§ Mr. Speaker
I have selected the amendment in the name of the Prime Minister. So far, no fewer than 16 right hon. and hon. Members have expressed their interest in this important debate. No fewer than five of them are Privy Councillors. I appeal for brief contributions.
§ Mr. Denis Healey (Leeds, East)
I beg to move,That this House, recognising the danger to the Commonwealth if Her Majesty's Government continues its policy of trying to prevent the imposition of strict sanctions against apartheid, calls on Her Majesty's Government to support the adoption of effective economic measures against the South African Government, as recommended by the Eminent Persons Group, in order to exert strong pressure and thereby promote the ending of apartheid, which is essential to preventing a bloodbath in South Africa with all the misery and political, social and economic chaos which would accompany it.We are now in the final stages of a drama, the implications of which for Britain, South Africa and indeed the Commonwealth seem to be spreading almost every day. It is the last act of that drama, an act that began less than three years ago in New Delhi when the Prime Minister joined the other Commonwealth Heads of Government in setting the objective of what she apparently then hoped would be a common policy for the whole of the Commonwealth. The objective was defined as theeradication of apartheid and the establishment of majority rule on the basis of free and fair exercise of universal adult suffrage by all the people in a united and non-fragmented South Africa.I fear that the Prime Minister has sometimes forgotten those words in some of her recent statements about the objectives of negotiations.
All the members of the last Commonwealth summit in the autumn agreed that sanctions should be adopted to help to achieve that objective, but the Prime Minister's veto led to the setting up of the Eminent Persons Group to report within six months and, failing a satisfactory report, sanctions would be considered at the next summit, which is now under two weeks away.
It is just over a month since the House agreed unanimously a Government amendment to an Opposition motion, calling on Her Majesty's Governmentto work actively … for effective measures which will help achieve a peaceful solution in South Africa".In winding up the debate, the Minister of State said thatthe measures taken must be effective. They may not be limited to economic measures … There is no point in introducing measures unless they have a significant effect on the South African Government."—[Official Report, 17 June 1986; Vol. 99, c. 980–90.]It was that statement by the Minister of State that led the Opposition not to oppose the Government amendment.
Since then the European Community has held a summit conference at The Hague at which the Prime Minister herself endorsed a statement that a national dialogue with authentic leaders of the black population was essential to halt a further escalation of violence, and that such a 1014 dialogue required the unconditional release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners and the lifting of the ban on the African National Congress and other political parties. The same summit meeting asked the Foreign Secretary as the Presidency Foreign Minister to visit South Africa to establish those conditions.
Meanwhile, the Community would consult on further measures that might be needed, covering, in particular, a ban on new investments, the import of coal, iron, steel and gold coins from South Africa. However, the moment that that conference was over, the Prime Minister followed the precedent that she set at the Nassau meeting by rubbishing its conclusions. The chairman of the summit, the Dutch Prime Minister, Mr. Lubbers, told the press immediately after it closed that all the members of the summit had agreed to impose that list of sanctions as a minimum if the Foreign Secretary's mission failed. But the Prime Minister immediately said that that was not true; there was no commitment whatever by any of the Ministers to impose that list of sanctions. She stuck to her story, although Mr. Lubbers, as chairman, was confirmed in his account by the Danish Prime Minister and, indeed, by President Mitterrand. Moreover, it was confirmed in the House a little over a week ago by the Prime Minister's own Secretary of State for Energy, who told us in an answer to a question asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Wentworth (Mr. Hardy):The action on South African coal has been agreed by the European Community".The right hon. Gentleman also told my hon. Friend the Member for Pontefract and Castleford (Mr. Lofthouse):the European leaders have agreed upon an approach to South Africa which after three months would include action on a number of materials, including coal. That is the right approach"—an echo, I suppose, of some propaganda by his party in the past—and I hope that it will have some influence on negotiations in the coming months."—[Official Report, 7 July 1986; Vol. 101, c. 3–7.]Some hope. The Prime Minister sent the Foreign Secretary on his mission, to quote the hon. Member for Christchurch (Mr. Adley),up the creek without a paddle and then brought home without a canoe.Many of us on both sides of the House will think that, though colourful, that was an accurate description of the fate to which the right hon. Lady condemned her Foreign Secretary.
