HC Deb 03 February 1964 vol 688 cc809-10
17. Dr. Bray

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what formal advice was given on the acceptability of Dr. Carl de Wet as the South African Ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Mr. R. A. Butler

Agrément was granted Dr. de Wet as South African Ambassador to the Court of St. James on 12th. December on my advice. This is the normal procedure.

Dr. Bray

Is the Foreign Secretary aware that Dr. Carl de Wet represented Sharpeville in the South African Parliament and that at the height of the tension, at the time of the shootings, he expressed concern that only one person had been shot dead? Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Dr. de Wet's appointment as Ambassador in London has been the subject of controversy in South Africa, that the acceptance of this appointment has not served the good relations between that country and this, and that it is a matter of great concern to many people not only in this country but in South Africa?

Mr. Butler

I think that it is normal to accept the agrément of ambassadors-designate. I understand that there was some uncertainty about the meaning and context of the Ambassador's remarks in relation to Sharpevilie. In general, I found it the right course to recommend the agrément.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Apart from what this gentleman may have said about Sharpeville—and there is a great deal of dispute about that—is it not the case that none of us in this House has so far made objection to the Eoka record of the Cyprus High Commissioner?

Mr. Speaker

That does not arise now.