§ 4.10 p.m.
§ The Attorney-General (Sir Elwyn Jones)
I beg to move,That the Southern Rhodesia (United Nations Sanctions) Order 1968 (S.I. 1968, No. 885), dated 7th June 1968, made by Her Majesty in Council under the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965, a copy of which was laid before this House on 10th June, be approved.The Order in Council which we are debating today is designed, as the House knows, to give effect to the resolution of the Security Council passed on 29th May.
The history of the resolution was given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs in his Statement to the House on 30th May. It suffices for me to remind the House that the first draft resolution, which was tabled by the African and Asian Members of the Security Council, envisaged the use of force. That we could not accept. We ourselves subsequently presented our own draft resolution. This, after considerable discussion, led to the resolution which was eventually passed. We voted for it since it fully accorded with our policy of seeking to restore constitutional rule in Rhodesia through peaceful means.
When we bear in mind the strong feelings aroused by the hangings in Salisbury, it is a very remarkable and impressive achievement—and very heartening for those of us who support the United Nations—that this resolution was passed unanimously and that it contains no reference to the use of force. As my right hon. Friend said on 30th May, we do not interpret paragraph 13 of the resolution, urgingall States Members of the United Nations to render moral and material assistance to the people of Rhodesia in their struggle to achieve their freedom and independence".as authorising or condoning terrorism or encouraging the use of force.
In the course of his negotiations in New York, Lord Caradon repeatedly emphasised that we could not condone the use of violence. This point was well understood by other delegations, and it cannot help to suggest another interpretation. Lord Caradon made clear throughout, including his statement after 729 the vote, that we seek a solution by peaceful means. Her Majesty's Government do not equatethe people of Southern Rhodesiain paragraph 13 with terrorists. The whole of our Rhodesia policy is designed to help the people of Rhodesia achieve freedom and independence.
Another virtue of the resolution is that nothing in it obliges us to break our communications with Rhodesia that we think it essential to maintain. The economic provisions of the resolution are substantially what we ourselves suggested. They are workable; they will stop some significant leaks; they will also put substantially the same restrictions on the trade of other countries which we have already put on our own and impose the same obligations on all Member States.
Finally, in its political provisions, the resolution does not seek to impose unacceptable conditions for any future Rhodesian settlement and reaffirms our primary responsibility.
Nevertheless, the Rhodesian problem has grave international aspects, and perhaps we are sometimes in danger of looking at this problem too much in terms of our domestic politics. Although Rhodesia is a British responsibility, it is inevitable that the situation there, under which a small minority of European stock of about 232,000 are blocking, and oppressively blocking, the political advance of an African majority of over four and a quarter million, should be a matter of international concern. On this many Governments, not only those of Africa, have the strongest views.
It is naïve to contend that the Rhodesian question is one solely affectingpolitical relations between Rhodesia and the United Kingdomor that it can be divorced from considerations of "moral principle". How can this possibly be said of a situation in which a small and racialist European group in Rhodesia deny any effective share in the government to the African majority?
In addition to this, it is notorious that they deny them the personal liberty and freedom of expression which are given international recognition in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international instruments. The Rhodesian 730 issue, we contend, is a moral issue of profound significance, and we shall continue to regard it as such. It is an international issue, not merely one which we can discuss in exclusively British terms. Mr. Smith may equate the United Nations with "international communism" and talk of countries yielding to Afro-Asian pressure, but this only shows how blinkered is his approach to world questions.
Race is one of the great problems of our time. I profoundly believe that it is vital to the peace and prosperity of the world that the developed countries of the Western world should not enrol themselves under the banner of racialism and should show themselves ready to resist racial oppression wherever it occurs.
I have dealt on these aspects of the Rhodesian problem, because it is against them that British policy must be judged. We are committed to a policy of restoring Rhodesia to constitutional rule, not just because the régime is in rebellion against us, but because we can neither honourably nor wisely underwrite the rebellion's objectives. At the same time, we have to wage this struggle by peaceful means, because we believe that the use of force would be wrong. Accordingly, I ask the House to give us the support that we need in this undoubtedly difficult task.
Having rejected the use of force, we owe it to both ourselves and others to apply peaceful pressures as effectively and comprehensively as we can.
Some hon. Members are worried by the apparent ineffectiveness of sanctions. Others, on the other side of the House, seem to be worried because they are too effective. It is true that sanctions have taken longer to work their way through the Rhodesian economy than was at one time expected, but that they have had serious effect is now perfectly clear. On the régime's own figures, exports on which the economy largely depends have fallen from £165 million in 1965 to £100 million in 1967.
The President of the Association of Rhodesian Industries, speaking at the Annual Congress of the Association on 22nd May, in the presence of two senior members of the Smith régime, said thatbefore full economic independence could be achieved the bonds restricting Rhodesia would have to be broken. This could only come about when sanctions had been abandoned.731 The second speaker was equally frank in pointing out that the decline in export earnings of about 40 per cent. from 1965 gave Rhodesians little reason for complacency. He went on to say that the recovery and expansion of Rhodesia's international trade provided the only means of escape from "the near staticism"—I presume that means stagnation —threatening the economy. These are only a few among many examples of the effects which selective mandatory sanctions have had on the Rhodesian economy.
As to those who argue—and I have heard the arguments—that sanctions should be abandoned because they have depressed the living standards of the Africans in Rhodesia, I suggest that they consult representatives of African opinion, an exercise in which I venture to suggest hon. Gentlemen opposite do not frequently enough indulge. African leaders in Rhodesia have made it clear that whatever temporary hardships sanctions may cause the African population, they offer the best hope of producing a settlement which will enable them to play their proper part in the political and economic development of Rhodesia.
It is, of course, the case that there would have been a far greater decline in Rhodesia's trade if the present selective mandatory sanctions had been fully and universally implemented. Besides this, almost inevitably loopholes have been found in the existing sanctions, and there has also been a tendency on the part of some countries to regard the decision to impose selective mandatory sanctions in December, 1966 as an invitation actively to promote trade in goods which were not the subject of sanctions.
The new Security Council resolution seeks to deal with that situation by banning all trade with Rhodesia, by prohibiting the transit of Rhodesian goods in bond through third countries, and by preventing the import of Rhodesian goods into free ports. The move to comprehensive sanctions will make it much more difficult for sanctions breakers to carry out illicit deals under cover of legitimate transactions.
We do not expect immediate results, but we believe that the measures which have now been agreed are practical and can be made effective, and I hope that 732 we shall have the support of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to make them effective. We know that many Rhodesian business men are extremely worried about the effect which comprehensive mandatory sanctions will have.
Let me now come to the provisions of the Order which we are debating. It is a lengthy Order partly because, as the House will have seen from Schedule 2, it revokes and consolidates previous sanctions Orders and brings them all together, as well as introducing important new provisions.
Article 1 of the Order restricts the importation into the United Kingdom of all goods which have been exported from Southern Rhodesia since the commencement of the Order. The prohibition is so framed that it has effect as an enactment relating to customs for the purpose of the Customs and Excise Act, 1952. The object of this is to attract the enforcement machinery and the ancillary provisions of the 1952 Act; for example, the provisions authorising the forfeiture of goods illegally imported, the provisions conferring powers on Customs officers to detect evasions, and to provisions regulating the procedure in prosecutions. The Article is therefore virtually a repetition of Article 1 of the Southern Rhodesia (Prohibited Trade and Dealings) Order, 1966, except that it applies to all goods and not merely to the goods which were specified by the latter Order.
Article 2 restricts the exportation of all goods from Southern Rhodesia, and also restricts certain transactions which are ancillary to such exportation. In particular, the House will see that paragraph (3) of the Article is aimed at dealings in goods which have been illicitly exported. Again, this Article is in substance a repetition of the corresponding Article in the 1966 Order except that it now applies to all goods and not merely to a list of specified goods.
It will be seen that Articles 1 and 2 deal with traffic in goods originating in Southern Rhodesia, whether for export to this country or elsewhere. Articles 3, 4, and 5 deal with traffic in the reverse direction, that is to say with goods consigned to Southern Rhodesia either from this country or from other countries.
Article 3 restricts the exportation from the United Kingdom of goods which are 733 consigned to Southern Rhodesia. As in the case of Article 1, and for the same reasons, the Article is expressed to have effect as an enactment relating to Customs for the purposes of the Customs and Excise Act, 1952, and again the Article substantially reproduces the 1966 Order, but covers the whole range of goods and not merely those which were specified in the latter Order.
Articles 4 and 5 deal with the supply of goods to Southern Rhodesia from any place outside that country, and with the importation of goods into Southern Rhodesia. These are substantially the same as the corresponding Articles of the Order of 1966, again with the qualification that they now apply to all goods and not merely to certain specified goods.
§ Mr. Reginald Maudling (Barnet)
I should like clarification of Article 5. Does this mean that any business man who imports raw materials to keep his factory going will commit a criminal offence?
§ The Attorney-General
The importation of material from Southern Rhodesia, and the export of goods to Rhodesia by someone subject to the Order will be an offence.
Article 6 deals with the carriage in British ships and aircraft of goods which have been illegally exported from Southern Rhodesia or which are being illegally consigned to Southern Rhodesia. Again, it is very largely a reproduction of the corresponding Article in the 1966 Order. It does, however, go slightly wider than the earlier provision in two respects. In the first place, and in order to meet the requirements of the relevant provision—paragraph 3(c) and (e)—of the Security Council resolution, it deals not only with carriage in British registered ships and aircraft, but also with carriage by our nationals in foreign ships and aircraft which they have chartered.
§ Sir Arthur Vere Harvey (Macclesfield)
Is the Attorney-General aware that many British ships which call at South African ports are being provisioned with Southern Rhodesian meat, fruit and vegetables? Is that a matter of convenience which the Government will be prepared to overlook, or will they do something about it?
§ The Attorney-General
We shall have to look at the particular circumstances. The intention is to carry out the prohi- 734 bition of trade dealings with Rhodesia. It is very important that alleged practical difficulties shall not be used as a method of evasion, but I should like to examine the case before expressing a view about it.
Secondly, and again primarily to achieve formal compliance with the terms of the resolution, Article 6 prohibits the carriage of the goods in question in land transport vehicles within the United Kingdom. Some countries apparently take the view that goods carried in bond across their territory are not to be regarded as having been imported. This addition to the resolution closes a small but not insignificant loophole in the application of the earlier Security Council Resolution.
Article 7 deals with the use or operation of undertakings in Southern Rhodesia for the manufacturing or assembly of aircraft or motor vehicles. It also imposes restrictions on certain transactions concerning such undertakings if these transactions might enable the main provisions of the Article to be evaded or disregarded. This Article is to all intents and purposes a repetition of Article 6 of the 1966 Order which gave effect to a particular provision of the Security Council resolution of December, 1966.
Article 8 is, in a sense, ancillary to Article 6. It confers powers on "authorised officers", that is to say naval and military officers, customs officers, consular officers, and officials of the Board of Trade to investigate British ships and aircraft which are suspected of being involved in the carriage of goods to or from Southern Rhodesia, contrary to the Order. In the case of ships suspected of being involved in the carriage of goods to Southern Rhodesia, authorised officers are given the power to divert and detain ships for investigation or to forbid them to land the cargo in question. Again, this Article is in substance a repetition of the corresponding provision in the Order of 1966.
Article 9 is a repetition of the provisions inserted into the 1966 Order by the Amendment made in March, 1967, in the Southern Rhodesia (Prohibited Trade and Dealings) (Amendment) Order, 1967. It confers certain powers on the Minister to prevent or restrict the transfer of the ownership of certain property overseas where such a transfer might 735 lead to a contravention or evasion of the Order. The House will recall that, when this power was first taken last year, directions were given under it to prevent the transfer of the ownership of the pipeline which in normal times carries crude oil to the refinery in Rhodesia from the port of Beira. No further directions have since been given.
Articles 10 and 11 together give effect to Paragraph 6 of the Security Council resolution, which deals with the operation of aircraft into and out of Rhodesia and with what it describes as "linking up" between Rhodesian airlines and other airlines. Article 10 deals with the first part of this topic. As required by the resolution, it restricts the operation to and from Rhodesia of British airline companies and British registered aircraft and also aircraft which are chartered by British companies. In fact, no British airline has, for some time now, operated any flights between this country and Rhodesia. The second half—
§ Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)
Although none has operated, is it not true that B.O.A.C. has maintained an office in Salisbury? Will this now be closed?
§ The Attorney-General
I will certainly examine that, but no British airline has operated between this country and Rhodesia—[HON. MEMBERS: "They are on strike."] We hope that the strike will be settled in the near future and that B.O.A.C. will again be flying around the world, except Rhodesia. [Interruption.] It is time that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite realised that this attempt to enforce sanctions will be applied seriously and efficiently all the way around the board. The kissing time is over.
The second half of Paragraph 6 of the resolution, on linking-up, is covered by Article 11, regulating the conclusion or carrying out of certain arrangements or agreements which involve co-ordination or co-operation between Rhodesian air transport services and British air transport services, which may well prove a hindrance to the attempt of the illegal régime to gain acceptance for the so-called "Air Rhodesia Corporation", which it purported to set up in place of the Central African Airways Corporation.
736 I am grateful to the House for its patience in listening to my explanation of Articles 1 to 11, for I know that it is to Article 12 that much of the attention in the debate will be directed, and of course I recognise that it is a provision of concern to the House.
This Article is intended to give effect to Paragraph 5 of the Security Council resolution, which calls upon all member States of the United Nations to prevent the entry of their territories by certain classes of persons connected with Southern Rhodesia. As the House will see, the Article operates by attracting the relevant provisions of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, 1962, as amended, of course, by the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, 1968. Article 12 applies to two classes of people. The first consists of those whom the Resolution describes as travelling on a Southern Rhodesia passport. This is the class described in Article 12(l)(a). However, as the House will see from sub-paragraph (i), the immigration officer cannot refuse entry to a person who satisfies him that he is a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies.
The second class are those defined in Article 12(1)(b)—residents of Southern Rhodesia whom we have reason to think are active supporters of the illegal régime or who are involved in sanctions breaking activities. From the statement which my right hon. Friend has just made, it will be seen that this is a small and closely-defined class. The House will see that, in this case, there is no exception for citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies but, since the persons concerned are, by definition, ordinarily resident in Southern Rhodesia, they are not being excluded from the place where they have their home—
§ Rear-Admiral Morgan Giles (Winchester)
On this Article, how is the Secretary of State or Mr. Justice Cairns' Committee to decide which individuals are likely to further or encourage an evasion of the Order?
§ The Attorney-General
They will have information from different sources. Happily, this country has friends, and there are those who will readily provide us with information about the acts of rebellion and the acts of sanctions breakers. I am happy to say that, 737 already, some steps have been taken in regard to those categories.
§ Mr. Sandys (Streatham)
May I ask a question on this? Must the sanctions-breaking, in order to bring this disadvantage upon the person involved, take place either here or in Rhodesia? I am thinking in particular of British directors of Zambian companies which, I understand, continue to import coal and other materials from Rhodesia.
§ The Attorney-General
There are, of course, special exemptions in relation to Zambia, but apart from that exception— [Interruption.] It is not referred to in the Order, but that is an exception which will be dealt with in the decisions made about individual persons. But wherever the sanctions-breaking takes place, if it is committed by the category of persons indicated in Article 12(1)(b), namely, any Commonwealth citizen, it will offend against this Order—
§ Mr. R. J. Paget (Northampton)
Will my right hon. and learned Friend tell us how a provision which excludes a United Kingdom citizen from the United Kingdom is intra vires within the Act which purports to authorise this Order?
§ The Attorney-General
I am satisfied that it is intra vires the Act. The Order operates under the Southern Rhodesia Act and I am satisfied that the Order and every aspect of it are intra vires that legislation.
In relation to the two classes of persons whom I have mentioned, the effect of Article 12, together with the 1962 Act, is that an immigration officer may —I emphasise the word "may"—refuse entry to a person who arrives here from abroad or may admit him subject to conditions. This discretion, which is provided for in the legislation, will allow us to deal with humanitarian cases, for instance, of a person who wishes to visit a sick relative or to obtain medical treatment which cannot be had elsewhere.
The House will also observe that Article 12(2)(c) and (d) render persons to whom the Article applies liable to deportation if, but only if, they are convicted of offences against the 1962 Act in the form in which it applies to them by virtue of the Article. What this means in practice is that, where a person whose 738 entry is subject to control under the Article evades that control and enters the country illegally, or where he breaks any conditions upon which he was permitted to enter, he can, if he is convicted by a court of the offence which he thus committed, be put in the same position as if he had originally been refused entry.
For a Government to take the powers conferred by Article 12 is, I acknowledge, a serious step. It is done only because the situation created by the rebellion in Rhodesia is in turn so serious. They are not powers which we have taken gladly or lightly and are not intended to operate by way of punishment.
But they are, frankly and undoubtedly, intended to be a deterrent—that is to say, they are intended, in so far as they impede the travel of ordinary Rhodesians, to bring home to them that the régime's pretensions are unrecognised by the world outside and that, under its present leadership, Rhodesia is in a state of isolation. The remedy for that situation lies in their hands—namely, to secure the return of their country to constitutional rule. In so far as these powers affect those who actively support the r6gime and further its policies, whether in the political field or in the economic field, they are intended to hamper their activities as far as lies within our power and to deter others who might be minded to follow their example.
But the question whether action should be taken in respect of any particular person for these latter reasons is in every case a matter of judgment. It is a judgment for which my right hon. Friend the Commonwealth Secretary will be accountable to this House. In order to reassure the House and the country in this matter, my right hon. Friend, as he has just announced, thought it desirable to set up the independent procedure for reviewing these cases which he has just described to the House.
I should like to make clear at this point that in order to assist all States to apply the United Nations resolution, the Government propose to declare invalid all existing Southern Rhodesian passports. Her Majesty's Government will retain, as the responsible authority in Rhodesia, the power to issue, in lieu of invalidated Southern Rhodesian passports, United Kingdom passports where there are special reasons for doing so. I will not 739 enter into the full details now, but the House will wish to know that we propose to do this in the case of Rhodesians who are established residents in any country outside Rhodesia, as well as in the following cases:
First, family members. If one member of a family holds a United Kingdom passport, the other immediate members—husband, wife or child under 21—will qualify for temporary United Kingdom passports when the family is travelling as a group.
Secondly, compassionate cases, which will in any case be eligible for entry under the humanitarian clause.
Thirdly, political refugees. People in this class will have to satisfy us that they would experience genuine persecution for their political views if refused passport facilities. Passports for persons known to be terrorists will, of course, be refused.
Fourthly, all students as defined in the Commonwealth Immigrants Act, 1962, and the Instructions to Entry Certificate Officers.
Fifthly, a small number of cases, approved specifically by my right hon. Friend or his deputy, when the grant of a passport is in the public interest.
We shall apply the same criteria to Rhodesians not possessing United Kingdom Citizenship who have obtained six-month British passports in exchange for Rhodesian documents and who seek to have them renewed.
§ Mr. Stephen Hastings (Mid-Bedfordshire)
Can the Attorney-General explain to the House how he will be able to judge who are likely to be terrorists unless he consults the Rhodesian Government about the information which I understand that they have already offered, if there is to be a serious investigation?
§ The Attorney-General
When the hon. Gentleman refers to "the Rhodesian Government", I take it that he is referring to the régime of Mr. Smith. We are not without sources of information, and I am confident that we shall be able to identify those that I have referred to.
§ Mr. John Lee (Reading)
Before my right hon. and learned Friend leaves that point, will he make it quite clear that when he talks about "terrorists" he is not including any Rhodesian Freedom Fighters?
§ The Attorney-General
I have spoken of "terrorists" and those who have broken the law. Those who have committed criminal offences will not be given the protection of a United Kingdom passport. There is no mystery about the matter. The matter will be dealt with by those accustomed to dealing with this sort of problem in the Immigration Department.
I turn now to Article 13 of the Order, which deals with certain activities calculated to promote emigration to Southern Rhodesia. The House may be aware that we were under considerable pressure in the United Nations to agree to the inclusion in the Resolution of a provision requiring all States absolutely to prevent emigration to Southern Rhodesia. We rejected this. But we had to recognise that it has for a long time been a matter of considerable offence to our friends in other countries that the régime and its supporters have been able, both in this country and elsewhere, to publish advertisements, and to go around soliciting professional people and skilled workers to take up employment in Southern Rhodesia and thus to help boost the Rhodesian economy and protect it against the effect of sanctions.
Accordingly, we agreed that it was reasonable to insert a provision into the resolution aimed at these activities and for us to include in our own legislation a provision on the lines of Article 13. It will be seen that that Article does not strike at the individual emigrant but only at what may be broadly described as public advertisements or solicitation.
If hon. Members opposite see fit to describe that as a police state, I hope that, in their enthusiasm in opposing the Order today, they will recollect what is actually going on in Rhodesia today.
§ Mr. John Biggs-Davison (Chigwell)
May we understand that the Secretary of State will ordinarily grant a licence for the emigration of medical personnel required in Rhodesia?
§ The Attorney-General
Indvidual emigrants will not be caught by the provision. What is objected to is advertisement or public notices promoting emigration. That, I would apprehend, in general terms would include doctors and teachers. There will be room for doctors individually to go out, if they wish to do 741 so. What is being hit at in the Article is the wholesale advertisement of emigration to Rhodesia, which has caused a great deal of offence, not only in this country but in many other places.
The remainder of the Order deals with such matters as enforcement, interpretation and similar ancillary topics. Article 14, conferring powers to obtain evidence and information, and Article 15, dealing with proceedings for offences against the Order, are substantially a reproduction of the corresponding provisions of the Order of 1966.
I draw attention particularly to paragraph (6) of Article 15, which prevents prosecutions being launched except by or with the consent of the Secretary of State or the Board of Trade or the Director of Public Prosecutions or, in Northern Ireland, the Attorney-General for Northern Ireland. Article 18 revokes previous; Orders superseded by the present Order, and contains the necessary transitional provisions.
So much for the Order. I note that the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) and a number of other former Conservative Ministers and their colleagues have put down a Motion calling on the House to refuse to impose further sanctions on Rhodesia and, failing an immediate announcement by Her Majesty's Government of their readiness at once to re-open negotiations for a settlement, calling for the ending of all sanctions altogether. It is worth looking at that remarkable Motion with some care. In the first place—and it is strange that so many hon. Members opposite should disregard this fundamental fact —we and the other States who are members of the United Nations are bound under Article 25 of the Charter of the United Nations to carry out the mandatory provisions of any Resolution of the Security Council. That is a clear and unambiguous responsibility under international law. The United Kingdom has a special responsibility as the administering Power in Rhodesia to comply fully, and to be seen to be complying fully, with those Resolutions.
In the second place it nevertheless remains the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and has remained throughout, to obtain an honourable settlement in Rhodesia.
§ The Attorney-General
Of course peacefully; that is the heart and essence of our whole policy. With the Prime Minister and my other right hon. Friends, I have taken part in patient efforts to obtain an honourable settlement. We have spent hours, days and days, upon it, but it must be a settlement on which we and the millions of others for whom we are responsible can rely and which offers adequate guarantees for the future. If there is any sign that these conditions for a settlement agreed by all parties in the House—at least the basic principles are agreed—will be met, we shall not be slow to respond.
When the House at last debated Rhodesia, on 27th March, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister emphasised the difficulty in which the House was placed by the fact that the two Front Benches felt unable to inform the House of the detailed proposals which the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) had brought back from Salisbury after his discussions with Mr. Smith. The right hon. Gentleman had his reasons for wanting these kept secret and, as my right hon. Friend said, we understood and understand what they were. But since the House is to be divided today, apparently, on a very fundamental issue in Commonwealth and international relations, and since hon. and right hon. Members opposite are basing themselves on the conviction that the terms of an acceptable settlement are available now, I must ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he does not feel it right now that the House should be given the details of the proposals that he brought home so that the House as a whole can decide whether, as right hon. Gentlemen opposite maintain, they are consistent with the Five Principles or, as we equally firmly maintain, they are not.
Full information about these proposals, which right hon. Gentlemen opposite apparently regard as so important, would presumably make a valuable contribution to this debate. The right hon. Gentleman may well think that the House, and indeed the world at large, are now entitled to know what they were so that their merits can be judged. As things are we can only—
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home (Kinross and West Perthshire)
The right hon. and learned Gentleman did not give me any notice of this—[HON. MEMBERS: "Shame."] If he was to make such a request that would have been a courteous thing to do. He knows that these proposals were proposals from Mr. Smith to the Prime Minister and if they were to be made public I would have to obtain Mr. Smith's consent. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]
§ The Attorney-General
The whole basis of the position of the Opposition in this debate, as I understand it, is that now an honourable settlement can be obtained with Mr. Smith. That has been wrapped up in the secrecy of proposals which the right hon. Gentleman is aware of. He, in the situation which now exists, is in a position to disclose those proposals to the House. He may well think that in the light of this serious crisis, constitutionally in Parliament, and in relation to our international obligations, it is right and proper that he should do so. [Interruption] I would have thought it was inevitable in this debate that this matter which was last debated as I recollect in March should be raised again. It was abundantly clear that this was to be a major debate on the Rhodesian question and the constitutional and international problems arising from it.
I invite the right hon. Gentleman to give serious thought to what I have suggested. I regret that I did not give him earlier notice of this matter, but, in view of the undoubted fact that this was bound to emerge in this debate, I invite the right hon. Gentleman to consider his position —[HON. MEMBERS: " Shame."] I am beginning to wonder whom hon. Members opposite are trying to protect in this matter. I hope that it is not Mr. Smith by any chance.
