HC Deb 19 December 1966 vol 738 cc995-6
28. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what assurances have been given to the South African Government about the proposed mandatory sanctions against Rhodesia.

Mr. George Brown

I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said on this question during the debate on Rhodesia and in answer to Questions following his statement to the House on 5th December.—[Vol. 737, c. 1070–1.]

Mr. Wall

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that South Africa will continue to adhere to its policy of trading with its neighbours so that sanctions will either be ineffective or will have to be enforced, if that is possible? Are not the Government putting themselves in a dangerously exposed position?

Mr. Brown

It is the hon. Gentleman who is doing that. The United Nations has now made an historic mandatory call upon all member States. With respect to the hon. Gentleman, I suggest that it would be presumption to start by assuming that certain countries will not honour their obligations as members of the United Nations.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

But do we not know that South Africa has said that she will not honour this United Nations instruction? That being so, will the right hon. Gentleman again make it clear that South Africa is, in the Government's mind, excluded from any attempt to enforce sanctions? This he himself has said and I hope that he will repeat it.

Mr. Brown

The right hon. Gentleman has an honourable record of not being very much in favour of the United Nations. I am not willing, as he is, to assume that any member State is willing to dishonour its obligations.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that he will do nothing to condone the ill-faith of any member of the United Nations which may repudiate its plain obligation under the Charter?

Mr. Brown

I will go further. I do not believe that it is a good thing to start by assuming that some member States are willing to dishonour their obligations.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Will the Foreign Secretary face the facts? Have not the South African Government said already that they will not honour this instruction? Have not Her Majesty's Government said that they will not allow these sanctions to be applied to South Africa?

Mr. Brown

I see now how the right hon. Gentleman has got it wrong so often. What he has described as fact is pure hypothesis.

Mr. Longden

Has the right hon. Gentleman noted the report, dated March, 1965, by an expert committee appointed by the Security Council to investigate the feasibility, effectiveness and implications of mandatory sanctions? Is he aware that the report stated that their effectiveness must depend wholly on their universality, which must necessarily mean unequal hardship? Is he further aware that the report advocated an international effort to mitigate this hardship, particularly by the United Kingdom?

Mr. Brown

No, Sir. I should be glad if the hon. Gentleman would put down a Question to that effect and I will have a look at it.