Roger-Louis, Wm (2004). "222: PREM 13/1751: letter from Joan Watson to RJ Dawe on the meaning of NIBMAR". East of Suez and the Commonwealth 1964–1971: Europe, Rhodesia, Commonwealth. British Documents on the End of Empire. Series A Vol 5 Part II. The Stationery Office. pp. 277–8.  
  2. ^ House of Commons Hansard 20 December 1966
  3. ^ Good, Robert C. (1973). U.D.I.: the International Politics of the Rhodesian Rebellion. Princeton University Press. 
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