HC Deb 30 November 1965 vol 721 cc1213-5
14. Mr. Wall

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what grants or loans are now being paid for the use of University College, Salisbury, Rhodesia.

25. Mr. Hunt

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what special steps she is taking to ensure that British financial aid continues to be made available to the University College of Rhodesia in Salisbury.

26. Mr. Evelyn King

asked the Minister of Overseas Development if she will continue to honour the commitment entered into by Her Majesty's Government to provide financial aid to the multiracial university college of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

30. Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

asked the Minister of Overseas Development what is the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the financing of the University College in Salisbury, Rhodesia.

Mrs. Castle

The financial assistance from Her Majesty's Government towards the recurrent costs of the college is at the rate of £250,000 per year for three years; we have now reached the second year of this arrangement. Since the University College is providing higher education for students of all races and operates under Royal Charter, Her Majesty's Government have decided to continue their assistance to the college so long as Her Majesty's Government are satisfied that conditions continue to exist under which the college is able to discharge this function.

Mr. Wall

I thank the right hon. Lady for that reply. Does she consider the present situation concerning the university as satisfactory?

Mrs. Castle

I think we would all agree that the staff of the university as at present constituted is dedicated to the multi-racial principle.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I understood that the right hon. Lady was answering with this Question Questions Nos. 25, 26 and 30.

Mrs. Castle

I apologise. I was answering those other Questions together with this Question.

Mr. King

May I congratulate the right hon. Lady on the decisions taken? Is it not a fact that this House, however else divided on the question of Rhodesia, is wholly united from Left to Right in believing that the whole key to the situation lies in education? In doing what she said she would do, will she do everything possible beyond that to aid educational opportunity for the people?

Mrs. Castle

Certainly we shall continue to aid the university, which is the only form of educational aid at present under discussion for Rhodesia.

Mr. Dell

Is my right hon. Friend aware that academic freedom is currently being denied to this university college by the censoring of university publications and even internal documents? Should not the provision of aid be conditional on the restoration of academic freedom?

Mrs. Castle

I have said that we shall watch the position very closely and if it becomes clear to Her Majesty's Government that the multi-racial function of the university is being undermined, we shall reconsider the allocation of aid.

Mr. Hunt

Is the right hon. Lady aware that the decision she has just announced will give great satisfaction to all of us who look upon this multi-racial university as an oasis of decency and sanity at present? Will she bear in mind that we consider that the work it is doing is now more important than it has ever been?

Mrs. Castle

I would certainly agree with the last part of that question. I can only hope that the university will be allowed to continue to be the oasis to which the hon. Member referred.