HC Deb 10 March 1976 vol 907 cc393-4
1. Mr. Rifkind

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will pay an official visit to Umtata when the Transkei becomes an independent State later in 1976.

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. David Ennals)

My right hon. Friend has no such plans.

Mr. Rifkind

Will the Minister confirm that when the Transkei becomes independent, the criteria for its recognition by the British Government will be the same as were applied in the case of Angola and all other States, namely, the likely permanence of the Government, its control over its territory, and the obedience of its citizens to that Government?

Mr. Ennals

Yes, the same criteria will apply. Certainly Her Majesty's Government will have to be satisfied about the total independence of any territory and its ability to conduct its foreign and defence policy. As I have said before, it is unlikely in present circumstances, as far as we can see, that the Transkei will fulfil our criteria, but the criteria are the same.

Mr. George

Does the Minister of State not agree that the Transkei and the other proposed homelands fulfil none of the criteria for independence laid down by the United Nations, and that Paramount Chief Matanzima has no more right to regard himself, or to be regarded, as Head of Government than does the Chairman of the West Midlands County Council? Does the Minister of State agree that we should discourage investment in these so-called homelands, and that the Bantustan policy is nothing more than a further device to perpetuate the inferior status of the black majority in South Africa?

Mr. Ennals

When I met some of the leaders of the homelands on their recent visit to Britain I made it clear that in our view the Bantustans were simply a part of the policy of apartheid to which we, and I think most hon. Members in this House, are totally opposed. Whether they will fulfil any of the criteria when they make an application for independence we shall have to wait and see, but they know our strong criticism of apartheid.

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