HC Deb 16 May 1968 vol 764 cc1392-4
Q1. Mr. Winnick

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

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

I have nothing to add to the Answers I gave to Questions on 9th May.—[Vol. 764, c. 614–5.]

Mr. Winnick

Would not the Prime Minister agree that the recent statement by Smith that there can be no majority rule in Rhodesia for a hundred years makes a mockery of any proposals brought back from Rhodesia by the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home)? In view of the continued fighting in Rhodesia, is not even the illegal régime's law and order now breaking down?

The Prime Minister

I have already commented in this House on the statement made by Mr. Smith in the Sunday Telegraph. It suggests, if we are to take those words at their face value, that he rejects the whole concept of the six principles on which not only Her Majesty's Government but the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) was insisting in his visit.

Mr. Heath

The Prime Minister will no doubt have seen reports in the Press today that Rhodesian citizens holding Rhodesian travel documents were issued with British passports enabling them to travel and train as terrorists. Will he inquire into this to see whether there is truth in it?

The Prime Minister

Yes, certainly. I have only the Press reports to guide me, but they are important and serious Press reports. They should be taken seriously, and they will be. On the information available—and this seems to be in the newspaper report itself—it seems that these were Rhodesian citizens who were allowed out of Rhodesia on the authority of the régime itself with documents issued by the régime, so presumably they thought there was nothing suspicious about them. It would seem that, as is usually the case, these post-U.D.I. passports were automatically exchanged for British passports at the High Commissions concerned, but certainly this will be inquired into very rigorously.

Mr. Hooley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many distinguished and responsible heads of African States are being forced to the reluctant conclusion that the only remedy for tyranny and oppression of Africans in central Africa is becoming organised guerrilla warfare? Does he agree that unless this Government take more rigorous and definite steps to organise the international community to put down the Rhodesian re- bellion there will be a disastrous race war in Southern Africa?

The Prime Minister

It has been the position of most Heads of State, certainly of Commonwealth African countries from the beginning, that this problem could be solved only by the use of force by Her Majesty's Government. That has been their position and they have continually expressed it. As my hon. Friend knows, we do not share that view. It is not, I think, right to say that they themselves are in any way involved in internal fighting in Rhodesia. As to the last part of the question about organising the international community, I think my hon. Friend is aware of the resolution we have tabled at the United Nations Security Council.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

In view of the Government's selection of Sir Frederick Crawford, Mr. Harper and others for oppressive and vindictive treatment, may I ask whether the Prime Minister realises that it is widely considered that to be on their black list will be a signal honour?

The Prime Minister

In the eyes of the hon. Member certainly, because he has consistently supported the illegal régime against the principles of the rule of law.