HC Deb 28 April 1964 vol 694 cc185-6
13. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and the Colonies what reply has been sent to the communication of the Governor of Southern Rhodesia forwarding to him the resolution of the Legislature of that Territory seeking to petition Her Majesty to remove from Her Majesty's Government all discretionary powers in the Southern Rhodesia Constitution.

14. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and the Colonies what reply he has sent to the petition agreed to by the Southern Rhodesian legislature on 23rd March, calling for an amendment to section 3 of the Southern Rhodesian Constitution of 1961, which has been sent to him.

Mr. Sandys

The petition has not as yet been forwarded to us.

Mr. Brockway

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the petition was endorsed by a majority in the Legislature and that it asks Her Majesty to remove from Her Majesty's Government their discretionary powers in Southern Rhodesia? Since the terms of the petition are known, will he give an assurance that, when it is received, Her Majesty's Government will not withdraw their powers in Southern Rhodesia until a majority of the people there have the right to elect the Government of Southern Rhodesia?

Mr. Sandys

I am certainly not going to comment on a petition to the Queen which has not been received.

Mrs. Castle

We have all read full details of the petition. Is this not a very curious and oblique way of gaining a recognition of independence? Will the right hon. Gentleman seize the opportunity, here in this House today, to warn the Europeans in Southern Rhodesia that Her Majesty's Government will under no circumstances grant independence to Southern Rhodesia until the majority of its people are exercising full democratic rights?

Mr. Sandys

Personally, I am very glad that we have not yet received it; but if the hon. Lady asks many more supplementary questions, I have no doubt that it will be in the next post.

Mr. Bottomley

Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that a Motion dealing with the subject has been passed in the House? If he is aware of that, is he not in a position to say that he will not agree to the amendment to Section 3 of the Constitution? As the assurance has been given before, what harm is there in repeating it now?

Mr. Sandys

It would be quite improper for me to comment on a resolution passed by the Assembly of Southern Rhodesia before the Governor had taken steps to send it on to us. We had far better be thankful that this resolution has not bean forwarded to us.

Mr. Gower

With reference to the suggestion that we should warn the people of Southern Rhodesia, is it not time that we started to speak in kinder terms, of the people of Southern Rhodesia who, 20 years ago, came to our aid when we were in a desperate plight?

Mr. Sandys

I am sure that we all recognise the part which Southern Rhodesia has played in the past, in two world wars and many other ways.

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