HC Deb 16 February 1966 vol 724 cc1437-94

10.0 p.m.

The Attorney-General (Sir Elwyn Jones)

I beg to move, That the Southern Rhodesia (Prohibited Exports and Imports) Order, 1966, dated 20th January, 1966, made by Her Majesty in Council under the Southern Rhodesia Act, 1965, a copy of which was laid before this House on 20th January, be approved. The object of this Order is to restrict the import into Rhodesia and the export from Rhodesia of such products as the Secretary of State may specify by an Order or Orders under his hand. To date, he has specified two products, chrome and tobacco, which have become prohibited exports by virtue of Orders made by the Secretary of State on 20th January and 7th February, respectively. He has not yet forbidden the import of any product into Rhodesia under this Order.

It might be helpful to the House if I were first to explain the legal effect of the Order. Paragraphs (1) and (2) of Article 1, as the House will see, forbid the export or the import, as the case may be, from or into Rhodesia of specified products, save to the extent that the Secretary of State makes Regulations authorising such transactions. Paragraph (3) of the Article prohibits the making or performance of contracts for the export or import of any specified products, or the making or performance of a contract for the sale of such products which are intended for export or import, or the doing of any act, such as acting as an agent, which is calculated to promote the export or import.

Under Article 1(4) it is an offence to contravene any of these provisions. As the Order extends to Southern Rhodesia as well as to the United Kingdom, this offence may be committed by anyone of whatever nationality within the jurisdiction of either country. It may also be committed anywhere in the world by a United Kingdom or Rhodesian citizen, including a United Kingdom or Rhodesian company.

Article 1(5) prescribes the effect of the Order on existing and future contracts in relation to specified products. All such contracts, whether made before or after 20th January, when the Order came into operation, are rendered void, and so is any future transfer in pursuance of any such contract. This is the normal position under both English and Rhodesian law, when a statute prohibits a conclusion or performance of a particular kind of contract, and the provision in paragraph (5)(a), which renders a contract absolutely void, is merely declaratory of the law. The effect of these provisions, therefore, is that if the contract has not been fully performed by the time it becomes void the parties are then released from their obligations under it, and cannot be sued either in the Rhodesian or in the English courts for failing to perform the contract.

However, if the vendor has already delivered the goods he can sue for reasonable recompense for the goods, subject to the deduction of reasonable expenses incurred by the purchaser. Similarly, if the purchaser has paid money before that date, he can sue to recover it, subject, again, to the deduction of reasonable expenses incurred by the vendor. This, again, is the normal position in both English and Rhodesian law.

If, however, the parties to the contract which the Order makes illegal purport to transfer property in pursuance of the contract, sub-paragraph (b) secures that the purchaser will get no title to the property. If money is paid in pursuance of such a contract, the money will be irrecoverable by reason of the proviso to the paragraph.

Perhaps I can give an example of how this may work. Let us suppose that a person in Rhodesia now buys tobacco with the intention of exporting it. He cannot get a good title to the tobacco and may subsequently find it taken from him, but if he pays for it his money will be irrecoverable, so he will lose both ways. But if he had entered into the contract before the date of the Order he may, under the law of both countries, recover what he has paid, even though the contract is now void and cannot lawfully be further performed.

Article 2 prescribes the penalties and makes appropriate provision for the institution of criminal proceedings. Articles 3 and 4 are, I think, self-explanatory, but the House will note under Article 3(3) that Orders and Regulations made by the Secretary of State are subject to annulment by Resolution of either House.

So far, I have endeavoured to describe the legal effect of the Order. I should now like briefly to explain why the Government have thought it necessary to take this particular step towards the restoration of constitutional rule in Rhodesia. The purpose of the Order is to increase the effectiveness of our economic sanctions and, in particular, to enable us to reinforce the action which other countries are taking to bring trade with Rhodesia to a halt.

There are really two aspects to this matter. As the House will recall, we have ourselves banned the importation of Rhodesian goods, such as tobacco, by the machinery of revocation of import licences. In many cases, other Governments have followed our example, but, in some cases, they have, because of legislative difficulties, merely requested their importers to fall into line with British practice. By rendering illegal under the law of Rhodesia the export of the products in question, the present Order produces the result that foreign importers who, despite the wishes of their own Governments, would otherwise feel obliged to carry on with their existing contracts, can now rely on "supervening illegality" or, as it is sometimes described, force majeure, and they can plead this to relieve them of obligations under existing contracts.

Furthermore, even where there are no existing contracts in question, foreign importers and suppliers will usually be prepared, as we have found from experience, to respect our law and to refrain from undertaking any further transactions of the sort we have made illegal. For example, the Order was applied to chrome on 20th January this year so as to illegalise current chrome contracts. The United States, who are by far the largest importers of Rhodesian chrome, thereupon requested American importers to cease importing chrome from Rhodesia. Their importers will now be in a position to comply with this request.

The second aspect of the matter is this. The Order in Council will strike at transactions in which speculators might buy Rhodesian products with the aim of securing a rich killing. Such merchants might speculate on the fall of the illegal régime and may therefore try to acquire Rhodesian goods now or in the near future at knock-down prices with the intention of storing them in Rhodesia or elsewhere and disposing of them at a profit at some future date when normal lawful Government is restored in Rhodesia. It was to prevent such transactions as those that the Government have already specified tobacco, which clearly plays a critical part in the Rhodesian economy. Not only will the Government's action prevent a valuable accretion of foreign exchange to the illegal régime, but the Government also have in mind that we would be preventing one of the most valuable assets in the Rhodesian economy—which will be badly needed when there comes the task of reconstruction—being dissipated for the benefit only of speculators.

There is the further point that these measures aimed at speculators protect the position of those legitimate traders, British and otherwise, who have loyally carried out our policy. It was for these reasons that after full consultation with the Tobacco Advisory Committee, which is the representative body of the industry, that the Government decided that it was necessary to specify tobacco as a product which it was prohibited to sell for export in Rhodesia. The other major importers of Rhodesian tobacco, in addition to the United Kingdom, have already banned the import of tobacco from Rhodesia and we have no doubt that all countries collaborating in these matters will take appropriate action to ensure that our legislation aimed at preventing speculation is respected.

Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)

Will my right hon. and learned Friend assist me? Could he tell me what paragraph of this Order makes it illegal to buy tobacco for storing?

The Attorney-General

Any purchase of tobacco after the Order, where that tobacco is intended for sale outside Rhodesia, is illegal.

Mr. Paget

But if it is intended for storing and not for sale outside Rhodesia, surely that is legal?

The Attorney-General

The speculator against whom the Order is aimed would not obtain a title to the tobacco, and if he paid any money in respect of it he would lose his money as well.

Mr. Paget


The Attorney-General

I am sorry that my hon. and learned Friend is not able to follow the Order, but I can assist him no further.

Unhappily there is no doubt that this Order, like the other Measures which the Government have found it necessary to take in consequence of the illegal declaration of independence, will cause loss and perhaps hardship to Rhodesians many of whom are loyal British subjects. This, unfortunately, is an inevitable consequence of this rebellion.

Economic sanctions naturally bear heavily on those engaged in economic activities, but it is not the farmers and small tradesmen of Rhodesia at whom this Order is directed. The sole purpose of the Government now, as always, is to hasten the restoration of a lawful Government in Rhodesia. To achieve this we must bring the greatest possible pressure to bear on the illegal rebel authorities. That is the purpose of this Order which I now invite the House to approve.

Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)

Would the Attorney-General answer one question before he concludes? If the Order is deemed to be of the importance of which the Attorney-General has spoken, why was it deferred until 20th January?

The Attorney-General

The economic sanctions have been cumulative in their effect. This is yet a further step in the enforcement of effective sanctions. It was hoped that the earlier sanctions would have had the necessary effect. That has proved not to be the case, and so the enforcement of further sanctions has been necessary to achieve the objective of the Government.

10.15 p.m.

Mr. Anthony Barber (Altrincham and Sale)

The Attorney-General has explained the legal purpose of the Order with his usual lucidity and has also given the reasons which have prompted the Government to make it. It is of particular importance, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman will recognise, to subsidiary companies of United Kingdom companies. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will be the first to agree that there has not been, and there is not now, any suggestion that those companies have not been abiding by the policies of Her Majesty's Government regardless of their views on the merits of the policies which are being pursued. I hope also that the House as a whole will accept that it is natural and in their own interests, as well as in the longer-term interests of both Britain and Rhodesia, that these men in Rhodesia on whom the Order bites should be looking ahead to the time when normal business can once again be resumed.

I should like to ask the Attorney-General two questions. First, on the face of it, the Order seems to impose a very heavy burden on those men and women, loyal subjects of Her Majesty, who are actually on the ground in Rhodesia and having to face all the difficulties of going about their daily work under an illegal Government. Do the learned Attorney-General and his colleagues really consider that the exercise of the powers which are sought here and which have been implemented in the two cases the Attorney-General mentioned are likely to be effective, bearing in mind that the Smith Government have themselves taken the most sweeping powers in a contrary direction? I am told, for instance, that the Smith Government have already ordered some employees in a number of companies to remain at their jobs.

The second point of detail on the Order is this. I hope that the Attorney-General will assure the House that in future, in so far as the Government consider it necessary to restrain the activities of either British subsidiaries or employees of British subsidiaries in Rhodesia, they will in all cases first approach those in charge of the parent companies in Britain. I see no reason why this should not be done, and I know that those in Britain who control companies which have subsidiaries in Rhodesia are very conscious indeed, as I hope the Attorney-General is, of the difficulties which will be experienced by employees of subsidiary companies in Rhodesia who are faced with the complications which are imposed by the Order.

The Attorney-General

I give that assurance on behalf of the Government immediately in regard to any future products that may have to be specified.

Mr. Barber

I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman.

On the more general aspects of the Order, it certainly is not my purpose to go over again the history of all that has happened since U.D.I. Indeed, I do not propose to detain the House for more than a few minutes, because the right hon. and learned Gentleman has explained in detail the nature of the Order and the legal consequences. However, we have to consider this Order in the context of the Government's overall policy for dealing with the situation which has arisen in Rhodesia.

For reasons which I will give the House in a moment, I hope that the House will not oppose this Order, but that is not to say that there is anyone in the House, or indeed, I think one could say, outside, who can be happy with the position which has now been reached.

The purpose of the Order, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman has said, is to add a further sanction to those which have been imposed already, but it is wholly wrong to consider the question of sanctions in isolation. Sanctions are not an end in themselves. They are merely a means to an end, and that end, as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has repeatedly said, is to persuade the people of Rhodesia to turn back to moderation and to constitutional rule.

The tragic situation in Rhodesia at the end of the day can be solved only by conciliation. Therefore, in considering both the purpose of this Order and also the likely consequences of the action taken under it, it is also necessary to consider the Government's proposals to encourage Rhodesia to return to the path of constitutional government.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The right hon. Gentleman must not get too wide. We are debating the Order itself and he must link what he is saying to the Order.

