HC Deb 06 March 1962 vol 655 cc205-6
Q2. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his talks with Sir Edgar Whitehead on the situation in Southern Rhodesia.

The Prime Minister

Sir Edgar Whitehead paid a visit to this country recently. While he was here I had the pleasure of meeting him again and we had a confidential talk.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the Prime Minister aware that his Answer is not sufficient in view of the desperately dangerous position which is now developing in Rhodesia? What reply did the Prime Minister give to Sir Edgar Whitehead's request that Southern Rhodesia should become independent on the basis of an undemocratic constitution in the event of the Federation breaking up? Further, what reply did he give to Sir Edgar Whitehead's request, as revealed in The Times today, that the Copperbelt should be linked with Southern Rhodesia so that the Southern Rhodesians should have access to that wealth? Did he reject that?

The Prime Minister

If Ministers coming from Commonwealth or other countries for discussions with Ministers here felt that their confidential discussions were to be published, the discussions might as well be held in public.

Mr. Healey

In view of the fact that we all hope—hon. Members on both sides of the House—that elections will shortly be held in Northern Rhodesia, can the Prime Minister assure the House that he told Sir Edgar Whitehead that he would not support any proposal to separate from Northern Rhodesia all those areas on which its economic survival depends?

The Prime Minister

I am not prepared to discuss anything I said in the confidential discussions I had with Sir Edgar Whitehead.