HC Deb 29 April 1963 vol 676 cc707-8
28. Mr. Wall

asked the Lord Privy Seal if he will make a statement about the visit of, and discussions with, the United Nations Sub-Committee on Colonialism.

Mr. Godber

I have nothing to add to what my right honourable Friend the First Secretary of State said on 25th April in reply to the hon. Gentleman the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway).

Mr. Wall

As we have made it clear on a number of occasions to the United Nations that we have no jurisdiction over Southern Rhodesia, if this matter comes up again, will my hon. Friend consider either withdrawing the British delegation during discussion, or consulting the Southern Rhodesian Government to see whether they could send the Minister who could deal with the matter from the Southern Rhodesia point of view?

Mr. Godber

My hon. Friend, who has played a valuable part in the proceedings of the Committee, will know that we have always taken such opportunities as have occurred to us to make clear British policy in relation to our colonial problems. I believe that that has been welcomed by the members of the Committee, and I should be reluctant to stop it.

Mr. Brockway

Will the hon. Gentleman consider whether there can be any finality regarding the authority of the United Nations; and, in this changing world when colonial issues are of such international importance, whether the Government can possibly maintain the attitude that these subjects are outside the scope of the United Nations?

Mr. Godber

Her Majesty's Government quite clearly maintain that these matters are within their own responsibility. We have established this many times, and I do not propose to change it today.

Mr. Strachey

Her Majesty's Government seem to be taking a view that, on the one hand, they are wholly responsible for Southern Rhodesia and that the United Nations have no say in the matter and, on the other hand, that they have no power to influence the situation there. Is not this an entirely impossible position'? Could they not make up their mind?

Mr. Godber

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman is perfectly well aware of the position, which is that Her Majesty's Government are responsible for external relations but not for internal affairs. It is a fairly simple division, which I hope he will realise.

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