§ Mr. Speaker
Before we embark on the main business, I tell the House that a considerable number of right hon. and hon. Members who have recently been in Rhodesia have indicated to me that they wish to participate in the debate. It is clear that they cannot all speak at the same time. I shall do my best, but there will be difficulty. I hope that Members will realise that although it is Friday, when normally every Member can participate, there will be difficulty unless Members are able to restrain themselves.
§ 11.16 a.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Dr. David Owen)
I beg to move.
That the draft Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 (Continuation) Order 1977, which was laid before this House on 3rd November, be approved.
The order asks that Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 should stand for a further 12 months. This is the twelfth time that successive Governments have asked the House to renew Sectioa 2. The main reason for renewing Section 2 is to maintain international pressure on the regime in Rhodesia to give up power on the basis that is set out in the White Paper Command 6919, published on 1st September. I welcome this occasion as it is one of the first opportunities that the House has had to discuss that White Paper.
In my view it would be irresponsible to take unilateral action to lift sanctions at this stage. We must continue clearly to act together with the international community, which has to a remarkable extent accepted the broad framework of the proposals introduced in the White Paper as providing a basis for a peaceful transition to majority rule in Rhodesia. The international community has shown that acceptance in its support for the United Nations Security Council Resolution 415.
Failure to renew the sanctions legislation would give the Smith regime an unwarranted psychological boost and would confirm suspicions that exist not only in the minds of the nationalists but in other countries in the world about our intentions. I have no doubt that the intention of all Members is to bring about, 1019 if it is at all possible and if it lies within our power, a peaceful transition to majority rule in the troubled country of Rhodesia. No one denies that it will be extremely hard to achieve. Section 2 will be necessary to provide a means of legalising the transitional arrangements until new legislation can be brought before Parliament in the event of a settlement.
I know that some are against renewing this legislation, and I respect their motives. However, I urge them to consider the matter in the context of Command 6919 and to recognise that if we are ever to achieve a settlement on that basis we shall need to act speedily on the transitional arrangements and that we shall need the power in Section 2. If we are able to reach a settlement that is agreed between the parties and endorsed by the United Nations, we shall need to act quickly to establish a transitional Administration.
I aim to introduce the necessary legislation to grant independence to Zimbabwe in two stages. Both Houses will first be asked to approve an Order in Council under the powers conferred by Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 to establish the transitional administration. The order would take the form of a modification, on an interim basis, to the 1961 constitution and would include the necessary provisions relating to the appointment of a resident Commissioner, his legislative and executive powers, fundamental human rights, the judiciary, the public service and the validation of existing laws and an amnesty for certain past wrongful acts.
Both Houses will be asked to approve an order revoking the sanctions order. However, the necessary powers under which the transitional Administration may prepare for and hold elections will require a new Act of Parliament. It is intended, therefore, that these powers shall be included in the same Act. It will provide for the making of an independence constitution by Order in Council, the conferment of independence and other matters consequential to this change of status. In view of the urgent need to proceed with the preparation and holding of elections it will become necessary for Parliament to consider the Bill for this Act as soon as possible after the transitional constitutional order has been 1020 brought into operation. The justification for sanctions will fall away once it is clear that the process of transition to majority rule and independence is irreversible. The Rhodesian situation would then no longer be a threat to peace requiring the continuation of measures under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
The cumulative effect of sanctions has not been negligible, and has influenced the Smith regime, though no one would deny that the wish now for a negotiated settlement and the widespread acceptance in Rhodesia by people of all races of the need for majority rule has come about because of other pressures, and the most important is the one that I regret most,namely, the fact that people have felt driven to take up arms. But United Nations sanctions and economic sanctions have had their effect. Last year Rhodesia had its biggest trade deficit since UDI. Recently it has been forced to devalue its currency. Opposition Members may laugh, but I hope that they will treat this debate with the seriousness which it deserves.
§ Dr. Owen
I shall perhaps give way later to the hon. Gentleman.
I do not rejoice in the economic decline of Rhodesia. I want that country to be able to play its full part in the continent of Africa and particularly in Southern Africa. There is little doubt that were sanctions to be lifted that country—Zimbabwe—under new majority rule would be able to provide a strong economic base for the countries in the area. None of us looks back on the history of the last 12 years with any feelings of vindictiveness or delight that sanctions have been necessary. I certainly do not, and I hope that hon. Members will acquit me of that.
The obstacles ahead are formidable and I do not deny that further pressures may well be necessary. It is understandable that the Africans and international opinion generally are becoming impatient. The implementation of additional sanctions measures must, however, in my view, take full account of the current negotiations. The Commonwealth Committee on Southern Africa has recently made a useful study of this question. If any one 1021 party to the current negotiations were clearly delaying the process, clearly obstructing the negotiations, one would have to consider further pressures, but I have made it clear that at the moment I would resist any further pressures because, although we are still encountering fundamental differences on some issues, I believe that there is a fairly widespread willingness to treat seriously the proposals in the White Paper as a basis for trying to reach a settlement and allowing for transfer to majority rule in 1978.
That is why we need the order and why I hope that even Opposition Members who in the past resisted and voted against the order will recognise that this time the situation is very different. This is not a rerun of the sanctions debates. There is a real chance that in the course of 1978 we shall be able to resolve the matter. I urge the House to look at the Rhodesian situation as we now see it, not as a snap-shop of events that have occurred in the last few days or months, but in view of what has happened in the last 12 years.
Who can doubt that the chances of achieving majority rule are greater now than they have ever been? Who can doubt that there is now, among all shades of opinion in Rhodesia, particularly among white Rhodesians, a readiness to accept that there must be majority rule in that country? This is a formidable achievement. Of course there are difficulties about how majority rule will be attained, but many people are looking away from the polemics to see how we can seriously grapple with the problem. I shall try to deal with some of the difficulties.
First. I pay tribute to Field Marshal Lord Carver, who has agreed to be the Resident Commissioner-designate. All right hon. and hon. Members will agree that he has served this country with the utmost distinction in both peace and war. He had retired, and he had every reason to look forward to a peaceful, settled retirement, but at my request he agreed to undertake this formidable task. Any of us who has been involved in the negotiations knows how difficult the problem is, and realises that the man who tries to bring all sides together faces great difficulty. Lord Carver has many of the essential attributes necessary in anyone who would hold the position of Resident Commissioner in the transitional period. 1022 I extend my personal thanks and tribute to him for agreeing to undertake this task. No one knows whether he will ever take up his office, as he has said.
I have always made it clear to the House and the country that before any decision is taken—whether we are to appoint a Resident Commissioner, or whether we are to embark on the procedure outlined in the White Paper—we will consult the House of Commons. None of us—I say this constantly in Africa—wishes this country effectively to administer Rhodesia, albeit for a short time. We have never administered it before, but there have been constant demands that we should live up to our obligations and honour our legal responsibilities.
When I first began to grapple with this problem in the early spring, it became apparent to me that one of the problems that had arisen in Geneva was that, because of the divisions of opinion—and it was divisions of opinion in the nationalist leadership particularly that had always bedevilled the problem of Rhodesia even before UDI—it was almost impossible to envisage any structure of government that would be acceptable to the differing nationalist leaders and that therefore the only way to proceed was for Britain to accept the great responsibility of administering Rhodesia during the period of transition when we would have to demarcate constituencies, register voters and hold an election in an atmosphere in which we could all feel reasonably confident that there would be a democratic election.
We wish to hold that position in Rhodesia for the minimum period necessary to have fair elections. We are all aware of the risks of being involved in this situation and of being dragged into a continuing conflict. Therefore, the proposals depend upon a ceasefire being agreed and operating during the transitional period. It is hard to imagine our being able to hold fair elections in a climate in which the armed struggle continues.
I come to the essential problems that remain. Lord Carver is touring Southern Africa. It is significant that his tour has been made in the presence of the representatives of the United Nations Secretary-General, General Prem Chand—who played a major róle in the United Nations peace-keeping force in Cyprus—and a 1023 team from the United Nations. It is extremely important not simply that there has been a dialogue between the British Government and the nationalist leaders and some of the major leaders of African countries in the area but that the United Nations has also been represented there and that its representatives have been able to see the situation, discuss the problem and speak to most of the people closely involved. That will be of great help to members of the United Nations team in any future discussion of the problem.
Apart from the talks on the basis of Security Council Resolution 415 and discussions with all the parties concerned, there is the question of the military and associated arrangements considered necessary to effect the transition to majority rule. It is obvious that one could not isolate the military discussions in totality. There are three essential elements that have still to be resolved—the transitional constitution, the independence constitution and the law and order situation, and all three interweave and intermingle.
The United Nations has made it clear that it does not wish to be involved in the constitution, which is clearly the responsibility of the British Government and this House. Therefore, it has been necessary in some ways to compartmentalise the discussion. However, these are not completely watertight compartments, and no one would pretend that they could be. That is why Lord Carver, when he was in Rhodesia, saw, together with General Prem Chand, all the leaders of nationalist opinions, Bishop Muzorewa, Mr. Sithole, the Rhodesian defence force commanders and Mr. Smith himself. Almost coinciding at one time with this, we sent a team of officials from the Foreign Office to continue the dialogue with representatives of the United States Government on the constitutional talks.
What has been achieved? In terms of military and associated arrangements, the United Nations has been involved with us, and the importance of that is spelled out in the White Paper. I believe that the transitional period requires a United Nations presence—a United Nations peace-keeping element which is able to support the maintenance of law and order.
1024 We have always made it clear that the first line in maintaining law and order in a cease fire situation sohuld be the police, and they have been involved. This has given Lord Carver the opportunity to discuss the sort of way in which it might be possible to deal with one of the major problems—the fact that so many people, both inside and immediately outside Rhodesia—those who are capable of getting in—are holding arms. Any estimate of the number of people holding arms in that country at present would depend on whether on;: included the regular or territorial forces, but it is estimated that 50,000 to 60,000 people are holding arms in varying ways. That is more than the country needs to defend itself.
It is a very unstable situation, and the problem to be grappled with is how these men of arms can be brought together into an arrangement whereby there is a reduction in the numbers holding arms. It is also a problem to see how they can be brought together into a situation in which they will accept a cease fire and so conduct themselves and arrange things so that they are not able to interfere with the processes of fair election.
I do not need to be told by any hon. Member of this House how difficult this will be, but I urge everyone to read very carefully the various documents, and particularly the statement on law and order that I made in Salisbury, which accompanies the White Paper. The reason why the paragraphs in the White Paper—mainly 11(c)—are not spelled out in such detail is that when I made the statement in Salisbury they were not agreed.
During my tour of Southern Africa I did try to bring people together. There was a cry from one side that the Rhodesian defence forces must remain inviolate and intact and that there should be no form of integration. On the other hand, there has been a demand that the Rhodesian defence forces should go entirely and be dismantled, and that the liberation forces should hold sway in Rhodesia through the transitional period and into independence. I state the two opposite poles to make it quite clear to hon. Members how incompatible they are. My task, with Ambassador Young, was to negotiate an arrangement that people would recognise in which these two 1025 armed forces could come to an agreement during the transitional period and whereby civil war could be prevented during the post-independence period. Preventing civil war after independence is every bit as important as maintaining law and order during the transitional period.
The complexity of this problem is obvious and manifest. The settlement—I know some people do not like it—must be based on the liberation movement.
§ Dr. Owen
The hon. Gentleman will have an opportunity to make all these points later. We have had to deal with liberation movements all over the world for many decades. The history of the British Government shows that eventually one must recognise the existence of these movements and negotiate with them. Many people who have held this office —Conservatives included—have found that they have had to negotiate with people who had been described in that connotation. Therefore, it is best to discuss this matter in terms of the terminology in the White Paper. Some people will not object to the words "based on the liberation forces ".
I believe that we should leave some of the issues to be clarified in the negotiations, but once faced with the polarised situation it would have been impossible to accept that the new Zimbabwe army, resulting from an election involving 3 million people, should be based entirely on the Rhodesian forces. One has only to study the antithesis of this to see how impossible it would be to do this.
§ Dr. Owen
If the hon. Gentleman really finds it difficult to understand that, I shall explain it to him. During the transitional period it is envisaged that the Rhodesian defence forces and the liberation forces will be under the command of the Resident Commissioner. It is essential that there should be a unified command structure. It is envisaged in the statement made in Salisbury that acceptable elements of the Rhodesian defence forces should take part in the Zimbabwe national army.
The Zimbabwe national army must be one which would serve any of the presi 1026 dential candidates elected during the transitional period. This is a central but very difficult objective. Therefore, the army must have elements of the Rhodesian defence forces based on the liberation forces, with recruitment open to all citizens. To try to achieve this balance will be the task of detailed and delicate negotiations. It may be impossible to achieve but I hope not.
What is impossible to expect is for the liberation forces to give up their arms, agree to a ceasefire and accept an army based on the Rhodesian defence forces entirely and completely.
§ Dr. Owen
The hon. Member's understanding is even worse than I thought. One of the greatest problems is the strength of feeling between black fighters in the liberation forces and black fighters in the Rhodesian defence forces. It is not just a matter of colour, and Opposition Members must not think that the problem can be solved simply by merging colour. One has only to look back at the situation in Mozambique, where black fighters in the Portuguese army were the hardest to integrate. It is not just a simple problem of colour ; one has to realise what the liberation forces are fighting for.
§ Dr. Owen
The hon. Member asks what they have been doing. I make no secret of the fact that atrocities have been committed on both sides. The hon. Member must accept the evidence that when people get into this type of guerrilla warfare—and fortunately we have not yet had serious urban guerrilla warfare—the struggle and the terror is greater, and savage and horrible things are done. That is one reason why I want to bring this situation to an end as quickly as possible.
Let me now turn to the question how to grapple with the dilemma of converting the present situation into one in which we can have a Zimbabwe national army. Some have said to me "Why bother about this? Why not leave this issue alone until they come to independence, so that the matter may be left to the new President?" I believe that although that would be a simple course to follow, it 1027 would be providing a recipe for civil war. Therefore, hard though it is if the British are prepared to put in a Resident Commissioner, we must grapple with the problem of the forces and bring them together during the transitional period.
Many people have said that a period of six months is too short, and nobody denies the difficulty of grappling with this problem within such a period. But if it is longer, we shall face the situation of having to wait for majority rule. Therefore, we must choose a period that allows for a fair election. There are problems of demarcating the constituencies and their status, allowing for those who have been outside the country a fair chance to come in, and also allowing for the possibility that one will be able to create sufficient stability during that period so that the new President may inherit an army that is loyal to the results of the election, and not an army that is totally geared to the political aspirations of any one force.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell: (Beaconsfield)
Obviously the arguments on these matters must be set out in our speeches, but will the Foreign Secretary take this opportunity to deal with a problem that troubles many of us? I refer to the sheer practicability of a defence force based on the guerrilla forces, given the nature of those forces.
§ Dr. Owen
I do not deny there are difficulties, and many people have always seen that force in terms of a regular cornmitment. But what are some of the alter-natives? One is that the struggle will continue and that the guerrilla forces may triumph and march through the streets of Bulawayo and Salisbury. Many people believe that that will be the inevitable result. What will that mean for white and black Rhodesians and others who want a peaceful transition? It is a diffcult matter to grapple with. I have never tried to hide the complexity of the situation. If one wants a negotiated settlement, one cannot duck out of trying to tackle that problem.
One would also have to tackle the balance of forces. I am resolute on the fact that as long as the nationalist leadership is so divided, the only way to resolve the matter is by having elections. I have often urged the nationalist leaders to come together.
1028 There are two essential dialogues that must take place within the next few months. First, the nationalist members must make clear that they are fighting for a free and independent Zimbabwe—in other words, for majority rule. The liberation forces have fought for that in terms, and others have fought for it through political and other objectives. If they could come together in a degree of unity, which has often been the case with other Africans who have united in freedom movements, many of our problems would be resolved. Even if it is impossible for them to come together, I hope that there will be a better spirit of goodwill in putting the future of Zimbabwe as the first and most essential interest to safeguard. If that is not put as the first essential interest, many of the things that have been honourably fought for will be put in jeopardy.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Kingston upon Hull, West)
Since many Conservative Members appear to think that the revolution forces consist of bloodthirsty Marxists lurking in the bush in Mozambique, will my right hon. Friend comment on the television interview given by Julius Nyerere to David Dimbleby, when the President said that there was a third force of liberation Africans in Tanzania and that he would be prepared to underpin any lawful Government in the elections in Zimbabwe?
§ Dr. Owen
That is one factor that exists, and it was part of an attempt by the front-line Presidents. who are deeply worried about the prospect of civil war, to bring together the two forces, ZANU and ZAPU, and to try to instill into those forces the idea that they were fighting for Zimbabwe and its independence. That is one factor that will need to be examined in the detailed discussions in creating a national army for Zimbabwe.
§ Sir Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire, East)
Will the Foreign Secretary clarify one point? He has referred on several occasions to the liberation forces and has sought to identify for them a possible role in the transition period and thereafter. When he refers to the liberation forces, as he calls them, having such a role, is he clear that that role will be restricted to members of those forces who are indigenous to that country and will not include persons who are citizens 1029 of other countries and who owe allegiance to other, and sometimes hostile, Powers?
§ Dr. Owen
That matter can be discussed, but just as we have thought it right that those people in the defence forces of Rhodesia who have come in with outside nationalities should be the first to be removed during the transitional period, so I believe it would be unlikely that one could build a national army of Zimbabwe if it were not based on the citizens of Rhodesia. I think that must be acceptable.
Some Conservative Members constantly point to these forces as being Marxist guerrillas and vicious killers. That is not the situation. One cannot have it all ways. One cannot at one moment speak about Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Sithole and not come to grips with the fact that they both claim to have a considerable number of sympathisers within the liberation forces. I have made that clear at Question Time, and I have no doubt that it is true. The Rhodesian forces are not all fighting for a political ideology ; they are fighting for their freedom. They are fighting for black majority rule, and they have been forced to fight for it because of the inability of the international community to deal with the situation.
§ Mr. Jerry Wiggin (Weston-super-Mare)
How many of these countries are free? Dr. Owen : It depends on what the hon. Gentleman means by free countries? Let us not get involved in the subject of Mozambique. Grievous errors were made by the Portuguese Government. However, President Machel has never doubted the need for a settlement in Rhodesia, nor has he questioned the role of the elections. He has constantly reiterated the need to retain white people in Mozambique. We must learn the lessons of Mozambique and Angola when thinking about the situation in Rhodesia. When transfers take place over the barrel of a gun, many things happen which are undesirable. One is that many skilled technicians and others leave the country in question. That happened in Mozam. bique and Angola, and it can happen in Rhodesia if we do not start to grapple with these matters within the transitional period.
§ Mr. Cyril D. Townsend (Bexleyheath)
In view of what the Foreign Secretary has said, will he clarify one point that appears to be impeding a settlement'? What is to be the role of the political parties prior to the transfer of power?
§ Dr. Owen
The role of the political parties during the transitional period as envisaged will be effectively to start the process of fighting an election. In the transitional period, one of the problems that has arisen concerns the powers of the Resident Commissioner. There have been claims from almost all sides that the Resident Commissioner will have too much power, but the alternative, which is the sort of mixed Government that was proposed at Geneva, completely failed to reach agreement.
This is something that is under discussion at the moment. I think that we shall have to listen and see whether we can try to reach some agreement on it. Obviously, no Resident Commissioner will go in to govern the country and be completely unfeeling of the opinion of various leaders in that country during that period. Obviously, he would consult on any decisions that were outside the normal remit that had been anticipated previously. I have no doubt that Lord Carver would wish to do so.
It is one thing to consult ; it is another thing to provide a structure of executive powers. 1 believe that we were right to provide in the White Paper that the Resident Commissioner would be the administrator but, if there is some way of bridging the gap, that is one of the matters for discussion. That is one of the problems of the transition period.
One of the problems of the independence period and the independence constitution is, as Mr. Smith and his people see it, how one protects the white minority. There is the question of the specially elected Members. This is still being discussed. Also, one comes back to the whole question of law and order. Some people want to put one issue first, while others put another issue first. I have no doubt that it is the package as a whole which will have to be agreed at the end of the day. People will compromise on some issues if they think that they have reached a compromise on something else. My difficulty, and the difficulty of all of 1031 us who are involved, is how to these people together.
I have referred to two dialogues, which I have thought essential. The first is a dialogue among the nationalist leaders and an understanding on what they were aiming to achieve in an independent Zimbabwe. The other dialogue, which we seek to achieve, is a dialogue, between the Patriotic Front and the Rhodesia Front. They have not talked to each other since Geneva, whereas the nationalist leaders inside Rhodesia have had a dialogue with the Smith regime since then.
To some extent, I assume that this must have been at the back of Mr. Smith's mind when he agreed to meet President Kaunda. That meeting took place on their own decision. I had no knowledge of it. We were courteously informed about it by President Kaunda after it had taken place. There are those who believe that the front-line Presidents have no influence on this situation and that it is wrong even to talk to them. That quite fallacious view, as I see it, was shown to be fallacious by that meeting. The fact is that Mr. Smith has previously negotiated with Mr. Nkomo.
There is a need for dialogue on one particular issue, however—a dialogue between the military commanders of the Rhodesian defence forces and the Patriotic Front forces. This will be extremely difficult to achieve. We need further meetings.
Some people say that everything has collapsed. This whole initiative has been written off almost ever since it started. I can hardly think of a week when I have not opened the newspapers to see such headlines as "Owen mission collapses" or ` Anglo-US initiative dead ". It seems that everybody always wants a vested interest in being the first to write off everything.
I do not disguise from the House—nothing that I have said today disguises them—the difficulties that face us. We need further meetings. We certainly need —I hope that we can achieve them—further meetings with the Patriotic Front and with Mr. Smith. I hope that we shall be able to work towards a meeting of the military commanders of the two main armed forces. We must continue the 1032 dialogue with all the nationalist leaders on all aspects of the situation—for instance, aspects of law and order and matters such as the role of the police during the transition period. There is also the question of the future structure and way in which the Zimbabwe national army would be responsive to the role of the new President. This must be discussed with the nationalist leaders and all the presidential candidates.
But there are issues relating to the actual ceasefire which are bound to involve the military commanders of the two armed forces. We should not think it disreputable to try to bring them together. They will have to have a dialogue at some time. I believe that. through the mission of Lord Carver, they have begun to bridge that gap. There is no doubt that just going to bilateral talks with people on either side is one way to achieve understanding—perhaps the only way—but I make no secret that we should like to see direct talks in the presence of the British Resident Commissioner-designate and the United Nations Secre tary-General's representative. If we could do that, we might be able to get a better understanding of what we really mean regarding the future of the Zimbabwe national army and how we can ensure law and order during the transition period.
I do not wish to speak for much longer, since I know that many hon. Members wish to take part in the debate and I recognise the wish of the House to put questions. But I urge the House—and even some Opposition Members who feel very strongly on these issues, which I understand—to recognise that the interests which even those hon. Members serve are best served by allowing this sanctions order to be renewed. The dialogue must be continued.
§ Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)
The Foreign Secretary spoke of the desirability of trying to bring together the commanders of the various forces under the chairmanship of, or certainly in the presence of, Lord Carver. Is there any likelihood of such a meeting taking place?
§ Dr. Owen
I do not know. I had hoped that it might be possible. I do not believe that it will take place in the immediate future. I certainly hope that we shall have another round of talks 1033 with the Patriotic Front. I shall work towards achieving that. It requires all the parties to agree to come to such a meeting. The problem is that, on the one hand, some wish to talk about the transitional arrangements—the Patriotic Front certainly wishes to talk about the transitional arrangements—whereas, on the other hand, Mr. Smith and his regime tend to want to see the independence constitution clarified first.
The problem must be faced that one cannot isolate any of these issues in totality. I think that some people would be prepared, for example, to make compromises on the question of protecting the white minority if they were satisfied about some of the other arrangements for the transition period. As right hon. Members who have been involved in negotiations of this kind know, there comes a time when one has to keep them fluid until the moment when people will come together and start trading off and making compromises.
For my part, I have always been against going back at too early a stage to the Geneva formulation, and if I can talk I shall. There are certain groupings which need to be made. I have already made clear that the two dialogues which I regard as essential are a dialogue among the nationalist leaders and a dialogue on the military arrangements in particular between the commanders of the Rhodesian forces and of the Patriotic Front forces.
§ Mr. Nicholas Fairbairn (Kinross and West Perthshire)
If such a dialogue or talks were to occur between the leaders of the various forces, who would be represented at them? Among the guerrilla forces there appear to be a large number of claims to be representative of different interests?
