HC Deb 13 December 1966 vol 738 cc227-30
12. Mr. Evelyn King

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs on what date he received from the Zambian Government an expression of gratitude in respect of the 3½ million gallons of fuel taken into Zambia by the Royal Air Force.

Mrs. Hart

29th October.

Mr. King

Is it not a fact that the official Zambian spokesman said that R.A.F. planes have brought in relatively little fuel at great expense? Would she accept that?

Mrs. Hart

On 29th October, we had a communication from the High Commission in Lusaka, from the appropriate Ministry in Zambia, saying: The Ministry request the High Commission to express the gratitude of the Government of the Republic of Zambia to the Government of the United Kingdom for the support given in connection with P.O.L. supplies through this period.

Mr. Hamilton

Would my hon. Friend give an assurance that if a request for a further airlift came from Zambia the Government would accede to it?

Mrs. Hart

I think my hon. Friend will know that the offer of £13.85 million, which at present is still being considered by the Republic of Zambia, would include, should it be needed, money to support a further airlift.

13. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the effect of the Rhodesian unilateral declaration of independence on Zambia and in so far as it affects the degree of assistance afforded by Great Britain to Zambia.

Mrs. Hart

Until last year Zambia depended directly on Rhodesia for about a third of her imports, while routes through Rhodesia carried over 90 per cent. of her import and export trade. The illegal declaration of independence therefore posed special problems for the Zambian economy. In these circumstances Her Majesty's Government have made substantial contingency assistance available to Zambia to enable her to develop alternative routes and sources of supply and to participate in sanctions against Rhodesia. Details of this assistance were given in my reply to the hon. Member for Woolwich, West (Mr. Hamling) on 24th November—[Vol. 736, c. 353]—to which I have nothing to add.

Mr. Wall

Is it not correct that Zambians refer to aid as "compensation" for the act of U.D.I.? Is it not a fact that this demand for aid or compensation will increase under mandatory sanctions? What is the final bill likely to be?

Mrs. Hart

I have always been very careful in the House to use not the word "aid" but the word "assistance", which is the correct one in this regard. Her Majesty's Government are concerned about Zambia's non-racial society, about the effectiveness of sanctions to end the illegal régime, about the 44,000 British nationals in Zambia and about supplies of copper to this country.

16. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs what communication he has received from the President of Zambia about the modification of the Barotseland Agreement 1964.

19. Sir Knox Cunningham

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs what official representation the President of Zambia has made to him concerning the amendment of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964.

Mrs. Hart

None, Sir.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is this not very strange, since President Kaunda undertook at Lancaster House to reconfirm, after independence, this agreement which was confirmed in the Independence Act? Since the Barotse National Council has now been dissolved without the consent of that Council or the Litunga, is not the honour of Her Majesty's Government —bearing in mind the signature of the Secretary of State's predecessor on the agreement—involved, as well as that of President Kaunda?

Mrs. Hart

No, I could not agree with the hon. Gentleman. All is now perfectly calm in Barotseland. Since Zambia became independent, these matters have become essentially the internal affairs of a sovereign State.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Did not President Kaunda undertake, on Zambia's becoming independent, to reconfirm the independence of Barotseland? Instead, has he not made it a local Government province of Zambia? And are these the people who talk about moral principles in Rhodesia?

Mrs. Hart

There are clearly many views on the kind and nature of moral principles involved in these issues at present. However, on this particular matter, it is clear that once a country becomes independent these matters become issues for its own internal decision.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

On a point of order. In view of the cynically unsatisfactory nature—

Mr. Speaker

Order. There is no need for the hon. Member to add words to the conventional phraseology.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Further to that point of order. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the Minister's reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity.