HC Deb 19 December 1963 vol 686 cc1435-6
Q3. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Prime Minister what consultations he is now proposing to have with Commonwealth Prime Ministers about the future of Southern Rhodesia.

The Prime Minister

Commonwealth consultations are confidential. I cannot at present go beyond my right hon. Friend's statement in the House on 15th November.

Mr. Stonehouse

May I ask the Prime Minister whether he is aware that Sir Roy Welensky has just made another blistering attack on Conservative Party hypocrisy in regard to the Federation, and that this comment on Tory duplicity is entirely justified? Will the Prime Minister avoid further mistakes in Rhodesia by taking into consultation the Commonwealth countries so that the Constitution can be broadened and the country can move towards democratic rule which will represent the aspirations of the majority of the population?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Gentleman's Question is about Southern Rhodesia, and possible consultations on the future of that country. I understand that Sir Roy Welensky was making a speech about the Federation, but I hope that the hon. Gentleman, as well as everybody else in the House, wants to see a solution of the Southern Rhodesia problem which is acceptable to the Commonwealth, to the United Nations, and to both sides of the House.

Sir J. Eden

Will the Prime Minister consider very carefully before inviting other Commonwealth countries to share in a decison which is wholly the responsibility of Her Majesty's Government?

The Prime Minister

It was never suggested that other Commonwealth countries should share in that decision, and my right hon. Friend was suggesting that they might be able to help towards a solution.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Is it not a fact that the settlement in Rhodesia is a matter of the highest possible importance to the whole Commonwealth, and may it not well be the case that a meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers might assist in securing a satisfactory solution, which is what the Prime Minister wants?

The Prime Minister

I think that I answered a supplementary question to the same effect the other day by saying that I did not think it was justifiable to call a Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference for this particular purpose.