12. Mr. H. Wilson
asked the Lord Privy Seal what information he has received from the European Economic Community about its decision to enter into negotiations with South Africa; and whether he will make a statement as to the effects of this decision on the policy of Her Majesty's Government.
§ The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Peter Thomas)
The South African Minister for Economic Affairs, Dr. Diederichs, made a statement in Brussels on 20th November. Her Majesty's Government's policy remains unchanged.
What is it? Since both the hon. Gentleman and the Lord Privy Seal, in the debate on the South Africa Bill, said that they were taking no responsibility for South Africa in relation to the Common Market, are we to take it that this is being done entirely on South Africa's initiative without backing from Her Majesty's Government? Further, since, in the British negotiations with the E.E.C., it has apparently been agreed that the tailing off of preferences will apply to South Africa and that South Africa will continue to keep preferences for a period of years, will the hon. Gentleman say whether it was the policy of the British Government to get this concession?
§ Mr. Thomas
The statement which was made by the South African Minister was done entirely on the South African Government's initiative. The right hon. Gentleman asks what our policy is. It remains the same as it was when we spoke on the South Africa Bill. The special arrangements which we are seeking in Brussels are for members of the Commonwealth.