HC Deb 03 July 1972 vol 840 cc15-22
14. Miss Lestor

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth-Affairs by what percentage the exports of France to Rhodesia have grown in each year since 1965.

Mr. Godber

I will, with permission, circulate in the Official Report the relevant statistics taken from the Fourth Report of the Committee established in pursuance of Security Council Resolution No. 253.

Miss Lestor

The Government's policy in continuing sanctions against Rhodesia is very sensible. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the figures show that France, like other EEC countries, is among the biggest breakers of sanctions? Would it not be sensible for Her Majesty's Government to put pressure on the Governments of her future partners in the EEC with a view to doing something about the policy of sanctions-breaking?

Mr. Godber

When the hon. Lady has figures, she will see that they do not bear had an opportunity of studying the out what she said. The figures give the amounts which are officially recorded and they show that for the last recorded year, 1970, the exports from France to Rhodesia were negligible. In fact, they were only 7½ per cent. of those for 1965. That is the official position. These are Government figures. We all know that certain firms and industries evade sanctions.

Mr. Evelyn King

Is it not a fact that Japan, most of Europe, the majority of countries on the African Continent, the United States in respect of chrome, and indeed most of the world trade with Rhodesia? Would it not be better if we were more straightforward about this, went to the United Nations and explained that whatever argument there might be for universal sanctions, there was no argument whatever for sanctions imposed by a single country at our expense?

Mr. Godber

I have a great deal of sympathy with my hon. Friend's point of view. Britain has most religiously adhered to sanctions to the absolute, full limit possible, and other countries, or individuals from other countries, have succeeded in evading them. We have brought this matter to the attention of the United Nations on a number of occasions and it has been discussed many times in the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee. However, obviously we must consider it carefully in regard to our future policy.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes

Is the right hon. Gentleman absolutely satisfied that the United Nations Committee on Sanctions is working effectively? If it is not, what steps do Her Majesty's Government propose to take to strengthen it?

Mr. Godber

The Commonwealth Sanctions Committee considered this matter only last week and it has made recommendations to Commonwealth countries that they in turn should make recommendations to the United Nations. We shall study very closely the recommendations made in the report.

Mr. Callaghan

Adverting to the right hon. Gentleman's last answer but one, is it the Minister's policy to try to get other nations to observe sanctions, along with us, or is it to use their breaking of sanctions as an excuse for our departing from them?

Mr. Godber

If the right hon. Gentleman did not understand the very clear statement which my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary made on this matter in the recent debate, there is nothing I can add. There is no change whatever

The Fourth Report provides details up to 1970. Percentage changes over the previous years are given in brackets.
1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970
£1,604,000 £1,760,000 £1,656,000 £992,000 £83,000 £119,000
(+10.3) (-6.4) (-4.0) (-91.6) (+43.4)
Figures are converted from United States dollars at the rate of US$2.40=£1.
15. Mr. Judd

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what requests he has received from Commonwealth countries to publish details of those countries which he has evidence are involved in breaking sanctions against Rhodesia; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Godber

None, Sir. So far as evidence of breaches of sanctions are concerned, I have nothing to add to the answer my right hon. Friend gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Buckingham (Mr. Benyon) on 9th June.—[Vol. 838, c. 169–71.]

Mr. Judd

But is there not something pathetically unconvincing about a Government who say that they are committed to sanctions but refuse to do anything to achieve greater international observance of the sanctions policy? Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is essential to focus world public opinion on sanctions-breaking when it takes place? Can he be surprised that the Commonwealth and the rest of the world are saying that the Government are following a course of cheap opportunism in trying to face both ways at once?

Mr. Godber

That is wholly unrealistic and I reject it absolutely. It is not true to say that the Government have not tried to call attention to this matter. As we have reminded the House, we have on no fewer than 170 occasions sent notes to the Security Council Committee calling attention to breaches of sanctions and for action on them. Britain has not only enforced sanctions herself but has drawn breaches to the attention of the United Nations. It is the United Nations' duty, under the Security Council Resolution, to ensure that sanctions are carried out.

in our policy; it is precisely as stated by my right hon. Friend. But one cannot avoid observing that other countries are failing to carry out sanctions when we are doing so.

Following are the statistics:

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is my right hon. Friend aware that many of us are glad that Her Majesty's Government's representative on the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee gave some pretty robust answers to some rather nonsensical questions? However, would it not be much better to wind up the whole thing?

Mr. Godber

I am not clear about the point to which my hon. Friend is referring. Perhaps he is referring to Press reports. No statements have been published on what took place at the meeting, and I cannot comment on Press reports. However, at the meeting we gave all the help we could on matters relating to sanctions, and it is as a result of the discussion last week that these further recommendations have been put forward.

Mr. David Steel

While accepting that the Government have drawn the attention of that committee on many occasions to breaches of sanctions, is it not the case that it has been done with the absolute minimum of publicity, whereas what is required is maximum international publicity?

