HC Deb 09 May 1968 vol 764 cc614-6
Q1. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Prime Minister what further arrangements he is now making to resume negotiations for a settlement of Rhodesian problems.

Q6. Mr. Wall

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the latest situation in Rhodesia.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

I have nothing to add to the Answers I gave to Questions on this subject on 25th April and 7th May.—[Vol. 763, c. 481; Vol. 764, c. 212.]

Sir G. Nabarro

Has the Prime Minister observed the continuing decline of British financial and economic influence throughout Africa, the latest example of which is now reported of £11 million of economic aid to Malawi from South Africa, all of which should have been a British province? Will he not take early steps, therefore, to reopen negotiations before we lose all our African trade?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Member will be delighted to know how much our trade with African countries north of the Zambesi has increased since U.D.I. Although he will recognise the difficulties of making the resources available, I take note of his desire for an increase in the aid programme for Commonwealth countries in Africa. So far as negotiations with Rhodesia are concerned, he will be aware of recent statements by Mr. Smith in which he not only refused any idea of supporting majority rule in any foreseeable time, but in which he said that he has never believed in it.

Mr. Wall

Has the Prime Minister rejected the opportunities offered by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) for reaching a compromise? Is he planning an economic war of attrition designed to create violence among unemployed Africans?

The Prime Minister

I have nothing to add to what was said in recent debates. When he studies the words of Mr. Smith, the hon. Member will realise that there never was a suggestion of compromise on the part of the régime which fitted in with the six principles. Anything of that kind of agreement would not, I hope, be accepted by most hon. Members.

Mr. Whitaker

Can my right hon. Friend think of any explanation for the strikingly different attitude taken by many Conservatives towards immigrants in this country and that adopted towards immigrants in Rhodesia?

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

Will the Prime Minister give us a White Paper setting out the terms of the apartheid-type legislation which the Smith régime has recently put into force?

The Prime Minister

I will ask my right hon. Friend the Commonwealth Secretary to consider whether more information should be given, but my right hon. Friend will remember that in the debate on Rhodesia recently I went at some length into the intensification of apartheid and denial of educational opportunity being practised by the régime.

Mr. Hugh Fraser

Would the Prime Minister not agree that the conduct of relations with Rhodesia through Press statements and the sort of statement the right hon. Gentleman has just made is totally absurd? This is a serious matter, not a question of what Mr. Smith is reported to have said to newspapers, but a question of the negotiations which should be undertaken with Mr. Smith.

The Prime Minister

There have been plenty of opportunities and the most recent was the visit of my right hon. Friend to Salisbury at the end of last year. We have no reason at all now to accept that there was any genuine desire on the part of Mr. Smith, or if there were, that he was allowed to further those desires. His most recent statements make this crystal clear.