HC Deb 25 November 1963 vol 685 cc3-4
6. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of Statefor Foreign Affairs what extradition arrangements have been made with the South African Government with regard to the High Commission Territories.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Peter Thomas)

No newextradition arrangements have yet been made with the South African Government since the lapse of the Fugitive Offenders procedure consequent upon South Africa's departure from the Commonwealth.

Mr. Wall

Would my hon. Friend say whether talks are now going on? If so, would he bear in mind the extreme importance of observing the traditional British policy of affording political refuge for political refugees? It is equally important, however, to ensure that these Territories are not used as a base for subversion against the Republic. Does he agree that their geographical position makes them extremely vulnerable for any action against the Republic?

Mr. Thomas

Discussions were held in April last, and further discussions will be required. I shall be glad to inform my hon. Friend of progress in the matter.

Mr. Mayhew

Can the Minister of State assure the House that these extradition arrangements will not vary from the standard extradition arrangements we have with other countries?

Mr. Thomas

Yes, they will in fact go further. As I said in the debate on the South Africa Bill on 26th February of last year, there is no question of returning persons for offences of a political character, nor for offences which attract the death penalty in South Africa but not in the Territories, nor for offences which are not punishable in the Territory which has been requested to surrender the fugitive.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Can the hon. Gentleman confirm that there is no extradition arrangement whatsoever at the moment, that the Fugitive Offenders Act has lapsed, that nothing has been put in its place, and that there are no extradition arrangements whatever between us and the Republic of South Africa?

Mr. Thomas

Yes, that is so.