§ Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—[Mr. Pym.]
§ 3.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)
We have asked for this emergency debate on Rhodesia in order to express our disappointment and disgust at the Foreign Secretary's failure to make sure that the Smith régime kept the promise it had made to him to allow normal political activity during the test of acceptability, and also to seek answers to certain important questions on which the Foreign Secretary and other Ministers have promised us answers in the last few weeks.
We on this side of the House have never disguised our view that the Foreign Secretary's proposals for Rhodesia represent a betrayal of the five principles and a sell-out of the African majority in that country, but we have always recognised, nevertheless, that if the Rhodesian people as a whole do find them acceptable then this fact must weigh heavily with us in taking our final decision in this House on the proposals, and I said this in the first debate after the Foreign Secretary's return. For this reason we attach the greatest possible importance to the nature of the machinery used for the test of acceptability and to the conditions in which this machinery is used to carry out the test.
I think that any external observer who came to the problem for the first time would feel, as the Foreign Secretary himself did in 1964, that the only satisfactory test of acceptability would be a referendum, because there is no parliamentary democracy in Rhodesia, and there is no means other than a referendum for finding out with obsolute certainty what the views of the majority in Rhodesia are. I must say that I was rather surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, as 1406 Vice-Chairman of the Commission, described the idea of a referendum as ludicrous; particularly I was surprised as the Foreign Secretary himself supported this idea in 1964. Of course, we all know that Mr. Smith would not permit a referendum and that a referendum carried out under the Smith regime would have no guarantee of being carried out with total honesty—
§ Mr. Healey
Oh, yes, certainly—and for this reason the Government, naturally enough, proposed to carry out their own test of acceptability through a commission.
Again, the House is well aware that we on this side regard the composition of the Pearce Commission as quite unsatisfactory. It does not, as we proposed, contain an African of distinction who might be expected to carry the confidence of the majority of the population in Rhodesia itself, a man like Robert-Gardner or Mr. Adu, of Ghana; it does not contain a Churchman with knowledge of Africa, like Bishop Skelton or Bishop Reeves; it does not even contain a white man who is known to have the confidence of all races, like Mr. Lester Pearson or Mr. Malcolm Macdonald. We deeply deplore the fact that the Commission is unbalanced, as, in our view, it is.
I must say that anyone who watched Sir Frederick Pedler, who was appointed as Vice-Chairman of the Commission by the Foreign Secretary—who watched him on Panorama on Monday attempting to answer questions on how the Commission prepared for its task must have the gravest doubts about the way in which the Foreign Secretary made his choice, and, indeed, about the way in which the Commission approached its task. I think that none of us can feel satisfied with the reason the Foreign Secretary gave for not attempting to replace Sir Frederick, when he found he had to resign from the Commisison, with a man who falls into one of the three categories I have mentioned. His only reason for not doing so was that there was not time, but a week later he appointed two new commissioners to carry out the onerous job of carrying out the test on the ground in the tribal areas.
1407 I think it was the view of most British newspaper correspondents who covered the first few days of the Pearce Commission's presence in Rhodesia that it had got off to a very bad start.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Sir Alec Douglas-Home)
The right hon. Gentleman is not, I hope, criticising the Commission? He does know that his right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition on Monday said:We want to get an honest answer out of this Commission and it wants to give one."—[OFFICIAL. REPORT, 24th January, 1972; Vol. 829, c. 985.]So apparently his own Leader has quite a high opinion of the Commission.
§ Mr. Healey
No, what my right hon. Friend said was that the Commission wants to give one, and I do not for one moment dispute that, but the way in which the Commission set about its task was in many respects very unsatisfactory and was criticised as such in, for example, an impressive leading article in The Financial Times last week. One of the points of criticism I might well repeat since the Foreign Secretary appears to have none. The first point was that it appeared to acquiesce in Mr. Smith's refusal to interview Mr. Sithole.
Secondly, the Commission having sensibly issued forms for the Africans to fill in to express their views, withdrew them after seeing Mr. Smith. Incidentally, the House will now know that the reason Lord Pearce gave for withdrawing the forms was quite different from the one which the Foreign Secretary gave on the very same day for withdrawing the forms.
There is still dissatisfaction, I can tell him, on this side of the House that the Pearce Commission has chosen to shut its office in Salisbury during the only hours in which it is accessible to most Africans, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will look into this point and give us some assurance later in the debate.
Finally, there have been cases, quoted in the newspapers, in which the Commissioners on one or two occasions have appeared to argue in favour of the settlement proposals rather than simply to explain what they mean.
1408 In other respects the Commission's action has been perfectly satisfactory, and, indeed, encouraging. A fortnight ago Lord Pearce asked Mr. Smith to explain and to comment on the complaints which had been made to him by the leaders of the African National Council as to the interference with its normal political activity in Rhodesia during the test. Bishop Muzorewa had pointed out that 200 meetings in tribal trust areas had been refused and that many meetings in the urban areas had been barred ostensibly for reasons connected with insurance. Since then the African National Council has complained that a hundred of its active members have been imprisoned without charge. We are told that Lord Pearce has asked Mr. Smith for an explanation of these facts but has at yet had no reply.
Secondly, we are very satisfied that the Commission should have asked Mr. Smith to explain the arrest of Mr. Garfield Todd, an ex-Prime Minister of Rhodesia, and of his daughter, and of a number of leading African nationalists, particularly Mr. Chinamano and his wife. It has asked, moreover, why Mr. Todd is being kept in a cell like a common convicted criminal, although, as far as we are aware, no charge has been brought against him. We are told that Lord Pearce has also raised with Mr. Smith his refusal to allow Sir Dingle Foot to enter Rhodesia to advise the African National Council. Lord Pearce has now asked that the Commission should be allowed to interview Mr. Sithole in gaol. I hope we shall have some clarity from one of the Government speakers on this matter later in the debate. The complaint from this side of the House is that although Lord Pearce has asked these questions he has had no reply, and that the Foreign Secretary, so far as we know, has done nothing to help Lord Pearce to get replies to these questions.
Moreover, Lord Pearce, on 21st January, issued a statement in which he pointed out that to gaol people simply to silence them was not to allow normal political activity. We have had no comment from the Government on this statement. Lord Pearce also pointed out in that statement that he was not satisfied that normal political activities were 1409 allowed in the tribal trust areas, although he admitted—the Foreign Secretary rightly made this point on Monday—that it was difficult to establish the facts as to whether any political activity at all had been permitted throughout the trust areas. It appears that some political activity has taken place.
It was the clear duty of the Pearce Commission to raise these questions as soon as they were raised with the Commission by Rhodesians. It was the clear duty of the Foreign Secretary to ensure that they got satisfactory replies. But what has the Foreign Secretary done to support his own Commission? The Commission has charged the Smith régime with not permitting normal political activity, in violation of a direct promise made by the Smith régime to the Foreign Secretary and transmitted by the Foreign Secretary to this House.
What the Foreign Secretary made completely clear on Monday was that he had not the slightest idea what was going on in Rhodesia and gave no evidence of the slightest desire to find out. Mr. Derek Marks, writing today in the Daily Express, a paper whose owner has played a leading rôle in helping to negotiate the settlement and which is totally committed to the settlement, had to point out:The most extraordinary feature in the whole Rhodesia business at the present time is the apparent complete lack of communication between London and Salisbury.That is the Editor of the Daily Express writing in Sir Max Aitken's newspaper this morning.
Can the Foreign Secretary explain to the House how it is that, when he had some 30 commissioners, appointed by himself, on the ground in Rhodesia, when he had a diplomatic representative permanently established in Salisbury, he had not the slightest idea what was going on, and then, when he sent out a Foreign Office Official last Wednesday to find out what was going on, he seemed, when he came to the House on Monday, to have no more information than he had five days earlier?
Instead of facing Mr. Smith with the violation of his pledges, the right hon. Gentleman tried in this House to excuse Mr. Smith's behaviour. In answer to a question on Monday, he uttered the following extraordinary statement: 1410…I could not question Mr. Smith's right to maintain security provided the minimum of force was used."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th January, 1972; Vol. 829, c. 986.]The Foreign Secretary of Great Britain asserts the right of a rebel against the Queen to shoot British subjects in a British territory. He talks of "minimum force": 15 Africans have been killed in the last fortnight by the Rhodesian forces, about 50 have been wounded, not by rioters but by the security forces of the Smith régime, and hundreds have been gaoled. Does the Foreign Secretary regard this as "minimum force"? Would he regard this as a proper way for any colonial régime in Britain to have behaved in similar circumstances?
Yet Lord Pearce told the country in a television interview last night that no threats of violence have at any time been made to the Commission in its work, that violence has not been used anywhere that the Commission itself was working, and we know from the Press—although not from the Foreign Secretary—that the first case in which violence appears to have occurred in a political context, rather than in an industrial dispute context, was in Gwelo, and that there violence was used by the Africans only after the Rhodesian police had fired tear gas against a peaceful demonstration of Africans who were seeking an interview with the commissioners.
The Foreign Secretary went one worse than this. In seeking to excuse his inertia and complacency about what was going on, he said that he had no power in Rhodesia. That of course is true. And he cited the inability of the Labour Government to ensure that certain things that they wished to happen in Rhodesia actually happened.
But the situation of the present Government vis-à-vis Rhodesia is one which has not previously existed since the unilateral declaration of independence. The Foreign Secretary has signed a formal agreement with the Smith regime in which each side undertook certain obligations to the other.
It is interesting to quote what Mr. Smith himself said about this in his television broadcast last Friday in Rhodesia. Speaking of the proposals he said:As you are all aware, we accept these proposals as part of a package deal in which 1411 we made certain concessions in our present constitution in return for recognition of our independence and the removal of sanctions.In other words, Mr. Smith regards the recognition of his independence by Britain and the removal of sanctions as something of great value to his régime, something in return for which he is prepared to make what he regards as certain concessions to the British Government.
Of course the Foreign Secretary has power in this situation. He has the right and the ability to cancel our part of the agreement if Mr. Smith breaks his side of the agreement. The key to this situation is the maintenance of sanctions. The Minister of State told the House as recently as 10th November, when we were discussing the sanctions Order:I therefore ask the House unhesitatingly to give its full support to the Order. To show a united front on this issue is the best way in which we can give my right hon. Friend the complete backing in this difficult task which I think he is entitled to expect…I should like to think that we shall have a unanimous view on this matter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th November, 1971; Vol. 825, c. 1188.]In other words, the Government's undertaking to maintain sanctions unless they get their way is an indispensable weapon in their negotiation with the rebel régime.
No doubt this is the reason why on 25th November, when my right hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. Michael Stewart) asked:…is it understood that if the test of acceptability is not passed this agreement has no validity and that it will still be the duty of this country, with the help of the United Nations, to endeavour by sanctions or other means to restore the rule of law in Rhodesia?"—a very sensible question—the Foreign Secretary replied:If the test of acceptability proves that the Rhodesians do not want this arrangement and this constitution, we revert to the position we were in before."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th November, 1971; Vol. 826, c. 1550.]That is a clear undertaking to maintain sanctions if the agreement proves unacceptable.
Only last week, in another place, the Minister of State, Scottish Office, in reply to one of my right hon. Friends who had asked whether the Government were quite firm that they intended to keep sanctions, said: 1412If a settlement is arrived at…the White Paper makes it clear that it will be necessary for the Rhodesian Government to introduce certain legislation. Only when we are satisfied that that has been done, shall we commend to the House the termination of sanctions or of other economic measures."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 19th January, 1972; Vol. 327, c. 157.]One could not have a clearer pledge by the Foreign Secretary and his colleagues that the maintenance of sanctions, if the agreement is not accepted, remains part of Her Majesty's Government's policy. This is an indispensable tool for the Foreign Secretary in keeping the Smith regime up to its undertakings to him. Yet on Monday this week, when the Foreign Secretary was asked whether it was his policy to maintain sanctions, he refused to give that undertaking. He said:As for the future, I shall not speculate far ahead."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 24th January, 1972; Vol. 829, c. 947.]
§ Mr. Healey
I shall give way as soon as I have finished with this point. What the House, the country and the world will expect from the Foreign Secretary this afternoon is an unequivocal pledge that, if the agreement proves unacceptable or if the test of acceptability for any reason is not carried through and the fifth principle is not maintained, then it is for Her Majesty's Government to maintain sanctions against Rhodesia and to stick to the policy which the right hon. Gentleman himself has stated in the past remains Her Majesty's Government's policy and an indispensable element in their bargaining power with the Smith régime on the test of acceptability.
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
Apart from the breaking of sanctions over a long period of time by many Powers, has not the situation been considerably altered by the decision of the United States to buy Rhodesian chrome? This means that the situation will not be the same.
§ Mr. Healey
In answer to that question I can only say that Mr. Smith as recently as last Friday, which was two months after the United States Senate voted to rescind the ban on the buying of chrome, stated that the possibility of the removal of sanctions was the reason he was prepared to make concessions. Therefore, unless the Government are 1413 prepared to maintain sanctions if Mr. Smith does not keep to his side of the bargain, they are throwing away their bargaining power and abdicating their responsibility to this House and to the Rhodesians.
§ Mr. Healey
With respect to my hon. and learned Friend, this is a short debate. No doubt he will have an opportunity to make his comments later in the debate. I do not want to speak for too long and would like as many hon. Members as possible to be able to speak.
We are asking the Foreign Secretary this afternoon to insist on immediate and satisfactory replies to questions, the answers to which the Foreign Secretary or other Ministers have already promised to the House. If necessary, we want him to send a senior Cabinet Minister to Rhodesia to get satisfactory answers.
Among many questions, I believe that the four key questions—all of which the Foreign Secretary has previously promised to pursue—are as follows. First, what are the grounds for the imprisonment of Mr. Todd and Miss Todd, of Mr. and Mrs. Chinamano and of other African leaders? If they have been imprisoned, as Lord Pearce has suggested, simply in order to silence them, will he insist on their immediate release? [An HON, MEMBER: "HOW can he insist?"] I will explain how he can insist. He can threaten to break off the whole agreement unless Mr. Smith carries out his promises to the Foreign Secretary.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
This is very important for the rest of the debate. Is the right hon. Gentleman asking me to withdraw the provisional settlement and, with it, the Commission?
§ Mr. Healey
I am asking the Foreign Secretary four questions—[An HON. MEMBER: "He has asked you one."] I am answering if hon. Members will listen. They may not like what I am going to say, but they will hear it. I am asking the Foreign Secretary four questions and am saying that, if he does not get satisfactory answers to those questions, it is clear that normal political activities are not being permitted and it is his plain duty to this House and to the Commission 1414 to withdraw the Commission and to declare that the proposals are at an end. I could not say clearer than that.
The second question is: will he ensure that the African National Council gets permission to hold meetings in the tribal trust lands and elsewhere? The noble Lady, the Minister of State at the Scottish Office, in another place in a debate last Wednesday said that the Government were seeking an answer to this question, but we have not yet heard one.
