HC Deb 26 June 1974 vol 875 cc1540-2
12. Mr. Ioan L. Evans

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what decisions have been made in the review of relationships with Southern Africa; what action is proposed on Rhodesia, Namibia, Angola, Mozambique and South Africa; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ennals

We have announced decisions on arms to South Africa; we have cancelled the licence for the Wasp helicopter and announced our intention of tightening sanctions against Rhodesia. We have also made known our attitude towards sporting contacts with South Africa and we shall announce other decisions when they are taken.

Mr. Evans

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. I know that we are pleased with the action already taken by the Government. Does he realise that the Labour Party in its policy statement has gone much further and that, in recent weeks, the Fascist dictatorship in Portugal has now ended, which means that Mozambique and Angola will soon be moving towards independence, that this has dramatically changed the situation in Southern Africa and that therefore the Government should clearly state their attitude to the illegal régimes in Namibia and Rhodesia and say that we, with the rest of the world, will not continue with the policies of the previous Government?

Mr. Ennals

Some of my right hon. and hon. Friends and I have already made clear our attitude towards the illegal régime in Rhodesia. It is true that the situation in Africa and the prospects for countries which have been under colonial rule have dramatically changed as a result of the situation in Portugal. We naturally hope that the parties concerned—both the new Portuguese Government and the liberation movements—will be able to negotiate agreements providing for lasting settlements of the political future of the territories concerned. I have no doubt that my hon. Friend is right to say that the situation, particularly in Mozambique, will have a profound effect on the future of Rhodesia.

Mr. Churchill

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware of the disastrous effects of this Government's policies towards Southern Africa? Is he aware that, in my constituency, 700 men, at least, are facing redundancy at GEC Traction Limited, which supplies the locomotives to South African Railways and has done for the last 30 years, and that this contract is worth £3 million a year? Just how far are the Labour Government prepared to carry their futile moralistic posturings at the expense of British jobs and British balance of payments interests?

Mr. Ennals

What I will say is that I am very much aware of the great damage done to this country's reputation and to our trade by the previous administration's attitude towards the Government of South Africa. That affected our relationship with many other countries in Africa, as well as countries in other parts of the world, and put our country in a very small minority of States. In relation to trade, there has been no change in the Government's attitude towards commercial relations with South Africa. If any change were to be made, of course, it would be announced to the House.

Mr. Newens

Will my right hon. Friend make it clear to other members of NATO that there can be no question of this Government's supporting any attempt to extend the influence of NATO into the Southern Atlantic and make further defence arrangements with racialist countries like the Simonstown Agreement, which some of us already view with distaste?

Mr. Ennals

The Simonstown Agreement is one of the issues in our review. As for general relationships and the sea routes, it would be wrong for me to make any comments which would prejudge the review of current defence commitments and capabilities announced in Parliament on 21st March. I absolutely understand my hon. Friend's depth of feeling on this subject.

Mr. Ian Lloyd

Since it fundamentally affects any hope of improving relations with one of our most important export markets, will the right hon. Gentleman try to remove the glaring inconsistency which causes so much damage out there, whereby the Prime Minister condemns violence and terrorism in the pursuit of political ends but people like his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State, a few thousand miles to the North, support violence and terrorism in pursuit of political ends in Southern Africa?

Mr. Ennals

My hon. Friend has never supported violence and terrorism. What I will say—I am sure that my hon. Friend would agree—is that, in those countries like South Africa and Rhodesia in which the normal democratic opportunities for self-expression are denied, those very circumstances create the conditions in which violence can often become inevitable.

Mr. Churchill

On a point of order. In view of the grossly unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise the matter on the Adjournment.

Mr. Ioan L. Evans

Further to that point of order. Since I found the answer satisfactory, I hope that I shall catch your eye on the Adjournment, Mr. Speaker, to answer the hon. Member for Stretford (Mr. Churchill).

Mr. Ennals

Further to that point of order. I hope to be here myself.

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