HC Deb 19 February 1975 vol 886 cc1315-6
6. Mr. Farr

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if, in view of the 50 per cent. turn-out in the Legislative Assembly poll in Ovamboland in South West Africa despite the total boycott recommendation by the South West Africa People's Organisation, Her Majesty's Government will cease to recognise that organisation as the sole representative of political opinion there; and if he will instruct Her Majesty's Government's representative at the United Nations to raise the matter in the Assembly.

Miss Joan Lestor

Her Majesty's Government have never regarded SWAPO as the sole representative of the inhabitants of Namibia, and have made this clear at the United Nations. But SWAPO will have an important part to play in any negotiations for the self-determination and independence of Namibia.

Mr. Farr

I am grateful to the hon. Lady for that answer. Will she bear in mind that the people who voted in contradiction to the views of SWAPO amount to more than 50 per cent. of those who turned out on polling day? Does she realise that there is a large body of opinion in South West Africa in favour of working with and co-operating with South Africa to their mutual future benefit?

Miss Lestor

I said in my original reply that we did not regard SWAPO as the sole representative of the people of Namibia, but it would be foolish to imagine that it did not represent a very large portion of opinion there. However, if other groups care to contact us, we shall be prepared to talk to them.

Mr. Edward Lyons

Bearing in mind that Ovamboland is a long way from the centres of white population, as I know only too well, having been to South Africa, does my hon. Friend agree that it is very difficult for people in Windhoek, the capital, to know what is going on in Ovamboland and that it is almost impossible for them to get there? Therefore, it is not possible to say how accurate these election returns in Ovamboland were.

Miss Lestor

I do not have full details of the results of the elections and it would be difficult to hazard any conclusion at this stage. But my hon. and learned Friend's point should be borne in mind.

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