Mr. Barber

I do not want to detain the House more than two or three minutes. I appreciate that this is not a debate in which we can go into the whole question once again of the policy of the Government and the Opposition. The point which I seek to make is simply that when one is considering whether or not one should give approval to an Order of this kind, which has very serious consequences for people in Rhodesia, it is necessary, as the Prime Minister himself has said on a number of occasions, to consider any sanctions in the context of the policy which the Government are pursuing to try to encourage the illegal régime in Rhodesia to return to a state of normality.

On 25th January the Prime Minister made a major statement in the House in which he set out the Government's aims and purposes. I will not weary the House with all that the right hon. Gentleman said, but he started by referring to the pacification side of economic measures and the pacification side of the Government's policy. I will not go over that ground again. Suffice to say that we on this side of the House have very real reservations—and I hope that the whole House will respect these reservations as sincerely held—as to the likelihood of the plan which the Prime Minister announced on 25th January succeeding.

I say that because to those in Rhodesia who are faced with the sanctions already imposed and now see these new sanctions, so far in respect only of chrome and tobacco—I say that because to those in Rhodesia to whom, if I may so call it, the Prime Minister's peace plan was directed, and whom it is necessary to influence if the objective of all of us is to be attained—to many of them that plan will seem almost like unconditional surrender. Unless Rhodesia is to slide as a result of economic sanctions into chaos, the policy of sanctions must be accompanied by a realistic attempt at conciliation.

I had hoped to remind the House, but in the light of your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, I will not pursue it now, of the two important respects in which we on this side of the House disagree with the proposal put by the Prime Minister on 25th January. All I say now is that unless a policy of economic sanctions and a genuine and realistic attempt at conciliation go hand in hand, there is a real danger that further sanctions, of which this is one, may drive the Rhodesians to extremes rather than bring them to moderation. This is surely an anxiety, whatever our differences may be, which must be shared by everyone on both sides of the House.

That is all I have to say on the merits of extending the area of sanctions as proposed by this Order. Depending to some extent on how the Order is implemented in future, it is a comparatively small extension of the existing major sanctions and is, in a sense, consequential. But there is one overriding consideration which I urge upon the House. For all the doubts and anxieties which my hon. Friends feel about the way in which the Government's policy on Rhodesia is developing, I cannot think that it would be right to oppose an Order which is merely an extension of that policy at a time when my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) is in Africa for the express purpose of making an on-the-spot assessment of the position.

My right hon. and learned Friend has spent ten days in Rhodesia. He has had an opportunity to meet people of all races, and, as the House knows, he is now in Zambia.

Sir Knox Cunningham (Antrim, South)

That is more than the Secretary of State has done.

Mr. Barber

That is true. This is the first time that any member of either Front Bench has visited Rhodesia since U.D.I. Whatever the reservations that some of my hon. Friends may have about the Order, I hope that they will consider it right in these circumstances not to oppose it.

10.27 p.m.

Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)

I support the Order, but first I want to make a brief comment on the speech of the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Barber). He made the point that the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) is in Rhodesia assessing the situation. Obviously I must not go beyond the terms of the Order, but I must say that the right hon. Gentleman did not make a bad start in that direction. But I think it is a scandal that the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral has visited Rhodesia.

Mr. Speaker

Order. It may or may not be a scandal—the Chair has no opinion on that—but we must discuss the Order.

Mr. Heffer

I will endeavour to do what the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale has done, Mr. Speaker, and that is to keep within the terms of the Order. But the right hon. Gentleman mentioned that the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral had been in Rhodesia and I was merely making a comment in relation to that point.

We must discuss the Order in relation to the overall situation. I want to refer to some remarks made by the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys), who, in his constituency on 31st January, challenged the Government's policy in relation to sanctions, which I assume is also in relation to this Order. He said The policy of sanctions is being gleefully pursued as a kind of holy war. The right hon. Gentleman further said: The defeat of Smith seems now to be regarded as an end in itself and the purpose for which sanctions were imposed is being forgotten. I had always thought that the purpose of the imposition of sanctions was precisely to get rid of the illegal régime and to put in its place a lawful government which would be in proper relationship with the British Government. Apparently, I was mistaken. We are told that we are gleefully pursuing sanctions. I do not see any right hon. Gentleman on either Front Bench gleefully pursuing sanctions. Sanctions were introduced only after the illegal action of Smith and his régime.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I make no comment on the rightness or wrongness of anything the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) has said, but this is not a general debate on sanctions. It is a debate on a particular sanction imposed by this particular Order. The hon. Gentleman must come to the Order.

Mr. Sandys (Streatham)

Am I in order in interrupting the hon. Member and drawing his attention to a passage in my speech which he has not quoted?

Mr. Speaker

That is not a question of order. It is a question of whether the hon. Gentleman allows the right hon. Gentleman to intervene.

Mr. Sandys

Will the hon. Gentleman allow me? He has quoted a passage from my speech which he has carefully selected. May I read to him the passage which went immediately before that? I said: The extra sanctions against Rhodesia…will add little to the pressures which are already being applied. They are clearly intended primarily to satisfy African opinion. I believe that to be true. But, like all previous measures, they will fail to achieve this purpose. Their only effect will be to increase bitterness among the White Rhodesians and to consolidate them further behind Ian Smith.

Mr. Heffer

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for quoting that part of his speech, for I was just coming to it and he has done it for me. He said that sanctions were clearly primarily intended to satisfy African opinion. I had no idea that the Government were introducing sanctions, including this Order, to satisfy African opinion.

Mr. Speaker

Order. By merely occasionally mentioning the Order the hon. Gentleman does not bring the rest of his remarks within order. I have allowed him to make some observations. I see no mention of the name of the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) in the Order, nor of sanctions in general. The hon. Gentleman must address himself to this sanction and to why he will support it or vote against it.

Mr. Heffer

I have not yet been sufficiently long in the House to be able to overcome these difficulties with which hon. Members are sometimes faced, but I am doing my best. It is very difficult to discuss the application of one specific Order without at the same time relating it to the overall situation, as was appreciated by the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale. I have endeavoured to relate the Order to the overall situation.

Mr. Speaker

Can I help the hon. Gentleman? I appreciate his difficulty. The Chair is not being fractious or pedantic. One of the most difficult debates in the House, as hon. Members know, is a debate on an Order. It is a very narrow debate.

Mr. Heffer

The objection is this. We have heard from the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Altrincham and Sale that the Opposition are not going to oppose the Order. At the same time there is no great enthusiasm for it. This indicates very clearly the position of the Opposition in this situation. When the Government were forced to embark upon these measures and step by step various sanctions were proposed, we were told by the hon. Gentlemen on the Front Bench opposite that they were supporting the Government in their endeavours.

There were certain qualifications, and now we find that on each occasion when Orders have come before the House, including this one, the qualifications grow. Now we are told that although they are not proposing to vote against the Order it may, in the words of the right hon. Gentleman, drive the Rhodesians to extremes. Which Rhodesians? The illegal government of Mr. Smith? I suggest that before this Order ever came into existence that Government of Southern Rhodesia was moving in a direction of extremes. The mere illegal declaration of independence was an extreme. The Bishop of Matabeleland, who was vicar of my parish church, prior to his present appointment, and who is well-known in Liverpool as a gentleman with some standing in the Church of England, renowned for his sincere and advanced views in the Church—

Mr. Paget

Are his ideas in the Order?

Mr. Heffer

One thing is certain, none of my hon. and learned Friend's ideas are in this Order. They are the very opposite. The point I am making is that there was in The Guardian, only two days ago, an article by the Bishop of Matabeleland, pointing out that the type of policies being pursued by Smith are precisely the opposite to law and order and indicate that the white Rhodesians, as far as Smith is concerned, have already gone to extremes.

To say that this Order is going to move the Smith régime to extremes is quite ridiculous. They are already in that position. What is the answer? Is it to carry out some sort of gentlemanly negotiations with the Smith régime, or is it to ensure that this type of Order is carried out to the full? The answer is obviously that we must ensure that this matter is brought to a speedy conclusion by the passing of the Order.

I find it rather difficult to raise some of the points, because the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale, who spoke for the Opposition, raised many points—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I called the right hon. Gentleman to order, as I called the hon. Member himself to order. The Chair is fair to both sides.

Mr. Heffer

I appreciate that you are being fair to both sides, Mr. Speaker, but we are in the difficulty that at the same time as we are discussing an important Order we have had from the right hon. Gentleman a criticism of the Government's measures. This was clearly said—I noted it as it was said—in relation to the plan put forward by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 25th January. I do not know how I can say that I disagree with the right hon. Gentleman's attitude and relate my remarks to the Order. It is difficult for me to say this. However, I think I have made the point that I disagree with the right hon. Gentleman, and I certainly support the Order.

I conclude my speech, because it is obvious that I shall not get far in pursuing this, by referring to reports that are coming through this evening. I am not sure whether this is specifically concerned with the Order, but I understand that it refers to "any specified product". I understand that 30,000 tons of oil—[HON. MEMBERS: "Gallons."]—I am sorry, 30,000 gallons of oil, have today been moved into Southern Rhodesia from South Africa. This is a serious situation.

I hope that the Government will take full note of the actions of the South African Government, who are allowing that to happen. I suggest that we should consider taking this matter to the United Nations.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Again, that may be true, but I do not see that it comes within the Order.

Mr. Heffer

I conclude my remarks by saying that I hope that the point I have made will be noted by my right hon. Friends and that, at the same time, the House will support the Order.

10.43 p.m.

Mr. Julian Amery (Preston, North)

The hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) stated that from the beginning he had thought that the purpose of the sanctions was to "get rid of Smith". I rather agree with the hon. Member. I think that this was always the Government's intention, but that was not how the matter appeared at the beginning.

These Orders take us a very long way from the position we were in when we first discussed economic measures against Rhodesia last November. We were then told that there would be no total trade embargo. The idea of oil sanctions was at first discounted when my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition inquired about it. Here we are this evening, putting on the last 5 per cent. of sanctions of which this country is capable. There is, I understand, nothing more that we can do to tighten the economic embargo.

Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)

Oh, yes, there is.

Mr. Amery

I may be wrong. If there is more that we can do, perhaps the Liberals will tell us.

I understand from what the Prime Minister has said that tonight's Order brings the sanctions to 100 per cent.

I do not know whether this and the other Orders have been introduced under pressure from the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee, or whether they are a last desperate throw of the Government to break the camel's back. But I submit that these Orders are an admission of the failure of the policy of sanctions and that if the sanctions had been suceeding, this Order would not have been necessary.

Like many other hon. Members, I have recently been in Rhodesia. I do not propose to weary the House with any account of my experiences, but I would say that it is becoming increasingly apparent to all of us, I think on both sides—and the hon. Member for Walton will probably agree with what I say—that with or without these Orders there will not be what the Government's advisers, in their horrid phrase, call a "quick kill" of Southern Rhodesia.

There was a time when the Prime Minister spoke—I think at Lagos—about sanctions being effective in weeks rather than months. The Commonwealth Secretary, in a speech he made last week, gave the impression that it would be months rather than weeks. And yet, even with the addition of these sanctions, I think that the whole policy will collapse, because delay must be fatal to the policy. Other countries will support it only if there is to be a quick kill. If there is no sign of a quick kill international support will become frayed at the edges. The Commonwealth Secretary knows this as well as, perhaps better than, I do.