The third question is: will he ensure—and in answer to my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition in an intervention on Monday the Foreign Secretary promised to ask Mr. Smith this question—that there is freedom for the opponents of a settlement to use television and radio, as Mr. Smith himself has done?
Finally, will he ensure that there is freedom for public figures in the United Kingdom, who have a legitimate interest in the test of acceptability, to enter Rhodesia in order to observe it? This applies not only to members of this House, but to persons like Sir Dingle Foot, an ex-Attorney-General, and members of Labour Party National Executive delegations, who are not members of this House, just as much as it applies to members of this House. Unless the Foreign Secretary gets satisfactory answers on these questions, he is betraying his assurance to the House and is committing collusion with a rebel.
§ Mr. Healey
I will give way later. If we look back at the Foreign Secretary's behaviour on this matter in the last three months we can see a miserable decline in his sense of responsibility. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] He was telling us as late as last September that he would not go to negotiate a settlement unless preliminary contacts had satisfied him that there would be a settlement which met the letter and the spirit of the five principles, but with an agreement which he could honestly recommend only on the grounds that it was better than nothing and the best he could get. Nobody argued this point more eloquently than the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, who was one of the Foreign Secretary's colleagues in this 1415 matter. But now, finally, when Mr. Smith apparently defaults on his side of the agreement, the Foreign Secretary still proposes to make concessions to the rebel régime which were strictly contingent on Mr. Smith carrying out his side of the bargain.
Most of us on this side of the House, certainly I myself, like and respect the Foreign Secretary as a man—I find him one of the most agreeable occupants of the Conservative Front Bench. But we cannot admire his performance in the last few months on the Rhodesian question. He began as a champion of the African majority in a British colony. He is finishing up as a doormat to a dictator.
§ Mr. Tapsell
I hope the right hon. Gentleman will accept that I am as concerned as he that this country should honourably discharge its obligations to the 5 million Africans in Rhodesia so far as it is in our power to do so. But does he not think that, in the present situation in Central Africa, the best ways we can do that is, first, by allowing the Pearce Commission, if it so chooses, to continue its work and report back to this House on the test of acceptability? Secondly, that he and his right hon. and hon. Friends should respond favourably to the Foreign Secretary's suggestion that both sides should join in sending an all-party delegation from this House to Rhodesia?
§ Mr. Healey
I made it very clear on Monday that I very much hoped the Pearce Commission will be able to continue its work, but Lord Pearce himself made it clear that he could only honestly continue his work if he came to the view that the conditions he was promised for carrying out his work exist. Lord Pearce has pointed out in a statement on 21st January certain respects in which he fears that these conditions are not being met. I have gone over these points with the Foreign Secretary in this debate, and I am asking him to ensure they are met.
If the future of the Africans in Rhodesia depended on the Foreign Secretary and Her Majesty's Government at present, it would be dismal, but that is not the end of the matter. I think that we are all becoming conscious that the historic irony of the present situation is that an agreement intended to put 1416 Rhodesia to sleep in fact has woken a sleeping giant. As a result of the Foreign Secretary's proposals, for the first time in the history of that unhappy country the African population, who outnumber the whites by 20 to 1, are being allowed a say in their own future, and they are responding to the opportunity in a manner which can only command the admiration of those who know anything of their history, not only in the towns but also in the villages and in the most remote rural areas. The answer that they are giving so far is, overwhelmingly, "No".
§ Mr. Healey
Because I have been following very carefully the reports of meetings which have been held and statements which have been made—
§ Mr. Healey
The hon. and gallant Gentleman gives a very good imitation of a jack in the box, but his interventions add very little light to our proceedings—
§ Mr. Healey
No, I shall not give way. What is equally striking, quite apart from the answers that the Africans are giving to the Pearce Commission, is the questions that they are asking. They are questions which are extremely penetrating, and they are being put with typical African pith and wisdom. Alas, through no fault of theirs, the commissioners have found themselves totally incapable of answering them. Among other questions, the Africans are asking, "Why are not we allowed a referendum?"
§ Mr. Healey
No, I shall not give way. "Why cannot we have majority rule now like all the other African territories round us?" "When shall we get majority rule if these proposals go through?" "What is the use of giving us more education if, when we have got the education, we cannot get the jobs either because of discrimination against us or because the Smith régime keeps importing white immigrants to fill every vacancy that arises?" "Why is the Land Tenure Act remaining?"
1417 No one can claim that these questions are by far the most important which could be asked. They show a deep understanding of the proposals and a deep insight into their own situation. It is a tragedy of the Government that the Commissioners are unable to give any answers to any of these questions.
The Foreign Secretary has tried to persuade us that the choice in the test of acceptability is between a slide to apartheid and a real chance of democracy and majority rule. I believe that the Africans have clearly come to the same conclusion as we on this side of the House, namely, that the real question which they are being asked is, "Do you want the British people and the United Nations to abdicate the responsibility that they have so far accepted for human and political rights of the 5 million Africans in Rhodesia in return for insignificant changes in a racialist constitution which a racialist régime has the power to cancel at any moment, as it is at this very moment cancelling its undertaking to allow normal political activity?"
What the Foreign Secretary and Mr. Smith have done, though I am sure that it was not their intention, is to put the problem of Rhodesia back on the agenda of the peoples of the world with a very high priority. The movement for African dignity and freedom which we have seen gathering strength in Rhodesia in the last few weeks is not confined to Rhodesia alone. Further south, we have seen the strike of the Ovambo people in Namibia, and we have seen the gallant struggles of Chief Buthulezi to establish the rights of the Zulu people in South Africa. The struggle to liquidate the remnants of racialism in southern Africa is now entering a new phase, and, in the course of this test of acceptability, the British people, no less than the Rhodesian people, are being asked to decide which side they are on. I believe that the British people and this House must decide for dignity and freedom and that to take that decision is not to betray the Europeans in southern Africa. It is the only way to save them.
I hope that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite will listen to the words of the noble Lord, Lord Alport in a recent article—[Interruption.] I notice that right hon. and hon. Members oppo- 1418 site sneer at his name, but there is no question that he knows more about Rhodesia than any other Member of this or the other House. He is an ex-Conservative Commonwealth Minister and an ex-High Commissioner in Rhodesia itself. He said:When Mr. Smith, and those who surround and support him, triumph over the statesmanship and will-power of the British Government and the British Foreign Secretary, I frankly fear the worst not so much for Britain, as for the future of all races in Southern Africa.I ask right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite to bear those words in mind, because I fear for the future of the Europeans as a result of this settlement. I believe that Lord Alport was speaking for many who study the situation in southern Africa most closely.
I appeal to the Foreign Secretary today to accept the evidence which is being collected by his commissioners in Rhodesia, to recognise the power and sincerity of the Africans' aspirations for freedom and equality, and to range himself and the country with these historic forces.
The right hon. Gentleman can start today by fulfilling his own promises to Parliament by ensuring that the Smith régime fulfils its promises to him.
§ 4.26 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Sir Alec Douglas-Home)
From the start, the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) has taken the strongest objection to the provisional settlement which I was able to make with the Smith régime. Of course, I do not object to that. The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly entitled to his opinion. I think that he, too, wishes the Pearce Commission to stay in Rhodesia and do its job. The right hon. Gentleman asks me to accept his opinion on what the Africans are thinking in Africa today. I cannot accept his opinion. But I will accept the opinion of Lord Pearce and his Commission when they report.
The right hon. Gentleman is apt always to spoil his case. He did so again today. He misquoted Lord Pearce. Lord Pearce did not charge the Smith regime with not allowing normal political activity. The right hon. Gentleman misconstrued Lord Pearce, who said very carefully that the facts were in dispute 1419 and that he himself suspended judgment—
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
It is within the recollection of the House that the right hon. Gentleman did not say anything of the sort. He implied—indeed, he said—that normal political activity was not being conducted and that the Commission could not continue its work in that case. But Lord Pearce did not say that. Lord Pearce said that the facts were in dispute and that he was suspending judgment.
§ Mr. Healey
I know that the right hon. Gentleman does not want to be unfair. On Monday, I quoted Lord Pearce's statement verbatim, and the right hon. Gentleman admitted that my quotation was accurate. I made it clear that, with regard to political activities in the tribal trust areas, Lord Pearce suspended judgment until he knew all the facts. I asked the Foreign Secretary to ensure that Lord Pearce was able to discover the facts and to report them to this House.
However, the right hon. Gentleman has not commented on the other statement which I made on Monday and repeated today, that, if people are detained simply to silence them, then, even in existing conditions, that is not allowing normal political activity. Will the Foreign Secretary comment on that?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Both on Monday and today the right hon. Gentleman misquoted Lord Pearce. The noble Lord is not prepared to come to a judgment whether the normal political activities are sufficient for him to continue his job as yet. He has suspended judgment. The right hon. Gentleman a few moments ago—it is within the recollection of the House—suggested quite the contrary.
When the right hon. Gentleman again asks the rhetorical question, "Why not N.I.B.M.A.R. now?", he cannot carry any conviction. N.I.B.M.A.R. was the policy of the Labour Party before "Tiger". At "Tiger" it was dropped. It then became the policy of the Labour Party after "Tiger". At "Fearless" it was dropped. So again the right hon. 1420 Gentleman lacks conviction when he asks that kind of rhetorical question.
I want to deal with these matters in a rather different tone from that which the right hon. Gentleman spoke this afternoon. I welcome the debate as a chance—I think that we should take it quietly and soberly—to define the Government's attitude on a matter which is of supreme concern to all the people of Rhodesia. We should remember that we are dealing with their lives, their country, their future, and the choice, which is of supreme importance, whether there is to be a racial or a non-racial society in Rhodesia. This is a sobering matter which we should be able to discuss without the kind of passion and distortion sometimes introduced into these debates. I will try to do that.
Rhodesia is a country where a white European minority rules the African majority. For the present, all the power lies with the Europeans. If their present constitution—the 1969 constitution—is continued, nothing in the future, as far as anybody can foresee, will change that situation except for the worse. The Europeans are in physical command. Some refuse to face that conclusion. But that the Europeans have the power and the ability to use it to keep themselves in power in Rhodesia is a fact of life.
Sanctions have been used to try to force a change and break that grip. They were to succeed, first, in weeks, then in months, and then in years. They have curbed investment in Rhodesia. As a result, there is extensive African unemployment, as I saw for myself lately. They have limited Rhodesia's ability to earn foreign exchange, but, as anyone can see the moment he visits Salisbury, they have not even scratched the surface of the standard of living of the European or his control of Rhodesian society. That, again, is a fact of life.
During the last five years, which coincided with the Government of which the right hon. Member for Leeds, East was a distinguished Member—I am not blaming the Socialist Government for this—there is no doubt, as any hon. Member must agree, that, year after year, the situation of the Africans in Rhodesia has deteriorated and got worse.
Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite cannot contest that fact. But most 1421 of them have declared themselves totally against the terms of the provisional settlement agreed with Mr. Smith. They cannot, on principle, object to negotiating with him. Twice they did it, twice they very nearly succeeded in coming to an agreement with Mr. Smith, and twice, in the end, they failed. They cannot blame us for trying to achieve a result which they themselves tried so hard to win.
Since they were prepared to negotiate, it must not be the act of negotiation to which they object. That cannot be so. But this afternoon I am going to ask the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues to face the question arising from the terms: What is it that they are asking the Rhodesians, and particularly the Rhodesian Africans, to reject?
At present, under the 1969 Constitution, there is no effective blocking mechanism whatever to prevent the parliamentary situation of the Africans from deteriorating. In the terms of the proposals which were negotiated an effective mechanism is introduced involving—[Interruption]—I think that the hon. Gentleman ought to listen to this, because it is very important that we should judge these matters right. In the terms of the proposals an effective mechanism is introduced involving not only a two-thirds majority in the Assembly, but a separate vote of each race in the Assembly. Is the ability to prevent amendment of the entrenched clauses and thus to block discriminatory legislation something which the Africans should be asked to reject?
At present, again, the representation in Parliament for the African rests on a complicated income tax formula applied in accordance with the relationship between the aggregate earnings of the European and African communities. That is an iniquitous system. It can be varied at will. Any Finance Minister in any year can put paid effectively to African representation in Parliament.
For that, the settlement substitutes a system whereby representation in Parliament depends on the number of voters who qualify on the same income tax, education and property qualifications as the Europeans.
Are the Africans in Rhodesia to be asked by the Opposition to spurn that 1422 in favour of staying with the present arrangements?—[Interruption.] Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will follow me.
Now the Africans in Rhodesia have no hope of returning to a common voting roll. Now they have no declaration of rights enforceable in the courts. There is an absolute bar to any progression beyond parity to majority rule. The settlement, which the right hon. Gentleman has a perfect right to dislike, removes all these disabilities which are now placed upon the Rhodesian Africans.
When I was in Salisbury, the two elements of a settlement on which every African insisted were: first, progress to a common roll because, without it, they said that there would be no harmonious society, and, secondly, rights which could be protected in the courts.
Under the terms of the settlement both these purposes are achieved. New discriminatory legislation, if ever it got through Parliament, could be disallowed by the courts, as could secondary legislation derived from previous legislation like the Land Tenure Act.
Are the Opposition really ready to advise the Africans to throw away all those gains? That is what they would be doing. I know that they will argue that Mr. Smith will not carry out his side of the bargain. But they were prepared to negotiate with him. If they had been successful, as they very nearly were, they would have had to rely on Mr. Smith to carry out the bargain. They were prepared to accept a settlement—
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
—without the only possible cast-iron guarantee which one can get, which is the use of force to make sure that it is implemented.
In this context of trust and mistrust, I ask right hon. and hon. Gentlemen to consider the political situation as it will be in Rhodesia if these proposals are accepted. Mr. Smith will have to pass through his Parliament all the legislation with his and his party's authority behind it. He has to engage his political reputation on these changes, and the changes are big. What is more, he will have to do so before this House is asked 1423 to pass any consequential legislation at all.
§ Mr. Whitehead
Since Mr. Smith does not seem to be honouring the bargain regarding normal political activities, why should we trust him regarding the rest of the package?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I will come to that. I am deploring the opinion which has been expressed and asking right hon. and hon. Gentlemen to think seriously about what they are asking the Africans to reject. It is a fair question.
Indeed, if the settlement were to go through—I am prepared to leave it to the African and not pre-judge his opinion—at least we should have created some hope for the future where at present, I underline this, there is none at all.
If the African population vote "No" to the settlement, they will not be saying that they prefer the 1969 constitution. That is a dialectical distortion.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Yes. I think that the right hon. Gentleman sometimes makes dialectical distortions.
Let us face it. Although that is so, they will be left with the 1969 constitution. They will be saddled with it for as far as anybody can see into the future, by their own hand, if that is their decision. There will be nothing else, and the next instalment of repression of freedom—because the right wing will have won a victory if the settlement is rejected—will be harsher than that of today.