§ Dr. Owen
I can overcome that problem only by saying that certain people will come to the talks, and that will decide who will come to them. The same goes for the Smith regime. I believe that we should not say who will come to those talks, except that we put a strong emphasis on the military elements, although one cannot exclude, and should never try to exclude, going out into the associated arrangements and political factors. Therefore, I have always been ready to have at those talks people who 1034 can deal with constitutional issues and the transition period.
§ Mr. Ian Gow (Eastbourne)
Will the right hon. Gentelman take this opportunity to tell the House, if this is his belief, that there is no evidence whatever to show that the existing Rhodesian security forces would have been other than totally loyal to any future duly elected Government? Second, he spoke about the incorporation into a new Zimbabwe army, after the commencement of the interim period of administration, of acceptable elements of the existing security forces. To whom did he mean that those elements must be acceptable?
§ Dr. Owen
The question of acceptability is one matter to be negotiated, but the fundamental principle is that anyone who is in the Zimbabwe national army must be loyal to Zimbabwe and loyal to the new President. As to the hon. Gentleman's first question, I have made clear—I made it clear in my statement on 1st September in Rhodesia—that I thought that there were some elements of the Rhodesian defence forces which were unacceptable. [An hon. Member : "No."] I am reminding the House of what 1 said. The hon. Gentleman says "No ", but I referred to some elements and I identified the Selous Scouts.
§ Dr. Owen
The hon. Gentleman asks why. That may be the reason why they are unacceptable. [Interruption.] I am asked about acceptablility. I am asked a serious question, and I intend to answer it. I should not have insisted, as I have throughout the negotiations, that acceptable elements of the Rhodesian defence forces should be retained and should serve in the Zimbabwe national army had I believed that they would not be loyal.
It is because I think they would be loyal and because I believed we had to get some form of integration in the forces that I was determined to resist both the extreme polarised views that were thrust upon me. A careful reading of that statement shows, as anyone who was with me will know, that I resisted them throughout Africa, no matter with whom I spoke. The positions of the two sides were untenable if we were to get a negotiated 1035 settlement. The position now put down strikes the right balance.
The Zimbabwe national army must reflect the fact that it will be serving a majority Government, a Government elected as a result of a ballot on the basis of one man, one woman, one vote—a Government elected by over 3 million people as opposed to the present totally restricted franchise of around 90,000. That must be reflected in the structure of the Zimbabwe national army. The exact way in which it is done, the exact details of the troops, the way they are deployed and arranged, must be the subject of negotiations. I do not deny that in trying to do this the Resident Commissioner-designate has an appallingly difficult task.
I think that it can be done, but only given good will and only if the two sides are prepared to negotiate seriously. I hope, therefore, that in this debate no comfort is given to anyone who wishes to disrupt the negotiations. I hope that when we come to vote at the end of the debate hon. Members will take into account how their votes will be read in Rhodesia.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)
My right hon. Friend has not mentioned sanctions. What is the present position about oil? It may be that this will be the only card we have yet to play in putting pressure on Mr. Smith and, in turn, upon South Africa, which must put pressure on Mr. Smith. too.
§ Dr. Owen
I mentioned sanctions right at the start of the debate. The Commonwealth Sanctions Committee's report deals with this specific subject. It must be of concern to hon. Members that there has been a mandatory oil embargo on Rhodesia for many years and that oil has still gone through. We all know that it has got through South Africa, and that raises very serious questions for South Africa.
We shall no doubt be discussing these issues as we have in the past, but I have made it clear to South Africa that I believe in a negotiated settlement and that the South Africans have a crucial role in persuading the Rhodesians. We are not in any arrangement with South Africa over this, as anyone can see from our reaction to what has happened in South
1036 Africa in its internal arrangements. But if the negotiations were to stall and South Africa were to continue to supply oil, that would present a very serious situation —a situation that the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee and the United Nations have considered in the past and that the House would have to consider.
I hope that these problems will not arise, but I have made no secret of the fact that pressures are necessary in order to bring about the situation that we wish. Many conflicting pressures have created the existing situation. Some people believe that the best answer is to leave it to the fighting and let the matter be resolved on the field. We are attempting to bring about a peaceful settlement before such a bitter conflict has been pursued to its ultimate conclusion. That means that there must be a cease fire before there is an undoubted victor, and that is extremely difficult, as the whole history of warfare shows.
The problems that this country and the international community face are immense, but there is a widespread recognition that in 1978 there is the possibility of an independent free Zimbabwe, based on majority rule as a result of fair and free elections conducted on the basis of one man, one woman, one vote. That is a noble objective.
§ Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles (Winchester)
The Foreign Secretary has made a most reasonable speech, which I feel cannot fail to have impressed hon. Members on both sides of the House who feel strongly about this emotive subject—and I am one of them. Will the right hon. Gentleman stand back for a minute and consider a slightly more global participation before we get enmeshed in the details of the Rhodesia situation? What did he mean by his comment in Moscow, which worries some of us very much, about Soviet and British objectives in Africa being the same? Considered globally, that statement does not make sense to me. Will the right hon. Gentle. man therefore explain where he thinks the Russians stand in this matter? We cannot discuss this matter without some mention of Russia.
§ Dr. Owen
If the Press wishes to take half a sentence and put that on the front page of its newspapers, as it tends to do 1037 on any number of occasions, it will distort the facts. I said that I thought that we shared the same intention and then went on to talk of achieving majority rule in Rhodesia. If the hon. and gallant Member looks at the statement in the round it is perfectly rational, as being the stated intentions of both the Soviet Union and ourselves. The Soviet Union has stated that that is its intention, and I intend to hold it to that. Because it is its stated intention it was unable to veto the United Nations resolution, as many thought it might have done.
There are different objectives, of course, but in this case there is a remarkable degree of unanimity throughout the whole of the international community—Communist and non-Communist alike—that racialism in Southern Africa must cease and that majority rule must come. If we can get acceptance in other countries that it should come as a result of fair and free elections, it will be a substantial triumph. If we can get the international community, if not to co-operate then not to disrupt the peace initiative, which is based on the principles of fair and free elections by the people of Zimbabwe, themselves deciding their future, it will be a formidable achievement.
I hope that the debate will not give comfort to those few people in Rhodesia who believe that they can flout the view of the international community, who be lieve that the time has not yet come for majority rule, who wish somehow to hold back for a few more years the reality that will have to be faced in that country. If they are given sustenance, if they are given strength, I believe that the future that awaits that country will be even more tragic than the circumstances that we have seen in the past few years.
§ 12.8 p.m.
§ Mr. John Davies (Knutsford)
All of us, though perhaps particularly those of my kind of age, will register the significance of the fact that this debate is taking place on 11th November and will remember that some at least of the people who are deeply affected by what we say today are ones with whom we stood shoulder to shoulder so many years ago.
I shall be asking my right hon. and hon. Friends at the end of the debate not to vote against the inJtion, but that 1038 will not he quite for the reasons that the Foreign Secretary has outlined. I do not believe in sanctions as a means of regulating international disputes, and were this the occasion when we were first considering the imposition of sanctions I should certainly not be advising my hon. Friends in the sense that 1 am doing.
I think that there is a measure of very deep hypocrisy in the application of sane tions within the framework of Chapter VI t of the United Nations Charter as it affects Rhodesia. It seems to characterise this country as one that is threatening international peace, and that in a sense is to turn the whole situation round. That may be true of South Africa as well. The problem is that actions within Rhodesia and South Africa encourage the endangering of international peace from without. If that were, therefore, to be a justification for sanctions against any country engaged in such activities, goodness knows where the list would stop. Unfortunately, sanctions of the kind that have been applied against Rhodesia must, in the end, damage those whom the people who imposed the sanctions were keenest to try to help.
I found much of what the Foreign Secretary said on the subject of Rhodesia and its problems since L. DI to be of a rather condescending nature. The advance of that country since that time is quite astonishing. I am led forcibly to the conclusion that the sanctions may, in fact, have had counter-effects to those intended. The extraordinary innovations and ingenuity that have been deployed to overcome the problems that Rhodesia has faced are remarkable, and the results are to be seen in the figures of the economy that have emerged during that period. It is extraordinary that in the 10-year period from 1967 to 1976 the gross domestic product of Rhodesia has doubled, the external account has remained constantly in balance, industrial production has risen by 75 per cent. and agricultural production has increased by 33 per cent.
Although consumer prices are admittedly up by 50 per cent., that is relatively modest in relation to what has happened in other parts of the world, including this country. African earnings are up by 80 per cent. and African employment is up by 40 per cent. Anybody who looks back at that and registers that the activities of Rhodesia have been halting or 1039 incompetent totally misunderstands what has been happening. Indeed, what would we have given to have achieved similar figures?
It is true, however, that during the course of the past year and a half a mood of lack of confidence and deep concern about the future has prevailed and the graphs on the movement of the economy have shown threatening downturns during the past 18 months. However, when that is accumulated with what I have said about employment in the economy and the heavy expenditure and difficulties that there have been—and no doubt there may be heavy criticisms of that expenditure intrinsically—in terms of defence and self-protection one is bound to look again to see who is the sufferer. Cer-tainly the suffering has been within the social infrastructure of Rhodesia.
There is no doubt that the economy has been kept moving by great ingenuity and that the advantages in the economy have been materially conveyed to all people of all races in the country, but the pace of advance has been substantially slower than would have been the case had sanctions not existed. There is no doubt that the provision of schools, hospitals and other facilities for the population, particularly the black population, has deeply suffered from the existence of sanctions. If that is so, as I believe it is, it can only be said that sanctions themselves have slowed progress for the very people whose progress was the whole object of the exercise.
It is also true that as a result of these developments the political development of the people in question—and we must remember that we are here dealing with a country that is not questioning the purpose of becoming a multi-racial society —has been substantially slowed. Sanctions have been counter-productive to the best interests of the black population, and if one were to be asked, in the light of experience, to start again today with sanctions it would be extremely doubtful whether we should do so. That is not the purpose of what we are doing.
§ Mr. Phillip Whitehead (Derby, North)
I am surprised by the tenor of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. Does he accept that the whole purpose of sanctions is 1040 to facilitate progress towards majority rule and that, as such, they were requested by the majority in Rhodesia?
§ Mr. Davies
I have been pointing out that sanctions have delayed progress towards majority rule. The evidence is incontrovertible that there has been delay and that were it not for the sanctions there would have been substantially greater progress, both socially and politically. It has always been Rhodesia's intention to produce a multi-racial society.
§ Mr. Whitehead
Has not the leader of the Rhodesian Administration said that there would be no majority rule in his lifetime? Would Smith have acceded to majority rule without sanctions?.
§ Mr. Davies
I have never believed the expression "never in my lifetime "or" never "to be a particularly suitable or sensible political expression. I should have thought that the evidence was overwhelming that there was no other intention than that Rhodesia should be developed as a multi-racial society, and that the fact that that development has not gone as fast as it might have done is in some degree the fault of sanctions.
Therefore, my reason for asking my right hon. and hon. Friends not to vote against the order is that, at the present juncture of affairs and the state of the initiative that the Foreign Secretary has illustrated to us, it would be damaging for the Conservative Party to give the impression that it was encouraging those who are unhappy about the progress or content of these proposals and who wish to delay affairs in the hope that a better day will come. It would not be desirable for the Conservative Party to vote against the order today. There is a real danger that, if we were to demonstrate that the view of the party was against the motion, that would do harm to the ultimate outcome of these arrangements rather than produce any benefit. For that reason, we should not vote against the order.
§ Mr. Bruce Grocott (Lichfield and Tamworth)
Will the right hon. Gentleman make plain whether he is asking his right hon. and hon. Friends to vote for the order or to abstain from voting?
§ Mr. Davies
I repeat that I advise them not to vote against the order. That is quite clear.
1041 I am deeply aware of the widespread doubts that exist throughout the country —not only in one party—about the wisdom of the affairs on which we are engaged and of our methods, but I am equally convinced that nothing would be more damaging to the future of Rhodesia or of our relations with that country than to procure a greater delay than is necessary.
It seems that many of the misfortunes that now face us have been caused by delay by Mr. Smith, by the British Government in dealing with the Kissinger proposals, by delay in the whole conduct of the Geneva affairs and by the constant pursuit of shuttle diplomacy, which has benefits but also defects.
The Foreign Secretary referred at length to the situation in South Africa in relation to Rhodesia. Rightly or wrongly, South Africans feel that it is surprising that their connivance and help should be called for and that they should be widely attacked at the same time. That may not be wise. Equally, South Africans call into question the whole genuineness of the way in which their part in these matters has been handled by the British and American Governments. The whole story has been constantly one of our trying to move ahead by a halting method, at variance with the true urgency of the problem. As everybody knows, while delay continues atrocities and bloodshed increase and confidence dwindles. The one thing that we must not do is to encourage in any way the pursuit of Fabian tactics at this stage.
I feel equally that such an attitude is compatible with the present course of events only if it is abundantly clear that the objectives pursued by the Government are those that can be accepted by the Opposition. If the Government ardently pursue the purpose of securing an orderly passage to majority rule by the will of the Rhodesian people as a whole, we must subscribe to their efforts and to their conduct of affairs in seeking that purpose, even though we have grave doubts and misgivings about some of the means.
Some of our misgivings were evident earlier this year when the Foreign Secretary was first grappling with the problem. We thought that the Government were becoming more than rightly subservient to outside interests, particularly those of surrounding countries. We thought that 1042 the Government had in their mind too great an analogy between Rhodesia and Angola and Mozambique, where comparisons are misleading. Rhodesia is an exceptional country, both in its potential and in its present circumstances. The extent of education among its black people is considerable, and the circumstances are not comparable with the experience in some other African countries where there has been a virtual vacuum after the departure of the colonial or other régime.
We believe that some of the pressure that we have exercised in the House and elsewhere has brought the Government back to what we have always believed to be the right and necessary purpose of subscribing to a proper test of the will of the people of Rhodesia and an acceptance of that test when it has taken place.
We have had new anxieties recently. There have been assertions by those in the Patriotic Front that, for them, it was no good considering the purposes of an election before majority rule. We see that as involving the Front in a specific position of seeing themselves as the majority willy-nilly, whether or not they have support in the country, in order to procure a sort of permanent majority, We have been glad to receive assurances on this subject from the Foreign Secretary on Wednesday and today and we are still aligned with him on the purpose of having elections in Rhodesia to declare the will of the people.
The fact that we have adopted the restrained line that we have—and this has not been done without difficulty—should not eliminate our capacity to comment on the means that the Foreign Secretary follows in order to achieve his objective or on the methods employed.
I listened with extreme care to the right hon. Gentleman's explanation in regard to the security position and the problems that he faces—which I do not minimize—in trying to reconcile divergent interests. What he has said does not reassure those who believe that the proposals before us in the White Paper and the subsequent statement are not a basis for securing the life and safety of the people in Rhodesia during the period of transition. It is not right to imagine that the arrangements outlined in the White Paper and the statement can give the people security.
1043 Anyone who has any experience, however distant, in these matters, knows that any artificial merging of military and police forces that, over a long period have been in a state of total hostility towards each other is virtually impossible. The imposition of new commanders and the elimination of existing commanders by people who have no deep knowledge or involvement in a military unit has always caused total damage to that unit.
We appreciate the Foreign Secretary's difficulties, but the conclusions that he has arrived at from his examination of the difficulties do not reassure us or the people, black and white in Rhodesia.
I understand that my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) will be outlining what he believes to be specific details of the arrangements for such mergers. He has been good enough to let me know what he expects these to be. If he is correct, our misgivings would be increased to a level of total dissatisfaction.
It is no good trying to put a gloss on things. What is happening in Rhodesia, whatever the reason underlying it, is that the army is seeking to contain a ferocious and barbaric insurgency campaign. Many people may think that this campaign is justified, but my description is accurate. It is also known that a large part of the most effective force of this kind available for such work has not even been engaged but is being held in Zambia for eventual use. Many of us suspect that this eventual use may come from those in Rhodesia who wish to rectify what they see as an error of judgment by the Rhodesian people at future polls.
We cannot look with any composure upon the security plans as we understand them. Our fears are deeply increased when we realise that in recent weeks and months there have been encounters between rival parties of insurgents that look to us dangerously like the beginnings of a potential civil war. That eventuality would bring about a blood bath of such proportions that it is impossible to visualise it. It could become beyond the capability of even the best organised military force of the kind that exists there at present to deal with, let along one composed of totally disparate elements that have hostility as the basis of their relationship.
§ Mr. Ian Lloyd (Havant and Waterloo)
My right hon. Friend has made some extremely refreshing remarks about the character of the terror in Rhodesia. Would he care to comment on the apparent legitimacy that appears to have been conferred on these forces by the use of the word "liberation" and a number of other favourable adjectives? Does he not agree that they have no more legitimacy or authority in international affairs than, say, the Baader-Meinhof group?
§ Mr. Davies
All I can say is what I have already said. To the limited degree that I have been able to see something of the problems and in the area in which I saw them, there is no doubt that they constitute a barbaric insurgency.
I have no knowledge of the better equipped, better trained and better organised forces that, I understand, have gathered in Zambia in support of the Patriotic Front. I have not had experience of those nor the the opportunity of seeing them, and it would be wrong for me to pretend to know something that I do not know.
Security problems are at the heart of any settlement that takes place. I do not believe that, as they have been outlined and as we have understood them, the proposals for security constitute a basis upon which any secure and just settlement can take place. Any settlement must give the 6 million black and white people in Rhodesia some assurance that they will not be totally undermined in the course of the purposes that the Foreign Secretary has outlined.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon
The right hon. Gentleman refers to the objections of black and white to the proposals for a mixed security force. He then says that 6 million people—most of them black—have the same objection. What evidence has he for suggesting that the majority of black people in Rhodesia do not support the idea that the security forces in that country should be composed mainly of members of the present liberation movement?
§ Mr. Davies
It is dangerous to pass judgments on partial experience. My own partial experience was gained by entering a much maligned protected village. Some people call such villages concentration camps. The people in that village were 1045 frightened stiff by the insurgents. Their acceptance of living within barbed wire protection was based on their great fear. That is my limited experience. If my impressions were reproduced elsewhere, my opinion would be reinforced.
§ Mr. Fairbairn
In the talks that I had with Mr. Sithole, Chief Chirau, Chief Chikerema and Bishop Muzorewa, they expressed appalling apprehension lest the security forces presently in the country protecting the constitution, and which will protect the new constitution, should be disbanded and handed over to bandits in whom they have no trust.
§ Mr. Davies
It is a pity that an equivalent number of Labour Members have not gone to visit Rhodesia. It is important that realities should be faced. It is no good reading about them. They must be seen.
§ Miss Joan Lestor (Eton and Slough)
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that Mr. Smith has refused to admit certain hon. Members from this side of the House?
§ Mr. Davies
I have been told that a visit from members of the governing party would be welcomed.
My right hon. Friends and I, over the whole of this year, have asked for permission to go to Rhodesia and for it to be installed there. I suggest that there should be not an accredited embassy but a mission to prepare the way for the holding of an election. A junior official has been in Rhodesia on a continuing basis. Some infrequent visits have been made by more senior officials from the Foreign Office.
I can see no reason why there should not be an authorative and senior person in Salisbury seeking to ensure that preparations are made for when the time comes for an election. I pray to God that that time will come soon so that we can overcome this ghastly log jam. The ground could be prepared in that way. A year has been lost already. I cannot understand the arguments against providing the kind of emissary that is so necessary.
1046 I have no satisfaction in asking my right hon. and hon. Friends to abstain today, but, with something of a heavy heart, I have no doubt that that it what I must recommend.
§ 12.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)
I echo the Foreign Secretary's congratulations to Lord Carver, who, despite his immensely long and distinguished career, has now undertaken a mission which is probably as important and as difficult as any other that he has ever undertaken. The whole House will wish him well. We are greatly in his debt.
There are one or two new elements of which we should not lose sight. First, we are dealing with a package of proposals from which, to put it at its lowest, consent has not been withheld in the Security Council. I put that in a neutral manner. It is a package which has involved the South African Government, five frontline Presidents, Mr. Smith himself, the Patriotic Front and other representatives of African opinion. To that extent it has been well discussed. It is the wish of all those bodies that the package should be given a fair chance. It is dangerous to try to criticise individual parts of the package because, as the Foreign Secretary said, it must be taken as a whole.
I shall make only one glancing reference to a matter concerning the package which, I hope, will not offend the doctrine that I have just expressed. There is the problem of integration. The Foreign Secretary said that he was faced with a polarised position. There are those who say, on behalf of Mr. Smith, "We shall continue to be responsible for law and order ". The freedom fighters, or the liberation movement, say that responsibility for law and order must be handed over to them because they do not trust Mr. Smith and the security forces. Obviously, that polarised position had to be rejected. The right hon. Gentleman was right to do so.
What would be the position if there were a cease fire? That is the obvious hope of all who wish to see a successful solution to the problem. The camps that are at present housing the freedom fighters or members of the liberation movements should close down, and those people should return to Rhodesia.
What are they expected to do if they have no part in the security operations? 1047 Will they simply lay down their arms and say that they will leave law and order entirely to Mr. Smith's security forces? Is it likely that they will say that everything they have been fighting for was unnecessary and that they hould have taken this step years ago?
That is a totally unacceptable and naive proposition. I cannot believe that these men would lay down their arms and hand over their future security to those whom they have been fighting and who have supported the regime which has denied them the majority rule for which they have been fighting. Expecting that to happen is a recipe for civil war, not merely between the existing regime and the liberation fighters but between different liberation groups because of the tribal differences with which we are familiar in other parts of Africa.
The suggestion that the liberation forces should disappear, lay down their arms and not be involved in law and order is totally impracticable. On the other hand, for the liberation fighters to say to the Rhodesian regime that Mr. Smith's army, security forces and police must go out of business is also impracticable. It would be unacceptable for them to say to the Rhodesian regime "You must trust us to run the security of Zimbabwe." There have been atrocities on both sides, and that would be a totally impracticable proposition to put to Mr. Smith.
There is, therefore, the only alternative of integration. It may fail, but, as far as I can see, it is the only way in which we can possibly enmesh these warring forces in a mutual determination to maintain law and order and peace. I suppose that 30 years ago we would have dismissed the possibility of being able to enrol at short notice international armies and peace-keeping forces from East and West, Communist and non-Communist countries. But we have done it in the United Nations. We have done this in many parts of the world.
There are many who said that this process was an impossibility, and perhaps 30 years ago most of us would have thought it to be a pipe dream. It may fail, but if we want to see a course of independence which will not lead to the sort of civil war we have seen in Angola which will not lead to some of the appalling tribal problems we have experienced 1048 elsewhere in Africa the only possibility open to us is to get integration.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell
This is a central problem. I wonder whether the right hon. Gentleman would comment on this difficulty. If we had free elections in Rhode. sia and Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Sithole won with a large majority—I think they probably would if there were law and order—the difficulty is that, while Mr. Mugabe's troops are Mashona and would almost certainly accept that verdict, on the other hand Mr. Nkomo's troops, which are being held in reserve in Zambia, trained and ready but not being used, are almost entirely Matebele. The view which is commonly held. and I am inclined to hold it myself, is that they will not accept what would, in effect, be a Mashona victory at the polls and that they are being held there precisely to deal with the situation. If they were embodied in the defence forces, they would be in an even better position to fight in a Matabele protest against a Mashona victory
§ Mr. Thorpe
I am grateful to the hon. and learned Gentleman. This is precisely on my second point, which relates to the vital necessity of holding elections. This is a point which the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) mentioned from the Opposition Front Bench.
The Patriotic Front has suggested that power should be handed over to it first, allowing it to deal with the transitional situation and then hold elections. I am diametrically opposed to that viewpoint. If the argument of the African population is that they are ruled by a small minority with a strictly limited franchise, I do not see that they are the people who can then claim that an unrepresentative. unelected group should be the determining factor when that group has not even the credibility of a mandate—under whatever system—through an election to run the country in the period leading up to the elections.
It is cynically said that the reason for this position is that Mr. Nkomo does not think that he would win the general election. The hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Bell) has expressed his views about the outcome. I do not know what the likely outcome would be. I do not think that it is very safe to predict. I would go so far as to say that if Mr. Nkomo was seen to be the man who was 1049 delivering the ceasefire and the intergra tion of the forces, it might be that he would win a majority in an election.