We all know that the Foreign Secretary never wanted to go at all. He had an altercation with the Prime Minister on the matter as he was entering the aircraft on the way to The Hague. According to one of the newspapers that overheard, she told him, "If that's the way you feel, perhaps you had better not come at all." But he went.
§ Mr. Healey
The Foreign Secretary finally agreed to be the fall guy for the Prime Minister's policies.
§ Mr. Healey
No, I shall not give way.
What all of us in the Opposition want to know is that if the Prime Minister was really determined on that mission of appeasement, why did she not follow the precedent set by her predecessor, Neville Chamberlain, 1015 and go herself? The South Africans themselves have said that if anyone was likely to influence their position, it would be the Prime Minister, whose common sense and sterling qualities they have recently praised in lavish terms.
As it was, the right hon. Lady sent the Foreign Secretary. Almost from the moment when his aircraft left the tarmac at Heathrow, she drove nail after nail into the coffin of his mission with an astonishing series of interviews, which, I heard this morning on the "Today" programme, were described yesterday by the leading Singapore newspaper as a series of provocative statements that seemed designed to destroy the Commonwealth games. If that were their purpose, they certainly seem to have had some success.
I doubt whether any Foreign Secretary in British history has been deliberately exposed by his own Prime Minister to such a series of humiliating snubs from so many Governments. First, we had the casual refusal of President Botha to see the Foreign Secretary at the beginning of his mission. Then we had the refusal of all the leading blacks in South Africa, from Bishop Tutu to Nelson Mandela, to see him when he went there. We had the refusal of the African National Congress to meet him in Lusaka and then a series of humiliating rebuffs from Commonwealth Prime Ministers in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Indeed, I think that he will agree that the only comfort that he had on that ill-starred mission was the offer of prawns by the Marxist leader of Mozambique.
Since then the Conservative Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Mulroney, has given the Prime Minister herself a piece of his mind and told her that if she will not join the rest of the Commonwealth in sanctions Canada will act unilaterally. The Prime Minister of Australia has given her the same message. The fact is that she has not now one single friend left in the Commonwealth and scarcely one left in the European Community, either. The only friend that she has made by her astonishing behaviour in the past few weeks is the President of the apartheid regime in South Africa. No doubt the praise that she received from him was responsible for her nostalgic regret that South Africa was not still in the Commonwealth.
All that, however, was water off a duck's back to the Prime Minister, who told the world, "If I am right and everyone else is wrong, what does it matter?" It matters a great deal to all of us. She has already wrecked the Commonwealth games and we regret that as much as anyone. Far more serious, however, she now risks wrecking the Commonwealth itself and creating a constitutional crisis of major dimensions involving the Palace itself. Events have reached such a stage that newspapers reported today that several of her senior Cabinet colleagues had been warning the press in the past 24 hours about such a constitutional crisis.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's arguments have become wilder and wilder. At first, she stuck to the Foreign Office line, arguing against comprehensive sanctions. More recently, however, she has been arguing against any kind of action which might have any effect on the South African Government. She has proved an assiduous acolyte of the Botha charm school in recent weeks. She has accused Bishop Tutu, Archbishop Hurley and the Synod of the Church of England of immorality. She has wept crocodile tears at the potential suffering of blacks in South Africa, but there has not been a murmur 1016 of complaint from her about their actual suffering in the past 30 years. Having met some of the church people in South Africa who have made great sacrifices in the fight against apartheid, including a young Catholic priest who has been tear-gassed eight times in the past few months conducting black funerals, I believe that the Prime Minister should apologise in the House for her disgraceful and totally unmerited accusation of immorality.
We have seen the Prime Minister's eyes brim with compassion at the prospect of unemployment in the United Kingdom arising out of sanctions against South Africa, but we now hear that at most 20,000 jobs might be lost if mandatory comprehensive sanctions were introduced immediately. Yet through her own policies the Prime Minister has created 2 million unemployed in this country in the past few years without batting an eyelid. Her display of compassion has deceived no one. As Foreign Minister Botha has said, her policy is determined not by political or moral considerations but by commercial consideration—no doubt a reference to the fact that nearly half the Conservative party's funds, or more than £1 billion, is contributed by firms with operations or estate in South Africa. [Interruption.] I am sorry—£1 million.