When the right hon. Gentleman makes the kind of speech that he has made ever since this provisional settlement was proposed he really is, in effect, saying that there is no solution except fighting it out. That is a terrible thing to say, because, in the end, it will mean bloodshed, and more bloodshed, in Africa, and we have a chance to prevent it. No one has presented an alternative, except fighting it out. We shall be onlookers, 6,000 miles away. It will be the Africans who will bear the brunt of it, and for any foreseeable future they cannot win. The Opposition, at present, anyhow, are not offering them anything better than this kind of martyrdom. At least from this side of the House we have provided a plan which 1424 could give them a better political, social and economic future than anything they could otherwise enjoy.
I now turn to answer, as far as I can, some of the right hon. Gentleman's questions today, and some which took up much of the time on Monday at Question Time.
The main question raised by the Opposition—and I do not think we can blink the fact—is really whether Her Majesty's Government should intervene with Mr. Smith, over the head of the Commission, and insist on certain conditions for the continuance of the test of acceptability. I think that that is a fair way to put the problem which we face on both sides of the House.
I can give the answer. The Government feel that the Commission should carry on so long as, in its view, political conditions are such that it can perform the task with which it is charged. It might be that the political conditions will change and the Commission will find it impossible to stay. I do not know whether that will happen, but for the moment that is not the Commission's position.
As I reminded the right hon. Gentleman, the Leader of the Opposition said that he wants to get an honest answer, and he added that the Commission wanted to get it, too. So do we. Therefore, I want to leave the Commission in the field so long as it considers that there are political conditions in which it can operate. I hope, therefore, it is agreed that the Commission should carry on.
§ Mr. Robert Maclennan (Caithness and Sutherland)
Does the right hon. Gentleman mean by that that it is the judgment of the Government that the conditions which prevail in Rhodesia while the test of acceptability is being carried out is a matter of no concern to him? If that is so, why did the right hon. Gentleman send Mr. Philip Mansfield to Rhodesia, and what is he doing there? Is he not bringing back to the Government some indication of whether conditions are normal?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Of course we are concerned about the political conditions, but I think I should repeat the question at issue, because it is pertinent. The question is whether we should intervene over the head of the Commission. There may be circumstances in which I 1425 should feel it inevitable to do so, but I do not think that those circumstances have arisen, because, quite clearly, the Commission feels that it can carry on at present in the context of the present political activity in Rhodesia.
§ Mr. Healey
The right hon. Gentleman has put his question very fairly. What we are asking is that he shall intervene in support of the Commission, because there are five or six issues on which the Commission itself has sought assurances from Mr. Smith and not received them. From what the right hon. Gentleman said, it seems that he would regard it as a tragedy if the Commission had to withdraw because normal political activities were not being permitted. What we are asking the right hon. Gentleman to do is to intervene in support of the Commission and get satisfactory answers from Mr. Smith to the very questions which, on the instructions of this House, and perhaps as a result of the Commission's own discussions, Lord Pearce has put to Mr. Smith and not had answers to.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
If Lord Pearce wishes me to intervene, I have no doubt that he will say so, but I can just imagine what the right hon. Gentleman would say if I were to try to intervene and interfere with the workings of the commission. I can just imagine the speech that he would make.
Let me repeat this to the right hon. Gentleman, because I am trying to deal with this matter as carefully as I can. In the context of political activity, right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite are constantly exhorting me to act to compel Mr. Smith to do this or that, for example, in relation to internment. I accept that I have an obligation to press Mr. Smith to create conditions in which there can be the maximum political freedom of expression and in which, for example, persons such as Mr. Todd and Mr. Chinamano can express their views in public. I have the right to press him to do so, and I have done. But what effective sanction did the right hon. Gentleman have, not in a matter like this, but in a matter of life or death? None. When the hangings took place in Rhodesia—literally a matter of life or death—the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition had no sanction whatever.
1426 I shall use all the influence that I have, but what is the ultimate sanction that I have? It is to withdraw the settlement and therefore to withdraw the Commission. That is what the Leader of the Opposition asked me to do on Monday. The right hon. Gentleman has asked me to do something different. They had better co-ordinate their positions.
I doubt whether the Opposition really want the settlement withdrawn. At any rate, I am not willing to do that, for two reasons. The first I have given. It is that the terms of the settlement for the Africans are as good as could be obtained in any circumstances. The second is that I am not prepared to deprive Mr. Todd, or Mr. Chinamano, or the 5 million Africans in Rhodesia of the option of constitutional reform, which in my view is the sole alternative to despair. I propose to keep the provisional settlement in being and to leave the Commission there unless it says that it wants to come home. If it says so, that will be the Commission's decision.
If Lord Pearce and his Commission are to come home, it must be because he has decided that a combination of restrictions on freedom and of violence and intimidation has made it impossible for him to bring in a true verdict on the opinion of the Rhodesians on the settlement. He has not reached that decision. It must be left to him and his very experienced colleagues.
I have already dealt with the fact that the statement by Lord Pearce has been misconstrued. There is really a danger in misconstruing his statement. He said:To say that there has been no political activity in any of the Tribal Trust Lands would seem untenable…but there is a danger, because constantly it is said that normal political activity must rule, and almost equally constantly from the other side of the House the rest of the sentence is not added, which is that it must be in conditions which lead to security and to the proper working of democracy in Rhodesia.
The right hon. Gentleman confidently quotes one part of the sentence, but omits the proviso that politcial activities must be conducted in a peaceful and democratic manner. So far Lord Pearce has decided that the political conditions allow him to carry on. In other words, 1427 he is leaving the situation open and under review, and in my opinion that is right.
§ Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)
Six days ago the right hon. Gentleman sent Mr. Mansfield to Rhodesia. The Foreign Secretary is on record as having said that he had made representations about the detention of Mr. Todd. When questioned about this, the right hon. Gentleman said that he would not feel able to make a public statement until he had been supplied with the reasons why Mr. Todd had been detained. Are we to know those reasons? Has Mr. Smith told the right hon. Gentleman why Mr. Todd was detained? Are we to know whther Mr. Smith is mute of malice or by visitation of God?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Mr. Mansfield is returning tomorrow. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] Mr. Smith has told me that he has detained Mr. Todd for reasons of security, but the evidence on which Mr. Smith made the decision is not available to me at the moment. [HON. MEMBERS: "Resign."] The Leader of the Liberal Party asked me if I was in a position to answer his question—[Interruption.]—and what I have said is a matter of fact.
The right hon. Member for Leeds, East and others questioned me about visits by hon. Members of this House to Rhodesia, and I promised to give further information as soon as I could. Hon. Members will have noticed that a number have gone there lately without any fuss or hindrance. The Government naturally have no objection whatever to hon. Members going to Rhodesia, and we will certainly ask our liaison officer there, although he is a busy man, to offer any facilities to hon. Members when they are there.
I do not disguise my view that it would be wrong for political parties in this House to go to Rhodesia—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] I wish hon. Gentlemen opposite would for once wait to hear the end of a sentence before interrupting. In my view it would be wrong for us as political parties to go to Rhodesia and take the opportunity publicly in Rhodesia to support or object to the settlement. [Interruption.]
No one ever contemplated, when the fifth principle was laid down, that we 1428 should transfer our political squabbles on to Rhodesian territory—[Interruption]—and the security situation in Rhodesia confirms me in my judgment that to have done so would have been totally wrong. However, for hon. Members to go there and observe is an entirely different matter, and I shall, within a day or so, be approaching the leaders of the parties with suggestions on these issues.
In one country after another in Africa the Western pattern of democracy has been superseded by military rule or by one-party States. Here is an attempt to introduce, gradually it is true, but surely, a common roll and a parliamentary system which will make it possible for all races to co-exist and co-operate in the political affairs of their society.
It surely cannot be an affront—I believe that this is at the back of a lot of the thinking of hon. Gentlemen opposite—to modern Africa to try to recover for Africans rights in Rhodesia which they have lost.
I ask this House and all hon. Members to re-read the terms of the provisional settlement and each to ask himself in conscience whether he is justified in advising the Rhodesians, and particularly the African Rhodesians, to turn away this opportunity to start down a new road. [Interruption.] I have searched my conscience and I cannot bring myself to believe that I would be right to withdraw the provisional settlement, which gives such an opportunity. [Interruption.] I have no doubt whatever about this.
I pray that extremists will not blind or divert the Rhodesians from a true appreciation of where their interests and the interests of their country lie.
§ 4.54 p.m.
§ Mr. John Mendelson (Penistone)
The Foreign Secretary is right to invite the House to accept two of his propositions, first that this is a very serious situation and second that we should examine what he is doing and putting to the House.
That means that hon. Members who, like myself, have always opposed the kind of settlement that the right hon. Gentleman has put before us, and have deeply deplored the fact that Lord Goodman should have had anything to do 1429 with this manoeuvre, must this afternoon start with the Foreign Secretary's remarks at the point at which he started, which is with the present situation.
The right hon. Gentleman completely failed to reply to the cardinal point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), and referred to by the Leader of the Liberal Party, about the Foreign Secretary's responsibility in all this. Indeed, the right hon. Gentleman deliberately confused the responsibilities of the Commission and those of himself.
A deal is not being proposed between Lord Pearce and his Commission on the one hand and Mr. Smith on the other. In my view, the partners are Her Majesty's Government and Mr. Smith, and the responsibility for everything that has so far been agreed by Mr. Smith does not rest on the shoulders of the Commission but on those of the right hon. Gentleman, and this afternoon he once again tried to escape that responsibility.
It is a shameful reply to offer to us, as he offered to the Leader of the Liberal Party, that he is satisfied with the reply he has received from Mr. Smith; that Mr. Smith alleges that he has arrested Mr. Todd, the former Prime Minister, not because he wants to silence him but on security grounds and that he, Mr. Smith, is not prepared to tell the Foreign Secretary what evidence he has for that allegation. The reasons why Her Majesty's Government are approaching the point when they must call off this settlement are reasons which hon. Gentlemen opposite must judge for themselves.
It is not as though the Foreign Secretary fully represented the views that Lord Pearce has expressed. For example, Lord Pearce said on television last night—I believe the film in which he said it was made on Sunday—that he was calling back all his advisers for a weekend conference at headquarters and that only then, after consulting them, would he say whether he was prepared to make a first assessment about whether normal political activities were being permitted.
The Foreign Secretary was less than fair when he largely repudiated what my right hon. Friend had said because Lord Pearce said, among other things, that he would regard it as very disturbing—there is beginning to be some evidence of 1430 this—if difficulty arose in the implementation of the pledge of normal political activities being permitted. He said that he would not go further than that. Nevertheless, he went that far, and anybody who watched the film and heard Lord Pearce must have concluded that there are already doubts in his mind.
§ Mr. Mendelson
But the right hon. Gentleman did not say that there was already a clear expression of doubt in Lord Pearce's mind. The right hon. Gentleman made it appear as though my right hon. Friend had completely misrepresented the position. [Interruption.] I know that hon. Gentlemen opposite who support the racist régime in Rhodesia do not like to hear the truth about these matters. They want sanctions called off and the Commission to report, whether or not it is true, that the settlement should be implemented, but they do not count in this debate.
§ Mr. Mendelson
I will not give way. The Foreign Secretary is clearly avoiding his responsibility in this matter, particularly in view of his comments about Mr: Todd.
We have had the moving experience of large numbers of African citizens making their opinions clear. Nobody with knowledge of Rhodesia and with contacts among the Africans there cannot but have been deeply moved by the way in which, after many years of political repression during which it has been made difficult for them to inform themselves politically, they have shown how well informed they are when they have made contact with the Commission.
As my right hon. Friend pointed out, the cardinal question they have asked—a question which the Commission cannot answer but on which we must give our opinions—is, "How do we know that the money which is allegedly to be supplied for educational purposes by Mr. Smith will be supplied for those purposes?" That question is bound to be taken into account when they give their opinions to the Commission.
It is clear, therefore, that we must receive certain assurances. One must 1431 be about the Chairman of the African National Council, who I understand is also threatened with arrest. He has previously been placed under restriction. Another must be about Mr. Todd. We must not only be told what will happen to him but be assured that the right hon. Gentleman will call the deal off if any further inroads are made into the opportunities for normal political activities. He is quite wrong to say rhetorically that he wishes to preserve the right of Mr. Garfield Todd and the right of the treasurer of the African National Council, though he be in prison, to take all the advantages of the agreement when the fifth test is being broken every day.
The right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary misrepresented the views of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition. My right hon. Friend said that he does not wish the Commission to be recalled at this moment. I agree with him. Nothing that my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East said from the Front Bench contradicts that in any way. If the right hon. Gentleman wanted a serious debate, it was unworthy of him to play at politics and waste so much time on an alleged disagreement between two of my right hon. Friends. We have said that the Commission ought to continue its work but that the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary must see to it that normal political activities are allowed. The evidence is now overwhelming that people are being arrested and are not being put on trial. The evidence for the arrests and allegations is not being made public, or even being privately communicated to the British Government. The time is fast approaching when the settlement must be called off because Mr. Smith is not living up to his engagement.
The matter goes further than that. From the threatening speech made by Mr. Smith last Friday, it has clearly emerged that he had a completely different idea about the proceedings that were to take place than what the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary said in the previous debate. It has become evident that Mr. Smith thought, "We are going to run these through, with white employers calling in their black employees"—which has already happened in some cases—"and telling them in the privacy of the general 1432 manager's office, 'look here, you say' yes 'to this, do you not?' "Mr. Smith thought that the employer would then report to the Pearce Commission saying that most of his employees were in favour of the settlement. One of those white employers appeared on television last night. He was bitterly disappointed. He appeared to be astonished at the human spirit and courage of some Africans. This has surprised them. Some hon. Gentlemen opposite are deeply disappointed, because they shared Mr. Smith's expectation. I do not say all hon. Gentlemen opposite, but some are disappointed. What is now happening is clearly something that Mr. Smith did not bargain for but it is of the very essence of the contract that the British Government asked this House to enter into. Those are the things on which the debate must concentrate.
On the subject of police violence, anyone who has been to Rhodesia will know that as soon as Africans assemble, the police are too ready to bring out the dogs and the guns. I remember being in Salisbury about six weeks before Mr. Joshua Nkomo was first interned. He has never been allowed free since then to meet his associates and engage in normal political activities.
On that occasion, when there was already a ban on him holding public political meetings, it was announced one Sunday morning that he would be visiting Harari to see a friend whose daughter was celebrating her 21st birthday. Within about two hours, according to the police 60,000 African supporters of Mr. Nkomo assembled in the streets. According to the Africans I knew, it was only 20,000. But within another half an hour the police dogs were on the streets and Mr. Nkomo was forcibly prevented from even shaking hands with some of his supporters. That is the sort of background to remember when we hear that a group of Africans assembled somewhere. This would encourage any group to say "No". If our constituents were living in such conditions, they would find it advisable to gather in groups and not to go alone to the protected polling booths, which they have achieved for themselves over many years. There was a time in Britain, as Dickens well describes, when the British electors preferred to go in groups rather 1433 than alone. Under police state conditions—I am using the Prime Minister's words—in Rhodesia today nobody has to be surprised nor should they hold anything against people who prefer to go in groups. There was no violence near Salisbury until the police started attacking them, and that started very soon.
