HC Deb 17 November 1970 vol 806 cc1030-1
Q1. Mr. Barnes

asked the Prime Minister what plans he has to visit Africa in advance of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)

None, Sir, but the invitations I have received lead me to hope to do so at a later stage.

Mr. Barnes

Would not the Prime Minister agree that the issue of arms to South Africa can look very different in Whitehall or New York compared with areas of Africa which are most affected? Does he not think that he might go on a long trip, leaving quite soon and winding up in Singapore in January? Would he not enjoy it?

The Prime Minister

I have always believed that one can learn a great deal from discussing matters on the spot, but I have had the opportunity of talking to the Prime Ministers or Foreign Ministers of almost all the African countries of the Commonwealth in the last few weeks and have heard their views at first hand. As for my making a journey before the Commonwealth Conference, as I have already undertaken to go to Cyprus, Pakistan, India and Malaysia before that conference it is not possible to fit in the African countries as well.