The Prime Minister's worry about the impact of sanctions on the British economy is misplaced. It has been argued with unassailable logic by the Eminent Persons Group—a group which included Lord Barber, who has a major financial stake in South Africa and great knowledge of South Africa through his position as chairman of the Standard Chartered Bank—that unless the outside world imposes sanctions there is no chance of the dialogue without which apartheid cannot be brought to an end and without which there will be an inexorable slide into a bloodbath worse than anything since the second world war, to quote Lord Barber himself, in which all Britain's commercial interests as well as all her political influence would be lost. No one has argued that point more strongly than the Conservative ex-Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Malcolm Fraser, whom no one could accuse of not being a hard-headed Conservative.
The point made by the Eminent Persons Group, which has also been made time and again within and outside the House, is that sanctions are not an alternative to negotiation but the only means of promoting the conditions in which a meaningful dialogue can take place. Nothing, however, can dent the Prime Minister's unassailable complacency and the inspissated ignorance from which it springs. The other day she told the House that the United Kingdom was doing more than any other country in sanctions against South Africa, but my right hon. Friend the Member for Islwyn (Mr. Kinnock) listed in a letter to her 16 countries which were doing more. Yesterday, the Prime Minister told my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Ms. Richardson) that many Commonwealth leaders opposed sanctions as she did, but she could not name even one. She is even rewriting history, quoting Wilberforce of all people in her support the other day for his success in stopping the slave trade. Wilberforce's opponents in the Chamber — the West Indians in Westminster, as they called themselves—used exactly the arguments that the Prime Minister is now using, claiming that the ending of slavery would damage Britain's commercial interests and would be bad for the slaves themselves. In fact, slavery was finally stopped by a naval blockade. The Prime Minister may care to reflect on that precedent.
1017 In her recent series of interviews, the Prime Minister referred time and again to the Rhodesian settlement as a settlement by negotiation which she would wish to follow in relation to South Africa.
§ Mr. Healey
I will give way in a moment.
The Rhodesian settlement took place only because the Prime Minister reversed the policy on which she was elected, and she did so under pressure from the Commonwealth at a conference attended by the Queen against the Prime Minister's firm advice. The Prime Minister may care to reflect on that analogy. She advised Her Majesty not to attend the Lusaka conference on Rhodesia, but the Queen subsequently issued a statement saying that she had noted the advice but regarded her duty to the Commonwealth as taking precedence over accepting the advice of the Prime Minister.
§ Mr. Healey
On that occasion, the Prime Minister continued to apply sanctions as a basis for a settlement. The other factor in producing a settlement was a large scale guerrilla war in which at least 12,000 people lost their lives in the preceding 12 months. As we know—those who do not may care to read an interesting book by Mr. Miles Hudson, then adviser to the Conservative Government—the major influence in getting the Prime Minister to reverse her position was Lord Carrington. Let us hope that his successor will follow his example and have equal success in getting the Prime Minister to reverse her position.
There are some signs of movement. Contrary to what the Prime Minister told the House only last week, the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr. Heath) has made a speech saying that the Government should take active measures to restrain South African trade which could culminate, if necessary, in a trade blockade. If he catches your eye, Mr. Speaker, he may make further remarks along these lines this afternoon.
The right hon. and learned Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr, Brittan), who, until the Foreign Secretary, was the Prime Minister's most eminent fall guy, made an interesting speech last week. He said—and I hope that his colleagues on the Conservative Benches will ponder his words—that if the Foreign Secretaryis to stand the remotest chance of success he must go armed with the necessary authority. Whatever their disadvantages, international coercive measures, whether formally labelled as sanctions or not, are one of the few weapons in our arsenal against the citadel of apartheid beyond mere persuasion … The world must know of our readiness to have recourse to stronger measures against the Pretoria regime in the event of the failure of Sir Geoffrey's mission. Without that knowledge, the mission will not be just, as is inevitable, formidably difficult, but utterly hopeless.This is a growing feeling among all in this country and outside who watch the Foreign Secretary's lamentable journey.