§ The Attorney-General
The right hon. Gentleman knows perfectly well what the proposals were. It is time, so that this matter can be considered realistically by the House, that this veil should be lifted.
§ Mr. Edward Heath (Bexley)
In order to be absolutely clear about this, may I ask if the right hon. and learned Gentleman is suggesting that my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) should now make public these confidential proposals without in any way communicating with Mr. Smith?
§ Hon. Members: He is a traitor.
§ The Attorney-General
I should have thought in this situation where the whole world, through the United Nations, has condemned the Smith régime and we are now moving into this situation of mandatory sanctions, if the Opposition are taking the position that sanctions should be dropped because an honourable settlement is now possible on the basis of the proposals made by Mr. Smith to the right hon. Gentleman, it is now time he told the House and the world what the proposals were.
As things are, we can only judge the prospects of an honourable settlement now in the light of our own experience in endeavouring to negotiate a settlement with Mr. Smith and of Mr. Smith's recent pronouncements, which certainly provide no encouragement. Let me remind the House of what one or two of them were. In the interview he gave to Mr. Waller of the Sunday Telegraph on 26th April, Mr. Smith said of majority rule—and I take it that right hon. Gentlemen opposite still adhere to that—that the only way onecould sell this would be to try to get people to believe that this didn't really mean anything for the next hundred years, and maybe you could sell it to Rhodesians on that basis.That shows the sort of gulf that separates us; and we cannot blind ourselves to it.
Speaking at Bulawayo on 3rd May last Mr. Smith said that he could tell in precisely one minute what he considered… to be the most important ingredient of any constitution for Rhodesia.He said that it wasThe ability to change it, so that if in ten or twenty years' time our children find that the course along which we have set Rhodesia is drifting, then they will be able easily to amend this and change the course so that it once more moves back on to the true course.How is this to be reconciled with the second principle, which all parties have 745 agreed upon and which requires guarantees against retrogressive amendment of the Constitution? It seems clear, in the light of this statement, that nothing could be gained by starting a fresh round of talks at this juncture.
The hope remains that the international pressures on Rhodesia, which are new being reinforced, will gradually lead responsible people there to realise that the future prosperity of their country can be built only on a firm acceptance of the rights of the majority. Let there be no mistake: if the pressure, if our pressure, were lifted, whatever inducement the régime now have for seeking a settlement on the basis of the six principles would disappear. We do not mean to relax our search for an honourable settlement. The continuance of the Rhodesian crisis is damaging to both our countries. But greater still would be the damage to the reputation and, indeed, the interests of this country if we were to connive in a settlement that betrayed the Africans of Rhodesia. We have no alternative but to press on with our present policy of enforcing economic sanctions, in the hope that the régime in Rhodesia will come to realise the necessity of a reversal of its policy and of its actions.
For these reasons I ask the House to approve the Order. To challenge and reject it is to commit a grievous affront to the Commonwealth. [Interruption.] To challenge and reject it is to challenge and reject the authority of the United Nations and the decent opinion of mankind. It is to force our country into a breach of its international obligations, solemnly undertaken. It is to betray the principles which the present Government and their predecessors have on so many occasions affirmed and which, I assure the House, we, for our part, do not intend to betray.
§ 5.4 p.m.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home (Kinross and West Perthshire)
The House will be grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General for the elucidation which he has given of the various points in the Order. I am bound to say at once that, in reply to some of the points made from these benches, he lacked his usual clarity. I am glad that he did not spend long in his general justification of the Order. He said, in 746 effect, that because the Government were faced with an Afro-Asian resolution which was worse, they therefore rejoiced at the unity of one which was bad.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that sanctions would now be "genuinely applied." I wish that the right hon. and learned Gentleman had been with me in Africa and had seen the lengths to which some of the Afro-Asian countries are going to trade with South Africa and evade the sanctions on Rhodesia. In one case, for example, everything labelled " To Mozambique " was, over the top, surcharged with spades, diamonds, hearts and clubs to ensure that it went to the necessary South African port and reached its destination in the quickest possible time. That is the sort of thing with which the Government are faced and nobody can be sanguine, after having experienced that sort of thing, and say that it will be an easy task to get a cast-iron system of sanctions.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman told us of the content of the Order and explained it. The difference between the past and the future is that if this Order should become law—this is my understanding of it and I hope that the Attorney-General will correct me if I am wrong, because this is a very complicated matter—whereas, previously, prohibited exports were confined to those on the list of selected goods, they are now applied to all goods. That is broadly the position under Articles 1 to 9. Under these provisions the Commonwealth Immigrants Act is applied to Rhodesia with the consequence that all Rhodesians, including those with United Kingdom passports—if such people break sanctions—can be prevented from entering the United Kingdom.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman appeared righteous in saying that the Government accepted the United Nations mandatory resolution in its entirety, in every clause and line. But are they doing that? Does not the United Nations resolution require all Rhodesians to be excluded, except on humanitarian grounds? Are not the Government, for their own purpose, reserving the right to let in any Rhodesians they choose? I am not greatly impressed with the right hon. and learned Gentleman's observations when he says that the Government are accepting every clause and line of 747 that mandatory resolution when they are really manipulating it to suit themselves— and that will not be lost to others, either.
The next element in the Order applies to emigration. I take it that people will be prohibited from emigrating to Rhodesia if they have not got a licence. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said that this would apply to certain categories of persons. [Interruption.] The The Order refers to people who might take up employment and residence. While the right hon. and learned Gentleman was questioned about medical personnel, has he considered the Church advertising for missionaries, or the University of Salisbury, to which the Government give material aid and which, the Commonwealth Secretary reminded us, is advertising for teachers? Is it not absurd the complications into which the Government get themselves once they start applying an Order of this kind?
§ The Attorney-General
There are certain matters about which I may not have made the position absolutely clear. Article 7 contains the phrase:Except under the authority of a licence granted by the Minister …It may well be—[Interruption.] I wish that some hon. Gentlemen opposite were capable of serious thought. I heard one refer to dog licences when I have been specifically questioned about doctors and ministers.
§ Mr. Evelyn King (Dorset, South) rose—
§ The Attorney-General
I must not allow myself to be led astray by remarks of that kind.
That is the first matter to which I draw the attention of the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) because I would be surprised if, in relation to the sort of category to which he referred, a licence would be refused. Otherwise, however, the restriction is on promoting, publishing and advertising emigration. The paragraph is not directed against an individual emigrant.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I hope that we can take it from what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has said that medical personnel, teachers for the uni- 748 versity and missionaries, for example, will be exempted. But if so, all I can say is that, as the earlier part of the United Nations resolution says that one can exempt only on humanitarian grounds, it seems that the Government are modifying the mandatory resolution. If they do that, others will do so, too.
We on this side of the House oppose the Order on a number of counts which we consider to be valid. In our opinion, it directly contradicts the solemn declaration made to Parliament by the Prime Minister on 11th November, 1965, which will be well within the recollection of the House, when he told the House that Rhodesia would remain a British responsibility not to be handed over to anyone else. There is no denying that by this procedure, the United Nations resolution and the present Order, the Government have departed from that pledge.
At that time, the Prime Minister said that the purpose of sanctions would not be punitive. The right hon. and learned Gentleman said today that the Order was not intended to punish. That had a hollow ring. On previous occasions, we believed that the Prime Minister would not apply sanctions which were punitive, because he said:We do not approach this tragic situation in a mood of recrimination".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th November, 1965; Vol. 720, c. 359.]The Prime Minister and the Government have gone completely back on those pledges. I suppose that we were gulled, but I am not ashamed that Her Majesty's Opposition should feel that a Prime Minister can keep his word, and should feel entitled to rely on a Prime Minister keeping the word which he gave to the House of Commons.
The first of the reasons why we on this side will have nothing to do with these mandatory sanctions is that, by handing over decisions to the United Nations, the British Government have surrendered control and direction of the policy, and the mandatory sanctions laid down in the Order are vindictive. They are clearly calculated to force a political result by destroying the Rhodesian economy. I defy anyone to put any other interpretation on the Order. It is a complete ban on all Rhodesian goods and all contact with Rhodesia. Obviously, reconciliation has gone out of the 749 window in favour of economic measures with a punitive intent.
The. second reason why we as an Opposition must vote against the Order is this. Although the Government have repudiated the use of force—we accept from them that they do not mean to use force—the United Nations resolution which is the parent of this Order urges all members of the United Nations to givemoral and material assistance to the people of Southern Rhodesia in their struggle to achieve their freedom.When I called attention to those words only a few weeks ago, the Commonwealth Secretary pooh-poohed the idea that they could be interpreted as an invitation to encourage force. But it is not Lord Caradon's explanations which matter at the United Nations; it is the words written into the resolution and how they are interpreted by people other than the British Government.
The right hon. Gentleman will have noticed the reported speech of the Guinea Ambassador to the United Nations; in which he said that for the first time the highest body of the United Nations hadapproved a guerilla struggle in Rhodesia … as well as assistance by individual States to freedom fighters ".That is the way in which other Governments—and there will be more than Guinea—interpret the resolution. The British Government's representative ought never to have been allowed to assent to such words in the resolution, and, if they had crept into it, put there by somebody else, he ought to have applied the veto.
§ Mr. Lubbock
Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that the presence of the Governor in Rhodesia, in the midst of a hostile Rhodesian Front régime, renders moral assistance to the people of Rhodesia struggling for their freedom?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
We all know and admire the rôle which the Governor has played. We should like the Governor's long trial and testing time to be ended by a fair and just negotiated settlement. But I am talking in a different context of moral and material assistance. If the hon. Gentleman can think of how one can give material assistance other than in the one example of help to finance the University of Salisbury, he is more 750 ingenious than I am. In any case, that was the interpretation of the Guinea Ambassador, and, I suspect, the interpretation of every Communist country SO far and a good many others besides.
The third reason why we take serious exception to the Order is that it has led to the use by Her Majesty's Government of the passport as a political instrument in the conduct of foreign policy, with all the inconvenience, trouble and injustice which flow from that. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has today told us of a new tribunal. He will give the tribunal some new rules by which it may judge the issues coming before it. We are grateful to him for that. But, when one comes to study the Order, one must gravely doubt whether, when a tribunal has to decide whether an individual has or has not favoured the Smith régime, that can really be a justiciable issue at all. There will be endless trouble, and the right hon. and learned Gentleman will have given the tribunal an almost impossible job. We shall see.
The most conclusive and comprehensive reason, perhaps, for rejecting the Order and regulations is the cost which the policy represents, the cost of the United Nations action, without any prospect whatever that one can see of compensating political results. I leave aside the economic cost to Britain, though repeating the question which I put earlier today about British directors of subsidiary companies in South Africa and Rhodesia. We must have an answer about that. There are many such in South Africa and Rhodesia, and many of the businesses which they represent are exporting goods from Rhodesia. Are they automatically classed as breaking the law? The Government must realise the effect on the economy of this country if that decision has been taken. I hope, therefore, that we shall have an answer in due course.
Have the Government considered the cost to Zambia. Already, Britain's quarrel with Rhodesia is costing Zambia about £70 million a year. If Zambia were to subscribe to the mandatory requirements of the United Nations resolution, that country would be ruined within six months. There are, therefore, to be exceptions. What are the Zambians to do? Are they to fulfil the mandatory resolution or not? What 751 exceptions are being made? Are the British Government prepared to compensate Zambia for the full loss which she will suffer if she does adopt the resolution? As was said by one of my hon. Friends in questions on the statement today, the circumstances are such that Zambia must continue to import Rhodesian coal and must continue to export her copper over the Rhodesian railways if she is to live.
We are, therefore, faced with two possibilities—either an immensely dangerous one in which Zambia's economy is virtually ruined, or one in which Zambia has to evade the sanctions, adding to the folly and farce of them which exists already. Malawi has made no secret that she will have nothing to do with sanctions. South Africa, Portuguese Africa, and the late Protectorates—the holes are wide open. Therefore, we are faced with the very real possibility that the policy will be a farce, but if it is not, it is deadly dangerous.
No one denies that sanctions are doing the Rhodesian economy damage, but if the British Government's purpose is to induce a mood of moderation in Rhodesia as a prelude to an agreed political settlement, that policy has already totally failed. In our last debate on Rhodesia I said that the only context in which mandatory sanctions could make any possible sense was a firm intention to negotiate, and to negotiate quickly. But ever since, on the morrow of the Rhodesian hangings, the Prime Minister said that he would not talk to such men—and by that he meant Mr. Smith and his colleagues—almost all hope of a negotiated settlement has disappeared. The protestations made, for example, by the right hon. and learned Gentleman today, of a willingness to negotiate, become increasingly thin. That a resumed negotiation is possible I have no doubt. Whether it will succeed is another matter.
I remember saying when I last returned from Salisbury that I could not guarantee success, but one would never know unless one tried, and so far the Government have not tried since then. The Commonwealth Secretary has in his possession, and a copy has gone to the Prime Minister, a message which Mr. Smith caused to be sent to me 10 days ago, not by one of his supporters by any 752 means but by some people who are on the whole antagonistic to his Government. It was said that he and his Cabinet still endorse the proposals I brought back to the Prime Minister as a basis for a settlement. [AN HON. MEMBER: "What were they? "] I must ask the House to believe that the only reason I have felt that I must keep silence in these proposals is that I have wanted to see a settlement. Premature disclosure might do infinite damage both here and in Rhodesia and prevent such a settlement. But I shall go so far as to say this, which I have said to the Prime Minister and the Commonwealth Secretary: the whole purpose of my going there was to try to see whether I could obtain a braking mechanism, which was the essential difference between the Government and Mr. Smith following the "Tiger" talks.
I shall not say that it was a complete braking mechanism of elected Africans. I have said in the House previously that there was an amendment and an adjustment I should have required if I had thought of it. But I have no reason to believe that I would not have got it, and I think that it can still be got. On that basis, and on the other proposals I brought back about the cross-voting, which entirely eliminated the second difference that followed the " Tiger " talks, I say that the Government, but for the hangings, could not have refused to make another contact and start another negotiation. They can still do so.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)
Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that in his silence all we know about the attitude of Mr. Smith in recent days is the statement to Ian Waller, quoted by my right hon. and learned Friend, and the statement Mr. Smith made at Bulawayo? In both he gave an indication that there could be no majority rule in Rhodesia for about 100 years. How can that be consistent with the right hon. Gentleman's six principles?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
It is extremely difficult to know how to handle this matter. There is nothing I should like better than to tell the House exactly what the terms were. All I can say now is that the Prime Minister has them and the Commonwealth Secretary has them. Why do not they ask Mr. Smith 753 if they can be published? After all, they formed a message direct from Mr. Smith to the Prime Minister. I was a post box, and deliberately put myself in that position because I did not want the proposals to emanate from myself. The whole purpose was to get a settlement between Mr. Smith and the present Government—not a Conservative Government that might come into office at some future time.
§ The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. George Thomson)
I am grateful for what the right hon. Gentleman has just said. If he meant that we have his consent to make a direct approach to obtain the right to publish the proposals, I should certainly want to look at that suggestion.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I should seriously suggest that if the right hon. Gentleman wants a settlement the thing is to embody these proposals in the complete settlement rather than have premature disclosure. With that proviso, if the right hon. Gentleman likes to ask for Mr. Smith's consent to the proposals being published, well and good. No one will be more pleased than I in many ways, because I think that they were so near to the " Tiger" constitution, which I supported, though some hon. Members did not, that negotiations could certainly have been started on them.
This is not really the occasion to go into detail on that. We are debating the Order. But I hope that the right hon. Gentleman does not dismiss another approach from his mind. It may be a false trail. It might be, as there is some public evidence to suggest, that Mr. Smith has all the time been trailing people along. It is possible, but one cannot be certain of that, unless one is prepared to follow the trail and see where it leads. That is what we ask the Government to do. Therefore, we would support the Government in any genuine attempt at negotiation, for example, to return to a constitutional settlement close to the lines of the "Tiger", although as time passes the chances of that are not improved.
When we see the British Government surrendering control of the situation to others; when we see the danger of the increasing use of force and the increasing 754 number of terrorists in Central Africa, and that terrorism condoned by others; when we see that the victims of sanctions in Rhodesia are bound to be the Africans inside Rhodesia and the Africans in Zambia; and when we see that the effect on Rhodesia is to drive the Rhodesians more and more into South Africa's arms, we feel that the policy of mandatory sanctions must be condemned, and as an Opposition we can have no part in it at all.
§ 5.28 p.m.
§ Mr. William Hamilton (Fife, West)
The right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) has a very long record of appeasement, and the party opposite has been deeply involved in appeasing Right-wing totalitarian régimes for 30 years.
When the right hon. Gentleman talks about the proposals that he brought back, acting as a post box, which were near to the " Tiger " proposals, I remind him of what happened to the "Tiger" proposals when Mr. Smith took them back to Salisbury. He was not speaking for his Government, and there is no reason to believe that if the present United Kingdom Government asked Mr. Smith to recommend to his Cabinet the proposals which the right hon. Gentleman brought back, it would agree with him. Mr. Smith could not deliver the goods. There is no reason to suppose that he could.
The right hon. Gentleman implied his horror at the very suggestion that force is implicit in what he calls the ambiguous language of paragraph 13 of the United Nations resolution. I suggest to him as my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs did, I think, on 30th May, when the matter was raised after my right hon. Friend had made his Statement, that the fact that force is being used will, I fear, increasingly be used in Rhodesia, is a reflection of the fact that 4 million Africans are denied the democratic right to assert themselves. When a majority of the population of a country are denied normal democratic rights, they are bound to resort to other methods.
When the right hon. Gentleman and the Conservative Party hold their hands up in horror at the use of force, they should remember what they were responsible for in 1956. It is interesting that, 755 when my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs was replying to the right hon. Gentleman on 30th May, they both fastened almost exclusively on paragraph 13 and no other. There was talk in those exchanges about alleged ambiguity of the phraseology.… moral and material assistance to the people of Southern Rhodesia in their struggle to achieve their freedom …".The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) spoke then of the reference in the resolution to the struggle of the Rhodesian people for their freedom. It is a struggle. If they are denied democratic means of achieving their freedom they will resort to other methods, and nothing that we or any other Government can do can stop that.
The Leader of the Opposition on that occasion said that these words in paragraph 13 were… an incitement to other people to infiltrate forces and arms into Rhodesia …and therefore… Her Majesty's Government are directly responsible for any physical conflict in Rhodesia.The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East suggested that the British Government should use their veto in the United Nations against any action… which leans upon an interpretation of this …paragraph…as justifying aggression and terrorist activities …'.—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th May, 1968; Vol. 765, c. 2138 and 2140.]All the interjections from the Conservative benches then sought to convey the impression that there existed in Rhodesia a peaceful, peace-loving democratic régime, but that is not true. The right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire said this afternoon that he had to have Mr. Smith's agreement before he could divulge the contents of what he brought back from Rhodesia. He was referring to the permission of a traitor to the Crown, for that is what Ian Smith is.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Did the hon. Gentleman accuse the Prime Minister of being a traitor to the Crown when he met Mr. Smith on the "Tiger"?
§ Mr. Hamilton
My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister met Mr. Smith to do 756 precisely what the right hon. Gentleman is urging him to do again—to seek a negotiated settlement based on the six principles to which the right hon. Gentleman was himself a contributor. It was quite clear then that Mr. Smith could not deliver the goods. He was prevented from doing so by his Cabinet and there is no reason whatever for assuming that the position is any different now. Indeed, all the evidence is that the position is much worse.
§ Sir C. Osborne
The hon. Gentleman sneers at my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) for seeking a peaceful negotiated settlement. Is he prepared for war? Is he advocating war?
§ Mr. Hamilton
I am advocating nothing of the kind, but it ill behoves any Tory Member to talk in such terms in the light of their record. What I am saying is that, unless and until the Smith régime recognise that they have no future in the international community unless they return to legality, we are entitled and, indeed, obliged to exert all the peaceful pressures we can on them to bring them to sense and order. That is all that this Order is about. It is true that hon. Members opposite can punch holes in it and try to prove the ineffectiveness of sanctions. I would agree with a lot of that, but that is no good reason for not trying to do something. The logical consequence of what hon. Members opposite are asking is to do nothing at all to try to bring down this illegal régime. Indeed, that is the purpose of the Motion on the Order Paper which stands in the name of the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys).
On 30th May, there was no reference to paragraphs 1 and 2 of the United Nations resolution referring to the… measures of political repression, including arrests, dententions, trials and executions which violate the fundamental freedoms and rights of the people of Southern Rhodesia …We have never heard a single word at any time from the Tory Party about the repression and the executions and imprisonment of Africans by the Smith régime.
§ Mr. Hamilton
We have not heard a word today from the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire on the subject. To listen to the Opposition, one would never think that only a short while ago, the Leader of the Opposition was declaring that the Smith régime was operating a police state. Since then, there have been further repressive measures. If it was a police state then, I do not know what it is now.
One would think, listening to them now, that it was not right hon. Members opposite who initiated the six principles. One would think that the six principles were imposed on the House by the present Government. Yet they were produced by the Conservative Government and now right hon. Members opposite are ratting on them. Not for the first time, they are ratting on their own principles.
With that background, one can only describe the leadership of the Tory Party as spineless, despicable, unprincipled, inconsistent and devious. The Tory Party is being led by a vociferous group of right wing neo-Fascist racialists who would have the British Government crawl and cringe before a bunch of white thugs in Rhodesia.
Of course, some Tory Members can at least plead some kind of mitigation insofar as they have financial and commercial interests in Rhodesia. They are in both Houses of Parliament; we have the tags on them and are ready to produce them. Others may plead in mitigation that they have relations in Rhodesia who belong to or support the Rhodesia Front. For the rest, they are plain appeasers—some would say, racialists.
I have referred to the Tory Party's record of appeasement. Strangly enough, it is always appeasement of Right-wing totalitarian régimes, ranging from Nazi Germany to Fascist Spain and South Africa. They want to sell arms to Fascist Spain and South Africa when they get back to power. They are prepared to do business with the lot of them. Not one word have they uttered in respect of or in sympathy with the four million Africans who are denied their democratic right in Rhodesia. Nor has there been any acknowledgement by the Opposition that the United Nations resolution was voted unanimously by the Security Council.
758 The United Nations has never counted for very much in the calculations of the Conservative Party. It has never forgiven that organisation for having stopped in its tracks the aggression of a Tory Government in 1956. That was the last occasion when Russia and America voted together in condemning aggression by a United Kingdom Government. It is widely reported that the Tory Party in this House has persuaded the Tory Party in another place to vote against this Order on a subsequent date. I hope that they take that advice.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Sandys (Streatham)
As the Attorney-General said, this Order is designed to give effect to the recent Security Council resolution. It is one of the most deplorable resolutions ever passed by the United Nations, and that is saying quite a lot. It is hypocritical, inhuman, dangerous and futile. It is hypocritical because it is sheer humbug to suggest that Rhodesia constitutes a threat to international peace. It is inhuman, because it inflicts cruel hardship on countless innocent people and most of all upon the Africans in Rhodesia, for whose benefit it is intended. It is dangerous because it is an open incitement to terrorist violence and murder. It is futile because the new sanctions, from the political standpoint, will be as completely ineffective as those now in operation.
When the Government first introduced sanctions after the unilateral declaration of independence, we were told quite clearly that their purpose was to induce the Europeans in Rhodesia to turn out the Smith Government or alternatively to induce the Smith Government to accept a negotiated settlement based on the six principles. From the start many of us warned the Government that, if they imagined they would overthrow Mr. Smith by economic pressure, it was just wishful thinking. As we foretold, sanctions have had the effect not of undermining Mr. Smith's position, but of uniting the Europeans more solidly behind him.
All along it has been quite clear that the only practical way to solve this dispute was to try to negotiate an independent settlement with Mr. Smith and his Government. The Prime Minister made several attempts. But he failed each time, because 759 he overplayed his hand. If, when he flew to Salisbury in 1965, the right hon. Gentleman had offered Mr. Smith the terms which he offered him a year later there would have been no U.D.I. If, after the meeting in H.M.S. " Tiger", the Prime Minister had not broken off the talks with his " take it or leave it" ultimatum, there would have been a very good chance of resolving the outstanding differences about the procedure to be adopted during the transitional period.
Even after that it would not have been too difficult to resume negotiations, if only the Prime Minister had not slammed on a new and quite impossible condition —Nibmar—no independence before majority African rule. This provoked Mr. Smith to adopt an equally extreme and uncompromising attitude. Despite anything that he may have said in the Press interview which has been referred to, it is perfectly clear—and my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) said this today—that Mr. Smith is still willing today to resume negotiations.
My right hon. Friend brought back concrete proposals a short time ago after his visit to Salisbury. The Prime Minister says that these proposals do not in all respects fulfil the six principles. That may be so. It is a matter of judgment. It is quite likely that these proposals, as they stand, do not provide a wholly satisfactory basis for a settlement. On the other hand, I submit that they unquestionably provide an admirable basis for the reopening of discussions to find out whether a settlement is possible. Yet that is something that the Government have firmly decided not to do. After numerous " hedging " speeches the Prime Minister last Thursday, in reply to a Question of mine, said quite unequivocally that he has no present intention of resuming talks, even—and this is important—of an exploratory nature, with Mr. Smith. Nor have the Government given us any grounds for believing that their reluctance to negotiate is only temporary.
