§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
(by Private Notice) asked the Commonwealth Secretary whether he will make a statement on the United Nations Resolution on Rhodesia.
§ The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. George Thomson)
As the House knows, a meeting of the Security Council on Rhodesia was called to deal with the situation created by the illegal hangings. A draft Resolution was tabled on 18th April by the African and Asian members of the Security Council. It envisaged the use of force and measures against South Africa and Portugal. On 23rd April we presented our own draft Resolution to the Council. It was explained to the House by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, on the following day and the text included in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Since then discussions have been continuing in New York and these dis- 2136 cussions have now led to a unanimous Resolution. We did not sponsor it—nor did the Afro-Asians—but the whole Security Council, without exception, has given it its vote. I think that it is a considerable achievement that it has been possible for the Council to adopt unanimously a complex and detailed Resolution touching on many of the national interests of United Nations members. This is impressive testimony to the refusal of the international community to accept the illegal régime and its objectives for Southern Rhodesia.
I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT the text of the Resolution that has now been passed. We have throughout made it clear that we cannot contemplate the use of force to solve the Rhodesian problem and that we are not prepared to engage in an economic confrontation with South Africa. There is nothing in the Resolution that conflicts with our position on these essential points. Most of the detailed provisions of the Resolution are based on the earlier United Kingdom draft.
As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary explained to the House on 24th April, the main effect of these provisions will be to make sanctions more comprehensive, to block methods of evading sanctions, and to require other countries to place the same prohibitions on trade with Southern Rhodesia as we have applied to our own trade.
One new paragraph requests States— and here I quote for the information of the House—to take all possible further action under Article 41 of the Charter to deal with the situation in Southern Rhodesia",while another—and again I quote—emphasises the need for the withdrawal of all consular and trade representation in Southern Rhodesia".In his explanation of vote on these paragraphs our Permanent Representative at the United Nations, my right hon. and noble friend Lord Caradon, made our position clear in the following terms— and here I use his words:We have to bear in mind the special responsibility of the United Kingdom as administering authority. That responsibility has been recog-ised and emphasised in the Resolution itself. It has been accepted in our consultations that we will retain our Mission and communications with Rhodesia".2137 The Resolution contains some additional paragraphs of a political character. These paragraphs are consistent with the policy of Her Majesty's Government which is based on the six principles to which both sides of the House are committed. Nothing in these paragraphs places any restriction on Britain, beyond what is contained in the six principles themselves, to discharge her responsibilities towards Rhodesia as she thinks best. Nothing in these paragraphs condones the use of violence.
Her Majesty's Government maintain their opposition to violence as a means of solving the Rhodesian problem. Our whole policy, indeed, has been to give the people of Southern Rhodesia all the moral and material assistance we can to enable them to shape their future in a peaceful way.
The House will, of course, have a full opportunity to debate the legislation which will be necessary to give effect to a number of provisions of the Resolution.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Will the right hon. Gentleman, on behalf of the Government, interpret the wordsmoral and material assistance to the people of Southern Rhodesia in their struggle to achieve their freedom …Does this, cover, for example, the import of arms into that country? If not, did Lord Caradon make it clear in an explanation of vote, which has been done on previous occasions, and, I would think, should have been done now? Is it not very dangerous, even reprehensible, to vote for words which are ambiguous, as these are? Could they not indeed encourage others to act in a way which Her Majesty's Government might deplore? Ought not the right hon. Gentleman to look at these words again?
§ Mr. Thomson
I thought that I had been careful to say in my opening statement that we defined "moral and material assistance" as being the kind of assistance that would enable the people of Southern Rhodesia—all the people of all races—to shape their future in a peaceful way.
The right hon. Gentleman is referring to operative paragraph 13 of the Resolution. This is couched in non-mandatory language. I assure the House that we would never have voted for this paragraph if we had believed that its terms in any way im- 2138 plied we either support or condone the use of violence. This Government have given a good deal of both moral and material assistance to the people of Rhodesia. We intend to go on doing so until constitutional and legal rule is reestablished.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
This is important. There is nothing here to say that this material assistance should be of a peaceful nature. We understand that the right hon. Gentleman and the Government feel that no other sort of material should go, but it may well suit other people to send this kind of material and to quote in favour of their action a mandatory Resolution which is ambiguous. This is the danger.
