HC Deb 28 April 1976 vol 910 cc361-3
8. Mr. McCrindle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he or one of his Ministers plans an early meeting with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Mr. Luard

Neither my right hon. Friend nor any of his Ministers has any plans to do so at present.

Mr. McCrindle

Although I appreciate the reluctance of the Front Bench team to answer my Question, when the Foreign Secretary or one of his Ministers next visits the United Nations will he take the opportunity to reaffirm this country's support of that international body and draw attention to the concern felt in many parts of this country at the seeming double standards of the United Nations when on occasions it appears to condemn aggression and on others to condone it depending entirely, apparently, on whether the aggression comes from a Third World country?

Mr. Luard

First, I welcome the hon. Gentleman's support for the United Nations and its purposes—a support shared by Her Majesty's Government with which I personally agree very much. As to whether the hon. Gentleman agrees with individual resolutions, I am sure that he will agree that no country will ever find itself in agreement with every resolution passed by the United Nations. It is dangerous if the United Nations appears to display double standards. But unless the hon. Gentleman is a good deal more explicit than he has been, it is impossible for me to answer the second part of his supplementary question.

Mr. Luce

On the subject of double standards, was not the recent resolution passed by the Security Council on 31st March condemning South African intervention in Angola after the South Africans had withdrawn their troops and without even mentioning Cuban or Russian intervention utterly one-sided and hypocritical? Will the British Government go to the United Nations and seek the withdrawal of Cuban and Russian imperialism from Southern Africa?

Mr. Luard

I cannot accept the hon. Gentleman's criticism of that resolution. He should bear in mind that when that resolution was being put forward there were still South African forces in Angola, completely against the will of the Government already established in Angola, which had been recognised by a large proportion of the nations of the world, including Her Majesty's Government. In that situation, it was not surprising that the United Nations should seek to pass a resolution condemning the continued presence of those forces in Angola against the will of the Angolan Government.

Mr. Ioan Evans

As well as reiterating our commitment to the United Nations, will Her Majesty's Government also work within the United Nations to bring about majority rule in Namibia and Rhodesia, especially in view of the new American initiative, and at the same time try to take off the agenda the item which has been there longest, which is the item to work to end the apartheid system in South Africa?

Mr. Luard

On Rhodesia, my hon. Friend knows that we are committed to the principle of introducing majority rule and that we have asked the Smith Government to agree to this within two years. That has now been supported by the United States Government.

As for Namibia, I agree that we should do everything possible to ensure that there, too, a Government elected and accepted by the majority of the people come to power.

South Africa is a much more difficult question. But we are committed as a Government against the principles of apartheid applied there at present.

Mr. Gordon Wilson

When the Minister visits the General Secretary of the United Nations, will he tell him that the British Government accept the general terms of Dr. Kissinger's recent declaration and that on those grounds it will not object to the admission of an independent Scotland to the United Nations?

Mr. Luard

We support and welcome the statement made by Dr. Kissinger on Rhodesia, but that is irrelevant to whether there should be an independent Government of Scotland.