§ Mr. Ted Leadbitter (The Hartlepools)
I have before me a letter which the right hon. Gentleman wrote to the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia on 22nd Feb., 1964. He said:I fear that feeling in Britain"—760 that is, on the subject of U.D.I.—and the rest of the Commonwealth would be so unfavourable that we should be pressed to regard Southern Rhodesia as being in a state of revolt and to have no official dealings with her Government.The right hon. Gentleman who was then Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs made it clear that the Government of which he was a responsible member would indicate to the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia that even the Crown would be involved and the Government of this country would not accept any dealings with that other Government on that account.
§ Mr. Sandys
I think that what I predicted then turned out to be correct. I predicted quite accurately the sort of things which the Government would be pressed to do. If the hon. Gentleman looks carefully he will see that I did not throughout the whole of that letter, indicate what the British Government would do. I merely indicated the difficult situation which was likely to arise. I thought that it was right to warn them of this. In any case, there is nothing in that letter which in any way alters the fact that the only possible solution to this problem is a negotiated settlement. The hon. Gentleman's interruption is totally irrelevant.
The essential point which I was making was that sanctions were introduced for two alternative purposes, according to the Government. These were either to bring about the overthrow of the Smith Government, which clearly was not a starter, and or alternatively to induce the Smith Government to negotiate a settlement within the terms of the six principles. The Government have now made it plain that they do not intend to negotiate a settlement of any kind with the administration in Salisbury. From what the Attorney-General said today, it is clear that their reluctance to negotiate is not temporary and that they have in fact made up their minds to have nothing more to do with the Smith Government in any circumstances.
Since the Smith Government is there to stay—[HON. MEMBERS: " Oh."]—there is no doubt about that—
§ Mr. Sandys
—it follows that in the foreseeable future the Government do 761 not intend to make any further effort to resolve the dispute by negotiation. With a little more flexibility on the part of the British Government, a settlement could have been reached, and, in my opinion, still could be reached, which would give to the Africans, if not all, at any rate a very large part of the safeguards for which we are asking. By insisting on all or nothing, knowing quite well that it will be nothing, the Government may have avoided some political embarrassment and may have the satisfaction of posing as men of principle. But in reality they have basely betrayed the true interests of the African people whose champion they pretend to be.
§ Mr. Sandys
By banging the door on all possibility of a negotiation, the Government can be rightly accused of selling the Africans down the river.
Now that the Government have made it clear that they have no thought whatsoever of resuming negotiations, any remaining justification for sanctions has disappeared. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire said, sanctions have become purely punitive, which is just what the Government told us they would not be. They have ceased to have any constructive purpose and, in my opinion, they should be ended altogether.
§ Mr. Sandys
This Order not only introduces new sanctions; it consolidates and confirms all previous sanctions, both mandatory and non-mandatory. I trust therefore that our vote against this Order will be interpreted as a demand to end sanctions of all kinds and as a total condemnation of the Government's disastrous mishandling of the whole Rhodesian problem.
§ 5.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Evan Luard (Oxford)
On our ultimate ends in Rhodesia—there is a considerable degree of agreement among all parties in the House: the attainment of a settlement consistent with the six principles, in particular with the principles of achieving unimpeded progress towards majority rule, and settlement 762 acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole. The differences which divide the House thus primarily concern the means of achieving this end.
In considering those differences, the first need is to consider the possible alternative means of achieving our ends in Rhodesia. It seems to me that there are three main means available.
One is the use of force. On this there is not a great deal of disagreement between the leadership of the two main parties, because both have rejected the idea of using force to attain a settlement according to the principles which we uphold. I know that a number of my hon. Friends disagree with it. Personally, I think that the Government had no choice but to refrain from using force, for two main reasons. First, there is no doubt that such a course would not have had the support of the overwhelming majority of public opinion in this country. Secondly—and this is much more important—it would not have been a sharp security operation which would have attained our ends in a short time. It would have initiated a war in southern Africa, a war the end of which it would have been very difficult to foresee. This is especially true now, when South African troops are involved in Rhodesia. But to rule out the use of force is not necessarily to rule out the threat of force. I think that it would have been possible for us, for example, to move troops into Zambia, and possibly the Protectorates before they became independent. That is still a possibility which cannot be altogether excluded.
However, because the use of force has been excluded, we are forced to rely on two other main means: the use of sanctions, and negotiation. The first point to make clear is that these are not straight alternatives. It is not a question of either negotiating or using sanctions, because it is generally agreed that whenever we negotiate the use of sanctions will be necessary to induce a willingness to negotiate on the other side. Again, there is no basic difference between the two parties. The Conservative Opposition— or at least its leadership, since there was some division—agree that some sanctions are necessary to induce a willingness to negotiate by the Smith régime. But equally the Government have never excluded the use of negotiations or failed 763 to be ready to negotiate when they felt that the conditions were propitious.
There has in fact been an interminable series of attempts at negotiation over the Rhodesian question. First, there were the talks about talks. There was the visit of Mr. Bowden, as he then was, to Rhodesia. There were the "Tiger" talks. There was Lord Alport's visit, and the visit of the Commonwealth Secretary not very long ago. These attempts proved fruitless because the necessary willingness to negotiate on the terms laid down by both main parties was not present within the Rhodesian régime. But it cannot be said negotiations have not been tried.
Therefore, the main point at issue between the parties is in what proportions negotiation and sanctions should be mixed. No one can deny that the position which the Opposition have taken on this point is curious in the extreme. In the past, they have said over and over again that sanctions have proved ineffective, that they have not been effective enough, and they have complained particularly that we, the British, were being asked to apply sanctions comprehensively whereas many other countries were applying only partial sanctions or perhaps none at all.
But the main object of the present resolution in the United Nations, and of the Order now before the House, is to make sanctions more effective, on the one hand, by making them more comprehensive and applying to all goods, and, on the other hand—and this is much the most important point from our point of view—by ensuring that they are applied by every member of the United Nations. Therefore, one would have expected that the Opposition would rejoice at the fact that we are ensuring that other countries apply sanctions as effectively as we do. On the contrary, they retreat again and say that they do not like the new measures being proposed.
I do not accept—and I think that I speak for many people who have made some study of the subject—that sanctions, even as applied so far, have been totally without result. I was interested to note that the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) accepted that they had done considerable damage to the Rho- 764 desian economy. This has been achieved in three main ways. First, there can be no doubt that the position of the tobacco industry in Rhodesia has been virtually ruined by the effects of sanctions. The official price offered for tobacco has now gone down to 22d. a 1b. The Government have officially circulated recently a questionnaire to all tobacco farmers asking them whether they can survive at all at the present price, and it is known that so far only 5 per cent. have accepted that they can survive with the present price of tobacco.
Secondly, Rhodesian exports have been very severely hit. It is known on official Rhodesian figures that they have already been reduced by 40 per cent. by last year. The effect of recent measures, above all the effect likely to be produced by the resolution and its application by all member countries, is likely to be that they will decline still further. The particularly important point here is that so far Rhodesia has depended to a considerable extent on exports to South Africa. It is known from published reports that South African merchants and businessmen have themselves complained bitterly about the competition which they have had to suffer from Rhodesian imports and that some of the concessions which were made on Rhodesian imports to South Africa have now been withdrawn. This will create additional difficulties for the Rhodesian exporters.
§ Mr. Evelyn King
This argument about exports and the present economic hardship in Rhodesia is so often used, but surely the point was to move political opinion in Rhodesia. Would the hon. Gentleman not accept that in the last two years, as sanctions have increased, political opinion has moved further and further to the right?
§ Mr. Luard
I accept that the purpose of sanctions is to influence opinion, above all, Government opinion, in Rhodesia, to induce them to accept an acceptable settlement. I do not think the evidence we have about opinion in Rhodesia shows what will be the long-term effect. One would expect a short-term effect of a hardening of positions, of establishing a sort of beleaguered mentality, but I do not think this reflects the opinion of thinking people in Rhodesia and it is perfectly clear that many people in Rhodesia are 765 thinking very much in terms of a settlement.
The Attorney-General quoted some statements which I myself had intended to quote, statements made by Rhodesian businessmen very recently, within the last three or four weeks in Rhodesia—and these are the official leaders of the business community in Rhodesia—urging that the Rhodesian Government should seek a settlement precisely because of the effect which sanctions, even in the form so far imposed, are having on the Rhodesian economy, and I think this proves quite conclusively that there is a very large element of people in Rhodesia who are being induced precisely by sanctions measures to rethink the kind of policy which the Government there ought to be pursuing.
I was recounting the kind of effect sanctions so far have had. It is clear that the effect of recent measures will be to intensify these effects very much further, because many people have complained in the past—many hon. Members opposite have complained—of the fact that over the last year or so, since the December, 1966, resolution of the United Nations was carried, there have been leakages of exports from certain countries, in particular West Germany, France, Japan and one or two others. These will be closed completely by the present resolution. An important element in the resolution is that it says that the argument that a certain piece of trade is in fulfilment of an existing contract will no longer be accepted as a justification by those members of the United Nations who voted for that resolution, and that would remove that particular excuse. So all those leakages which certainly were occurring in the past should now be cut off.
But the final and most important of the effects of sanction has been the reducing of confidence in the future of Rhodesia. Here again nobody can deny that there has been a very serious effect which cannot fail to be present in the minds of the Rhodesian leaders.
§ Viscount Lambton (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
Would the hon. Gentleman not agree that the effect of sanctions has been to impose severe penalties not upon the white population in Rhodesia, but upon the black population?
§ Mr. Luard
Undoubtedly, it imposes some sacrifices on all sections of the population in Rhodesia, but there is no doubt that the overwhelming majority of the African population in Rhodesia, in so far as their opinions are known, are in favour of a continuation of measures by the international community to bring about a situation which will ensure that their long-term political rights are assured. They are prepared to accept short-term sacrifices for the sake of their long-term future, which is infinitely more important for them in the long run.
§ Mr. Luard
Even some of the officially acknowledged African leaders in the Rhodesian Parliament, who are probably not representative of all Africans in Rhodesia, have themselves said they would rather see a continuation of something like these measures. I have read quotations by precisely those people, African Members of Parliament, over the last few weeks, which make it quite clear that even those who are not, probably, representative of many other Africans in Rhodesia are by no means happy to see a continuation of the present situation and constitutional position in Rhodesia.
I was saying, sanctions have had some success, but are they enough? It is perfectly clear that so far they have had some effect, but they have not yet been sufficiently comprehensive, gone far enough, to induce a fundamental change of heart among the leadership in Rhodesia. Therefore, the clear and obvious conclusion must be that they must be strengthened. By opposing the passage of this Order today the Conservative Opposition thus put themselves in a totally illogical position.
The second question that arises—and it is the only conceivable argument which might be used by the Opposition or anybody else opposing the extension of sanctions—is: are the Rhodesian régime already willing to negotiate on terms which would secure the final objectives which we all of us share, the 767 achievement of a settlement in accordance with the six principles? The evidence which the Opposition have produced so far that the Rhodesian régime are already in such a frame of mind has been slender in the extreme. The evidence which we have not only does not support this contention but points in precisely the opposite direction.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire and other Members of the Opposition have made a great deal of his own recent visit to Salisbury and of the kind of arrangement which he discussed there, the details of which he brought back to this country. I am sure that he would be the first to agree that the House is placed in considerable difficulty in assessing the validity of this contention because of the very sketchy knowledge which we have of these proposals. But I think it must be said, even on the very exiguous information which we have, that there is very little evidence that they are ready for a settlement consistent with the six principles; or even that the régime themselves are prepared to accept that proposal or something similar to it.
What little we have heard of them does seem to show that there is not available the kind of blocking mechanism which has been universally accepted as essential to an ultimate settlement consistent with the six principles. Secondly, the right hon. Gentleman himself said—in a previous debate, and he repeated it again today—that he recognises that there was some difficulty about making his proposals watertight but he had proposed a change that would have the effect of making it watertight. But it is extremely likely that this would have the effect that the régime would not accept it.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I myself thought it was watertight as it was, but I can think of an extra amendment which would have made it absolutely watertight to the satisfaction of everybody.
§ Mr. Luard
It may have been precisely that which would prevent them from accepting it.
Thirdly, I must say that the evidence in the recent statements by the régime in Rhodesia has indicated over and over again that they are not even in the 768 mood for negotiation, or a settlement, let alone on the kind of terms which we wish to achieve on the principles all of us have laid down.
I will quote a series of statements which have been made by leaders of the régime, which prove conclusively that they have not yet been brought into the state of mind which would lead them to negotiate on acceptable terms.
On 1st April, only a few days after our last debate when these proposals were mentioned publicly in this country, Mr. Smith said that he saw little prospect of renewed Anglo-Rhodesian talks. He also claimed that Britain would soon dispense with the Rhodesian Governor. On 28th April he gave a long interview with Ian Waller, which has already been quoted. I will not quote what has been quoted before, but various other passages, which are extremely significant.
Mr. Smith spoke about the new constitution which was being proposed, and he said:Here's our new constitution. Whether Britain likes it or not, we are bringing this in. If, in future, Britain wishes to acknowledge us, they will have to acknowledge us on this constitution … That means the other game is over. So from now on any country which wishes to recognise us will have to recognise us on this constitution.The interview then referred specifically to the right hon. Gentleman's proposals. This was not Mr. Smith himself, but another senior Rhodesian to whom Ian Waller had spoken:Nor will anyone disclose the proposals Sir Alec Douglas-Home took back recently which he believed provided a basis for fresh negotiations. But one Rhodesian, not Mr. Smith, told me ' He was wasting his time here because he still talks about majority rule and that we will never accept.This is clearly conclusive evidence of the frame of mind in which the Rhodesian régime are now.
On 21st May Mr. Smith said that he thought 70 per cent. or more of the Rhodesian electorate would choose a Republic. He did not believe—and I quote his exact words—that… any thinking man could support majority rule in Rhodesia. Britain had left us with no option but to bring in a new constitution of our own making.On 3rd June, the Queen's Birthday was officially ignored. On 6th June, it was 769 announced that two more committees had been set up to consider the Waley Commission Report, and they would shortly be reporting.
All the evidence that we have points to precisely the opposite conclusion from that drawn by hon. Members opposite; namely that, at the present time, and given the impact of sanctions so far, the Rhodesian régime have not been brought into the frame of mind in which they would be prepared to accept a settlement consistent with the six principles.
This does not mean that we will not ever be talking with any member of the Smith régime again at any time in the future, but it does mean—and this is very important in considering the relationship between sanctions and negotiations— that we would be well advised to wait until the new sanctions had had time to have a more severe effect on the Rhodesian economy before we begin negotiations again. Nothing could be more unfavourable to our cause than to start negotiations at a time when the mood in Rhodesia is obstinate and intransigent, so that those negotiations are likely to break down and we would be further back than we were before.
This brings me to the third point that arises in considering the policy that should be applied now. It would be possible to argue, even if it is accepted that we must apply both negotiations and sanctions at the same time, that the particular form of sanctions as proposed in the United Nations resolution and in the Order before us was not the one that was most convenient or which we should accept. This is not the position of the Conservative Opposition. They have not come to the House and said that they agree that the sanctions so far have not been effective enough, that they must be strengthened but this is not the form in which it should be done. They are saying that the sanctions should not be strengthened at all. I hope that I have said enough to show what a totally illogical position this is.
In considering the United Nations resolution and the Order, it has been argued that these are mandatory sanctions. There is nothing new about this. The previous sanctions were mandatory sanctions. Secondly, it has been suggested that acceptance of the resolution and the Order will mean that the United Nations 770 will have more control over the final settlement that is reached than they would otherwise have had. But there is nothing whatever in this resolution which can give the United Nations any measure of control over the final settlement. Nor is this likely.
I attended the last meeting of the United Nations General Assembly and I have heard a lot of words uttered on this subject. I can inform the House that there is no point on which every member of the United Nations is more insistent than that we should retain the responsibility for the future of Rhodesia, and there is nothing to which they object more than the idea that we may be trying to shuffle our responsibility from our own shoulders on to those of the United Nations. The accusation that we are handing the matter over to the United Nations is the very reverse of the truth.
Objection is taken to Clause 13 of the United Nations resolution, which is not a clause about freedom fighters. It reads:Urges all States Members of the United Nations to render moral and material assistance to the people of Southern Rhodesia in their struggle to achieve their freedom and independence;No doubt many members of the United Nations would have been only too glad to see a clause inserted which referred specifically to freedom fighters. This has been a very frequent subject of statements and comment in the United Nations in recent years. There is a very strong movement among many members of the United Nations, not only African countries, to see greater support given by the United Nations officially to freedom fighters. That this resolution has been obtained in this infinitely weaker, and indeed very ambiguous, form is not a defeat but a magnificent achievement on the part of our delegation to the United Nations.
This leads me to the final thing to be said about the form of the United Nations resolution. It is utterly ridiculous for members of the Opposition, or anybody else, to imagine that it is possible for this country alone to determine every phrase, word and comma in every resolution that is passed by the United Nations. We live in an international community, and we have to be prepared to face the fact, and to accept things that we do not always completely like. We have been extraordinarily successful in 771 getting a resolution through the United Nations which embodies so much of what we ourselves originally proposed and wanted them to say and so little of those elements and proposals which were unacceptable to us.
If members of the Opposition say that we should never vote for anything except proposals that we ourselves have offered and drafted down to the minutest detail, they are crying for the moon. They are not living in the world as we know it today.
This brings me to the final point that is at issue in the matter of sanctions in Rhodesia. Ultimately, it is a question of will and resolution. Do we really mean what we say? We say we want to achieve a settlement based on majority rule and the six principles. Do we mean what we say, and are we prepared to take the unpleasant steps—
§ Mr. Luard
The hon. Member, I know, does not, and very many other hon. Members on the opposite side do not mean this. But, nevertheless, they continue to pay lip-service to these words over and over again.
This is precisely what I am complaining of. They pay lip-service to the idea of wanting to achieve a settlement on the basis of the six principles of majority rule, but they are not prepared to support the unpleasant steps which may sometimes be necessary in order to achieve those ends.
For the Conservative Opposition officially to say that they support the idea of a settlement based on majority rule, but, at the same time, to make the kind of speeches which have been made today and which were made in the debate in March, officially to refuse to accept or support a measure that is designed to provide stronger sanctions and, therefore, achieve the kind of settlement we want, is not only morally indefensible but is logically totally incomprehensible. It does not make any sense. They are not saying that they want more effective measures to achieve their aims. They are saying that they want no measures at all, but, nonetheless, they think that an honourable settlement is necessary.
772 This leads inescapably to the conclusion that the Conservative leadership has surrendered abjectly to the pressures of some of their more Right-wing colleagues. These brought considerable pressure to bear and circulated a resolution, an early day Motion and various other things, so that the leadership has been compelled to follow instead of leading. If the Opposition had been prepared to say perfectly honestly, as one or two hon. Members opposite to their credit have said, that it is now evident that the sanctions policy has failed, it costs too much, it is too damaging, it is economically unacceptable to us and, therefore, we must abandon any idea of achieving a settlement according to the six principles and hand Rhodesia over to Smith and his régime, this would have been appalling and shameful, but it would at least have been honest, coherent and consistent.
But what the Opposition are now officially saying is that they would like to see, at one and the same time, a settlement achieved consistent with the six principles, but that they will never support the kinds of measures necessary to achieve it. I regard that not only as a total abdication of responsible leadership, but as an insult to the intelligence of this House. They will the end but not the means necessary to achieve it.
For this reason, I hope that every hon. Member will support the Order and that, if anyone does not, at least he will recognise clearly what the leadership of the Opposition are saying, "We want to see a settlement achieved according to certain principles, but we are now convinced that it will not be possible and, therefore, we surrender."
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ 6.18 p.m.
§ Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)
I shall hope to deal with one or two of the arguments raised by the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr- Luard) in the pattern of my submission to the House. Except perhaps in his concluding sentences, on the whole, he put his points temperately though rather amply. I feel that debate on this matter, as on all 773 others in this House, should take place temperately, even if less amply.
From the start, I have condemned U.D.I., but, equally, I believe that the errors of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite started almost immediately thereafter. I have sought to pursue a course based on the constitutional and practical realities of the matter and aimed at the best method of achieving a negotiated settlement as against a dictated one, because in that alone is there the stuff of permanence.
Against that background, this Order must be condemned on four main counts. They are these.
First, this is a United Nations sanctions Order, and this matter was not inherently within the jurisdiction of the United Nations. By mistakenly referring it, the Government lost control at the outset and thereafter have been compelled to propose extreme measures to offset still more extreme measures from members of the Afro-Asian bloc.
Second, I believe that the provisions of this Order make the worst of all worlds—unenforceability, economic detriment to this country, and authoritarian procedures.
The third count is that we have no means of ensuring an effective all-round application of similar sanctions by other countries. The result, therefore, is likely to be that the hurt to the Rhodesian economy will be mitigated, and only the hurt to the British economy will be absolute.
Fourth, to the extent that it succeeds in its purpose, inevitably the Order will mean hardship to Rhodesians of all races and involves, apparently, the abandonment of any effort for reasoned settlement.
I want to make one or two short comments about each of those counts. As to the first, I believe that the original reference to the United Nations was inappropriate and ill-considered because the situation was not one within the contemplation of the Charter. I gave my reasons in detail in debate on 17th December, 1966, and, together with my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Chertsey, (Sir L. Heald), followed it up subsequently in the columns of The Times. There is an impressive body of legal opinion in 774 many countries which takes the same view, notably reinforced of late by the clear utterance, with all his authority, of Mr. Dean Acheson to the American Bar Association.
At the time of the reference, the Government's position was so ill-thought-out that they did not even know under which chapter of the Charter they were making the reference. On 23rd November, 1965, the Prime Minister said:With regard to the question of Chapter 7, our interpretation is that the wording, because it was a compromise, could be interpreted as something between Chapter 6 and Chapter 7… We do not regard it as Chapter 7."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd November, 1965; Vol. 721, c. 251.]I suppose that the right hon. Gentleman had in mind a sort of chapter 6½, but then the Charter does not provide for that.
Out of that characteristic Government muddle came the original reference, and out of the original reference comes the present hazard that the shaping of events may pass to militants, and Rhodesia and its people, black and while alike, will be in danger of becoming the pawn of power politics, perhaps having to endure, God forbid, the bloodshed and misery that United Nations intervention brought to the Congo.
On the second count, concerning the provisions of the Order, clearly, certain parts on the face of it are unenforceable. Those parts which seek to regulate conduct within Rhodesia could only be effective if Rhodesia were governed de facto as well as de jure from Whitehall, and manifestly it is not.
From the start, the Government have accepted implicity that the de facto administration is exercised from Salisbury. We can apply one very simple test. At the outset, the Prime Minister exhorted the public officials in Rhodesia to stand to their posts and go on with their work. Having done that, at no stage have the Government made or sought to make any provision for the remuneration of those public officials. They have been content that they should receive their salaries from Salisbury and only exhortations from Whitehall.
There is no doubt that the Salisbury régime is the de facto government by the accepted tests of international law. This 775 is what is said in Wheaton's "International Law" in a passage expressly approved in our Court of Appeal:A de jure government is one which, in the opinion of the person using the phrase, ought to possess the powers of sovereignty, though at the time it may be deprived of them. A de facto government is one which is really in possession of them, although the possession may be wrongful or precarious.I want for a moment to come to the provisions of the Order, which is authoritarian and inquisitorial in many respects. It bristles with repetition of the wordsexcept under the authority of a licence granted by the Minister",and how wide and unfettered his power is in that respect we can see from Article 16(2). Really, it is a socialist's dream and a constitutionalist's nightmare, with the regulation of trade by Ministerial fiat, with no right of appeal, no right of adjudication, and no duty laid upon the Minister even to listen to representations.
Time forbids reference in detail to the Articles, many of which support this proposition. There is Article 9, on the transfer of properties and Article 12, to which reference has been made, in which the Secretary of State can prevent the entry to this country of any Commonwealth citizen ordinarily resident in Southern Rhodesia whom he has reason to believe to be likely to further or encourage any unconstitutional action, and about which the Secretary of State is the judge of the future intentions of that person. Article 13 reverses a basic legal and constitutional principle by creating a criminal offence and requiring the accused to prove his innocence.
I was surprised that the right hon. and learned Gentleman made no reference to Schedule 1, which empowers Ministers, or persons authorised by them, to demand information and documents with very wide and unrestricted powers indeed—a sort of roving commission with powers of search and entry.
I looked with some curiosity to see where I could find the parentage of this provision. I think that I succeeded— Defence Regulation 55 AA, passed in 1943, a time of national peril. That shows this Government's persistent nostalgia for exercising in peace-time powers justified only by the exigencies of war.
776 There is one provision, and one only, which temporizes the severity of this schedule. That is the proviso that no female shall, in pursuance of any warrant issued under this paragraph, be searched except by a female. I suppose the Government will defend the Order with the clarion call, "Under our Order liberty is lost, but at least the proprieties are preserved." [Interruption.] That is a Liberal point.
I come now to the third count: the extent and effectiveness to be expected of action by other nations. In this country, within weeks of the United Nations' resolution, we have this Order with all its harshness. What about other countries? What is their record to date? What have they got in contemplation? To what extent, if any, can we compel, ensure, or even expect parallel action?
We know the difficulties. There is the difficulty of getting Governments to pass the necessary legislation and to do it quickly, if at all. There are difficulties facing some countries which may have a bona fide intention, but are blocked by the provisions of their written constitutions. Even if we get legislation in other countries, what about the difficulties of supervision and enforcement? They are formidable indeed. We have had a fair indication from a very high authority about the difficulties encountered in enforcing international action and prohibition.
