HC Deb 24 February 1970 vol 796 cc979-81
Q1. Sir F. Bennett

asked the Prime Minister if he will make representations to President Nixon about the continued presence of the United States Consulate in Rhodesia.

Q5. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Prime Minister whether, following his visit to Washington, he will now propose that the United States Consulate-General in Salisbury, Rhodesia, should be closed.

Q6. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Prime Minister if he will make representations to President Nixon about the continuation of the United States Consulate in Rhodesia.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

As they have stated publicly, the Government of the United States are reviewing the position of their consulate in Salisbury.

Sir F. Bennett

Does that answer mean that the Prime Minister has already tried to get this consulate closed and been rebuffed? Could he now say, today, whether he does or does not approve of the continued presence in Salisbury of that mission and those of 11 other countries who nominally support sanctions in contradistinction to our own mission which has been withdrawn?

The Prime Minister

It means none of the suggestions put forward by the hon. Gentleman. As I have said, President Nixon is himself considering this. I made no representations to him on the matter at all, but he has made his position clear. As for the other countries referred to, none recognises the illegal régime in Rhodesia.

Sir F. Bennett

Neither do we.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is it not the case that the Americans declined to close their consulate-general in Salisbury because of a bargain made in conection with an agreement on the part of the Rhodesian authorities not to reveal certain C.I.A. activities in Rhodesia?

The Prime Minister

I know nothing of any such bargain. I only know what the President told me, and that is that they are reviewing the future of this consulate. They have made it clear—I believe that this has been repeated by the Secretary of State on his visit to Africa—that the presence of their consulate in Southern Rhodesia is not intended to, and does not, imply recognition of the illegal régime.

Sir G. Nabarro

But whereas the Prime Minister did not make any representations, he said, to President Nixon, is it not a fact that President Nixon told him unequivocally that he would not unilaterally shut the U.S. Consulate in Rhodesia while 11 other nations, all subscribing to sanctions, as do the United States, insist on keeping their consulates open?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir, it is not the fact. That allegation by the hon. Gentleman about the President of the United States is about as accurate as the accusation that he was peddling about a year ago.

Mr. Michael Foot

Will my right hon. Friend undertake that, in any future discussion which he may have with the President on this and subjects connected with Rhodesia, he will represent to the President the reports of the vicious and persistent anti-African measures now being taken by the Southern Rhodesian Government, as reported by Mr. Jonathan Steel in The Guardian recently? Will he also take an early occasion to report to the House on these matters?

The Prime Minister

If I thought that it was necessary so to represent to President Nixon, I would do so. It is not necessary. In his report on foreign policy to Congress last week, the President himself used these words: Clearly, there is no question of the United States condoning or acquiescing in the racial policies of the while-ruled regimes. For moral as well as historical reasons, the United States stands firmly for the principles of racial equality and self-determination.