HC Deb 13 December 1966 vol 738 cc221-7
5. Mr. Newens

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs if he is aware that the new coins issued by the illegal Rhodesian Government of Ian Smith to commemorate the unilateral declaration of independence are on public display at Rhodesia House; and if he will make a statement on the status and authority of the Smith régime at Rhodesia House.

Mr. Bowden

Yes. The residual staff at Rhodesia House have been allowed to remain in order to look after the interests of Rhodesian citizens in this country.

Mr. Newens

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the apparent toleration of a base in this country for the dissemination of propaganda and the display of emblems or any other activities on behalf of the Smith régime ought to be brought to a speedy end?

Mr. Bowden

I think that it should be clearly understood that the residual Rhodesian staff are in no sense the diplomatic representatives of the illegal régime. As my hon. Friend is probably aware, we have a residual mission in Salisbury, catering for British citizens there.

6. Dr. John Dunwoody

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement regarding sanctions against Rhodesia.

Mr. Bowden

Hon. Members will be aware that, since my statement in the House on 7th December, Her Majesty's Government have tabled a resolution in the Security Council calling for selective mandatory economic sanctions against Rhodesia.

Dr. Dunwoody

I welcome my right hon. Friend's statement, but would he not agree that, if sanctions are to be effective, they must be as wide as possible and that ineffective sanctions damage our economy while not contributing at all to the solution of the Rhodesian problem?

Mr. Bowden

This position was covered very thoroughly in the debate last week. The important thing is that the sanctions, of course, should be effective. This is in our minds at present when the discussions are going on in New York.

Sir A. V. Harvey

Would the right hon. Gentleman say how oil can be prevented from reaching Rhodesia? Will the Government be sincere and tell the House exactly what will happen, instead of hedging, saying that this or that matter is being considered, at the United Nations?

Mr. Bowden

The position was made clear last week. If an appropriate amendment is tabled to our Resolution on selective mandatory sanctions which will give us what we believe to be essential in regard to oil, we would accept it.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

Can my right hon. Friend help us in this? If a good offer, which was thought to have possibilities, came from the Smith régime, what would be the attitude of Her Majesty's Government towards it? Would they feel inhibited in doing anything about it?

Mr. Bowden

The Question dealt with selective mandatory sanctions and the position at the moment in the United Nations. Anything else in this respect is hypothetical at the moment.

Mr. King

Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that, as in the statement of the Government themselves Rhodesia is not a sovereign State, what is taking place in the United Nations is illegal? Alternatively, would he accept that if there is one illegal authority in Salisbury, it is a melancholy fact that the British Government are engaging in illegal activities in New York?

Mr. Bowden

I accept, of course, that there is an illegal Government in Rhodesia, but it is for the United Nations to decide whether any action which it takes is illegal or not.

7. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement on the Rhodesian situation.

Mr. Bowden

I have nothing to add to the speech I made in the House of Commons on 7th December and to the words of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 5th and 8th December.

Mr. Wall

Has the right hon. Gentleman received any further communications from Salisbury? Would he agree that now the Government have been forced to include oil in their mandatory sanctions they are already losing control at the United Nations?

Mr. Bowden

On the second point, I do not accept that we have been forced to accept oil. It was made clear that we would accept an amendment if it was in the right terms. On the first part, we have received no representations from the illegal régime. We have been in touch, of course, with Her Majesty's Governor.

Mr. Orme

I thank my right hon. Friend for that statement, but would he tell the House when he expects the United Nations Resolution to be passed and implemented?

Mr. Bowden

It is difficult to forecast exactly the number of days, but I think within a very few days now.

Mr. David Steel

Would the right hon. Gentleman make it plain that the British Government do not regard the use of the veto in the Security Council as likely as, apparently, do some hon. Members of the Official Opposition?

Mr. Bowden

I think that we should await developments.

Mr. Wood

Is it not now the position that there will be no independence granted to Rhodesia before majority rule? If that is the case, is it the Government's intention to introduce majority rule as soon as possible?

Mr. Bowden

It was made clear in the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Communiqué, paragraph 10(a) and (b), that if the selective mandatory sanctions Resolution goes through and is supported by our Commonwealth colleagues the rest will follow.