I say that we cannot have elections until we have the law and order question solved. In my view, that turns on integration. We cannot accept the situation that we shall have elections deferred, with a hand-over to those who clearly have not stood the test by being declared representative of the people through an election. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will look at the system under which the elections are to be held. I know that from the Liberal Bench this is a repetitive matter. However, under the present system I very much doubt whether a single European would be directly elected.
The Europeans would depend upon the co-optation procedure, which is provided for in the White Paper and is to be operated by those who are elected. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will also realise that if—this is the point made by the hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield—the Matabele, who represent only 15 per cent. of the vote, unless they are densely populated and crowded into one or two individual areas, may have no representation either. To say that to the majority—who will probably be the Mashona if there is tribal voting—will fall the decision of which and how many minority representatives are to be co opted is a recipe for disaster which would make the disfranchisement or the under-representation of the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland look like a tea party.
The Government are absolutely right to stick to the premise that there must be elections following the solution of the law and order problem, following the transitional period, when Britain will be holding the ring. I reject the NkomoKaunda position, although I have known and respected them both over many years. I do not think that a group can take power as a Government, even though there has not been an election, to prove that they represent the majority. That is simply replacing one actual minority with potentially another.
Unless the mandate for the United Nations presence is sufficiently strong to give Lord Carver the back-up which he will need if he takes up his appointment we may have to reconsider the possibility of a Commonwealth force, even though I know that the enthusiasm for that was 1050 minimal at the last Commonwealth Conference. If we recall the Congo operation, it will be remembered that it was largely the Nigerians, Ghanaians and Indians who were doing the majority of the work in the Congo. It was General Prem Chand who was C-in-C in the Congo. We cannot dismiss the possibility of having a Commonwealth force if the United Nations mandate is not sufficiently strong to back up Lord Carver.
There is a possibility that Mr. Smith will try for an internal settlement. I hope that we shall move along the lines of the Anglo-American initiative. There are those who could say that if he wished to show his good faith there would be nothing to stop Mr. Smith offering a series of portfolios—sometimes very sensitive portfolios, such as home, security or defence—to those who were prepared to accept them, while reserving portfolios for the Patriotic Front to take up at any time it wished. I doubt whether he will do that, but it has been suggested as a possibility.
I think it is unlikely that any African politician would accept such an offer. believe that it must be the package Or nothing. Integration is, in my mind, the most difficult problem that has to be resolved. Unless it is resolved, there will be civil war. There will be no settlement. There will be bloodshed. However critical and cynical right hon. and hon. Members may be on this issue, it is vital that we make the attempt. It is in that spirit that I wish well to all those involved in seeking to solve what has been an appalling and ghastly nightmare. This is an event from which no one has benefited and with which the world has been struggling for 12 years. If we can get a peaceful settlement in Rhodesia, it will be one of the greatest prizes in the political sphere since the Second World War.
§ 12.49 p.m.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)
I intervened during the course of the speech by the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) to question his reliability in assessing the opinion of the blacks towards any merged security forces. He took the )pportunity of saying that a good many Conservative Members had recently been to Rhodesia, implying thereby that I had not been there recently and that my information may not be as accurate. 1 am quite willing to go to Rhodesia at any 1051 time anyone wishes to pay for me to do so. We Labour Members do not have the same offers made to us in this respect as do Conservative Members.
I must point out that my experience in Africa goes back for at least the 12 years during which I have been in the House. During that time, all of us have had to make judgments about future events, and I have expressed my judgment about future events from time to time in our debates. On a number of crucial points on crucial events in the history of Rhodesia since UDI the expressions of opinion that I have supported have, on the whole been right while the expressions that have been supported by Conserva tive Members have, on the whole, been wrong. One example that comes to mind most strongly was when the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) went on one of those aided tours to Mozambique and on his return said that Frelimo would be beaten within the month. Within six months the Portuguese Government had fallen and Frelimo was the governing body in Mozambique.
There is a sense in which Conservative Members go out to Africa and see only what they want to see and hear only a limited area of opinion. The suggestion by the hon. and learned Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Fair-bairn), that Mr. Sithole had reason to fear any participation in the security forces by the freedom fighters fighting under the Patriotic Front, simply indicates where the balance of power might be. Of course one can understand Mr. Sithole's view about that, but to suggest that the black majority in Rhodesia is no more afraid of a white minority security force than it is of a security force based on the present freedom fighters is to misunderstand the opinions of the blacks. I am afraid that that has been the opinion of Conservative Members for a long time.
§ Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles
Does the hon. Gentleman still maintain his reputation for infallibility after the three words "weeks, not months" and still think that he can make the sort of statement that he has made?
§ Mr. Lyon
Happily I did not express that view. If I remember rightly, at the time I expressed the contrary view : that sanctions would not work and that the 1052 proper thing to have done in the circumstances was to put in our troops in 1965. I still maintain that that would have been the right way to deal with the situation.
§ Mr. Fairbairn
The hon. Gentleman referred to my intervention. I did not say that Mr. Sithole or any of the black leaders objected to integration. I should add that the army commanders of the security forces are perfectly happy to have integration. I said that they feared the abolition of neutral and impartial security forces.
§ Mr. Lyon
These proposals are vigorously contested by Conservative Members. Indeed, it is suggested that some of them might vote against the order. They object to the Foreign Secretary's proposals, which seek integration on the basis of the present freedom fighters. It is on that basis alone that one can secure acceptability.
Conservative Members are entitled to reflect the anxieties of the white minority in Rhodesia about the prospects up to and after the elections, but they should also recollect that there are serious anxieties on the black majority side about what might happen in the course of a so-called free election if the security forces were totally dominated by the white minority. It is that more than anything else which has brought about the call for a merging of forces on the basis of the guerrilla fighters, at least until the election takes place.
My judgment in 1969, having seen two attempts to try to get a settlement with Mr. Smith, was that there would never be a settlement in relation to Rhodesia or, indeed, any other of the the minority regimes in Southern Africa which was not brought about by pressure from the black majority itself. My judgment was that we in this country were never going to put behind any suggested agreement enough force—whether in sanctions or in any other way—to ensure that right was done towards the black majority.
1053 That was my view from 1969 until the advent of the new American president and the advent of my right hon. Friend to his post as Foreign Secretary. There has been a complete change of view, at any rate until recently, which has created a different climate and a feeling that America really did intend to put pressure on South Africa, which, in turn, would create a different situation in Rhodesia. If that pressure were maintained, it seemed to me that for the first time since 1969, there was a possibility of a settlement in Rhodesia which would not be brought about by the violent overthrow of the existing regime.
I am bound to say that that feeling, which has been growing in me for several months, has been at least minimised by the refusal of the British and French Governments to accede to the demands of the United Nations for an economic mandatory sanctions order against South Africa. If, at the final hurdle, the British and French Governments are taking the view that our interests are still to be preferred to the interests of the black majority in Southern Africa, we shall not create a situation in which, when the crunch comes, we shall stand with them against white minority regimes. Therefore, it is still extremely uncertain—I put it no higher—whether we can negotiate a settlement that would be acceptable to the black majority.
All this toing and froing of Lord Carver, the Geneva Conference, and the travels of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, depend on the assertion that at some stage of the game Mr. Smith will be willing to give up power and all the apparatus of power that he commands in order that some new Government can take over as a result of direct elections—a new Government that will keep him and his like out of power permanently. I can see nothing that indicates that that estimate of the future in Rhodesia has any basis in fact.
There is nothing to show that, in the final analysis, the armed forces that are at present loyal to the Smith regime will desert that loyalty and hand over to Lord Carver. It may be that Lord Carver comes to some kind of arrangement with the black organisations and puts it, in the end, to Mr. Smith and that Mr. Smith refuses. What will happen at that moment? I suggest that is the point that 1054 we have to consider carefully during the whole of this debate. It is at that point that one will need the maximum pressure on Mr. Smith. if Mr. Smith thinks that at that point he can refuse all that has been negotiated—even if the black organisations come together to accept the proposals—and go on with what he is doing at the moment, we shall lose the chance of a negotiated settlement. The alternative would be an overthrow by violence. Conservative Members should not mistake that real possibility.
§ Dr. Owen
The argument of my hon. Friend the Member for York (Mr. Lyon) is very clear cut, but I wish to correct one of his earlier statements, in which he seemed to imply that the decision not to have economic sanctions against South Africa was made only by the French and British Governments. In fact, the unity to which he has drawn attention, of the United States and Britain over many of these issues in Southern Africa, is of crucial importance. There was no difference on the specific issue of economic sanctions being applied at present to South Africa.
§ Mr. Lyon
I accept what my right hon. Friend said about the ultimate resolution of any differences that might have appeared at the beginning, but it is clear from the expressions of view by Presi-dent Carter publicly that he, at any rate, had an inclination to go along with the mandatory economic sanctions and that he resiled from them only towards the end, whether as a result of his own conscious analysis of the situation or as a result of pressure from France and Britain, as has been reported. We shall have to leave the answer to history.
I have suggested that there is nothing at the moment to indicate that Mr. Smith will give up power at the vital points. I want to know what we are going to do in relation to that possibility arising. Are we going to intensify sanctions? If so, how are we going to deal with the problem of South Africa, which has always provided the way in which sanctions have been evaded by Rhodesia? We must, if we are to intensify sanctions, apply them to South Africa. It is for this reason that I express my doubt about the decision, whether it was a joint decision or otherwise, to veto the suggested economic sanctions on South Africa.
1055 After all, Southern Africa as a whole enters into this matter. If we have this debate on Rhodesia in total isolation, as it were, we are talking about one small country with about 6 million people. But the whole Southern African complex has about 22 million people, of whom more than two-thirds are black, and we can deal only with the whole. If we are to put pressure on Mr. Smith, we have to do so through South Africa, and the only way in which we can do that is by economic sanctions, particularly oil sanctions.
It is true that the South African Government have taken steps to buy in a substantial amount of oil for a period that will carry them over the immediate future, but an oil sanctions policy that was effective in stopping any further supplies of oil getting there would have a marked effect on their understanding of what it was best to do in relation to Mr. Smith. We cannot escape from that fact, and for that reason we need this order and an intensification of sanctions, remembering that if that takes place we can reach a situation in which black majority rule will arrive in Rhodesia as a result of the peaceful hand-over of power.
If it does not, I tell Opposition Members that the blacks in Southern Africa are as entitled to fight for their freedom as the French were in 1940 and as we were in the Civil War. If one is governed by a Government that one resents and that reflects only a small minority of opinion in one's country, one is entitled, if there is no other way open, to take up arms. To talk about such people as terrorists, as if they were like the Baader-Meinhof gang, is to misunderstand the reality of the situation in Southern Africa.
The blacks will have their freedom, they will have it in their own way, and they will have it completely. If, having got their freedom, they seek to institute a system of government which Opposition Members dislike, those hon. Members are entitled to their view. What is clear is that it is not for Opposition Members or a white majority group within Southern Africa to pre-empt that decision for the blacks. It must be made by the blacks alone and by the blacks in the 1056 form available to them through the ballot box at the appropriate time.
That decision can come only if the whites are willing to give up power voluntarily, which at the moment they do not seem to wish to do, or if it is won by the gun. If it is going to be won by the gun, I take it that this House—I would regret it—will take the view that we shall not supply any of those arms, and in the circumstances the people who are going to fight for their freedom will have to find arms elsewhere.
The Opposition cannot have it both ways. If they are refusing to provide the machinery whereby the liberation forces can win their freedom and those liberation forces have to turn elsewhere, the Opposition cannot complain of an extension of Soviet influence in Southern Africa, when the Soviets are the people who provide the weapons. They cannot argue both ways.
I ask hon. Members to be careful. They have an opportunity today to show that there is a united front in his House behind the Foreign Secretary's proposals—a united front that might have an important effect upon formulating attitudes within Rhodesia itself. Any attempt to support the minority group in Rhodesia in its continuing battle against these proposals will lead to consequences that hon. Members will not like, and that may very well increase the kind of influence that they do not want to increase in Southern Africa. For that reason, I ask them to consider carefully whether it is necessary for them to vote against this order at all.
§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
May I follow up the hon. Gentleman's philosophical argument by translating it to the Soviet Union? There, the Communist Party dominates everything, although there are only 15 million Communist Party members. Therefore, it is a minority. I have not heard the hon. Gentleman very often criticise the Soviet Union. If he is sincere in the views that he expressed just now, we should be arming the majority in the Soviet Union.
§ Mr. Lyon
I would be happy at some other time, when not so many other hon. Members wish to speak, to debate events in the Soviet Union and how we should influence opinion there. But this debate is about events in Southern Africa, and in Rhodesia in particular.
1057 There are two or three possibilities, only one of which gives a crumb of comfort to the Opposition—the possibility put forward by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. If the Opposition are to achieve a solution in Southern Africa that provides any kind of solace to the attitudes that they have taken over many years, they should not be voting against my right hon. Friend's proposals, because those proposals constitute the one avenue that gives any hope for their attitude. If they abandon that avenue, they abandon it for a much more extreme course of economic sanctions in Southern Africa generally, or, as is much more likely, for a violent overthrow of the minority regimes, supported by Soviet arms.
§ 1.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Mates (Petersfield)
I am glad to have the chance, for the first time since I was elected to this House. to talk about Rhodesia. I had the opportunity to visit the country for two weeks, and I got back three weeks ago. Perhaps some of my comments on what I saw and heard there will help. It is a significant time for us to be debating the subject because it is perhaps not unfair to say that some of the debates over the past years have been a replay of the hardened attitudes sincerely held on both sides of the House, whereas at this time a change is taking place.
My overall impression is that there is no doubt that now, for better or worse —many of them think that it is for the worse—the white community in Rhodesia are fully adjusted to the prospect of handing over rule to a majority democratically-elected Government. Those in the diehard category—diehards are in all communities and are not confined to one colour or political belief—will probably not accept that. There are diehard and extreme whites in Rhodesia, just as there are diehard and extreme blacks. I think that both these extremes will go away in the end unmourned by the vast majority of moderates in both communities, because they are making no contribution whatever to finding a solution to this extremely difficult and delicate problem.
I would add the plea that the rest of this debate should be conducted in moderate terms, because to take up extremist attitudes on either side of the spectrum is to give comfort to those 1058 extremists who are trying to sabotage the genuine attempts being made by both sides.
The hon. Member for York (Mr. Lyon), who seems to have left the Chamber immediately after making his contribution, said that he can see no evidence that there is an intention on the part of the whites in Rhodesia to move towards majority rule. That is not the case. I had an opportunity of hearing that intention expressed from Mr. Smith's lips and by various members of his Cabinet. No one, except for the extremists, is talking about "if";the argument is "when" and "how ". The sooner that is fully realised within the United Kingdom, the easier it will be for us all to attune people to the prospects and to some of the dangers that might be facing us.
If one thing is clear, it is that if there is to be a continued policy of vindictiveness against either society, if any group is to say that all that the blacks have is evil intent or that all that the whites are doing is seeking to continue to impose a racist regime, we shall never be able to get an understanding. To be fair, that has been one of the reasons that has caused Mr. Smith to take so long. Politicians can go only as far as their supporters will allow them to go. That is evident in the dialogue that is taking place among the various strands of black opinion, as it is among the various strands of white opinion.
It is terriblly important that we continue to make it clear that none of us in this House—I believe that I speak for all my hon. Friends—is trying to say that never should there be majority rule in Rhodesia. If there are those who take that view, I totally dissociate myself from their remarks. However, that which we turn over to the new Zimbabwe must be something that gives it hope, something that gives it as much freedom and liberty as the blacks now have in Rhodesia. That is the starting point. We may argue about the extent of that freedom, but let none of us consider any of the options that would have the result of producing less freedom than they have now, even though some of us may feel that it is not enough.
At the heart of the problem must be the security of the new State. If I dwell on this issue for some time, it is because it is a subject with which I am a little familiar. I shall try not to go into too much 1059 technical detail, although I consider it to be the nub of the problem.
The present situation in Rhodesia is one of mutual fear. There is fear among the moderate blacks that the prize for which they have fought for so long will somehow be snatched from their grasp in the last analysis. There is fear among those who want to achieve their ends by the force of arms rather than discussion that it will not be their armies that will be in a position to wield power when power is transferred. It is the genuine fear of the white minority that if that eventuality were to occur there would not be any prospect for the continuance of the life, both social and professional, of the white majority that is vital to the future of Rhodesia.
Without the expertise, technology, knowledge and industrial leadership that is provided by force of necessity by the white community, Rhodesia cannot continue to be the prosperous State that it is now. The most agreeable thing that I heard from all the black leaders to whom I spoke was that everyone of them said without prompting that they want the majority-ruled Zimbabwe to be a multiracial State. They want the whites to stay and to live in peace in a multiracial society. Of course, they want discrimination to end. They say that there must be integration in areas where it is now coming only slowly, although it is moving along. They want a single franchise. However, few people realise that at the end of the day they want moderate whites to stay and help them build the independent country that they want to see.
That is not universal. There have been some strands of African opinion especi-ally the Patriotic Front—that have shown that they are determined that that shall not happen. I shall give an illustration. I had some discussions—I trust that I shall be corrected if I get this wrong—with some members of the Patriotic Front and leaders of the ANC(Z) who were in Salisbury. It was the only time that I heard a racialist remark made by any part of the political spectrum. It was the only time that a remark was made that sent a chill down my spine. This is something that we should all realise.
They were saying that on day one of the new Zimbabwe when they would be in power they would immediately 1060 lower the qualification for entry to the multi-racial university, which is a very fine institution with no discrimination. It is integrated at every level. Lecturers and students live together, the majority being blacks. That situation is brought about because the whites are not allowed to go to university as they have to do their military service. That is one of the consequences of the war. There is a centre of excellence that is totally integrated and totally multi-racial. That is something that the Patriotic Front wants to destroy if it comes to power.
Why is that? The leaders of the Front say that there are not enough Africans who can attain university qualification and that those who do become their leaders. What do they propose? They propose to destroy the upper part of secondary education. They want to make 0-level the standard that allows entry to university. They would do away with all higher studies in secondary schools. They want all those who have 0-level qualifications to get university degrees.
It is the English examination boards that provide all the examinations in Rhodesia. It is not without interest that the highest proportion of successful candidates outside Britain comes from Rhodesia, which is a very small country. I said to the education spokesman of the Patriotic Front "What will you achieve by this? All that you will do is to lower the standard of your degree. Why not give it away without bursting the seams of your university?"
I went on to say "Is there one way that you know of that will more quickly bring the white minority to the conclusion that it must leave than for whites to have no guarantee as to the educational future of their children? Whereas many of them will accept a reduced standard of life and a reduced acceptability within the social scale as a result of independence, they will not accept the lack of an educational future for their children." I hope that most hon. Members on both sides of the House would find that unacceptable too. The reply was "That is part of the price. They must go. We do not want the whites to stay."
Is there a quicker way to destroy a country? It is necessary only to observe Rhodesia's neighbours to see the effect of that policy. There is only one way that 1061 people who think in that way—they are a tiny minority of Rhodesia—can come to power. They can achieve power and retain power only by force of arms—
§ Mr. Mates
And intimidation, as my hon. and learned Friend say. That is what they are seeking to do. That is why the security problem is at the heart of a solution that will produce peaceful change. This is the road of greatest danger to the Foreign Secretary and to those who are engaged in bringing about a change. Frankly, I think that they are going about it in the wrong way.
I must tell the House that, naturally enough, I have political affiliations. If that were not the case, I should not be standing where I am. I served in the Army for 20 years. I did not agree with many things that were done by both Governments over that period as they affected my life, but I realised, as does everyone in the British Services, that that is somehing that can be talked about but that in the end one is simply a tool of Government. It is the job of Service people to carry out the tasks that Governments tell them to do irrespective of whether they want to do them. For instance, not many soldiers want to put out fires next week. Not many soldiers wanted to clear up the rubbish in Glasgow when the dustmen were on strike. The great asset of our Forces is that they are nonpolitical. They do not have political affiliations although they have political opinions. They are there to serve the elected Government. Whatever may be said on either side of the House, my overwhelming impression is that that is exactly the state of affairs that exists within the Rhodesian army at present.
This was a matter that worried me from what I had read and heard before going to Rhodesia. I spoke not only to their Chiefs of Staff and people at the Ministry of Defence but to those at Fort Victoria, which I visited on all too short a visit. I talked to those at battalion level and to the ordinary grass-roots members of the Rhodesian army. At a battle camp I talked to a young white sergeant while new soldiers were being trained in the surrounding bush. They all said that they were perfectly prepared, provided that the military structure was maintained and they were subject to 1062 the same military discipline and military restraints that they happily accept now, to serve the democratically elected majority in Zimbabwe when the time comes. Surely that is the guarantee for which many Labour Members are looking. It is not a racist army, nor is it a white army. It is 80 per cent. black.
§ Mr. Mates
All the blacks are volun-teers. The only conscripts are white. The only people required to do national service are white. That requirement is not put on the blacks. Every black soldier is a volunteer. Perhaps hon. Members will follow the analogy and say that they must therefore be black racists. They are not. They are soldiers who have learned about a way of life which is apolitical. That force, when it has come to terms with the other changes which will take place, is the surest guarantee that whoever wins in a democratic election will be allowed democratically to remain.
Let no one be under any misapprehension: if Mr. Nkomo should be brought to power with the Patriotic Front army in toto behind him, one may call it majority rule and decision but it would be exercisable only once because never again would there be an opportunity for any Rhodesian citizen, black or white, to cast his vote as long as that army was installed behind what would be a virtual dictator. If anyone doubts that, let him reflect on what has happened in other African countries.
I do not wish to take part in the party political arguments about which black man should come to power under majority rule—that it not our business—but we owe it as a duty to the future of Zimbabwe to ensure that, whoever it may be, his democratic leadership is guaranteed by an impartial and effective force. That cannot happen if a unit other than that operating by law either becomes the majority shareholder or simply takes over the leadership en bloc.
That is not to say that there cannot be some integration, and, indeed, there must be. I was surpised when talking to the leaders of the army to find that they were not averse to the prospect of having to take into the army members of any of the guerrilla forces or freedom fighters, whatever we like to call them, who want 1063 to join. The criterion must be that they meet the same standards presently used for recruits to the army from wherever they come, that they shall undergo the same training and that they shall be absorbed into the military machine, which is like any other—apolitical. There are no political commissars in the Rhodesian Army any more than there are political commissars in the British Army. That cannot be said of most other armies in Africa or on the other side of the Iron Curtain.
I do not know the answer to this question because no Labour Member has specified, but when we talk about integration are we talking about those taking part in the terrorist or guerrilla activities —I do not want to use an emotive word —in Rhodesia or about the bodies which have done nothing but march up and down squares, go off normally to Moscow or a satellite country for indoctrination and are ready to be moved in as a bloc at the whim of one or two black leaders? That cannot be in the mind of any hon. Member opposite as a reasonable or practicable proposition if there is to be peaceful majority rule in Rhodesia. Therefore, there cannot be a mass bringing in of units which have been politically indoctrinated and whose only mission will be that of intimidation, not of keeping the peace.
So what is the compromise? It can be achieved only in one way, and that is on the basis of the present structure of the security forces. It cannot be achieved on the command structure of the Patriotic Front because that does not exist. Plainly there will be one or two agonising decisions to be made about the level at which one can bring in some of the leaders of the groups of the Patriotic Front which will be acceptable to the blacks, who want to see some integration, and to the whites, who fear that their only guarantee of peace and security will be taken away by the taking over of what has been a regular security force and turning it into the private army of one man.
It cannot be achieved unit by unit. A certain amount of heat was engendered by mention of one or two units of the Rhodesian security forces. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the chiefs of staff have no objection to the 1064 disbandment of one or two units, because if the terrorist war ends there will be no role for them in a future peacekeeping army, and that is correct. I shall not bore the House with details about which units they are but certain units are unacceptable to the Africans. There will be no need for their continuation if they do not have to fight the war which is being fought now. That issue need not be a sticking point.
Let us imagine that we have come to the end of the struggle, if we do, and that the independence ceremony is taking place at which a member of our Royal Family is present while the British flag is lowered, if it is meanwhile raised again. Can the House imagine units which have previously been at loggerheads with everyone as well as the Rhodesian security forces standing company by company waiting until they can left and right turn respectively and get at each other's throats? That is no way in which to set up the new security forces, and it is a recipe for potential disaster.