§ Mr. Thomson
The prime responsibility for the growing violence concerning Rhodesia rests with those who illegally seize power—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I think that a proper sense of fairness in the House would accept that that was the position. Concerning this Resolution, I stand by the words I used, which have been most carefully chosen. This is the position of Her Majesty's Government on these words.
§ Mr. Thomson
I am putting the full text, which is long, in the Library. I appreciate that it is difficult for the House when faced with a long text such as this. Paragraph 13, which I remind the House is non-mandatory,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".Our interpretation of those words is the one which I have just given.
§ Mr. Heath
Is it not clear that those words are an incitement to other people to infiltrate forces and arms into Rhodesia for which Her Majesty's Government claim direct responsibility? By voting for this Resolution, Her Majesty's Government are directly responsible for any physical conflict in Rhodesia.
§ Mr. Thomson
That is not so. The original Resolution tabled by African and Asian members of the Security Council called for the use of force. This Resolution, partly as a result of the efforts of Lord Caradon at the United Nations, has dropped all mention of that. The terms of that paragraph urge the international community to give moral and material assistance to the people of Rhodesia to achieve a peaceful solution to their problems.
The source of the provocation to use violence in Rhodesia comes from those who have usurped power illegally inside Rhodesia. I wish that we had the same sort of support that we enjoyed at the United Nations from hon. Gentlemen opposite for a solution to this problem.
§ Mr. Hooley
Does my right hon. Friend agree that this Resolution is of the greatest political significance, permitting as it does the major Powers in Western Europe and Eastern countries to return Rhodesia to legal rule by the authority of the United Nations? Does my right hon. Friend further agree that that authority will be gravely compromised unless we press on and enforce this Resolution with the most vigorous action possible?
§ Mr. Thomson
Yes, Sir. I agree with my hon. Friend, and I hope that the House will give us the necessary power to enforce the Resolution.
Mr. Edward M. Taylor
Despite what the right hon. Gentleman said, cannot this Resolution be interpreted by other States as a virtual declaration of war on Rhodesia? What steps can the United Nations take to make sure that States do not give material aid to terrorists from Zambia or elsewhere who are going into Rhodesia without any support from the Rhodesian people?
§ Mr. Thomson
I think that the hon. Gentleman must have overlooked what I said at the beginning, that this long debate in the international community of the United Nations began with a proposition for the use of force. That proposition has been dropped as a result of painstaking diplomacy. This Resolution is an attempt to find a peaceful solution to the Rhodesian problem.
§ Mr. Philip Noel-Baker
I warmly congratulate the Government on having 2140 secured a Resolution which will greatly strengthen the hope of a peaceful settlement of the Rhodesian question on a basis which will allow the six principles to be applied, to which, at one point of time, Her Majesty's Opposition used to be committed.
§ Sir D. Walker-Smith
As the words are clearly ambiguous, and as the juxtaposition of the word "struggle" might be interpreted contrary to what the right hon. Gentleman suggests, will he undertake here and now that Her Majesty's Government will use their veto in the Security Council against any action or further Resolution which leans upon an interpretation of this as justifying aggression or terrorist activities, whether within Rhodesia or without?
§ Mr. Thomson
I do not think that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is taking a proper view of the discussions at the United Nations. I repeat that they began with a demand for the use of force. They ended with this Resolution, which contains no mention of the use of force. That is the important thing to bear in mind. I remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman that this is a Resolution which, for the first time in the history of the Rhodesian problem before the United Nations, has been carried unanimously by all members of the Security Council. This is an enlarged Security Council of 15 members who represent a cross-section of the international community. I think that the Conservative Party is getting itself seriously out of step with what I would call the civilised opinions of the international community.
§ Mr. Winnick
Bearing in mind that the Resolution expresses the point of view of the world community, can my right hon. Friend explain why, time and again when Rhodesia comes up for discussion at Question Time, the Opposition seem to take the side of the illegal régime against their own country? Why should the Tory Opposition support traitors in Salisbury who support an illegal racialist régime?
§ Mr. Thomson
I appreciate my hon. Friend's feelings, but I think that that 2141 is a question for the Leader of the Opposition, and not for me.
§ Mr. Lubbock
Is it not typical of the Conservative Party that it should prefer to leave out all reference to morality in this Resolution—
§ Hon. Members: Bomb them.
§ Mr. Lubbock
—and, before the ink is dry on the paper, that it should be trying to undermine an agreement arrived at unanimously for the first time at the United Nations? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the only alternative to this Resolution is capitulation to the illegal régime? Why did not the right hon. Gentleman introduce such a Resolution very much earlier?