§ Mr. Bowen Wells
What does the right hon. Gentleman think should take place? Does he want to impose a blockade o r South Africa, and, if so—
§ Mr. Healey
I was unwise to give way, because this is precisely the series of points to which I am coming.
The question left is what sort of sanctions are most likely to be, to use the Prime Minister's word, effective — not signs and gestures, the latest phrase that the Prime Minister has produced as a surrogate for sanctions. When she discussed in an interview with Mr. Hugo Young the possibility of signs or signals and gestures, she made it clear that they are not effective, and she is right. I believed before my visit to South Africa—and I said this in the House a month ago—that a gradual escalation of sanctions by stages is the best way to approach the problem. However, since my visit I have changed my mind. I found that every person to whom I spoke in the black community, both inside and outside South Africa, and those business men in the white community — a small minority, some of whom I met in Lusaka and Johannesburg—believe that sanctions are necessary, and that by far the best would be comprehensive mandatory sanctions because they would bring the matter to a head faster. It is no good the hon. Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle), the West Indian on the Government Back Benches, wagging his head—
§ Mr. Healey
I am talking about the West Indians who supported slavery and used the same argument as the hon. Member for Luton, North, which is that to abolish slavery would damage British commercial interests and the interests of the black slaves.
The people with whom I talked, the black leaders, the church people, the members of the United Democratic Front, trade unions, members of the ANC, members of the Zambian Government, all thought that comprehensive mandatory sanctions would be best because they are quickest and sharpest.
The Commonwealth Secretary made a speech yesterday that I hope that all hon. Members will take the opportunity to read, because sneering at the Commonwealth will not save us from a constitutional crisis if the Prime Minister destroys the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Secretary argued—and there is a good deal in this—that there is a case for something less than comprehensive sanctions. They can be kept as a deterrent against South Africa retaliating on the front-line states againt something less than comprehensive sanctions. I see that the hon. Member for Hertford and Stortford (Mr. Wells) sees merit in that. I am glad that this measure commends itself to at least some Conservative Members.
If we do not go all out for comprehensive mandatory sanctions, which would require the acquiescence of the United States Administration and the Security Council as well of the British Govenment, Mr. Malcolm Fraser is 1,000 times right when he argues, as he did in yesterday's international Herald Tribune, thatThe purpose of sanctions would not be to destroy the South African economy. They would need to be constructed in such a way as to give the economy and the white population in particular a real body blow. It is not a question of turning the screw gently and steadily, it is a question of a hard blow".He is right and all those who have come to accept the case for sanctions, with whom I have discussed the matter inside South and southern Africa, take the same view. It would be better to concentrate on banning key South African exports because that is a very much more simple problem than restraining all South African imports. 1019 Without the currency earned by exports, the South African Government's capacity to import is severely constrained. That would include measures on gold, diamonds and minerals.
The Prime Minister has argued that to do anything on gold would help the Soviet Union. That would be true of a ban on gold exports from South Africa, although such a ban might be evaded to some extent by smuggling, not least from the middle east. If the Governments of the Western world took seriously their often stated desire to de-monetarise gold, the easiest way to achieve this objective would be for the countries with large gold stocks to start selling them off so as to depress the price of gold. This would be beneficial to the monetary system in the Western world, and would hurt South Africa and, incidentally, the Soviet Union.
A ban on all investment is desirable, but it would have little effect beyond what will happen anyway. I have not met anyone recently who is prepared to put a penny of new money into South Africa if he can help it. Most of the big multinationals in South Africa have already begun withdrawing or have withdrawn. For example, some are selling off their machinery abroad. That has happened in several cases. There is a steady drain of trained professional people with marketing skills. I am sure that the Chancellor will be unhappy to hear that, of 160 auditors in South Africa a year ago, 60 will have left by the end of the year. The trickle of whites who left Zimbabwe after independence are returning, because they see the prospects as being far more hopeful than staying in South Africa.