Therefore, I say to the Foreign Secretary that he must not be overwhelmed by the opinion which seems to be gaining in public currency—and I ask him to deny it that the Rhodesian army is in any way political, racist or committed to the continuance of the Smith regime, because it is not. I am happy and proud to say that it is like any other army in the Western world—intent on doing its job as professionally as it can. There is no racism in the Rhodesian army any more than there was racial discrimination in the British Army when I joined it, although there was plenty in the country. We had not overcome the problem in the early 1950s as we have done now. It did not exist because the military code of conduct did not allow it to exist. The situation is exactly the same in the Rhodesian security forces, and I pray that it will continue for a long time.
The Foreign Secretary said little about sanctions. I wish to close with a few remarks on them because they form the subject of the order. What has been their effect? This is a particularly apposite question because of what the right hon. Gentleman said when sanctions against South Africa were proposed. He said that they would hurt the black more than the white, and they might cause an adverse reaction in the white minority. I 1065 was happy to hear the right hon. Gentleman say that, because it means that he has learned the lesson about sanctions in Rhodesia. That is precisely the effect of sanctions in Rhodesia. They have damaged the blacks, and the whites have taken a much harder attitude than they would otherwise have done. Let me illustrate the point with a simple story.
When I went to Bulawayo I was taken round a very go-ahead electronics factory. Contrary to the opinion of hon. Members opposite, there were blacks and whites working side by side—in administration, in the drawing office and in management. There was no discrimination. They were all simply trying to do the job. Naturally enough, the men on the shop floor were predominantly black and the leadership was totally black ; there were black shop stewards and black works managers. I spoke to a black works manager. As we walked into the street, we saw a crowd of about 100 Africans. I said "What are they doing?" He said "They are waiting for work—work which we could give them if we able to compete with our product, which is the best in the country, in a free outside market. We are ready to expand, we are tooled to expand, and all those people could come in to work. Although sanctions have made the white man tighten his belt, they have very often robbed the black man of his belt and his trousers as well." That statement came from a black shop steward and is a very profound comment on the effect of sanctions.
The next comment on sanctions is the effect they could or would have during the transitional period. which we are trying to work towards. Although I agree with the sentiments of my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies), I draw a different conclusion. If the British Government are able and willing and are commanded to do so by this House, they could lift sanctions and go to the United Nations to get them to do the same. In doing so we would achieve a very significant advance in this tremendous difficulty over the transitional period.
There are a lot of people around Rhodesia on the fringe of politics whose discontent is fermented by the fact that unemployment is too high and industry is stagnant. The financial institutions in Rhodesia are operating under great difficulty. If all these people were able 1066 to go back to their jobs and the economy could expand, thus increasing prosperity and allowing a broader and better foundation for the new Zimbabwe, a lot of potential trouble would simply melt away. People would be far too busy going back to work and getting on with the regeneration of Rhodesia to engage themselves in the minutiae of politics during the transition.
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Edward Rowlands)
I think that there is some slight confusion here. If the hon. Member looks at paragraph 11 in the White Paper, he will see that it says:On the agreed day on which power is transferred to the transitional administration (para. 10 above)), a cease-fire will come into effect within Rhodesia and measures will be taken to lift sanctions.It is envisaged that sanctions will continue for a long period during the transition.
§ Mr. Mates
Yes, I concede that. However, one cannot lift sanctions and overnight expect that everything will come right. That is why I am talking about not renewing them now. If the Minister of State is saying that everything will happen on the one day that sanctions are lifted, I accuse him of the utmost naivety. I do not think that anyone anywhere in the world could possibly bring about all these things in one day.
One of the few ways in which mutual fear can be overcome is with acts of faith. This is something that we, and certainly the Foreign Secretary, are asking of the White community in Rhodesia. We are asking them to give up power, to have faith in the Resident Commissioner-designate and to have faith that the institutions created will enable them to continue to live in peace in the new Zimbabwe. At the same time, the blacks also are being asked for an act of faith. They are being asked to accept that a structure will be created to give them the wherewithal for majority rule. They are being asked to have faith that a black dictator will not be imposed upon them by outside forces. They are being asked to have faith that the new Zimbabwe will be nothing like the countries all around it, where there is far less freedom and prosperity as a result of so-called independence.
1067 If we ask both communities in Rhodesia for an act of faith, we should show faith also. That is why I am driven to the conclusion that the best thing is not to continue to impose sanctions. If we committed that act of faith over sanctions, the consequences that I have suggested might or might not follow. If our faith was found to be misplaced and, if as a result—I am sure this will not happen—the Smith Government said that now that it had prosperity again it could go back to white minority rule, the overwhelming influence of world opinion to put sanctions back, make them bite and even include South Africa would give us a weapon so powerful that no Rhodesian, black or white, would want to consider the consequences.
But if we lift sanctions and allow prosperity to increase in Rhodesia we are demonstrating our faith in the belief that a solution can be found, and we are providing a basis for future prosperity. Without prosperity, what is independence? In Mozambique it has meant starvation. Zambia and Malawi find themselves being fed by Rhodesia now because the latter country is prosperous in the production of food.
That is the basis on which to build independence. I wish that we had the potential prosperity in this country that the Rhodesians have. I pray that potential prosperity will be harnessed in the new Zimbabwe so that that country will be the total exception among the independent black nations of Africa. I hope that it will be a multi-racial society in which whites are allowed to stay and live in peace, and that it will contribute to other African countries whose total misfortune has been that they have exchanged a benevolent minority rule by whites seeking only their own good for a black majority Marxist-turned dictatorship which has brought them poverty and misery.
§ Mr. Speaker
I know that feelings are strong on this subject, but some people who feel equally deeply will be unfortunate if long speeches are made.
§ 1.37 p.m.
§ Mr. Phillip Whitehead (Derby, North)
I take your exhortations to heart, Mr. Speaker. I know that a number of hon. 1068 Members still wish to speak, so I shall be very brief and try to follow the example of the hon. Member for Petersfield (Mr. Mates) who, I believe, made a sincere report of what he had seen from that particular vantage point in Rhodesia and set out some preconditions that he believes are necessary for the transition period.
We have yet to hear the real hard heads in this debate. I have no doubt they are here. My observation is that the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) rather resembled the Emperor Claudius on meeting the Praetorian Guard for the first time. I am not sure whether the Praetorian Guard here in force today wants his acclamation or his assassination at its hands. I believe that there was a lot of trouble at the palace last night and that a lot of pressure was put on the Opposition Front Bench to abandon what has generally been a bipartisan policy on sanctions.
I do not believe that it would be right to lift sanctions unilaterally while Mr. Smith is still in power in Salisbury. That would be wrong. I believe that in this debate we can look forward to the last year of the sanctions policy being necessary, as this is the first year of achieving progress towards majority rule, together with genuine stability for all races in Rhodesia.
We should not anticipate—even though the possibility exist, and we acknowledge it with dread—that there are no other alternatives for the people of Zimbabwe than to go on as they are or to face a breakdown in the constitutional talks, leading to civil war among regionally-based military groups, or the abandonment of the legal and judicial superstructure in the country, as happened in Angola. No one wants that to happen in Rhodesia during the next year.
The right hon. Member for Knutsford was very grudging about the effect of sanctions and extremely optimistic about the attitude of the Smith regime. He said that the regime did not mean what it said about there being no majority rule during Mr. Smith's lifetime. I think that the Smith regime meant what it said. That regime has never intended to yield a millimetre more than necessary. The change that has now been brought about has not been made by acts of 1069 faith or by any sudden outbreak of reason, or any acknowledgment of the pressure of world opinion. It has been brought about by the realities of world power—the fact that there has been a change following Portuguese decolonisation and the fact that the new United States Administration has worked in harmony with our Government to bring about an initiative that has presented Mr. Smith with the ultimatum that his time is up.
Having said that, I do not wish to indulge in any ritual beating of Mr. Smith because I think that his time is up. The game of fox and geese that he has played with the world in the last 12 years is over. He has been edged into a corner. We must now see how, in the transitional period, we can bring in majority rule which includes guarantees for the people whom he has led and represented—namely, one-twenty-third of the poplation of Rhodesia—and also the black majority community.
Is there anybody in the House who can honestly say that the proposals put forward by the Foreign Secretary this after-non and those in the White Paper are not the only possible way to deal with all hese difficulties and dangers in the peaceful transition of power to be brought about in Rhodesia? There are other ways in which the situation could go forward. One is by a continuation of minority rule, and the other is by descending into civil war. Possible scenarios could be sketched out in this House for either course, but if we are to move forward in peaceful transition we need something like the proposals which Lord Carver took with him to Africa and which have been debated today.
I believe that the Foreign Secretary has sketched the right way forward, namely, organic development after a return to constitutional government. It will have some links with the legal constitution, and there will be an agreed withdrawal of sanctions once the transitional Administration is in power and begins the difficult task of drawing up an electoral roll and preparing for a free election on the basis of universal suffrage.
I pay tribute to Lord Carver and to the United Nations Commander, Prem Chand. for the hard work that they have put in in seeking to solve this problem and 1070 the appallingly difficult task that they will have if the proposals come to fruition. We have not heard the Opposition pay many tributes to Lord Carver. The hon. and learned Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Mr. Fairbairn), who recently visited Rhodesia. told the Rhodesians, in his humorous way, "At least Lord Carver is not one of those Scandinavian pansies." I suppose that was some sort of tribute to Lord Carver and General Prem Chand. In the next year they will lace differing and hostile groups, which for many years have been locked in conflict and which, because of the exigencies of the situation, have been unwilling to come together and have the kind of discussion that will now be necessary.
I wish to make two appeals. The first is to the leaders of the Patriotic Front. It is clear that there can be no proper transitional period, no shift to majority rule on an agreed basis, unless there are free elections and unless those elections are held with proper impartial supervision. It would be wrong for anybody in or near the leadership of the Patriotic Front to say "We shall have an election two or three years after we come to power. Will you now hand us that power, because first we must prepare the ground and engender a spirit of national unity." I doubt that. I believe that there is a chance that Mr. Nkomo could win the election. It is not for us to say who will win it,nor is it for us to attempt to attribute tribal or power-political motives to the various factions among the African nationalists. We should say to them, particularly to those outside the country who have been bearing the brunt of the Rhodesian struggle, that they will have to come into the constitutional talks on the holding of elections.
The last time I was in Zambia, President Kaunda spoke with some bitterness about chicken-in-the-basket revolutionaries—people who sit round in Lusaka plotting for the great day when they will march in and take over but who, in the meantime, squabble violently on the way that this should be achieved, how to obtain world recognition, assistance and all the rest of it. Chicken-in-the-basket constitutionalists are no better than chicken-in-the-basket revolutionaries. We should like to see all the different elements, the external elements as well as 1071 those working within Rhodesia, drawn together in preparation for free elections. That must be the basis on which the transitional Administration holds power.
Equally, I wish to tell the white Rhodesians that it is not possible for them to hold out for the kind of guarantees that the hon. Member for Petersfield has put to the House. He said, "Of course we can trust the Rhodesian security forces. Any new Government must be based on the present Rhodesian army." He added that the present Rhodesian army was just like the British army, implying that it was immune from political influences and that it had not been indoctrinated by propaganda but was con-cerned only with law and order. There are units that have acquired a bad reputation, because there have ben atrocities on both sides, and if that has happened, they must be wound up. But to the Africans, this army is not impartial. It is an army which, when illegal unilateral independence took place in 1965, did not remember its oath of loyalty to the Queen but went along with Mr. Smith and UDI. Since then it has been seen by almost all Africans as a force that upholds Mr. Smith and the illegal minority Rhodesian Government.
§ Mr. Whitehead
The hon. Gentleman served in the Armed Forces of the Crown for a number of years more than I did. I served for two years and he for 20 years, but when I was in the Services I believed that my duty lay with the constitutional power. If there is any difficulty in constitutional terms, the army remembers its oath of loyalty. An army which forgets that oath, whether that army be in Greece, Rhodesia or anywhere else, does not behave as a constitutional army should.
During the time when I was in the Armed Forces I had some slight experience in two African countries, in preparing African units in armies and police forces for independence. I know all the 1072 difficulties relating to tribal rivalries, and so on, and I agree that some of these difficulties will apply in Rhodesia, but to say that the people in Zambia or Mozambique should play no part in the integration on a basis of equality with the Rhodesian security forces is to misunderstand the situation. It is to fly in the face of historical fact. It is tantamount to saying that the winners of the conflict are to surrender their arms to the losers. So far as there are winners and losers, there is now to be majority rule. That is a fact—something that the African nationalists have achieved, whether by constitutional protest within the country or by the armed forces outside coming in as guerrillas.
The hon. Member for Petersfield asked which force we would integrate in the new armed forces of Zimbabwe.He asked whether it would be composed of guerrillas or of those who have been marching up and down in Zambia. I believe that both must be brought in and that they must be integrated in the new army of Zimbabwe. I believe there is no other way to build a new military force in the country. In other words, we must recognise the military facts of the situation.
The alternative, as I said at the beginning, is that we have something like the state of affairs that exists in Angola, with no constitutional settlement, an exodus of whites and, following the exodus of whites, a breakdown of law and order within the country. In such circumstances, the various military groupings which then take over begin to fight for overall control of the country in the way the three movements did in Angola. If that happens, of course, it is a sure-fire way of bringing foreign advisers, foreign influence and military personnel into the country.
That is the sequence of events that some hon. Members on the Opposition Benches envisage. Rather than see the practical necessities now of a surrender to majority rule, they would prefer to see Mr. Smith go down in a civil war, which would introduce that kind of foreign interference and influence into Rhodesia. I do not want to see that. I do not want to see Rhodesia—Zimbabwe, as it will become—denuded of all the trained personnel and those who have genuinely tried to work, against all the 1073 appalling difficulties created by Mr. Smith's Government, for an emergent multi-racial society in the country.
I ask the white Rhodesian not to consider now leaving for South Africa or the United Kingdom. I ask them not to become like the ritornados who have left Mozambique or Angola, but to recognise that their services and talents are needed and can be used in the new Zimbabwe, if they can come to terms with the fact that this is a country in which majority rule, which means African rule, will now be a fact of life. I ask them to see that in a country such as Kenya it has worked, and it has been possible for white people to flourish there, in a country with a stable Government, a stable army and a stable police force, and a relatively free and expanding Press and a power of criticism.
Not only are all these things possible in a new Zimbabwe ; we have to work for them. The act of faith of which the hon. Member spoke is much more an act of faith from the minority towards the majority who will now take the legitimate power than it is the other way round.
§ 1.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Julian Amery (Brighton, Pavilion)
In my judgment, the last shred of justi-fication for sanctions disappeared when Mr. Smith accepted the Kissinger proposals and these were wrecked mainly by the Patriotic Front at the Geneva Conference. But the Foreign Secretary has asked us to support the order today so as to support his own new set of proposals —the Anglo-American proposals.
I first want to say a word about the way in which the right hon. Gentleman has conducted his diplomacy. I recognise fully the difficulities of shuttle diplomacy, and I do not want to make any revelations from private conversations, but I have been very struck by the contrast between the great good will which the Foreign Secretary earned when he first set out to Africa some months ago and the almost total collapse of confidence in him which I have found in the Pretoria Government in the Salisbury Government, and among the black leaders in Salisbury. The white Governments feel that he has misled them. The moderate black leaders feel that they have not been treated with the respect and consideration that they 1074 deserve. I do not know what the Patriotic Front feels exactly, but the way in which it treated Lord Carver, who is, after all, the Foreign Secretary's emissary was certainly not encouraging.
I cannot help thinking that the Foreign Secretary's diplomacy has been informed by a certain bitterness. He said today that he had no wish to be vindictive, but Dr. Kissinger and others now in the State Department have been surprised by the bitterness expressed by Labour Ministers and even by some high officials in the Foreign Office against the Smith regime. This has been rationalised on the basis that only by humiliating the Smith regime will good will be acquired in Africa. I do not think that that is a very wise approach in attempting to reach an agreed settlement.
I am astonished that the Foreign Office allowed the word "surrender" to be used twice in the White Paper. Perhaps it springs from the bitterness that the Americans certainly have detected. Perhaps it springs from ignorance. If only we had had a diplomatic mission in Salisbury over the past few months, we should not have had the illusion that I have detected in things that the Foreign Secretary has said about the military and economic weakness of the Smith regime.
The Smith regime is not a weak regime at the moment. The Smith army could carry on containing the guerrillas for a very long time. The economy can stand up to almost anything so long as the supply line with South Africa is kept open. Politically, the Smith regime has been strengthened, because moderate Africans share the basic hostility of that regime to the Patriotic Front and perhaps feel it even more strongly, because it is they who would be liquidated politically —perhaps personally, too—if the Patrotic Front came to power.
That is why I believe that the whole approach of the proposals has been dangerous, because they have taken the form of an ultimatum. In truth, this is an ultimatum based on bluff.
Moreover, I question the wisdom of taking credit for involving the United Nations. Originally, this was an AngloRhodesian quarrel. It could have been solved on an Anglo-Rhodesian basis. The more the United Naions is brought into it, the more visas we give to the Soviet 1075 Union to interfere officially where it is already interfering subversively.
The Foreign Secretary said at Question Time on Wednesday that he had no wish to proceed with an imposed solution. Certainly, we on the Conservative Benches —all of us—have always held that an imposed solution would be unacceptable. But it is my firm contention that this is an imposed solution, or an attempt at one.
Throughout August and September, in his talks, accompanied by Mr. Vance, with the South African Government and, later on, his visits with Ambassador Young to Pretoria and Salisbury, the Foreign Secretary said that the essentials of the proposals must stand, though there could be some negotiation at the fringe, but that it was his intention in due course to take the proposals to the United Nations to seek the endorsement of the Security Council for them. He went on quite openly, as did his American colleagues, to threaten the South African Government with the direst direct sanctions against them if they continued, in defiance of the Security Council, to keep the supply lines open to Mr. Smith.
If that is not an attempt at imposing a solution, I do not know what is. Of course, it looks a bit sillier today, because the great Anglo-American crusade in Southern Africa degenerated into something like farce at the United Nations the other day. When the request for sanctions came up, though in a rather different form, there was a general panic, and the British Foreign Secretary was to be seen holding on to the coat tails of the American President while the French Foreign Secretary was holding on to the coat tails of our Foreign Secretary. because everyone realised that we cannot afford economic sanctions against South Africa, that they are a paper tiger. Nevertheless, as I say, it was an attempt at an imposed solution, and even now the whole logic of the way the Government are proceeding implies an imposed solution.
The idea of having discussions on the cease fire before one settles the constitutional problem presupposes that the constitutional proposals put forward by the Foreign Secretary and his American colleague cannot be changed, that this is what must be accepted. My information 1076 —the Minister of State will correct me if I am wrong—is that in Salisbury we have described as unnegotiable the Rhodesian contention that they should have a blocking third if they are to accept universal franchise.
The basic issue, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) and many others of my hon. Friends have said, is the control of the security forces. The Foreign Secretary described the position in what I might call an admirable bedside manner, but I have grave doubts about both his diagnosis and his prescription. To begin with, I think that he has been less than frank with the House. So may I try to help? Again, the Minister of State will correct me if I am wrong.
I understand that the Rhodesian Air force is to be left intact. I understand that the Selous Scouts, a mixed unit, are to be disbanded, that all the white units, that is, the Rhodesian Light Infantry, the SAS and the teeth territorials, are to be disbanded in toto. I understand that the Rhodesia African Rifles are to be confined to barracks throughout the transition period. I gather that six battalions are to be raised from among the guerrillas. I gather that the support units are to continue, but mixing existing support units with guerrillas. If I am wrong I hope that the Foreign Secretary or his hon. Friend who is to reply to the debate will correct me.
I understand that the long-term arrangement is that the future army should be based on the guerrillas and should be black as to white in proportion as is the population, or as near as possible. It has been said that the decision to disband all the white units was argued on the basis that it was intolerable to have purely white units—that is, units of just one race. This must have been a bit of a surprise to General Prem Chand, because in the army in which he has served with such distinction all the units, except for the presidential guard, are based on tribal or racial affiliation.
Let us think what this proposal means, first in the transition period and then after independence. It means that in the transition period law and order will be maintained exclusively by the police force, headed by an imported commissioner, I believe coming from the Hong Kong police, whose credentials some may 1077 regard as slightly dubious. That will have the backing of a United Nations force, which will have no authority to shoot except in self-defence or after instructions from the Security Council. Meanwhile, there will be guerrilla gangs —supposedly disarmed, but many of them will not be, because their arms are cached all over the country—moving about supporting their different candidates —Mr. Mugabe or Mr. Nkomo, or whoever it may be. They will be quite good at intimidating the villagers. We have seen their techniques in the past. I would not be surprised if at the end of the day they resisted the result of the polls if they did not like it.
As my right hon. Friend suggested, this may be what Mr. Nkomo is keeping his army for—not to fight against Smith but to make sure that he gets into power. The Foreign Secretary talked about the importance of a unified command structure over the guerrillas and of other units, but the allegiance of the guerrillas is not to Lord Carver ; it is to Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe, or perhaps some of them may opt to support the moderate leaders inside the country.
There will be no really effective body to maintain law and order. The confidence of the white community, on whom the very sophisticated and complicated infrastructure of Rhodesian agriculture and industry depends, will disappear. They will go ; and since a new army cannot be built in six months the guerrilla forces are bound to clash. The very situation that the Foreign Secretary says he hopes to avoid—the Angolan situation—is what he is working overtime to produce. I fear that that situation will be viewed with considerable complacency by the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues once they have got the problem off their backs.
It is interesting that men such as Mr. Sithole and Bishop Muzorewa have told not only me but many people—including, I dare say, the Foreign Secretary—that they would be extremely concerned at the idea that the existing security forces should be disbanded to the extent proposed and that the guerrillas should play as big a role in the new security forces as is now proposed.
§ Sir Derek Walker-Smith
I am obliged to my right hon. Friend for his characteristic courtesy in giving way. Does his 1078 information, which is obviously very extensive and of a precise nature, extend to the answer to the question that I put to the Foreign Secretary earlier this morning, as to whether the six battalions of guerrillas would have excluded from them all non-indigenous elements or whether elements from outside Rhodesia would still be included in this force?
§ Mr. Amery
As far as I know, it refers to the existing guerrilla forces, most of which, but not all of which, are indigenous.
I understand that the Foreign Secretary is faced with a serious dilemma. It is a circle that is very hard to square. Hitherto, majority rule has been the objective. If one wants majority rule, the elections must be fairly policed. They can be fairly policed only by the existing security forces or by a very large United Nations force. And even then, if the present prognostications were correct and the victory were to go to the Bishop or Mr. Sithole, the fighting would continue. This would oblige us in future to see that the new regime was helped to win the war by the supply to what would then be a Government in good standing of the weapons it needed.
If majority rule is the aim, that problem has to be faced. If peace is the aim, it can be achieved only by surrender to the guerrillas, which is the direction in which the British and American Governments have been moving. They have been moving in that direction because it has been made clear that the Soviet Union would not accept a majority verdict that went against it.
It was significant that President Podgorny, shortly before his dismissal, told a British parliamentary delegation that the Soviet Union would not accept "a black Smith." By that, he meant a pro-Western black leader. That is why the Patriotic Front, supported by President Kaunda, has been arguing in favour of avoiding the formality of elections and having instead a simple transfer of power such as the Portuguese undertook to President Machel in Mozambique.
I was amused to hear the Foreign Secretary say that President Machel was in favour of elections. He may be in favour of them in other countries, but he has not shown much sign of favouring them in his own.
1079 However, Mr. Smith would not accept a transfer of power to the Patriotic Front. The moderate black leaders would not accept it. This House would not accept it. The Foreign Secretary knows that, and that is why, in his speeches, he has been insisting on the importance of elections. But there was a curious report—if it was correct—in the Financial Times in which the right hon. Gentleman said that the only alternative to elections would be for the nationalist leaders to get together. In those circumstances, it was said, he would be prepared to dispense with elections. That may be an inaccurate report. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell us?
The Government seem to have been moving towards an ingenious scheme for getting over the difficulties. They have realised that if they could hand over basic control of internal security to the guerillas, nominally under Lord Carver. but in part under the existing nationalist leaders—Mr. Nkomo, Mr. Mugabe, and the rest—they would be able to organise affairs so that the Patriotic Front and Mr. Nkomo came out on top.
At Question Time this week the Foreign Secretary was at pains to say that he was not favouring the Patriotic Front or Mr. Nkomo. Is he not misleading the House a little here? Why was Mr. Nkomo invited to address the Security Council when none of the other African nationalist leaders were? Why did the right hon. Gentleman and the Prime Minister spend about four times as long talking to Mr. Nkomo and other members of the Patriotic Front than to the Bishop and Mr. Sithole? I have heard nothing but bitterness from Mr. Sithole and the Bishop over the preference that is being given to the Patriotic Front.
