HC Deb 09 March 1961 vol 636 cc671-2
27. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies when further discusssions with representatives of the political parties in Northern Rhodesia on the proposed constitutional changes will take place.

32. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will recall the Northern Rhodesian Constitutional Conference to London, in view of the importance of the details still to be decided.

Mr. Iain Macleod

It is not proposed to reconvene the Northern Rhodesia Con stitutional Conference in London. The further consideration of Her Majesty's Government's proposals will be undertaken by the Governor in Lusaka and we believe this to be the best course.

Mr. Brockway

While appreciating the difficulties of the right hon. Gentleman, despite pressure now being exerted in London, may I ask him whether he will proceed with these conversations following the proposals which he has made, preferably in London but if not in Lusaka, at the earliest possible date?

Mr. Macleod

I am not conscious that pressure is being exerted on me in London —anyway, from Sir Roy Welensky. The talks that it will be necessary to have in Lusaka are not a new conference. They may well take place separately with the various parties concerned. But I am sure that that is the best way to further and fill out the outline of the plan which I have given to the House.

Mr. Stonehouse

In the event of deadlock in Lusaka, will the right hon. Gentleman at least consider reconvening the conference here under his chairmanship? If conversations take place between the Prime Minister and Sir Roy Welensky. will the representatives at the constitutional conference be given full details of those conversations to dispel the fears that a deal is being done behind their backs?

Mr. Macleod

No. Communications between Governments in the Commonwealth are always confidential, and it would destroy the value of them—indeed, it would destroy the Commonwealth itself—if that were not so. We have always accepted an obligation to consult to the full, and that implies considering the points made by the Federal Government. I am sure that that is the right way and that we will hold to that path in the future.

Mr. Stonehouse

Will the right hon. Gentleman reply to the first part of my supplementary question? Will he reconvene the conference here in the event of deadlock in Lusaka?

Mr. Macleod

I am not contemplating deadlock

Mr. Fell

Is it not disappointing for my right hon. Friend to have opposition from the Opposition?

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