I follow my right hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Barber) in saying that sanctions are only a means to an end. We have to see for ourselves what is the object for which these Orders are being introduced. What is their object? I was never in any doubt myself, though I can well understand that others, on both sides of the House, may have thought the Government were introducing other sanctions and these were the purpose of bringing Mr. Smith to the conference table once again. If anyone had any beliefs of this kind they must have been rudely shattered by the Prime Minister's statement on the day we reassembled after the Christmas Recess.

The object of these sanctions has been made perfectly clear by the Prime Minister. It is to establish, first of all, a period of direct rule. I know that this has been denied in terms, but the idea is that the Governor should rule with the help of an executive council. To whom should this council be responsible?

Mr, Speaker

Order. The right hon. Member so far has been in order. He is now stepping out of it.

Mr. Amery

I beg only to submit that these Orders are a means to an end, and the end we are faced with by the Government has been newly expressed since we last debated these matters before the Recess. It was only on the day the House reassembled, and there has been no Rhodesian debate since then, that the Prime Minister defined for the first time in categorical terms the purpose of this policy, and here for the first time we are discussing a means to implement that policy. With very great respect, I would submit that I would be in order if I were to comment very briefly—and I undertake, only very briefly—on the object—

Mr. Speaker

Order. If we debate what happens if these sanctions do or do not achieve their purpose, then we open wide a debate on Rhodesia. The right hon. Member must link his remarks to the Order.

Mr. Amery

Naturally, I bow to your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, but I am not seeking to discuss what will happen if the sanctions do or do not succeed. I am only seeking to discuss what their direct purpose is. Their direct purpose is to establish, as the Prime Minister explained to us the other day, a Governor's council, responsible not to the Legislature in Rhodesia, but to the Commonwealth Secretary and, therefore, to this House. That was the only point I was trying to make.

The other point, as I understand him, he was trying to demand was the early establishment of majority rule. I am not going into the modalities by which he is trying to establish this, but it seemed to me quite clear from the terms he used that the other purpose of the Order, like that of the Orders before it, is to bring about majority rule a good deal sooner than it would have come about under the 1961 Constitution. And after the recent events in Nigeria each of us can have his own opinions whether this right or wrong—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I am deeply sympathetic with the attitude of every hon. Member and right hon. Member who seeks on this Order to open a debate on Rhodesia—sanctions, what has happened in the past, what is to happen in the future; but we are discussing this Order, and must stick to it.

Mr. Amery

Mr. Speaker, I did not intend to go beyond what I have said. I was only trying to relate these Orders to the purposes which the Prime Minister had in mind, which appeared to me to be a period of direct rule and the early imposition of majority rule.

I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale that the Orders do not in themselves change or affect the situation very greatly. To some extent, they are consequential on those that we have agreed before. Nevertheless, I feel the strongest reservations about them, not because of what they contain themselves, but because of the principles and the polices whch they are intended to serve.

So I come to the question of what we should do about them and how we should vote. My right hon. Friend has advised us not to divide the House, and I always harken to the advice that he gives. I want to be as helpful as I can in the matter. I recognise that we on this side are in some difficulty. The last time we discussed these matters some of my hon. Friends voted with the Government. They may have been in difficulty since, and I do not want to exacerbate any conflict that there may be between consistancy and constituency.

I recognise that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition is also in some difficulty. It is always a bit awkward to sit on a barbed wire fence, and very difficult to come down from it with dignity and without damage. I should like to help, if I can. But perhaps my help will not be the most valuable for a greater man than I is at hand. Winging back from Africa comes my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd). I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Altrincham and Sale that we will be well advised to see what conclusion our right hon. and learned Friend has reached; because I hope and believe that he will have come to very much the same conclusion as I have from my recent visit to that part of the world. I hope and believe that when he is back, and has given his opinion, we can all line up on the same side of the barricade. I accordingly conclude that the right course would be to harken to the advice of my right hon. Friend and not divide the House tonight.

However, I would add a word of warning to him, and I should like briefly to draw a parallel which I hope will be within the rules of order. On the last occasion that the House discussed a unilateral declaration of independence, Lord North, who headed the Government, was in a very strong position. He had on his side the native population—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The right hon. Gentleman is now on the wrong side of the barricade. He must come back to the Order and leave Lord North.

Mr. Amery

I will cut my parallel extremely short, Mr. Speaker. The last time a U.D.I, was discussed in the House—

Mr. Speaker

Order. We are not even discussing U.D.I. The House is discussing the Order. I must ask the right hon. Gentleman to accept the Ruling of the Chair.

Mr. Amery

I do, indeed. I was saying that the last time Orders of this kind were discussed, in another epoch—

Mr. Speaker

Order. We are not even discussing the Orders which might have been brought before Parliament in the period to which the right hon. Gentleman is wrongly attempting to refer. He must come to the Order.

Mr. Amery

I will, of course, accept your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, and return to the Order.

All that I was urging is that there should be unity in the opposition party inside the House, because it was the absence of unity on a previous occasion which did so much harm to our efforts to save the American colonies.

10.55 p.m.

Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)

The right hon. Member for Preston, North (Mr. J. Amery) says that he and his hon. Friends are in some difficulty. I would do my very best to help them out of it, but I must say that the right hon. Gentleman has not made it very easy for me. Indeed, none of the three speakers from the opposite side has made it very easy, because each of them, despite the fact that you, Mr. Speaker, pointed out that this Order is a narrow one, still managed to present a contrary view about it.

The right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) is waging a holy war against the Order. The right hon. Member for Preston, North says—and this is the main part of his case, or at least the main part of it that was in order—that this Order travels a long way from the original purposes and intentions which were announced by the Government when they first introduced their measures after the declaration of U.D.I. One would have that that if the right hon. Gentleman were to follow that statement through, he would be compelled to go into the Division Lobby, because if this Order carries the previous sanctions far from what had originally been agreed by the House, that is all the stronger reason, from his point of view, for voting against it.

The right hon. Gentleman cannot say in one breath that the House is being dragged very much further than had previously been thought, and then say that as the leader of those who oppose this process he is not going to take any action against it. What the right hon. Gentleman said was contradicted in advance by the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale (Mr. Barber), because he says that this Order is consequential. It cannot at one and the same time be consequential and travel a far distance from what we had originally proposed. It must be one or the other. Thus, eager as I am to help the right hon. Gentleman, he has not assisted me, because in the opening part of his speech he opened a fresh gulf between himself and his right hon. Friend, as if there was not a wide enough gulf there already.

But the right hon. Member for Streatham goes even further. It may be that he is trying to outbid the leader of the Monday Club. He is out for the leadership, because he used much stronger terms. From the speech which I heard quoted, the right hon. Gentleman was not referring to this Order, but was referring to future Orders which were in train. If he was merely referring to the past, there would hardly have been much point in his speech. I presume, from the right hon. Gentleman's speech in Streatham, that he knows the kind of Order we are discussing. He said that extra sanctions, which is what we are discussing, could only have the effect of increasing bitterness in Rhodesia, of making the whole of the Government's policy, or the country's policy, what he would like to be the country's policy, more difficult.

The right hon. Gentleman emphasised it by saying that those who were introducing Orders of this character were guilty of pursuing a holy war against Mr. Smith. A person who thinks the Government are doing that can hardly sit quiet and refuse to vote on an Order of this nature. So the right hon. Gentleman makes it clear that there is not merely a split between the back bench and the Front Bench, but confirms that there is a split on the Front Bench.

If the right hon. Gentleman is to stand by the speech that he made in his constituency, he has a duty to vote tonight. He has no right to make charges of this character against the Government. He is very sensitive about charges about motives, and I think that he has every right to be. We are all eager to protect ourselves against charges about motives, but the right hon. Gentleman—

Mr. Stephen Hastings (Mid-Bedfordshire)

On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, in the light of the advice which you tendered to my right hon. Friend the Member for Preston, North (Mr. J. Amery) just now, I wonder how closely the hon. Member is relating his speech to the Order.

Mr. Speaker

I hope that the House will let the Chair take care of order. I am eager to call the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) to order the moment he gets out of order.

Mr. Foot

What we are discussing—[Interruption.] If the Opposition Chief Whip wants to make a speech, he can rise to his feet like anybody else. That is, on the assumption that he might have anything to say which would be in order. We give him the benefit of the doubt—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I see no mention of the Chief Whip in the Order.

Mr. Foot

But we can hear him here, Mr. Speaker.

What the House is discussing, and is entitled to discuss, is the Opposition's attitude to the Order. I was discussing the three interventions which have so far been made from that side of the House and was coming to the fourth, only to find that I cannot pursue that further.

I was remarking that the three speakers from the Opposition so far have presented contrary views to the Order. There is a three-way split already. I think that that is a perfectly valid point, because, after all—[HON. MEMBERS: "Tedious repetition."] I do not want to repeat my remarks for hon. Members' benefit, but I shall have to do so if they interrupt in such a sense. An hon. Member is entitled to repeat something if it is necessary to enlighten other hon. Members. Only tedious repetition is out of order—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Chair must be the judge of whether repetition is tedious.

Mr. Foot

And a very good judge too, if I may say so.

We have had these three views. I suggest to hon. Members opposite that, particularly because it is claimed that the Order makes the sanctions almost 100 per cent.—I think that that is the view of the right hon. Member for Preston, North, if I am quoting him correctly—if the House is being invited tonight by the Government to make these sanctions 100 per cent., this is surely an occasion on which those who are opposed to the policy of sanctions should express themselves. I can understand the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale, as he has made it clear that he thinks that these measures are purely consequential. Therefore, because he voted for one of these Orders before, he has to vote for this one. We understand that.

But the right hon. Member for Preston is not in that position. He voted against one of the Orders before, and, therefore, he cannot claim that he is voting for it, or passing it, or allowing it to go through by his assent, because it is consequential. He can make no such claim. However, another argument is used by the right hon. Gentleman—

Mr. J. Amery

The hon. Member stands there as a Simon Pure advocate, voting according to principle every time. He will appreciate the admiration and respect which we had for the élan and courage which he and his hon. Friends showed over Vietnam—

Mr. Speaker

Order. Even interventions must be related to the Order which we are discussing.

Mr. Foot

You have taken the words right out of my mouth, Mr. Speaker—

Hon. Members


Mr. Foot

The right hon. Gentleman should not complain about—

Hon. Members


Mr. Foot

If I were to answer—

Mr. Speaker

Order. This is a serious debate. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale would be out of order if he answered.

Mr. Foot

I will come in a moment to the further case presented by the right hon. Gentleman on why we should not vote against the Order, but there are reasons, first of all, for my underlining why I think that it is of great importance that the House should vote for the Order.

I am very gratified to see that, from all the accounts we have had so far and despite the contradictions in their speeches, we are to have a unanimous vote of the House of Commons tonight in favour of the Order and in favour of making sanctions against: Rhodesia 100 per cent. That is what we shall vote on tonight and, despite their speeches, I am very gratified to see it, for this reason above others.