Everything that goes on in Washington leaks like a sieve, and the Americans have made no secret that they are trying very hard to make Mr. Nkomo respectable. Is he respectable? I noted that he went immediately from his meeting with Lord Carver to Moscow to take part in the revolution celebrations—along with Mr. Alex Kitson. He said then that he was looking forward to establishing "a Socialist-Marxist State" in Zimbabwe. His connection with the Soviet Union is a long one and he has made no secret of it. Whether he is a Communist is another question.I do not 1080 know the answer, but I have no doubt that if he came to power he would quickly turn Rhodesia into a mounting block for guerrilla operations against South Africa, just as Machel turned Mozambique into a mounting block for guerrilla operations against Rhodesia.
There is now talk—the Foreign Secretary gave some credence to this—of a meeting between the Rhodesia Front and the Patriotic Front. The newspapers say that it will perhaps be in Malta and that moderate African leaders will not be invited. Ostensibly, the argument would be that their presence would not be necessary if the conference were talking about military problems, but surely the moderate African leaders are as concerned as anyone else about internal security and the control of security forces. The only possible reason for such a meeting—if it does go forward—is to promote and bring on the authority of the Patriotic Front and to convince opinion in Rhodesia that the Patriotic Front is the important element.
These proposals are misconceived because, if pursued, they will lead to the substitution of pro-Soviet black minority rule for pro-Western white minority rule, and that will destroy the opportunity of achieving a black majority Government working with the Europeans. It will destroy the chance of obtaining a Government that could ensure the prosperity of the country and set an example to South Africa that could do more than anything else to bring forward the more liberal policies that we want to see there. Therefore, there is no justification whatever for renewing the sanctions to support the Foreign Secretary's policy.
That policy is in ruins, but the Foreign Secretary will have only himself to blame if his budding reputation is nipped in the bud by premature and ill-conceived action, because he has been promoting a basically undemocratic solution and one that would be contrary to British interests.
I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford on his speech. I agree with almost every word of his analysis. We share the same conviction that the proposals regarding the security forces are unacceptable, that this is an imposed solution that is unacceptable, and that the handling of it has been inept. Having the same convictions, however, 1081 we differ on our conclusions, in that my right hon. Friend sees the sanctions as being irrelevant to the main issue and does not wish to press opposition to them to a vote. I believe that we should because this will be our only opportunity to do so.
If my right hon. Friend undertook to move a motion of censure against the Foreign Secretary's Rhodesian policies I should agree to leave this matter aside. However, this will be our only opportunity. I have another reason also. The sanctions have not had dramatic economic effects, but they make it more difficult for the Rhodesians to defend the civilian population against the guerillas. They make it more difficult to obtain Land Rovers, spare parts and communications equipment—quite apart from weapons. Thus, by denying the Rhodesians the ability to secure such equipment, or by making it much more expensive, the House contributes to the killing and mutilating of men, women and children of all races.
That is a big responsibility to accept. If it is seen in combination with the giving of aid to Mozambique, which is the main supplier and supporter of the guerrillas, in the form—I understand—of Land Rovers and communications equipment, the responsibility is compounded. We are becoming accomplices in the murder of people for whom we claim nominal responsibility. That is an unacceptable position, and even to abstain would seem to be the attitude of the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan who passed by on the other side. I understand that the Opposition Front Bench may have reasons of higher diplomacy for keeping a low profile, but it would be no bad thing—I am sure that the Opposition Front Bench would understand this —if my hon. Friends and I made it plain that we think the situation must change.
§ Mr. Stephen Hastings (Mid-Bedford. shire)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. My right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) has made a statement of supreme importance to the debate. Indeed, it might well sway any of us one way or the other when it comes to the vote. He has invited the Foreign Secretary to answer and to make clear whether the information that my right hon. Friend has given is 1082 accurate. My right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) also expressed interest in that knowledge. Would not it be easier and make the debate more productive if the Foreign Secretary were invited to give an answer?
§ Mr. Speaker
I am sure that the Foreign Secretary knows this type of point of order as well as anyone.
§ 2.16 p.m.
§ Mr. Bruce Grocott (Lichfield and Tamworth)
This is the fourth time that I have attended such a debate, and I know that other hon. Members have been to many more debates of a similar kind over the years. On each occasion, I have listened to the right hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) and heard him do a demolition job. However, I have not yet heard him—and I have listened carefully—say exactly what he wants in Rhodesia. I have heard him state plainly what he does not want and criticise in detail the Foreign Secretary's proposals, but neither the right hon. Gentleman nor any other hon. Member on his side has given any idea of the kind of State and society that they would like to see in Rhodesia.
Although I did not listen to the contributions that the right hon. Gentleman made more than three years ago, I suspect that his position has changed pretty dramatically during the time that he has been attending these debates. I was intrigued to listen to him speaking in admiring tones of Mr. Sithole. I do not know whether the right hon. Gentleman was doing that 10 years ago—maybe he was, but I doubt it. However, today the right hon. Gentleman speaks of Mr. Sithole almost as though he were a great hope for the future of Rhodesia. The right hon. Gentleman has not really stated his position clearly. His position in relation to the Smith Government has changed, and in relation to the situation in Rhodesia it has changed dramatically.
I should like to refer briefly to some problems that concern me and many of my hon. Friends, but first I should like 1083 to ask a simple and straightforward question. Why has the situation in Rhodesia changed, and why is Smith thinking of going to the conference table and accepting majority rule? Is it because of sanctions? I doubt it, and to that extent I agree with many Conservative Members. Sanctions have had absolutely nothing to do with bringing Smith to his present position. The only significance of sanctions has been to signify where Britain stands. The reason why Smith has adopted a more conciliatory tone today is the same, I suspect, as the reason why the right hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion is now more congratulatory in his remarks about Sithole than he was 10 years ago.
The reason is that the people inside Rhodesia, black men and sometimes women as well, have been prepared in recent years to fight for their rights. I say that with no great pleasure or delight I bitterly regret that a war has started in Rhodesia. However, I am absolutely certain that there could have been no possibility of Smith making any concessions at all because of sanctions—even if they had been intensified—at a Geneva conference or any other kind of conference, unless people had taken up arms to secure their rights in Rhodesia. I hope that we should do the same in this country if ever a situation arose in which a tiny minority group—to which neither I nor any other hon. Member could aspire —were running the country and preventing me or my children from enjoying ordinary democratic rights or from aspiring to high office. I hope—although, I am afraid, I doubt it—that I should have the courage to fight for those rights.
We should recognise the power realities in Rhodesia. The fighters have put even Mr. Sithole and Bishop Muzorewa in their present position. Unless they recognise that the most important people in any settlement are the Patriotic Front and those who have fought for the rights of the people of Rhodesia, not only will they be morally wrong but they will never achieve any kind of peaceful settlement. Again, I say this with no great pleasure.
The overwhelming evidence from Africa has been that the longer and more bitter the independence struggle, the more likely it has been that the successor 1084 régime would be an extremist military régime which denied democratic rights in the same way as had the régimes that it replaced. This has been almost mathematical in its certainty. If only people in Rhodesia had listened to what my hon. Friends were saying 10 years ago, there would not be an armed struggle and fears of a successor military régime.
If the Government fail to appreciate that the prime element in any solution must be those who have fought, they will do so at their peril. It would be madness to ignore these people who have achieved the present position for the black population in Rhodesia.
I am amazed that the South African dimension has been hardly mentioned in the debate. I am sure that I speak for many of my hon. Friends when I say that a constant worry about British policy towards Rhodesia, particularly in the past two or three years, has been the extent to which it has relied on cooperation with the South African Government. Befriending South Africa in order to eliminate a racist Government in Rhodesia is like befriending a scorpion to catch a gnat. The real threat to peace in Southern Africa comes much more from the South African Government than from the Rhodesian Government—though that does not detract from my desire to see the Rhodesian Government replaced.
I hope that in trying to seek a solution in Rhodesia, laudable as that objective is, my right hon. Friends will be careful to remember that their primary responsibility is not to compromise our position on the whole issue in Southern Africa. South Africa is the next step. We must surely all recognise that, when Rhodesia goes, those who want to see majority rule in Africa will turn their attention to South Africa, and we must not be seen to have compromised our position in that respect.
I have never doubted that when faced with the choice of backing Rhodesia or refusing to do so, the powers in South Africa would say "No". That would be in line with the Laager mentality of the Afrikaaners, which has always existed. They are concerned with their defence within containable frontiers, which could never have included Rhodesia or South-West Africa and probably do not even 1085 include all the present boundaries of South Africa.
We cannot pretend that the black majority in Rhodesia would be able to face life after a settlement under anyone such as Mr. Smith or a successor in the same mould. I do not want to get involved in the legal arguments, important though they are, but Smith has been in open rebellion against the Crown for 12 years and this makes one wonder where Conservative Members stand in legal terms. I do not want to start moving censure motions, but it is peculiar that hon. Members who have taken an oath to the Crown and the constitution of this country should go to Rhodesia and, in effect, encourage the rebel Government there to continue and intensify its rebellion.
I do not know to what extent the Press reports are accurate, but in the Sunday Times, which is not known for its Bolshevik tendencies, there was a recent article that referred to a visit to Rhodesia by some hon. Members opposite. It said:Mr. Nicholas Winterton told radio listeners that he was amazed by their morale. But they lived, he said, ' in the most progressive country in the whole of Africa '. I'm only very sorry that my own country is putting undue pressure upon Rhodesia ', he added, to an audience which had no way of knowing that he is probably the most unredeemed buffoon in the House of Commons.I do not subscribe to that view of the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton). I know how deeply respected he is in the House. It seems from that article, however, that he was inciting a rebel Government to hold out in its rebellion against the Crown, and that strikes me as a pretty serious thing for an hon. Member to be doing.
It was perhaps even more serious in the case of the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion. The article said:Mr. Amery gave himself an authorative air. ' Hold out for a change of wind in the West ', he told the Rhodesia Herald. A Conservative Government would take a very different' view of events in southern Africa from that of Dr. Owen and Mr. Cyrus Vance. The Tories would end sanctions and never deal with the Patriotic Front.If that is not putting one's head in the sand, I do not know what is.
No doubt the logic of our parliamentary situation means that some hon. Members will vote against sanctions. There 1086 is a sort of political virility test on the Conservative side of the House where hon. Members vote against sanctions year after year, irrespective of the inexorable movements of events towards majority rule, first in Rhodesia, then in SouthWest Africa and finally in Southern Africa. This is a course of events that we should subscribe to and support. We should be proud to be associated with the purposes that guide those who seek majority rule. The only token way in which we can do that is to vote for the order.
§ 2.28 p.m.
§ Mr. Ian Lloyd (Havant and Waterloo)
I am sorry that the Foreign Secretary is not now here. because I wish to congratulate him on the studied moderation of his speech. He obviously cares greatly about the issue and, however much we may disagree with some of his analyses, none of us would dispute his moderation and concern. However, we should remind ourselves of what Hilaire Belloc said about the water beetle whomoved upon the water's faceWith ease, celerity and graceBut if he stopped to try and think.Of how he did it he would sink."When we take apart much of what the Foreign Secretary has produced, we find that it does not hang together in the context of the speeches made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) and my hon. Friend the Member for Petersfield (Mr. Mates). My hon. Friends set the reality of the context in which we must judge the Rhodesian situation.
I should like to start by saying that we all wish Lord Carver well. We all understand the formidable difficulty of his assignment and the formidable complexity of the African scene. It is a complexity which those of us who have personal experience or who know something of its history realise has been perhaps the bane of British politics for more than a century.
When I hear speeches about our misunderstanding South Africa, the Afrikaaners and treason, I recall our debates at the time of the Anglo-Boer War. Who was then treasonable and who was not? What has happened in Rhodesia is similar. The House has been divided on the treason issue because there is a profound difference between the treason of laws 1087 and the treason of the heart. Although there may have been a treason of laws in Rhodesia, those of us who know the Rhodesian people well know that there has been no treason of the heart. On that rests the centre of our difficulty.
I turn to the Foreign Secretary's speech, parts of which I agree with and with parts of which I disagree. We all want a peaceful, stable, multiracial and prosperous Rhodesia. Most of the men in the present Rhodesian forces—black and white—come from such a country and wish to preserve it. If such a country was imperfect—as it is—they would then wish to proceed further with the process of improvement.
However, they and I—and, I would have thought, most hon. Members—would wish to see that process continued under Western rather than Marxist auspices. The evidence reaching us suggests that this is what is happening, and we look forward to this righteous process being completed in Southern Africa. But some hon. Members hope that when these processes are completed we shall have a situation which is democratic and operates universal suffrage. There are few places in Southern Africa where these conditions are observed.
That is why there is a fundamental disagreement between the realists and the starry-eyed idealists who take out of context all the great achievements of Western European democracy. The idealists take no account of all the differences in the environment and other great complexities. This is where the House finds the greatest difficulty in going along with some Labour Members.
The analysis of the balance of forces by the hon. Member for Lichfield and Tamworth (Mr. Grocott) was particularly interesting. He said that this was something that involved Southern Africa rather than Rhodesia. I agree with him. I agreed with him when he said that we must take South Africa into consideration in what we do.
If we think that all this is going to fall and that when it falls we should turn and apply oil sanctions to South Africa, and if we think that as a result of that we shall bring forward the process towards a stable, reasonably governed, peaceful and prosperous Rhodesia, we 1088 are probably making an even greater mistake than we did by the original application of sanctions.
Although we might regret it, there is undoubtedly an overwhelming identity of interests in Southern Africa. There are several million Europeans and about five times as many Africans living in Southern Africa as a whole. The problem will be solved eventually in Southern Africa as a whole. It will not be solved in Rhodesia alone if the solution is totally unacceptable to South Africa. That is the most fundamental political reality. I speak as someone who has spent a great deal of his life in Southern Africa.
I ask the Secretary of State not to underestimate the character of the Afrikaaners. He must not misjudge them. He must not misjudge their determination. I am sure that the Foreign Secretary does not misjudge their less desirable qualities. They are obstinate and unimaginative. Sometimes they fail to see these great problems in the world setting. We should be helping them to see in that way.
We must not think that they will apply oil sanctions to Rhodesia, because they will not. We must not think that, because they are dependent to some extent upon imported oil, they will not provide Rhodesia with the oil that they produce in Southern Africa. They produce a considerable amount of petrol from coal in Southern Africa.
I turn to the part played by the Foreign Office in this matter. With many other hon. Members, some weeks ago I received a most horrifying document entitled "Rhodesia—The Propaganda War ". This was circulated by an organisation that describes itself as the Catholic Institute for International Relations. It is one of the most horrifying documents upon which I have ever set my eyes. Its propaganda purpose cannot be doubted. It sets out in the most deliberate and unrestrained way to damage as effectively as it can the whole of the European position in Rhodesia. I shall not attempt to describe it in detail, because other hon. Members will no doubt refer to it. I shall give one brief example of the character of the propaganda.
The document states thatFar from protecting black civilians, the Rhodesian security forces "—1089 and 80 per cent. are black—place little value on their lives.The document goes on to state that they shootanything black that moves ".What is the Foreign Office's position in this matter? In the covering letter supporting the document, the secretary of the organisation said that she would like to draw our attention to the statement made by the Foreign Office at a Press conference on 22nd September. The letter states that the Foreign Office statement read as follows:Asked to comment on the Catholic Commission's report on alleged atrocities in Rhodesia, the spokesman said that the FCO had studied the report. It made horrifying reading. We have had at present no means of checking the facts as presented by the Catholic Commission. but we had no reason to doubt the findings of this reputable body."I suggest that this is a disreputable body and that the Foreign Office spokesman appears to have been supporting the most evil propaganda. He was wrong to say that it came from a reputable body.
I return once again to the question of majority rule. We hear that the ultimate objective is to achieve the end by majority rule or that, if that is not achieved, majority rule becomes an end in itself justifying the means over a very broad front of political policy.
The Foreign Secretary has been told on many occasions that those of us in the Opposition who are sceptical of this situation look elsewhere in Africa for the justification for this policy and philosophy. We do not find that justification. We find instead the situation in Mozambique and Angola. The further north one goes in Africa, with the exception of Nigeria, the worse the situation becomes.
There is no effective majority rule producing the universal suffrage democracy which we have struggled to create in the Western world, which we wish to maintain and extend throughout the world. There is no such democracy in Africa. There is no evidence that the processes which we are supporting in Rhodesia and elsewhere will produce this type of democracy. Why, therefore, is this held up again and again before us as the only justifiable objective—indeed, as the only justifying objective which lies at the heart of our policies? It seems to fly in the face of reason and of everything our 1090 experience tells us has happened in these countries if we are asked to believe that we should support the sanctions order today because it will settle this process and produce a desirable situation such as the Foreign Secretary has described. I find myself wholly unconvinced by this.
Ultimately, I feel that when we are considering these matters of racialism and force we could do a great deal worse than remind ourselves of something which Adlai Stevenson said in 1955 when he said:All the nations enlisted in the cause of freedom must I fear, face years of joint responsibility, of working patiently with each other in pursuit of joint solutions, not despairing of early setbacks … recognising that world order is not made in a day or sustained with half-truths and half-measures."I suggest that there is a profound element of half-truth in the application, unqualified and unvarnished, of this bogus concept of majority rule to the Southern African situation.
We all know—the Foreign Secretary knows because he has talked to most of the people concerned—that every responsible individual, irrespective of whether we agree with his political philosophy, who has to discharge a day-to-day response in Southern Africa will say anything and everything but not majority rule now or tomorrow. This is because the phrase implies a pace of change, and this is an argument not about mechanism but about pace. The sooner we are honest with ourselves and recognise that, the sooner we shall make realistic progress.
No one in his right mind, no one anywhere on the face of the globe—not even in South Africa or Rhodesia—would actively propagate a doctrine of racialism He may do things considered to be racialist, but he would not actively say "I am a racialist. I believe in it and I want to extend it." Equally, the use of force to try to solve a situation such as exists in Rhodesia and which Labour Members seem to suggest could be extended downwards into South Africa as the situation develops would, I believe, be the equivalent of boarding up houses with the victims inside at the time of the Black Death.
§ 2.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Hugh Fraser (Stafford and Stone)
I must first tell the Foreign Secretary that I have to leave shortly after this speech for constituency reasons.
1091 I believe that we should vote against the order, for the simple reason that those who are suffering are those inside Rhodesia of all races. They need our support. My hon. Friend the Member for Petersfield (Mr. Mates) in an admirable speech set out these thoughts, as did my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies).
The main purpose of this debate is to look at the White Paper produced by the Foreign Secretary. I have the most profound doubts about whether this proposed policy can meet with success. Apart from the immediate situation, those who know Rhodesia know that always beneath the general situation there are tensions of a tribal character of an extreme and dangerous sort Now we are faced with a situation obviously intensified by events exterior to Rhodesia I had some experience, when I was in Government, of negotiating settlements with Kenya and Uganda and of setting up the independence of those countries, together with my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery).
There are three lessons to be drawn from the problems faced in this type of situation, especially when there is a white minority. These lessons are of a grave and difficult character. I have been lapidated—if that is the correct word—by some angry farmers. That is a minor matter compared to the problems facing us in Rhodesia. There are three essential conditions which have to be achieved. First, during the period of handover there must be a regime which is functioning, which is sovereign and which controls law and order. That is meaningful for us as the sovereign Power. Second, there must be agreement as to the constitutional objectives, and, third, it is essential that there should be no unconditional surrender demanded of any sector of the community when there is to be a changeover in power.
I regret to say that the proposals in the White Paper fulfil none of those conditions. This is where I think the Foreign Secretary and Mr. Vance have shown themselves to be greenhorns in comparison with the Kissinger proposals, which at least enshrined some of these basic needs. The great mistake committed by the Government was not to seize 1092 the Kissinger proposals with both hands. The late Ernest Bevin did this with the Marshall Plan, which was just a gleam in the eye of the American Foreign Secretary. He seized it with both hands and made it a policy which did more than anything else to redeem Western Europe from the problems facing it immediately after the war.
The great failure of the Government—the Foreign Secretary is not responsible for this—was not to seize the Kissinger plan in the same way. Instead, they delayed and referred matters to the frontline Presidents and the guerrilla leaders. Things broke down because the Government failed to push matters through. The great point about the Kissinger set of proposals—and they were agreed by Vorster, by Smith and by most black leaders resident in Southern Rhodesia and would, I believe, have succeeded—was that there should be a process of changeover from the existing regime, with the existing regime remaining in power until the change-over was made effective.
The proposals before us now are nonsense in the military sense. There will be a period of transition, and I am surprised that Field-Marshal Lord Carver has even agreed to put that forward. The average lieutenant in the King's African Rifles would say that that was totally out of order. Even Serjeant-Major Idi Amin would have rejected that as totally impracticable. Anyone who has any experience at all of the conditions in Africa, of the tribal problems there, would feel the greatest despondency about the survival of any regime whatsoever. That must be discussed further.
The next essential point that, if there is to be a successful outcome, there must be some agreement—there is none at the moment—on the transitional constitution. I agree with my right hon. Friend the Shadow Foreign Secretary that these negotiations have suffered enormously from the absence of a proper British diplomatic mission in Salisbury so that these matters could be discussed. I confess that in view of the contents of the White Paper and the possibilities which could exist of the six guerrilla battalions —whether they are to be in barracks unarmed during the transitional period is not clear, but I am sure that we shall 1093 be told about that by the Minister of State—there could be a situation in which there was no loyalty whatever during the transitional period to FieldMarshal Lord Carver. I can envisage for him the kind of ghastly fate that overtook the Emperor Maximillian when he was sent ou to Mexico by some misguided people and was shot in his own barrack square. I hope that does not happen to Lord Carver.
Under the present layout of the transition, I can see nothing but chaos ahead. That is where the Government have failed. They have failed to take the Kissinger plan and they are failing to produce anything which could be effective in the handing over of power which, as the Foreign Secretary said today, is the general will of all races, including the Smith regime. The failure to trust that regime to any extent and the desire to inflict on it as many penalties as possible and to try to force unconditional surrender on it have bedevilled much of the negotiations between this country and that part of Africa.
I regret that the Foreign Secretary, Mr. Vance and Ambassador Young have succeeded in cooking up a White Paper which simply does not stand up on military or security grounds, cannot guarantee fair elections and is really a step backwards in the long history of unfortunate White Papers that we have seen produced by the Labour Government.
§ 2.52 p.m.
§ Mr. Reginald Maudling (Chipping Barnet)
I am very happy to follow my right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Fraser) with whom I shared responsibility in the Colonial Office, particularly for Kenya. I remember that before the independence of Kenya we were faced with many of the same fears, alarms and dangers as we are told exist in Rhodesia today. They were overcome. Just as they were overcome in Kenya, so they can be overcome in Rhodesia.
I first went to Rhodesia as Colonial Secretary more than 15 years ago. My last visit was about 15 days ago when I saw many people, including Mr. Smith. I came back with a very definite conviction that there is now a real chance of a settlement in Rhodesia in the course of 1978. I am equally convinced that 1094 if there is not a settlement in 1978, everyone in Rhodesia and all of us in this country will deeply and bitterly regret it.
The objective of the House of Commons should be solely to try to ensure that a settlement is reached, because we have a mutual and common interest in seeing that this is done. In the past there have been so many tragedies, so many follies and so many omissions. If only Mr. Smith had settled on "Tiger" or "Fearless", how much happier everyone in Rhodesia and Africa as a whole would be. But there is no point in jobbing back or talking about vindictiveness. Let us concentrate on a solution here and now.
I believe that the main chance of a settlement is because there is a general weariness in Rhodesia at the prospects among white and black alike. Sanctions are not doing much good and, to judge by some of the remarks that have been made today sanctions would do this country no harm but only good.
What is wearing down the population is that so many of those under 40 in Rhodesia now spend more than half their lives in the field fighting guerrillas. That cannot go on indefinitely. If people can see a prospect of victory, they can fight and carry the burden. But I do not think that the realists see a prospect of victory. They have said that they will never be defeated. But they will not win. They will not have a chance of bringing an end to the fighting other than by some sort of settlement. The prospect of permanently spending half their lives fighting against guerrilla forces daunts even the stoutest hearts among those stout-hearted people.
