HC Deb 17 February 1969 vol 778 cc20-3
12. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he has put to Mr. Smith for a second guarantee which does not include participation from outside Rhodesia; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Foley

The alternative proposal put to the régime by my right hon. Friend the Minister without Portfolio during his visit to Salisbury, provided for a second safeguard mechanism, which would not only begin in Rhodesia, but would also leave the last word with the Rhodesian people.

Mr. Wall

Did not these proposals require to be activated through the Privy Council? Does the Minister appreciate that any question of settlement must be based on the second guarantee? Will he make it clear that an adequate second guarantee which lay within the ambit of Rhodesian sovereignty would be acceptable to Her Majesty's Government?

Mr. Foley

The proposed amendment that we made in Salisbury to the second safeguard was to give the Privy Council a sieving rôle. This was not to be the initiating, nor the final arbiter. In that respect, we have gone a long way to meeting the objections of the Rhodesian régime.

Mr. Rose

In view of the new constitution proposed in Rhodesia, is it not futile to go on trying to negotiate with Mr. Smith for an agreement which can only be based on shifting sands? Will the right hon. Gentleman, therefore, withdraw immediately the "Fearless" proposals?

Mr. Foley

I have seen Press reports of the new constitutional proposals. We have not yet received the authoritative details. From what has been published, it is evident that the proposals are wholly inconsistent with the six principles. No constitution that may be introduced in Rhodesia in present circumstances will be legally valid. In view of the clear inconsistency between the new proposals for a constitution and the six principles, it is all the more important to keep our proposals before the people of Rhodesia so that they may realise that there is a more hopeful attitude which may develop in their country.

Mr. Thorpe

When the Government receive confirmation of, and have had a chance: to consider in detail, this proposed constitution, may we take it that because they regard it as constituting a rejection of the "Fearless" proposals and the six principles, they will have no alternative but to withdraw those proposals?

Mr. Foley

I should await the consideration of their proposals.

Mr. William Hamilton

If my hon. Friend says that the new constitutional proposals as published in the Press are against the six principles, and if, as is likely, the new constitution will be accepted by the white minority in Rhodesia, what on earth is the point of leaving the "Fearless" proposals on the table?

Mr. Foley

I think that the point of leaving the "Fearless" proposals on the table is that the people of Rhodesia, in making up their minds, will have a choice between the proposals of the Smith régime, which abrogate the six principles, and the "Fearless" proposals.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Will the hon. Gentleman ask his hon. Friend to consider a treaty safeguard?

Mr. Foley

The hon. and learned Gentleman will recall that that was one of the proposals mentioned by the Prime Minister during the debate last October as one of the alternatives which had also been rejected by the Smith régime.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

Will the Government constantly to bear in mind that the whole of experience in Southern Africa has shown that to hand sovereign independence to a small white minority can lead only to disaster?

Mr. Foley

That is why we have advocated the proposals in "Fearless", and if the people of Rhodesia as a whole, under a free choice, have the means of saying "Yea" or "No" we shall abide by that. They must be the final arbiters.

27. Mr. Judd

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consultations he has had with the South African Government about the situation in Rhodesia; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Foley

We have of course discussed the Rhodesian situation with the South African Government, as with other African Governments, from time to time: but discussions of this kind between Governments must remain confidential.

Mr. Judd

Does my hon. Friend agree that there is every reason to believe that the South African Government regard the present illegal régime in Rhodesia as an acute embarrassment and a threat to the long-term security of South Africa? Is not this the right moment to investigate, with the Government of South Africa, at least the possibility of Britain's resuming a direct presence in Rhodesia?

Mr. Foley

We have our differences with South Africa over the Rhodesian problem but we share a common interest in the stability of Southern Africa. I do not think that my hon. Friend's suggestion would get very far.

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