HC Deb 25 July 1973 vol 860 cc1596-9
10. Mr. Haselhurst

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received any recent representations about a settlement from groups or bodies in Rhodesia; and if he will make a statement.

24. Mr. Knox

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a further statement about relations between the British and Rhodesian Governments.

30. Mr. Hastings

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on the present state of negotiations with the Rhodesian Government on a settlement.

33. Mr. Leadbitter

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he intends to initiate any further negotiations for a settlement with Rhodesia.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I have nothing to add to the statement I made to the House on 19th July.—[Vol. 860, c. 712–3.]

Mr. Haselhurst

Does my right hon. Friend have any reason to believe that meaningful discussions about the possibility of a settlement are taking place within Rhodesia? Does he think that meaningful discussions might be assisted by Britain's position being one of resolutely maintaining the existing policy, including that of sanctions?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I made that clear, and I hope that Mr. Smith is now seeing other groups of Africans and Europeans in Rhodesia with a view to bringing forward a policy which we may hope to follow.

Mr. Knox

Will my right hon. Friend consider putting further pressure on the Smith regime to release the interned African political leaders in Rhodesia? Does he agree that if they were released it might facilitate internal discussions in Rhodesia?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I have often made representations about detainees, both European and African, and when necessary I shall do so again.

Mr. Robert Hughes

If there are to be further discussions about the future of Rhodesia, will the Foreign Secretary make it plain that they will not be solely with representatives of the Smith regime but will include representatives of all opinions in Rhodesia, including those people who are detained?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

That might come at a future stage. The important matter at the moment is for all Rhodesians to get together in Rhodesia and come forward with proposals.

Sir D. Dodds-Parker

While maintaining the status quo, would it be possible to offer the training facilities that were suggested two years ago as port of an overall settlement?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Such matters as the moneys we proposed to contribute for development and moves in the direction of helping over education could be carefully considered in relation to a settlement.

25. Mr. Duffy

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he is satisfied with the present effectiveness of sanctions against Rhodesia.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

No, Sir. Some countries do not apply them as conscientiously as do we. We are always encouraging them to do so.

Mr. Duffy

What about this country? Did not the Foreign Secretary see the news clipping from the Daily Telegraph advertising for local government personnel for Rhodesia? Is not this export of services by P-E Consulting Group Limited, as well as the Daily Telegraph, a deplorable instance of sanction-busting—or did the Daily Telegraph console itself that, while it is anti-British and derogatory to the right hon. Gentleman's policy, nevertheless it makes good business sense?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman—

Mr. Duffy

I sent the clipping to the right hon. Gentleman.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

I know. I was about to say, if the hon. Gentleman can control himself, that I was grateful to him for sending me this advertisement, I am having inquiries made. If necessary, action will be taken.

Mr. Soref

Does my right hon. Friend not agree that nothing has done as much to unify the electorate and the population of Rhodesia as the futile economic sanctions against that country? Is it not a fact that if they were to work, which is extremely unlikely, this country would have to give massive aid to Rhodesia at the expense of the British tax payer?

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Sanctions are part of the policy adopted by this House, and as long as they are mandatory we must fulfil our obligations. Our whole purpose is to get an agreement in Rhodesia so as to be able to go to the United Nations and say that Rhodesia can be brought back into independent and proper legal relationship with the Crown, and then end sanctions. That is the right way.

Mr. Richard

Will the right hon. Gentleman go a little further and say that the fact that Mr. Smith and Bishop Muzorewa are at least talking to one another, even if only tentatively, is certainly in part due to the fact that sanctions have been continuing and have not been lifted, as some of the right hon. Gentleman's hon. Friends wish.

Sir Alec Douglas-Home

Certainly one cannot deny that sanctions must have had an influence on the Rhodesian situation. The hon. and learned Gentleman will recognise that they have been going for eight years. I believe that the bishop and Mr. Smith are more concerned to see independent status given to Rhodesia again, and to gain recognition by outside Countries, than with the sanctions situation.