HC Deb 27 July 1967 vol 751 cc965-8
Q3. Mr. Molloy

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a further statement concerning developments in Rhodesia.

Q4. Sir Knox Cunningham

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement, before the House rises for the long Recess, setting out the steps which the United Kingdom Government have taken to reach a solution for constitutional independence for Rhodesia; and what further action he is taking to reach a settlement with Mr. Ian Smith.

The Prime Minister

I would refer hon. Members to the statement I made to the House last Tuesday.—[Vol. 751, c. 325.]

Mr. Molloy

Can my right hon. Friend say whether any representations have been made to those countries, particularly West Germany, who are not playing the game and acknowledging the Resolution of the United Nations? Further, does he intend to make quite clear to those people who might be personally affected by the implementation of sanctions that the real cause is not the sanctions themselves but the illegal régime which caused them to be brought into force?

The Prime Minister

I think that my hon. Friend's second point is well understood. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is in touch with any countries which are known, whether deliberately or inadvertently, to be bringing in imports outside the terms of the United Nations sanction. West Germany has acted pretty decisively about this. The figures that have been published both for West Germany and other countries referred mainly to orders placed before mandatory sanctions were imposed.

Sir Knox Cunningham

How long will the negotiations last? Does the Prime Minister expect a settlement before we come back in October?

The Prime Minister

After long experience of negotiations and other dealings with the gentleman in question, I would find it very difficult to make any forecast about how long they would last. We still have no clear view, of course, of whether, even if there were any settlement that this House could regard as meaningful, it would not be thrown over as soon as certain members of Mr. Smith's so-called Government got at it.

Mr. Faulds

Has the Prime Minister considered the effect of this continued hobnobbing with the rebel regime—and, indeed, the very fact of its existence—on the political life and prospects of President Kaunda of Zambia?

The Prime Minister

We have been deeply concerned about the problem of Zambia throughout, not only the internal situation there, because U.D.I. did lead to many internal difficulties, but also her economic difficulties. We have given considerable help to Zambia, but I do not think that my statement on Tuesday in any way affects that.

Mr. Thorpe

Would the Prime Minister confirm that there could be no settlement with Rhodesia unless and until it had been debated and approved by this House?

The Prime Minister

Any settlement would certainly have to be approved by this House. I feel, as my right hon. Friend has said, that if there were any major change in the situation, involving some of the things to which I have referred as possibilities, we would have to consider whether the House should not be called back during the Summer Recess. But I doubt whether progress might be made that quickly.

Sir C. Osborne

In searching for an honourable settlement, will the Prime Minister not be discouraged by the extremists either in Rhodesia or in this House?

The Prime Minister

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman should use such a form of words to describe some of his hon. Friends, though, at any rate, I agree with what I am sure is in his mind, which is that some of those who have been supporting extreme opinions of that kind in this House are, fact, the worst friends of Rhodesia, and even of Mr. Smith himself.

Mr. Gardner

Will my right hon. Friend make it very clear that, despite some comments in the British Press and in the Press overseas, these talks of preliminary discussions are not the result of any weakening of resolve on the part of the Government in relation to the six principles?

The Prime Minister

I think that was made very clear on Tuesday. We have made it very clear many times that we stand firmly by the six principles. I believe that to be the position of right hon. and hon. Members in all parts of the House, because this has been the continuing policy of all Governments. We stand firmly by these principles.