The hon. Member for Barry (Mr. Gower) asked why all these measures had not been introduced at once in the first place—why we had had them in dribs and drabs and why this had not been done earlier. I understand the argument, although it is not an argument for voting against the Order. I understand that the Government originally underestimated the nature of the measures which they had to take, and I am glad that they are now proceeding to further measures.

But there are other reasons, deriving from events in Southern Rhodesia, why we should proceed with the tougher measures outlined in the further sanctions. Every day we read reports in the newspapers of measures which are being taken in Southern Rhodesia Which, far from weakening the resolve of the House, should intensify our resolve. Every day we read of events in Rhodesia which should fortify us in voting for the Order. I refer to the censorship being applied, to people being locked up in prison, to the introduction of fresh methods of apartheid. All these can be read in the newspapers every day.

The House of Commons is responsible for Rhodesia. That was the decision which we took immediately after the declaration of U.D.I. We took full responsibility for all citizens of Rhodesia on to the shoulders of the House of Commons. When we see events happening in Rhodesia intensifying the Fascist State there, we have every right to proceed with Orders of this nature to make sanctions complete. It is all very well for the Opposition Chief Whip and other hon. Members opposite to shake their heads. Most of the leaders of Rhodesian opinion are in prison. The representative of the Opposition Front Bench who went to Rhodesia has not been allowed to see the leaders there. Whether he asked to se them we do not know.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member must get back to the Order. There will be opportunities to debate the other issues on other occasions.

Mr. Foot

I understand that. We are looking forward to the return of the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) so that we may have a full debate, particularly in view of the reports which have appeared about what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has been able—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Member is already doing what I asked him not to do.

Mr. Foot

In that case I apologise.

I conclude by dealing with one other point to which the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale referred—and this must be in order, because the right hon. Gentleman stressed it strongly. He agreed, as we all agree, that we cannot discuss the full objective of the Government's policy, but we are entitled to discuss whether this Order contributes by its effectiveness or ineffectiveness, whichever may be argued, to the achievement of this policy and whether this Order helps to carry forward the policy which has been enunciated by the House and spasmodically supported by the whole House.

The right hon. Gentleman referred to this matter, particularly, and first of all criticised the Order—although he does not intend to vote against it—because he said that it might be ineffective. He did not produce any argument to support the suggestion that it might be ineffective. Indeed, the right hon. Member for Preston North appeared to object to the Order because he thought that it would be effective. That is a further contradiction between the two right hon. Gentlemen opposite. It is no good the right hon. Member for Altrincham and Sale shaking his head. He said that he does not believe that the Order will contribute to the policy of conciliation which he believes must be the primary purpose of the sanctions and of the Orders which the House passes. It is no good the right hon. Gentleman shaking his head. He certainly made a comment of that nature.

I will quote to him a greater authority than himself, an authority which possibly he will accept, to show that conciliation can mean very different things. It may be said that it can be forwarded by such Orders as this, but before conciliation there is another proposition with which we must proceed. The first is this. Majority rule for the Africans must be certain".—OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st December. 1965; Vol. 722, c. 1994.] That was the view expressed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) last December—at the time when were were pursuing a policy from which we are supposed to have departed now. That is why it is impossible to have the kind of solution suggested by the right hon. Member for Attrincham and Sale; because Mr. Smith will not have it.

There is, therefore, no other course for the House but to proceed with a full policy of sanctions, of which this Order is an essential part. We must make sure that it is known throughout Africa, and in the United Nations, that we are determined to carry it through and that we will not be deflected from doing that by any faint hearts on the benches opposite. It is gratifying—remembering that many other measures may have to be taken later—to me and to many of my hon. Friends to think that we are to have an absolutely unanimous vote tonight in favour of the Government's policy towards Southern Rhodesia.

11.12 p.m.

Viscount Lambton (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

I intend to speak for approximately two minutes and I may surprise the House by sticking closely to the subject matter of the Order. I have no desire to divide either side of the House on this issue, which seemed to be the whole purpose of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot).

If there is any point at all to these restrictions on imports and exports, it is to bring the Government of Rhodesia down. Otherwise, they have no purpose or point whatever. Therefore, the question which we must ask ourselves tonight is whether they will or will not succeed. In the event of their succeeding no better than the other sanctions which have been placed on that Government, the sole effect of them will be to further solidify the opposition of Mr. Smith and further to sever the chance of eventual settlement and compromise. Is that the sort of purpose for which any hon. Member could have wished?

Is it sensible at this time to try to drive even further away from possible co-operation a Government which are already firmly settled in power? I go a step further and say that one cannot really believe that hon. Gentlemen opposite believe that these further sanctions will have a positive or actual effect. It is nonsensical to believe that they can. One must look on them in the light of them being part of an eventual programme of Her Majesty's Government towards the eventual use of force. I think it extremely possible that after these sanctions have been applied, right hon. Gentlemen opposite will say, "We have tried everything". Then—

Mr. Speaker

Order. I do not dissent from a word the hon. Gentleman says. The possibilities which he seeks to describe may indeed be possible, but they cannot be discussed on this Order.

Viscount Lambton

Forgive me for transgressing, Mr. Speaker. I have tried hard to remain in order. It seemed to me that it would be in order to discuss the outcome of the Order, otherwise it is almost impossible to say virtually anything. I will merely say that the Order can have no result unless it is part of a programme designed by the Government to end in force.

11.14 p.m.

Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)

I propose to make a speech which, I hope, will be strictly in order.

The Attorney-General said that these sanctions were required for two purposes. One was to deal with the speculator. In so far as they are designed to do that, they are misconceived and ill-drafted. I will point out to him why.

The speculator who wishes to speculate in tobacco in the hope of making a "killing", as my right hon. and learned Friend put it, when the present emergency comes to an end, does not buy that tobacco with the intention of exporting it. He does not make or carry out any contract for exportation or importation. He does not make or carry out any contract for the sale of the product which he intends, or has reason to believe another person intends, to export. He does not intend to export, and no one else intends to export it. What he intends to do is to hold it in store, probably on the farms, maybe in warehouses, and then when the emergency comes to an end, send it to the tobacco auctions in the ordinary way. There is nothing in this Order to prevent him. There is nothing in this Order which makes that illegal. If that is the object of the Order, the Order fails to that extent.

The second object which the Attorney-General puts to this Order is to deal with the situation of contracts entered into by citizens of countries who have been requested by their Governments not to trade with Rhodesia, but have not been forbidden to do so since the law, as in America, makes it impossible to forbid such contracts, and they are therefore in the difficult position that they may be sued if they do not execute the contracts. Therefore, this Order is to make illegal these contracts, and to allow those contractors in America, or wherever it may be, to escape any consequences of following the advice that has been given to them by their Governments.

I see that as a purpose, and if that is the purpose, why is it served by creating a criminal offence for Rhodesian citizens? We can make these contracts illegal without providing and setting out a criminal sanction involving two year's imprisonment. After all, I have always understood that one of the first rules which we consider when we deal with criminal legislation is not to make crimes when we are not in a position to enforce the criminal law we are making.

Here in Article 1(4, b) we are making a crime for Rhodesian citizens of something which we are not in a position to enforce, and which we very well know will not be observed. Nobody in Rhodesia who is exporting or importing will pay the slightest attention to this provision—we all know that very well. Why, therefore, make it a criminal offence? Why make a crime of something which we know we cannot prevent? It is wholly unnecessary, if the object is simply to make the contract illegal so that American contractors can escape from their contract.

I believe that if there is a respectable object for sanctions, that respectable object is to bring people to the negotiating table; to bring them to the mood in which they will concede those points which one wishes them to concede. Does one do that by making the people whom we are trying to negotiate with criminals?

We began by talking about treason. In my view, and I expressed it at the time, treason as a peacetime offence has been obsolete for 250 years. Having talked about treason, now the Prime Minister, who acknowledges it at least in his capacity as a party leader, is willing to deal with Mr. Smith who is the arch traitor. This is the sort of nonsense we get into when we create fictitious and imaginary criminal offences when we know perfectly well that we cannot enforce the law and no one will seriously imagine that it will be enforced against people in Rhodesia. Why, therefore, stick this sort of nonsense into an Order of this description?

If we are serious in this matter—and remember, this is a very, very serious matter, this is a tragedy in Rhodesia—[An HON. MEMBER: "Who is responsible?"] I am not going to argue who is responsible; I happen to think that there are faults on both sides. There are very few quarrels in human affairs, or between husband and wife, in which there are not faults on both sides. Whatever may happen here, this is a tragedy. Our object, and all our objects, in all conscience, should be to bring it to an end. Does this creating of artificial crimes, wholly unnecessary for the alleged purposes of the Order, really contribute to bringing this tragedy to an end?

11.22 p.m.

Mr. Evelyn King (Dorset, South)

However sharp may sometimes seem to be the differences between us, I always try when I can to begin with that which joins us. I offer one remark, at the risk of being out of order. May I make a distinction between the aim, I hope, of us all and the means we seek to enforce that aim? I am sure that the vast majority of hon. Members of all parties seek to ensure for Rhodesia African advance, educational and economic, and ultimate African majority rule. On that we are united; that is the aim.

I honestly hope that hon. Members will take this debate seriously. Where we begin to debate and differ is on the means we shall use to achieve that aim. This debate on sanctions is about means. I have always greatly admired the Attorney-General, but his language sometimes—as, indeed, all legal language—is so soporific that one forgets in the end the precise meaning of that language. He referred to sanctions, or additional sanctions. I would rather refer to the word "punishment", because that is the honest meaning of the word "sanctions". What we are seeking to do is to impose upon Rhodesia, and to impose indiscriminately, punishment by means of poverty, unemployment and distress.

Those are the words I should have liked to have heard the Attorney-General use when he introduced this Order, because that, beyond any argument, is what we are seeking to do. Let us begin by acknowledging that that, at any rate, is a horrible thing to have to do. From the tone of speeches in this House, that has too seldom been acknowledged. If that is so, the question to which we must address ourselves is this. Are these means effective? These Orders are expressed to be carried out in economic terms, but, in fact, the problem is not economic; it is psychological. I used the word "punishment". The Government have set out to punish a small nation. Usually in history the punishment of small nations has not been successful, but that is what the Government have set out to do.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I am listening to the hon. Gentleman with care. He must now narrow his speech towards the Order.

Mr. King

Surely the Order is a punitive one, Mr. Speaker. I have, therefore, sought to argue that the effect of the Order will be punishment.

In considering whether we shall support punishment we must consider the effect of punishment. Punishment can have two effects. It can cause the person or the nation punished to yield. That is what hon. Members opposite hope will happen. Will they not accept, also, that the effect of punishment, whether upon a nation or upon an individual, can equally be to make that nation more obdurate? This is the point which hon. Members opposite have failed to pay attention to in our discussions on sanctions.

To describe the Rhodesians and Rhodesia in a single sentence, they are charming, their country is delightful, and their problems are insoluble. Let no hon. Gentleman think that by means of this Order or by any other means we shall in the foreseeable future—months or years—solve their problems, because we shall not. But we may amelioriate them and there is one diplomatic exercise in which we ought to engage. As hon. Members will know, I have recently been to Rhodesia. I was most interested to talk to those who are commonly called "liberals"—Sir Humphrey Gibbs, Sir Hugh Beadle, Sir Robert Treadgold, Evan Campbell, the Editor of the Rhodesian Herald and a number of others of that type. If the Government are to have any hope of solving this problem, that is the group of people, and the only possible group of people, to whom these measures must appeal.

