HC Deb 23 May 1968 vol 765 cc866-7
Q8. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on the present situation with regard to Rhodesia.

The Prime Minister

I have nothing to add to the Answers given to Questions by my right hon. Friend the Commonwealth Secretary on 21st May and by myself on 16th May.—[Vol. 765, c. 270–5; Vol. 764, c. 1392–4.]

Mr. Wyatt

Did my right hon. Friend notice that Dr. Hastings Banda, who could hardly be accused of being anti-African, said on television the other night that he thought that this matter could be settled by further conversations between the Prime Minister and Mr. Smith? Will he take Dr. Banda's advice on how to set about this? Dr. Banda is coming back to London on Monday night.

The Prime Minister

I am aware of Dr. Banda's travel arrangements. I spent several hours with him yesterday and discussed these matters with him. I do not think that Dr. Banda is in a position to offer any hope to me or my hon. Friend that Mr. Smith after his recent pronouncements has any intention of honouring the six principles. When we see some sign that he is, that would create a different situation.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Though I do not want to lose my passport, may I again put to the Prime Minister the point I put to him some time ago—when will he realise that sanctions against Rhodesia are not working, and will not work?

The Prime Minister

That is not a proposition I accept. Even if it were, I do not believe that the majority of the House believe that after all the statements made by the previous Government and the present Government we should surrender on the six principles which the whole House has endorsed.

Mr. Molloy

Will my right hon. Friend maintain the same concern for all the people of Rhodesia as he has for all the people of Gibraltar, unlike the Opposition?

The Prime Minister

That raises two questions. We never proposed to supply frigates to Spain, as the previous Government did within a month of Spain laying claim to Gibraltar. As for Rhodesia—we are carrying out the policy, which the previous Government annunciated, of accepting our responsibilities to all the 4 million people of Rhodesia.

Mr. Awdry

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some of us on this side who supported him on oil sanctions would now only wish that he had shown a bit more flexibility in this matter?

The Prime Minister

The view of many Commonwealth countries is that I have shown too much flexibility—for example, in the "Tiger" talks. The conditions offered to Mr. Smith then were fair and honourable and I regret that they were not accepted. [An HON. MEMBER: "What a hope!"] I think that Mr. Smith wanted to accept them but was overborne when he got back to Rhodesia. The terms were perfectly fair and have recently been endorsed, even by the Conservative Party, which voted against them at the time. So it is no good saying, "What a hope!"