We had it from the Foreign Secretary recently in the context of arms for Nigeria, when he said:One would, therefore, be dealing with a very wide range of people concerned in this, and to make it effective one would have to require all the Governments concerned, not merely that they should pass some law, or issue some fiats, but that they should be continually active to see that their prohibition on the sending of arms to either side by their subjects was obeyed.I am not surprised that the Attorney-General is sending out for reinforcements as he hears his argument destroyed.
The Foreign Secretary went on:I am afraid that the practical difficulties would be much greater than is sometimes supposed … it would perhaps be all too easy to work out an international agreement that would be imperfectly administered … ".— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th June, 1968; Vol. 766, c. 296.]The Government proclaim all these difficulties in respect of one commodity, 777 easily identifiable and coming from just a few countries. How much more difficult to ensure effective supervision with a far wider range of commodities coming from a greater variety of countries. Surely, if this kind of international action and enforcement was possible, it would be possible with one single odious commodity where every motive of humanity must urge compliance and restraint. The Foreign Secretary says no, that is too difficult. If we cannot expect effective supervision and enforcement concerning arms to Nigeria, we are not likely to get it for all commodities to Rhodesia.
The attitude of many countries, especially the most vociferous in this matter, is easy enough. Many countries which have no trade with Rhodesia call for strong action and glow with vicarious and inexpensive virtue. They can feel that they are striking a blow for democratic principles, which so many of them, with rare unselfishness, prefer to reserve for purely external application. But for trading nations the matter bristles with difficulties, and we should have no illusions about it.
I turn now to my fourth and final count. I believe that these sanctions will fail in their proclaimed purpose, but that does not mean that they will have no effect. They will. The Rhodesian economy will be damaged, with the African population inevitably the main sufferers, the British economy will sustain a hurt which it can ill-afford, and our trade with Rhodesia will be transferred to the less vigilant or less zealous countries of the world.
The result is unlikely to bring down the régime. It is much more likely to prejudice and postpone the implementation of the six principles. Sanctions, hurtful and indecisive, will promote right-wing intransigence in Rhodesia and on that in turn left-wing intransigence in this country will feed. We will get a more open and intensified invocation of the use of force, as to which I do not know whether to marvel more at the folly of its wickedness or the wickedness of its folly.
Acquiescence in such a melancholy pattern of events is a counsel of despair and a bankruptcy of statesmanship. I believe that an urgent and imperative duty rests on all at this time, in Rhodesia and in Britain alike, to seek to bind up 778 the wounds and to apply the healing processes of conciliation, reason and moderation, so that harmony can be restored ad progress assured to the 4 million people for whom but yesterday Britain was the mother country in both word and deed alike.
§ 6.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Desmond Donnelly (Pembroke)
With the exception of one or two speeches, of which that of the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker Smith) is an outstanding example, I have detected an air of remarkable unreality.
The Attorney-General appeared to think that what he was saying really counted in Rhodesia and that there would be some action following his words all over the world. At one time he even thought that B.O.A.C. would again soon be flying all round the world. The kindest thing that I can say about the Attorney-General's speech is that it contained a number of unctuous unrealities. His speech improved when it became more incomprehensible.
Then there is the attitude of certain right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite who appear as the champions of Rhodesia today but who have a culpable responsibility for the present state of events. If there had been no abandonment of the Central African Federation by the lack of will on the benches of the party opposite, this situation would never have arisen. If Rhodesia had been granted independence at that time, as its much less experienced and less democratic neighbours, Zambia and Malawi, there would have been no story leading to U.D.I. and the abandonment of any liberal leadership in that country: Sir Roy Welensky, Sir Edgar Whitehead, and Mr. Winston Field. We in this House were ready to pillory each one, but each one we would be glad to see back again in a position of authority.
There was the unreality of a number of hon. Members on this side of the House. There was the speech by the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Luard), who thought that these sanctions would be efficacious and would be followed by action.
There is the almost curious imperial euphoria as if hankering after latter-day imperialism in assuming that we actually once ran Rhodesia as part of the Colonial Office. It has never been under direct 779 Whitehall rule. It is this background which leads to the sense of independence and now a great deal of the bitterness that is felt in Rhodesia today. We cannot impose direct control in 1968, or imagine that we can, when we never had it in the 1890s. This is part of the whole unreality.
In the time that I venture to detain the House, I want to say a few words, first, about where I submit that Government policy has gone wrong and, secondly, about the implications for this policy as extended into the future. I am not minimising the difficulties which the Prime Minister inherited when he assumed office in October, 1964, but he made his position infinitely worse, first, by the appointment of his first Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs, whose constituency I forget. No country in the world could possibly have taken the British Government seriously if that was their representative. Secondly, there were his own pressure-cooker tactics. When one is in a strong position, it is very often possible to hurry one's negotiations and to present ultimata, but when one is in a weak position, very often one cannot negotiate unless one has time not to negotiate.
The mistake which the Prime Minister made was in his excessive hurry on his first visit to Salisbury and his myopic lack of interest in what went on in Rhodesia. What man of inquiring mind on his first visit to an African capital would have confined himself merely to the precincts of Government House and not taken a drive around the town or the surrounding countryside to see what actually went on? That is what happened, and it indicates a lack of knowledge and interest of what goes on in Rhodesia, because we have to come to terms with the reality of this problem if we are to attempt to solve it.
Then there was the long period of lecturing, the comings and goings, and finally the scenes in H.M.S. "Tiger", and that was followed by all the misunderstandings and remarks and statements in the House, largely for consumption on these benches, and not intended as a settlement of the problem. All that has contributed to the situation today.
What did the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General, and, indeed hon. Mem- 780 bers on these benches, think they were going to achieve by their policy month after month following U.D.I.? Did they think that it would change Mr. Smith's political position? Did they think that it would bring him down politically? If they did, they were gravely mistaken.
Why did they think that it would have that result? Some of them undoubtedly did. I am at a loss to offer any explanation. The only thing that I can imagine is that they thought the Rhodesians were like themselves, demonstrators and not doers [An HON. MEMBER: "Tell that to the News of the World."] I am telling it to the British public, because I suspect that I am more representative of the disillusionment of the British public than they are.
Did the Government think that sanctions were going to be effective? Did they think that the Japanese would stop selling? Did they think that British goods would not be replaced by other goods coming over via Mozambique or South Africa? Did they think that South Africa would allow Rhodesia to find itself in the position where the régime collapsed? Did they think that any of those unrealities would somehow, by some magic wave of the wand, be turned into practicality? That is what many of them must have imagined. They have been living in complete cloud-cuckoo-land about sanctions.
Thirdly, what did they think the effect would be on the African population? Did they think that the African population would rise, and if they were going to rise militarily, and there was to be bloodshed, was that a desirable state of affairs to encourage? Is that what they wanted to do? It did not happen, and it could not have happened in the circumstances, although it might happen in other circumstances at some future stage because the ingredients are now being created for a terrible tragedy in Southern Africa, and one for which everyone who sits in this House must accept individual responsibility.
Did hon. Gentlemen on these benches, and right hon. Gentlemen on the Treasury Bench, really think that there would be an upsurge inside Rhodesia by the African population? And if that were to happen, did they somehow think that this upsurge would take the form of a new liberalising Western democracy? 781 When they talk about a police State in Rhodesia, and they criticise the state of affairs in Rhodesia, which I deplore, because I am no supporter of the Smith régime and never have been—
§ Mr. Donnelly
I am trying to place the realities of the situation before hon. Members, and it is no good running away from them. What is said in Westminster is not what will happen in Salisbury, and the sooner the House realises that the better.
Did these hon. Members imagine that a new African rising in Rhodesia would take the form of a new democratic régime? There is not a State in Africa, from the shores of the Sahara to the Cape of Good Hope, which, in our terms of definition, is not some form of police State. That is true of the entire African Continent, in one shape or another. It is a matter of gradation and definition, but if the hon. Gentleman wishes to put forward an example of a liberal régime in South Africa I shall be happy to see it, but I doubt whether he will be able to do that.
§ Mr. Donnelly
I scarcely think that. I do not think that some hon. Members on the back benches have ever been to Botswana—[Interruption.]
§ Mr. Donnelly
To return to my central point, did hon. Members on these benches really think that liberalism could somehow be transplanted overnight to a new situation in Rhodesia following the demise of the Smith ré gime? If one looks at the comparative state of affairs in most African countries, by African standards even today the Smith régime is comparatively liberal. That is an extraordinary indictment of the situation in that Continent now. That is what we so often fail to realise.
What will be the likely effects of this Order? To return to my chronology, first, it will not make Rhodesians any less determined to see the situation through. It will not make the creation of a liberalised alternative to the Smith régime any more likely. It will not make 782 the position of the extreme and recalcitrant so-called Right-wingers or hard-line men any more difficult. In fact, it will make it much easier, and as long as this process of sanctions goes on we shall inevitably drive Rhodesia down that road to Pretoria. If that is what the House wants, it might as well be clear in what it is saying, because that would be a tragic end to what began as a hopeful experiment in Rhodesia, in a country which has enormous merit, charm, and potential.
Secondly, what are the likely economic effects?
§ Mr. John Lee
As one who has rather more experience of Africa than my hon. Friend has, may I ask whether he would not agree that there is another solution, namely, to revert to the position of a Colonial Dependency while the people of Rhodesia are given a better chance of advancing self-government?
§ Mr. Donnelly
My hon. Friend is advocating the use of force. His position in the House now is a charade. It would quickly cease to exist if he tried to use force. It is not in the temper of the British people in this situation to use force, if my judgment is right.
What will be the effect of the sanctions? The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East said that they would not have any effect. Perhaps I might give my answer by means of an illustration. The other day I was talking to a Dutch diamond merchant in Munich. He exports industrial diamonds to Rhodesia, and he sought the guidance of his Ministry of Commerce about his business. The answer that he received was, "We are sending you 12 months' permits. If they are not enough, just ring us up and say that you want some more." So much for the humbug that is talked on these benches.
Such is the geography of Africa and such are the stakes for South Africa and Portugal that, despite the difficulties they face, they will not permit Rhodesia to sink. We must face this. Are we prepared to go to the logical extension of the argument of the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. John Lee) and say that we 783 should start to impose sanctions on South Africa as well? What will be the implications of that for the British economy? Are hon. Gentlemen on these benches prepared to do that? This is what they must face up to. How will they justify themselves to the British nation in those circumstances?
The plain fact is that we will not be able to make these sanctions stick, because sanctions, throughout history, have never been satisfactory. We must begin to learn these elementary lessons. Then why proceed with this misguided policy? It will not achieve what we are setting out to achieve. All that it is achieving is the maximum bitterness and considerable humiliation for the British people at the hands of 200,000 Rhodesians.
But it is creating great difficulties for the African population. The number of Africans employed in Rhodesia, according to the last statistics published by the Smith régime itself, is now less than it was six or seven years ago. This is a serious situation. The African population is increasing by about 130,000 people a year, which means that, in about 18 months, it increases by the number of the entire white population in Rhodesia. All sorts of difficulties have been stored up for a great tragedy in Southern Africa in five, 10 or 15 years, when the real reckoning will come.
In the meantime, I will vote against the Order, because I believe that it will achieve no desirable effect and will damage both the interests of the Rhodesian people and the good name of this country.
§ 6.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
I congratulate the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) on a very courageous speech, one which, like him, I would have made many years ago. He at least, like myself, has been consistent in his policies about the problems of Southern Africa.
We believe that the African majority must find its rightful place in the political, social and economic life of their countries. We believe that this takes time. The trouble with hon. Members opposite is that they think that it can be done overnight, and close their eyes to the evidence which is so obvious in 784 Africa today, of country after country which has authoritarian government, Red revolution, bloody revolution, massacre of the opposition and massacre of the government. Country after country suffers forms of dictatorship and if "one man, one vote" takes place, it is once and that is all.
That is what some hon. Members opposite want to be imposed on. Rhodesia. That is why the Rhodesians do not propose to be governed from 6,000 miles away, just as their predecessors in America refused to be governed from 4,000 miles away. Personally, I do not blame them.
The difference between the two sides of the House is that we want some accommodation and some arrangement between the two Governments which can lead to a peaceful solution. Otherwise, there will be a race war in Southern Africa and the people who have led the majority race up the garden path will bear a grave responsibility for that war when it comes. All the sinews of modern war, economic and military, are on the side of the white minority. I hope to God that they never have to use them, but if they do it is obvious who will win. The whole of Africa together cannot expel 4 million whites from Southern Africa, any more than the Arabs can expel one and a quarter of a million Jews from Israel. These are the facts of life and the sooner that hon. Members wake up to them the better.
This is an unprecedented Order. I must repeat the question which has been asked several times already: what is the object of sanctions and, therefore, of this Order? Many of my hon. Friends thought in the past that the object of and justification for sanctions was to put pressure on the Rhodesian Government so that they started negotiations, which we still want to see take place. Those who supported sanctions from the beginning can claim that the early, consequential sanctions had this effect because they led to talks about talks and to the "Tiger" agreement.
I would remind the House that the "Tiger" agreement was endorsed by Cabinets both in this country and in Rhodesia and that the whole agreement fell through only because of our Prime Minister's insistence on a formula for 785 a return to constitutional government which he knew that no one in Rhodesia could accept and which we on this side rejected when we divided the House on the matter. Then, he sent out Lord Alport, who knew Rhodesia intimately and could not be regarded as a friend of Mr. Smith or his Government. When he returned, he said, we understand, that there was scope for negotiations.
Mary of my hon. Friends and hon. Gentlemen opposite went out to Rhodesia and talked to those whom they knew— Africans and Europeans alike—and asked: was it possible still to have a negotiated settlement? I know that some hon. Gentlemen opposite and all on this side came back and advised their respective leaders—the Leader of the Opposition and the Prime Minister—that negotiations could take place. I did so myself. I have been to Rhodesia many times and I regard my task in Rhodesia to try to bring back constitutional government in that country and restore the traditional friendship which exists between the two countries; in other words, to get the two sides together, because any continuation of this dispute will lead only to violence and thus cut the final links which bind Rhodesia to her Mother Country. Yet all these overtures have been rejected, including those of my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home).
I believe that Christmas last year was the last chance of reaching agreement with Rhodesia. It would have been part of a package deal with South Africa over arms sales. We then had the revolt of the Left wing and the Prime Minister sided with them rather than with his more responsible Cabinet colleagues and decided to maintain the arms ban. That made a final agreement with Rhodesia absolutely impossible, as members of the Government know as well as I.
Therefore, what is now the object of sanctions? It certainly is not to bring Rhodesians to the conference table. They have taken every opportunity and the person who slammed the door on them is the Prime Minister. He did it twice last week, making it clear that the only ditional surrender. In fact, we are now possibility of negotiations lies in unconditional surrender. In fact, we are now 786 back to where we were on 10th December, 1965, when the Prime Minister told the House:What I must make clear is that Her Majesty's Government are not prepared, directly or through the Governor, to enter into negotiations with Mr. Smith on any basis which involves dealing with an illegal régime, or on any conditions, other than procedure conditions, for a return to constitutional methods."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th December, 1965; Vol. 722, c. 770.]That is what he meant, those years ago and that is the position which we have got back to today, in spite of every effort by the many people who have tried to bring the two sides together and who so nearly succeeded in H.M.S. "Tiger".
So what is the object of the Order and the continuation of sanctions? I suggest that there can now be only one object, and that is to create a revolutionary situation in Rhodesia to try to force the overthrow of the Rhodesian Government by force. We all know that Her Majesty's Government have rejected the use of force. They did so when they had a majority of three, and presumably they appreciated the consequential and constitutional problems which would arise at the next General Election if they had used force then, assuming that it was possible.
However, whatever the reason, they still say that they reject force, but their Left wing does not. Members of the Left wing say that they would like to support these guerrillas—
§ Mr. Speaker
We cannot debate the use of force on this Order. This is a wide debate, but not as wide as that.
§ Mr. Wall
I accept that, Mr. Speaker, but I think that I am in order in saying that there are three objects to sanctions.
One is to bring Mr. Smith to the conference table: I dealt with that. The second is to create a situation in which there was trouble in Rhodesia so that we had the excuse to send forces there: I do not believe that that will happen. The third is to try to destroy the Rhodesian economy in a way which does not create that revolutionary situation. So long as the Rhodesians have the support of South Africa and the Portuguese territories, the Government know as well as anyone else that this cannot happen. It is already clear that these countries. 787 together with certain African independent States, will not carry out their version of this Order.
Coming to the question of escalation, the House will recall that in November, 1965, the United Nations passed a resolution demanding oil sanctions. At that time Her Majesty's Government rejected oil sanctions, but in December a measure to impose such sanctions was introduced. Then the United Nations demanded the use of force. The Government reject the use of force. But in January, 1967, we had mandatory sanctions introduced and, now before us is a general Order covering every form of import and export to and from Rhodesia. Will force be next? The United Nations is still demanding it.
Are the Government expecting the guerrillas to do their work for them? [Interruption.] Answering a Question in the House last week, the Prime Minister said that Commonwealth Ministers had had talks with African nationalist organisations in this country and in Lusaka. He added:… it is perfectly appropriate that the Government, who have the ultimate responsibility for deciding the fate of Rhodesia in a Parliamentary sense, should have talks with representatives of the majority as well as the minority in Rhodesia ".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th June, 1968; Vol. 766, c. 26–7.]Does the Prime Minister claim that these men, inspired by the O.A.U., are representative of the majority race in Rhodesia? I suggest that the chiefs and African Members of Parliament, 14 in all, who have been elected by Africans represent their people far more than, for example, Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Sithole. If hon. Gentlemen opposite examine the OFFICIAL REPORTS of the debates in the Rhodesian Parliament they will see the views of the African Parliamentary representatives both about guerrilla fighters and about sanctions.
When one considers the course of sanctions one must accept their failure. Speaking about a resolution at the Conservative Party conference in Brighton in October, 1965, I said:As for economic sanctions, I believe that these could not become effective in under at least one year. And let us face the fact that this would not satisfy the Afro-Asians who, because of the failure of British sanctions, would then demand the armed intervention of the United Nations or of the Organisation of African Unity".788 That statement is as true today as it was then.
We are now facing the imposition of an Order which is unprecedented and which is designed to wreck the economy of Rhodesia. I doubt whether it will work. But it will, of course, affect the Colony of Rhodesia and make the people there, black and white, tighten their belts even more than today. However, it will not result in the Rhodesians or the Rhodesian Government giving in. In fact, it will probably have the opposite effect and the people of Rhodesia will rally even more closely round Mr. Smith.
We were told by the Prime Minister, who was speaking about sanctions in November, 1965, that… Rhodesia is a British responsibility.Can that be claimed any longer? I do not believe that the world considers that Rhodesia is any longer a British responsibility. On that occasion the Prime Minister went on:Our purpose is not vindictive. Our purpose is not punitive. We do not approach this tragic situation in a mood of recrimination".Can anybody believe that today? Later, the right hon. Gentleman said:… we do not contemplate, as I have made very clear, any national action, and may I say any international action, for the purpose of coercing even the illegal Government of Rhodesia into a constitutional posture ".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11 th November, 1965; Vol. 720, c. 359–61.]If this Order is not coercive, what is it?
On 23rd November of the same year the Prime Minister said, talking of sanctions:The measures must not be vindictive, but they must be effective …".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd November, 1965; Vol. 723, c. 249.]Now, two and a half years later, we have seen that the Government's actions have been ineffective. They admitted this today. They admitted that in the early days. After the imposition of oil sanctions, which was to be the key weapon, they said that their efforts were ineffective and that their design was being frustrated. They then went to the United Nations for mandatory sanctions. Have they been effective? Now, apparently, we must have complete sanctions on all trade relations and communications with Rhodesia. Will these be any more effective? Is it not inevitable that the 789 Rhodesian people, black and white, will unite even further and more closely behind Mr. Smith?
Above all, nobody can deny that this Order is anything but vindictive. It bans the import into and export from Rhodesia of all goods. Does this include newspapers and photographs? I understand that only yesterday an Instrument was produced stating that no newspapers or photographs could be sent to or received from Rhodesia. Does this mean that I cannot send a copy of HANSARD, reporting this debate, to friends in Rhodesia, and that the people of Rhodesia cannot send photographs of their relatives and friends to their families in this country, and vice versa?
How will this restriction be imposed? Will the Government censor letters? Suspicions have been voiced in the House on more than one occasion about the Government operating a modified form of censorship. This has always been denied, but we know that, under the procedure in relation to infringement of the regulations, letters are being opened. What is the power of search which the Government are now claiming over the mail?
What restrictions will apply to people with United Kingdom passports? We were told for the first time today that the Order's effect will also extend to Rhodesians possessing British passports. We were told today that Rhodesian passports which have been replaced by British passports must be renewed at six-month intervals. Will these still be renewable? What is to happen to Rhodesians who are in this country either on Rhodesian or —and this is more likely—British passports? What will happen when those passports expire after six months? Will these people who are legitimately in this country, perhaps working or studying, be able to apply for their passports to be renewed and, if so, will they be refused, thus meaning that they are virtually being deported back to Rhodesia? These questions affect many people in Britain and must be clearly answered.
How will these arrangements operate the other way round? We hear that Rhodesians are not to be allowed to visit Britain. Will Britons be allowed to visit Rhodesia? It seems clear that anybody who wishes to emigrate to Rhodesia from this country will be permitted to do so, 790 although advertisements encouraging emigration are not to be allowed. Will one be allowed to visit Rhodesia or spend a holiday there? Many hon. Members visit that country year after year and most of them have done their best to try to seek an accommodation on behalf of the Party which they represent, Her Majesty's Government and the Government of Rhodesia. Will those visits be prohibited under the Order?
Considering the Order as a whole, I doubt whether any of the restrictions which it imposes have ever before been imposed by a British Parliament on British people. This is a vile Order which is being imposed at the behest of the United Nations against our people. I believe that the reaction of those people is predictable; that it will cause them to rally behind Mr. Smith. In so doing, they will receive greater help from South Africa and other countries in that part of the world than they have been receiving and that a continuation of the state of affairs now being created by Her Majesty's Government will intensify the possibility of a race war, which hon. Gentlemen opposite tell us they want to avoid.
I go further. I believe that the Order represents a danger to us in this country, since any Government who seek to impose this sort of control on innocent and guilty alike in Rhodesia merely because they happen to live there could do the same in certain circumstances to the people of this country.
Already, ordinary people in this country are frightened to sign a petition presented by the Anglo-Rhodesian Society against this Order because a petition requires names and addresses and they are afraid to put their names and addresses to it because they think that the Government might take action against them. I do not say that this would be so, but this is the idea which is prevalent in many parts of this country. The right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) referred to me in a rather rude way, in our last debate, but I should say to him that English people now fear this kind of action, similar to that carried out by Hitler and Himmler in Germany, could happen in this country. It is up to the Government and the Prime Minister to show that this kind of thing cannot happen in Britain.
791 The Government accuse Mr. Smith of representing a small minority determined to retain power. Who does the Prime Minister think he represents? If a General Election were held now the party opposite would be reduced to a rump of 50 or 70 Members in the House. If the House were representative of the country I am convinced that this Order would be thrown out tonight. I hope that this happens in the so-called unrepresentative Chamber in another place. This Order purports to cut all dealings with Rhodesia. What it will do will be to cut the last links existing with a country which was this country's most loyal Colony, both in peace and war, and cut it off for ever. History will show that the Prime Minister has succeeded only in emulating his famous predecessor, Lord North, and will condemn him accordingly.
§ 7.12 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Foot (Ebbw Vale)
The hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) began his speech by saying that he claimed to be consistent on the question of Rhodesia. I think he was perfectly justified to make that claim. Those of us who have listened to his previous contributions on the subject remember that he has been throughout—I do not think he would disown this—a sympathetic apologist for the Smith régime.
§ Mr. Foot
For the Smith régime, not for Mr. Nkomo or others who are in prison. They are Rhodesians, so he must not claim too much. He has every right to rejoice today. I thought he was about to conclude his speech on a note of triumph because he had converted some of those who have not been quite so consistent as himself.
The hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) seems to have paid us one of the briefest of his visits. I should like to refer to his speech later because I prefer to say what I have to say to him to his face rather than behind his back. I shall comment immediately, however, on the speech of the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home). It was an extremely important speech. We have every right to examine it and to see what exactly is the advice he is giving to the country. 792 Everyone knows, for a number of different reasons, that the advice which he gives the House and the country is listened to most carefully. We have a right to examine carefully in particular what he said on the subject of negotiations.
I agree with him, first of all, about one aspect of the matter. Interference with people's passports is a very dangerous procedure. I am all in favour of every protection we can have to ensure that interference with people's passports in this case is only for the purpose of the Measure itself. I am glad that the present Government are the first Government in British history who have put any check on the action of the Executive in this matter. Maybe we want the check to go further, but one by-product of this Measure which we can acclaim is that for the first time, under a Labour Government, we have some mitigation of the power of the Executive over people's passports.
I hope that the Government will carry that further and make sure that these protections in a liberal sense—for which some of us have pleaded in years gone by, particularly my right hon. and learned friend the Member for Ipswich (Sir Dingle Foot) when in opposition—will be provided, and that we shall have the support of hon. Members opposite in carrying such measures through, despite their neglect in years past.