§ Mr. Thomson
I agree that the alternatives were either capitulation or force. This is a sensible international compromise, and I hope that, on reflection, and after the party opposite, or at least its leadership, has had time to study it, hon. Gentlemen will feel that it is right to give us bipartisan support behind the unanimous Security Council Resolution.
§ Mr. Richard
Is my right hon. Friend aware that many hon. Members on this side of the House are becoming increasingly worried about the attitude of the Opposition? Is it not becoming increasingly clear that when the world community has for the first time agreed on a concerted course of action it is the duty of the Opposition to examine their conscience carefully before they put on the sort of exhibition that we have seen this afternoon?
§ Sir C. Taylor
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the policy of increased sanctions means a policy of slow starvation for all the people of Rhodesia? What does he intend to do about that?
§ Mr. Thomson
As I have said, there are three possible courses. There is surrender, there is force, and there is the peaceful application of sanctions. Nobody denies that the peaceful application of sanctions is painful, and causes suffering, but I think that it is the least of the three evils. I am not sure which 2142 one the hon. Gentleman is urging. Is he urging surrender? Will he be frank with the House?
§ Mr. Eadie
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the way in which he is handling the duties of his office is gaining the admiration of people all over the world? Is he further aware that in January of this year a Member of another place, who formally sat on the benches opposite, made a statement after visiting Rhodesia—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. No quotations from the other place unless they are from the speech of a Minister explaining Government policy.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Member must develop his own argument. He must not quote, or even paraphrase, from the other place.
§ Mr. Hastings
The right hon. Gentleman has been giving us his interpretation of this ambiguous paragraph 13, but what did Lord Caradon say? Did he make it plain to the United Nations in his speech that material support did not include the infiltration of arms or any other form of encouragement to these terrorists? When will we have the text of his speech?
§ Mr. Thomson
I shall put in the Library for the convenience of the hon. Member the text of what Lord Caradon said during these debates. What fascinates me about the question is that, of 23 operative paragraphs, the hon. Gentleman has picked on only one and is not prepared to give his support on those executive and mandatory paragraphs which are designed to secure a peaceful solution.
§ Mr. Thomson
Zambia's position is recognised in the operative paragraph 15 of the Resolution. We are the country which has given Zambia the most substantial assistance so far in meeting the difficulties created by the Rhodesia rebellion. Our economic capacity to increase that assistance is limited, as the House knows, and I hope that one effect of this paragraph will be to persuade other members of the international community to match our efforts in helping Zambia.
§ Mr. Hugh Fraser
While welcoming, as of course we do, the ingenious diplomatic activities, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman can explain how material help in a struggle can mean anything other than the supply of arms?
§ Mr. Thomson
By the continuation of the policy of the Government to which the right hon. Gentleman belonged, of giving financial assistance to the University College in Rhodesia, for example, giving material help in the struggle of the Rhodesian people to train themselves to run their own affairs eventually under majority rule.
§ Sir D. Foot
Is it not a fact that Rhodesia has been ruled by force and by nothing else ever since November, 1965? Why is it that hon. Members opposite never seem to object to the use of force by the oppressors, but only when it is used by the oppressed?
§ Mr. Thomson
I cannot speak for the party opposite on this issue and I would not wish to try to do so.
§ Rear-Admiral Morgan Giles
In view of the possible ambiguity of the new Resolution, and since the Government do not wish to encourage the use of force, will the Commonwealth Secretary make it clear to those African States bordering Rhodesia, and which are believed to be harbouring armed bands for incursions into Rhodesia, that the Resolution is not intended to connive at any such activity?
§ Mr. Thomson
This is what I have been seeking to do since I came to the Box this afternoon. I say again, with all the authority which I command on 2144 behalf of the Government, that this paragraph and the Resolution does not imply either the support or the condoning of force.
§ Mr. Henig
Since there have been many complaints from hon. Gentlemen opposite in the past that sanctions have not been working because of the loopholes, can my right hon. Friend explain why, now that the international community is collectively agreed on closing those loopholes, hon. Gentlemen opposite are still complaining?
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Following is the text of the Resolution:
§ The Security Council
§ Recalling and reaffirming its Resolutions 216 (1965) of 12th November, 1965, 217 (1965) of 20th November, 1965, 221 (1966) of 9th April, 1966, and 232 (1966) of 16th December, 1966.