I condemn the measure, because I am utterly convinced, not that Mr. Smith's opinion of it is of any consequence, but that it will make it more difficult, and, indeed, may make it impossible, to deal with the only other section of European opinion with which ultimately Her Majesty's Government must deal. That is the true nature of the criticism against this Measure.

Mr. Christopher Rowland (Meriden)

Would the hon. Gentleman say in what peculiar way this Order is more severe than the previous Orders applying to tobacco and sugar?

Mr. King

I have already been rebuked by Mr. Speaker. The hon. Gentleman is tempting me to discuss other measures. I should dearly love to do so, but I must confine myself to this one. My point is that an additional punishment of this kind is a wrongful diplomatic exercise. Indeed, if I am allowed to refer to it, which I am sure I am not, the statement of 25th January was the most foolish statement which could have been made, not because it offended Mr. Smith—

Mr. Speaker

Order. We are getting away again from the Order, and the hon. Gentleman must know that he is getting away from it.

Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire)

I understood the hon. Gentleman to say that he was opposed to the Order. Will he, therefore, be voting against it?

Mr. King

That question has been put many times. I can only reply, as has been said before, that the Order by itself is of very little consequence. It is an additional 5 per cent. on what has been done already. My criticism falls not only upon the Order, but—if I am allowed to say so, Mr. Speaker—upon the whole policy of which this is an insignificant part.

I have sought to show, with as much precision as is possible in these difficult circumstances, the reasons for that. I am utterly convinced that an attempt to weaken an opponent—and measures such as this are attempts to weaken Mr. Smith—is an expedient which may be allowed. In so far as the effect of this Order or of similar Orders or of other statements is to humiliate a nation, the Government may defeat the purpose which they have set out to achieve.

11.30 p.m.

Sir Harry Legge-Bourke (Isle of Ely)

I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Mr. Evelyn King) and the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) for bringing the debate back to the seriousness which befits the subject which we are discussing. I should have thought that all of us would recognise that what we are doing tonight is to complete a design which, both in its part and in its whole, is something thoroughly distasteful to have to design at all.

The Government know perfectly well that, in so far as I have been able to bring myself to do so, I have supported the principle of sanctions because, in the light of what had happened, I did not see what else could be done, but any hon. Member who imagines that this Order is a mere frill round the design that has already been drawn has not read the Order.

I ask the House to look at the Order again. This gives complete power to the Secretary of State to say wheher anything should be imported from Rhodesia or exported into Rhodesia. Let us realise, therefore, straight away, that we are making it quite clear that unless the Secretary of State likes to select certain things, nothing can come into this country from Rhodesia and nothing can go out from this country into Rhodesia, even indirectly.

I should have thought that that was a very severe thing to do, even if it is only filling in the final part of the design. It is a complete blackout, so far as we are able to bring about a blackout, on any trade between Rhodesia and Britain. Surely, that is a very severe thing to do, and none of us should attempt to under-rate its gravity, whatever has been done before.

One of the things that puzzles me is the timing of this Order. In being asked to accept sanctions in principle I think the House would have expected that, with the crisis building up the way it did before U.D.I., the Government had prepared the ground completely to take the steps which they thought would be necessary when U.D.I, was declared. Yet we have, first of all, some fairly gentle sanctions, except on tobacco. Then we went to oil sanctions and now we have this Order which is the completion of the blackout. I ask the Government to tell us why they have taken this in three stages instead of doing it all at once. It seems to me that they must have had time to prepare the whole programme before U.D.I, was declared. They have implemented whatever they had prepared in stages since then, and I do not under-estimate the gravity of this final stage.

Was the Government's policy to be gentle in the beginning in the hope that those in Rhodesia would see the light, then intensify that with oil sanctions, and then finally complete the picture when they found that oil sanctions were not working as well as they had expected? Was that the plan? There has always been a case for saying, whether it be military or economic action, that the best chance one ever has of making what one intends to do work is to do one's damnedest right at the beginning. Many wars would have been greatly shortened if nations had adopted that policy. Perhaps some nations would have been deterred altogether if they had known what would happen.

In this case, however, after all the rumblings beforehand, after all the threats, which came from my right hon. Friends when in Government as well as from the present Administration—I have never attempted to run away from that one—about the consequences of U.D.I., why, when those warnings were flouted, was the full force of sanctions not made abundantly clear at the start? If that had been done, perhaps by now the situation would not have deteriorated as it has.

First, then, why have sanctions been timed in this way? Why did we not have this Order along with the others we have already approved?

The Attorney-General made no attempt, as far as I can see, to explain why the following words should be in Article I: Except so far as may be authorised by regulations of the Secretary of State… and Except so far as may be authorised as aforesaid… Secondly, then, what have the Government in mind to except? We are entitled to be told. Or are they looking ahead to an attempt to ensure that, if they have overlooked anything, it will not matter whether it is shipped in to Rhodesia or not because the Secretary can make the appropriate regulation?

Thirdly, what have the Government in mind in Article 1(3, b)? There are many ways in which manufacturers in this country might still get into Rhodesia. One way could be for a manufacturer to have an agent in South Africa shipping his product to Rhodesia via South Africa. The agent thus operating may or may not be covered by Article 1(4, a), (b) or (c). What have the Government in mind on how they propose to implement Article 1(3, b)? How are they to identify these people?

Further on, Article 2(4) says that …proceedings for an offence against this Order may be taken, and the offence may for all incidental purposes be treated as having been committed, in any place in the United Kingdom where any person charged with that offence is for the time being. Article 2(3), however, states that the proceedings have to be initiated …not later than twelve months from the date on which the person charged first enters the United Kingdom after committing the offence. How is this to be administered? How is it to be enforced? It is essential that these things should be known because, if we are not careful, we shall make it possible for some British companies—and these may be some of the speculations the right hon. and learned Gentleman has in mind—to change their agent in South Africa so that goods can be shipped through by a person not covered by Article 1(4). There are all sorts of loopholes in the Order and we want to be certain from the Government's answers tonight that they have thought out these matters and intend to say loud and clear what they propose to do to enforce the Order. The Attorney-General did not say very much about that.

I have long felt that, once the House decided that sanctions were the right policy, the only hope was to complete the whole design, or we had better not start the thing at all. I very much question the timing and the separation of one Order from another. But, having said that, I must support the Order, subject to receiving the answers for which I have asked, because to have sanctions and not to complete the picture is inviting evasion of the sanctions as a whole.

We are still entitled to say that if the Government want support for this Order, or Orders of this kind, or for the series we have had, they must stop altering the objective on the way to the completion of the job. That is what has tended to happen. It is no good saying at one moment that we want reconciliation and at the next that we want to bring Mr. Smith to his knees. There must be con sistency and I hope that the Attorney-General will be able to re-establish some consistency, because at the moment there seems to be a drift, if not a reversal, of policy.

11.42 p.m.

Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)

The hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke) very fairly and properly referred to the thunder, not only from the present Government, but from their predecessor, prior to U.D.I, and asked why it was that the Order was brought in at this stage and why all these Orders were not brought in earlier than they were.

It is for Her Majesty's Government to answer that question. I merely suggest, in passing, that one of the reasons is that the contingency planning about this operation has been wholly inadequate and that it has taken the Government a very long time to catch up with the emergency and face it. It would be out of order to refer to the time which it took to put a radio in the Governor's house and to set up a radio station in Bechuanaland and do many other things, but the delay to which the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely has very properly alluded is attributable to that fact.

We have heard a lot of thunder against the Order from hon. Members on this side of the House and from the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget). They have one thing in common—they all voted for all the previous measures, with the possible exception of the oil sanctions. This Order is introduced pursuant to the enabling Act, the Southern Rhodesia Act, 1965, for which the whole House voted and from which flowed the tobacco sanctions, for which the whole House voted, the sugar sanctions, on which there was unanimity, the reserve bank powers and the oil sanctions, in respect of which there was some little local difficulty on the Opposition side.

But tonight these hon. Members are united, because at the moment they are going through the theatrical enjoyment of "Waiting for Selwyn" and no doubt he will tell them what his view of the Order is when he gets back and they are reserving their judgment of the Order and will not oppose it because they wish to have the Ark of the Covenant revealed. They will no doubt congratulate the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd) on choosing to go out in a season which was not the rainy season and, unlike Neville Chamberlain, omitting to take an umbrella with him. We shall know how he feels.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Samuel Storey)

Order. The hon. Gentleman is getting rather wide of the Order we are discussing.

Mr. Thorpe

Perhaps the greatest and most worthwhile measure of support for this Statutory Instrument will be that which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) has told us he is to give tonight. He has not only said that these measures are ineffective to appease African nationalism, but that they will solidify European opinion. We know that he is as anxious as anyone to bring down the present régime and see that constitutional rule is restored.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. We cannot discuss that on this Order.

Mr. Thorpe

What we are discussing is the last 5 per cent. or 10 per cent. of what will become a total trade embargo. This Order will succeed in two respects and it may fail in one other because it is unenforceable. First, it will cause those who seek to profit from the present economic situation in Rhodesia to pause. It will cause one British firm, which is at this moment trying to negotiate to buy ferro-chrome through the medium of a Luxembourg firm, to pause and think again, because it may be committing an offence and it may be involving its employees in being middlemen and therefore in committing an offence.

It may also cause a gentleman in South Africa who is outside the jurisdiction of this Order, and who is hoping to buy tobacco at a knock-down price and sell it on the Dutch market before the Dutch Parliament bring in the necessary legislation, to pause and think before he involves other people in what may constitute a criminal offence.

It may also cause him to realise that if the contract has not been finalised during the currency of the present illegal régime, any agreement which he may have struck would be subsequently unenforceable in the courts. It may also cause the State Corporation of Hungary to pause before it, too, tries to buy ferro-chrome through a third party, which is, under the terms of this Statutory Instrument, subject to the jurisdiction of it.

Sir Frederic Bennett (Torquay)

Why? Why?

Mr. Thorpe

The hon. Member asks why, and, thinking that I have not heard his intervention the first time, asks again. I will tell him why.

It is because as a result of this Statutory Instrument the normal enforce-ability which would flow from agreements, both as to delivery and payment, is no longer guaranteed by the courts. Therefore, if the view is taken that the future existence of the present régime is uncertain, and may either be in terms of weeks or months, there is a new element of hazard involved in the financial transaction, which may well cause a business man, even a State corporation—because sometimes they have business acumen—to pause and ask whether this is a safe economic proposition to pursue.

We do not know whether all these considerations will affect Angola, which is at present seeping oil over the border, and whether the same will happen—

Mr. Victor Goodhew (St. Albans)

And Zambia.

Mr. Thorpe

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman has not realised that Zambia is not covered by this Statutory Instrument and that it is a loyal member of the Commonwealth, which we are proud to support.

Mr. Goodhew

I was making the point that oil was seeping over the boundaries from Zambia to Rhodesia in return for coal. Perhaps this is something which the hon. Gentleman has not realised?

