HC Deb 29 April 1969 vol 782 cc1152-4
Q3. Sir C. Osborne

asked the Prime Minister, what further proposals he has to secure a settlement in Rhodesia.

The Prime Minister

I have nothing to add to the reply I gave to a supplementary question by the hon. Gentleman on 17th April.—[Vol. 781, c. 1325.]

Sir C. Osborne

Is the Prime Minister not getting alarmed at the massive infiltration of the Chinese into South Africa through Dar-es-Salaam, and would not a settlement in Rhodesia be all the more urgent now?

The Prime Minister

Attempted penetration by the Chinese in various parts of Africa has been a problem for many years. I remember a warning given to this House by my predecessor, the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home). Of course, a settlement in Rhodesia is highly desirable, but a settlement which would involve a surrender of African interests would give the Chinese just the kind of push in Africa that they need.

Mr. Blenkinsop

Does my right hon. Friend not feel that this is the precise moment when we should return to our original pledge with regard to N.I.B.M.R.?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. This matter was very fully discussed in the Commonwealth Conference, as my hon. Friend knows. The "Fearless" terms, which we still regard as fair, are available, and would not be invoked in practice unless the people of Rhodesia as a whole accepted them. There is nothing to stop those in Rhodesia accepting them tomorrow.

Mr. Evelyn King

Is it not a fact that the internal constitutional position in Rhodesia is now rapidly reaching the point of no return, which it must reach in months? Is it Government policy to do nothing?

The Prime Minister

Where those who have the chance of an honourable settlement—which would be of the highest advantage to Rhodesia and to all races in Rhodesia—refuse it, it may be that they wish to push themselves to the point of no return, with or without the hon. Gentleman's help. That does not mean that we for our part should change the terms which were rightly recognised in the House as fair.

Mr. Michael Foot

Is it not the case that the plainest, most illegal and most scandalous form of penetration that is taking place into Rhodesia at present is that conducted from South Africa by South African forces? Will the Prime Minister say what is his latest information about this invasion and what the British Government propose to do?

The Prime Minister

I am not entirely certain that even white Rhodesians are particularly happy about the infiltration referred to by my hon. Friend. I have reason for saying that. Of course this is illegal under the present constitution of South Africa. They have the excuse for it where there is terrorist penetration from the North, whether Chinese-inspired or inspired from anywhere else. The answer to all these problems is a constitutional settlement, acceptable to this House and to the mass of the people in Rhodesia. This is what we have laid on the table in Salisbury.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

On a point of order Mr. Speaker. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.