HC Deb 22 May 1979 vol 967 cc868-9
Q2. Mr. Michael Latham

asked the Prime Minister whether she will pay an official visit to Salisbury, Rhodesia.

The Prime Minister

I have no plans to do so.

Mr. Latham

Although clearly there must be full and proper consultation with our allies and partners on this matter, will the Prime Minister at least confirm that British diplomacy will no longer be tilted towards the Patriotic Front and that the final decision on the legality of Rhodesia's future Government rests with the British Parliament and no one else?

The Prime Minister

British policy on Rhodesia is to do our very best for the people of Rhodesia. We adhere, as we believe the Opposition adhere, to the six principles. There is only one final principle to be decided. The question is whether the fifth principle was decided by the results of the elections. If it was, the six principles will have been honoured. It will be our duty to bring Rhodesia back to legality.

We accept that the responsibility for Rhodesia rests with this House. We shall do our best to honour it.

Mr. David Steel

Is the Prime Minister aware that her Government are correct to proceed much more cautiously on this matter than did her party in the general election, and that it would be wrong to recognise a regime which came to power after the banning of two of the main political parties in Rhodesia? Will she therefore give advice to the new Government in Rhodesia that they, internally, should seek reconciliation and a ceasefire agreement with those political parties which exist but which were barred from taking part in the election?

The Prime Minister

We shall try to bring other countries along with us in the policy that we adopt towards Rhodesia. However, I ask the right hon. Gentleman to remember that the regime in Rhodesia was made illegal on the basis of six principles and six principles only. If those principles are no longer relevant, it will be our duty to bring Rhodesia back to legality, as the six principles will have been honoured.

My noble Friend the Foreign Secretary is sending an emissary to have discussions with the front-line Pesidents and to consult with them on how best to proceed.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is it not curious that some of the Governments most critical of the Rhodesian elections govern States in which there have been no elections at any time? When will it be possible for the report of the observers from the Conservative Party to be placed before the House?

The Prime Minister

I agree with my hon. Friend that democracy is about what the people inside a country want. The elections in Rhodesia were held on the basis of one person, one vote, involving four different political parties.

The report of my noble Friend Lord Boyd will be published. We are not holding it up in any way. It will be available to the House as soon as it comes from the printers.

Mr. James Callaghan

We all welcome the intention to send an emissary to consult with the front-line Presidents. I am sure that they will have some valuable opinions to offer. I welcome the fact that an emissary from the Foreign Office has been to see Bishop Muzorewa. Is it the intention of the Government to send an emissary to see Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Nkomo, who are both essential elements to peacemaking in that part of the world?

The Prime Minister

I have no announcement or statement to make about that point.

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