I agree that whatever package of measures is finally adopted must be the subject of collective action of a large number of states, one hopes through the United Nations. I hope that the Prime Minister was being serious when she told Mr. Malcolm Rutherford of the Financial Times in an interesting interview published about a week ago that she would some day go to the United Nations for mandatory collective sanctions, although not comprehensive sanctions.
Whatever package is chosen must be strict and swift. It is no good the Prime Minister thinking that she can put off decisions now beyond the Commonwealth conference, as she told one interviewer during the bizarre burst of reflection to which she treated us 10 days ago. To seek delay now would mean that decisions would come too late and at stake now is not just the fate of the suffering millions in South Africa but the fate of those in the frontline states who are under constant attack and threat from the apartheid regime. At stake is the Commonwealth and the British constitution. I appeal to hon. Members on both sides of the House who value those things to apply all possible pressure to the Prime Minister before it is too late. I ask the House to approve the motion.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Sir Geoffrey Howe)
I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:`reasserts its commitment to the Commonwealth and the goal of peaceful change in South Africa through negotiation; does not believe that general economic sanctions would help to secure that objective; notes that the Government is committed by the Nassau Accord and the Declaration by the European 1020 Council at The Hague on 27th June 1986 to consultations with the Commonwealth, the Community and other allies on further measures which might be needed; and welcomes the efforts of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in his capacity as President of the Twelve to establish conditions in which negotiations can take place.'.As so often on these occasions, it would not be fruitful for me to try to follow the hyperbolic and fanciful course charted by the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey). He has roamed far and wide in his reminiscences about my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, with whom he seems to be continually and astonishingly fascinated to the point of hyperbole. He found himself drawn into anecdotage of every kind, finally embarking upon the proposition that we were committed to £1 billion from South African funds. [Interruption.] We recollect his days of mathematical accuracy.
I am concerned to discuss what contribution Britain, as a member of the Commonwealth, of the summit Seven and of the European Community, can make to the prospects of peace, prosperity and freedom for the 32 million people of South Africa. We in Europe should approach the subject carefully because European history is not free of racial conflict. We have no right to strike a self-righteous pose on the subject. European history has taught the world tragic lessons about the evil of discrimination against human beings on grounds of creed or race. So it would be a step forward in our discussion of South Africa if we were to approach that desperately difficult problem with a little less emphasis on our own self-righteousness and a great deal more emphasis on the practical objectives that we should pursue.
If Europe understands this, as it does, and if it understands, as it does, the full strength of the case against apartheid, so too does the Commonwealth. I quote:United in our desire to rid the world of the evils of racism and racial prejudice, we proclaim our faith in the inherent dignity and worth of the human person … We reject as inhuman and intolerable all policies designed to perpetuate apartheid, racial segregation, or other policies based on theories that racial groups are or may be inherently superior of inferior.Those words come from the Lusaka Commonwealth declaration which, far beyond the myths peddled by the right hon. Gentleman, my right hon. Friend helped to frame in 1979 as the foundation for the success of the Government that she leads in securing the independent freedom of Zimbabwe. That is the reality of the position of the Government of my right hon. Friend. Those words are the very foundation of this Government's policy towards South Africa.
It is unacceptable to us that the rights of minorities should be suppressed by majorities, whatever their colour. That is why Britain has so often, and even today, provided a refuge for men and women who face oppression at home —from Africa as well as from other continents. By the same token, we cannot accept that the rights of the black and coloured majority in South Africa should be subordinated to those of the white minority in the name of Christianity, civilisation and Western values. It must be said that it is not Christian, not civilised and certainly not in the interests of the West that such a system should survive.
So, too, it must be said that explicit recognition by the South African Government leaders that apartheid must 1021 end is an important step in the right direction. We have had just such explicit recognition from the President of the South African Government himself.
What the world now wishes to see—and there should be no difference between both sides of the House on this — is a decisive movement towards a system that will command the approval and consent of all the people of South Africa. [Interruption.] Some hon. Members may be dismayed to hear me asserting these truths, but we hold these views to be most important. We understand something else as well. We understand, and it is right that we should, the fears of some South Africans which act as a constraint on change. We say that those fears are more likely to be fulfilled if grave decisions are not taken to bring about change rapidly enough.