On the African side, 1 have no doubt that there is an enormous desire for a settlement. The burden of the terrorist campaign—because it is a terrorist campaign—has fallen mainly on the black people, as so often happens on these occasions. The indiscriminate mining of roads blows up more blacks than whites. The massacres are massacres of blacks by blacks.
There is a long argument about whether we should call these people freedom fighters or terrorists. The truth is that a man may sincerely believe in his heart that his cause is just, but he can still pursue it by methods abhorrent to civilised people. One can take up arms 1095 and go and fight another army, but one must say "No" to the taking up of arms against small children. I am sure that many members of the Provisional IRA sincerely believe that their cause is just, but their methods are abhorrent to all of us
I was shocked the other day to read in a church publication that those freedom fighters should be supported. Was there ever a more blatant case of saying that the end justifies the means? If the means are justified in Rhodesia, who can say that they are not justified in Belfast as well? There is a strong case for what the terrorists want to obtain, but there is no case whatever for the means which they are adopting. That is why I believe that blacks and whites together in Rhodesia wanted desperately to have a settlement, and I believe that one is possible on the basis of the proposals in the White Paper.
On my recent visit I found several things which came as a surprise and an enlightenment. It is quite clear that Mr. Smith now accepts the principle of one man, one vote, or universal adult franchise. I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends will accept the same thing. Mr. Smith certainly does, not because he necessarily believes in it but because he knows that it has to come. This is the fundamental point, because the nationalists arc now going to get what they have been fighting for.
I have said before that the worst people to deal with in this world are those who will not take "Yes" for an answer. They are getting a "Yes". They are getting all that they can legitimately ask for in terms of a situation based on free, universal adult suffrage. In this situation the nationalist leaders should concentrate on getting the transition period sorted out. It can and must be done.
Where I think we have gone wrong on more than one occasion in the last year or so is to talk about the transition and try to move from the transition to the long term. I suggest that it is right to get agreement on the long-term solution and then work back to the transition. If people can agree on a constitution, it should not be beyond the wit of man to agree how to get there.
The problems of the White Paper as seen by Mr. Smith and his followers are 1096 different from what I expected. I thought that in a constitution with safeguards they would feel the danger to be that one could not put in a clause to say that it was illegal to tear it up and what would happen if there were a Rhodesian Amin. Strange to say, I do not think that this worries them. I think that, in a free and independent Rhodesia, there will be a majority for moderation. Leaders like Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Sithole are as interested in the maintenance of law and order and in the independence of the courts as are the Europeans. That is not the difficulty.
There are two very definite difficulties, and on both of them I believe that Mr. Smith has a strong case, but a case that can be met. The first is the composition of the security forces in the transition, and the second is the possibility that the safeguards in the long-term constitution could be eroded during the transition. Both are to some extent based on some misunderstanding, but in the light of some of the things said by the Foreign Secretary today that misunderstanding is not surprising.
The idea of basing the security forces upon the guerrillas is about as sensible as it would have been in our day in Kenya to put the King's African Rifles under the control of the Mau Mau. On the other hand, it is clear that in the interim period we have to bring into the security forces all the elements involved in the present struggle.
Secondly, there is the problem of erosion of safeguards. This is where Mr. van der Byl keeps talking about surrender, and I wish he would not. He gets it wrong. He thinks that, according to the terms of the White Paper, all the long-term safeguards could be swept aside by Lord Carver during the transition. Of course, that would be a complete surrender and it would be unacceptable. The answer is that we must get the important safeguards in the long-term constitution agreed as part of the settlement before there is a ceasefire. The details can be left till later.
The obvious solution is to get simultaneous agreement on a ceasefire, on a transitional arrangement during which elections are held and, finally, on a long-term constitution based on agreed safeguards for minorities and individual rights.
1097 I believe that if we proceed along those lines we can solve the problem of the transition. If we do not, the tragedy will be appalling. If we can get agreement on the basic long-term objective of acceptance of the principle of universal adult suffrage, surely we can work backwards to the transitional period at a time when a ceasefire will have been settled, when there will have been general agreement among all parties as to the long-term objectives and when security and law and order will have become a police and not an army job. The vast majority of Africans certainly want that.
The right way to proceed is for the Government to take the professional advice of Lord Carver as to how this can be organised. The guerrillas have a command structure, just as the Rhodesian forces have, although it is not as complete or efficient. I have looked at the details out there. It is surely right that they, too, should take the professional advice of Lord Carver as to how he can effectively exercise control over all the security forces during the transitional period, with the assistance of the United Nations. If he advises that it can be done, his advice should carry a great deal of weight. If he advises that he cannot find a way of doing it, the thing is back in the melting pot. But the House today should clearly be given his professional advice as to how an interim system of security can be maintained.
But there is no other solution to this tragic situation—tragic for everyone—that will stem the expansion of Russian influence. Some people say that the Rhodesian and South African regimes are the last bastions of freedom against Communist expansion. I have a suspicion that, on the contrary, by their obduracy they have been the main allies of the Communists by getting them involved in Southern Africa. But that is neither here nor there at the moment.
Against the background of what I have said, I would not vote against the order. My decision is on a practical basis. If Britain were to renounce sanctions now, it would do no good whatever to anyone. It would not have the slightest effect on the Rhodesian economy, which is mainly affected by the appalling fall in the grain market and by copper prices, which are international considerations. 1098 To vote against sanctions and abandon them unilaterally would do no good to anyone, and it would certainly undermine the ability of Great Britain to contribute to a solution of the problem.
I still believe that this is our great responsibility.It is the last of our colonial problems. It is the last but it is the most difficult. It is the most important but it is one that, I believe, we can now solve.
§ 3.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Nicholas Fairbairn (Kinross and West Perthshire)
I shall declare an interest, namely, that I have been in Rhodesia for three weeks. I have had the privilege of meeting most of the black and the white leaders, seeing life and hearing opinions not only from those who have been terrorists, not only from the heads of the army and education, but from those of all colours, all races, all ages and all spectrums of opinion.
First, I pay tribute to the Foreign Secretary for his speech today. As he said, it is important that the charge of vindictiveness should never be able to be held against the negotiations of the British Government.I say that with absolute sincerity. It is easy in these matters, when there is so much genuine fear, for people to misunderstand and to believe that there is a feeling of vindictiveness.
There is a feeling that was well expressed to me by the Principal of the University, the Rev. Robert Craig, who has voted Labour all his days and who is a Scottish divine. He said "It is not our vices that the Government detest but our virtues. The only thing that they can find wrong with Ian Smith is that he is not bad enough for them ". Those were the words of a sage man.
There is a feeling that it is not concern for the 6 million serene and excellent black people in Rhodesia that is uppermost in the minds of some but a desire to take revenge on the privileged whites. I ask those with idealist concepts of human rights and majority rule that they do not allow them to be mere banners for less reasonable or less worthy motives. I say to the Foreign Secretary that I am happy to discharge him from the conviction of vindictiveness. However, I could not discharge him from a conviction on the ground of naivety. If he genuinely 1099 believes, as he said, that Russia is interested in majority rule or democracies anywhere on earth, I cannot agree. Russia is interested in power. There are no majority rules in any of the places under its sway.
As we look round the world we see that it was in the name of liberation and self-determination that Cambodia was enslaved. It was by the freedom and liberation movement that Mozambique was enslaved. We must remember that of the five frontline Presidents not one would be able to change his Government by franchise. Let us not be too pretending and false in our idealism. Let us remember that what Russia wants, and what many people in Rhodesia want, is not majority rule but black rule, and black minority rule at that.
That is the ambition, intention and objective of the Patriotic Front. I fear desperately that it will be willing to accept no other solution. This is not a situation between races in Rhodesia. In all aspects of life I saw more love and good will between people and races in Rhodesia than I have seen anywhere else on earth.
We are talking about a whole generation of white people—every member of the white community. Let us not forget that although they may be European ethnically they are Rhodesian by birth and in attitude. It is their country. Let us not forget that they fight with their brothers. They fight in the British and South African Police, in the district commissioner's office and in the army, and they regard the district commissioner as an equal and noble brother.
There is the essential matter of security. I say without demur that if the proposition suggested by my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) is adopted, there is no hope of a settlement in Rhodesia. That, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling) accurately said, is the desire, the will and the intention of everybody in Rhodesia, with the exception of a handful of those who will have no influence. To say otherwise would, if I may use another analogy, be as strange as to say that the way to get a free election in Northern Ireland would be to disband the British Army, to put the 1100 RUC in barracks and to have six battalions of the IRA to ensure that the election was impartial. It is as absurd and irresponsible as that.
I found that fear of the future under a black Government was infinitely more widespread, cogent and real among the blacks than it was among the Europeans. The Europeans can get on an aeroplane tomorrow—and I trust that the officials to this Foreign Office will not say that they cannot come to this country but that they can be refugees somewhere else, as was suggested as a meeting of white Rhodesians in Salisbury when I was there. I trust that that vindictive attitude will not apply. The blacks who live in Rhodesia must stay in Rhodesia—it is their only country and their only ethnic origin —just as the blacks have to stay in Mozambique. The 600,000 whites in Mozambique got out. They lost everything, and they are refugees. They do not have to live in the poverty that Mozambique now represents. If that is the achievement of liberation and idealism, we should look very carefully at our consciences.
Security is the absolute answer. All the moderate leaders, such as Mr. Sithole, Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Chikerema, and their lieutenants want to develop Rhodesia as a prosperous multiracial State with a sophisticated industry. It is no good comparing it with South Africa ; the problems, races and attitudes are different. It is no good comparing it with Zambia. When Zambia obtained independence, it had three African graduates. Rhodesia has 10,000 within and 10,000 without. It is a sophisticated, European, and—dare I say it?—free enterprise State, with the highest level of tax being 40 per cent., despite the fact that only one in 20 contributes to tax and the country is in a state of war.
My concern and the concern of the moderate leaders is the prosperity of the Rhodesian people. I wish that I could say that it was the concern of the leaders of the Patriotic Front and their representatives, but it is not. They are interested in power and rule. The prosperity, security and safety of their people is secondary to their interest. If the Patriotic Front were to be imposed, or imposed itself, on Rhodesia, far from one man, one vote, the fact is that one man, one 1101 life would be a luxury. Therefore, Rhodesia is symbolic-whether it is inevitable that we go through the democratic formula and end with tyranny and degradation, or whether we can create a multiracial State.
I believe in the good faith of the white Government. I believe in the good faith of the moderate leaders. I believe in the good faith of the Foreign Secretary. The Rhodesian economy will be a difficult one to run when sanctions are lifted. Therefore, I say to the Government "Take sanctions off. Demonstrate your good faith. Allow it to be seen that you intend to get a settlement within the year." They should say that if anybody resists a settlement they will restore sanctions, thus ensuring, I regret to say, that the tragedy will have to take its course.
§ 3.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Cyril D. Townsend (Bexleyheath)
I hope that I am in order in congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Shoreham (Mr. Luce) on his step forward to the Opposition Front Bench and in commiserating with him on the temperature of his baptismal water.
As one who was highly critical of the speed with which the last Labour Opposition shook off the cloak of governmental responsibility, particularly on Europe, I am delighted that since 1974 my party has retained this respectable garment over the vexed question of sanctions year by year.
Rhodesian sanctions are crude and clumsy. Rhodesia's neighbours have suffered seriously from the sacrifice of applying them. I was in Zambia a couple of years ago and I know this to be so. We all look forward to the day when sanctions can be lifted, but that day is not today. We have very clear obligations in this respect—indeed, no country, has greater obligations
I respect the position of my 12 or so colleagues who have opposed sanctions from the start. I accept that they have great personal knowledge of Rhodesia and that they are forceful exponents of their cause. If they will forgive me, I think that some of their assumptions are false and I doubt whether their arguments have been thought through. It would be unrealistic and highly irresponsible for Britain unilaterally to lift sanctions. As a country it is not our habit to break 1102 international obligations, particularly without prior consultations. Even the Rhodesian Government do not expect sanctions to be lifted before the interim Government is set up.
I believe that if my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) was back in the Foreign Office he would have taken a different line from the one he took this afternoon. His officials would have reminded him that Britain had persuaded the United Nations to help on the Rhodesia problem and that we need its support. One should remember that the United Nations is the organisation which has recently imposed military sanctions against South Africa, and one cannot regard Rhodesia in isolation. My right hon. Friend would have been reminded also that the British Government are pledged to work towards a better and more co-ordinated foreign policy within the EEC, and that involves give as well as take.
My right hon. Friend also would have been reminded that all our Commonwealth partners support sanctions, and the Government would not want to force a row with a centre-right Government in Australia, for example. It is not hard to visualise the international uproar that would follow if the order failed today. It would be the most damaging crisis in the history of Britain's relations with Africa and the Commonwealth.
" We are right and the world is wrong" may be a cry to encourage some of our wilder supporters, but when in office it would lead to swift disaster for a Conservative Foreign Secretary after the next General Election. It is a cry that delights the Communist world. If the West sides with the forces of racial domination, the Communists will be given all the advantages. The idea that by a happy turn of fortune the frontiers of enlightened civilisation conincide with the borders of Southern Rhodesia is arrant nonsense.
I agree that the Rhodesian Government are threatened by Russia and, for that matter, by Cuba, but the immediate threat is from black Rhodesians. We can best counter Soviet adventures and imperialism by seeking the friendship of moderate African States such as Kenya. Zambia and Zaire. I would ask some of my colleagues not to ignore these new States even though they are militarily 1103 weak. Britain desperately needs friends in modern Africa.
I took part in our debate on Rhodesia in October last year. I was critical of the Foreign Secretary at that time because I felt that he was loth to get his hands dirty in attempting to find a settlement. I wanted the Government to pull out all the diplomatic stops, and I found it humiliating that the African Presidents were demanding that Britain should perform her traditional duties. I suggested that a senior and respected figure should be sent to Rhodesia and I argued that there might be a role for a United Nations force. I also sought closer United States involvement, and a lot of other speakers made similar points.
I am bound to say that over the past year the Government, in the form of the present Foreign Secretary, have met those demands. I cannot honestly accept that our proposals for a settlement would have been all that different from those of the Foreign Secretary. Certainly, our broad objectives—I leave aside his foolish remarks in Moscow—are the same.
No minority of either the Left or the Right is entitled to dictate to the majority. The Anglo-American proposals followed the remarkable breakthrough achieved by Dr. Kissinger and the acceptance of majority rule by Mr. Smith. They seek, as we all seek, to achieve a ceasefire in this notoriously bloody and brutal guerrilla war and an orderly transfer of power. Nothing will be gained for party or country by attempting to handicap the Foreign Secretary as he takes his turn in wrestling with this difficult and dangerous crisis.
Much of this debate is rightly focused on the security problem. Clearly, it is a most difficult and dangerous manoeuvre to try to merge two forces, but there is no real alternative. I listened with interest to my hon. Friend the Member for Peters-field (Mr. Mates). Speaking as a mere captain, I always listen with interest on military matters to the views of a colonel, but my conclusions are different from his. I do not believe that the proposals he advance would be acceptable to the African community, any more than would be the delaying of the handing over of power for many years in order to train 1104 African for their responsibilities. That is beyond the bounds of reality.
One specific responsibility is placed on the Leader of the Opposition. On no account must the impression be given to Mr. Smith that he has only to hang on until the Tories are returned and he will then be thrown a new lifeline. He will not. There is a much clearer understanding on these Benches than there is among Labour Members of the predicament facing the white farmers and settlers in Rhodesia. We respect their remarkable commercial and agricultural achievements. But when one goes to Salisbury one is amazed at the prosperity there, and I unhesitatingly believe that it is in their interests, and in the interests of the Western world, that power should be transferred without delays or further procrastination to all the people of Rhodesia.
There is no half way house of a so-called internal settlement—if by such a settlement we mean a private agreement between Mr. Smith and Bishop Muzorewa —because that would be based on a misunderstanding of the composition and motivation of those who challenge the minority regime. It might be possible to achieve an internal settlement, but it could only delay the tide that is sweeping in, and greater would be the fall. Perhaps we have already slipped over the precipice. Perhaps UDI and subsequent events made the scramble to safety impossible. Perhaps what all of us in the House this afternoon are united against will come about—a squalid, tyrannical Marxist regime in Salisbury as in Maputo. The general lines of the Anglo-American proposals offer us the best way to avoid such an outcome. It is our best wisdom on all sides to support them.
§ 3.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Stephen Hastings (Mid-Bedfordshire)
Whatever position we take on either side of the House on this subject, we surely all agree that it is a matter of supreme importance. People are dying in Rhodesia virtually every day from terrorist activities, and this area is our responsibility. Therefore, it is a great shame that this debate, which is the one opportunity we have to discuss this matter each year, is crammed into a Friday afternoon.
1105 I do not know what interest the Press takes in our proceedings at this time on a Friday afternoon, but I hope that it will take note of that. A total of seven or eight of my colleagues have told me within the last 24 hours that they wanted to speak in this debate and possibly to vote, but Press reports will indicate a phenomenal lack of interest. I hope that if by some mischance we face this miserable situation next year, and if the present Government are still in charge of our fortunes, they will ensure that we have a proper debate at a time when everybody interested can attend.
I agreed with the Foreign Secretary when he said that this debate was not a re-run of previous sanctions debates. I agree that the debate this year is very different. What disturbs me is the right hon. Gentleman's innocence of reality. He admits frankly and engagingly, that he faces appalling difficulties. He then proceeded to outline the manoeuvres by which he would solve the security situation. This shuffling of armed men would be difficult for the Brigade of Guards on Salisbury Plain, let alone in the situation he faces in Rhodesia. It is not realistic. It cannot be done. How many times have people with experience of these matters told him so? Surely his advisers must have told him. It is far better to face reality. Why proceed on the basis of a possibility which does not really exist? That is the first of my worries.
I was once charged with trying to disarm about 3,000 guerrillas. This was in Europe, and the situation was far simpler at the end of a long war than the situation which obtains in Rhodesia today. I was not at all successful, and I learned something of the appalling difficulties involved. It is not on. Well, if the Foreign Secretary cannot implement his proposals, what is he to do?
The right hon. Gentleman and the Foreign Office can have their objective of majority rule, and they know it. I suspect that the Foreign Secretary knows that perfectly well. He can have it because the Europeans in Rhodesia, as many of my hon. Friends have said, have accepted it and want it. He can have it because Mr. Smith has accepted it and, what is more, is prepared to step down, I believe, as soon as the transition has been settled. The Foreign Secretary can verify that, anyway.
1106 But more important than either of those factors is that the Foreign Secretary can have his objective of majority rule because there is now for the first time—this is why our debate today is not a rerun of previous debates—an indisputable mutual interest in stability between the Europeans and the African nationalist leaders in Rhodesia. That also has been stated several times today.
This will be possible, however, only by maintaining the defence forces at their present strength with their present commanders—the right hon. Gentleman knows this too—as a mutual and a political force. It is no secret that the commanders of the Rhodesian defence forces opposed UDI solidly, but they carried on serving what they conceived to be the only Government available.
The African leaders in Rhodesia know perfectly well what their fate will be if power is handed to Nkomo and Mugabe. They may pay lip service now—the Foreign Secretary said something about this—to the guerrillas and to their support within the guerrilla movement and the necessity of it. It is very difficult for them to say anything else while the British and the Americans continue to court and support the guerrillas. The truth is that their dearest wish is to see the back of these people as soon as possible.
There is at least a strong probability that Bishop Muzorewa, Mr. Sithole and Chief Chirau between them represent the large majority of the black Africans. How can Nkomo possibly claim to represent more than 15 per cent. or so, even if all the Matabele voted for him, which they will not because a number of them support those whose names I have just mentioned? As for Mugabe, what support has he? Virtually nil, I suspect.
The transition and the elections are practicable. If the Patriotic Front wants to take part, and, of course, it should be encouraged to do so, very well ; but if it will not—its leaders never stop saying that they are not interested in doing so—the Patriotic Front's war would become illegal. Then, with the establishment of a legal Government and the lifting of sanctions, those who at present follow the Patriotic Front will soon lose heart—that is he way things go in Africa —and those who do not or who continue 1107 an illegal war can certainly be dealt with by the Rhodesian army.
That is the way to a settlement. That is the opportunity which exists now. It never has existed hitherto. Will it be taken? Of course not, because it involves a clear-cut and brave decision, and this Government are not in a position to take any such decision. The Foreign Secretary will not even speak, save only briefly, to the leaders about whom I am talking when they come to London, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) pointed out, unless it be to urge them to accept the dictatorship of Nkomo. The British Government are now involved in such convolutions that they are incapable of any positive or decisive action. This is our tragedy.
What is the Foreign Secretary seeking to do? I suggest that all the following considerations are passing through the minds of his advisers and of himself. They are trying to please all the frontline Presidents with their various views, both Marxist and non-Marxist, about what should be done. They are trying to appease the Patriotic Front, which wants nothing to do with democracy and says so openly. They are trying to please the United Nations—so unwisely brought in by them—and the OAU. Then President Carter has his worries at home with the black vote. That is a factor as well. The Government are supporting the Americans, it seems, through thick and thin. Then there is the American reluctance to confront the Russians anywhere in Africa. Are we hoist on that as well? All these considerations are behind the so-called British proposals and conduct.
Last, at the bottom of the list, the Foreign Secretary is seeking a settlement which may bring some hope of peace and prosperity for Rhodesia. I must tell him that he cannot satisfy all these separate interests. He is trying to resolve too many totally irreconcilable factors. He therefore has no clear objective. And the tragedy is that the interests of the people who actually live in Rhodesia almost inevitably finish up bottom of the list. We reach a position in which the only reason why he and the Americans are enabled to go on gambling and wheeling and dealing—indeed, the only reason why we are still 1108 enabled to discuss Rhodesia as an entity —is because of two factors. There is the courage of the small Rhodesian army and the endurance of her people, both black and white, the vast majority of whom never want to hear or see another guerrilla as long as they live.
These two factors are the only things that are holding the dam. Yet what are the British Government and the Americans seekings to do? They are seeking to decimate the defence force and thus destroy the dam. Of course the negotiations will fail. They have failed already, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion pointed out in an admirable speech, the logic of which nobody on the Government side has even tried to answer. The preposterous conditions which my right hon. Friend out-lined, if that is what Lord Carver really took out to Rhodesia, have certainly seen to that, if they had not failed before.
What will the Foreign Secretary do? Up to now, the only means he has had to coerce the Rhodesians has been by trying to persuade his own bitterest enemies, the South Africans, to do his work for him. But even the Foreign Office seems now to have seen the limit to which he can go in that direction. Will he now use the British taxpayers' money to subsidise and arm Marxist guerrillas against a British colony which has accepted the very principle that he says he seeks? Never has British foreign policy sunk to a position of such dangerous and devious impotence.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) made a speech which I found in most respects admirable, but I nevertheless wish to quote the words of my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling), who made an interesting contribution today. When he was speaking from the Dispatch Box last year in the same debate, he said:The Government should take note that if the conference"—that was the Geneva Conference—fails after Mr. Smith has accepted the Kissinger package because other elements at the conference want to go further, we would have no justification for continuing sanctions against him, or even less continuing to give aid to Mozambique. We should move to that effect." —[Official Report, 20th October 1976; Vol. 917 c. 1487.]1109 My right hon. Friend repeated that from the Back Benches not very long after. I said.at the time that they were admirable sentiments, and many of my hon. Friends agreed with me. My right hon. Friend made no mention of that speech this afternoon, but that was what he believed then and he was right. How ever, the situation was not then as bad as it is today.
I am sure that the House and my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford and I agree on almost every aspect of the problem. We are 100 per cent. agreed over the menace of this attempt to destroy the defence forces. The only difference that I can see between my right hon. Friend's position and that of a number of my hon. Friends and me is that my right hon. Friend does not want now to do anything about it—as he was advised last year by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet—while some of us do.
I think I understand my right hon. Friend's position. He feels that if we vote against sanctions we might upset the Americans and jeopardise the Nigerian trade. But, with respect, unless someone apprises this American Administration of the facts of life in Africa, the Western position will be lost. We should be upsetting the Americans every day until they understand the folly of all that they have done since Kissinger. And what price Nigerian trade when Moscow dominates the African continent?
My right hon. Friend believes that sanctions are irrelevant at this stage, but I beg to disagree with him here also. This sad annual debate is the only occasion upon which the Conservative Party, is able to demonstrate to the world that we oppose this madness Nobody will understand anything that may come out of this debate except votes. Even the British people believe that there is virtually no difference between Opposition and Government on this issue.
