HC Deb 06 August 1975 vol 897 cc497-8
30. Mr. Hooley

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent conversations have been held between Foreign Ministers of the EEC with a view to concerting a common policy on the problem of Namibia.

Mr. Hattersley

Namibia is regularly discussed at various levels of the political co-operation machinery. Foreign Ministers are kept fully informed of these discussions; they have not so far discussed Namibia collectively.

Mr. Hooley

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the recent diplomatic pressure brought to bear on South Africa jointly by the United States, France and the United Kingdom was a valuable move, and does he agree that if this could take the form of pressure from the United States and all nine members of the EEC it would be even more valuable? Does he also agree that it would be disastrous if the Western Powers again, at the next General Assembly, found themselves in an isolated group in the world community on the issue of Namibia?

Mr. Hattersley

I am glad that my hon. Friend thinks that some progress has been made as a result of the decision by the Governments of France, the United States and the United Kingdom. I agree with him and hope that may continue to be so. Certainly we shall continue to examine whether that sort of pressure can be extended to cover all members of the EEC, and if it seems appropriate we shall raise it under the political machinery at the meeting in September, in the hope that we can, in a co-ordinated way, pursue the kind of policy that my hon. Friend and I want to see achieved.

Mr. Tugendhat

Does not the Minister of State agree that there are a number of difficult questions relating to South Africa, of which Namibia is one, the recognition or otherwise of the Bantustans another, and arms sales a third? Does he further agree that it would be highly desirable for the members of the European Economic Community to work out a common position on these issues?

Mr. Hattersley

I agree with that, in particular in regard to the subject the hon. Gentleman raised. Many of us think that one of the important objectives of the EEC in the rest of this decade is to work out common foreign policy initiatives over a whole range of subjects. This is an example of the success that could come from that policy, and I hope it can become wider and more extensive as the decade continues.