§ Taking note of Resolution 2262 (xxii) adopted by the General Assembly on 3rd November, 1967.
§ Noting with great concern that the measures taken so far have failed to bring the rebellion in Southern Rhodesia to an end.
§ Reaffirming that, to the extent not superseded in this Resolution, the measures provided for in Resolutions 217 (1965) of 20th November, 1965, and 232 (1966) of 16th December, 1966, as well as those initiated by member States in implementation of those Resolutions, shall continue in effect.
§ Gravely concerned that the measures taken by the Security Council have not been complied with by all States and that some States, contrary to Resolution 232 (1966) of the Security Council and to their obligations under article 25 of the Charter, have failed to prevent trade with the illegal régime in Southern Rhodesia.
§ Condemning the recent inhuman executions carried out by the illegal régime in Southern Rhodesia which have flagrantly affronted the conscience of mankind and have been universally condemned,
§ Affirming the primary responsibility of the Government of the United Kingdom to enable the people of Southern Rhodesia to achieve self-determination and independence, and, in particular, their responsibility for dealing with the prevailing situation,
§ Recognising the legitimacy of the struggle of the people of Southern Rhodesia to secure the enjoyment of their rights as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations and in conformity with the objectives of General Assembly Resolution 1514 (xv),
§ Reaffirming its determination that the present situation in Southern Rhodesia constitutes a threat to international peace and security,2145
§ Acting under Chapter vii of the United Nations Charter,
§ 1. Condemns all measures of political repression, including arrests, detentions, trials and executions which violate fundamental freedoms and rights of the people of Southern Rhodesia, and calls upon the Government of the United Kingdom to take all possible measures to put an end to such actions.
§ 2. Calls upon the United Kingdom as the administering power in the discharge of its responsibility to take urgently all effective measures to bring to an end the rebellion in Southern Rhodesia, and enable the people to secure the enjoyment of their rights as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations and in conformity with the objectives of General Assembly Resolution 1514 (xv).
§ 3. Decides that, in furtherance of the objective of ending the rebellion, all States Members of the United Nations shall prevent:
- (a) the import into their territories of all commodities and products originating in Southern Rhodesia and exported therefrom after the date of this Resolution (whether or not the commodities or products are for consumption or processing in their territories, whether or not they are imported in bond and whether or not any special legal status wi:h respect to the import of goods is enjoyed by the port or other place where they are imported or stored);
- (b) any activities by their nationals or in their territories which would promote or are calculated to promote the export of any commodities or products from Southern Rhodesia; and any dealings by their nationals or in their territories in any commodities or products originating in Southern Rhodesia and exported therefrom after the date of this Resolution, including, in particular, any transfer of funds to Southern Rhodesia for the purposes of such activities or dealings;
- (c) The shipment in vessels or aircraft of their registration or under charter to their nationals, or the carriage (whether or not in bond) by land transport facilities across their territories of any commodities or products originating in Southern Rhodesia and expected therefrom after the date of this Resolution;
- (d) The sale or supply by their nationals or from their territories of any commodities or products (whether or not originating in their territories, but not including supplies intended strictly for medical purposes, educational equipment and material for use in schools and other educational institutions, publications, news material, and, in special humanitarian circumstances, foodstuffs), to any person or body in Southern Rhodesia or to any other person or body for the purposes of any business carried on in or operated from Southern Rhodesia, and any activities by their nationals or in their territories which promote or are calculated to promote such sale or supply;
- (e) The shipment in vessels or aircraft of their registration, or under charter to their nationals, or the carriage (whether or not in bond) by land transport facilities across
2146 their territories of any such commodities or products which are consigned to any person or body in Southern Rhodesia, or to any other person or body for the purposes of any business carried on in or operated from Southern Rhodesia.
§ 4. Decides that all States members of the United Nations shall not make available to the illegal régime in Southern Rhodesia or to any commercial industrial or public utility undertaking, including tourist enterprises, in Southern Rhodesia any funds for investment or any other financial or economic resources and shall prevent their nationals and any persons within their territories from making available to the régime or to any such undertaking any such funds or resources and from remitting any other funds to persons or bodies within Southern Rhodesia except payments exclusively for pensions or for strictly medical, humanitarian or educational purposes or for the provision of news material and in special humanitarian circumstances, foodstuffs.