The right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary is a guarantor for the honour of Britain and this House in the fulfilment of a settlement. He has a responsibility to both the people of Rhodesia and the people of Britain. It is no good him saying that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition might have entered into agreement. My right hon. Friend did not. Why not? If the right hon. Gentleman would question, for instance, my right hon. Friend who was then the Attorney-General and a member of the delegation which my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition took out with him to this conference he would see why the negotiations broke down. They broke down precisely because the kind of guarantees on the fifth principle demanded by my right hon. Friend could not be pledged after Mr. Smith had returned to Salisbury having entered into this agreement in the first place. Mr. Smith was told by his party and the right wing, "You cannot allow this to happen because we might get the wrong result if we agreed to it."
Therefore, the right hon. Gentleman the Foreign Secretary has a duty to be as sober and serious in this debate as he asks us to be, and not to introduce this rhetorical political question to confuse the issue. He has a serious responsibility. If he finds that Mr. Smith is not living up to his part of the bargain, the right hon. Gentleman must honour his agreement with the House and call off the settlement, anti tell the world the truth.
§ 5.6 p.m.
§ Mr. Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler (King's Lynn)
My concern in this matter is no less passionate than that so recently displayed by the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) but I shall express myself a little more quietly, but with no less conviction.
I maintain very strongly that it is right and proper that the Rhodesians of all ethnic backgrounds should have this opportunity to express in full and in the maximum possible freedom their feelings 1434 on the proposals for a settlement as negotiated by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. I agree with the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) and others that the fact that Africans are taking part in discussions is itself a major step forward and contrasts very strongly with the six years during which the Labour Government were in control, during those and years of U.D.I. when African expressions of opinion were seldom heard either inside or outside Rhodesia.
I refer those who think that the debate on Rhodesia is one-sided, and those who think that the views put forward are only against these proposals, to a selection of the various documents which are at present circulating around Rhodesia giving different views and opinions on the merits and demerits of the settlement. One should look behind the rioting and the Press headlines, conscious as one is of the vast distances in the continent of Africa, to the serious consideration of the alternatives, which is taking place in Rhodesia today and is taking place only as a result of the initiative of my right hon. Friend—although it is undeniable that many of the documents being circulated press the Africans to refuse the terms of the settlement as proposed.
Equally, many have not quite made up their minds. Many say that the settlement is a bad one. But I think that the House would be impressed by the views of Father R. H. Randolph, published in The Shield, which is the journal of the Roman Catholic Church in Rhodesia and reported in the Rhodesian Herald. Father Randolph is communications secretary for the Rhodesian Catholic Bishops' Conference.The success of the proposals, even as they stand, will depend on the sincerity and goodwill of all people in observing the spirit of the proposals and upon the necessary change of heart of those who see them as a change in ideology.I shall refer again to that observation shortly. Father Randolph continued:But if the proposals were accepted they would check the tendency for Rhodesia to go towards a South African apartheid system. Majority rule for civilised Africans is now in sight.It is up to the Pearce Commission to decide whether it can carry on with its task of gathering the opinion of the 1435 whole population of Rhodesia. But whatever the Commission's findings are, British public opinion will want to be assured that those findings were arrived at in the best possible manner. To put it no higher, many consider that the reason given for the detention of the Todds and Mr. Chinamano is less than adequate.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has reminded us of the paragraph in the White Paper which calls for normal political activitiesprovided that they are conducted in a peaceful and democratic manner".Mr. Smith is quoted as showing his understanding of this paragraph. In an interview on 7th December he said this:As you know, part of the agreement is that we shall allow as much freedom of discussion as possible and we will release as many detainees as possible. We would honestly hope to do this to try to stimulate fair and constructive discussion.Many of us would question whether the sentiments there expressed are consistent with the rather bald statement by the Rhodesian Minister of Justice recently on the arrest of the Todds and Mr. Chinamano. The Minister of Justice said:The making of this order"—that is, the order to arrest them—is based on the belief that you are likely to commit or incite the commission of acts in Rhodesia which would endanger the public safety or disturb or interfere with the maintenance of public order.I appreciate that my right hon. Friend has no writ, in the final analysis, to demand that the Department of Justice of the illegal régime provides all its secret documents. However, many people in Britain are extremely disappointed that Mr. Todd was not able to keep his engagement to speak in Britain this week and we would like my right hon. Friend to convey in the strongest possible terms our concern about this matter. The British public wants to see far greater evidence of Mr. Smith's "sincerity and good will", to quote Father Randolph again, and we believe that for the sake of public opinion alone Mr. Smith should be prepared to make a statement explaining in detail why these people have been detained.
§ Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South-West)
Does the hon. Gentleman believe in Smith's sincerity?
§ Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler
Certainly, I speak for many people on both sides of the House, for many of my constituents, and for members of the British public elsewhere, when I say that we need reassurances as to Mr. Smith's intentions, his sincerity and his good will before we can take any action in this House to legalise his position.
§ 5.13 p.m.
§ Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles)
I begin on at least one note of agreement with the Foreign Secretary. He knows that I and my party, like the members of the Labour Party, voted against the settlement proposals. We do not like the proposals. We do not believe that they are in the best interests of the African majority.
However, I recognise that there is another point of view, which was perhaps best put by Lord Goodman in another place—namely, that these were the best terms that could be obtained and that they should be accepted.
What is important is not what is the view of the different parties in the House, or what is the view of the House as a whole, or of the British people as a whole about the settlement, but whether the settlement proposals are acceptable to the African majority. I agree with that point of view. That was why, as soon as these proposals were made, it was the fifth principle—the test of acceptability—that became all-important and crucial.
Although it may be our private opinions or our party opinions that this is a bad settlement and it does not do justice to the African cause, if the Africans were to take a different view it is they who would face the consequences. As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Liberal Party said at a public meeting at Central Hall last night, it is easy for us in Britain to advise against acceptance of the settlement when we do not have to face the consequences. I start with the proposition that this is what the debate is about and that the test of acceptability and the proper carrying out of that test is of crucial importance to the whole deal.
On that point of agreement I remind the Foreign Secretary of what he said on the afternoon after the arrest of the Todds. There was a genuine sense of 1437 shock in the House, shock which the right hon. Gentleman shared, because he said this to us:On hearing the reports last night I immediately sent a personal message to Mr. Smith seeking to establish the facts behind these arrests.The right hon. Gentleman said later that he was sending Mr. Mansfield out. He concluded in this way:In a matter of such importance I am sure that hon. Members will appreciate that it would not be right for me to say more about these arrests until I have received further full information from Rhodesia. I will keep the House informed.''—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th January, 1972; Vol. 829, c. 465.]The House has not yet been informed. The House is waiting to be informed. The comment by the hon. Member for King's Lynn (Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler) that the answer had been "less than adequate" was a masterpiece of understatement. The Foreign Secretary has had to return to the House and say, "In response to the assurance I gave you eight days ago, I have not been able to get an answer to my questions". That is totally unsatisfactory and cannot create confidence in the House or amongst the British public that the test of acceptability is being carried out properly.
Mr. Chinamano is one of those whom I had intended to see when I go to Rhodesia. A few days before he was arrested I learned that he had been suffering from a very serious cardiac illness and that he had been advised, mainly on medical grounds, that he should give up his post as Treasurer of the A.N.C. and should come to London to get away from the political pressures of Rhodesia and receive the specialist medical treatment he requires. Knowing this, I was not surprise to read in the Press that Mr. Chinamano had fainted on the way to the police station. I understand that he is in hospital in Salisbury. I should like the Government to find out what his condition is and, if there is any danger to him, I trust that it will be possible for him to come to London and to receive adequate medical treatment.
The right hon. Gentleman mentioned visits by Members of Parliament. As the right hon. Gentleman probably knows, I have already written to the Government Chief Whip saying that in principle we are perfectly happy to contribute a Member to an all-party delegation but it is 1438 a little late in the day. If the Government had been serious about an all-party delegation, it should have been proposed at the beginning. In the absence, still, of any firm dates or firm proposals for an all-party delegation, it is right that the Labour Party and the Liberal Party should press ahead with their plans for their own surveys of what is happening in Rhodesia. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be able to tell the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) and myself that clearance for our visit has been arranged.
One of the crucial differences of opinion across the Floor of the House is on the basic question whether Mr. Smith's intentions are honourable. This is not the time to go through all the differences which have since arisen on the interpretation of the settlement. To take but one example, the White Paper "Proposals for a Settlement" contains a proposal for a commission to review existing legislation with a view to ending racial discrimination. Page 15 of the White Paper says this:The Rhodesian Government recognise that the findings of the Commission will carry special authority and have given an assurance that they will commend to Parliament such changes in existing legislation as are required to give effect to its recommendations, subject only to considerations that any Government would be obliged to regard as of an overriding character.Many of us were suspicious of that phrase, and in the debate on 1st December the right hon. Gentleman was pressed to say what it meant. He said:…the wording of the proposals clearly carries an obligation to act and to change the law in respect of those recommendations which are made in the context of improving and fostering racial harmony."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st December, 1971; Vol. 827, c. 468.]That was his interpretation of those words in the settlement, but let us see what Mr. Smith said in his Parliament on precisely the same point. In his speech commending the settlement to the Rhodesian Parliament on 25th November, he said:The evidence of this Commission will be made public and in the event of the Rhodesian Government accepting their recommendations they will commend such changes to Parliament.In the phrase "in the event of the Rhodesian Government accepting their recommendations" the word "unlikely" 1439 is almost understood. It is Mr. Smith's interpretation of the proposals that matters and not the right hon. Gentleman's because it is Mr. Smith who will be left in charge under the settlement.
The reason why we are so concerned about what has happened during the visit of the Pearce Commission is that we are being seriously asked to believe that Mr. Smith, once sanctions have been lifted, once the legality of his Government has been recognised through diplomatic channels right around the world, will be a changed man and will behave better than he does now under the pressure of sanctions, under the pressure of not being recognised by a single State.
That is why we are entitled to say that the present conditions during the visit of the Pearce Commission are not the normal conditions that have prevailed since U.D.I. I hold no brief for the conduct and handling of the Rhodesian situation by the previous Administration, but it is not right to compare the position of the then Prime Minister, faced with the hangings in Rhodesia, with the present position, because now we have tried to restore some degree of normal relations between the two Governments. An agreed settlement is being discussed undertakings have been given to the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary. An almost normal political situation is supposed to be created. It is in that new situation that the right hon. Gentleman must exercise his responsibility. I agree with the observation of a previous speaker that the right hon Gentleman has been inclined to shuffle off that responsibility on to Lord Pearce and the Commission. The undertakings about the test of acceptability were given—
§ Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler
That was not my contention. If the hon. Gentleman reads my speech in the OFFICIAL REPORT he will find that that is so.
§ Mr. Steel
The hon. Gentleman misunderstood me. I said "a previous speaker". It was the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) who was making the point, so the hon. Gentleman need not be quite so sharp.
The point I want to make is that the undertakings about the test of acceptability were given to the House by the right hon. Gentleman, and on that basis 1440 the House voted on 1st December on whether it accepted the proposals. I and my colleagues dissented. The House agreed, but on the conditions the right hon. Gentleman gave us. Therefore, we are entitled to demand that he, not Lord Pearce, satisfies himself that the conditions are being met.
The scenes we have witnessed in Rhodesia in the past few days make it clear that the majority of the population, who have for the past five or six years been suppressed and politically quiescent, have accepted the quiesence on the understanding that the world community was still interested in their fate. Sanctions were operating, and not a single country was recognising the legality of the Smith régime. But now the majority are being asked to change the situation and accept a set of proposals that leave them fairly and squarely in the hands of the Rhodesian Front, with the hopes that the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary holds that progress will be made. That is their choice. They are being asked to take themselves off the agenda of world politics. That is why they are reacting in a very strong way.
I am sorry to say to the right hon. Gentleman, because I think he knows of the high personal regard in which I hold him, that in his speech this afternoon he gave the impression yet again of being a very weak man being pushed around by a ruthless one.
§ 5.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)
I do not want to delay the House for long, because many hon. Members wish to speak, but I want to draw attention to the extraordinary position in which the shadow Foreign Secretary finds himself. I do not know why he asked for this debate. Is he against the Pearce Commission? Does he wish it to be withdrawn?
In part of his speech the right hon. Gentleman seemed to lay down a number of conditions my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary should seek to have fulfilled. He wanted my right hon. Friend to insist on free use of radio, on the African National Congress having a full right of assembly, and that leading people should go out from here. But when, in the five or six years when the right hon. Gentleman's 1441 Government were in office, under any circumstances could any of those ideas have been put forward with any hope of success?
If those conditions are not to be fulfilled, apparently, the Labour Opposition wishes the Pearce Commission to be brought home. I wish hon. Members opposite would read what Lord Goodman said. Lord Goodman said that it would be a matter of absolute folly to reject the terms, because the alternative is to go down the road to apartheid. That is clear beyond a peradventure of doubt.
Doubtless in Penistone the elections are run the right way and the people have the right to a proper and free expression of opinion. But when the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) talks about the conditions of Penistone applying to Africa he is talking about the change from what is a police State to a State in which there is some chance for African advance. That is the whole point of the settlement. [Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman may point at me, but I, with Lord Goodman, was strong on matters like Biafra. I do not know how the hon. Gentleman felt about those Africans being massacred out there. There are people in the House who believe in advancing the rights of subject peoples and seeing that we get the best possible deal.
I believe, with Lord Goodman, that the proposed settlement is the best deal that can be obtained. I am amazed that Labour right hon. and hon. Members should say that it is the duty of my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary to lay down this or that condition for the operation of the Pearce Commission. We have the Pearce Commission there, and it can judge whether the conditions are being properly met. Labour hon. Members say, "We have seen the police dogs out". They say that we have seen this out and that out. I agree, but it is for Pearce and not my right hon. Friend or even the House, least of all hon. Members going by Press reports, to judge whether the conditions are being properly met. That is why I believe not only that the Pearce Commission should not be withdrawn but that the House has a duty to see that the tone of debate here is kept at a proper level, and that there is a chance of the Afri 1442 cans having the proper question put to them.
The question is not, "Do you wish to be removed from the African stage?", and it is not, "Do you wish the United Nations no longer to be thinking about you?" The United Nations long ago ceased to think about them. With the purchase of chrome and all those other things, the whole sanctions policy is dead. The question that should be asked, as Lord Goodman clearly said in another place, is, "Are the proposals better than your present state?" That is proved by the speech of the hon. Gentleman, when he talked about police dogs and a police State.
