HC Deb 08 December 1969 vol 793 cc20-2
24. Mr. Farr

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many countries still retain official national representation in Rhodesia.

30. Sir F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will list all consular, trade or other diplomatic missions in Salisbury, Rhodesia, and state to whom the heads of these missions are accredited.

Mr. M. Stewart

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, West Germany and the United States have official representatives or maintain offices in Southern Rhodesia. Some have been downgraded since the illegal declaration of independence. The accrediting of diplomatic representatives is a matter between States and, therefore, the question does not arise in relation to Southern Rhodesia.

Mr. Farr

Does it not make absolute nonsense of our policy when apparently we are about the only civilised country which has withdrawn its representative? When will Her Majesty's Government wake up and face the facts of life and get back officially into Rhodesia before it is too late?

Mr. Stewart

I made very clear in an answer some months ago the reasons for the withdrawal of our residual mission. No useful purpose could be served by keeping our mission there. If the hon. Gentleman will study the text of my Answer and the number of countries mentioned, he will realise that his definition of what is and what is not a civilised country is insulting to a great many States.

Sir F. Bennett

I am not sure what the Foreign Secretary meant by that. I thought that the countries he had listed were civilised. However, he probably recalls that only a short time ago he said that to maintain any form of diplomatic representation in Salisbury implied a degree of recognition unacceptable to this country. Would he relate that to those countries? Can he say what they are there for—to safeguard their national interests or to further their trade interests?

Mr. Stewart

To deal with the various points, I was not suggesting, and if the hon. Member had listened to me he would have realised it, that the countries mentioned were not civilised. The implication of the hon. Member's question was that civilised countries consisted solely of ourselves and this list. The point I was making was that there are a large number of countries which no longer maintain representatives there. The main purpose of these countries maintaining representatives there is to look after the interests of their nationals. Her Majesty's Government have made it clear that subjects of this country who remain in a colony that is in rebellion must expect to do so at their own risk, and that we cannot condone this rebellion.

Viscount Lambton

Will the Foreign Secretary say how many trading missions have been sent by other countries to Rhodesia?

Mr. Stewart

Not without notice. That is a very different question.

Mr. Snow

Could my right hon. Friend confirm that to the best of his knowledge the countries whose names he has read are loyally abiding, so far as they are signatories, to the sanctions resolution?

Mr. Stewart

Yes, I have no reason to suppose that that is not so. The particular United Nations resolution referring to representatives is non-mandatory.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

In view of the totally unsatisfactory nature of that reply, and the Government's failure to protect British nationals—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman must give notice in the conventional way.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.

31. Sir F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will list the duties he has carried out in his statutory capacity as Governor of the Colony of Southern Rhodesia since the last Governor vacated his appointment.

Mr. M. Stewart

I have not had occasion to exercise the executive authority of Southern Rhodesia as provided by Article 4(1)(a) of the Southern Rhodesia Constitution Order, 1965 since Sir Humphrey Gibbs received Her Majesty The Queen's permission to retire from Office.

Sir F. Bennett

I am not surprised at that Answer. A few minutes ago, the Foreign Secretary gave a long list of countries which maintained diplomatic or consular missions in Salisbury at present. Can he tell us to whom these missions are accredited, and to whom they present their letters of credence?

Mr. Stewart

They are not accredited at all. As I said in my earlier reply, the question of accrediting does not arise since Rhodesia is not a State.

52. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what invitation he has extended to the now retired District Commissioner, Mr. Allan Wright, to discuss problems in Rhodesia, having regard to his knowledge and experience; and if, in the formation of Rhodesian policy, he consults with those who have worked in the field in Africa.

Mr. Luard

I have not yet extended any invitation to Mr. Wright. My Department is in touch with many sources of information and advice on Rhodesia, but the details of these are confidential.

Dame Irene Ward

In view of the fact that that is a very unsatisfactory Answer, am I not right in assuming that the present Government really do not know a very great deal about Africa and that it would be a very good thing if more attention were paid to those who work in the field and know more about the situation than do the present Government?

Mr. Luard

The Government have access to a great deal of highly expert information about the situation in Rhodesia, and we are aware of the writings of Mr. Wright, and have studied them with interest, and if he wishes to make any special representations to the Government we shall he very pleased to consider them.