§ 5. Decides that all States members of the United Nations shall:
- (a) prevent the entry into their territories, save on exceptional humanitarian grounds, of any person travelling on a Southern Rhodesian passport, regardless of its date of issue, or on a purported passport issued by or on behalf of the illegal régime in Southern Rhodesia, and
- (b) Take all possible measures to prevent the entry into their territories of persons whom they have reason to believe to be ordinarily resident in Southern Rhodesia and whom they have reason to believe to have furthered or encouraged, or to be likely to further or encourage, the unlawful actions of the illegal régime in Southern Rhodesia or any activities which are calculated to evade any measure decided upon in this Resolution or Resolution 232 (1966) of 16th December, 1966.
§ 6. Decides that all States members of the United Nations shall prevent airline companies constituted in their territories and aircraft of their registration or under charter to their nationals from operating to or from Southern Rhodesia and from linking up with any airline company constituted or aircraft registered in Southern Rhodesia.
§ 7. Decides that all States members of the United Nations shall give effect to the decisions set out in operative paragraphs 3, 4, 5 and 6 of this Resolution notwithstanding any contract entered into or licence granted before the date of this Resolution.
§ 8. Calls upon all States members of the United Nations or of the Specialised Agencies to take all possible measures to prevent activities by their nationals and persons in their territories promoting, assisting or encouraging emigration to Southern Rhodesia, with a view to stopping such emigration.
§ 9 Requests all States members of the United Nations or of the Specialised Agencies to take all possible further action under Article 41 of the Charter to deal with the situation in Southern Rhodesia, not excluding any of the measures provided in that Article.2147
§ 10. Emphasises the need for the withdrawal of all consular and trade representation in Southern Rhodesia, in addition to the provisions of operative paragraph six of Resolution 217 (1965).
§ 11. Calls upon all States members of the United Nations to carry out these decisions of the Security Council in accordance with Article 25 of the United Nations Charter and reminds them that failure or refusal by any one of them to do so would constitute a violation of that Article.
§ 12. Deplores the attitude of States that have not complied with their obligations under Article 25 of the Charter, and censures in particular those States which have persisted in trading with the illegal régime in defiance of the Resolutions of the Security Council, and which have given active assistance to the régime.
§ 13. 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.
§ 14. Urges, having regard to the principles stated in Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, States not member nations of the United Nations to act in accordance with the provisions of the present Resolution.
§ 15. Requests States members of the United Nations, the United Nations organisations, the Specialised Agencies, and other international organisations in the United Nations system to extend assistance to Zambia as a matter of priority with a view to helping her solve such special economic problems as she may be confronted with arising from the carrying out of these decisions of the Security Council.
§ 16. Calls upon all States members of the U.N. and, in particular, those with primary responsibility under the Charter for the maintenance of international peace and security, to assist effectively in the implementation of the measures called for by the present resolution.
§ 17. Considers that the United Kingdom as the administering Power should ensure that no settlement is reached without taking into account the views of the people of Southern Rhodesia, and, in particular, the political parties favouring majority rule, and that it is acceptable to the people of Southern Rhodesia as a whole.
§ 18. Calls upon all States members of the United Nations or of the Specialised Agencies to report to the Secretary General by 1st August, 1968, on measures taken to implement the present Resolution.
§ 19. Requests the Secretary General to report to the Security Council on the progress of the implementation of this Resolution, the first report to be made not later than 1st September, 1968.
§ 20. Decides to establish, in accordance with Rule 28 of the provisional rules of procedure of the Security Council, a committee of the Security Council to undertake the following tasks and to report to it with its observations:
- (a) To examine such reports on the implementation of the present Resolutions as are submitted by the Secretary General.
- (b) To seek from any States members of the United Nations or of the Specialised Agencies such further information regarding the trade of that State (including information regarding the commodities and products exempted from the prohibition contained in operative paragraph 3(d) above) or regarding any activities by any nationals of that state or in its territories that may constitute any evasion of the measures decided upon in this Resolution as it may consider necessary for the proper discharge of its duty to report to the Security Council.
§ 21. Requests the United Kingdom, as the administering Power, to give maximum assistance to the Committee, and to provide the Committee with any information which it may receive in order that the measures envisaged in this Resolution and Resolution 232 (1966) may be rendered fully effective.
§ 22. Calls upon all States members of the United Nations, or of the Specialised Agencies, as well as the Specialised Agencies themselves, to supply such further information as may be sought by the Committee in pursuance of this Resolution.
§ 23. Decides to maintain this item on its agenda for further action as appropriate in the light of developments.