Of course, if the Conservatives voted solidly against sanctions they would be attacked by the usual bogus international establishment, but when the screaming had died down, some of them might actually start to think, and that would be a great gain for us all. Moreover, if I am not much mistaken, before long some of our European friends in particu 1110 lar would be greately relieved. But it seems that we shall let that opportunity pass by yet again.
Another reason why I. disagree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford over sanctions is that he says they have no effect: I think that is wrong and that my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion is right. Of course, during the early years of UDI, in a peaceful Rhodesia, sanctions had virtually no effect ; they stimulated the economy, as my right hon. Friend said. However, in war time things are different, and after four years of war much of their equipment is old and out of date, while Moscow, the Americans and Britain lavish money and arms on their opponents, and that is important.
More important still is the effect on morale. I said earlier that the only reason why this debate can take place and we are able to discuss Rhodesia is that the Rhodesian army is holding out. Morale is important if we want to save anything. Of course, if the Tory Party voted against the sanctions that would be a boost to the morale of both blacks and whites who are trying to hold the position in Rhodesia. Visitors to Rhodesia this summer have come back deeply impressed by the morale of both black and white Rhodesians.
However, just suppose that in the end —and I pray that it never comes to this —it becomes impossible to continue to run the economy adequately because every able-bodied European aged between 18 and 50 is a soldier and is spending almost as much time in the bush as at his office desk. Suppose that the Anglo-Americans succeed in some way in handing over military control to the guerrillas or in confusing the situation to such a degree that tribal war spreads. Suppose that the 6,000 Rhodesian farmers—the fabric of Rhodesian life—began to despair after four years of living with their families behind barbed wire in their isolated farms. Any one or all of these factors could occur. If they did, the advances and achievements of 90 years—which even Rhodesia's enemies cannot deny—would disappear, almost overnight, in one long bloody tide.
Inter-tribal fighting has already started, and the situation could revert more or 1111 less to what it was when Selous and Rhodes first came up from the South. There is every reason to hope that this moment will not come, but if it should, what would we Conservatives say? What would any man not blinded by prejudice and ignorance say—" What a pity. There was nothing we could do."? There is something we can do. We could have done it years ago. If only we possessed the courage of our undoubted convictions on this side of the House, we could vote against this insanity and show the world.
§ 3.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Beaconsfield)
I agree with everything that my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Hastings) said.
We were all grateful that the Foreign Secretary's speech was in a low key, but, unfortunately, his actions and his White Paper have not shown the same restraint. I said in Rhodesia recently that the British Government's policy had been activated largely by spite and ignorance. I wish that I could retreat from that opinion and I hope that I shall be able to do so. Certainly the Foreign Secretary's speech was encouraging in that respect, but there is a widespread impression that one of the main motives in shaping the proposals for the future of Rhodesia has been a desire to punish the white community for its declaration of independence 12 years ago and its successful resistance of the measures taken against it.
I find it difficult to resist the strong feeling that the feeding of a 12-year-old grudge has had a considerable effect on the proposals. Even the Americans feel this. Mr. Andrew Young, who is not a moderate in these matters, has been reported as saying that he was surprised by the punitive attitude of the British in the negotiations.
I shall be saying something about sanctions and the proposals for a settlement, but I must make clear that, although we have to concentrate on getting a good settlement on the broad basis of the Government's terms, I believe that a cardinal mistake has been made.
Rhodesia is the only British territory which has, of its own motion, generated a multi-racial society. We who preach 1112 to it—I do not include myself in that number—about multiracialism, and rights for coloured people, once ruled a quarter of the world, and I am not aware that we produced a multiracial society in any of the territories that we administered. We eventually handed over these territories to the indigenous population, but we ruled them—very well—as an imperial people.
Rhodesia was never ruled from Britain, and perhaps that is why it, alone of all British places, developed a multi-racial society. Rhodesia was the most successful of all territories in Africa. There is no doubt that its native Africans enjoy a greater standard of rights and a higher standard of living than Africans anywhere else on that continent. Yet, for some strange reason, we impose sanctions against Rhodesia.
Rhodesia has no apartheid but a common roll and common educational facilities at many levels. All that we have done and are doing in our present proposals is to replace their judgment of time scale by our judgment. Our judgment in these matters has always been wrong in the past. It has been wrong without exception. Let us look at the African territories to which we have given independence. We have been wrong.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling) referred in comforting terms to Kenya. I am happy partly to agree with him about that country. However, he did not say that it all depends on the continued physical existence of one man. No one knows what will happen when Kenyatta dies, because stability in Kenya is not based on an ethos or constitutional structure.
We must address our minds to the future. We have moved from that stage of controversy to which I referred to stage 2 when everything that we used to argue about has been conceded—universal adult suffrage and everything else. Britain seems to have been the last to wake up to that.
At the time of the abduction of African children from the border of Rhodesia, I said in debate that those children were being recruited not to fight against the Smith Government and not to take part in a battle for independence, but to fight in the days after independence. Nkomo realised a long time before that there 1113 would be independence based on universal adult suffrage. He knew that he had no hope of winning office. He knew that he must build up guerrilla forces and hold them outside the frontier in readiness for independence.
There is much hypocrisy about this. It is common knowledge that this realisation came upon Nkomo when Bishop Muzorewa came back to a tumultuous welcome. Nkomo knew he had lost popular support in Rhodesia. Kaunda and Nyerere said that he must then base his strength upon military power. He began to build that military power and to base it in Zambia. It is led by Kaunda, who is married to Nkomo's sister.
The Foreign Secretary knows exactly what is happening. He knows that Muzorewa and Sithole, to say nothing of Chief Chirau, enjoy four-fifths of African support in Rhodesia. He knows that they would win an election if nothing were done to prevent them.
Why is the Foreign Secretary not happy to introduce independence under universal adult suffrage and to allow the wishes of the African people to be expressed? For years we have been talking of the six principles. We imposed sanctions on Rhodesia in support of them. The Wilson Government was willing to turn Africa upside down in support of those principles. Now we are turning Africa upside down to prevent majority rule.
It is a most extraordinary situation. Why is the Foreign Secretary doing it? The whole argument about the defence forces is about that, just as in South-West Africa the whole argument about the presence or absence of the defence forces is exactly about that. Because SWAPO could not win an election held in peace and order it must have disorder to obtain power. It is exactly the same problem.
I think that I can provide the answer to this question. We are trying to please too many people. In the Foreign and Commonwealth Office there is an obsession with Julius Nyerere, always the hero of some people in this country, but someone who was better described by Dr. Banda the other day as the evil genius of Africa. That is what Nyerere is. He is the mischief-maker of Africa. if we try to please Nyerere we can do it only by destroying our own interests. Does 1114 anyone think that Nyerere's interest and concern is the utmost prosperity and advancement of the Rhodesia people? At every turn they show up the total failure of his own regime, the poverty and squalor of his people, their lack of freedom. Does anyone think that Zanzibar, one of the territories of Tanzania, is a great citadel of personal freedom, security and prosperity?
It is absolute nonsense to think that Nyerere's interest is in the advancement of the people of Rhodesia ; it is not. As for Kaunda, he, unfortunately, has a family tic with Nkomo and, what is more—everyone knows this—he is deeply indebted to Nkomo for the help that Nkomo gave during his struggle for the leadership in Zambia. These are perfectly logical things in Africa, where the extended family, the tribal loyalty, the sense of personal obligation are much more powerful motives in public affairs than they are every allowed to be in Britain. Machel does not have to look very far to his motives.
My hon. Friend the Member for Bexleyheath (Mr. Townsend) talked about the pressure of moderate African States. There is no moderate African State that has exerted pressure in that direction. We are not getting pressure from Kenya or Malawi or Zaire. Pressure is coming from Nyerere, Kaunda, Machel and Nigeria. The Foreign Secretary is trying to placate all of these people and the United Nations, where very few people know anything at all about the situation in Africa. To them it is a simple question of black and white. The right hon. Gentleman is trying to please President Carter, whose fault is probably more naivety than malice. This is perhaps his greatest problem.
The White Paper does not speak about the replacement of Rhodesian defence forces by terrorist forces. It does not use the expression "based on terrorist forces ". That phrase appeared in the Press release which came out afterwards. This is an interesting Press release, because it originally appeared to end at paragraph 11. Then there was stapled on—rather hurriedly, one assumes—an extra two pages, done by a different typewriter on different paper. It is in those that this description of the defence forces first appeared—the statement that they 1115 were to be based on the terrorist organisations. Is it not the case that that happened because when the Foreign Secretary went to see Nyerere to procure his agreement to the White Paper, Nyerere said, about the forces. "This won't do. I have an undertaking from President Carter that the defence forces will be based on the terrorist organisations." Andrew Young had to agree that was so, and he said that the President had done it without even telling him. Therefore, the Press release had to be recast and all hope of agreement on the White Paper was virtually destroyed, as was described by my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) today.
In Rhodesia I found a widespread resentment among Africans who would probably call themselves nationalists at this interference in their affairs by someone from outside, such as President Carter. They told me—I did not say it to them—" What has it got to do with him how we arrange our affairs in a matter like this? "
There, seriatim, are the reasons that impelled the Foreign Secretary to adopt the ridiculous position of obstructing majority rule in Rhodesia and to ask us today to continue sanctions in support of that policy. I shall have no hesitation in voting against sanctions this evening. I say that after hearing 23 speeches from the Conservative Front Bench in the past 12 years explaining that although sanctions were bad there were special reasons why on the particular occasions in question, they should be renewed. I suspect that I am about to hear the twenty-fourth.
The fact is that sanctions have fulfilled their purpose in Rhodesia. They have built that country up to a wonderful position. The degree of development and sophistication is now so great that that country could no longer be run by Africans anyway. It does not matter what institutions one has. If they are not run by Europeans for a long time, there will be a total collapse.
I reach my final reason for voting against sanctions. I have grounds for believing that the general attitude in the Foreign Office and in the United States is that the result of this settlement will, unhappily, be the collapse of the advanced economy of Rhodesia. It is too advanced to be run at once by universal 1116 adult suffrage of a basically African country. No country of such sophistication is run by Africans. They accept that this is so. Indeed, South Africa would share the same fate if the same prescription were forced upon it. In words used to me, they accept that Africa is about to enter a long, dark age and that they do not intend to do anything about it, because they are the slaves of their own cliches, of their own prejudices and bias and, I would almost say, of the necessity for the Government Front Bench to placate those Labour Members sitting below the Gangway. In order that the Government may pursue more or less right-wing economic policies, they buy off Labour Members below the gangway with colonial extremism. For these reasons white people in Africa are being sacrificed. It is, therefore, with a very good conscience that I shall vote against this motion tonight.
§ 3.58 p.m.
§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield)
The hon. Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) described Conservative Members who have opposed sanctions consistently as being members of the Praetorian Guard. If opposing sanctions consistently and expressing an understanding of the unique problems of Southern Africa justify our being called members of the Praetorian Guard, I am happy to be so described.
Similarly, the hon. Member for Lich-field and Tamworth (Mr. Grocott) quoted a rather critical article from the Sunday Times by a journalist called Hugo Young expressing criticism of those Conservative Party Members who had taken time to go to Southern Africa and Rhodesia in the summer months. All I can say is that perhaps politicians of all parties have grown accustomed to the ill-informed and self-opinionated journalist buffoons who bedeck some of our major papers.
I wish to praise the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies), together with those excellent contributions from my hon. Friend the Member for Petersfield (Mr. Mates), my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Bell) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery). I believe that they brought to the debate a knowledge of Southern Africa sadly but glaringly 1117 absent in the contributions from the Government.
I had the privilege of visiting Rhodesia for a short time recently. Here I should declare an interest. I received hospitality from the Rhodesian Government, the Rhodesian Promotions Council and a number of private individuals totally unattached politically. I was not debarred from going anywhere I wanted during my stay in Rhodesia.
The one thing that struck me—I had been to South Africa before I went to Rhodesia—was the harmony which exists between all races in Rhodesia. I believe that the British Government, in their attitude and policies, are endangering that harmony, which, I believe, can make Rhodesia the Switzerland of Africa because it can show to the rest of Africa that a multi-racial society can work.
On my return from Rhodesia and South Africa, I wrote a quite long letter to the Foreign Secretary expressing my views and asking for his observations and comments. Sadly, the letter which I have received today in reply—from the Minister of State rather than the Foreign Secretary—begs many of the questions that I put to the Foreign Secretary and leaves so many important issues unanswered.
I pointed out in my letter that in dealing with Rhodesia we could not divorce it from the history of what had happened to the east, the west and the north. I referred to Angola, whose President is sustained in office by Cuban Marxist mercenaries. Zambia is supplied and sustained from all sorts of rather dubious sources. The same applies to President Machel in Mozambique, a country in which there are perhaps 100,000 of its own citizens in concentration camps because of the repressive regime he operates.
I said to the Foreign Secretary in my letter that we could not divorce the situation in Africa and the history of Africa from a solution and settlement in Rhodesia. The reply from the Minister of State to that point was:We would not deny that democracy as we understand it in the West has not always endured in Africa, but there have also been some notable successes."He did not detail the successes, and I would be interested to know where they 1118 exist. One has been mentioned—Kenya. But what will happen when President Kenyatta is no longer on the scene?
The letter went on :The failures, though, do not in any way invalidate the demand so long denied them "—I presume he means the black Rhodesians—under an illegal minority regime."All I can say is this. People are going to learn from history, and the sad history of what has happened prior to the present problems of Rhodesia will inevitably have an effect upon that settlement and the views of those involved in making it.
Again I quote from the letter from the Minister of State, because here the Government show that there is some contribution that the white Rhodesians, the Europeans—it describes them as that—have made in Rhodesia. It says:No one, I can assure you, is denying the enormous contribution in terms of dedication and hard work that many Europeans have contributed in Rhodesia, or that there still exists there a degree of good will between the races."I have already referred to the tremendous harmony that I found in all my travels in Rhodesia which exists between the races in that wonderful country.
The letter continues:The danger is that all this will be lost unless Mr. Smith is prepared to accept that black Rhodesians should no longer be denied a fair say in the running of their own country."I find that interesting. That sort of emphasis did not appear in the address of the Foreign Secretary this morning in introducing the order. Surely, the implication of the Minister of State's letter is that there must be a continuing place for the whites in the Government of Rhodesia in whatever. settlement is agreed in future and that it is now the situation that the black Rhodesians should come in to form a majority part of that Government. If that is what the Foreign Office is hoping to achieve, it has my full support.
I hope that there will be a continuing place in the foreseeable future for the white Rhodesians, not only in the Rhodesian Parliament but also the Government. The Foreign Office mistakenly describes them as Europeans in the letter but they are white Rhodesians. Although they emanated from Europe generations 1119 ago, they are just as much Rhodesians as the black Rhodesians about whom the Government are so concerned.
The one thing that worries me in all the negotiations that the Foreign Secretary has undertaken is that he would appear totally to have overlooked the importance of the tribal structure, the tribal loyalties and the tribal conflicts that exist in Rhodesia. The letter states :It is no part of our policy to impose a leadership on the people of an independent Zimbabwe. We treat all the nationalist leaders equally as heads of the respective delegations originally invited to the Geneva Conference."The Minister then quotes again from the White Paper. He writes:It is for the people of Zimbabwe to decide who they feel will best represent their interests, and we have made it quite clear that full legal independence must be preceded by free and fair elections to decide this issue."Perhaps what the Foreign Office preaches is not what it practises.
It has been said by a number of my right hon. and hon. Friends that much more courtesy, much more time and much more consultation has been extended to Mr. Joshua Nkomo, one of the two disunited partners in the Patriotic Front, than has been extended to the nationalist leaders, who, I believe, rightly place themselves within Rhodesia to be with the people whom they seek to lead under the new Government in Rhodesia.
The degree of importance that is placed upon the Patriotic Front is something that I find extraordinary. I share the view that it would appear that President Carter and the Americans with the British Government wish to see Joshua Nkomo and the Patriotic Front as the leadership of the new Rhodesia whenever that should come about.
When I was in Rhodesia I met black business men, representatives of the Sithole faction, of the Muzorewa faction, of the Chirau faction and of the Nkomo faction. There is no doubt that the Mr. Sithole and Bishop Muzorewa represent at least four-fifths of the black Rhodesians. Therefore, I believe that more emphasis should be placed upon negotiations with those responsible black nationalists, who have shown responsibility in remaining within their own 1120 country to negotiate a sound and peaceful settlement for their country.
I refer briefly to the security forces. We have had a fantastic revelation from my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion. It is sad that to date the Government have not answered all the points that have been raised. If that had been done the direction of the debate could well have been changed.
In my opinion the Selous Scouts, the SAS and the Rhodesian Light Infantry are fantastic forces. I say that with particular reference to the Selous Scots, who are members of perhaps the most effective and efficient antiterrorist and anti-guerrilla force in the whole of the African continent. I believe that their loyalty to whatever Government are in power in Rhodesia is beyond doubt. It would be a great shame if the force were disbanded.
However, I have a nasty feeling that after a settlement, especially if in that settlement Mr. Sithole or Bishop Muzorewa, or a combination of both, together with Chief Chirau and Mr. Chikerema, formed a Government in Rhodesia, the Patriotic Front wil continue the struggle from Zambia and Mozambique. The Selous Scouts would be vital in containing the guerrillas and tracking them down. Even in the eyes of this Government such action on the part of the guerrillas would surely then be considered as a flagrant attack on a free and independent country, the country of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe. The Government's proposal that these forces should be disbanded deserves further consideration.
Finally, I wish to refer to the United States. Earlier, one or two hon. Members opposite, particularly below the Gangway, expressed surprise that Conservative Members should support an illegal regime. History is an odd teacher. Perhaps at one time the United States was an illegal regime because the people fought for their freedom from the United Kingdom and, therefore, they attained their independence by arms and military might. Rhodesia took its right of independence. It had been internally independent since 1923. Therefore, after 12 years the Rhodesian Government are a de facto Government, whether people like it or not. For Labour Members continually to 1121 describe them as an illegal regime is an insult not only to the black Rhodesians but to the Rhodesian Government.
President Carter is taking his present attitude because, when he attained power on a number of promises and directed his campaign on human rights towards the Soviet Union, he quickly had his fingers burned. Now he is turning his eyes, for the sake of his black supporters in the United States, to Southern Africa, because, although he will not win, at least he will not get his fingers burned.
Having been in Rhodesia and having met the Prime Minister, Mr. Smith, and all his leading Cabinet colleagues, as well as representatives of all the nationalist factions, I believe that I have some understanding of the problems of that great little country. I visited an operations area and inspected protected and concentrated villages. After talking to dozens of tribes-people through an interpreter in those villages—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Lichfield and Tamworth may laugh, but I have taken the trouble to go there. If you were here earlier and you did not sit with your legs on the Bench in front in a most discourteous attitude—
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Bryant Godman Irvine)
Order. I hope that I have been sitting in a satisfactory position throughout the debate.
§ Mr. Winterton
I was referring to the hon. Member for Lichfield and Tamworth, Mr. Deputy Speaker. You always set the highest standards.
As I was saying, I was able to talk through an interpreter to dozens of tribes-people. All of them expressed abhorrence at the terrorist activities and full support for the security forces which were protecting them from the guerrillas who were carrying out the most ferocious atrocities against the tribes-people. I visited a tribal trust area and saw the splendid agricultural projects being sponsored and initiated by the Rhodesian Government.
Having seen Rhodesia at first hand, I am utterly convinced that it is a fine country, that it is the most progressive country in Africa and that it can retain its prosperity, but only if an internal settlement is negotiated and supported by the West. It has unlimited potential, but 1122 this potential is in danger from external interference.
I have consistently voted against sanctions because I believe that it was wrong that they should ever have been introduced. Having been to Rhodesia, I think that sanctions are damaging the prospects and standard of life of the black Rhodesian far more than those of the white Rhodesian. I want Rhodesia to play its part in the future of Africa. It can prove to be the Switzerland of Africa, showing that a multi-racial society, which already exists, can flourish in the heart of that great continent.
§ 4.14 p.m.
§ Mr. Jerry Wiggin (Weston-super-Mare)
Hon. Members have pointed out that things have changed, but one thing which has not changed in parliamentary terms is the deliberate choice by the Government of the most inconvenient time of the week for a debate on sanctions against Rhodesia. [Interruption.] Hon. Members know full well that a vote at 5.30 p.m. or thereabouts on a Friday is deliberately arranged so that any expression of opposition to the Government's proposals will be reduced to a minimum, and it is ridiculous to argue that that is not so.
In the course of this sad story there have been a number of important changes, none as important, in my view, as the Kissinger proposals of 13 months ago. It was this collaboration between the American, British and South African Governments that made such a startling change in the whole picture in Southern Rhodesia.
My hon. Friend the Member for St. Albans (Mr. Goodhew) and I had the opportunity, shortly after that announcement, of visiting Rhodesia and we were able to speak to Mr. Smith at considerable length. He made it clear that there were two things on his mind. He felt that he had gone as far as he could to maintain the support of those who had kept him in office, those who ran the country, those who owned the weapons, to which the Foreign Secretary referred and those who supported his party. He had done everything demanded of him throughout the previous 11 years and he felt that he had put his name to what he saw as a contract.
Secondly, during the period of transition he felt that it was absolutely 1123 essential that there should be full maintenance of law and order throughout the land, so that the elections could be held properly and fairly, and not in an atmosphere of terrorism and pressure, which is, unfortunately, so common in other African States at election time.
On the first point, I believe that Mr. Smith was badly let down. The reason that the contract was broken was not through any deliberate fault of his. He did not go back even one inch on the contract made at the time of the Kissinger proposals. We all know that it was pressure from the five front-line Presidents and a multitude of different interests in Rhodesia itself that caused the failure of that initiative and has allowed this matter to drag on for more than a year. I see it becoming increasingly unsatisfactory hour by hour.
My hon. Friend the Member for Petersfield (Mr. Mates), in an excellent summary of the security situation, put the matter so well that I need not repeat it. Uniquely in a colonial situation, as the Foreign Secretary said, Britain has faced this problem many times. We have found before that terrorist activity is orchestrated from neighbouring countries and is not an internal movement of dissidents. There is no violence in the centre of Salisbury, as there is in Belfast or as there was in Nicosia and Limassol when the Cyprus troubles were with us. In Rhodesia the action takes place in the countryside, organised from outside.
I cannot agree with the Foreign Secretary that these men are not terrorists. Their atrocities are unspeakable. I see no reason not to remind hon. Members that their favourite trick is cutting off a man's nose, lips and the flesh of his chin, and then making his wife cook and eat them. Also, they murder babies, as I shall show in this quote from The Times.A gang of about 25 entered the farm of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Glenny in the Melsetter district yesterday, snatched their baby. Natasha, from her black nursemaid, threw her on a verandah and bayoneted her three times."That child was only six months old. A few months earlier there was this report :—Rhodesian military authorities announced the discovery today of the bodies of 23 members of a rural African family burnt to death by terrorists said to be members of a nationalist guerrilla group. 1124 Reporters taken to see the bodies were told by officers that a man, his nine wives and 13 of his 36 children were among the dead."There are dozens of stories just as revolting and disgusting. I have absolute hatred for the IRA, but by comparison with what is going on in Rhodesia the IRA terrorists are saints. It is these very people that the Foreign Secretary is planning to incorporate into some form of security force. How does he imagine that Mr. Smith will persuade the 60,000 people who apparently hold the weapons mentioned by the right hon. Gentleman to keep law and order during the period of transition? How will he marry up this difficult problem? He will not do so by involving the Rhodesian terrorists.
I believe that Mr. Andrew Young has the matter wrong. In the context of American politics it is easy to believe that black skin must be right. It is not the same situation in Africa. The tribal background of Rhodesia is very different from the difficulties with which Mr. Young has to cope domestically in the United States.
It was sad to note that the Foreign Secretary, much of whose speech was innocent, never once told the House that he had taken any steps to persuade any of the five Presidents to reduce the violence within the borders of Rhodesia. I hope and pray that that does not mean that he condones that violence. I hope that it will be possible, when the Government spokesman replies to this debate, for him to say whether the Government intend to do anything to stop it. In my view, no solution can possibly be contemplated until violence ceases or is under control.
