HC Deb 22 December 1976 vol 923 cc660-1
15. Mr. Tebbit

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will pay an official visit to Zambia.

Mr. Rowlands

My right hon. Friend has no plans to do so.

Mr. Tebbit

Even so, will the hon. Gentleman accept my thanks for his efforts and those of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on behalf of my constituent, Mr. Balaam? Is he aware that my constituent has still not been paid the money owed to him after more than three years, and that the Zambian authorities are still obstructing the payment? Does not the hon. Gentleman think that the time may come when we must make it plain to Governments in receipt of foreign aid from this country that that aid is conditional upon their ending the bilking of British subjects?

Mr. Rowlands

I am grateful for the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question. We have dealt with a number of cases concerning personal remittances from Zambia that hon. Members on both sides of the House have brought to my attention. Hon. Members will appreciate the Zambian Government's very difficult problem of foreign exchange reserves. We have been making quite good progress. I do not think that attaching conditions to our programme of aid to Zambia would help deal with individual problems that hon. Members have raised with me in the past few months.

Mr. Jim Spicer

The hon. Gentleman has stressed the problem of foreign exchange. Would not this be an appropriate time for him to have discussions with the Zambian Government about their problem of dealing with the many thousands of refugees who have streamed across the border from Angola? Will he then perhaps deal with the problems of those refugees who have moved into South-West Africa, again under pressure from the Cuban-led forces in Angola, and see what we can do to help?

Mr. Rowlands

We have regular consultations with the Zambian Government on many issues of bilateral concern. Many of the matters that the hon. Gentleman raised are for the Zambian Government alone and are not of particular British concern.

Back to
Forward to