HC Deb 13 July 1971 vol 821 cc207-8
Q1. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Prime Minister whether he will arrange an official meeting with Mr. Ian Smith shortly, having regard to the Goodman consultations.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Edward Heath)

I have no plans to do so.

Sir G. Nabarro

Does my right hon. Friend recognise that yesterday's answer by my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary was stodgy and indigestible? As the policy of sanctions is now seen to be a total failure, will not my right hon. Friend consider holding out an olive branch by at least withdrawing naval patrols that serve no further useful purpose?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. I cannot accede to my hon. Friend's request. My right hon. Friend repeated yesterday that the discussions have been going on to find out whether it is possible to reach a basis for negotiation. I am sure that that is the right way of dealing with this difficult problem. At the same time, the existing measures will remain in force.

Mr. Harold Wilson

The right hon. Gentleman will have seen or read the script of Mr. Ian Smith's broadcast on "Panorama" last night, and will form his own views on the immediate prospects. Will he consider a proposal which he put to me when our rôles were reversed, and which received a favourable answer, that if there were any substantial change in the Rhodesian situation during the Summer Recess Parliament would be recalled? Will he give the same assurance to me as I then gave to him?

The Prime Minister

Of course, I would consider that. If there were any major change in the Rhodesian situation, I would give the right hon. Gentleman the same reply as he gave me. I have read the script of last night's programme, but I do not propose to comment on it. It is better for us to rely on the discussions which have been taking place.

Mr. Wilson

I agree with the Prime Minister's last remarks, but, just to clear up any doubt, since he said that he would consider such a situation and then said that he would give me the same reply as I gave him, and since that reply was that Parliament would be recalled, can I interpret the last part of his answer as meaning that if there is a substantial change in the Rhodesian situation Parliament will be recalled, and that its recall will not merely be considered?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. As the right hon. Gentleman has always said, the exact nature of the change, if any were to come about, would be a proper subject for discussions between him and me in the usual way as to whether Parliament should be recalled. Obviously, if there were any major change Parliament would have to be recalled.

Mr. Thorpe

Contrary to the view of the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro), is the Prime Minister aware that in referring to the five principles the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary made it quite plain—and this carries a degree of support throughout the House—that in his view principles mean principles?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, and in the script I read of Mr. Smith's television appearance last night he himself said that the five principles were a matter of principle for the present British Government.