Mr. Thorpe

The hon. Member makes a very grave charge indeed if he is suggesting that the Government of Zambia, or, alternatively, agents acting with the knowledge of the Government of Zambia, are responsible for the export of oil, from whatever source, to assist the Rhodesian economy.

I concede at once that there may well be black marketeers. There are from every country. We have had experience of them even during time of war in this country. I am, however, sure that the hon. Member, loyal supporter of the Commonwealth that he is, would be the last to suggest that Zambia is deliberately seeking to profit from a black market the object of which is to get round the sanctions.

Mr. Goodhew

I was suggesting, in particular, that it was unfortunate that when Great Britain is trying, apparently, to prevent oil from getting into Rhodesia, oil which is sent from this country, at great expense to the taxpayer, through Zambia should find its way to Rhodesia. That seems to me to be rather nonsensical.

Mr. Thorpe

If the hon. Member is deploring any element of ineffectiveness in sanctions against Rhodesia, I wholeheartedly agree with him and I support him is every measure possible to make them as effective as possible against the rebel régime. No doubt, if there is a seepage through Zambia, he will regard it as his duty to make that information known to the Zambian authorities. I have no doubt that his views will be treated with the attention which they deserve in Zambia and that the President will be grateful to hear what his views are on that matter.

There are two matters in the Order which we should realise. First, in seeking to prohibit exports from Rhodesia, we must recognise that this is an expression of intention which is not likely to be enforceable in the criminal courts. This is not the first time. The precedent is not a very happy one. I suppose that the last occasion was the passing of the convention against genocide, which, we knew, was not enforceable, but was an expression of the sort of legal action which we intended to take in the future and in which the Attorney-General played a distinguished part in one of the trials.

The other matter which is a little unfortunate in the Order is the wide phraseology in paragraph 1 (3,b), to the effect that a person commits an offence who assists in the export or the manufacture of any product which he has reason to believe that another person intends to…import into Southern Rhodesia". This is a very wide term and offence, and I hope that the Attorney-General, or the Solicitor-General, will tell us a little more about it.

Sir F. Bennett

A few minutes ago, the hon. Member appeared to be against casting even slight doubt upon the effectiveness of the Order, which point I queried, concerning the State Corporation of Hungary. Is he addressing his remarks also to the dubiety of whether it would apply in that case?

Mr. Thorpe

I will gladly give way to the hon. Member again and I will gladly answer his question. I have not exactly grasped the purport of what he said.

Sir F. Bennett

I was merely trying to point out that a few moments ago the hon. Member appeared to think that the Order would be extremely effective even against gentlemen in Hungary. He now appears to be casting doubt upon exactly the same premise as he asserted earlier. How does he reconcile his two attitudes?

Mr. Thorpe

I shall be glad to clear up an obvious misconception on the part of the hon. Member. First, I believe that the Order will have the effect of causing persons who intend to trade to pause and think before doing so, because they might well be entering into an agreement which they would subsequently find unenforceable. That was the first limb of my argument. I think that I would take the hon. Gentleman with me on it.

The second point which I made, which was totally different, was that we are creating for the first time certain new criminal offences and that one of those offences is not merely exporting, or causing to be imported into Rhodesia, material or products, but participating in either the manufacture or export of any matter while having "reason to believe" that another person will import it into Rhodesia.

I was merely making the comment that I think that this is a very widely drawn phrase, and it is one in respect of which I am not altogether happy as a lawyer, because I believe that when we are drawing the limits of criminal liability they must be easily definable and must be clear. I am merely suggesting that this is a very wide extension of criminal liability. It may be that the Law Officers will be able to say something about that in a moment. I was merely suggesting—I hope I take the hon. Gentleman with me on this—that this is a very wide extension indeed of criminal liability.

Those of us who, I think, represent the whole House, with a small exception, and who have supported sanctions so far have done so because, first, we recognise that the stupidity of Mr. Smith's action must be brought home to people in Rhodesia and expressed in economic terms; and secondly, because we are anxious at all costs to avoid bloodshed. I ask myself; how effective will this Statutory Instrument, in particular, be? Clearly, it is unenforceable over exporting goods from Rhodesia itself. I may be wrong. It may well be that we shall see a spate of prosecutions.

I am quite certain of one thing, that any cases brought before the courts in Rhodesia will be fairly and honourably tried in accordance with the judicial system which is one of the greatest institutions in Rhodesia today. The integrity of the judiciary is without question. The question is, however, how these matters would be brought to the courts, who would be the prosecutor, who would appear in the rôle of the D.P.P., whether they would be private prosecutions. That is another matter, but I doubt whether we shall see many prosecutions under this head.

What I would suggest to the Government is that these Orders in themselves—and this as much as the others—are not likely to have the full economic effect which the policy behind these Orders seeks to achieve, unless we have a Chapter VII resolution, a resolution in the United Nations, to back them up. I think that this is relevant to this Order. I would merely say to the Government that I do not accept the logic that because we invoke Article 41 we have, logically, to invoke Article 42. They are totally separate, and both are subject to the veto. We should make clear we put forward a resolution under the first, and are opposed to the second. I do not accept the suggestion that we cannot proceed under Article 41 because its application would lead to application of Article 42.

This Order is the logical extension of the other Orders for which the House has voted in pursuance of the policy of a bloodless settlement of this dispute. What negotiations may take place, in what circumstances, at what time are outside the debate on this Order. No doubt, we shall have other opportunities to debate them. But once we have willed this policy of using economic pressures to cause a return to constitutional rule, then in my submission it is logical that we should vote for this Statutory Instrument tonight, and I hope we shall do that with unanimity among hon. Members on both sides of the House.

12 m.

Mr. Charles Doughty (Surrey, East)

At this comparatively late hour, I do not propose to repeat a lot of the arguments that hon. Members have already put forward.

This is a very sad debate, and it is most unfortunate that we have to discuss measures of restriction against one of the greater countries of our Commonwealth. It is for that reason that I regret very much that the spirit with which we are so accustomed from the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) should have been used to its full tonight in saying the things that he did about the people who have gone from this country and other countries to Rhodesia, some quite recently and some quite a long time ago.

I have said before, and I said it to the Prime Minister, that when we discuss these matters we want to keep a very reasonable calm, because, at the backs of our minds, the objects of this type of Order must be that we can meet face to face with the people in that country. No puppet Government can do that. They must be people who can speak for the inhabitants of Rhodesia. [HON. MEMBERS: "All of them]?"] All of them, and there are no people who are so contented and so happy as the coloured people of that country and none support the Government more. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] If hon. Members disagree with that, all that I can say is that they are completely out of touch with events in that country.

We have to get down to discussions with the people there. If the Order assists in that, then let it be supported. But the stupidities that can follow from this type of Order are well illustrated in a case that I wish to bring to the attention of the House.

I know of a British subject, resident in Rhodesia and, I believe, married to a Rhodesian, who has come here and is unable to live on her own money, properly paid in dividends, but blocked in this country. As a result, we are paying her £9 9s. l0d. a week National Assistance, not a penny of which would she require if she could use her own money for her own purposes in this country. That is the type of thing that we have come to by passing this type of Order. The whole matter needs looking at very carefully. [Interruption.] I am afraid that a number of hon. Members opposite, making very uncalled for noises, did not hear what I said. I will repeat it.

A British subject with funds in this country, resident in this country now, is unable to draw those funds. We have to pay her £9 9s. l0d. a week National Assistance, because she cannot touch her own money for her own purposes here. If that is not nonsense, what is? [An HON. MEMBER: "Charge it to the Law Officers."] I shall not ignore such interruptions. It shows that hon. Members opposite do not mind spending public money for that type of stupidity.

Mr. William Hannan (Glasgow, Maryhill)

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that, in just the opposite way, there are British citizens who now wish to come back from Rhodesia because of the Smith régime and who cannot recover money for the homes and businesses that they have sold in Rhodesia?

Mr. Doughty

The particular case that I have cited is just the other way round, because the letter which I proposed to read says that the Rhodesian Government are more sensible because they have allowed a certain amount of money to come over here.

I entirely disagree with the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) when he says that the Order will make clearer the position of people who propose trading with Rhodesia. It will do nothing of the sort. Those who have drafted the Order must be totally unaware of the way that trade is done. Certainly, people will not trade directly with Rhodesia. If people wish to buy wheat, or whatever it is, they send to trading firms abroad. They do not ask where it comes from. They ask about the quality, the price, and matters of that sort, and that is not covered by this Order. If these sanctions last for too long, other countries will not enforce them for us.

Mr. Thorpe

The hon. and learned Gentleman is much more versed in the law than I am. He has said that this will not deter any firms from buying, that they will go through their subsidiaries.

Mr. Doughty

I did not say anything of the sort.

Mr. Thorpe

The hon. and learned Gentleman said—he will correct me if I am wrong—that those who were aware of commercial practice ought to be aware of the fact that firms which now cannot buy directly will buy from subsidiaries.

Mr. Doughty

I said nothing of the sort.

Mr. Thorpe

I heard the hon. and learned Gentleman say that, and many hon. Gentlemen opposite agree with me. Perhaps he will correct me if I am wrong. The hon. and learned Gentleman will see that Article 1 (3,b and c) deals with indirect purchases from Rhodesia, so the liability continues.

Mr. Doughty

Let me correct the hon. Gentleman. I never used the word "subsidiary". I said that they buy from other countries and firms, and that they are not concerned with where the object comes from. They are concerned with quality and price. I did not use the word "subsidiary". I am well aware that if a person believes something to be an offence he may commit one if he does it, but if he does not ask, he does not know. He merely asks what is the price, and what is the quality. I never said the word imputed to me by the hon. Gentleman, as he will see from HANSARD tomorrow, and I ask him to read it.

These sanctions are unenforceable except and in so far as they relate to trade between this country and Rhodesia. They will not be supported for very long by other countries. Sanctions never work in peacetime, and other countries are not interested in supporting them for long. We trade with Cuba, although the Americans ask us not to do so, and undoubtedly a similar position will arise with other countries as well.

The sooner we can get the negotiations going, and the sooner we can get a settlement of this whole unfortunate matter, the better. These Orders may bring the Rhodesians more into line, and make them more ready to talk, and it is for those reasons that I support this Order. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh".] But let it be clearly understood that I support it not for the purpose of bringing Rhodesia down to a state of chaos—I do not want that, but many hon. Members opposite seem to—but so that when the negotiations take place the Rhodesians may be in a more negotiable frame of mind, and so that we may bring to an end what is a most unfortunate, a most distressing, and very sad state of affairs within the British Commonwealth.

Let us remember that when we negotiate, points have to be given away on both sides, not on one side only, and I hope, therefore, that these negotiations will soon take place, and that this Order, and others which have gone before it, may be scraps of paper within a very short time.

12.9 a.m.

Mr. Peter Bessell (Glasgow)

I am very grateful to have the opportunity of speaking on this Order, because I think that it is important for us to consider precisely what effect this will have on the situation which exists in that tragic and unhappy country of Rhodesia.