The grapes of wrath we see on the other side of the House are of a bogus vintage, being merely the sour grapes resulting from six years of failure on the part of Labour right hon. and hon. Members.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Guy Barnett (Greenwich)
I will not try to comment in full on the speech of the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser), who recommended to us the speech of Lord Goodman in another place. From my reading of it it seemed to me to be a great speech. But the trouble with Lord Goodman's speech, and the trouble with Lord Goodman, is that when he went to Rhodesia to make his inquiries he was not instructed, and so far as I can make out made no attempt, to gauge likely African reactions to the settlement proposals he was negotiating. One of the most appalling mistakes made by the Government and the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary is that African opinion in Rhodesia has been caused to become highly suspicious of the whole exercise.
Whatever the merits or otherwise of the settlement—and at present I am not going into those—we cannot imagine a means of making the African population more suspicious of the whole exercise than for Lord Goodman to go to Rhodesia several times to negotiate with the régime to work out some kind of agreement and attempt to foist it on the Africans. Therefore, I take less seriously than the right hon. Gentleman remarks Lord Goodman may have made in another place.
1443 I am not surprised that the Africans in Rhodesia are highly suspicious of the whole operation. They have had the experience of about six years of U.D.I. and they are faced with public statements by Ian Smith such as the following, which he is reported as having made in the Rhodesian Parliament:It is our carefully considered assessment that in view of the expansion of the economy and the increase in immigration to which we can confidently look forward, no European need harbour any anxiety about the security of his future in Rhodesia.I cannot think that any African can interpret those words in any other way than to assume that Mr. Smith hopes—in fact, is certain—that if the settlement proposals are agreed the level of investment in Rhodesia from outside the country and the rate of immigration of into Rhodesia will be at such a level as to frustrate completely any hope of African advancement. If such suspicions are abroad in Rhodesia, I am not surprised, and I am not surprised by the degree of opposition that we have noticed.
A point needs to be made during this debate about the course of events since Lord Pearce arrived. I was not the slightest bit surprised by the outbreak of violence. If, after six years in a police State, unable to express oneself, one finds people coming out from Britain, including a very learned and very old judge, who start asking what kind of political future one wants, if that is the first occasion for years and years anyone has even taken the trouble to ask what kind of régime one wishes to live in and what kind of political future one wants, it is bound to cause a considerable degree of excitement.
What is most impressive is that, after the initial wave of excitement, all the evidence, confirmed by Lord Pearce on "24 Hours" last night, is that the Africans have settled down to a firm and careful consideration of the proposals and are indulging so far as they are permitted—and that is not very far—in perfectly reasonable political activity in an attempt to assess the terms, for what they are worth.
It would be wrong for any of us to attempt to predict what the result of a settlement will be. But I shall not be surprised if they reject that settlement for 1444 a reason which must be obvious to every hon. Member, and that is, in the words of Mr. Harold Macmillan 10 years ago:The winds of change are blowing through Africa.Although the African majority in Rhodesia has been gagged, I shall not be surprised to discover that the winds of change have been blowing through Rhodesia as well.
One surprising piece of evidence which appears from the Press reports about the work of the Commission is the degree to which Africans in the trust lands as well as in the towns and townships are politically conscious, politically aware and politically interested in their future. I should not be surprised if they make a choice which involves the sacrifice of the small benefits which might accrue from a settlement, because they understand that their only hope may be self-determination for them and their children. If they make that choice, I hope that the people of Britain and throughout the world will have the courage to stand by it and do everything they can to ensure that the Africans get the thing they have asked for.
§ 5.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
The speeches of the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) and the hon. Member for Penistone (Mr. John Mendelson) exemplified that attitude of total and almost splenetic hostility to the white man in Africa which has been one of the most significant elements of Socialist policy in the last 20 years and has done untold harm in many parts of Africa. It goes so far that, if there emerges, as, for example, in Malawi or Uganda, a ntive African leader who is not anti-European, he becomes one of their bogymen just as much as Mr. Smith or anyone else.
The speech of the right hon. Member for Leeds, East showed the Jekyll and Hyde attitude of the Opposition to the Rhodesian question. Ministers of the Labour Government sought to get a settlement on terms which went miles beyond the 1961 constitution, because they thought that it was harmful on all sides and in every way for this dispute to continue. Now those Ministers are back in Opposition they become and begin to speak as the leaders of a party in which the left has filled a dominant rôle and is concerned with every country but its own.
1445 That produces the unrealistic nature of this debate. It was highlighted by a phrase used by the right hon. Member for Leeds, East when referring to the present activity in Rhodesia. He said:for the first time in that unhappy countrythe Africans are begining to play a part. That shows just how little he and other hon. Gentlemen know about Rhodesia and its development.
The British ruled a quarter of the world, and ruled it very well, but as an imperial race. When we left we handed over power from an imperial race to an indigenous race. Nowhere ever did we create or form part of a multi-racial society, because to do so does not come natural to the Anglo-Saxons. In Rhodesia alone, which has never been ruled from London—which some people forget—British people began spontaneously to build a multi-racial society, the only one which has ever taken root in the British Commonwealth of Nations. They did it; we did not. By some quirk that odd example occurred. Before U.D.I. there were no rules of racial differentiation in Rhodesia. There was a limited electorate, but the qualification of property and education was the same for everyone—
§ Mr. Bell
I will not give way. if I am subjected to a good deal of interruption this will slow me up, and I have been asked to speak briefly. No doubt the hon. Gentleman may seek to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker.
This is the society against which we have chosen to take this repressive action. I put the proposition that all the trouble in Rhodesia has come from outside because we had not the common sense to let Rhodesia go on with that unique and hopeful experiment. By some extraordinary error of judgment the Central African Federation was broken up. We gave independence to Nyasaland—the most backward of them all—which became Malawi. We gave independence to Northern Rhodesia, which was quite backward. We refused indpendence to Southern Rhodesia which had enjoyed 1446 home rule since 1923 and had never been ruled from London.
There is no point in going back to that moment of folly. This was done, and all the trouble has stemmed from that initial error of judgment. Let us not talk about Mr. Smith and the Rhodesian Front. We refused independence to Rhodesia, on the terms of the 1961 constitution, to Mr. Garfield Todd, and to his successor, Mr. Winston Field. There is nothing unique in the position of Mr. Smith.
Many territories in Africa were British and we gave them independence. We devised constitutions for them on the Westminster model at Marlborough House or Lancaster House. With the exception of two enclaves in South Africa, they all went back and tore up those constitutions. I had a small hand in devising one of them on behalf of the Barotse tribe. That constitution was solemnly signed and delivered, guaranteed by a personal pledge and torn up within 14 months. That is the record.
We mean well, but the Westminster system, which works well in Britain, is not suited for Africa—not yet anyway, it may be one day. Therefore, we have a record of total failure in Africa. We have not devised a single constitution suitable for the conditions of Africa. Totally unabashed by this unblemished record of failure, we impose sanctions on Rhodesia for not letting us think up a silly constitution for it. That is the basis of all this. We should approach this problem in a humble frame of mind, knowing that our judgment of what is good for Africans in Africa is practically worthless.
Let us start from that. It is an immensely complicated subject. I doubt if there is anything which is good for Africa. There are East Africa, West Africa, Central Africa and many different tribes. I had the good fortune to get right inside the life of one highly organised tribe when I was their spokesman, but every tribe is different, and we cannot generalise about what would be the right dispositions and the right constitutional arrangements for Africa just like that.
We have made this provisional agreement, which is wise and sensible. That agreement now is in danger because, unhappily, it was linked to a very slow 1447 method of implementation. It is a wise and bold stroke, but the method is so slow that it will be imperilled, because into Rhodesia are pouring the accomplished mischief-makers of the world. Trouble is being stirred up in a country where there has never been trouble since 1923, where the races have lived together in harmony and mutual respect.
The hon. Member for Penistone plainly thinks that normal political activity is the same in Africa as it is in Chelsea and Westminster.
§ Mr. Mendelson
I did not say anything of the kind. The hon. and learned Gentleman, who has never misquoted me in the past, should not do so now. I said that the Foreign Secretary has engaged the House and the country to see to it that the fifth principle of normal political activities is fulfilled during the period when opinion is being tested.
§ Mr. Bell
I was not quoting the hon. Gentleman. I said that he seemed to believe this, because the whole tenor of his speech and most of its content was how normal political activity was not being allowed in Rhodesia. That was the case he was making. It is extremely difficult to carry out this operation at all even with complete order and quiet in Rhodesia.
How can one approach all those people, the African in the tribal lands where there is not much else but fish and the de-tribalised urban African? Does one say to him, "You know the terms which have been agreed between the British Foreign Secretary and Mr. Smith, are you in favour of them?". Of course, he has not read them. How many hon. Members of this House have read them? The African does not know, and he wonders why he is being asked. Let us be sensible about this. This is an operation which must be gone through because of what is called the world community, which tends to mean the people who hang around the corridors of the United Nations and have got it into their heads that this lunatic operation must be gone through.
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
Is my hon. and learned Friend aware that the spokesman of the Batonka did not know that there was a dispute with Britain?
§ Mr. Bell
I am not surprised. Once they were told that there was a dispute with Britain which started six and a half years ago and that there was now a proposed settlement, they would have to be told what the settlement was. They would be completely baffled at every stage of the proceedings. All we shall have is a froth, whipped up by South African Nationalist politicians and their supporters outside. How Mr. Smith will derive a conclusion from this, I do not know.
For Heaven's sake, let this process be quick, because the longer it goes on the more will the rats get at this sensible settlement. Nobody making the broadest judgment and assessment, which is all we can do, can believe other than that the Africa population of Rhodesia was extremely happy before U.D.I. and would like to go back to that system of racial non-discrimination and gradual advance which they had then. If we can give them that, we shall have performed a notable service for them.
§ 5.50 p.m.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
I feel that the present events have had at least one good result and that is that they have brought those who criticise the settlement face to face with the consequences of its failures. Sanctions had considerably broken down, they have now broken down altogether. No one really believes that it is possible to re-impose them. The Foreign Secretary put the matter almost exactly right at Question Time the other day when he pointed out that we have never had power in Rhodesia and we have not the power now; that we had influence, that we still have some influence, but less, and that our duty is quite simply to use that influence to gain for our African wards a better settlement and a better future than they could otherwise get.
That seems to be the whole question before us. The Government, having decided that the terms they got were the best obtainable, are under a duty to implement them. I am sorry that they were diverted by the five principles. Those were, it is true, produced by the right hon. Gentleman seven years ago, but 1449 they were produced in very different circumstances. It was a great mistake to try to revive them. It is almost always a mistake to go to a conference table with rigid remits or points or even rigid principles. Perhaps in this I find myself in agreement with my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition in feeling that principles are generally a mistake.
In this context I remember well President Wilson's 14 points at Versailles. I remember that Prime Minister Clemenceau observed that God Almighty had found 10 sufficient. Certainly the Conference at Versailles could have done with less than 14, as Lord Goodman and the negotiators at Salisbury could have done with less than five. Frankly, acceptability was always a nonsense. I did not think it would be such a mischievous nonsense as it has turned out to be but a nonsense it always was.
I am opposed to the Common Market but I believe that a referendum on an issue of that sort would be a nonsense, and I have always said so. If a referendum would be a nonsense with as sophisticated an electorate as we have, with all the vast experience of a hundred years of democratic institutions, what kind of a nonsense is it to pass these kind of proposals to people without any experience of this sort?
Look what has happened. One of the most remarkable things has been the attitude of the M.P.s elected by voting and those appointed by the chiefs. The democratically-elected Africans—if that be the right word and perhaps it is not—are in favour of a settlement but the chiefs' M.P.s are against it. Why? Do they regard it as too democratic? Do they regard it as contrary to chiefly influence? To this nonsense my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) wishes to add four more points. Good heavens! Do we not have enough?
The first of those points concerns Mr. Todd and his most charming daughter. I know Mr. Todd, I like him, I admire him, he is the most attractive of individuals and I think that any of us would be proud to have a daughter such as he has. For all of this, I am a great deal more sympathetic with the men of his own village of Shabani who died because of his silliness, just as I was deeply sorry for the men of Sharpeville who died because of Harold MacMillan's silliness. 1450 We heard that great speech about the wind of change, but its only real effect was a massacre in Sharpeville and the repression of African progress. This is the trouble with the liberals, they make the boldest assertions, but their martyrdom is always by proxy. [Interruption.] The other points which are being put forward and which we are asked to accept are the A.N.C. going into the tribal areas, television and Sir Dingle Foot. These are a nonsense in this situation and we all know it.
Here we have a situation in which we have very little influence. What influence we have is disappearing. For Heaven's sake let us use what we have got while we have it to try to make things better instead of pandering to our own vanity and coddling our own consciences by producing principles which we know we cannot impose. As to the future, brilliant as I found Lord Goodman's negotiations, I do not think that the result is all that important. What is important is that Rhodesia should be released and allowed to go forward.
It was only by repressing economic progress in Rhodesia that we could keep the African under domination. Let me make myself perfectly clear, when I talk of Rhodesia I am on the black man's side not the side of the white man. I have no doubt about that at all. I never have had; they are the vast majority. I have seen apartheid work in South Africa. It has worked there because the South Africans have succeeded in avoiding dependence on a black proletariat. In none of the industries of South Africa have the South Africans ever allowed an indigenous proletariat to develop.
They have allowed only contract labour, to come for a short time. They have always had a white labour force sufficient to keep the industry going. When the figures are in the ratio of one to three, that is possible: when it is one to twenty it is not. The moment Rhodesian policy begins to advance there must be a trade union movement, development must depend on the black proletariat, a black labour force. That must mean African rule. It will not be because of the details of a constitution, because constitutions do not stand up in Africa. It will be, and I am enough of a Marxist to believe this, because the economic circumstances as they develop 1451 will force this kind of dominion—[Interruption.] The people sitting behind me who giggle do so from their ignorance of this situation, and their prejudices. They are in a fix now that they are up against the rejection of a settlement which they denounced. They funk that rejection because they know the consequences will be disastrous to the African. I urge the Government to have the courage to do what they know is right and not to be diverted by this nonsense about a principle of acceptability which they know means nothing and which was developed seven years ago in quite different circumstances.
§ 5.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward du Cann (Taunton)
Not for the first time I find myself the spokesman by accident, following the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), of those who agree with his sturdy common sense. [Interruption.] It was refreshing to listen to him although I did not agree with everything he said. I returned from Central Africa two days before the House re-assembled after our short Christmas Recess. The chief purpose of my visit, which did not, alas, include Rhodesia, was commercial, and I declare that interest.
I should report, incidentally, although perhaps not as incidentally as might he thought at first, that I am convinced, speaking as a practical man, that the potential for British trade in West, East and Central Africa is vast. Conditions certainly are not always easy. Sometimes they are almost intolerably frustrating and difficult, but given a flexible approach and the abandonment of certain older attitudes not fashionable today, and possibly partnership with local enterprises and with Governments, there is much there aching for us to go in and achieve.