Mr. James Johnston

Following the talks on the gunboat "Tiger", when the Secretary of State came face to face for the second time with Mr. Smith, does he accept that Mr. Smith is a pawn in the hands of people in Salisbury? Does he think that, whatever acceptance Mr. Smith may make of any terms we suggest to him, people like Boss Lilford and Colonel Knox will negative this, veto Mr. Smith and put someone else in his place?

Mr. Bowden

This is a matter for my hon. Friend himself to decide, in his own view, the reason for the actions which Mr. Smith has taken. We probably all have our own views.

Sir D. Walker-Smith

The right hon. Gentleman said in answer to an earlier supplementary question that he expected implementation in a few days. Does not implementation involve domestic legislation to enforce these measures by the various member countries? Is that not likely to be a lengthy and, indeed, uncharted course?

Mr. Bowden

Some countries need domestic legislation to implement the decisions of the United Nations; I do not think that this is true in all cases.

Mr. Rose

With regard to the supply of oil to Rhodesia from Portuguese Africa, would my right hon. Friend not take diplomatic action about the oil companies at present supplying this oil?

Mr. Bowden

My hon. Friend should await the outcome of the Resolution now before the United Nations.

8. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs if he is aware that British-made military equipment is being sold to the illegal régime in Rhodesia by Australia; and what action he proposes to take in the matter.

Mr. Bowden

No military equipment, British-made or other, has been or is being sold to the illegal régime by Australia or, as far as I am aware, from any source in Australia.

Mr. Hamilton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that that Answer will give considerable gratification at least to us on this side? Has my right hon. Friend sought assurances on this point from the Australian Government and the United States Government, because the information which has reached me is that that equipment is going to Rhodesia?

Mr. Bowden

I am aware of these rumours, which have been investigated. We have been in close touch with the Australian Government, and I can assure my hon. Friend that there is nothing in the rumour.

11. Mr. Evelyn King

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs under what regulation Mrs. R. M. Y. Dawson, of Umtali, Rhodesia, is being deprived of moneys bequeathed to her by her uncle in 1939; and how long he proposes she shall be thus deprived.

Mrs. Hart

Under the Exchange Control Act, 1947, all payments to non-residents require the permission of the Treasury. Such permission is not given in respect of income due to residents of Rhodesia from trusts and Settlements in this country. This income must be withheld and is not available to the beneficiary. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made clear, this restriction along with the other measures we have taken against Rhodesia will be lifted as soon as there has been a return to constitutional government.

Mr. King

Apart from the inhumanity of depriving an elderly lady, with no responsibility for these matters, of her income, would the hon. Lady not also accept that the experience of the last 12 months has shown that all that will happen is that Mr. Smith will be provided with another supporter?

Mrs. Hart

The hon. Gentleman will know that, in cases of genuine hardship, the Treasury and the Bank of England are prepared to make exceptions. The trouble in this case is that no genuine hardship has yet been established. As to the hon. Gentleman's conclusions, I cannot agree.

18. Sir Knox Cunningham

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to maintain contact with the authorities in Rhodesia; and whether he has any new plan for the solution of the present constitutional difficulties.

Mr. Bowden

As the House will know, the Governor, Sir Humphrey Gibbs, is in Salisbury and if there are people in Rhodesia who wish to make their views known to the British Government, they know how this can be done. As to the second part of the Question, I have nothing to add to what was said by Her Majesty's Government in the debate last week.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Will the right hon. Gentleman not shut the door to negotiations? Having got so far towards a settlement, will he now make one further effort on the basis of the agreed constitution?

Mr. Bowden

I must remind the hon. Gentleman that the "Tiger" agreement was accepted by Her Majesty's Government. We did not shut the door.

Mr. Orme

Would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that any constitutional settlement arrived at in Rhodesia would be superior to the one that has been achieved in Northern Ireland?

Captain Orr

What advice, if any, have Her Majesty's Government been giving to officers and other ranks of the Forces of the Crown in Rhodesia?

Mr. Bowden

I would like notice of that question. In any case, I think that the position hardly arises; at least, there is no difference in the position at present.