HC Deb 21 July 1964 vol 699 cc245-6
1. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and the Colonies what further action Her Majesty's Government are intending to take to solve the problem of Southern Rhodesia.

The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies (Mr. Duncan Sandys)

The next step is to discuss the problem of Southern Rhodesia's independence with Mr. Ian Smith. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has invited Mr. Smith to come to London for that purpose and we are awaiting his reply.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the Secretary of State not aware that Mr. Ian Smith really represents only a minority of a minority and that if there is going to be peaceful development towards an agreed independence the other political leaders must be consulted? What is the Secretary of State doing towards that end? Is he pressing for the political leaders, like Mr. Nkomo, to be released forthwith and for the constitutional conference to be held at which all the political groups are represented?

Mr. Sandys

There is a later Question to the Prime Minister on that point.

Sir C. Osborne

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that this very difficult problem would be solved more easily if we stopped niggling so much about it in this House?

Mr. Bottomley

Does not the Secretary of State think it rather farcical that just two hours after the end of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, at which the leaders of Commonwealth countries had urged in strong terms that Her Majesty's Government should do something about Southern Rhodesia, the Prime Minister should appear at a Press conference and treat the matter so light-heartedly as a mere nothing and about which he proposed to do nothing?

Mr. Sandys

I do not accept that description at all.

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