HC Deb 25 July 1967 vol 751 cc319-21

Q3. Mr. Elystan Morgan asked the Prime Minister if he will arrange for a Minister of the Crown to visit Rhodesia to discuss the future of that country with Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Sithole.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir, but my hon. Friend may rest assured that full account is taken of African opinion in framing British policy.

Mr. Morgan

Is it not anomalous for us to quote the feelings of those who represent only 5 per cent. of the people of Rhodesia without also sounding the opinion of those who are the only obvious leaders of 95 per cent. of the people of that Colony?

The Prime Minister

On H.M.S. "Tiger" I raised with Mr. Smith the suggestion that Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Sithole should be released and should come to this country. At that point in history he was prepared to agree to that suggestion. But my hon. Friend will find when I make a statement on Rhodesia, as I hope to do after Questions, that Lord Alport, on his visit, while being refused permission to visit detainees, had very full discussions with representative sections of African nationalist opinion.

Q8. Mr. James Johnson asked the Prime Minister what contingency planning he has made in advance of the possible collapse of the illegal régime of Mr. Smith in Rhodesia.

The Prime Minister

It is not the practice to reveal details of such planning.

Mr. Johnson

Does my right hon. Friend accept that each week the illegal régime of Mr. Smith is moving immutably towards the South African pattern? Therefore, our difficulties will be greater if and when we take over. Can my right hon. Friend give an assurance that the help of the Africans will be enlisted in the difficult task of getting the society back on an even keel?

The Prime Minister

I share my hon. Friend's anxiety about certain legislation introduced into the so-called Rhodesian Parliament which seems to smell very much of apartheid, even though it may be on different lines from that in force in South Africa. But I do not think that our concern about that development, which might affect our attitude to other questions, arises from this Question, which deals with certain action which would follow certain hypothetical circumstances.

Mr. Ian Lloyd

Is it not more important for the Government to concentrate, whatever contingency planning it is capable of, on preventing the collapse of the economy over which they presume to have control?

The Prime Minister

I thought that the House debated this matter fully yesterday with a very emphatic result at the end of the day.

Q9. Mr. Wall asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on his consultations with Commonwealth leaders on British policy with regard to Rhodesia.

The Prime Minister

Her Majesty's Government have remained in close touch with our Commonwealth partners over Rhodesia, as on other matters of common concern.

Mr. Wall

May I ask the Prime Minister whether his forthcoming statement has been discussed with the Commonwealth Prime Ministers and whether certain Commonwealth countries have asked for the cutting of all communications with Rhodesia, including by mail and telephone? If they have, would not that provoke an outcry in this country?

The Prime Minister

I should think that almost anything concerning Rhodesia would cause an outcry from the hon. Gentleman. I will be dealing with the point made in the first part of his supplementary question in the statement which I hope to make after Questions. On the second part, it is a fact that various Commonwealth leaders, and indeed many Governments in different parts of the world outside the Commonwealth, are considering what should be done, if there is no change of circumstances in Rhodesia, to tighten up the sanctions both in economic and other ways.