There is one matter on which there is agreement between both sides of the House, and it is that legal government must be restored in that country, and that any and every step which is necessary should be taken towards that end. It is true that, after the unilateral declaration of independence, Her Majesty's Government imposed a number of sanctions, of which this Order is a continuation, and which had my wholehearted support—as, indeed, they had the support of the vast majority of right hon. and hon. Members. We all agreed that the Orders and the sanctions were necessary to ensure that the rule of law should be upheld. Of course, it is intolerable to this House that we should ever allow a situation in which that rule is broken.

However, we must consider whether this is the right moment at which to strengthen the sanctions which we have so far imposed. As I have said, there were special considerations which caused the House to decide to impose the original sanctions. I believe that there were secondary considerations, which can be applied to this Order as well, namely, that there shall be ultimate African majority rule in Africa, that racial discrimination there shall end, that a proper standard of living shall be provided for all the peoples, that a full educational programme shall be inaugurated and that the rights of minorities, of Europeans or—

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Samuel Storey)

The hon. Gentleman is widening the debate. He must come to the Order which we are discussing.

Mr. Bessell

With great respect, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I was merely seeking to point the reasons why I believe that sanctions were first imposed and why this Order is required by Her Majesty's Government. This point has been made by several previous speakers and I am merely repeating what they have said, but in a slightly different form—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. That is no excuse for the hon. Gentleman getting out of order.

Mr. Bessell

Very well, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I accept your Ruling.

I believe that the Order, like every other sanction which has been imposed by the Government, will be effective only if it has the support of every other country which trades with Rhodesia, and we have to be certain that the Order will be as effective as other sanctions have been. The Attorney-General gave no indication tonight that any other country is prepared to support us in this measure.

Until we can be certain of that, we cannot be certain what the effect of the Order will be upon the climate of opinion, both African and European, in Rhodesia itself.

Mr. Kenneth Lomas (Huddersfield, West)

It seems that the hon. Gentleman is making the great error of not appreciating that there is an entirely different link between this country and Rhodesia, and that of Rhodesia with any other nation in the world, that Rhodesia is part of the Commonwealth. As a consequence of that, we have a special responsibility to Rhodesia. Surely, because we recognise that a treasonable act has taken place in Rhodesia, this Government are entitled to take all Measures they can, including this Order, to ensure that they return to constitutional government as early as possible.

Mr. Bessell

With great respect, that was not an intervention; it was a speech. I assure the hon. Gentleman that I was aware that Rhodesia is a Commonwealth country. I have just been there, and I saw the Union Jack flying everwhere I went.

Of course we have a special responsibility, but it has been said repeatedly from the Treasury Bench that sanctions will be effective only if they are enforced by every other country trading with Rhodesia. That is why I question the wisdom of imposing a measure on which we have no assurance that it will be supported by other trading countries.

Secondly, I question whether this is the moment to impose further and more drastic sanctions on Rhodesia, at a time when it is possible that the objectives to which the Government, the Opposition and my party are committed might be achieved by other means. It might be wise at this moment to pause and to consider whether other means are not available and whether those means should not be tried in association with the Order.

While I was in Salisbury I had the opportunity of seeing the effect of sanctions so far. I will tell the House the impression which I gained from conversations with members of the illegal régime, with businessmen, with leaders of commerce and trade unionists, with African Nationalist leaders, with those opposed to the régime, with Government officials, with the Governor, with Sir Hugh Beadle and with people in all walks of life. My impression, at any rate a month ago, was that the effect of sanctions thus far had been marginal and that the important sanction, on oil, had had no decisive effect at that stage—and there is no evidence to suggest that it has had a decisive effect yet.

If this Order, coupled with the measures taken previously, could guarantee to end the present ugly and illegal situation in Rhodesia, I should have no doubts about supporting it. Indeed, I should do so gladly. I hope that when the Government enforce the Order they will ensure that every other possible step is taken to reach a peaceful and just solution on the lines which I will try to indicate within the rules of order, which restrict me very much.

History has shown that sanctions by themselves have never worked. It may well be that this time history will be confounded. While I was in Salisbury the mood of the Smith Government was one in which they were ready and anxious to negotiate with Her Majesty's Government, and that may well have been the result of the sanctions which had been imposed up to that time.

Mr. Rowland

Would the hon. Member say whether the Smith Government were prepared to negotiate on anything other than our initial acceptance of their independence?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Bessell) would be out of order if he replied to that question.

Mr. Bessell

This places me in a difficult position, because I may not answer the question. The Chair has ruled that I may not do so. I suggest that the hon. Member was well aware when he asked the question that that would be the ruling of the Chair. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I leave the House to judge that for itself. The Smith régime is anxious to bring an end to this impasse. If sanctions do not work—

Mr. Heffer rose

Mr. Bessell

I will not give way. I am not going to be asked questions which because of the rules of order, I cannot answer.

Mr. Rowland

On a point of order. Is it in order for an hon. Member to provoke questions which one cannot then ask?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

That is not a point of order.

Mr. Bessell

If the Order can be enforced and if, at the same time, there can be an attempt at negotiations—a means of bringing this tragedy to an end—the Order and those negotiations would, I am sure, have the support of all hon. Members. Is it possible for this to happen? It is not possible for Her Majesty's Government to negotiate direct with the illegal régime. That would be unconstitutional. It is not possible for Mr. Smith to negotiate through the Governor. But there could be an intermediary—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Member is again getting away from what we are discussing.

Mr. Bessell

I apologise, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

If the Order creates further bitterness—if it makes the climate more difficult in Rhodesia and here and if it does not have the support of the other countries of the world—it will not only weaken our position but it will make ultimate negotiations more difficult for us and for the illegal régime. I therefore ask for a pause. If I were asked which way I would vote tonight, if a vote took place, I would vote for the Order, but I would add this rider: that I would do so in the hope that there would then be a genuine effort on the part of Her Majesty's Government to seek a means of negotiating which would humiliate neither the régime in Rhodesia nor create an impossible constitutional situation, for such a means exists.

If sanctions do not work Her Majesty's Government will be placed in an extremely difficult position. If the Order is ineffective they will have to decide whether or not to use force, and that will be a terrible decision to make.

Mr. Gower

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that Her Majesty's Government have made it clear that under no circumstances will they use force?

Mr. Bessell

I am, but if the sanctions and this Order in particular do not work, remembering that this Measure makes the sanctions 100 per cent. effective from the legislative point of view, what then? When I was in Salisbury there was no sign of them working. What is the alternative to using force? I believe that there is an alternative, as I have said—but I will not develop that because I would be out of order. My earlier remarks will appear in to-morrow's OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. G. R. Howard (St. Ives)

Has the hon. Gentleman noted the words in Article 1 (1,c) of the Order: do any act calculated to promote the ex portation from Southern Rhodesia or the importation into Southern Rhodesia of any specified product"? It is all very well for us to make debating points, but I am concerned about the people in Rhodesia, not only the supporters of—

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. The hon. Member's intervention is becoming a speech.

Mr. Howard

What will be the result of that provision on all the people of Southern Rhodesia, Africans and Europeans?

Mr. Bessell

This is a valid point for one reason, which is that if there is an increase in bitterness, in tension and in mistrust, it becomes increasingly difficult, not only for us but for the African population and for the Commonwealth to find a means of reconciling these difficulties and bring about a peaceful solution. It is a peaceful solution with which I am ultimately concerned, and it is to ensure that the measures that have been taken by Her Majesty's Government shall be effective—[Interruption.] Mr. Deputy Speaker, I hear a cry of "Seig Heil!". Is that in order?

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Is the hon. Gentleman raising a point of order?

Mr. Bessell

I heard a cry of "Seig Heil!", Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I asked whether that was in order.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

I did not hear the observation. I deprecate all such remarks being passed across the House when someone is speaking.

Mr. Bessell

Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

I am sure that what I have said may not arouse pleasure on all sides. It is now being suggested that there may be some difference of opinion between myself and my colleagues—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I do not think that there is any difference of principle, though there may be a slight difference of emphasis. But if there is a slight difference of emphasis, neither I nor my colleagues are ashamed, and I do not think that it is wrong or improper that I should express it. It ill becomes hon. Members opposite to discuss differences of opinion when there have been so many cracks and splinters within their own party.

I have asked tonight that when this Order is enforced by Her Majesty's Government, there should be a pause. If there had been such a pause when the two fatal shots were fired at Serajevo in June, 1914, two world wars might have been avoided.

12.27 a.m.

Mr. Ian Lloyd (Portsmouth, Langstone)

The debate has now reached a point where for someone as unfamiliar as myself the line of order is drawn taut and narrow, so I will confine myself to just one or two points. I would first refer to an astonishing assumption that underlay some of the speeches from the other side that the political views of this House are always focused in a single beam of pure white light, when we know that there is the broad spectrum of opinion which is focused on only one requirement, and that is power. It is focused for many purposes on many occasions, but to deny that such a spectrum exists is utter nonsense.

I would confirm with all the emphasis at my command from my own experience in Rhodesia every word said by my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Mr. Evelyn King). I would refer to two specific points in the Order. The first is that it is a most extraordinary thing. It creates a form of occupational discrimination at the deliberate intent of the Government. The Prime Minister himself told us that it was the duty of soldiers and civil servants, and others in similar occupations, to carry on with their routine as best they might, but this Order states that those whose livelihood depends on economic activities—not the soldiers or the civil servants—are not to carry on with their livelihood as best they may. They are to lie down and commit economic suicide, and cut their own throats.

What is the basis of this occupational discrimination? Are Her Majesty's Government concerned with one class of citizens in Rhodesia and not with the others? I regard this as a most fundamental point, and I should like to have the Attorney-General's comments on it.

Finally, I deal with a rather more serious point. Certainly this Order creates a new class of criminal. To the extent to which it will be effective, which in my opinion will be exceedingly limited, it will create a class of criminal whom historians with a slightly longer perspective than hon. Members opposite have defined in one word only. That class has been known as "patriot", and that type of criminality has been defined in successive revolutions and rebellions as patriotism. I should have thought that the experience of the House of Commons in creating in different places on the surface of the earth such patriotisms would have compelled it to pause and to show a little humility before launching another.

12.33 a.m.

Sir Knox Cunningham (Antrim, South)

I should like to make my position clear. I have never been to Rhodesia, I know no one in Rhodesia and, so far as I am aware, I have no direct financial interest in Rhodesia.

We are considering an Order in Council which will make it illegal for anyone to export from Rhodesia and illegal to import into Rhodesia. The powers are extraordinarily wide. These powers are given to the Secretary of State. This Order is in some respects retrospective and also delegates legislative powers to the Secretary of State. I do not want to go into a number of points on the Order because the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) has covered them. This Order, however, is taking us one step further into an extraordinary world, an Alice in Wonderland world. The sort of expressions which the Attorney-General has used about Rhodesia on other occasions, "the dogs of rebellion" and "illegal rebellious treason" are extraordinarily unfortunate. I think that in future he may regret that he used those terms and expressions. These are the rebels with whom hon. Members on both sides of the House have discussed matters when they have gone to Rhodesia, yet this is treason which is being condemned here.

