HC Deb 22 June 1967 vol 748 cc1944-5
Q3. Mr. Turton

asked the Prime Minister whether he will now take the initiative towards resolving the Rhodesian problem by appointing an all-party commission to investigate, on the spot, the possibility of further negotiations.

The Prime Minister

As the right hon. Gentleman knows, Lord Alport arrives in Salisbury today, and it would not be appropriate therefore for me to comment on the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion.

Mr. Turton

Does the Prime Minister not think that it might be of assistance to the noble Lord to have such an all-party commission of hon. Members, to find out what are the views of the people of Rhodesia on the acceptability of the "Tiger" Constitution, and to discover their desire to return to a system of dependence on Her Majesty's Government?

The Prime Minister

I thought that on H.M.S. "Tiger" we reached agreement on the best possible means of finding out the views of the people of Rhodesia in relation to the fifth principle. While there might have been a time, and might still be a time, when a Parliamentary Committee might be useful, I doubt whether this is the time and I think that we should leave this now to Lord Alport.

Mr. Woodburn

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is very difficult for the people of Rhodesia to make their views known at the moment, and that, until there is some sign from the Rhodesian Government that they are prepared to accept the commission, I see no purpose in setting it up?

The Prime Minister

I suggested this on a number of occasions to Mr. Smith, and so did my right hon. Friend last year. He was very much opposed to any type of outside Parliamentary visit, from this House or from both Houses. Now he has, albeit somewhat reluctantly, accepted the fact that Lord Alport is there and we must now leave that where it is.