Mr. Godber

It may well be that further international publicity would be helpful, and we would be prepared to take our part in that, but this is a matter for the United Nations themselves. [Hon. Members: "Why?"] It is for this Government to carry out publicity with regard to their own activities but international publicity should be carried out by the international organization concerned.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

The Minister referred to 170 cases of reporting to the UN machinery as it is now. Has he or his right hon. Friend, at least in recent months, raised the case for reviewing the existing machinery so as to make it more effective?

Mr. Godber

That was the purpose of the discussions last week, to which I referred, at the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee. There are various proposals put forward, and we are considering them at the moment.

16. Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what has been the cumulative cost to public funds of policing sanctions against Rhodesia since the unilateral declaration of independence.

Mr. Godber

I am afraid that no realistic figure for this can be given.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

There is not much that is very realistic about this operation, I suggest, but are we not in some danger of beginning to look a little foolish in this affair? We have been told that there were 166 occasions on which we peached to the United Nations about transgressors, but nothing has happened. Is it not about time that we told the United Nations to try to do its own dirty work?

Mr. Godber

In sanctions we are continuing the policy as explained by my right hon. Friend. In so far as this is a question of cost that is a matter in which I believe it right to continue to carry out our obligations, so long as the policy remains unchanged.

20. Mr. Guy Barnett

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the sanctions committee of the Commonwealth, in particular on proposals to tighten sanctions against the illegal régime in Rhodesia.

Mr. Godber

Ways of tightening up sanctions have been amongst the subjects discussed at recent meetings of the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee on which Her Majesty's Government are represented.

Mr. Barnett

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that the Government are giving full support to this point plan which this committee put for-Commonwealth initiative, and in particular would he comment on the four-ward? Does he not think that it is by the Commonwealth initiative through the United Nations that the Government have the best hope of doing something about tightening sanctions, particularly where they have been broken by EEC countries?

Mr. Godber

Yes. I have said that we are giving careful consideration to these proposals, and consideration to the way in which we can make the most effective follow-up. I must repeat that our own sanctions are being applied absolutely and that there is no question of the tightening up of our own sanctions being required, as there is of those of other countries.

Mr. Bruce-Gardyne

Can my right hon. Friend say how much time this worthy body has spent on examining the reasons and circumstances for the doubling of the Australian wheat exports to Rhodesia?

Mr. Godber

I cannot without notice give any information about particular matters.

Mr. Foley

Will the right hon. Gentleman look again at the British representation on this committee? Is it right and proper that a senior official, no matter how competent, should be there defending the inadequacies of the present Government in this field? Should there not be a Minister present to speak on behalf of the Government? Why have the Government broken the precedent established by the last Government?

Mr. Godber

There are no inadequacies by the present Government. This Government are carrying out quite properly their policy and obligations. As for representation, the official is a very senior official in whom we have full confidence.

Mr. Barnett

On a point of order. In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply to this and other Questions, I should like to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible opportunity.

36. Mr. Jeffrey Archer

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps Her Majesty's Government now propose to take to assist the development and education of the Rhodesian Africans; and whether the Commonwealth Special Assistance Scheme can be expanded to allow more Rhodesian Africans to receive technical training in this country.

The Minister for Overseas Development (Mr. Richard Wood)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has made clear that, in the absence of a settlement, things will remain as they are. The Special Commonwealth Programme applies only to Rhodesian Africans outside Rhodesia. This will continue, and I am willing to consider whether there is an unsatisfied demand for technical courses.

Mr. Archer

Will my right hon. Friend reconsider this matter because there is great need for Africans in Rhodesia to receive technical training? The present bottleneck which is caused by the demand for one A level is considerably restricting the situation. I hope that my right hon. Friend, despite the lack of a settlement, will still give serious consideration to this whole problem.

Mr. Wood

I shall continue to consider this matter, but there are only a limited amount of places for people needing technical training. I want to try to divide the training as fairly as possible among the people in the various countries.

Mr. Arthur Lewis

To help the situation, could not the Minister arrange to send to Rhodesia current and indeed future copies of Private Eye?

37. Mr. Judd

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of the Overseas Development Administration budget is now being applied to the education and training of Rhodesians.

Mr. Wood

The proportion is 0.05 per cent. of the whole aid programme.

Mr. Judd

Is the Minister prepared to examine whether the proportion could be increased because, as was suggested in the previous Question, there are a large number of people in Rhodesia who are seeking opportunities for technical and other further education in this country, who are qualified to take places which are offered to them, but who are unable to come here simply because of shortage of resources? Is this not a practical way in which we can act in the middle of a confused situation?

Mr. Wood

If there is an unsatisfied demand for technical training which we can try to fill, I shall certainly consider whether we can make improvements in existing arrangements.

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