HC Deb 20 February 1964 vol 689 cc1394-5
Q6. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his discussions with Mr. Winston Field; and whether he has accepted his demand for independence for Southern Rhodesia without an agreed revision of the Constitution.

The Prime Minister

My talks with Mr. Field were confidential, and I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend the Commonwealth Secretary told the House on 30th January.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the Prime Minister aware that the situation in Southern Rhodesia is extremely serious and, in fact, dangerous; that hundreds have been arrested for political offences, that there is much seditious talk, some of which seems to be coming from some of the Ministers? What is the right hon. Gentleman doing about this? What has been the result of his talks with the Commonwealth Prime Ministers? Will the right hon. Gentleman consider calling a roundtable conference at which all the political parties can be represented, to try to reach some agreement on the next steps?

The Prime Minister

I am in full agreement with the hon. Member that we should try to reach full agreement on the next step. I think it would be better for the time being to leave this to my right hon. Friend the Commonwealth Secretary and myself.

Mr. Turton

Would my right hon. Friend make it clear to the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia that there are conditions under which Her Majesty's Government would grant independence to the present Rhodesian Government? Further, is my right hon. Friend aware that all in this country would deplore it if the Southern Rhodesian Government and country were forced into unconstitutional actions that took them outside the Commonwealth?

The Prime Minister

I hope that there would be no question of unconstitutional action—none at all. I think that everybody would certainly hope that. I think, as I have said, that as we are carrying on our conversations with Mr. Field, it would be better if I said nothing further now.

Mr. Wigg

Will the right hon. Gentleman note that the first call for unconstitutional action in violation of allegiance to the Sovereign comes from the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton)?

The Prime Minister

I shall certainly take note of nothing of the kind. My right hon. Friend said nothing of the sort.

Hon. Members