HC Deb 21 March 1961 vol 637 cc208-9
43. Mr. Brockway

asked the Prime Minister if he will give instructions that representatives of British embassies, commissions and consulates shall not attend gatherings from which persons are excluded on grounds of race, colour or religion.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir, I do not think this would be in fact practicable. The exchange of representatives with other countries does not imply approval or disapproval of that country's policies, nor should it be used for that purpose.

Mr. Brockway

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the British High Commissioner in South Africa has recently attended a concert in that territory which Africans, Indians and coloured persons desired to attend but from which they were excluded? Does not British representation on such occasions mean the endorsement of that practice?

The Prime Minister

I should not think so. I do not know about this particular occasion, but I should not think so. We send representatives to many countries and I think, as a matter of convenience, they follow the ordinary conventions of the country.

Mr. C. Osborne

While regretting the suggestion that these restrictions should be imposed, may I ask whether my right hon. Friend will bear in mind that, if they are to be imposed, they should apply to the coloured members of the Commonwealth who have imprisoned their Opposition Members of Parliament without charge, and that those who throw bricks at South Africa should at least see that their own windows remain clean?

The Prime Minister

I am not sure that cleanliness is as important as the strength of the window.