It is insufficient alone for us to talk in this House about improving living standards. The imperative is to do something about it, and I am quite certain that the advancement of commerce is an important, practical and constructive step which we in this country could increasingly take. Not only Dr. Johnson would remarkA man, Sir, should keep his friendship in constant repair.It was said that trade followed the flag in the old days. I believe that political 1452 liaisons can well follow trade, to the benefit of many countries, not least that of the Commonwealth countries where we still have many friends, and this applies to Rhodesia too.
Having so recently met and talked with a number of Ministers in four countries, having met commercial figures and having had substantial conversations with three Heads of State, from that and other experiences I venture to express an opinion about the Rhodesian problem to to this House.
Whatever the constitutional position, or indeed the practical position, to which my right hon. Friend the Foregin Secretary referred this afternoon, whatever it may or may not be, it is entirely clear what in Africa it is generally assumed to be. Our friends there, inside and outside Rhodesia, hold us, and no one else, responsible for the constitutional developments in that country. I believe we have a moral commitment which we cannot deny. We cannot opt out. Nor should we. We must accept the trust which others have put in us. The reason why others besides myself have accepted this settlement and support it most warmly, congratulating my right hon. Friend and his colleagues on what they have achieved, is that we believe that this provisional settlement really has marked a tremendous advance, as others have said so clearly in this debate.
Having said that, let us recognise the facts behind it. The wish of the indigenous population is to rule themselves and is now more determined than it has ever been. The African may be young in terms of education, literacy even, sophistication, experience of command, commercial leadership or government, but he is no longer placid. The right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), in what, I thought, was a mischievous and unfortunate speech this afternoon, quoted the Ovambos. I think it right to quote them as an example of the pace of change of opinion. Who in this House would have suggested a year or two ago that the Ovambos would take this step by striking as they recently have? The African will have his way. Perhaps he is following the example of all of us who, as young men, wanted to set off on our own.
The trouble with all of us who have children is that we know they will want 1453 to set off on their own too soon. We know and recognise this, but to stand in the face of this development and attempt to prevent it is to act like Canute. The trend is there and we must recognise it, and recognise that we cannot stop it. We may be impatient of it, but there it is and it is a fact. Our historical reaction to this scene has been honourable and realistic in the history of the British Empire, now the British Commonwealth. Indeed, it has been courageous and quite often ahead of popular opinion in this country.
Looking today at contemporary Africa I find we get credit for our realism and sense less often than we should. Too often now, I suggest to this House, it is the Communists, the Russians, perhaps through the front of other nations, or the Chinese more directly, who are regarded as the apostles of freedom and self-rule in certain territories in Africa. Such is the irony, such is the falsehood, for it is those who cry anti-colonial slogans the loudest who are the modern slavers in the contemporary scene. It is, surely, an error to allow the position of the West in general, and of Britain in particular, to be represented as reactionary. This House should be jealous of its good name and sensitive particularly of it at present.
If in the past we have been tolerant and patient, we need to show those qualities more than ever today. It is easy to laugh at the mistakes which some of these new States are making, to complain about them, to criticise them. There is plenty of wretched examples to put one's finger upon. But is it not romantic to visit a country like Zambia, where, at the time of independence, there were only a hundred graduates, to see today 1,500 young people in the university?
We need to show sympathy and to remember that, especially in African political life, the moderates' part is not always an easy one to play. Extremism is so much more fashionable, so much easier than moderation, but if we do not encourage reasonableness, who will? Above all, we dare not forget the reality which, I think, was much in the mind of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, that behind all the talk, behind all the politicking, the risk of savage racial war in southern Africa is real, and the danger 1454 is not distant, amorphous: it is, I believe, almost imminent.
I spoke to one Head of State of my visit to the Victoria Falls and looking out over the Zambesi River to Rhodesia. I shall not easily forget his reply: "All of us", he said to me, "are on the edge of a cataclysm. We have moved slowly. inexorably towards it. You and your colleagues in the British House of Commons have a duty, in the ways that are open to you, to attempt to throw us a lifeline."
I make no comment on the circumstances in which the Pearce Commission is honourably attempting to make its inquiries. I have supported the attempt at a settlement. It is bold and rght, I believe, to attempt it. We all hope, of course, that the Report which the Commission will make in due course will be a positive one. If the attempted settlement is right, the further we can advance, and the more constructively we can advance, the better.
There is one other thing which requires to be said, I believe, in this debate if we are to act responsibly. We in this House must face the fact that it is possible that the Pearce Commission will report adversely. It is equally possible that the Commission will report favourably. That report will be contentious, and in some places highly contentious. I do not know how long it will be before we can receive the report—perhaps a few weeks only—but at least we have time. I am not asking for an answer tonight from my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General, who himself has played a great part in this provisional settlement and who is to answer the debate, but I want to say this to him. Our aim must continue to be to lead Rhodesia to an honourable, legal independence as a sovereign democratic State—and I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary empha-sised the word "democracy". Eventually the majority must rule, and it will do. I believe the only way now for us to avoid the possibilities of repression, at the least, and of bloodshed, at the worst, is to accept this and to be seen plainly to accept it, in honour and in truth. In line with British policy in regard to the Commonwealth over many years we have no alternative.
1455 One matter for consideration, is whether we should not announce at some stage our view of what the timetable should be. At least it would avoid the disappointment of the "sometime, never" suggestions which can be such a powerful influence on men's minds in Africa at the present time.
With whatever reluctance, but with full awareness of the practical difficulties and their immensity, we can no longer rule out perhaps in extreme conditions, that we may need to take command of the situation in Rhodesia. I do not advocate that now; I merely say that we cannot rule it out. We may have to take command by direct or indirect methods. Be that as it may, I repeat: we have time to plan. I hope that it will not be wasted.
§ 6.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Frank Judd (Portsmouth, West)
It is a real honour to follow the speech of the right hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann) who has made one of the most serious contributions that we have heard for many months from the benches opposite to this whole debate. I should like to spotlight three issues to which he referred, in which I am in almost complete agreement with him.
First, I too would commend to the House the opportunities for greatly strengthened trade with the majority of the African continent north of Zambesi—east, west and centre. Second, I would also draw attention to the real danger that, in the present context of African politics, it is the totalitarian Communists who too often take the opportunity to present themselves as the champions of progress and emancipation. Third, I agree that there is no reason whatever for us to be complacent about the time-scale within which savage racial warfare could develop within the southern part of Africa.
It has not been a happy spectacle for anyone to watch the difficulties of the Foreign Secretary in recent weeks as he has become increasingly enmeshed in the pressures and counter-pressures of his hon. Friends as they affect this issue. I believe that he is a man with real sensitivities who feels acutely the embarrassment and the difficulty of his position.
1456 What I am most sad of all to see is the increasing tendency for the difficulties with which the right hon. Gentleman is confronted to distort quite seriously the objectivity of his assessment. On Monday he made what I think he himself may come to regard as a rather unfortunate statement, in which he suggested that the violence and disruption of order in Rhodesia at the moment was largely to be laid at the feet of the Africans who were taking the law into their own hands.
Of course, the right hon. Gentleman said that it was a minority, but this was the overall impression conveyed in that statement. There was no attempt, as there should have been if he were being honest with the House, to look to the origins of that frustration and activity, as other hon. Members have tried to do today. The origins of that problem lie in the violence and in the techniques enshrined in the police state system of the régime as it stands.
I believe also that the right hon. Gentleman may come to regret, when he reflects on it, the slant of his speech this afternoon. I would agree with others that we have very little power on the ground in Rhodesia, but the issue with which the right hon. Gentleman totally failed to grapple was why, if Smith had all the cards in his hand with the 1969 constitution, he ever got himself involved in negotiations for a settlement. It is, of course, because the pressure of sanctions, even if they may have hit the African majority worst, is being felt by the community of Rhodesia as a whole. He wanted to do his best to release himself from the pressures and the consequences of sanctions.
Some cynics suggest that Smith now believes that things have gone so far that sanctions will not be reimposed, that it does not matter to him whether the agreement goes through or not. That is why it is all the more important for the Foreign Secretary to make it absolutely clear that, if the people of Rhodesia do not endorse this settlement and it is therefore impossible for the Government to sign an agreement with the existing régime, sanctions will be reintroduced with all the authority at our disposal.
§ Mr. David Steel
Has the hon. Gentleman noticed that Mr. Smith has been somewhat clearer on this matter than the 1457 present Government and that, in his speech commending the settlement on 25th November, he said:The alternative to accepting this agreement is to maintain the status quo which means retaining the present constitution without amendment and the continuation of sanctions"?Are we not entitled to expect as clear a statement from the Government today?
§ Mr. Judd
I am deeply grateful to the hon. Member for his intervention. Not for the first time, in this debate, I agree with everything he has said.
I am deeply disturbed by the increasing tendency of commentators who should know better to say that the agreement is so much in the interests of the African majority, if only they would understand it, that, even if they did not endorse it, it would be important for the Government to go ahead and implement it in any case. I hope we can have a clear assurance from the Government today that they are not contemplating any such folly.
My concluding observation is very much in line with the thoughts of the right hon. Member for Taunton. Of course, many of us who recoil from the concept of violence would welcome any opportunity for evolutionary gradual change, but if that is to succeed in any political situation it is essential that the concessions available are always ahead of the aspirations of the relatively deprived section of the community.
The reality of the situation in southern Africa is that, increasingly, a majority of the deprived section of the population, following its articulate leadership—it is always articulate leadership that matters initially in these situations—has aspirations which outstrip any available concessions. The aspirations of the majority are for majority rule. This is the one basic concession which the minority who hold the strings at the moment are not prepared to make.
I therefore conclude sadly by saying that, since we have a responsibility to the white minority as well as to the black majority, that responsibility demands that we say clearly and without prevarication what we believe the reality to be. I am sad that so few have recognised, here and among the white community in southern Africa, that the only hope for a rightful place in southern Africa for the white community, who have genuine roots 1458 there, is to come to terms as rapidly as they possibly can with the inevitability and the justice of majority rule.
§ 6.18 p.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Cormack (Cannock)
I am very glad to have the privilege of making a brief contribution at the end of what has been a very good and constructive debate. One of my hon. Friends said that he regretted, and indeed questioned, the necessity for it. To some extent I would agree with those sentiments, but I believe that we have seen the House at its best today. We have had some very forthright and constructive speeches from both sides. What is apparent to everyone is that there is deep feeling on this issue and great sadness, even though we might differ in our interpretations of some of the really contentious points.
I shared the sadness and concern which was evident throughout the House when the news came through last week of the arrest of the Todds. This is an act which one finds it difficult to explain rationally. It certainly puts Mr. Smith's credibility on the line to some extent. On the other hand, it is only right to try to be fair to all parties in a debate like this. After all, twice in the past, as my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said, negotiations have almost succeeded. Twice in the past Mr. Smith has been a very tough negotiator with a previous Administration and surely we should consider that he could have conceded all sorts of things. He could have reached a settlement with the previous Administration and then abrogated it immediately afterwards, having had his hands freed and being completely free to do so. Though it is difficult to rationalise what happened last week, we should bear in mind that we are dealing with a man who has great problems with his own extremist minority and who might well be utterly sincere in wanting the settlement which he says he wants.
To me, the real issue is the future of the black people of Rhodesia. I hope the House will forgive me if I try to draw something of an analogy. I hope that nobody doubts my own deep concern for those in all parts of the world who are oppressed and the subject of difficult, and indeed savage, régimes. I have the honour to be chairman of an all-party group concerned with the lot of the Jewish citizens of the U.S.S.R. The thing 1459 that worries me more than anything is the fact that we are powerless to do anything to help those people. We can seek to influence, we can talk, we can send telegrams and letters which are not answered, but we are powerless to do anything.
In the case of Rhodesia we have a little power, a little chance to influence the situation and to try to make sure that the lot of the black African in Rhodesia can be improved. It is either this settlement or the 1969 constitution and progress towards apartheid and possible union with South Africa. These are the realities we must face.
The hon. Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd) feels deeply on these issues, as I do, and for the most honourable reasons reaches rather different conclusions. The reality of the situation is that in Rhodesia today the lot of the black African is not a happy one from a constitutional or political point of view. If this settlement is not implemented the lot of the black African in Rhodesia will not improve in the years ahead. It is easy for us to sit here in this House and to pontificate and talk glibly of what might or might not happen if the settlement is not implemented. It is very easy to be martyrs by proxy, which was a matter mentioned by the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), although I did not agree with everything he said. It is the people of Rhodesia who should be our concern. It should be our prime purpose today to try to exercise a moderating influence so that the Pearce Commission can complete its task in an atmosphere of peace and tranquillity and can report back to my right hon. Friend what, so far as it can gauge, is the true opinion in Rhodesia.
I hope that the balance of opinion in Rhodesia will be in favour of the settlement. I believe that it is not the most glorious moment in the history of the British Commonwealth but I believe that my right hon. Friend has made a very notable achievement. If the settlement succeeds, I believe that this House, this country and the people of Africa as a whole will in future have good cause to thank my right hon. Friend and Lord Goodman for what they have done. Therefore, it is my earnest hope 1460 that the Pearce Commission will be able to get on with the job in Rhodesia without feeling that this House is seeking to breathe down its neck. I also hope it will be able to get on with its job without feeling that the Africans are being intimidated in Rhodesia; I hope it will be able to come back and say to my right hon. Friend, "Yes, they believe that this offers the best solution for them". I hope the message can go out today that this is the only chance they have, short of fratricidal strife and terrible bloodshed, to make orderly and proper progress to the sort of constitution that hon. Members on both sides of the House would wish them to enjoy.
§ 6.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Phillip Whitehead (Derby, North)
I hope that the hon. Member for Cannock (Mr. Cormack) will forgive me if I follow his remarks only in brevity. I am sure he will agree that this debate has been an example of normal political activity at its best. This has been exemplified by the speeches of the right hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann) and my hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd). This is a debate about normal political activity and the meaning of that phrase, and about the extent to which the fifth principle enshrined in the agreements which have for so long been sought by Governments of both parties may be and can be carried out by the Pearce Commission in Rhodesia.
How far is there a proper test of opinion in that unhappy country at the moment? I submit—and I shall confine my brief remarks to this one issue—that there is cause for concern which should be expressed to the Foreign Secretary in this House about the way in which the Pearce Commission has gone about its task, as well as about the sequence of events which followed the arrests and shootings at Shabani and elsewhere.
First, it seems to me that in some ways the Pearce Commission set about its task in a somewhat tendentious manner and that there is throughout the doings of the Pearce Commission, as in the many statements which we have had from the Government both today and on previous occasions, an assumption that the only alternatives before the Rhodesians are, first, the 1969 constitution, with all that that implies and, secondly, the settlement which has been negotiated by Lord Goodman. We would argue that there 1461 are other alternatives which may have to be considered in the fullness of time if the Pearce Commission returns with a negative report.
