HC Deb 13 July 1961 vol 644 cc573-4
34. Mr. Swingler

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on his recent talks with Mr. Kenneth Kaunda concerning constitutional proposals for Northern Rhodesia.

Mr. Iain Macleod

No, Sir. As I informed the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) on 6th July, such meetings are private and confidential.

Mr. Swingler

Has the Minister seen the long letter in the Guardian this morning from a visitor in Northern Rhodesia describing the suspicions spreading among Africans that the constitutional amendments are designed to favour one party against another rather than majority rule? Was the right hon. Gentleman able to give Mr. Kaunda any assurances to allay these suspicions?

Mr. Macleod

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman recognises that, if I attempted to answer that supplementary question, I should be breaking the confidential nature of these discussions. I have half-a-dozen discussions every day with people from many different Colonies, and I never issue statements on them except by agreement. Obviously I must keep to that in the House of Commons.

Mr. Callaghan

While we understand that, may I ask the Colonial Secretary whether it is not the case that Mr. Kenneth Kaunda, the African National Congress and the Liberal Party are extremely dissatisfied with the proposals and that the only body to which they seem to be acceptable is the present ruling Federal Party? Does the right hon. Gentleman think that he has discharged his duty when he can get no nearer to agreement than that?

Mr. Macleod

It is a nice judgment in these matters. Northern Rhodesia has never succeeded in getting anywhere near agreement on any constitution. I fancy that there was more agreement on this than on any previous one

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