I come to the central point in the debate Hon. Members opposite have said that their alternative to this Measure is negotiation. When the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire came from Rhodesia he said that negotiation was within his grasp and there could be negotiation on the basis of the talks he had. The country takes great notice of what he says. He said in the debate today, in response to a question by the Attorney-General, that he could not tell us the details of the matters he discussed with Mr. Smith without Mr. Smith's permission. I shall not argue on that point, although some might take a different view. I should have thought at this stage, since part of the Opposition case is that the possibility of negotiation is wrecked by this Measure, that any barrier to the announcement of those proposals was removed.
However, if the right hon. Gentleman's scruples are such that he cannot reveal to 793 the House and the country the basis of the negotiation until he has Mr. Smith's permission, will he tell us what his verdict is on these terms he was so near to securing? Will his right hon. Friend who is to wind up for the Opposition—or, preferably, will he tell the House here and now—does he think the terms which were within his grasp made the establishment of majority rule in Rhodesia certain? Does he think that? That is a fair question. Does he think those terms that he would be negotiating about, if they were secured, would make majority rule in Rhodesia certain?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
So far as one gets a genuine blocking mechanism, one ensures that the African gets on to a common roll at a certain rate but not according to a certain time scale. Therefore, I should say that I hoped we could achieve —I think if we had the Commonwealth Secretary there we could achieve—a genuine blocking mechanism and to that extent it is consistent with majority rule, but not at a particular given time.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home indicated assent.
§ Mr. Foot
The right hon. Gentleman nods his head. We are getting more progress. First, that puts the right hon. Gentleman into disagreement with his right hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys). I do not suppose that that dismays him, but it means that there is a deep division. The right hon. Member for Streatham is not prepared to claim that the terms that were going to be discussed were within the framework of the six principles. Those of us who heard his speech heard him say that those terms did not match the six principles, but the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire says that he thinks the terms could make majority rule for Rhodesia certain. He must not complain about the language I am using because this is his own language. In the debate on 21st December, 1965, when again the opposition was pleading for fresh negotiations, the right hon. Gentleman, said:I will start …. with two propositions which must precede any proposal for conciliation. The first is this. Majority rule for 794 the Africans must be certain."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21st Dec, 1965; Vol. 722, c. 1994.]
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home indicated assent.
§ Mr. Foot
The right hon. Gentleman nods his head; that is fine. So tomorrow when it is reported, if our debates are properly reported in Rhodesia—or if not in the newspapers maybe it will be reported back to Mr. Smith—it will be reported that the right hon. Gentleman is saying to Mr. Smith that his terms for a settlement mean that majority rule for the African is certain. I do not know whether there are so many hon. Members opposite who have such close experience of Rhodesia as to say that a settlement with Mr. Smith is possible on that basis. I do not know whether the hon. Member for Haltemprice would say that he thinks that such a settlement is possible.
§ Mr. Wall indicated assent.
§ Mr. Foot
In due course. It depends on the number of years. I understand that, and so does Mr. Smith. That is why some of us have been extremely interested in the statements which have been made by Mr. Smith on precisely this subject. Some of us happen to take the view that Mr. Smith speaks for himself even better than the hon. Member for Haltemprice or the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire speak for him; and when Mr. Smith speaks for himself, he says the opposite of what the right hon. Gentleman has just said. The right hon. Gentleman himself cannot deny that.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I do not want to keep on interrupting the hon. Gentleman's fascinating talk. Mr. Smith agreed with the Prime Minister on the "Tiger" to a constitution which embraced eventual majority rule. If the hon. Gentleman would allow me one more second, I said that Mr. Smith had sent a message to me 10 days ago which said that he and his Cabinet still stuck to the paper which I brought back to 795 the Prime Minister. The paper which I brought back to the Prime Minister is from Mr. Smith to the Prime Minister. It is not my proposal.
§ Mr. Foot
I will come to the "Tiger" negotiation in a moment. I am trying to deal with the right hon. Gentleman's negotiations and trying to discover exactly what they mean. Nobody can deny—the right hon. Gentleman cannot deny it—that Mr. Smith has said in public the exact opposite of what apparently he said to the right hon. Gentleman in private. [HON. MEMBERS: "Like the Prime Minister."] We are talking about the negotiations that the right hon. Gentleman had. The right hon. Gentleman has indicated to the House that the negotiations he had with Mr. Smith led him to the conclusion that Mr. Smith was prepared to agree to the proposition that majority rule for the Africans would be certain. That is the right hon. Gentleman's conclusion.
The evidence of every public statement by Mr. Smith in recent months leads to exactly the opposite conclusion. The quotation has already been made, but in view of what the right hon. Gentleman has just said, I will quote again the statement made by Mr. Smith to a highly reputable correspondent, Mr. Waller of the Sunday Telegraph. The question, which is exactly the question which I have been discussing with the right hon. Gentleman, was:Would negotiations with Britain based on the principle of eventual majority rule"—nothing about the date—be acceptable to your party or the country?That was the question put to Mr. Smith. The right hon. Gentleman's answer is that Mr. Smith's answer would be "Yes" to that. But in fact Mr. Smith's answer is, "No". That is the answer that he gave to his party, to all the other people in Rhodesia. I will read it again:I have never said I accept that"—never, never. Never; that is the word.
The right hon. Gentleman says that Mr. Smith said it. I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman speaks the truth, but I am sure that Mr. Smith does not. They cannot both be stating the truth. Either the right hon. Gentleman has not 796 reported faithfully to the House what Mr. Smith said to him—none of us would accuse the right hon. Gentleman of that —or Mr. Smith said something to the right hon. Gentleman which he was simple enough to believe. That is the answer. The right hon. Gentleman's whole experience of negotiation should have made him a little more wary.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I have never said that this negotiation would succeed. I have said today that it may be that Mr. Smith all the time is stringing us along the line. That is possible. However, the Government must explore this, surely, when they get strong evidence from Mr. Smith himself that he is willing to consider a certain proposition.
§ Mr. Foot
I understand. The right hon. Gentleman is not saying anything different from what he said earlier. He certainly said that when he made his speech. All I am saying—I do not believe that the right hon. Gentleman can dispute what I am saying—is that the impression given by Mr. Smith in his private discussions is in flagrant contradiction of what Mr. Smith says in public.
§ Viscount Lambton rose—
§ Mr. Foot
I have been interrupted several times, although I do not mind giving way six more times to the right hon. Gentleman. I say that there is a flagrant contradiction. If Mr. Smith wishes to put it right, he could alter the statement that he gave to Mr. Waller. Why did he give it to Mr. Waller? Indeed, he went out of his way to get this statement corrected and to insist upon the hundred years being emphasised—one hundred years he was talking about, not two or three years. We are faced in Mr. Smith, as everybody who has to deal with him knows, with an extremely slippery customer. Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman, in my judgment, should have been a little more restrained in the way he came back to the House and said, in effect, that a negotiation, and possibly a settlement, was so nearly there within our grasp. I think that the right hon. Gentleman should have used more cautious phrases and should have warned us by saying, "Of course, this is only what Mr. Smith said to me and we do not know whether he will go back on it, as he has on so many previous occasions".
797 This question of majority rule affects as well—I agree with the right hon. Gentleman—the "Tiger" talks. That is the reason why many of us were so reluctant to agree to the propositions agreed on the "Tiger", because we believe that those propositions also postponed African majority rule to an intolerable degree. In taking that view, we held the same view as an expert on the subject, Sir Edgar Whitehead, who said that the "Tiger" talks agreement would have meant the postponement of majority rule for the African to the end of the century. This is why some of us insist that we cannot have any fudge about this question of majority rule. It must be clear. There cannot be any question of having a bit more here or a bit more there. There cannot be any doubt left about it.
Therefore, it is only on the basis of the acceptance of full African majority rule—not immediately; I do not say that, but full African majority rule—that a settlement is possible. I say that anyone who has studied the facts over the years, from the days of the right hon. Member for Streatham right up to the present negotiation of the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire, must conclude that the present Smith régime is not prepared to agree on that settlement. We have had the statement, however, today from the right hon. Member for Streatham that that does not matter so much. He has already departed from the six principles. The hon. Member for Haltemprice never supported the six principles, anyhow. Now the Front Bench opposite is lining up with its back benchers—not always a disagreeable process, but on this occasion one greatly to be deplored.
§ Mr. Foot
No. I want the period to be very short. I think that it can be very short. Certainly it must be one that gives the opportunity for people not to be going on discussing it in 10 or 20 years' time. It must be a much shorter period. At any rate, it must, in the words of the right hon. Member for Kinross end West Perthshire, be certain. That is the question. It is the question to which the right hon. Gentleman, despite all his talk about his negotiation, has brought back no better answer.
798 The right hon. Gentleman goes much further than that. Not only has he misled the House—not deliberately, of course—as to the meaning of his negotiations, but he has gone further. He invites the House, on the basis of his interpretation of those negotiations, to repudiate the decision of the United Nations. The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) said that one of the reasons why he would vote against the Order was that he did not like the United Nations brought into it, anyhow, or did not think it was a proper matter to be taken to the United Nations. I understand that. The trouble was that, in any case, whether that was correct or not, the United Nations would bring the matter to us. The idea that the question of Southern Rhodesia had not been brought to the attention of the United Nations before October, 1964, is one of the most extraordinary illusions.
The matter was bound to come before the United Nations in some form. Anyone who does not think that cannot understand the facts of the situation. I understand that the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East protests and would prefer that other people brought it to the United Nations rather than ourselves, or says that it does not lie within the Charter.
§ Mr. Foot
I understand the right hon. and learned Gentleman's argument, but many people disagree with him, including the vast majority of representatives at the United Nations. They agreed unanimously on the Security Council that the matter was within their province, and they agreed with the resolution which we are now considering.
§ Sir D. Walker-Smith
Does the hon. Gentleman accept that the United Nations has jurisdiction only according to the Charter, and does he accept that the British Government referred the matter without any proper consideration? Does he realise that a large array of expert legal opinion all over the world—the latest example is Mr. Dean Acheson—has said that it does not lie within the Charter?
§ Mr. Foot
Mr. Dean Acheson has been running as hard as he can ever since 799 Senator McCarthy said "Boo" to him, and he has been running so fast that he has forgotten what a liberal principle is. I have answered the right hon. and learned Gentleman. I had answered him before he interrupted me. The vast majority of the representatives of peoples at the United Nations disagree with him on his interpretation of the Charter, and the Security Council itself disagreed. If they had thought that the resolution was ultra vires, its members would not have supported it. But they did support it— the United States authorities, the Soviet Union authorities and all the others. So it is a unanimous decision of the Security Council, and no one disputes that, if it went to the Assembly, it would have an overwhelming vote there.
How does the party opposite propose to deal with that situation? The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire says that we should use the veto. It is a serious proposition that this country should use its power of veto to stop the resolution going forward at the United Nations. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman, when he makes that proposal in future, will elaborate on what he thinks would be the effect of such action at the United Nations.
What sort of authority and what sort of chance would this country have in future cases at the United Nations? What kind of support should we have on other matters? What would be the effect of our applying the veto? The right hon. Gentleman knows that when we applied the veto on the last occasion, in 1956, we took several years to recover from it. But now the right hon. Gentleman recommends it again.
It is a serious proposition. And apparently, the right hon. Gentleman and his friends are recommending not merely that we should apply the veto in New York but that we should apply it somewhere else. That, also, is a serious proposition. Orders have been thrown out by another place, but not Orders of this nature. This would be the first time, and if it were to occur—I am not suggesting that it will—and this Order, having been passed by a substantial majority in this House, were thrown out by another place, it would be an extraordinary application of irresponsible power by a body which 800 is not answerable to anyone. It would be a measure taken to stab this country in the back at the United Nations when we have the well nigh unanimous support of the rest of the world. It would be an extraordinary action, and quite unconstitutional, in my opinion. Compared with Lord Salisbury and Co., Mr. Tariq Ali and his friends look like constitutional pedants. What the Tories in the Lords are proposing to do is to use power which was never given to them for that purpose anyhow, and which they have no right to possess, in order to defy the decision of this House and to carry out the decision of the Shadow Cabinet made last Wednesday, I think it was.
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
If another place does act in the way the hon. Gentleman suggests it might act, and in which it is constitutionally entitled to act, does not the remedy then lie in the hands of the Prime Minister? Would not the Prime Minister have ability to bring about a Dissolution of Parliament at once, when he could put the whole question of Rhodesia and the question of the House of Lords to the British people at a general election?
§ Mr. Foot
Many of us on this side know what the remedy is, and I hope that there will be no hesitation in applying it. Particularly on this matter, on the issue which, apparently, is selected by the right hon. Gentleman and others for their operation, it would be an astonishing procedure, there having been a fairly united House of Commons in trying to deal with the rebellion which started in October 1964 or 1965—whenever it was. The country voted for action to deal with the situation, and the House of Commons voted for it. Even the hon. Member for Pembroke voted for it. The House was unanimous save for the hon. Member for Haltemprice and one or two others, led by the then right hon. Member for Preston, North.
Consistently, they, with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), fought against it right from the beginning. I give them full credit for it. They have been known as the Monday Club. I used to call them the "Aid and Comfort Committee", giving aid and comfort to the rebellion in Southern Rhodesia. That is what it was.
801 If the House of Lords were to use its power to assist the "Aid and Comfort Committee" to defy the Queen and all her representatives, it would be a strange use of the veto power of another place, and certainly one which would qualify for corrective action. I hope that this House will persist in this Measure to carry through the proposals agreed and supported by so many nations. Let us see that they are made effective in trying to restore freedom for the great mass of the people of Rhodesia.
I conclude with a word to the hon. Member for Pembroke, who, as I said, had made such a brief entry into the House. I did not know that he felt so strongly on the question of Rhodesia. He might have attended some of our previous debates on the subject. However, his constituents in Pembroke ought to know that the Member for Pembroke very rarely attends the affairs of the House on any subject. The way in which he has attended to his Parliamentary duties amounts almost to a matter of fraud. However, as many of us know—
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I heard the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) accuse the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly), his hon. Friend, of fraud. May he be asked to withdraw?
§ Mr. Foot
If I accused him of fraud in that sense, Mr. Speaker, I withdraw it. If he were here, I should say these things to his face, of course. But, with the hon. Member for Pembroke, it is difficult to say them to his face. His constituents should know that he very rarely attends the affairs of this House, and it is, therefore, impossible for many of us to reply properly to the speeches which he prints in the Western Mail.
I say this to the hon. Member, in conclusion. With the hon. Member for Pembroke:, as many of us know from long experience, it is not a political problem. It is a psychoanalytical problem. The hon. Member for Pembroke is a compulsive traitor. He has betrayed every political cause he has ever supported in the House. I warn those who 802 are associated with him now that they had better be careful; they have an informer in their ranks.
§ 7.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Eric Lubbock (Orpington)
The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot), before dealing with the hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) in such a devastating way, was discussing what he called the central issue before the House—whether the intensification of sanctions is or is not an alternative to the resumption of negotiations. I thought that his discussion across the Floor of the House with the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) helped to clarify the matter considerably, because we are without the advantage of knowing the terms of the proposals which the right hon. Gentleman brought back and presented to the Prime Minister, and whether or not they would have conformed to the six principles. I should be very interested in the answer.
When we have before us this emergency, as hon. Members on this side of the House would put it, where the implementation of the resolution would mean a final end to any possibility of negotiations, the House is entitled to know what was proposed and why it could not be accepted as the basis for negotiation by the Government, not that I have any faith in suggestions by Mr. Smith. We have enough experience already to know that he breaks his word as soon as he returns to Salisbury and is subject to the influence of the extreme Right wing of his party. But it would have been useful to have details of those proposals before us.
Apart from the question of negotiations, and whether or not they are a supplementary to any other action that we might take, we have four alternatives. We have the alternative of capitulation, which is proposed by the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) and some of his hon. Friends. That is what their early-day Motion amounts to. They say that the House,… failing an immediate announcement by Her Majesty's Government of their readiness at once to reopen negotiations for a settlement, calls for the ending of all sanctions altogether.That is capitulation and the acceptance of a racialist régime in Rhodesia, which obviously would have to be accepted by 803 other nations if we set such an evil example. That is what the right hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friends want, and, as has been pointed out, it is what the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) has wanted ever since the beginning of this very unhappy affair. They are not correct in saying that the Government are not willing to enter into any negotiations in any circumstances whatsoever. We have it on the record from the Prime Minister on 27th March, and it was repeated by the Foreign Secretary on 24th April, that they are prepared to have talks.… with any responsible persons in Rhodesia who are prepared to discuss with us a settlement on the basis of our agreed principles—". —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th April, 1968; Vol. 763, c. 234.]I shall not quote the rest, because that is enough to show that the Government have not closed the door to negotiations, but the question must arise whether we can properly negotiate with people like Lardner-Burke and Dupont, who have shown that they have no respect for the rule of law, and whose word cannot be trusted. Therefore, any settlement which might have been agreed with those people we could not expect to be put into effect by the Government of Rhodesia.
The alternative of negotiation exists, provided that we can get the right people to negotiate with. I am afraid that, judging from our experience of dealing with them so far, the Smith régime as at present constituted is not a suitable body of persons with whom we can negotiate. The purpose of sanctions must be to replace the Smith régime with people who are more reasonable in their attitude and whom we can trust in our dealings with them.
I do not take the pessimistic view advanced by hon. Members on this side of the House that the sanctions policy is more likely to result in a hardening of support for the Smith régime than to have the opposite effect. If hon. Members take that defeatist view, one is entitled to ask them what they propose. If it is not capitulation, as is the view held by some hon. Members on the extreme Right wing, are they suggesting that we should keep to the existing sanctions, which proved to be so totally ineffective over a period of quite a number of months?
804 If one had maintained that course of action it would not have caused the trouble which has apparently stimulated the Tory Party into vociferous opposition at long last, after attempting to go along with a bi-partisan policy for so long, but the existing sanctions have been riddled with holes. So many people have been engaged in evading them that they would not have been a satisfactory alternative.
There is the possibility that force might have been used. The hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Luard) dealt with this, and said that it would be impossible in the country's present mood to contemplate such an eventuality. We envisage a limited degree of the use of force in the Order, so it is not quite correct to say that force can be ruled out altogether. Article 8(1) of the Order says:Where any authorised officer, … has reason to suspect that any British ship … has been or is being or is about to be used in contravention of … Article 6 . . he may … board the ship and search her and, for that purpose, may use or authorise the use of reasonable force….There we are saying that where it will be necessary for the purposes of giving effect to the resolution we shall use a limited degree of force.
§ Mr. Luard
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that we have already made use of force in our application of the sanctions to Beira? I was at no time suggesting that force in this sense may not be necessary, but was referring to proposals for the outright use of force as a means of imposing a settlement on the régime.
§ Mr. Lubbock
I accept that. I think that the reference was really to an invasion of Rhodesia by British forces. This would clearly be impracticable. I think, with the benefit of hindsight, that it might have been done immediately after the illegal declaration of independence. If forces had been sent in immediately and had taken the illegal régime by surprise we might have been able to overthrow it with the minimum of bloodshed and restore order then. The Government did not have the courage to take that action. But it is rather crying over spilt milk to say this. We must consider the position as we find it and not as we should like it to have been.
§ Mr. Faulds
Will the hon. Gentleman correct his phraseology? The introduction of British troops into Southern Rhodesia would not be an invasion.
§ Mr. Lubbock
I accept that correction. It would mean a resumption of power by means of the use of force. Apart from the phraseology, most people think this is ruled out as a possibility as at present, although it might have been done immediately after the illegal declaration of independence.
So we come to the criticism of the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire of the policy the Government have chosen to adopt, which I think is the only one of the four alternatives I have outlined which would be credible and acceptable to the international community. The right hon. Gentleman has criticised it on a number of grounds which I think are mutually inconsistent. First, he says that the implementation of the United Nations resolution has been selective, and I think that he pointed to Clause 5(a) of the United Nations resolution as an example. That says that all member States shallprevent (he entry into their territories, save on exceptional humanitarian grounds, of any person travelling on a Southern Rhodesian passport …If I understood the Attorney-General correctly, he is saying that if a person is not in one or other of the categories we have decided to exclude he would be granted a British passport and, therefore, would be allowed entry to this country, and that would not be in contravention of the resolution. We are not trying to stop people from visiting relatives and engaging in harmless activities of that kind. They will be given British passports which will enable them to come to the United Kingdom for those purposes.
But if they possess Southern Rhodesian passports and wish to come here to engage in business dealings in contravention of the sanctions they will be deprived of their passports. I shall come back in a moment to the question of safeguards mentioned by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale. But I think that this is perfectly legitimate. If sanctions are to be imposed, they must have some bearing on the persons attempting to evade them, so this is perfectly all right and we are not selectively implementing the resolution. We are implementing it in its spirit and its letter. Then the right hon. Gentleman criticised the Order because of a statement by the Prime Minister 806 that Rhodesia would be kept a purely British problem. The right hon. Gentleman said that, by handing over this decision to the United Nations, the British Government had relinquished control of the handling of this matter. The answer is that this does not affect Britain's obligation to determine the constitutional future of Rhodesia. What we have asked the United Nations to do is to assist us to restore legality in the territory. Then it will be our job to implement the six principles in whatever constitution is devised for the advancement of Southern Rhodesia to self-government.
In no sense can it be said that we have relinquished control of events to the United Nations. We have only asked it to assist us in a situation where the citizens of countries were not prepared voluntarily to impose sanctions on trade. This resolution therefore makes it compulsory on citizens of member nations not to trade with Rhodesia as they have continued to do, particularly in the case of France, West Germany, Japan and other countries. We need the resolution so as to make sure that sanctions are not evaded by others and to secure co-operation in the task we have undertaken.
The right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire also criticised paragraph 13 of the resolution. As I have said, this is depressingly typical of the Tory Party. It is typical that it should fasten on to a reference to the word "moral". The Opposition do not wish to see this problem as a moral one. They wish to see it in primarily economic terms, as was shown emphatically by the next thing which the right hon. Gentleman said— that the most conclusive reason for rejecting the Order is cost.
This was a most shocking and immoral thing for right hon. Gentleman to say. I hope that he will reconsider what the effect of his remarks might be if it is considered that the primary thing which concerns the Tory Party about sanctions is the cost that they will impose on either the citizens of the United Kingdom or those of some other countries.
It is true that the right hon. Gentleman mentioned Zambia as the principal victim. He told us that the cost to Zambia was about £70 million a year. That is a matter for the people of Zambia. If 807 they say that the cost is excessive and want us to end sanctions or not to proceed with the implementation of the resolution, we might consider it. But, on the contrary, Zambia demands not only that we should, as we are by this Order, implement much more severe sanctions but has also tried to push us into the use of force, which, as I have said, is not practicable. The Zambians are not demanding that we should capitulate because of the cost involved to them. They are prepared to bear the sacrifice and it is our duty to assist them to do so, as mentioned in the resolution.
§ Sir Charles Mott-Radclyffe (Windsor)
How much morality is there in carefully camouflaging the cost?
§ Mr. Lubbock
I am not camouflaging the cost. I accept the figures given by the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire. He is no doubt right in saying that it is costing the Zambian economy £70 million a year.
One of the particularly important aspects of the resolution is that other nations should help Zambia to bear the additional cost, which is greater on her than on any other nation. If the United States, France, the Soviet Union and others assist us in making contributions to the Zambian economy, that will be a very good thing and I hope that the Government are taking action in the United Nations to secure compliance with that part of the resolution.
The right hon. Gentleman touched on the question of passports. I agree with the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale that this is a most serious step to take and that there must be the most stringent safeguards against any unjustified removal of a person's passport. The Secretary of State says that the third reason for removal of a passport is where the Government have reason to believe that a person has… furthered or encouraged the unlawful actions of the illegal regime.He adds:A person in this last category will in future be notified and will be told the grounds upon which this decision has been taken.Before that decision is taken, will the person concerned have an opportunity of replying to the charges against him of having furthered or encouraged unlaw- 808 ful actions? Even with this very high-powered list of people whom the right hon. Gentleman has asked to serve as members of the Committee, can we be satisfied that the accused person will have an opportunity of appearing before them or giving evidence in writing to rebut any charges which may have been levelled against him?
§ Mr. George Thomson
I can answer that at once. The purpose of having people in that group will be precisely to give them a chance to rebut the charges if they wish.
§ Mr. Lubbock
I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman. That helps clear up an anxiety I had about passports.
I come now to the question of Mr. Smith's confidential proposals. The hon. Member for Ebbw Vale was extracting from the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire whether the proposals he brought back conformed to the first of the six principles—that is, unimpeded progress to majority rule. He got a clear statement from the right hon. Gentleman on this point. But there are another five principles and I ask the Opposition to be equally explicit about them.
In Mr. Smith's proposals was anything said about the fourth principle—that there would have to be progress towards eliminating racial discrimination? I would be surprised if they conformed to that principle because all the actions of the Smith régime since the illegal declaration of independence have been in the direction of apartheid and further racial discrimination beyond what was already there. If the Smith régime are prepared to reverse this process the public should know. It would be a most important change of policy by the Smith régime.
If the right hon. Gentleman were here, I would like to ask him to be as clear about that matter as he was in answer to the question put by the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale about the first of the principles. This is very important to me and I ask the right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) to deal with it in his winding-up speech for the Opposition. Did Mr. Smith tell the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire that he is prepared to reverse the 809 racial discrimination going on in Southern Rhodesia at the moment and to make an immediate improvement in the political status of the African population —the latter point being the third of the principles? Is Mr. Smith prepared to give guarantees against retrogressive amendments to the constitution, which is the concern of the second of the principles?