I am sorry that the Pearce Commission has underrated the value of radio as a medium for getting over its message to the mass of the African population, particularly in the tribal territories. Indeed Lord Harlech, who has been the most voluble member of the Commission, was asked a question about this matter a week before the Commission set out on its task. He replied that spouting about the Commission on the radio might not be the best means of putting things across. I would have thought that spouting on the radio was the best way of putting things across to the vast majority of Africans in the tribal territories.
I should not repeat the sad catalogue of shootings and arrests which have taken place since then. However, we should like to hear from the Government in their reply tonight the reason that the free expression of written opinion by urban Africans to the Commission was stopped. We wish to hear more about why the expensive journey by a Foreign Office official, Mr. Mansfield, resulted in no more information to this House than we could have learned a week earlier from Mr. Lardner Burke—no more information about the reasons for the detention of Mr. and Mrs. Chinamano and of the Todds. In view of the somewhat flippant remarks of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget), may I say that I have known Mr. Garfield Todd for a long time and his daughter Miss Judith Todd is one of my oldest friends. Nobody could say that they are leaders to darkness and death. Those who say that they would connive at terrorism must be out of their minds. Mr. Todd and his daughter Judith, as anybody who has shared a platform with them and who has been involved in putting the case against the present régime in Rhodesia must know, are the most careful and legalistic representatives of enlightened opinion against the present settlement. They are not people who have flirted with terrorism.
We want a more sufficient answer by the Foreign Secretary on why these detentions have taken place. If we do not get answers and the Pearce Commission continues to be frustrated as in the past, hon. 1462 Members on both sides of the House would agree that it may be necessary at that stage for the Commission to come home. The Commission itself has been left in the position in which it is the only judge of whether its mission could be accomplished. It is responsible to the Government and to this House. This House is not a broker for the settlement negotiated by Lord Goodman. The House has to decide whether the agreement is acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole.
The hon. Member for Cannock said that the settlement would be in the best interests of the Africans. There are two views about that, equally sincerely held. But if the Africans appear to be putting the contrary view and seem to be so frustrated that, in the opinion of this House, normal political activity is impossible, I fear we should say to Lord Pearce that he is entitled to receive the advice of Her Majesty's Government on whether the mission should continue.
§ 6.30 p.m.
§ Miss Joan Lestor (Eton and Slough)
I wish to make only two or three points. The first is that the right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser), and to a lesser extent one or two other hon. Members opposite, made the point that Southern Rhodesia was a police State and, therefore, that the only hope of avoiding a deterioration in conditions in Southern Rhodesia and an inevitable drift towards apartheid was to get the proposed agreement signed. However, there is no evidence to suppose that the very men who are dedicated to apartheid and the enforcement of a police State will change their attitude overnight simply because they have signed a piece of paper. In fact, since the Pearce Commission began its work we have seen the endorsement of all that some of us feel about the Smith régime.
The Foreign Secretary said that he has no power to do anything about what is taking place in Southern Rhodesia in relation to the settlement. He also quoted from a speech of the former Prime Minister in which my right hon. Friend said that we had no control over the hangings which took place in Southern Rhodesia. But the two are not synonymous. Arm in arm with the presentation of the settlement proposals to this House was the understanding that the Foreign Secretary 1463 had reached an agreement with Ian Smith, which would be upheld, that in a certain climate and with certain guarantees the settlement would be put before the people of Southern Rhodesia as a whole. If these guarantees are not met, the Foreign Secretary says that he has no power to do anything. We say that he should proclaim that the Smith régime has not fulfilled its commitments to him when the proposals were put to it.
I was disturbed to hear the right hon. Gentleman say on Monday that he could not question Smith's right to maintain security, provided that the minimum amount of force was used. The minimum amount of force being used in Rhodesia is that which has locked up those who oppose the settlement. I asked the Foreign Secretary, and I ask him again, how many of those who have been detained, gassed, arrested, shot or murdered are people who were advocating acceptance of the settlement. That is the test.
The Foreign Secretary's reply about the proposed Labour Party delegation filled me with foreboding. First, there was nothing in the exchanges between the General Secretary of the Labour Party and the Foreign Secretary or those between my right hon. Friend and the right hon. Gentleman to say that the delegation would go out to Southern Rhodesia advocating non-acceptance of the settlement. That was not the position. It was going to see what was taking place in Southern Rhodesia.
The Foreign Secretary is behaving very much like Ian Smith. He is preventing people going to see what is happening in Southern Rhodesia because he knows them as individuals who disagree with the settlement. Smith has locked up the Todds not because of anything they have done but because of what they might do. That is why the Foreign Secretary is unhappy about a Labour Party delegation going to Southern Rhodesia.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Perhaps I might remind the hon. Lady that one member of the party opposite is in Rhodesia now, and there has been no trouble. I have said that I think that hon. Members should be able to go to Rhodesia to observe.
§ Miss Lestor
The right hon. Gentleman did not say that. He said that he did not—[Interruption] The right hon. Gentleman should not quote himself out of context. He said that he did not see any point in a delegation made up of members of a political party going there when we were opposed to the settlement. That appears in HANSARD. That is why I am apprehensive about the whole conduct of the settlement and the attitude that the right hon. Gentleman has directed to it.
What this House should be discussing and what it will have to face—some of us said this when we opposed the "Tiger" and the "Fearless" proposals—is what we do when the settlement fails and when Lord Pearce comes back and says that it is not on. What then will be the future of both the whites and the blacks in Southern Rhodesia?
§ 6.34 p.m.
§ Mr. Roy Hattersley (Birmingham, Sparkbrook)
This debate was initiated by the Opposition to consider one specific and urgent issue. The debate concerns the fifth of the five principles; that is, the acceptability to the Rhodesian people as a whole of the agreement negotiated by the Foreign Secretary in November. The debate concerns the promise of normal political activity while this test of acceptability is applied. I shall deal almost entirely in my speech with that specific and urgent point.
But it is first necessary to record that the Foreign Secretary's response to our concern about the fifth principle during the last 14 days has made a number of general conclusions about the Rhodesian settlement inevitable. The first is that, since the Commission has been in Rhodesia, no one has seriously argued that Mr. Smith has kept his word about the test of acceptability. Since he has not kept his word about the fifth principle, we believe that this bodes ill for the prospect of his keeping his word about the other four.
Secondly, the last 14 days have revealed a great deal about the relationship between the Foreign Secretary and Mr. Smith. It is clear, and it was made tragically evident today, that the right hon. Gentleman is continually willing 1465 to carry Mr. Smith's messages to this House. To us, that bodes a great deal of ill for the future if the future involves, as involve it may, new negotiations between Her Majesty's Government and the régime in Salisbury.
The Foreign Secretary's defence of his attitude is that he has no power in Rhodesia and that he can do no more than repeat to this House the will of Mr. Smith. The right hon. Gentleman cannot have it both ways. He claims that in November he struck a genuine bargain with the Smith régime. If it was a genuine bargain, he has the power and the ability to say to the Smith régime, "Break or change your side of the agreement, and we shall change or abandon ours." To be able to say that, the right hon. Gentleman has to retain power and influence by at least retaining the prospects of sanctions. But he has to tell us clearly what it was that happened in November and whether there was a bargain with concessions and promises made by both sides. If he made a genuine bargain he has power. If he has no power, it was capitulation.
The judgment of the Opposition and of the country on the November agreement needs no repetition. The Foreign Secretary has never pretended that it was any better than the lesser of a series of evils. Today, the best that he could say about it was that it was "as good as could be obtained". If that is the best he can say about it, he will understand why we regard the test of acceptance on the part of the Rhodesian people as being crucially important.
That is why we want the Pearce Commission to continue its work. It is why we need to be told something about the Commission's continuation which we might have hoped was self-evident, namely, that the work be continued according to the promise that Mr. Smith made to the Foreign Secretary and the promise that the right hon. Gentleman repeated to this House.
I make no criticism of the Commission except, if it be a criticism, to express surprise at some of the comments by the Commission's deputy chairman on Saturday evening. On a number of specific issues the Commission has been a great deal more active in pursuit of the promise 1466 of normal political activity than has the Foreign Secretary.
The Commission has made it clear that it wants to see the Rev. Sithole. We do not know whether the Government think that that is right and will press for it to happen. The Commission is concerned about the prospects of public meetings in the tribal trust areas. I do not know hether the Government will press for them. The Commission is specifically critical about the detention of Mr. Garfield Todd and his daughter and of Mr. Chinamano.
We do not know any more about the detention of Mr. Todd, though we have been promised some sort of statement for the last six days, than the simple reiteration by the Foreign Secretary of this memorable phrase: "Mr. Todd was detained for reasons of internal security…The reason for that decision Mr. Smith was unwilling to reveal." I have to say to the Foreign Secretary, I hope calmly but after very great consideration, that I regard that as a shameful answer. It is shameful on the Foreign Secretary and vicariously shameful, I fear, on those Members of the House of Commons who had to listen to it.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I was asked, as I understood it, to ascertain from Mr. Smith why he had interned Mr. Todd. I repeated what Mr. Smith said to me. I thought that the House wanted that information.
§ Mr. Hattersley
My original contention was that the Foreign Secretary had become nothing more than Mr. Smith's message-carrier. If he wants to reverse that reputation, I give way at once while he tells the House how much he deplores the message that he was given and how much he hopes for Mr. Todd's release. Mr. Smith did not give a reason for Mr. Todd's detention but many people in the country believe that they know what it is: Mr. Todd's impending departure to this country to put the case of some of his African colleagues.
The detention of Mr. Chinamano is now causing similar fears in Rhodesia relating to a similar allegation. I discovered from a professional colleague this afternoon that, about two hours before he was arrested, Mr. Chinamano had agreed to do a broadcast for the British Broadcasting Corporation putting 1467 the African point of view. Those people who conclude that there was a relationship between Mr. Todd's arrest and his departure for England to put his case also conclude now that similar considerations affect the arrest of Mr. Chinamano.
It seems detestable that while the Smith régime pretends to allow normal political activity, two of the spokesmen for the African majority, who are likely not only to advance the cause of the Africans but to advance it well and persuasively, are detained very shortly after arrangements are made for that cause to be advanced and certainly before the speeches or broadcasts can be made.
I hope that we hear from the Attorney-General that he will find out whether that description of the situation from the people on the spot is the message which Mr. Smith would want to convey to this House. If he will convey that information, we will be grateful: and if he would comment on it, we would be even more grateful and slightly surprised.
I turn to two other matters about which this House has to be concerned and about which something must be said by the Attorney-General when he replies to the debate. The first concerns violence. The Foreign Secretary is rightly swift to condemn violence, and to condemn violence in Rhodesia. All of us support him in that. But since Christmas the Foreign Secretary has been very selective in those condemnations. It is violent to fire on and to kill unarmed African demonstrators. It is violent to suppress normal political freedoms. It is certainly violent to detain without trial those who would speak on behalf of freedom. I hope that the debate will not be concluded without a word of condemnation from the Government for that sort of violence.
I hope, too, that the debate will not be concluded without the Attorney-General at least assaying to answer some of the questions which were put to the Government last Wednesday, on Monday and again by my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) this afternoon and to which there has not been the semblance of an answer.
We want to know what possible justification there is for the detention of Miss Todd, Mr. Todd and Mr. Chinamano. We want to know about the prospects 1468 of public meetings in tribal trust areas. We want to know about broadcasting facilities for every point of view in Rhodesia. We want to know whether there is the prospect of the Pearce Commission carrying on its work in the way that this House was promised and in the way that Mr. Smith undertook. We are not, as the Foreign Secretary suggested, trying to go over the heads of the Commission. We want it to work in the appropriate atmosphere and to provide an accurate answer. Our fear is that that is not happening and that the Government are not pressing that it should happen.
We understand very well the difficulties of extracting this kind of information from Mr. Smith. But we understood last Wednesday, when my right hon. Friend and the Leader of the Opposition were most patient in the face of the Foreign Secretary's explanations, that Mr. Mansfield had been sent to Rhodesia to obtain exactly those answers. We thought that Monday's statement was to provide the answers which Mr. Mansfield had helped to supply. It did not. And today's debate has supplied none of the answers to the crucial questions. If, as I read, Mr. Mansfield returns this evening, perhaps with some of the information about his person, we will expect a statement tomorrow from the Foreign Secretary giving us the answers to these questions.
In the meantime I want to reiterate the Opposition's view. We are anxious that the Pearce Commission should continue its work. We want it to continue in an atmosphere, to quote the Foreign Secretary, of normal political activity. We do not see that situation in Rhodesia today. Perhaps more important, we do not see the Foreign Secretary struggling to achieve it. Because of that we will return to the subject time after time and tonight, to demonstrate our deep concern, we will divide the House.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ The Attorney-General (Sir Peter Rawlinson)
Unlike the speeches by the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) and the hon. Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), it was my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs who reminded the House of the gravity of the matter which 1469 we are debating this afternoon, and that was echoed in a distinguished speech by my right hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann).
I say straight away to the House that, with limited personal knowledge of Africa and even more limited personal knowledge of Rhodesia, I can never approach a debate about Rhodesia or Africa save with a real sense of anxiety, particularly when dealing with Rhodesia, at the responsibilities which are borne by the House. I share that feeling which was expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Mr. Cormack).
I will not repeat my personal views on what I heard and saw in Rhodesia. I saw little but heard a lot—that is, a lot compared with other hon. Members. I still cannot get from my mind the hundred or so people who spoke about the need for a new initiative, the need for a new spirit and the need for some hope. I am not ashamed to say that I cannot get that from my mind.
I know that right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite do not accept these proposals. They demonstrated that in the Division on 1st December. Nevertheless, I and my right hon. and hon. Friends believe that the proposals are a step forward. But what we think at this stage does not matter. What matters is the opinion of the people of Rhodesia who at this time are being consulted by the Commission.
I think that there was a certain inconsistency in what the hon. Member for Sparkbrook said in his winding-up speech for the Opposition, because his right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East said that the Africans were responding to the present opportunity. He spoke of them responding in the towns, the villages and the most remote areas. They cannot at the same time complain about lack of political activity. Political activity is being demonstrated by those who are responding to the opportunity by coming to those meetings and taking part in those activities. [Interruption.] I am quoting the right hon. Gentleman's own words. He spoke about them responding to this particular opportunity.
§ Mr. Healey
Of course I applaud the African response, but to claim that when the Africans respond and they are put 1470 into gaol, tear-gassed, shot and wounded is normal political activity is a travesty of the facts.
§ The Attorney-General
That is not what I said, and the right hon. Gentleman knows it. He was complaining that there was no normal political activity, yet in the same breath he was congratulating the Africans on taking this opportunity. The opportunity is given for them to make their views known to the Commission. The Commission has been sent by the Government to test the reaction of the people of Rhodesia as a whole.