The Prime Minister said in an earlier stage of sanctions that they would not be vindictive. What can be more vindictive than this Order? It is sweeping and covers everything. It delegates the powers and in this Order we have a vindictive sanction; it is 100 per cent. At the end of the road, whether it comes sooner or later, we shall have to talk with the authorities in Rhodesia. At present there is no one to talk to except Mr. Smith. I ask the Government, is that not the advice they are getting from the Governor? If we are going to negotiate with Mr. Smith, how are we going to do it? I am sorry that the Secretary of State is not in his place at the moment. He has said that it is impossible to negotiate with Mr. Smith.

Mr. Ivor Richard (Barons Court)

On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. You have in the course of the evening confined the debate to very strict limits and ruled out of order any discussion of the future pattern of negotiations either with the Smith régime or any other body which might arise in Rhodesia. It seems that the remarks of the hon. Member are directly out of order within your Ruling.

Mr. Speaker

I am grateful to the hon. Member. I was being consulted at the moment and I did not hear the hon. and learned Member for Antrim, North (Sir Knox Cunningham). I hope that he will keep to the Rulings which have been given earlier. I shall listen now.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to you. I will simply repeat—this is the last thing I want to say in this debate—that the Secretary of State has said that he could not negotiate with Mr. Smith. Therefore, I say that we should accept the resignation of the Secretary of State.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. and learned Gentleman has listened to the debate. He knows that he is entirely out of order.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Mr. Speaker, I am in the difficulty that great latitude was given to many hon. Members when you were not in the Chair.

Mr. Speaker

Order. I hope the hon. and learned Gentleman will realise that Mr. Speaker is in the Chair and is ruling. I hope, too, that invidious comparisons between occupants of the Chair will never be made.

Hon. Members


Mr. Speaker

Order. I have ruled that the hon. and learned Gentleman must not pursue what he is saying.

Sir Knox Cunningham

And I accept your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, and have nothing further to say.

12.36 a.m.

Mr. Raymond Gower (Barry)

shall severely curtail what I had wished to say, because others wish to speak. The Attorney-General said that the Order was not introduced prior to 20th January because the Government had not thought it would be necessary. My first question is: what reason have the Government to apprehend that this last measure will prove more effective than the measures previously introduced? Secondly, the Attorney-General said that the objective of the Order, as of earlier Orders, was the restoration of constitutional rule in Rhodesia. I hope that the Government spokesman will be able to reaffirm that the object of the Order is not to create chaos in Rhodesia, not to create famine in the land, but is, in the words of the Attorney-General, to help to restore constitutional rule in Rhodesia. If that is the Government's objective and if they can satisfy the House that this last measure is likely to achieve that result, I feel that the House may be able to give the Order its support.

12.37 a.m.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor (Glasgow, Cathcart)

This should have been a serious debate on one Order, but the one thing which has struck me throughout the debate is that the only person who has taken the Order seriously has been the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer). It did not appear to me that the Attorney-General was treating the Order seriously. He explained its provisions quizzically and delightfully, as though he were applying for membership of the tall story club. I am thinking of his suggestion that if a contract is made between a business man in Rhodesia and a foreign purchaser the foreign purchaser will have no right to the goods and the business man in Rhodesia will have no right to the money. The right hon. and learned Gentleman gave other examples.

On the other hand, the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Bessell) gave a constructive example. How precisely is this provision to be enforced? For example, if the State Corporation of Hungary manages in some way or other to acquire chrome in Rhodesia, precisely how do the Government intend to settle the legal question? Will they try to take steps to have the chrome brought back? What will happen to the money which has been paid for the chrome? How will this problem and the many others which have arisen or which will arise from the Order be solved?

The Order will be impossible to bring into effect. I hope that the Attorney-General can give us one or two examples of the kind of thing which might arise from the Order and state precisely what he intends to do about them. If we are to consider the Order seriously we must consider some of the examples that could arise.

Article 3 is even more unusual. Are we to take this seriously as well? In effect it says that anyone working in Rhodesia on goods that might be exported—and almost everything produced there is exported—is aiding and abetting an illegal act and might be liable to two years' imprisonment or £500 fine. Are the Government seriously suggesting that as from 20th January all work should have ceased in Rhodesia and that nobody should do anything or sell anything? This is the implication in the Order. If we are to treat the Order seriously we must bear these things in mind.

Mr. Archie Manuel (Central Ayrshire)

Will the hon. Member vote against it?

Mr. Taylor

This is why I feel that the Order is not worth taking seriously in any way. How is it to be enforced? What are the Government's intentions concerning trade and industry in Rhodesia? We have had no examples given or any satisfactory explanation. It is argued that the Order will be effective, but I fail to see that, or how it will be applied.

As for the Statutory Instrument itself, I was warned before I first became a Member of Parliament of the amount of delegated legislation that comes before the House and the amount of power given up by the House in one way or another. On the same day as this Order No. 41 was made, we had an Order dealing with chrome made under powers contained in Article 1 of this Order. It is most unusual that today we should be discussing an Order which came into effect on 20th January and that the powers which we are now discussing were used on 20th January to bring in the chrome Order. This is a most unusual use of powers, although the enabling Bill was very wide. I feel that this Order is unusual, unworkable and unenforceable, and I do not think that anybody can regard it seriously.

12.42 a.m.

Mr. William Shepherd (Cheadle)

It is worth while to intervene briefly if only to say how odd I thought was the speech of the hon. Member for Bodmin (Mr. Bessell). The strangest things happen to these eager beavers who travel to Rhodesia. I do not know the explanation. I know that Noel Coward says something about the mid-day sun, but it would be quite improper if I were to pursue this at further length.

Mr. Manuel

Interesting, though.

Mr. Shepherd

It might be interesting.

I shall support the Order, although I doubt whether it is wise to bring it forward at this time, for a reason which I shall mention in a moment. I was surprised at the other Liberal Member, the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe), who seemed to query the integrity of British firms and their subsidiaries. My understanding is, and I hope that the Attorney-General will say it, that the Government have received the utmost co-operation from British firms in Rhodesia in an extremely difficult situation both for firms here and in Rhodesia.

At the risk of being slightly out of order, I must say that I was grateful for the solicitude of my right hon. Friend the Member for Preston, North (Mr. J. Amery), who felt rather aggrieved that we had been in trouble over voting for oil sanctions. More pepole wrote praising me for doing so than condemning me. In any case I am able with less risk to offend rather more of my constituents than my right hon. Friend.

I have some doubts as to the wisdom of bringing forward the Order at this time. I think that the whole process associated with sanctions has been accompanied by too much optimism and too much anxiety. I have always said that sanctions are not likely to have their effect within twelve months of their commencement. The House, the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State have made a mistake in believing that sanctions are capable of bringing about a rapid result. I have never thought this to be the case. I do not think it now. I think that it has been a grave tactical error to create the belief that this was possible.

After all, people who have made an attempt to seize something for themselves are not going to give it up without some effort to retain it. If a tug-of-war is going on, it is not surprising that both sides are pulling. It is not a remarkable situation. I hope the House will try to get away from the over-weaning anxiety to get an immediate result from sanctions and realise that this is, of necessity, a long term job and will rest confident in the certainty that the steps that have already been taken short of this Order are sufficient to achieve the purpose most of us have in mind.

12.47 a.m.

The Attorney-General

The House will not expect me at this late hour to traverse all the matters which have been raised during the debate. But I say at once to the hon. Member for Cheadle (Mr. Shepherd) that the Government recognise the loyal co-operation of British businessmen and companies in the difficult task we have had to face in dealing with the rebellion in Rhodesia, and we shall, of course, continue to consult the affected interests in any future measures that we may find it necessary to embark upon in returning constitutional rule to Rhodesia.

There are one or two specific matters arising from the Order which the House will expect me to deal with. The hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke) asked about the power to be given to the Secretary of State to make Regulations. He wanted to know what was intended to be included in any such Regulations. The purpose of that power is to enable the Secretary of State to permit certain transactions to be carried out which would otherwise be forgiven—I hope a slip of the tongue is permitted at this hour—which would otherwise be forbidden.

For example, it would give him power to permit the importation into Rhodesia on humanitarian grounds of a particular consignment of a specific product or permit the completion of a contract entered into in good faith before the ban, where this would not give any assistance to the illegal régime and where there would be no risk of the main object of the Order being circumvented.

It is already contrary to our exchange and export controls for British firms to export to Rhodesia via third countries. The use of a South African agent in this context is therefore illegal.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for answering these questions and remind him that " to err is human, to forgive divine. "

The Attorney-General

To err is, indeed, human, but the House must recognise that we are dealing with rebellion. I make no apology for the language I have used in the various debates on Rhodesia. Indeed, hearing the hon. and learned Member for Antrim, South (Sir Knox Cunningham) repeat some of it, I was amazed at my moderation.

Sir Knox Cunningham

I sincerely hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will be amazed some months hence.

The Attorney-General

We shall see, some months hence.

This is not a trivial matter with which we are dealing. Here is a small section of a community which is engaged upon a rebellion in deliberate defiance of the House and the Government and has done so in conditions causing misery and suffering to result from that rebellion. Those who aid and abet the rebellion are committing criminal offences, and it is right that I as Attorney-General should quite firmly designate that aiding and assisting to be criminal conduct. I have been induced to move slightly away from the terms of the Order, but it is proper that I should say those things in the light of the criticisms of me by the hon. and learned Member for Antrim, North.

Sir Knox Cunningham


The Attorney-General

North or South, the criticism is entirely unjustified.

Sir Knox Cunningham

That is a matter of opinion.

The Attorney-General

The answer to the detailed question of the hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) is that there is abundant precedent for the use of the words in Article 1 (3, b)— …or has reason to believe that another person intends to export from or import into Southern Rhodesia. There are many criminal offences where those words are used, and it is imperative that provision should be made not only for a direct sale but also by using a third party to achieve avoidance of the Order.

In dealing with these sanctions, the aim of the Government throughout has been to get all countries to stop importing Rhodesian goods. We now also want to stop them from exporting goods to Rhodesia. As I said in opening the debate, in general we are getting good co-operation from countries in bringing imports from Rhodesia under control, but there are liable to be gaps or weaknesses and the purpose of the Order is to put us into the position of being able, when the circumstances require, to reinforce the import embargoes which we are trying to persuade people to impose, or to plug possible gaps in them.

For instance, with the chrome Order, it was found necessary to assist friendly Governments, particularly that of the United States which had no power to ban imports, to carry out the policy which the United Nations has decided upon in regard to economic sanctions in respect of Rhodesia. I was asked why there was delay in dealing with the tobacco sanction. The answer is that the 1966 auctions have not yet started and the Government took action as soon as we had substantial evidence of possible speculation by foreign purchasers.

I am satisfied that the machinery and provisions of the Order are essential for the purpose which the Government have resolutely in mind, namely, to bring this rebellion in Rhodesia to an end as soon as possible and to restore decency and constitutional rule to that country.

Question put and agreed to.

Resolved, That the Southern Rhodesia (Prohibited Exports and Imports) Order, 1966, dated 20th January, 1966, made by Her Majesty in Council under the Southern Rhodesia Act, 1965, a copy of which was laid before this House on 20th January, be approved.