It suits President Machel to have within his borders a force of Cubans armed with Russian weapons. The disruption and disorganisation of that country has produced widespread hunger and chaos. Wild animals have been slaughtered in their thousands to feed the troops. Therefore, it astonished me that the right hon. Lady the Minister of State for Overseas Development should use our money to subsidise those disgusting people. How am I to explain to one of my constituents whose daughter lives within the boundaries just inside Rhodesia that this money will be used to make her life intolerable? It is inconceivable that that should happen, 1125 and it is for this reason that I speak for the first time in a sanctions debate.
I am sorry that many of my Front Bench colleagues have done a U-turn on the subject of voting. We had a specific promise from my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling) last year. It was on those terms that I and others desisted from voting last year. It appears that no year is ever the right time. I believe that it is the duty of some members of the Conservative Party to say that sometimes right should rule the mind and that the heart occasionally should take over. For that reason, I shall vote against the motion.
§ 4.24 p.m.
§ Mr. Ian Gow (Eastbourne)
Running through this debate has been one welcome ingredient of common ground. Every hon. Member who has spoken wishes to see a peaceful future for Rhodesia on the basis of majority rule. The differences that exist between hon. Members relate only to the method by which that should be achieved.
The Foreign Secretary devoted much of his opening speech to the composition of the security forces in the interim period when the resident Resident Commissioner Designate will have the responsibility and in the period of independence thereafter.
I wish to repeat a question that I put to the Foreign Secretary but to which I received no answer. What is of crucial importance for the peaceful future of Zimbabwe is whether it will be possible to maintain the rule of law in the years immediately following legal independence.
The Foreign Secretary said that it was intended that some of the elements of the existing security forces should be disbanded, that the Zimbabwe army would contain elements of the present terrorist forces, and that only those elements in the existing Rhodesian forces which were—I use his word—acceptable would be incorporated into the new Zimbabwe army.
The question that I put to the Foreign Secretary, which I repeat now, was: "Is there any evidence at all to lead one to believe that the Rhodesian army, the Rhodesian police and the Rhodesian reserve forces as at present constituted would be other than loyal to whatever Government were duly elected as a result of the one man, one vote election, which 1126 I believe to be essential in Zimbabwe? There was no answer from the right hon. Gentleman to that question.
I now put another question. Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that the danger of a lack of loyalty to a newly lawfully independent Government of Zimbabwe would be very much greater if there were incorporated into the new Zimbabwe army elements of the existing terrorist forces, particularly if the result of the one man, one vote election was not to the liking of elements of the present terrorist forces? I believe that that is a key question and that upon the answer to it will depend whether we have a lawful or a lawless Rhodesia after legal independence.
It is relevant to remind ourselves that whatever has been the history of previous independence movements that have resorted to violence in our former colonies, we can say one thing about this last episode in the decolonisation of our former colonies : there has never been—I invite the Minister of State to disagree, if he wishes, when he replies—a terrorist movement or, to use the words that appear in the White Paper, a liberation army which has been so careless as to whether the objects of its attacks were civilians, the indigenous population, women or children as has been the case in this war.
§ Mr. Gow
The hon. Gentleman refers to Mau Mau, but I invite him to look at the figures there in respect of women and children. I think that he will find that the story of bestiality which we see now in Rhodesia exceeds even the record of Mau Mau.
Against this background, we need to examine the Government's proposals for the composition of the security forces both in the interim period and when that period has come to an end, since to suggest that one can incorporate into a national army forces of this kind—I revert here to the hon. Gentleman's reference to Mau Mau—is to defy the whole history of what we have experienced in our decolonisation.
The hon. Member for York (Mr. Lyon) will agree that when Kenya obtained its independence no elements or regiments of Mau Mau were incorporated into the new army of Kenya.
§ Mr. Gow
That may be. I was not talking about leaders. I was not talking about Mr. Nkomo or Mr. Mugabe. I was talking about the possibility, which I regard as wholly unacceptable, that those who have with such industry perpetrated horrors of the kind to which I have referred should become members of an army responsible for the internal and external security of an independent Rhodesia.
I shall say a word now about the psychology and language of the White Paper. My right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) referred to the double use of the word "surrender" in the White Paper. I suspect that that word was introduced at the request of the front-line Presidents. I do not think that it is in the least helpful, when we are trying to achieve a negotiated settlement in Rhodesia, to use that kind of highly provocative language.
The question of citizenship arises in an independent Zimbabwe. The matter appears under Annex A, para. 9, of the White Paper. This matter is of real importance to many Rhodesians, both black and white, who have understandable fears of what may happen in an independent Zimbabwe. Those Rhodesians who are also United Kingdom citizens may be able to retain their United Kingdom citizenship after independence when their Rhodesian citizenship is converted to that of Zimbabwe, but a person who wishes to accept citizenship of a newly-independent Zimbabwe may be compelled to renounce his United Kingdom citizenship.
The case of Mr. Scanlon, in Uganda, comes to mind. He was not a British subject. He was required to renounce his citizenship, and in those circumstances the protective services of the British High Commission were no longer available to him. On the question of citizenship, it is most unsatisfactory that many Rhodesians who have always regarded themselves as basically British may have no right of refuge to the United Kingdom if things should go seriously wrong in Zimbabwe. That right, under the law as it now stands, will be restricted 1128 to those born in the United Kingdom or to the children of fathers so born.
Some Rhodesians joined the British Army in 1939 and served in British regiments. Their Rhodesian fathers served in France and elsewhere in the First World War. Yet they would have no right to enter Britain for residence purposes, because their British link is through their grandparents. Many British immigrants to Rhodesia in the postwar period now have Rhodesian-born grandchildren. If there were a disaster in Zimbabwe the United Kingdom would be open to the grandparents and parents but not to the grandchildren, unless a special law were enacted. I hope that the Minister of State will reply to this question of citizenship in an independent Zimbabwe.
This is the first occasion on which I have taken part in a sanctions debate. It is also the first occasion on which I intend to vote against the advice of my Front Bench. I do so for two reasons. Among Europeans in Rhodesia there is a widespread belief that in this country there has been a failure to understand the difficulties that they face. One way in which it is possible for a Back Bench Member to show that there is understanding is to vote against the renewal of sanctions tonight.
The second reason is that the order extends sanctions for another year. My right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) said that if we were starting from now, or if he had been able to go back over the past 12 years, he would not have been in favour of sanctions. I agree with him. Where I find myself in respectful disagreement with him is that I carry his analysis to the logical conclusion—that the continuation of sanctions would be a further blow to the future prospects of an independent Rhodesia. The continuation of sanctions will hurt most the very people whom they are intended to assist, and for that reason, though with great regret, I shall disregard my right hon. Friend's advice.
§ 4.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Richard Luce (Shoreham)
This is my maiden speech from the Front Bench, and I am bound to feel that if all "maidens" have similar baptisms to the one that I have today I am extremely sorry for them.
1129 I approach the debate with the greatest humility, not only because we face such intractable problems in Southern Africa but because of all that we have heard from both sides of the House today, particularly from my own side. Many of my right hon. and hon. Friends have profound experience of dealing with African affairs and know Africa, particularly Rhodesia, extremely well.
I had the privilege of serving in the Overseas Civil Service. Perhaps the only time that I have ever made history—or ever will—was when I was the last district officer to join the Kenya Civil Service. At that time my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling), who made such a statesmanlike speech this afternoon, was Secretary of State for the Colonies, and he was an outstanding one. However, I have more limited experience of Southern Africa, and I have made only brief visits to that part of the world.
I do not wish to get involved in a philosophical argument with my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Bell) about the way in which we ran the British Empire. Like him, I am extremely proud of what we have achieved. We may differ in our view about the speed with which we granted independence, but I am sure he would agree that our greatest achievement—in fact, the only thing we could do—was to impart what we ourselves believed in, which was democracy, freedom under the law and equal treatment for all.
However, we cannot expect to complete this short stage in our history, the Imperial stage, without some withdrawal symptoms, which we have certainly faced during the last decade in this country. Rhodesia is a unique accident of history. Like the Balfour Declaration, we have to live with the consequences, for good or ill. We face a situation, which we discuss so many times in our debates, that we have in Rhodesia power without responsibility. The whites, with the help originally of the British South African Company, have been ruling for about 90 years, as my hon. Friend the Member for Mid-Bedfordshire (Mr. Hastings) has said, bringing many benefits to all the people of Rhodesia.
In international law we have a responsibility for Rhodesia. In practice we have found it almost impossible, for historic 1130 reasons, to fulfil that responsibility. However, whether we like it or not, the world and the Africans expect us to carry that responsibility and to help them find a solution. The Foreign Secretary made this point earlier.
Our main objective must be to pursue British interests, which are to find a peaceful solution to the problems of Rhodesia. That means that we must satisfy the aspirations of the Africans and overcome the fears of the Europeans. I make no apology for repeating the phrase used by Alan Paton in his famous book "Cry, the Beloved Country" when he referred tothe fear of bondage and the bondage of fear."That is applicable to both the Africans and the Europeans living in Southern Africa.
Rhodesia and South Africa form the cockpit of the world's racial tensions, and future stability in many other parts of the world depends on whether we find a peaceful or a violent solution in Southern Africa.
I hope that the Minister of State, who is to reply to the debate, will give a more encouraging impression than was given by the Secretary of State in Moscow. The right hon. Gentleman is reported to have said at the conclusion of his visit :Our intentions are exactly the same as theirs "—he meant the Soviet Union's—over a Rhodesian settlement."If that is an accurate report of what the right hon. Gentleman said, he has done a disservice to Britain and the West by trying to suggest that we are exactly in line with the Soviet Union's objectives in Southern Africa.
I am a great believer in continuing contact and dialogue with the Soviet Union if we are to avoid conflict, and when I had the privilege of visiting that country I had a two-hour meeting with the late President Podgorny just before he was dropped as President—hon. Members can draw their own conclusions from that. He confirmed what is enshrined Soviet policy. Their objective is to support national liberation and social progress. They claim the right to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries while denying us the right to criticise their 1131 affairs when they abuse human rights in the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union wants a violent solution in Southern Africa. It wants to undermine the West. It is remarkable that the Soviets feel that they can get away—with support from African nations and the Western world—with claiming that they genuinely believe in freedom for the people of Southern Africa while at the same time they not only abuse human rights in the Soviet Union but support the Marxist regime in Ethiopia, which is abusing human rights and which, without doubt, has murdered students and others in that country. It is sheer hypocrisy for the Soviet Union to claim that it is concerned with the interests of the Africans when it gives virtually no aid to the Africans or the Asians in comparison with the West, which gives enormous sums of money. The Soviets supply arms. They want a military settlement.
This is where I turn to the nub of the problem and where there is a difference of opinion between some of us. The Soviets and the Communists exploit situations where there is fertile material to exploit. There has to be genuine discontent before they can step in. I believe that that discontent exists in Southern Africa and Rhodesia. The only way that we can prevent the Soviet Union from stepping in and undermining the position of the West is to take steps to remove the genuine discontent that exists.
I do not question the Government's sincerity in their desire to achieve a peaceful solution. It is a genuine desire. I do not underestimate the grave difficulties that are facing the Foreign Secretary. However, surely it is the duty of the Opposition to criticise constructively when they feel that there are weaknesses in the Government's policies.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Fraser) referred to the confusion of the Kissinger deal. My hon. Friend the Member for Petersfield (Mr. Mates), in an impressive speech based on his recent visit to Rhodesia. confirmed that Mr. Smith has already stated that he has conceded the major demands made by the Africans over the last 15 years. Not only has he accepted majority rule, but he believes that the majority of the whites have accepted it. This is of fundamental importance.
1132 Although I am not necessarily critical at present, I am critical of the rather churlish and carping criticisms made against Mr. Smith over the past year. We need statesmanship and an atmosphere of forgiveness. There has not been sufficient understanding of the real fear that exists in the minds of the Europeans in Rhodesia.
My real anxieties centre around the security forces. My right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet, my hon. Friend the Member for Petersfield, my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton Pavilion (Mr. Amery) and many others have referred to their anxieties, which I fully share, about the law and order question. That is a key question if we are to overcome the genuine fear of the Europeans in Rhodesia.
There is a serious conflict between the White Paper and the subsequent Press release by the Foreign Secretary. In that Press release, the Foreign Secretary referred to the fact that security forces will be based on the liberation forces. My impression from the Secretary of State's speech was that there is some room for manoeuvre in the negotiations on that matter. He must remove that grave anxiety. If the security forces are to be based on the so-called liberation forces, there is no possible hope of a peaceful manoeuvre in the negotiations on that the Foreign Secretary might be able to find a reasonable solution to the security problem.
I witnessed the end of the 15-year civil war in the Sudan. Thanks to the statesmanship of the president, the rebel forces in Southern Sudan have been successfully integrated. That was because they accepted the sovereignty of the President of the Sudan. That is not an exact parallel, but I hope that some lessons will be learned from it.
However, the allegations made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion to the effect that it is possible that the Government intend to undertake a number of measures which would lead to the disbandment on a large scale of the existing security forces in Rhodesia is extremely serious. I must ask the Minister of State, during his reply, to make it absolutely clear that these allegations are not true. If they were true, the repercussions in Rhodesia would be extremely serious.
1133 The other anxieties relate to the attitude of mind with respect to Mr. Smith. My hon. Friend the Member for East-bourne (Mr. Gow) referred to the fact that in the White Paper the Government constantly use the word "surrender". We see that on pages 1 and 2 of the White Paper. It is this attitude of mind that does not help the situation in Rhodesia. My right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion, along with so many others, rightly criticised the Government for their continual emphasis upon the Patriotic Front and a lack of emphasis on the important role which the African leaders living in Rhodesia have to play. The balance must be redressed.
I have a final criticism which I must make of the Government. Although, of course, in the long term, once a settlement has come about, we must have the closest possible relationship with Mozambique, how can the Government possibly think that it contributes to a settlement to dole out vast sums of British taxpayers' money to a regime which is providing the territory from which the guerrillas are slaughtering Africans and Europeans in Rhodesia? Clearly, that is not contributing to a solution.
I repeat the advice given by my hon. Friends on the subject of sanctions. I understand very well the strong and genuine feelings consistently expressed by so many of my hon. Friends on this subject. I believe that they are evoking the anxieties of a great number of British people on the subject, as well as the white Rhodesians—and incidentally, like many people in Britain, 1, too, have relations living in Rhodesia.
These people see the experience of sanctions in the history of the world and wonder whether they work. They see countries such as Cambodia, Chile, Uganda, El Savador and Ethiopia and ask why there should be sanctions on Rhodesia and not on those countries. My right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion said that this will be the twenty-fourth speech he will have heard from the Front Bench in the past 12 years on the subject of sanctions.
I have to plead consistency with Front Bench policy over that period and say that I believe that at this stage, when there are critical negotiations going on, 1134 it would be unwise to oppose sanctions. I believe this for broadly the same reason as my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet, that it would do no good. I believe, and I base this on discussions I have had with Africans in Rhodesia, that they regard sanctions, whether we like it or not, as a symbol of all that Britain stands for in the world, a symbol of our belief in democracy and the principles of majority rule. That is what they have told me. They may have said other things to my hon. Friends.
For that reason, it follows that I believe that the lifting of sanctions could conceivably—I say this with careful modesty—help to undermine the position of the moderate Africans in Rhodesia with whom we wish to reach a settlement. Therefore, I believe that it could help to breed more terrorism.
While my right hon. and hon. Friends understandably do not agree with everything that the Americans feel about Africa, I believe that at this stage in the Anglo-American proposals and their discussion it would not help to flout them. Nor, at this stage in the negotiations, would it help to flout the United Nations and world opinion.
As I understand it, and as the Foreign Secretary said, the White Paper refers to the fact that sanctions will be lifted at the moment of transfer to the transitional Administration. I should like the Minister of State to give an assurance that the lifting of sanctions, when it happens, will take place within a few days, and I should like him to clarify the exact procedure under which he sees this taking place.
I do not believe that Mr. Smith himself believes this to be a major obstacle to a settlement. He is much more anxious about the security situation. He has not said publicly, although he may have said in private, that he regards the lifting of sanctions as critical at this stage. Therefore, it would be wrong to upset the balance in the present critical situation, and I should not like the Conservative Party to be charged with contributing to the breakdown of any talks.
We face a very serious challenge today. We have a land of despair. We could have a land of opportunity. We have a country in the slough of despond, 1135 which is much to the pleasure of one country only, the Soviet Union, with deaths, killings, emigration and stagnation.
We all know that the principle of majority rule has been accepted. If we can have a ceasefire and a properly supervised election in that country, if the Government can give more adequate assurances on security, which they must give today, and if we can encourage the Europeans in Rhodesia to stay through the use of the trust fund rather than discourage them, I believe that there are great and exciting prospects for Rhodesia as a country which is economically prosperous and which can demonstrate real multi-racial harmony in the world.
We must support the Government at this stage when we think that they are right and we must make constructive criticisms when we think that they are wrong. Neither I nor my right hon. Friend want to hamper the prospects for a real, good and peaceful solution to the problems of Rhodesia. Therefore, I must advise my right hon. and hon. Friends not to oppose sanctions tonight.
§ 4.58 p.m.
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. Edward Rowlands)
I offer my congratulations to the hon. Member for Shoreham (Mr. Luce) on his maiden speech from the Opposition Front Bench. The only value of virginity is to lose it. We have jousted before on American affairs and we are now jousting on African affairs.
I spoke a year ago in quite different circumstances. Since then a great deal has happened—the initiative taken by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, which led to the Anglo-United States proposals published in the White Paper and the beginning of Lord Carver's work. That is the background to this debate. Therefore, it is not surprising that the debate has been about the proposals in general. Those are serious proposals, dealing with serious issues.
The central issues of today's debate have been on law and order and security. I think that there has been almost unanimity on at least two propositions. First, we have to deal with the problems of law and order and security and the establishment of a transitional period to ensure 1136 an independent and secure Zimbabwe. I think that all hon. Members are agreed on that.
Secondly, everyone has agreed that the problems are excruciatingly difficult when one has to try to reconcile a large number of conflicting interests and conflicting pressures. Few people would deny that large numbers of guns are in the hands of groups of people inside and outside Rhodesia who are involved in this problem. Unless we address ourselves to and deal with the problem of the military and security situation, there will not be an orderly and stable development towards majority rule and independence, and we shall not bring the new State of Zimbabwe into being in the circumstances that we all desire. One of the major differences of emphasis has been whether our proposals will achieve this or make things more difficult.
There are those who assume that all is well in the garden, in military and security terms—that there is not a problem but that there would be if we dealt with the issues of law and order as we are proposing. I say to them that there is a problem. To get to first base we have to deal with the conflicting groups, with those who carry the guns on both sides. Unless we do that there will be no stable and orderly transitional period, and certainly no independent, secure Zimbabwe. This point has been central to the issues raised in the debate.
Fear has been expressed that a demo cratically elected Government in Zimbabwe will be overthrown or subverted by a new independent army based on the liberation forces. I repeat the commitment that my right hon. Friend has made on more than one occasion. We are absolutely committed to free and fair elections before independence is established. There is no other way.
Hon. Members argued whether Bishop Muzorewa has 85 per cent. support, or Mr. Sithole 15 per cent. support, or Mr. Nkomo 15 per cent. support. The truth is that no one knows. Even the hon. Member for Petersfield (Mr. Mates), on two weeks' experience, could not say with certainty who represents Zimbabwe—who represents the people of Rhodesia. There is only one way, given the conflicts among the nationalist groups, to determine who leads and who will lead the new Zimbabwe, and that is by free and fair 1137 elections. We are totally committed to that principle.
§ Mr. Rowlands
The fundamental point made by my right hon. Friend—the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) confirmed it and said that he was satisfied with the complete assurance that we have given—was that there will be free and fair elections before independence. That is basic to the proposals in the White Paper and to the whole thinking developed by both sides of the House in the last 10 or 12 years.
§ Mr. John Davies
There is a slight confusion here, and I ask the hon. Gentleman to clear it up. My understanding was that the Foreign Secretary had given a positive assurance that there would be fair and free elections before passage to majority rule. That is different from independence.
§ Mr. Rowlands
Majority rule will be established by these elections. Many hon. Members have expressed the fear that. having been established in the transitional period—during which Lord Carver will work out the structure—the new Zimbabwe army will somehow subvert the democraic process. My right hon. Friend's statement in Salisbury has been much quoted. I shall quote from some paragraphs that have not perhaps been given so much attention. He said :Following the elections and prior to independence, the President-elect will make the decisions on the final structure and composition of the Zimbabwe National Army."Therefore, it would be the President-elect, the President elected by the people of Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, who would determine the final structure and composition of the new army.
I turn briefly to the state of the negotiations, as we see it. Lord Carver has just begun his work. The consultations have just begun to establish a ceasefire, to deal with the transitional arrangements and to look forward, inevitably. to the military and security position of 1138 an independent Zimbabwe. We need Lord Carver's expertise, knowledge and experience. Very few have challenged his expertise and experience or his competence and ability to try to deal with what are complex and difficult problems.
I must make it clear that there are no definitive proposals. There are no final proposals regarding the position of the security forces in the transitional period. Lord Carver has only just begun his work. I agree with the right hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling) that we must allow Lord Carver to get on with the job. He must be allowed to try to reconcile the conflicting military pressures and to try to achieve a cease fire. Indeed, he must establish a cease fire before the transitional period can begin.
I hope that the House will take it from me that that is the present state of play. As Lord Carver's work is developed and he finds out and works out what his proposals will be, we can bring them to the House and they will be the subject of debate, discussion and questioning.
§ Mr. Rowlands
I do not know from what account the right hon. Gentleman is drawing. There are no final and definitive proposals regarding—[Interruption.] We shall not have a running commentary on every moment of what are crucial and difficult discussions and negotiations.
Finally, I turn to sanctions. Many Members have spoken of the symbolic as well as the practical issues raised by sanctions. To remove sanctions now would be fatal. It would be fatal to make a change just when we might be able to get a breakthrough. I give the assurance that we shall take special measures, as soon as the transitional period begins, to lift sanctions as the White Paper suggests. We shall not lift sanctions until we are sure that the process to majority rule and an independent Zimbabwe State has irrevocably and 1139 irreversibly begun, and that that process is established.
§ Several Hon. Membersrose—
§ 5.8 p.m.
|Division No. 3]||AYES||[5.08 p.m.|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)||Richardson, Miss Jo|
|Atkinson, Norman||English, Michael||Robinson, Geoffrey|
|Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)||Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Roper, John|
|Bates, Alt||Graham, Ted||Rose, Paul B.|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Grocott, Bruce||Rowlands, Ted|
|Bishop, Rt Hon Edward||Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)||Sandelson, Neville|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Harper, Joseph||Sedgemore, Brian|
|Boothroyd, Miss Betty||Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Sever, J.|
|Butler, Mrs Joyce (Wood Green)||Hart, Rt Hon Judith||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|Cartwright, John||Horam, John||Silkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)|
|Clemitson, Ivor||Jackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)||Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)||Kelley, Richard||Snape, Peter|
|Cohen, Stanley||Kerr, Russell||Stewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)|
|Colquhoun, Ms Maureen||Lamborn, Harry||Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley|
|Crowther, Stan (Rotherham)||Lyon, Alexander (York)||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)|
|Cryer, Bob||Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson||Thorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)|
|Cunningham, G. (Islington S)||Madden, Max||Tomlinson, John|
|Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)||Marks, Kenneth||Watkins, David|
|Davies. Bryan (Enfield N)||Mikardo,Ian||Willey, Rt Hon Frederick|
|Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)||Moyle, Roland||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)|
|Deakins, Eric||Newens, Stanley||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornch'ch)|
|Dell, Rt Hon Edmund||Ovenden,John||Wise, Mrs Audrey|
|Doig, Peter||Owen, Rt Hon Dr David|
|Dormand, J. D.||Pavitt, Laurie||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Douglas-Mann, Bruce||Perry, Ernest||Mr. Thomas Cox and Mr. A. W. Stallard.|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Price, C. (Lewisham W)|
|Amery, Rt Hon Julian||Hastings, Stephen||Skeet, T. H. H.|
|Bell, Ronald||Jessel, Toby||Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Mates, Michael||Stainton, Keith|
|Brotherton, Michael||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Taylor, R. (Croydon NW)|
|Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)||Moate, Roger||Wall, Patrick|
|Dodsworth, Geoffrey||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Fell, Anthony||Page, John (Harrow West)|
|Gardiner, George (Reigate)||Pink, R. Bonner||TELLERS FOR NOES:|
|Glyn, Dr Alan||Powell, Rt Hon J. Enoch||Mr. Jerry Wiggin and Mr. Victor Goodhew.|
|Gow, Ian (Eastbourne)||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.