HC Deb 11 November 1969 vol 791 cc174-6
Q1. Mr. Winnick

asked the Prime Minister what further consultations he has recently had with the heads of the Commonwealth Governments regarding Rhodesia.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave to Questions by several hon. Members on 14th October.—[Vol. 788, c. 206–8.]

Mr. Winnick

Can my right hon. Friend give further information about Mr. Nicholson and Mr. Gallahen, the two latest victims of the police State in Rhodesia? Does not he agree that in the four years since U.D.I. the Leader of the Opposition bears some responsibility in that he has become a sort of pushover for the pro-Rhodesia Front element in his party?

The Prime Minister

I have no comment on the latter part of my hon. Friend's supplementary question. On the first part, I am sorry to say that I have no information about these two gentlemen who have been interned by the regime. Butapologists in this country for the Smith régime will note what is happening to the freedom of the Press in Salisbury.

Mr. Heath

Does this not illustrate the difficulty which has arisen as a result of the withdrawal of our residual mission from Salisbury? This country is alone in the world in having no one in Rhodesia, of either diplomatic or consular status, able to look after the interests of its citizens or to do so on behalf of Her Majesty's Government. Does this not show how unwise the withdrawal of the mission was? Would it not have been better to have kept some sort of organisation in Rhodesia, if only to carry out these functions?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should wish to give that degree of recognition to a regime which has now decided to break with the Crown, despite being in law a British colony, and which hasalso decided to introduce a constitution which has been universally condemned by all parties in this House.

Mr. Heath

Surely, while Her Majesty's Government had a residual mission in Rhodesia for three and a half yearsthere was no legal recognition of the illegal régime. Why suddenly should it be legal recognition of the illegal régime if a residual mission had been left there to look after these interests?

The Prime Minister

I said "that degree of recognition". I did not say legal recognition. It has long been clear that British citizens who stay in Rhodesia under the illegal régime do so at their own risk.

Mr. Philip Noel-Baker

Will my right hon. Friend consider that everything in Rhodesia still depends on the oil sanction? Will he consult other members of the Commonwealth about how to make the oil sanction effective, which can certainly be done if the right measures are taken?

The Prime Minister

My right hon. Friend will be aware of the communiqué issued on 24th September following the last meeting of the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee on this and other matters.

Mr. Lubbock

Is the Prime Minister aware that, outside the United Kingdom, only one Commonwealth country has taken proceedings against a firm operating from its territories for evasion of sanctions? This was Malaysia. Will he make representations to the Heads of other Commonwealth Governments that the best way to assist in bringing about the downfall of the Smith régime is to take firm action against evaders?

The Prime Minister

There is no doubt about the attitude of Commonwealth countries in this matter. When facts come to our notice they are brought to the attention of the Government concerned or the United Nations Secretariat dealing with these matters, or both. The problem about the evasion of sanctions arises from the fact that Rhodesia is a landlocked country; otherwise it would never have arisen.