I do not want to read out all the six principbs, but it does not hurt to be reminded of them. We often talk about them, but do not examine in detail whether the actions of the Smith régime fit in wich their protestations of adherence to them I cannot see the Smith régime, particularly including men like Lardner-Burke and Dupont, approving any agreement which conforms to the six principles.
I do not believe that the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) would approve an agreement on the six principles. He has been quite frank about it. He never has done and he is fairly close to some members of the régime, so he probably knows what they think. If these conversations cannot be made public now, one must suspect that Mr. Smith is trying to play a double game—trying to pass off on a gullible right hon. Member of this House—I am sorry to have to say this in his absence, but he has been voluble about his dealings with Mr. Smith—that he is really a Liberal who is willing to make progress towards majority rule in 100 years or so, while managing to keep the conversations secret so that no one in Rhodesia will know what is said through the right hon. Member to the Prime Minister. If they knew fully of what was going on, the white people of Rhodesia would be as horrified at the prospect of adherence to the six principles as we are by some of the illiberal acts of the régime.
A word about the reports in the newspapers of the Tory Party's machinations behind the scenes, with particular reference to the vote tomorrow night in another place. I read in the Sun this morning:Tomorrow night's vote represents a major change in Conservative policy. Though it will be paraded as a decision taken solely by the peers, the vote was decided on at Wednesday night's Shadow Cabinet meeting.810 That means that the Leader of the Conservative Opposition actually put the Tory peers up to voting against this Order, and that it is not a decision which they have taken voluntarily.
The Sun editorial, commenting on this, says:The Tory Peers and Mr. Heath may decide that the chance to do any kind of damage to the Government is worth gambling on. If the do, the risk they run is reviving abolition of the House of Lords as a live political issue.The Lords have never divided against a Statutory Instrument of this kind at any time in their history. It would mark a most unusual departure from precedent, and it would be particularly abhorrent to democrats if it is true, as suggested by the Sun, that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition has put the peers up to taking this step.
§ Rear-Admiral Morgan Giles
We have heard of the problems of the Liberal Party at present, but do they base their sources of information entirely upon editorials in the Sun?
§ Mr. Lubbock
I am asking the right hon. Member for Barnet to reply to this. If it is not true, let him say so, and I will take his word if he contradicts me. The report in the Sun is pretty circumstantial, giving not only the time, but the nature of the meeting at which this decision is said to have been taken. If the Leader of the Opposition gets up and contradicts me, I will be happy to accept his word.
The risks are immeasurably greater than the Sun thinks. It is not just a question of reviving the old controversy about the abolition of the House of Lords. If the Tory peers do not reconsider their position by tomorrow evening, not only will they undermine the position of their own House, and put discussions on House of Lords reform back to square one, but they will also be sabotaging the Commonwealth and insulting the United Nations, the Security Council having arrived at this decision unanimously. By indulging in what I see as totally irresponsible conduct, of doubtful constitutional validity, the House of Lords will be setting the worst possible example to a growing number of people who believe that Parliamentary democracy has had its day.
§ 8.4 p.m.
§ Miss Joan Lestor (Eton and Slough)
Because of the limited time, and the number of Members who wish to speak, I will try to be brief. I disagree entirely with the overall condemnation of the African countries made by the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall). But I agree with him when he says that he fears a race war in Southern Africa. This fear is shared by many other Members in the House. What no one who opposes this Order has yet explained is what would happen if negotiations with the Smith régime produce a settlement which is not in the interests of the Africans. I do not see that this will avoid the racial strife which they are out to prevent.
What the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) did not tell us is what we would do if it was found that we could not negotiate on the basis of his proposals. Would he suggest that we should not have sanctions? Should we then capitulate? The moment we start to negotiate, we have already sold out along the road against avoiding a settlement which we do not want to see.
The right hon. Member and one or two other hon. Members have shed crocodile tears for Zambia. It is rather late in the day to refer to Zambia as an excuse for avoiding our responsibilities. I deeply regret that we cannot offer more help to Zambia. I agree with the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock), who said that we should try to negotiate with other countries, to avoid placing Zambia in the humiliating position vis-à-vis South Africa and Rhodesia. In spite of her difficult position, Zambia has not asked Britain to drop this Order.
Because of her difficult position, she was in favour, as we all were, to seeking a solution which would not have meant a long haul, but would rather have been a short sharp solution. It is now late in the day and Zambia knows that the application of comprehensive mandatory sanctions will make her economic position very difficult. When U.D.I. was announced in 1965 Zambia had gained political independence, but she was dependent on Rhodesia and South Africa for trade, communications and power. She has not been able to remove herself from that dependence.
At the time of U.D.I., 95 per cent. of her imports and exports were carried by 812 Rhodesian railways. In addition, all coal and about 80 per cent. of electric power, came from Rhodesia. I go along with the suggestion that Britain should not only provide more aid for Zambia, but should look at the position in terms of the bombing, and perhaps make a contribution to help Zambia defend herself. Zambia's position is sure to worsen.
It has been argued by hon. Gentlemen opposite that sanctions have not been effective because of loopholes. It has been said that it is impossible to make them effective and that they are a waste of time. I do not agree with this, but it is right that, if we are to achieve the desired effects, we must hear from the Government Front Bench how these loopholes, if they exist, are to be closed. If we are to go ahead with a proposal of this magnitude, to shorten that long haul, then such loopholes must be closed.
§ Miss Lestor
My hon. and learned Friend says that it is an entry port of South Africa. It may be that it is not possible to deal with the entry port in a way which would make sanctions effective. This is something which my right hon. Friend will have to answer, because it is one of the crucial points.
I wish to deal with the loopholes which can be dealt with effectively within the next two or three weeks which can prevent our looking as if we are not as sincere as I believe we are. Although the United Nations resolution does not deal with a postal and telecommunications sanction, it is implied in the resolution. This could be part of our contribution to trying to isolate the Smith régime. We have a trade sanction with Rhodesia, and yet B.O.A.C., a State-owned organisation, operates in Rhodesia and is prepared, in London, to book people to Salisbury on its full partner, South African Airways. It advertises services to Salisbury in its timetable. This matter should be considered.
I should like an assurance from my right hon. Friend that he will take whatever action is necessary to prevent B.O.A.C. from accepting Rhodesian money and issuing B.O.A.C. tickets valid for travel on any International Air Transport Association airline and which 813 B.O.A.C, when it redeems them, as it has to do, has to pay for in hard currency. It is ludicrous that B.O.A.C. has an office in Rhodesia. It is more ludicrous that such a situation should be allowed to continue. The same criticism can be made of Thomas Cook & Son, which operates not in exactly the same way, but in a very similar way.
My main criticism of sanctions is directed to the passport sanction. Those of us who argued for a passport sanction argued for a sanction dealing with Rhodesian residents and not the holders of Rhodesian passports. I agree with everything which my hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot) said. If we are to have a passport sanction, we must also have a system of appeal and reference. But it is no good writing into a resolution a passport sanction and holding it up as something which will make a contribution if it is not effective.
Are we talking about post-U.D.I. or pre-U.D.I. passports? If they are post-U.D.I. Rhodesian passports, the only countries which recognise them are Portugal and South Africa, and, I believe, one or two others. Most countries do not recognise post-U.D.I. passports, Therefore, we can be referring only to passports issued before U.D.I.
§ Miss Lestor
I accept that we are referring to them. What I am saying is that it is not such a large operation as it would appear, because we and other countries involved have not been recognising passports issued since U.D.I. Therefore, this sanction, in effect, applies to passports issued before U.D.I. I assume that it will be exceedingly difficult to persuade countries like South Africa and Portugal, which have been recognising post-U.D.I. passports to cease doing so.
The difficulty about the passport sanction is that people in Rhodesia who were born in Britain and have a Rhodesian passport will be able to apply for a British passport. This will let them out of the passport sanction. If they are in Rhodesia and have a Rhodesian passport, but are entitled to a British passport, the logical thing for them to do would be to 814 apply for a British passport, which they would get, because they would be entitled to it. This would narrow enormously the effectiveness of the passport sanction.
People who came from South Africa to Rhodesia who held a South African passport would be excluded from the operation of this sanction. Those who came from South Africa to escape from the South African racialist régime will not be able to get a South African passport because they will have been excluded politically and, not having been born in Britain, they will not be eligible for a British passport. They would be the people against whom this sanction would operate.
Therefore, if we are to have an effective passport sanction, we must have one which operates against people living in Rhodesia, because there are too many loopholes which arise from the fact of where one was born when it comes to applying for another passport.
§ Miss Lestor
I agree. That is why, when we argued in favour of a passport sanction, we pointed out that it was important that such a sanction should apply to people living in Rhodesia. We know from the history of the past few months the complexities of holding a British passport—double nationality, and so on. They would apply to many people living in Rhodesia.
White Rhodesians in this country who left Rhodesia because of the difficulties involved in their political associations have been issued with the six-month travel document or passport, to which reference has been made. On that document is stamped the words "Rhodesian national". These people must be excluded from the operation of sanctions against holders of Rhodesian passports. Do we call these Rhodesian or British passports?
An enormous number of loopholes will be created in the application of a passport sanction unless we make it a sanction which applies to people resident in Rhodesia. It is still possible, on humanitarian grounds, and so on, to obtain 815 exemption. Unless we do this, we shall find on analysis that the sanction will apply to a very small number of people who have a Rhodesian pre-U.D.I. passport which will expire within the next two years, since U.D.I, has been in operation for almost three years, and up to now most countries have not recognised post-U.D.I. passports.
As someone who has been deeply concerned with the situation in Rhodesia since U.D.I, and who has held the view, with several other hon. Friends, that mistakes were made in the beginning about how a settlement could be reached, I think that it would be wrong to give the impression that there is no doubt but that sanctions will bring down the Smith régime. Unless we can close the considerable loopholes, it is unlikely that they will have the desired effect. Therefore, the onus is still on the Government Front Bench to show how these loopholes can be closed.
The difficulty of people who oppose the Order is that if we do not succeed this time in isolating the Smith régime we shall, in my view, have lost the opportunity of doing so for all time. Having said, and continued to say, that we had no intention of using force—and I still think that in the beginning that was a possibility and it may well be something to which, regretfully, we or other nations may be led—[Interruption.] I very much share the concern which is felt about developments in Southern Africa. They are not our fault. Perhaps hon. Members opposite have contributed to them, although they do not realise it.
Unless sanctions can be shown to be effective and can do the job in a far shorter time than hon. Members have indicated, we shall be faced with a very grave situation. If we do not resolve the Rhodesian situation, if we do not succeed in bringing down the Smith régime politically, which is, of course, really the whole nub of the situation, then the difficulties and the problems of the racial strife which everybody in the House wants to avoid may follow, not from a sell-out but from the fact that we have failed to make a settlement, that we have failed to bring the illegal régime back to legality, which is, to me, the kernel of the problem.
816 It is essential that the loopholes both small and large are closed, the small ones to show the international community that we are sincere in what we are trying to do, and the large ones because, if they are not closed, the whole operation may be seen as a declaration of intent, but I doubt very much that it will materialise in any result which can be very effective.
§ 8.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Stephen Hastings (Mid-Bedfordshire)
The hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly), I think it was, said earlier that it was plain that so many hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House were thinking of this question, in a world of unreality, and that applies, it seemed to me, and perhaps to a number of us on this side of the House, to the hon. Lady the Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor); but, nevertheless, there were signs that reality was beginning to dawn upon her, because she sees that this policy of sanctions has failed because of loopholes.
It was pointed out to her that the major loopholes—the trough, as it were —were South Africa and Portugal. She thought that if sanctions did not achieve the aims she hoped rather diffidently for we would fall back upon the use of force. This was the position some of us were in years ago. Nevertheless, a convert, even at this late hour, is welcome. The hon. Lady put her points moderately, and I am sure the House enjoyed listening to her.
There are two other speeches I should like briefly to mention. First, there was the speech of the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Michael Foot), who is not in the Chamber now. We always enjoy listening to the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale, and his hon. Friends derive pleasure and comfort from what he has to say. One of the reasons why I enjoy listening to him is that there is never very much doubt about what he is getting at or trying to achieve, although it is not often that that has much to do with what the Government are trying to achieve.
The hon. Member made what I would describe as a vicious attack on the hon. Member for Pembroke before directing the main body of his remarks against my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) in a calculated attempt to destroy 817 the possibility of negotiations of any kind. That is what the hon. Member for Ebbw Vale is interested in, and that is what hon. Gentlemen of his persuasion on the benches opposite are interested in.
The other speech I wanted to refer to was by the Attorney-General. Someone said it improved as it became more incomprehensible. That is a strange way of complimenting him. One remark I happened to catch seemed to me not untypical, and that was in response to an intervention by one of my hon. Friends, when the right hon. and learned Gentleman said that "the alleged practical difficulties—of the sanctions policy under this Order—should not be used as a means of evasion." I wrote it down quickly at the time. It seemed to me typical of the arguments he was advancing on more than one point—"that the alleged practical difficulties should not be used as a means of evasion." I did a double take!
I want first to make plain the reasons why I regard this Order as particularly dangerous. They are these. It represents, to me, a dangerous and quite avoidable lurch towards that confrontation with the whole of central and southern Africa which some of us on this side have feared for many years now, and it is quite unnecessary. Secondly, it represents potentially a weakening of the Western world's or the free world's position in Africa as a whole. No evidence has been adduced—indeed, nobody could adduce evidence—that the Russians, Chinese, Cubans, Algerians, but principally the first two, have in any way abated their attempt to prosecute subversion and to advance by means which are now perfectly well known and identifiable, into the African Continent.
Certainly the Government can claim that they have through this Order eschewed the use of force as such openly, but they have given, through this infamous paragraph 13, their tacit approval to subversion, and, no matter what interpretations the Secretary of State or anybody else in this House can put upon that paragraph, they cannot deny what is likely to happen. If the process continues, in the end this Government will have been seen to have encouraged the installation of what I can only describe as an iron curtain along the Zambesi 818 and the Rovuma rivers. That is what is implicit in this Order.
But for all that, of course, this Government apparently care not, and hon. Gentlemen opposite, with a few exceptions, do not seem to care either—except for one section of them, who encourage, by their statements and actions in this place, these very activities in such a way as to render their aims almost indistinguishable from those of the Communist countries I have mentioned, engaged as they are in this campaign of subversion in Africa.
All they do care about is the famous unanimity achieved by Lord Caradon at the United Nations. I am not interested in Lord Caradon's convenience in any way. I think his policies and his conduct of the policies of this Government at the United Nations have done enough damage already—and the implications of this latest horse-deal, for that is what it is, let the House be very clear. We have agreed to include this paragraph 13, implying the approval of subversion; against an agreement by other members of the United Nations to exclude a paragraph on the use of force. That is the horse-deal, and that has been done in the name of this Government at the United Nations.
Since U.D.I, there has been a range of views of a widely differing kind expressed in the House about the Rhodesian problem. Many of them, I think it is fair to say, have been modified in the light of events. My own may or may not be acceptable to a majority of this House, but I think I can at least claim the merit of consistency for them over the months and years that have gone by.
I would put forward three propositions as the basis for the arguments I have tried and still try to adduce, in this place and outside, about Rhodesia. The first is that if we are genuinely interested in the advance of the African people, in material and administrative or political terms, instead of in simply striking liberal poses—I beg leave to doubt whether there are not a few Members of the House who are not more interested in the latter—then no kind of computation of voters' rôles, no hypothetical or actual ratio of black faces to white, will guarantee the things which hon. Gentlemen opposite say they want. The only process which, in the long term, will achieve 819 it is economic advance. The policy introduced by this Order is calculated to retard that process.
Secondly, British assets and trade in central Africa and South Africa are an essential bulwark not only of the British economy but of the entire sterling system. I would have thought that was plain. I cannot understand why it does not appear to be plain to the present Government or to the Chancellor of the Exchequer but, in the light of their actions, one must conclude that they treat it lightly. By this Order they have placed in deliberate and increasing jeopardy the economy and the sterling system.
Thirdly, now that the Suez Canal has been blocked, the Cape route is an essential artery for the trade of the free world and Simonstown is an essential element in any British defensive system. This Order threatens both in the long term. By it the Government are betraying their responsibility, not only to the British people and to those all over the African Continent who depended upon us until a short time ago, but to the free world itself, and they do so by contemptibly deciding to extend a policy which is already totally discredited.
What is their objective? It has been discussed in a good many speeches this afternoon. It cannot be negotiations. If they were serious about negotiations they would have taken up the opportunity created for them by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire. The case of the three Africans who were hanged arrived in the nick of time for the Prime Minister to be able to evade the possibility of negotiations. Many of us on this side of the House, and in the country, are quite convinced of that. But however that may be, there is no evidence whatever that they are seeking negotiations at the present time.
They deny that their objective is to destroy the Rhodesian economy. I suggest it is. If it is anything else, perhaps it is this United Nations unanimity which we have heard so much about. The last is meaningless as an objective in this context, and the first will fail so long as South Africa and Portugal continue to support Rhodesia, and there is not the slightest reason why they should change. Why should they? But if there is no clear objective, there is a danger 820 that immeasurable harm could nevertheless be done by paragraph 13 to the peaceful development of Africa. There is enough bloodshed in the African continent without the British Government encouraging it, wittingly or unwittingly, and that will be the result.
Now I wish to turn to the Order. All Rhodesian passports are to be withdrawn, but the Secretary of State will, I am sure, admit that the majority of Rhodesians of European stock, are entitled to United Kingdom passports by birth or descent. These are to be issued if there are "special reasons"—an arbitrary judgment again by the Government.
Article 12(l)(b)(ii) states that passports will be withdrawn from people who are "likely to further" the cause of the régime. That is again an arbitrary judgment by the British Government. The evidence of the last few weeks and my own experience over the passport of Sir Frederick Crawford does not lead one to imagine that this is a situation in which any of us can rejoice. The Government refused to allow the Parliamentary Commissioner to look into Sir Frederick Crawford's case. Now they say it will be investigated by the tribunal, but the tribunal is to have no power to enforce its recommendations, so we are back to square one. I view with increasing concern the arbitrary nature of the judgments which the Government are to be empowered to make by this Order.
Then the Attorney-General said that passports would be withheld from individuals engaged in terrorist activity in Rhodesia. I asked him whether he would look into the files of the Rhodesian police on this matter, as clearly they have a great deal of information. I was told, "We have our own sources of information". I must defer to the Government on this to some extent. One cannot from outside be aware of what information they have, but I have some experience in these affairs. It is a farce that the Government should claim that they can make any judgment about who is or is not engaging in terrorism if they deny themselves access to the evidence which has come from captured or surrendered terrorists.
I would like to have an answer from the Secretary of State on a point concerning airways. No British airline or 821 any feeder line is to be allowed to fly to Rhodesia. By implication, this applies to all other member States of the United Nations. Supposing that South African Airways and Portuguese Airways continue, as they will, to fly to Salisbury, will we deny them traffic rights in London? Is there to be a reciprocal war in traffic rights and routes as a result of this resolution? If there is not, how is it to be avoided? That is the logic of the situation. I would be grateful if the Secretary of State could give me an explanation.
As each inevitability in this long and miserable story has been translated into fact and that fact has predicated the next inevitability in the series, those of us who have foreseen the course of events or who lave some claim to say that they have at this stage, have been left in awe at the gullibility of the so-called liberals of all denominations here, in Fleet Street and in the rest of the country.
I had the privilege of listening to an address by Mr. Malcolm Muggeridge not long ago, and he gave very eloquent testimony to what he described as the "liberal death-wish." It is this which is responsible for the Rhodesian policy. It is the eternal concern of "liberals" with the world as they think it should be and their refusal to contemplate it as it is which lies behind the basic difference between the philosophies of so many hon. Members opposite and most of us who sit on this side of the House. Unquestionably, it is that which lies at the root of this mad policy in Rhodesia.
It would be all right if those who have devised these policies were concerned simply with academic argument. Unfortunately, they are not. They are concerned with the life and death of human beings in a disturbed and volatile continent. Unfortunately, their capacity for calamity is not confined to their own environment and, unless they are soon removed, countered, or—is it possible?— —come to their senses, they will have blood on their hands. That is the danger of this Older.
Lest it be said that I have no alternative to this Gadarene progress or that no one here is prepared to advance one, I would say first that there is no scrap of bipartisanship remaining between the two sides in this matter, and that, if ever 822 there was, it has been decimated in the welter of betrayal and shifting of objects and methods that we have known since U.D.I. The Government should negotiate now in the best way that they can. They have a ready method to hand and have had for weeks. Yet they have done nothing.
If they refuse, we on this side of the House should make it plain that we condemn and reject their entire Rhodesian policy, including all sanctions, that we reserve our position for the future, which is all that we can do situated as we are, and declare our intention to negotiate immediately that we return to power, if that happy event occurs in time to make it meaningful. Alas, it may become increasingly meaningless as the months go by.
I still believe that a legally free Rhodesia could become the fulcrum of trade, contacts and influence for the removal of those fears which are so actively stoked at the United Nations and exploited by those Powers dedicated to the extinction of liberty as we understand it and to the extension of a bleak, cruel iron-clad empire—in the name of Socialism. I believe that Rhodesia could play a critical part in avoiding these disasters. What is needed is that the States of Central Africa and the peoples concerned should all learn to live with one another in terms of reality. Let no one imagine that they would be incapable of doing so on either side of the Zambesi. The evidence for that was produced from the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee in the New Year and has never been denied from the Government Front Bench. They have been asked about it twice by myself.
What happened then was that, of their own initiative through their representatives in London, five independent African Commonwealth States starting with Uganda, followed by Sierra Leone, Lesotho, Botswana and Malawi—and, but for a turn, probably Kenya would have followed suit—said to the committee, "You will never do anything about this. Forget the whole charade. Let us start again and try to build up some kind of workable relationship in Central Africa." What happened? They were sat upon, not by the African states, but by others. A the end of the meeting a very different communiqué came out from that which would have resulted if the advice of those 823 African states had been taken. This is the truth of the matter.
In conclusion, it is a fitting comment on the depth of the irrationality and irresponsibility to which the Government have degraded this House that it should need the House of Lords to call a halt on such an important matter, as indeed it may. The Chancellor of the Exchequer over the weekend made it crystal clear that the Government intend to emasculate the constitution if this Order is refused. They have the gall to claim that they do this in the name of an elected majority, or of the democratic process, or of some such humbug; whereas we know that the only reason they have the right to introduce this Order in this House is because they fear the inevitable obliteration which will overtake them if they dare to apply to democratic process. We know that well, so they might as well stop prating about it from now on. They represent nothing but their own fears and illusions, and these are now too dangerous any longer to be tolerated.
We should reject this Order. If we are defeated in this place, I, for one, am content to rely on the courage and judgment of noble lords in another place.
§ 8.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)
I, too, am content to rely on the courage and judgment of those noble coronets in the other place. If they follow the advice of the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Hastings) I hope that the Government will summon their courage to deal with the Lords in the way they have summoned their courage to deal with Rhodesia in this Order.
From time to time I have been a little critical of the Government on their attitude towards the Rhodesian question. I am happy tonight to give them unfettered congratulations upon dealing with the Security Council resolution in the admirable way that they did. I had some reservations at the beginning that perhaps we had not made the running in the Security Council, that we would be left behind by the Afro-Asian bloc, and that we would not get the necessary kudos out of our attempt to intensify sanctions. I think that the Government, particularly the admirable handling of the situation by Lord Caradon, have amply justified their conduct of affairs at the 824 Security Council, and I give them unfettered praise for it.
One phrase in the speech of my right hon. Friend the Attorney-General filled me with joy. It was the moment when, replying to an intervention from the other side of the House, he said that the kissing had to stop. I began to think that at last we had reached the watershed on the Rhodesian situation. It seemed to me from the beginning that the fundamental flaw in our conduct of affairs with Rhodesia was not so much that we refused to use force at any time, though I believe that originally, at any rate, that was a flaw, but that thereafter we tried to conduct our Rhodesian policy on the basis that we could have reasonable negotiations with reasonable men. It was never possible, and I hope that we now realise that it is no longer possible.
One great virtue that we have built into our political mechanism is this desire to compromise on reasonable grounds. But every so often in our history it lets us down, because we assume that our opponents are as reasonable as we are. It let us down over Munich simply because we thought that we could negotiate with Hitler on a reasonable basis of good, ordinary common sense. It will let us down if we do negotiate a settlement with Mr. Smith or any of his Rhodesian Front colleagues, for the simple reason that they are not reasonable men in the sense that we presuppose it in relation to their conduct of affairs in Rhodesia.
I listened with considerable interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire. Borrowed though his views were, I thought that he made an excellent speech, but I could have turned every phrase which he used about the misguided Liberals against himself as the misguided Conservative. I wonder in which world he lives, and how he thinks that if we do not do what we should do about Central Africa we shall avoid bloodshed in that tragic continent.
Does the hon. Gentleman really believe that if we neglect the claims of four million Africans in Rhodesia they will sit idly by and allow continuing domination by the few whites in their country? Of course, they will not. The hon. Gentleman may regret the activities of the Freedom Fighters, but it is the natural urge of anyone who has been denied the 825 democratic right to express his view, if he has no other way open to him, to turn to violence. I believe that the Freedom Fighters are pursuing the ultimate end of any justifiable policy in relation to Rhodesia. They are saying that the Government of Rhodesia must be overthrown by some means.
I hope that this final intensification of sanctions will overthrow the Government of Rhodesia by economic means. I accept the criticisms made against the Order. Of course, there is the gigantic loophole of South Africa, and I accepl with regret that there is nothing very much that we can do about that, but if we are to fail in the intensification of sanctions, there will be only one way left, and that will be seized upon, whatever we say.
