HC Deb 08 November 1966 vol 735 cc1121-3
4. Mr. Colin Jackson

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made by Her Majesty's Government in assisting the Government of Zambia to absorb the effect of further economic sanctions against the illegal régime in Rhodesia.

Mrs. Hart

I have nothing to add to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs to the question by the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) on 1st November. [Vol. 735, c. 58.]

Mr. Jackson

In relation to aid to Zambia, can the Minister of State confirm that there is no relationship between that aid and continued membership of the Commonwealth by Zambia? Secondly, will she give us an assurance that, should conditions worsen for Zambia after the end of November and a breakdown with Smith, further aid will be forthcoming?

Mrs. Hart

I shall use the word "assistance", rather than "aid", because there is a clear distinction between the two. This is assistance for the intensification of sanctions. The assistance which has been offered and which is at the moment under consideration would stretch on, were it accepted, until the middle of 1967 and, therefore, covers any contingencies that arise during the coming months. On the first part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question, Zambia's continued membership of the Commonwealth would be entirely for her Government to decide. Our aid is not conditional on Zambia continuing her membership, but we have to make it quite clear that if Zambia left the Commonwealth there would be a new situation which we should have to reconsider in the light of the circumstances at the time but without any commitment one way or the other.

Mr. Speaker

Order. The Answers are getting a little long.

Mr. Hugh Fraser

Would not the hon. Lady agree that the world effect of the sanctions has been to put up the price of copper by some £40 a ton, which is having a deleterious effect on world trade? Would she not agree that to start trying to negotiate to get copper and coal supplies going again would be the most useful thing that she could do?

Mrs. Hart

Most of the assistance that we have offered is intended to assist Zambia in developing alternative routes whereby one of the indirect outcomes would be a steadier supply of copper in the future.

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