The only sanction which remains, as the right hon. Gentleman knows only too well, would be the removal of the Commission. If the conditions were not right, the removal of the Commission would lead inevitably to no settlement, and we believe that with no settlement there would be an inevitable move to a state of apartheid. In the absence of a report by the Commission asking that it be withdrawn, or in the absence of withdrawal by the Commission itself, that would be utterly irresponsible.
It appears that the Commission is receiving reactions, and it is right that it should. It was always accepted by the previous Administration, as it has been by the present one, that the appropriate method of testing would be by a Commission. This is now the crucially important stage about which the hon. Member for Sparkbrook spoke. It is a British Commission appointed by the United Kingdom to report back to Her Majesty's Government. It must be independent. It must make an assessment of the true attitude, not the superficial, not the outward appearance, not the attitude of a few, but the true attitude and reaction of the people of Rhodesia as a whole.
Of necessity, any agreement made in consequence of these proposals in 1971, or the proposals nearly successfully negotiated by the previous Administration, inevitably involves complex matters. These proposals involve the making of a constitution. They involve changes in the law. They involve providing for checks and balances. All these matters call for a Commission which, to do its task, must have patience and determination; and it must do its task thoroughly.
1471 The Commission, appointed by the British Government, has terms of reference which require it to ascertain directly from all sections of the population of Rhodesia whether the proposals are acceptable, and then to report to the British Government. The Commission must satisfy itself on whether the settlement is acceptable. It cannot do that—the settlement cannot be acceptable—if the people of Rhodesia have not had the terms explained to them. Moreover, according to its terms of reference, the Commission must be satisfied that normal political activities have been permitted, provided that they are conducted in a peaceful and democratic manner. That is a task which has been imposed upon the Commission in its terms of reference, and the judgment on the issue as to whether it is satisfied that normal political activities have been permitted has been placed fairly and squarely upon the Commission itself. It is up to the Commission, by its terms of reference, to make this judgment.
The Commission is now in Rhodesia. It is in the best position to judge. The head of the Commission, Lord Pearce, has said that he does not think that the resulting situation as regards political activity is so serious that he and his colleagues should withdraw.
I repeat that, with the Commission having those duties imposed upon it and having to make that judgment, it certainly would not be right for the British Government to interfere, as some right hon. and hon. Members have suggested. It is an independent Commission. It will not do anything which it does not require and it will do what it does require. Any other conduct would reflect upon the independence of the Commission itself.
The Commission has not asked the British Government to take up any matters with Mr. Smith. If it does, the Government will. If it is prevented in its duty, if it is prevented from carrying out its task, the Commission will report to the Government. But it has not done so so far.
§ Mr. George Cunningham
If the Government were so keen to have an independent Commission, why are many members of it Government servants?
§ The Attorney-General
They are not Government servants. The hon. Gentle 1472 man ought to know that the Commission is wholly independent. They are not Government servants. They are honourable men sent out there to do a task. They have said that they will give, as they are required to give, an honest answer, as it has been said, to the questions which they have been asked to determine.
§ Mr. Thorpe
If the matter of the conditions for normal political campaigning is to be left entirely to the Pearce Commission—if the Foreign Secretary was washing his hands of the matter—why was Mr. Mansfield sent out to report back to the Foreign Secretary?
§ The Attorney-General
The right hon. Gentleman sounds naive and ingenuous but I know very well that he is not. Of course, my right hon. Friend sent out Mr. Mansfield. There are many matters which he wishes to know and to have reported directly hack to him. But the question whether the Commission can carry out its duties is a matter solely for the Commission on which to make up its mind and come to a judgment.
I remind the right hon. Member for Leeds, East of what was said on 20th January, because he sometimes seemed so to telescope what he said the Commission had said as, perhaps, to change a little of the sense, though without any intention, I am sure. This is what Lord Pearce said on 20th January:To say that there has been no political activity in any of the tribal trust lands would seem untenable in the light of what our Commissioners have told us so farHe went on to say:The real question will be the degree to which freedom of political expression is permitted. If people are detained simply to silence them"—
§ The Attorney-General
Yes—then even in existing conditions it is not allowing normal political activity.Lord Pearce added:We are loth to make a premature judgment on allegations and counter-allegations which are in our present state of knowledge hard to evaluate, premature and possibly erroneous.The head of the Commission himself well knows and appreciates the importance of normal political activity, and he well knows the balance there has to 1473 be between normal political activity and other activity which might amount to intimidation.
On 23rd January Lord Pearce said that a lot of good, constructive work had been done. He spoke of the need for a calm and peaceful atmosphere. About the matter of the detention of Mr. Garfield Todd and Miss Todd, he said:I am not prepared at this moment to give any evaluation of the situation because we have not finished our considerations. We have already stated that we regard this as a matter of great importance to keep the balance, a fair balance, between expressions of political thought and the maintenance of peace and order…but it is a matter that we have very much in mind.By today, 26th January, in the opinion of the Commission the atmosphere has much improved.
The hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) asked me about the movement to parity. As I said in the debate on 1st December, this is what the United Kingdom will require to be enacted by the Rhodesian Parliament before the United Kingdom Parliament would ever be asked to legis
§ late in the event of the test of acceptability showing that the proposals proved acceptable.
§ When he was Prime Minister, the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, as the right hon. Member for Leeds, East, who was Minister of Defence at the time, well knows, was unable to force the Rhodesian Government back into a state of legality. They were unable to prevent the creation of the 1969 constitution. They negotiated and they failed. No doubt it was to the bitter disappointment of the right hon. Gentleman. But the Commission is now in Rhodesia, and it is enjoined to discover whether the proposals are acceptable. We are many thousands of miles away, and we cannot do the Commission's task. I am certain that the Commission will not be driven away or run away until it has done its task. Above all, we owe it to the people of Rhodesia to let the Commission judge, and to await its report.
§ Question put, That this House do now adjourn:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 266, Noes 294.1475
|Division No. 45.]||AYES||[7.0 p.m.|
|Abse, Leo||Concannon, J. D.||Fisher, Mrs. Doris(B'ham, Ladywood)|
|Albu, Austen||Conlan, Bernard||Fitch, Alan (Wigan)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Crawshaw, Richard||Foot, Michael|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Cronin, John||Ford, Ben|
|Ashley, Jack||Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Forrester, John|
|Ashton, Joe||Cunningham, G. (Islington, S.W.)||Fraser, John (Norwood)|
|Atkinson, Norman||Cunningham, Dr. J. A. (Whitehaven)||Freeson, Reginald|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Dalyell, Tarn||Galpern, Sir Myer|
|Barnes, Michael||Davidson, Arthur||Garrett, W. E.|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Gilbert, Dr. John|
|Barnett, Joel (Heywood and Royton)||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Ginsburg, David (Dewsbury)|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Golding, John|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Davis, Clinton, (Hackney, C.)||Gourlay, Harry|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Davis, Terry (Bromsgrove)||Grant, George (Morpeth)|
|Bishop, E. S.||Deakins, Eric||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Delargy, H. J.||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)|
|Booth, Albert||Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Dempsey, James||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)|
|Bradley, Tom||Doig, Peter||Hamling, William|
|Broughton, Sir Alfred||Dormand, J. D.||Hardy, Peter|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Hart, Rt. Hn. Judith|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Driberg, Tom||Hattersley, Roy|
|Buchan, Norman||Duffy, A. E. P.||Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Dunn, James A.||Heffer, Eric S.|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Dunnett, Jack||Hilton, W. S.|
|Cant, R. B.||Eadie, Alex||Hooson, Emlyn|
|Carmichael, Neil||Edelman, Maurice||Horam, John|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Houghton, Rt. Hon. Douglas|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Ellis, Tom||Huckfield, Leslie|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||English, Michael||Hughes, Mark (Durham)|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Evans, Fred||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Cohen, Stanley||Ewing, Henry||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.||Hunter, Adam|
|Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Mikardo, Ian||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Janner, Greville||Millan, Bruce||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Milne, Edward||Sillars, James|
|Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'hampton, Itchen)||Silverman, Julius|
|John, Brynmor||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Small, William|
|Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)|
|Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Moyle, Roland||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Stallard, A. W.|
|Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W.Ham, S.)||Oakes, Gordon||Steel, David|
|Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Ogden, Eric||Stewart, Donald (Western Isles)|
|Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||O'Halloran, Michael||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Judd, Frank||O'Malley, Brian||Stonehouse, Rt. Hn. John|
|Kaufman, Gerald||Oram, Bert||Strang, Gavin|
|Kelly, Richard||Orbach, Maurice||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Kerr, Russell||Orme, Stanley||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|KinnocK, Neil||Oswald, Thomas||Swain, Thomas|
|Lambie, David||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)||Taverne, Dick|
|Lamond, James||Padley, Walter||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Latham, Arthur||Paget, R. T.||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Lawson, George||Palmer, Arthur||Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. (Dundee, E.)|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Thorpe, Rt. Hn. Jeremy|
|Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Tinn, James|
|Leonard, Dick||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)||Tomney, Frank|
|Lestor, Miss Joan||Pavitt, Laurie||Torney, Tom|
|Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Tuck, Raphael|
|Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Pendry, Tom||Urwin, T. W.|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Pentland, Norman||Varley, Eric G.|
|Lipton, Marcus||Perry, Ernest G.||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Lomas, Kenneth||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Loughlin, Charles||Prescott, John||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Wallace, George|
|Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Price, William (Rugby)||Watkins, David|
|McBride, Neil||Probert, Arthur||Weitzman, David|
|McCann, John||Rankin, John||Wellbeloved, James|
|McCartney, Hugh||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|McElhone, Frank||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)||White, James (Glasgow, Pollok)|
|McGuire, Michael||Rhodes, Geoffrey||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Mackenzie, Gregor||Richard, Ivor||Whitlock, William|
|Mackie, John||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Maclennan, Robert||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Roderick, Caerwyn (Br'c'n & R'dnor)||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Roper, John||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Marks, Kenneth||Rose, Paul B.||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Marquand, David||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Marsden, F.||Sandelson, Neville||Woof, Robert|
|Marshall, Dr. Edmund||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Mr. Joseph Harper and|
|Mayhew, Christopher||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)||Mr. James Hamilton.|
|Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Adley, Robert||Braine, Sir Bernard||Cooper, A. E.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Bray, Ronald||Cordle, John|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Brewis, John||Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Brinton, Sir Tatton||Cormack, Patrick|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Brocklebank-Fowler, Christopher||Costain, A. P.|
|Astor, John||Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Critchley, Julian|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Crouch, David|
|Awdry, Daniel||Bryan, Paul||Crowder, F. P.|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M)||Dalkeith, Earl of|
|Balniel, Rt. Hn. Lord||Buck, Antony||Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)|
|Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Bullus, Sir Eric||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry|
|Batsford, Brian||Burden, F. A.||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid.Maj. -Gen. James|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Dean, Paul|
|Bell, Ronald||Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray & Nairn)||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Carlisle, Mark||Digby, Simon Wingfield|
|Benyon, W.||Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Dixon, Piers|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Cary, Sir Robert||Douglas-Home, Rt. Hn. Sir Alec|
|Biffen, John||Channon, Paul||Drayson, G. B.|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Chapman, Sydney||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward|
|Blaker, Peter||Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Dykes, Hugh|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Chichester-Clark, R.||Eden, Sir John|
|Body, Richard||Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)|
|Boscawen, Robert||Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Clegg, Walter||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)|
|Bowden, Andrew||Cockeram, Eric||Farr, John|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Cooke, Robert||Fell, Anthony|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Knox, David||Redmond, Robert|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Lambton, Antony||Reed, Laurence (Bolton, E.)|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Lane, David||Rees, Peter (Dover)|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Fortescue, Tim||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Foster, Sir John||Le Marchant, Spencer||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Fowler, Norman||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||Longden, Sir Gilbert||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Fry, Peter||Loveridge, John||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||McAddon, Sir Stephen||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Gibson-Watt, David||MacArthur, Ian||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||McCrindle, R. A.||Rost, Peter|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||McLaren, Martin||Royle, Anthony|
|Glyn, Dr. Alan||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Goodhart, Philip||McMaster, Stanley||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Goodhew, Victor||Macmillan. Rt. Hn. Maurice (Farnham)||Scott, Nicholas|
|Gorst, John||McNair-Wilson, Michael||Sharples, Richard|
|Gower, Raymond||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (NewForest)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Maddan, Martin||Shelton, William (Clapham)|
|Gray, Hamish||Madel, David||Simeons, Charles|
|Green, Alan||Maginnis, John E.||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds)||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Grylls, Michael||Marten, Neil||Smith, Dudley (W'wick & L'mington)|
|Gummer, J. Selwyn||Mather, Carol||Soref, Harold|
|Gurden, Harold||Maude, Angus||Speed, Keith|
|Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Spence, John|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Mawby, Ray||Sproat, Iain|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Stewart-Smith, Geoffrey (Belper)|
|Hannam, John (Exeter)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)|
|Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.|
|Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Miscampbell, Norman||Stokes, John|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Mitchell, Lt.-Col. C.(Aberdeenshire, W)||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Hastings, Stephen||Moate, Roger||Sutcliffe, John|
|Havers, Michael||Molyneaux, James||Tapsell, Peter|
|Hawkins, Paul||Money, Ernie||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Hay, John||Monks, Mrs. Connie||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)|
|Hayhoe, Barney||Monro, Hector||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Montgomery, Fergus||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)|
|Heseltine. Michael||More, Jasper||Tebbit, Norman|
|Hicks, Robert||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Higgins, Terence L.||Morrison, Charles||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Hiley, Joseph||Mudd, David||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)|
|Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Murton, Oscar||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Holland, Philip||Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Tilney, John|
|Holt, Miss Mary||Neave, Airey||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Hordern, Peter||Nicholls, Sir Harmar||Trew, Peter|
|Hornby, Richard||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Hornsby-Smith. Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia||Normanton, Tom||Turton, Rt. Hn. Sir Robin|
|Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Nott, John||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Howell, David (Guildford)||Onslow, Cranley||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Howell, Ralph (Norfolk, N.)||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Hunt, John||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Waddington, David|
|Hutchison, Michael Clark||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)||Walder, David (Clitheroe)|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Page, Graham (Crosby)||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|James, David||Parkinson, Cecil||Walters, Dennis|
|Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Peel, John||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Percival, Ian||Warren, Kenneth|
|Jessel, Toby||Peyton, Rt. Hn. John||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Pike, Miss Mervyn||White, Roger (Gravesend)|
|Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Pink, R. Bonner||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Jopling, Michael||Pounder, Rafton||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch||Wilkinson, John|
|Kaberry, Sir Donald||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Kellett-Bowman, Mrs. Elaine||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Kershaw, Anthony||Proudfoot, Wilfred||Worsley, Marcus|
|Kilfedder, James||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Kimball, Marcus||Quennell, Miss J. M.||Younger, Hn. George|
|King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Raison, Timothy||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Mr. Reginald Eyre and Mr. Bernard Weatherill.|
|Kinsey, J. R.||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|Knight, Mrs. Jill|