HC Deb 21 February 1977 vol 926 cc1028-9
43. Mr. Hastings

asked the Minister of Overseas Development how much British public money has been expended to date on Rhodesian refugees in Mozambique; and whether the Government intend to make any further contributions.

Mr. Judd

As my predecessor said in his reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, South (Mr. Spearing) on 14th October last, payment of £50,000 has been made to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from the special contribution of £100,000 offered for Rhodesian refugees in Mozambique. The balance will be paid from the aid programme for 1977–78.

The question of a further contribution will be kept under review having regard to the circumstance of Rhodesian refugees in Mozambique and the needs of the United Nations High Commissioner.

Mr. Hastings

Is it not virtually certain that the vast majority of the so-called refugees are, in fact, terrorists under training or Rhodesians who have been abducted and are being indoctrinated? Has any British official been to these camps to check the position? In default of any precise information, why are British taxpayers being required to subsidise terrorism, and Marxist terrorism at that?

Mr. Judd

The hon. Gentleman has made interventions of that kind before which have been proved to be totally unfounded. There is no reason to suppose that any of the remarks he has just made have any foundation in reality. Our assistance to refugees is concentrated on agricultural, health and educational requirements as well as immediate humanitarian needs, and, indeed, British officials have visited Mozambique.

Mr. Ioan Evans

Does my hon. Friend recall that quite recently the Conservative Party advocated that we should give aid to refugees who went over the border into Botswana? If they are refugees, they should not be distinguished by which border they cross. Will my hon. Friend confirm that we shall continue to consult with the United Nations while there is still an illegal régime in Rhodesia?

Mr. Judd

I can assure my hon. Friend that the British Government will continue to meet the humanitarian needs of refugees wherever they may be in the world and whenever that need arises.

Mr. Tapsell

Has the Mozambique Government's decree of 7th February 1976 concerning the nationalisation of private property affected any British citizens or companies? If so, will this be taken into account?

Mr. Judd

That is a different question. If the hon. Gentleman cares to put it down, I shall give him a considered reply.