HC Deb 26 May 1966 vol 729 cc723-4
Q5. Mr. Evelyn King

asked the Prime Minister if he will seek to agree with Mr. Smith on the name of an independent conciliator willing to preside over constitutional talks on Rhodesia.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir.

Mr. King

Would the Prime Minister concede that these talks are vital and urgent? Would he further concede, whether they succeed or fail, that heavy criticism will fall on the Prime Minister and on Great Britain? Would it not ease his task if an initiative were to come from a third party?

The Prime Minister

If I thought that the only way, or the best way, to get a settlement of this problem on terms satisfactory not only to all the people of Rhodesia but to this House, in accordance with the principles laid down, were by means of an independent conciliator, I should not hesitate to follow that course. I believe that the course which we are pursuing is more likely to get the right answer.

Dr. Gray

Would my right hon. Friend reiterate that the constitutional talks can take place only once the principle of gradual advance to majority rule has been accepted by the Southern Rhodesians?

The Prime Minister

I have said a number of times that there cannot be a settlement except on a basis which gives full effect to the six principles, the first five of which were the policy of the previous Government in this country and ourselves, and that any settlement must follow those principles, the first of which relates to effective progress towards majority rule.