Does the hon. Gentleman—or the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home)— really believe that if there had not been a paragraph 13 in the Security Council resolution, and if it means what they say it means, countries would not have given assurance to the Freedom Fighters? Does the hon. Gentleman really believe that some countries in Africa, or, if he likes, in Eastern Europe, will wait for a Security Council resolution before they help the Freedom Fighters? There is a whole area or commitment in Africa which will be only too pleased to see the Rhodesian Government overthrown, and the inevitable consequence of us failing in our duty is that assistance will be given in an increasing measure to see that that end is achieved.
I believe that we have arrived at the point of saying that though we eschew arms, we are none the less at war with Rhodesia—an economic war if one likes, but nevertheless a war. There are no half measures. We cannot make reservations about the passports of distinguished ex-Governors. We cannot say that we will sell "Pinky and Perky" to Rhodesian television because it fosters good relations. We are at war, with every means which we can see to be practicable. I accept for the moment that we rule out the use of force, and we rule out sanctions against South Africa, two very big loopholes in our policy, but we must put everything else into the balance to show the Rhodesian people that they cannot get away with U.D.I. If we fail, 826 and we might, I shall be happy to have failed honourably.
I do not believe that we can take the other course, which is what the Opposition are now proposing. I do not expect anything more from the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire, and from his hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall). They support Smith; they would like Smith to win. But I expect a good deal more from the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire and from his hon. Friend the Member for Essex, South-East (Mr. Braine), because these men know what goes on in Central Africa in a way that their hon. Friends do not begin to understand.
If they know the aspirations of the Africans there, can they really believe that their present conduct will help to foment good relations with the African nations? Do they believe that they can hide under a pile of coronets and ermine in the other place and that that will improve our standing in the world? Are they going to use the hereditary Peers to flout the unanimous opinion of the world as expressed in the Security Council resolution, one of the very rare unanimous resolutions?
No, the consequence must be that we have to decide that the Opposition Front Bench have reneged on all their principles over this matter. It was they who laid down the six principles, who supported our economic sanctions, and who supported the Government in eschewing the use of force, and thereby, in my view, gravely weakening our conduct of these affairs. Now that we have got to the stage which was inevitable and which I accepted in my first speech in the House on Rhodesia that we would have to reach, of open economic conflict with Rhodesia, they want to "chicken out", they want to go to the country and say that there was a way, that we could have negotiated on the proposals brought back by the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire.
There never was a way. The right hon. Member knows it and we know it. He accepted, almost, today that the proposals he brought back were perhaps not, in themselves, a full acceptance of the six principles, but were a negotiating base from which we could move towards a settlement on the six principles. Can 827 he really accept that that is possible in the light of what Ian Smith told Mr. Waller of the Sunday Telegraph or of his speech, which was quoted by my right hon. and learned Friend, in Bulawayo? Ian Smith has no intention—he said so —of allowing majority rule in Rhodesia in his lifetime. Indeed, he foresees it in 20 to 100 years. That is not what I mean by acceptance of the six principles. That is no unimpeded progress towards majority rule.
When the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire spoke in such veiled terms about his attempt to bridge the gulf on the one remaining issue, the blocking mechanism, I remembered that that was not what the Prime Minister of the so-called Rhodesian Government thought was the ultimate issue. For him, it is the braking mechanism which will protect the white and not the blocking mechanism which will protect the black. What he is interested in is that a braking mechanism should be written into any constitution to ensure that, if the Africans were developing too quickly towards majority rule, they could put the brake on and stop them and, as he said, divert them into another room.
I wish that we had television here for this debate at least, because when my right hon. and learned Friend was making that point today, I noticed the Leader of the Opposition nodding in confirmation of the views of Ian Smith that it would be right to have a braking mechanism whereby progress towards majority rule could be stopped. It is scandalous that the right hon. Gentleman should be trying to mislead the country in this way. It is all very well for hon. Members opposite to go around the country saying, "What we want to do is negotiate". That is what the Government want to do, but they want to negotiate on the six principles, and that is not what the Opposition want. They want to negotiate a sell-out.
To his credit, the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire conceded the point and said that the means to negotiate were available, that negotiations should be started and that the matter should be settled in the best terms that could be got. That was frankness indeed and I wish that we could have the same frank- 828 ness from his right hon. Friends, since that is also their belief.
Right hon. Gentlemen opposite believe that the situation has got to such a pitch that we should sell out because that is all that is let to us. I do not agree. We should not sell out, even if we fail and even if the result means a cost to our balance of payments. We cannot sell out because to do so would be to deny our responsibility as the custodian of 4 million Africans in Central Africa. It would be the worst consequence of our Rhodesia policy. It would be a betrayal of the African people and there would be distrust in the minds of the Africans generally. We would have the worst of all worlds: violence in Central Africa and a cynicism and distrust for Her Majesty's Government that would never die.
§ 8.56 p.m.
§ Sir Lionel Heald (Chertsey)
As one who, from the very outset, opposed U.D.I. and supported the Government in their initial application for sanctions as a means of bringing Rhodesia to the conference table, I welcome this opportunity to explain why I oppose the Order.
I oppose it, first, on practical, commonsense grounds. The information to which I have access leads me to believe that there is no prospect of it succeeding—that is, unless we are prepared to go in and fight, to restore direct rule from this country and to starve Rhodesia into submission. That I am not prepared to support and I do not believe that the British people generally are prepared to support it.
My second reason for opposing the Order is because of an important constitutional principle. I will not bore the House with its details, although facts of this sort should not bore hon. Members. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) reminded the House that he and I pointed out in December, 1966 that the Prime Minister had made no attempt to justify an appeal to the United Nations under Chapter VII of the Charter for sanctions because he was not prepared to say—of course, he could not say—that there was a threat to international peace.
To my astonishment today, I heard the Attorney-General say for the first time, 829 when speaking of the U.N. Charter, that one required not a threat to international peace to call in the United Nations but that cne could take that course for political reasons. He made that plain. He said that the régime in Rhodesia should not be allowed to continue to exist and that we were, therefore, appealing to the United Nations We now know what the Government think of the U.N.—that to support them in their political views they can, if necessary, call them in. Perhaps we will see the day when the Prime Minister will go to the U.N. and ask for a force to protect him against the opposition that he might meet in this country. There is, therefore, no U.N. basis for this sort of Government action, and I object to it on principle.
Let us remember that there are still moderates in Southern Rhodesia. Many of us have friends and relations in that distressed country, and they are just as loyal as any hon. Member. I remind the House of some words used in connection with previous sanctions, in 1775. The words are those of Charles James Fox. He was speaking on sanctions on the subject of a Bill for the regulation of the trade and industry of New England, and this is what he said:You have now completed the system of your folly. You had some friends yet left in New England. … How must they feel, what must they feel, when the people against whom they have stood out in support of your measures say to them: 'You see now what friends in England you have depended upon. They separated you from your real friends, while they hoped to ruin us by it. You are to be starved indiscriminately with us. You are treated in common with us as rebels, whether you rebel or not. Your loyalty has ruined you. Rebellion alone, if resistance is rebellion, can save you from famine and ruin.' When these things are said to them, what can they answer?Those words are as true today as when they were spoken. I return to the hon. Member for York (Mr. Alexander W. Lyon), because those remarks in this House did not go unanswered. It was not the Attorney-General of those days, but the Lord Advocate. He was a man called Henry Dundas, who attempted to defend the Government. He said the measure was not sanguinary and, as for the famine that was so pathetically lamented, his only fear was that the Act would fail to produce it.
That was the kind of speech we have had from the hon. Member for York and 830 others, "Let us starve them if they will not obey our will." It is satisfactory to note that Trevelyan, in his great book on the American Revolution, from which I have quoted, said:The Lord Advocate in vain attempted to extenuate and, if possible, to explain the Government's conduct. Even the majority had had enough of him and the only acceptable sentence of his second speech was that he would bow to the disposition of the House and say no more.
§ 9.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Reginald Maudling (Barnet)
There have been many debates in recent years in this Chamber on Rhodesia and I have had the privilege of speaking in a number of them. Of course, to some extent we are covering fairly familiar ground. The details may change, but the main arguments that have been used across the Floor of the House have been very much the same as we have gone along. What I think is quite apparent is that as the months have gone by so the gulf between the two sides of the House on this subject has inevitably widened. Now, I think, we must accept that it is very wide indeed. We on this side of the House intend to vote against this Order this evening because we believe it is wrong, because we believe, both in particular and in general, that it is an Order calculated not to achieve Britain's objective and safeguard Britain's interest in Rhodesia, but to do great and lasting damage to the causes that both sides of the House have at heart.
The Attorney-General, in opening the debate, rightly said that he understood the main concern was about the effect of this Order on individuals, particularly Article 12. I agree with him on that, but I cannot see that this concern has in any way been lessened as the result of his speech.
To our minds and, I am sure, to those of the public outside, the Order, and this provision in particular, remains vague, arbitrary and punitive in its effect, without any doubt. It is vague, because it is hard to tell who is affected. The United Nations resolution says that all holders of Southern Rhodesian passports, of whatever date, should be excluded from the United Kingdom and other countries. The Attorney General told us that this Article is supposed to carry out the United Nations resolution; yet he also said, as I understood him, that citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies 831 could come here, even though they hold Southern Rhodesian passports.
Where do the Government stand on this? Either they are denying entry to this country to citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, contrary to what the Attorney General said, or they are just trying to drive a coach and horses through the United Nations resolution. Maybe this is a wise thing to do—I do not know. At any rate, the Government should make absolutely clear what they are doing.
Secondly, Article 12(l)(b) speaks of someonewhom the Secretary of State has reason to believeislikely to further or encourage any unconstitutional action".How can that be decided? It is preposterous. This afternoon we welcomed the appointment of Mr. Justice Cairns and his Advisory Committee, which we agree is a good step. However, they are being given a totally impossible task. How can they decide whether people are likely to do something? Will the Secretary of State disclose to the Committee the reasons which he has to have? Will those reasons be open to cross-examination before the Committee? If not, what is the use of the Committee? The Secretary of State cannot act unless he has a reason; nor can the Committee judge the value of his reason, unless it has the detail of it and unless those who are, in effect, accused have the opportunity of refuting the evidence the Secretary of State wants to put forward.
§ Mr. Faulds rose—
§ Mr. Maudling
No. It is a little early.
It is an impossible task to decide what people are likely to do. In any case, why do the Government want to stop travel in this way? It is, in principle, a very silly thing to do. In the past, the Labour Party has often argued for the free movement of individuals between countries in disagreement— Britain and Russia, at one time; Britain and China. Hon. Members opposite have always contended that the more individuals are allowed to travel freely the greater the chance of getting reconciliation.
832 Why take this action to stop the movement of individuals? It is all very well for the Attorney General to say that it is not punitive. No one will take that seriously. The Attorney General says that it is meant to be a deterrent; it is meant to bring home to people what is happening in Rhodesia. It will certainly show people what sort of temper the British Government are in at the moment, when they are giving vent to the frustration of their policy against the movement, and the family interests, very often, of individual citizens who have done no harm to anyone.
§ Mr. Faulds rose—
§ Mr. Maudling
Next, the restriction on people encouraging emigration. I still do not understand the purpose of this. We want a very clear assurance from the Secretary of State on the question raised this afternoon by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) about such people as doctors, teachers and missionaries. We must have an absolute assurance about their position. What about British businessmen? There are a number of British businessmen in Southern Rhodesia who are carrying on their job now, but who, from time to time, obviously must be replaced when they have done their tour of duty. Is it not right for other people to be sent out to take their place? I understand that the guidance given by the Board of Trade so far is that there is no objection to that happening.
Therefore, we want to be quite clear about what the position is. We should be absolutely clear about the position of businessmen, particularly expatriate businessmen, in Southern Rhodesia. I was very disturbed this afternoon when the Attorney General confirmed that to import raw materials into Southern Rhodesia to keep a factory going would be a breach of the Order and, therefore, presumably, a criminal offence. How 833 can any business carry on without importing raw materials? How can any businessman carry on unless he brings in the raw materials which his factory needs to supply goods and employment?
We must not forget that the courts of Rhodesia have found that the Smith Government is a de facto Administration. We must not forget also that the Prime Minister—the Attorney-General echoed this today—has advised public servants in Rhodesia to carry on with their normal business and carry on maintaining, as he said, the fabric of society in Southern Rhodesia. What is true of the public administration must be equally true of the private administration of the economy and of business. How can business be carried on if there is to be no importation of raw materials? We must have a clear answer on this from the Secretary of State.
Quite apart from the position of individuals, which is exceedingly difficult, do the British Government want to destroy all British investment in Southern Rhodesia on top of what they have already done to destroy British trade with Southern Rhodesia? That is what their policy appears to be. It seems that their policy is to destroy the economy of Southern Rhodesia, and this we can never accept, as we have made clear time and again.
The Attorney General argues that we must pass the Order to fulfil the resolution of the United Nations. This is always a dangerous argument, and never more so than today in the light of some of the terms of the resolution by which this Order is justified. One paragraph of the declaration says that there is a threat to international peace and security. This we should not accept. In plain English, a threat to international peace and security is a threat of war. If there be a threat of war, where does it come from? It certainly does not come from the régime in Southern Rhodesia. They are threatening no one with aggression. If there be any threat of violence, it comes from outside Southern Rhodesia, often connived at by members of the United Nations who purport to support this very resolution.
That is a dangerous line for the United Nations to take. It is sheer hypocrisy to say that there is a threat to peace in these circumstances. If a country which dislikes another can declare that it is threatening 834 the peace of the world by not falling in with the first country's wishes, where do we finish? Spain, Portugal, Cuba—many examples can be given. We may disapprove of other countries' policies, we may disagree with them, but we must not arrogate to ourselves the right to say that we intend to deal with them forcibly and, if we are not allowed to do so, there will be a breach of the peace.
§ Mr. Faulds
The right hon. Gentleman has at last kindly given way. Is he pretending that the ordinary indigenous population of a country which is held by a rebel and small minority is not entitled to mount revolution, externally or internally, to remove that power? Does he maintain that?
§ Mr. Maudling
The hon. Gentleman's interventions are always more amiable than coherent. The point I was making is that a threat of war, if it comes from anywhere, comes from elsewhere.
§ Mr. Maudling
A threat of war can only mean a threat of international war, and that can only come from those outside Southern Rhodesia.
The second aspect of the resolution which is extremely dangerous lies in the suggestion that member States shouldgive moral and material assistance to the people of Southern Rhodesia in their struggle to achieve their freedom.What does "material assistance" mean? More important still, what will it be taken to mean? The Attorney-General said that we all know, it has been made quite clear, that it does not mean force in any terms. If it does not mean force, what does it mean? What sort of material assistance can be rendered to the people of Southern Rhodesia in the terms of this resolution?—foodstuffs, raw materials, just the sort of things which the Government are trying to keep out of Rhodesia by the Order? Of course, it does not mean that.
The only thing it can be taken to mean in practice is the provision of some sort of means of using physical force. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire made clear 835 from one obvious example, this is the way it will be taken in many countries. That is equally true of paragraph 17 about paying particular attention to the views of the political parties favouring majority rule. Does this mean something of a veto? If it does not, it is another meaningless phrase, and these meaningless phrases are very dangerous.
Paragraph 17 also includes the provision about a settlement beingacceptable to the people of Southern Rhodesia as a whole.If the reference to particular parties adds something, it can only add something in the nature of a veto. These are clear examples of the dangers that were inherent in the original reference to the United Nations, which we warned at the time would certainly emerge.
As I have said, we oppose the Order because we believe that this policy will lead to disaster. We condemned U.D.I. when it took place without hesitation and without qualification, and we condemn it still. It was an act of great folly, of great unwisdom, that has brought considerable suffering and hardship to Rhodesia, to this country, and to other countries.
We supported the Government in their actions so long as we believed that their policy was on the right lines, but, as progressively they moved away from that, so progressively we have had to dissociate ourselves from their policy. We have been entirely consistent in this throughout, and we remain consistent. We have not changed our policies. For example, we have not changed our policy on sanctions. We do not believe that it would be right to abandon sanctions before or during a negotiation.
I have made quite clear, as my right hon. Friends have on many occasions, that the purpose of negotiations must be to achieve a situation where sanctions can be ended and legality can be restored simultaneously. This was the essence of the proposals that many of us have put forward from time to time, and this remains our view today.
But we have always been against mandatory sanctions. We opposed them from the start, and the reasons we gave have been very much justified in the event. If 836 I may quote myself, in the debate on 6th February last year I said:Our four points against mandatory sanctions … have always remained the same. First, there will be a loss of control by Britain. Secondly, they will not work, unless other countries do the same thing. Thirdly, they will certainly not work without South African support. Fourthly, they will consolidate opinion behind the Right wing in Rhodesia and make the position of the moderates and a would-be moderate alternative Government totally impossible."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th February, 1967; Vol. 740, c. 1225.]Every one of those four arguments has been completely borne out in practice. There is no doubt that there has been a loss of control of the situation by Britain, and the conclusive evidence was given this afternoon by the Attorney-General, when he said that we had to accept the resolution because of the danger of something worse. What room for manoeuvre have the Government now? What room have they for changing their mind? What room have they for agreement? They have tied themselves to the United Nations and lost their control over this British problem, as we said so clearly at the time they would.
We said that sanctions would not work unless other countries did the same. Has not that proved true? People crowded in from many countries to take up the trade Britain was throwing away. We said that sanctions would not work unless other countries co-operated. That is the reason for the Order. But the Order and these sanctions will, in practice, have little more effect than the sanctions the Government have so wrongly tried to rely on up to date.
We said that the policy would not work without the support of South Africa, and that remains as true today as it was then. There is no sign that the South African Government will change their policy in the matter. Their policy of maintaining normal trade with Southern Rhodesia is a keystone of their general external policy. I do not think that the South Africans in any way welcome developments in Southern Rhodesia. The situation creates great embarrassments for them, but it is quite clear that they cannot connive at the destruction of Southern Rhodesia, nor will they do so. As we have said time and time again, if one proceeds further and further along 837 the Government's line of compulsory economic force, the dangers are that one is bound to end up with a confrontation with the whole of Southern Africa. This I beg the Government not to underestimate.
The dangers to us economically, financially and strategically, in present circumstances, the dangers of a confrontation with Southern Africa, are so great that the Government have till now not been prepared to face them. But I warn them seriously that, if they proceed along these lines, the day of such a confrontation will be approaching rapidly and the consequences may be very grave indeed.
Finally, we said that to go on with mandatory sanctions would be to consolidate Right-wing opinion—to drive the Rhodesian political scene further to the right and make it more and more difficult for moderate opinions to make themselves heard. Is not this again precisely what has happened? It is what the. Prime Minister always complains about —that the Government and political scene in Rhodesia are moving further and further to the right. It is what we warned would happen if the Government persisted with their policy of mandatory sanctions;.
§ Mr. William Baxter (West Stirlingshire)
We would like to hear from the right hon. Gentleman the alternative policy to what is presented by the Government.
§ Mr. Maudling
I intend to come to that.
Our basic reason in opposing the Order is because it shows that the Government are determined to rely wholly on the use of all-out economic force to solve the problem. But it will not do so. It will only create chaos. We do not believe that, in practice, the Government's policy will work. We believe that if sanctions worked as they think they will work there would be chaos and destruction within the Southern Rhodesian economy and that they would produce great hardship for many millions of Africans and lasting and permanent bitterness and rancour between this country and the people of Southern Rhodesia. The one thing they will not do is achieve the political solution which is supposed to be the aim of the whole policy.
838 Therefore, we reject the Government's policy. We reject, also, the possibility of the use of force, which I believe quite a number of hon. Member's opposite and hon. Members sitting on one bench on this side still hanker after, because we believe that it would be a disaster.
I think that there are two other alter-tives. There are some who say that we must recognise the facts of the situation, which is that Britain has tried hard to solve the problem, that it has cost us a great deal, that we have carried a great burden but that the problem is beyond our control. They say that we should recognise this and take the consequences and accept them. I do not agree at all with that point of view, because I believe that there still is an opportunity of negotiation. We on this side therefore pitch our policy clearly on the belief that there remains a possibility of negotiation, a slim one.
§ Mr. Maudling
With Mr. Smith, of course. Who else?
Only through negotiations can a tragedy of one kind or another be averted. While the negotiations continue, I believe that the status quo on both sides—on sanctions, U.D.I., and so on—should be preserved. But this means that the Government themselves must make some move and show some willingness to move in the direction of negotiations.
I come now to the proposals brought back by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire with a message to the Prime Minister from Mr. Smith. We on this side trust my right hon. Friend's judgment very highly in these matters and believe that a settlement on these proposals is still possible. The Prime Minister professes that he does not believe it. But why did he not try to find out? This is our main complaint.
It is no good relying on Press interviews weeks after the Prime Minister has rejected the whole idea. Surely, if he was really wanting to get a settlement in Southern Rhodesia, when he was presented with this set of proposals from Mr. Smith, he could at any rate, have made some effort to follow it up and find out whether agreement could be achieved. This is our clear alternative. [Interruption.]
§ Mr. Maudling
Time is short, and I want to make it absolutely clear that in my view the proposals brought back by my right hon. Friend could supply a solution, compatible with the six principles, including the first principle of unimpeded progress towards majority rule—
§ Mr. Maudling
I am glad to hear the Prime Minister saying "Hear, hear". I did not think that he agreed with this. If he does not think that this is so, if he wanted to get a settlement, ought he not to have taken the trouble to find out from Mr. Smith? This situation has developed, obviously, into a great tragedy. There are growing doubts whether the leaders of this Government or the régime in Rhodesia have either the will to settle this problem, or the power to carry a settlement through their own parties. There have been many from the start, in the ranks of the party opposite, who have not really wanted a settlement on any but their own terms—
§ Mr. Maudling
There have been many, too, in the ranks of the Rhodesian Front who equally have not wanted a settlement, save on their own terms.
§ Mr. Faulds rose—
§ Mr. Maudling
The general public in both countries want a negotiated settlement. I believe that the leaders of both Her Majesty's Government and the Smith régime wanted to see one, but the tragedy is that through their follies and weaknesses it has been made so difficult to attain.
We blamed Mr. Smith for the original act of U.D.I. I thought that he missed an immense opportunity when he failed to get the agreement of his cabinet to the settlement reached in H.M.S. "Tiger". I have always clearly blamed 840 Mr. Smith for those two things— [Interruption.] The Prime Minister's memory is slipping for once. He has just come in and should not make interventions from a sedentary position.
§ The Prime Minister
I said that the right hon. Gentleman voted in the Lobby in support of the rejection of the "Tiger" agreement.
§ Mr. Maudling
That is quite untrue, as usual. As the Prime Minister knows perfectly well, I appealed to Mr. Smith to accept that settlement, because I believed it to be in the interest of his country and ours. The Prime Minister's description of the vote that took place is a typical twist. It is intolerable that the people of this country and Rhodesia should face these bitter and savage prospects when most people believe that statesmanship would find a solution.
§ Mr. Maudling
The ordinary people of both countries profoundly long for a solution if only the men in charge of events could produce it. Statesmanship really could find a solution but neither this Order, nor this Government, has a chance.
§ 9.29 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. George Thomson)
This debate has developed, as it was bound to do, into a debate about the Rhodesian problem, and the Opposition have chosen to use the Order to mount a major attack on the Government's Rhodesian policy. It is, therefore, right that I should begin by reminding the House of the great and grave issues of international policy which led to the United Nations Security Council unanimously passing the resolution which the Order seeks to enact.
The assertion of independence by the European minority in Rhodesia—5 or 6 per cent. of the whole Rhodesian nation —raises issues which go much deeper than questions of constitutional legality, important though they are. Many rebellions in history, many illegal uses of power, have been justified by the perpetrators, at the time at least, by the 841 fact that they were revolts against tyranny.
The hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Hastings) showed the tremendous blind spots which people can have in dealing with these issues when he described Rhodesia as a beacon light of liberty in the African Continent. Mr. Smith's rebellion is distinguished from other rebellions in history as being for the perpetuation of tyranny, not for its abolition. Mr. Smith's rebellion supports the proposition that 95 per cent. of the population should remain deprived of their human rights for as far ahead as one can see.
The purpose of the United Nations Security Council resolution and of this Order is to convince Mr. Smith that it is better for Rhodesia to recognise and guarantee the principle of unimpeded progress towards majority rule rather than face economic stagnation and political isolation. That is the answer to the uncharacteristic and unjustified attack of the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) on the Prime Minister. He alleged that the Prime Minister had broken a promise about not using punitive measures. Sanctions, of course, mean hardship; there is no avoiding that. But we are not imposing hardship for its own sake, and that is what punitive measures would mean. We are imposing hardship in order to induce a change of attitude in Rhodesia.
The position of the Government and the Prime Minister has been consistent throughout the Rhodesian crisis. Our position has been one of no surrender, no use of force, and of steadily increasing pressures. It is, in fact, the Opposition who have zigzagged inconsistently as the problem has developed. It is the Opposition who now appear ready to abandon the very principles which they themselves laid down when they were the Government.
I mentioned the choice for Mr. Smith. For Britain, there is no choice. No British Government coul3 abandon their legal and moral responsibility for the 95 per cent. of the Rhodesian population who are at present deprived of their hopes of political advance. My hon. Friends say —and I understand why they say it—that the Conservative Party could. The Opposition may, as they did the other day, put one man's passport before the liberty 842 of 4 million men in Rhodesia. But if they were on this side of the House tonight, I believe that they would feel compelled, as they felt compelled when they were the Government, to put first their obligation to the people of Rhodesia as a whole and to defend internationally the British interests at stake in Rhodesia and in many countries of the world. Make no mistake about the involvement of other countries, whether they like it or not, in the Rhodesian problem. The Rhodesian problem reflects one of the great and explosive issues of world affairs—the problem of race and colour. This is an issue in which Britain cannot afford to be on the wrong side for moral and material reasons.
There are only three courses open to the world over Rhodesia—the use of force, surrender, or the peaceful application of sanctions. The fact that force has unanimously been excluded from the resolution owes a great deal to the patient diplomatic skill of Lord Caradon. I repudiate decisively the criticisms of the hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire in this respect. I was tremendously depressed that the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire, in dealing with paragraph 13 of the resolution, should quote the United Nations Ambassador for Guinea and appear to be prepared to take his word rather than the word of the British representative at the United Nations.
§ Mr. James Dance (Bromsgrove) rose—
§ Mr. Dance rose—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. If the right hon. Gentleman does not give way, the hon. Member for Bromsgrove (Mr. Dance) must not pop up and down. Sir Alec Douglas-Home.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I did not say I accepted the word of the Ambassador for Guinea in preference to Lord Cara-don's word. What I said was that the Ambassador for Guinea interpreted the resolution in terms of force. The right hon. Gentleman apparently does not accept that.
§ Mr. Thomson
I am grateful for that clarification, but what it means is that the right hon. Gentleman is prepared to espouse the interpretation by the Ambassador for Guinea in preference to the 843 interpretation made by Her Majesty's representatives at the United Nations.
One has only—
§ Mr. Sandys
Surely, what matters is not the interpretation we put on it, but the interpretation which other people put on it, and if they interpret it as a licence to use force that is where the danger lies.
§ Mr. Thomson
No. The British Government have a direct and the prime responsibility for Rhodesia. It is recognised in the United Nations resolution, and, therefore, our interpretation of this resolution carries a weight which other interpretations do not. I would have expected that at least right hon. Gentlemen in this House, on whichever side they sit, might have accepted that position.
But what I wanted to say in connection with Lord Caradon at the United Nations is, that one has only to compare the widely different first Afro-Asian resolution and the resolution which finally passed the United Nations, and measure the size of the diplomatic success. Right hon. Gentlemen on the other side of the House giggle, but this was a success for moderation; the counsels of moderation prevailed at the United Nations, above all because of the influence which Britain brought to bear. The position taken up by the Opposition tonight is, in fact, jeopardising those counsels of moderation at the United Nations.
The basic position is that Mr. Smith believes the world will grow weary of resisting the Rhodesian rebellion and that sanctions will wither away. This resolution proves that neither Britain nor the world can or will surrender, and it makes the alternative plain to Mr. Smith—to consider terms for settlement, or stagnation and isolation.
The economic provisions of the resolution which are incorporated in this Order are substantially what we ourselves suggested. They are workable, and they will plug some important gaps. They will also put the same restrictions on other countries' trade as we already put on ourselves. I am bound to say that there is a striking inconsistency in the opposition on the benches opposite to extending sanctions on a comprehensive international basis. Ever since I became Com- 844 monwealth Secretary I have been bombarded across the Floor of the House by hon. Members opposite using statistics to show that our competitors were selling to Rhodesian markets goods which did not come under the United Nations selective mandatory sanctions. The right hon. Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) evinced exactly this glaring inconsistency, when he is not prepared to impose on our competitors the same restrictions which we voluntarily impose on ourselves— with Opposition support. The Conservatives are now opposing them. Hon. and right hon. Members opposite are so blinded at the moment by bias against the Labour Government in favour of their friends in Rhodesia that they are prepared to sacrifice Britain's own direct economic interests. They remind me of the dog which sat howling on top of a thistle because if it got off it would have nothing left to howl about.
The right hon. Members for Kinross and West Perthshire, and for Barnet both asked me a direct question, on the economic aspects of this Order, about the position of British directors of subsidiaries of companies in South Africa and also in Rhodesia. A company which is a subsidiary of a United Kingdom company incorporated in Rhodesia is within the scope of the Order. If its activities are among those forbidden by the Order, the subsidiary company commits an offence; but the director of the subsidiary who is himself a United Kingdom citizen does not necessarily share in his company's criminal liability—only if he consents to or connives in that offence or it is attributable to any neglect on his part. That is in paragraph 15(2) of the Order.
A subsidiary that is incorporated in South Africa is not a United Kingdom national and is not within our jurisdiction. Its activities are not within the scope of the Order, and its directors cannot therefore be guilty of an offence themselves merely because of what their company does. If they are our citizens, and personally participate in activities forbidden by the Order, they are personally liable under it.
§ Mr. Maudling
That was not quite my point. I was concerned with managers running businesses in Southern Rhodesia. Are they committing a crime if they import from South Africa the raw 845 materials which they need to keep their factories going?
§ Mr. Thomson
The same consideration will apply to managers as applies to directors. When the right hon. Gentleman studies what I have said he will find that the position is clear. I will, of course, be very happy to try to clarify it further, if necessary.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Barnet and other hon. Members opposite have argued on the economic parts of this Order that sanctions should be abandoned because they have depressed the living standards of the Africans in Rhodesia. There is no doubt that hardship to everybody in Rhodesia is caused by the sanctions. I do not seek to deny that, but I suggest that those who make this point should consult representatives of African opinion. Mr. M'Kudu, the elected leader of the African opposition in the Legislative Assembly in Salisbury, said in the Bulowayo Chronicle of 17th June that it was not true that Africans wanted sanctions stopped because they, the Africans, suffered more than the whites. In an article in the Rhodesia Herald on the same date he said:The African masses would rather suffer sanctions than give up their rights and heritage.An aspect of the Order that has given understandable concern to hon. Members on both sides of the House has been the Article that deals with the travel restrictions. The right hon. Member for Barnet argued that restrictions on travel would confirm Rhodesians in their attitudes, make them less flexible and so hinder a solution. I do not take this view. There have been over two years since the illegal declaration of independence, during which the contacts afforded by private travel could have influenced the régime towards a settlement based on the principles held by both sides of the House until tonight. Our objective now is to bring home to Rhodesians, not only to the active supporters of the illegal régime but to the ordinary people who sympathise with it, that the régime's pretensions are unrecognised by the world outside.
A criticism which has often been heard from the benches opposite is that sanctions, while hitting the economy, have had little effect on the day-to-day lives of most Rhodesians. As part and parcel 846 of the new and more severe measures, the ban on entry is intended to have such an effect. The right hon. Member for Barnet called it vindictiveness on the part of the British Government. What we fail to get across to the benches opposite is that actions like that are not vindictiveness on the part of the British Government but are a reflection of the condemnation of the illegal régime in Rhodesia by the world community as a whole.
I have been asked a number of detailed questions about how this Article would operate. Some points I will need to deal with in correspondence. I want to answer one important point, as I think there is misunderstanding that the provision may prevent travel by individuals from this country to Rhodesia. Article 13 does not prevent individuals from going to Rhodesia. It is entirely aimed at public advertising promoting emigration. Nor, in answer to the right hon. Gentleman, does it prevent United Kingdom companies posting individual employees to subsidiaries in Rhodesia, provided that they keep within the law when they get there. But, as regards doctors, teachers and missionaries referred to by the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire, the Article provides that licences may be issued for advertisements for emigrants within this humanitarian category. Each case will be looked at on its merits. I think that the right hon. Gentleman might like to know that I have already granted a licence for an advertisement for nurses and medical staff in relation to Rhodesia.
I turn now to what has been the underlying theme in the debate, and that is the question of what can be done to promote an acceptable settlement of die Rhodesian problem. The Government have been under very strong attack during the debate for their alleged unwillingness to engage in negotiations to bring about a settlement. Indeed, to listen to some of the speeches, one would think that, over our period of responsibility for the problem, which we inherited from the party opposite, we had shown a recurrent unwillingness to try to come to a settlement. If I heard him right, the right hon. Member for Barnet seemed to doubt our real desire to come to a settlement.
I have before me a note that I had prepared for the debate of the number of 847 occasions on which we have conducted talks with the illegal régime to try and arrive at a settlement. Since March, 1966, there are 12 separate occasions, and there have been 79 solid days of effort by Her Majesty's Government to try and reach an agreed negotiated settlement. Our position—
§ Mr. Victor Goodhew (St. Albans) rose—
§ Mr. Thomson
I am always happy to give way to hon. Members who have had the patience to sit throughout the debate and take part in it, but I will not give way to hon. Members who come in at nine in the evening.
§ Mr. A. Woodburn (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I gather that the Minister quoted from what is an official document. Could that be put into HANSARD? Are we not entitled to call for its publication?
§ Mr. Thomson
I am happy to make the paper available privately to my right hon. Friend—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] —or to anyone else who wishes to see it. It is simply a list of the occasions on which negotiations have taken place. If it would be helpful to the House, I will gladly have it put into the OFFICIAL REPORT. I use it to indicate that Her Majesty's Government have consistently sought an honourable settlement. That remains the whole object of our policy. But it must be a settlement on which we and others can rely and which offers adequate guarantees for the future. It is no use talking unless there is a will on the other side to co-operate and a genuine acceptance of the principles to which we in this House are all committed.
The Government are constantly on the look-out for signs that these conditions are met. When they are met, I can promise the House that the Government will not be slow to respond. Meanwhile, in all honesty, we have to measure Mr. Smith's recent pronouncements, some of which were quoted by my right hon. and learned Friend and others of which were quoted in interesting detail by my hon. 848 Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Luard).
The common tenure of all these recent utterances by Mr. Smith has been to indicate that there is not the basis of a settlement which could be commended to this House. In addition to his public utterances, one can only note the proposal from Mr. Smith's Commission that the most that the African 95 per cent. in Rhodesia can ever aspire to in some uncertain future is parity with the European five or six per cent., and even that is being attacked by many in the Rhodesian Front as being far too liberal.
How can all this be reconciled with the principles laid down by this House? What sort of guarantee does it offer the Africans? Is it surprising that, when those sorts of utterances are made in public, we should think very carefully before raising the hopes of some and the suspicions of others by starting a fresh round of talks with no kind of guarantee as to their outcome?
I hope that the international pressures now on Rhodesia, which have been reinforced, will gradually lead responsible people there to realise that the future prosperity of that country can only be part of a firm acceptance of the rights of the majority. Let there be no mistake. If our pressures were lifted, as I understand was being argued by the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys), who used to take a different view when he was in my position, whatever inducement the régime has for seeking a settlement on the basis of our principles will disappear. We do not mean to relax our pressures; we also do not mean to relax our search for an honourable settlement; but we should keep a sense of proportion about it.
It is Rhodesia, not Britain, that needs a settlement. Sanctions may be hurting our trade, and we all regret it, but our wellbeing as a nation does not depend on our trade with Rhodesia, though our moral standing in the international community depends upon our attitude towards Rhodesia. What I have called the long haul is a wasteful and painful prospect, and I take no joy in it; but it will not drain our life-blood. More serious would be the damage to the interests of this country if we connived at a settlement that would sell the Africans of 849 Rhodesia down the river. How secure, I ask hon. Gentlemen opposite, would be our investments in Rhodesia then?
We have emphasised that we cannot afford a confrontation with South Africa, and the resolution that was passed unanimously recognises that position on our part. But it is essential to this country's interests;—and it is equally important to recognise it—that we cannot afford a confrontation with what is called the developing world.
I dislike sanctions and I dislike the hardship that they cause to people of all races in Rhodesia, but I prefer this hardship to the appalling sufferings of war. The demand to drop sanctions should be directed not to Her Majesty's Government, but to the one man who can stop sanctions—Mr. Smith. The starting point is for him to show that he is ready to talk genuinely and sincerely about peaceful progress to majority rule.
The right hon. Member for Barnet complained that we were not seizing the opportunity that had been offered for immediate negotiations. It is important to remind him and the House that it was Mr. Smith who slammed the door on a just settlement, first, by his rejection of an effective safeguard for majority rule; secondly, by the illegal executions which provoked the latest United Nations resolution and which at the time provoked the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire to admit that the chance of talking had passed for the present; and, thirdly, by the attitude of the régime towards the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as Rhodesia's final court of appeal.
I remind the House that it was the Rhodesian régime which chose to precipitate this phase of the crisis by carrying out these executions at a time when Mr. Smith was claiming to make new proposals to the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire upon which a settlement might be based. This of itself was bound to cast doubt on the régime's sincerity of purpose. Mr. Smith has insisted on keeping secret the proposals which he suggested to the right hon. Gentleman, and the right hon. Gentleman explained this afternoon that he felt bound by that confidentiality. We can all understand that it suits Mr. Smith to keep these matters secret and to keep his own people guessing, as the 850 hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) so well put it in his speech.
But one thing about Mr. Smith's proposals to the right hon. Gentleman is no secret. His proposals dealt, above all, with that vital element of any final settlement—the question of a blocking quarter in the Rhodesian Assembly. I can tell the House—and those who have followed the debate know it from earlier exchanges —that Mr. Smith's proposals still fall decisively short of the blocking quarter of popularly elected Africans to which he agreed on "Tiger".
This is not the only element in a search for a settlement, but I think the right hon. Gentleman is right that it is a key element in a search. It is certainly essential to the guaranteeing of the first two of the six principles: unimpeded progress to majority rule and no retrogressive amendment of any agreed Constitution. The great advantage of the blocking quarter is that it is not really a matter of political judgment about which we might disagree across the Floor of the House, or about which the British Government might disagree with Mr. Smith. A blocking quarter is a quarter. It is a matter of arithmetic, not of politics, and the challenge which I issue to Mr. Smith is to say unequivocally that he is ready to return to a blocking quarter of Africans elected on a popular franchise. What he has been saying publicly has been the reverse of this, but if he is ready for this, let him say so.
I hope that the unanimous United Nations resolution and this Order will help to convince Mr. Smith, if not now, then later, that such a step is worth while. We are showing that Britain and the international community are determined not to surrender. The alternatives for Rhodesia to an honourable settlement are at best indefinite political isolation and economic starvation, and at worst a growing guerrilla war in Africa which could very well engulf Southern Rhodesia, and both sides rightly fear that this would be a resort to force, and it is this resort to force which we abhor and oppose, just as much as we have opposed the use of force by ourselves in this crisis.
The Security Council resolution continues to put the United Nations squarely behind peaceful pressures. I hope that as quickly as possible Mr. Smith will learn the lesson of this unanimous United 851 Nations attitude and will say that he is ready to seek a settlement on the only basis possible, the right of people in Rhodesia to advance, not tomorrow, or even next year, but to advance steadily and surely towards majority rule.
There have been so many different Opposition points of view put forward today that I find it difficult to know exactly where the Conservative Party stands. The right hon. Member for Barnet said that he condemned U.D.I, and still does. The hon. Member for Mid-Bedfordshire, if I understood his speech correctly, said that we ought to recognise U.D.I.
§ Mr. Thomson
It sounded like that from this Box. It seemed as though the hon. Gentleman was ready to accept recognition of the illegal régime in Rhodesia on any terms that could be got by this Government, and he urged his Front Bench to espouse that cause. It looks as though Mr. Smith and the right hon. Gentlemen sitting on the Front Bench opposite have at least one thing in common—in present circumstances they are both obsessed with appeasing their Right Wing.
As I understand the position, the official Opposition appears to argue— and I am anxious to be accurate and fair about this—that they are not against sanctions in principle—that is what I took from the right hon. Gentleman's speech—but only against mandatory United Nations sanctions. That may be
§ enough to unite them in the Lobby tonight, but it is a squalidly opportunist position to take on an issue of great international principle. It is designed to conceal the fact which some Members in another place are more honest about, that the Conservative leadership is no longer master in it's own house.
§ In practice this attitude on the part of the Conservative leadership has the preposterous result of exempting the businessmen of other countries from the burdens which the Conservatives agree should still be placed on our own businessmen, so what they say they want adds up to imposing great burdens on Britain, but none on others, while making sanctions as ineffective as possible because the burden on us will last as long as possible. To sustain this ludicrous posture they are ready to stop at nothing to flout our most solemn obligations to the United Nations.
§ For a long time the Conservative leadership has struggled to maintain a responsible policy on Rhodesia against their own backwoodsmen. Now they have given up the struggle. This is the traditional Tory attitude of distrust of the United Nations, distrust of democracy, and sympathy for the aspirations of white minorities and racialist supremacy. For the good name of Britain it is vital that these attitudes should not succeed tonight. I ask Parliament to repudiate these attitudes by giving its support to the Order.
§ Question put:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 319. Noes 246.857
|Division No. 215.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Albu, Austen||Boyden, James||Crawshaw, Richard|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Braddock, Mrs. E. M.||Cronin, John|
|Alldritt, Walter||Bradley, Tom||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony|
|Anderson, Donald||Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Archer, Peter||Brooks, Edwin||Cullen, Mrs. Alice|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Broughton, Dr. A. D.D.||Dalyell, Tarn|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Darling, Rt. Hn. George|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Brown,Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.)||Davidson,Jame*(Abertleenshire,W.)|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Davles, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)|
|Barnes, Michael||Buchan, Norman||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)|
|Barnett, Joel||Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'bum)||Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)|
|Baxter, William||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Davies, Harold (Leek)|
|Beaney, Alan||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Davies, Ifor (Gower)|
|Bence, Cyril||Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Delargy, Hugh|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Cant, R. B.||Dell, Edmund|
|Bennett, James (G'gow, Brldgeton)||Carmichael, Neil||Dempsey, James|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Carter-Jones, Lewis||Dewar, Donald|
|Binns, John||Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Diamond, Rt. Hn. John|
|Bishop, E. S.||Coe, Denis||Dickens, James|
|Blackburn, F.||Coleman, Donald||Dobson, Ray|
|Booth, Albert||Concannon, J. D.||Doig, Peter|
|Boston, Terence||Conlan, Bernard||Dunn, James A.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Dunnett, Jack|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Kerr, Or. David (W'worth, Central)||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Eadie, Alex||Kerr, Russell (Feltham)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Edelman, Maurice||Lawson, George||Probert, Arthur|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Leadbitter, Ted||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Ledger, Ron||Randall, Harry|
|Ellis, John||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Rankin, John|
|English, Michael||Lee, Rt. Hn. Jennie (Cannock)||Rees, Merlyn|
|Ennals, David||Lee, John (Reading)||Reynolds, Rt. Hn. G. W.|
|Ensor, David||Lestor, Miss Joan||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Richard, Ivor|
|Evans, Gwynfor (C'marthen)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Roberts, Albert (Nortnanton)|
|Faulds, Andrew||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Roberts, Rt.Hn.Coronwy(Caernarvon)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Lipton, Marcus||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Lomas, Kenneth||Robinson,Rt.Hn.Kenneth(St.P'c'as)|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Loughlin, Charles||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)|
|Foley, Maurice||Luard, Evan||Rodgers, William (Stockton)|
|Foot, Rt. Hn. Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Lubbock, Eric||Roebuck, Roy|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Ford, Ben||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Forrester, John||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)|
|Fowler, Gerry||McBride, Neil||Ryan, John|
|Fraser, John (Norwood)||McCann, John||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Freeson, Reginald||MacColl, James||Sheldon, Robert|
|Galpern, Sir Myer||MacDermot, Niall||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Gardner, Tony||Macdonald, A. H.||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)|
|Garrett, W. E.||McGuire, Michael||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton,N.E.)|
|Ginsburg, David||McKay, Mrs. Margaret||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Silverman, Julius|
|Gourlay, Harry||Mackie, John||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Mackintosh, John P.||Slater, Joseph|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Maclennan, Robert||Small, William|
|Gregory, Arnold||MacMillan, Malcolm (Western Isles)||Snow, Julian|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||McNamara, J. Kevin||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||MacPherson, Malcolm||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Mallalieu,J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.)||summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Manuel, Archie||Swain, Thomas|
|Hamling, William||Marks, Kenneth||Swingler, Stephen|
|Hannan, William||Marquand, David||Symonds, J. B.|
|Harper, Joseph||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Taverne, Dick|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George|
|Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith||Maxwell, Robert||Thomson, Rt. Hn. George|
|Haseldine, Norman||Mayhew, Christopher||Thornton, Ernest|
|Hattersley, Roy||Mendelson, J. J.||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy|
|Hazell, Bert||Mikardo, Ian||Tinn, James|
|Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Tomney, Frank|
|Heffer, Eric, S.||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Tuck, Raphael|
|Henig, Stanley||Molloy, William||Urwin, T. W.|
|Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Moonman, Eric||Varley, Eric G.|
|Hilton, W. S.||Morgan, Elystan (Gardiganshire)||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Horner, John||Morris, John (Aberavon)||Wallace, George|
|Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Moyle, Roland||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Murray, Albert||Weitzman, David|
|Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Neal, Harold||Wellbeloved, James|
|Howie, W.||Newens, Stan||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Hoy, James||Noel-Baker,Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.)||Whitaker, Ben|
|Huckfield, Leslie||Oakes, Gordon||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Ogden, Eric||Whitlock, William|
|Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.)||O'Malley, Brian||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Oram, Albert, E.||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Orme, Stanley||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Hunter, Adam||Oswald, Thomas||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Hynd, John||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'th)||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Irvine, Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Owen, Will (Morpeth)||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||page, Derek (King's Lynn)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Jackson, Peter M. (High Peak)||Palmer, Arthur||Willis, Rt. Hn. George|
|Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Jeger, George (Goole)||Pardoe, John||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Jeger,Mrs.Lena(H'b'n&st.P'cras, S.)||park, Trevor||Winnick, David|
|Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Winstanley, Dr. M. P.|
|Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Parkin, Ben (Paddington, N.)||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Woof, Robert|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Pavitt, Laurence||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Yates, Victor|
|Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred|
|Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Pentland, Norman||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Judd, Frank||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)||Mr. Ioan L. Evans and|
|Kelley, Richard||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)||Mr. Charles R. Morris.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Glover, Sir Douglas||Monoro, Hector|
|Aliason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Glyn, Sir Richard||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Astor, John||Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Goodhart, Philip||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)|
|Goodhew, Victor||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles)|
|Awdry, Daniel||Gower, Raymond||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Gower, Raymond||Murton, Oscar|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Grant, Anthony|
|Blaniel, Lord||Grant-Ferris, R.||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Gresham Cooke, R.||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Batsford, Brain||Grieve, Percy||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Nott, John|
|Bell, Ronald||Gurden, Harlod||Onslow, Cranley|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Hall, John (Wycombe)||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos, & Fhm)||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Orr,-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Hamilton, Lord (Fermanagh)||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Biffen, John||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Blaker, Peter||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Peel, John|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.)||Hastings, Stephen||Percival, Ian|
|Body, Richard||Hawkins, Paul||Peyton, John|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Hay, John||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward||Heald, Rt. Hn. S.r Lionel||Pounder, Rafton|
|Braine, Bernard||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Heseltine, Michael||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Higgins, Terence L.||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hiley, Joseph||Pym, Francis|
|Bryan, Paul||Hill, J. E. S.||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N&M)||Hirst, Geoffrey||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Holland, Philip||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hordern, Peter||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Burden, F. A.||Hornby, Richard||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Campbell, Gordon||Howell, David (Guildford)||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hunt, John||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Iremonger, T. L.||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Channon, H. P. G.||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Robson Brown, Sir William|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Clark, Henry||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Clegg, Walter||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Royle, Anthony|
|Cooke, Robert||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Jopling, Michael||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Cordle, John||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Corfield, F. V.||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Scott, Nicholas|
|Costain, A. P.||Kerby, Capt. Henry||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|Craddock, Sir Berestord (Spelthorne)||Kershaw, Anthony||Sharpies, Richard|
|Crouch, David||Kimball, Marcus||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Crowder, F. P.||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Silvester, Frederick|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Kitson, Timothy||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Lambton, Viscount||Smith, John (London & W 'minster)|
|Dance, James||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Speed, Keith|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Lane, David||Stainton, Keith|
|Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Stodart, Anthony|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Ripon)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Donnelly, Desmond||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Lanigstone)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourns)|
|Doughty, Charles||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec||Longden, Gilbert||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Drayson, G. B.||Loveys, W. H.||Teeling, Sir William|
|du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Temple, John M.|
|Eden, Sir John||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Thatcher, Mrs. Margaret|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshaiton)||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain||Tilney, John|
|Emery, Peter||McMaster, Stanley||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Eyre, Reginald||Maddan, Martin||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Farr, John||Maginnis, John E.||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Fisher, Nigel||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Wall, Patrick|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Marten, Neil||Walters, Dennis|
|Forrest, George||Maude, Angus||Ward Dame Irene|
|Fortescue, Tim||Maudling Rt. Hn. Reginald||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Foster, Sir John||Mawby, Ray||Webster, David|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford& Stone)||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Gibson-Watt, David||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Giles, Rear-Adm. Morgan||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Williams, Donald (Dudley)|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Miscampbell, Norman||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Mitchell, David (Basingsstoke)||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick||Worsley, Marcus||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard||Wylie, N. B.||Mr. R. W. Elliott and|
|Woodnutt, Mark||Younger, Hn. George||Mr. Jasper Mose|
That the Southern Rhodesia (United Nations Sanctions) Order 1968 (S.I., 1968, No. 885),
dated 7th June, 1968, made by Her Majesty in Council under the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965, a copy of which was laid before this House on 10th June, be approved.