It must be recognised that the decisions that have to be taken will require great bravery. For that reason, we approach the matter with sympathy and understanding. That is why the European Council meeting at The Hague last month underlined the urgent need, not for violence, but to promote dialogue in South Africa and to achieve peaceful change. The European Council fully recognised the importance of the work done by the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group to promote the same objective. That group came into existence not because of the obduracy or intransigence of my hon. Friend but because my right hon. Friend, with other Commonwealth leaders, was able to reach a common position upon the desirability of such a group. It should be acknowledged that that group has been a unique creation which only the Commonwealth could have created. Its work was of enormous importance.
It was because the European leaders had the desire to renew the momentum of the work of that group that they asked me, as President of the Council of Ministers, to undertake a fresh mission on behalf of the 12 European nations. The European Council set precise objectives for that mission. Its objectives were the unconditional release of Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners and the unbanning of the ANC, the PAC and other political parties. I do not underestimate the difficulty of that task but I have no doubt that it is right that this further effort should be made.
That is why last week, as the first part of my mission, I was glad to consult President Kaunda, President Machel and Prime Minister Mugabe. I had full, effective consideration of all the issues with those Heads of Government. This morning, I also consulted President Masire of Botswana. It ill becomes the right hon. Gentleman to talk about rebuffs and exchanges of that kind. I have undertaken the mission with the authority of the European Community. Those missions have been of great value and I am most grateful to the Heads of Government whom I have met.
§ Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)
I am not arguing against the Foreign Secretary's mission although I do not think it will meet with success. Suppose that he does everything humanly possible to argue the case with the full backing of the Twelve, but at the end South Africa says that it is not prepared to do anything about getting rid of apartheid, what do he and his Government intend to do?
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
If the hon. Gentleman can contain himself in patience, he will hear the answer in due course.
1022 Let me tell the House the first of the five important propositions that I put to each of the leaders that 1 met. First, apartheid must give way to a non-racial, fully representative society. Secondly, it would be wrong not to acknowledge that change in South Africa has taken place, but there must be more change and it must take place more quickly. Thirdly, negotiation still remains the best and quickest means of bringing apartheid to an end. Violence will prolong the process of change and prolong misery. The right setting for dialogue and change should be the suspension of violence on all sides.
Fourthly, I made the point that comprehensive mandatory sanctions would not, as some people like to believe, bring down the South African Government. It is not on the verge of collapse. Finally, for all those reasons, we must continue to identify and exploit every chance and opportunity for dialogue.
Three things emerged from those discussions. First, there was complete— I repeat the word "complete"—agreement about objectives. Secondly, there were significant but understandable differences about the means, including differences between the four leaders whom I met. Thirdly—and this is important—there was a greater readiness to accept the sincerity of the mission that I am undertaking.
I was also able to remind the three leaders of some of the practical and positive actions that we are taking to help to surmount specific difficulties in southern Africa. For the front-line states, these include measures to improve rail and road transport to the outside world and to enhance protection of those links by training for their armed forces, and for the black people of South Africa, the European code of conduct for employers, recently revised, and educational programmes for black South Africans and black trade unions. At The Hague we announced our intention to enhance this programme by £15 million over the next five years.
In the context of The Hague agreement to consult other industrialised countries, a point to which I have already referred, I shall be going to Washington tomorrow for talks with Secretary Shultz and Vice-President Bush. I shall be consulting, as seems to me to be entirely sensible. to see how wide is the common view about the future cooperation. A senior official from my office has already visited Canberra and Tokyo on my behalf, and, as the House knows, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has consulted the Prime Minister of Canada.
Next week I shall go again to southern Africa. I expect to see President Botha at the beginning and at the end of this visit and Mr. Pik Botha, the Foreign Affairs Minister, soon after my arrival. The key to progress in South Africa is self-evidently the position of the South African Government.
I shall use those meetings to explore the intentions of the South African Government to take measures to further the dismantling of of apartheid, to urge on them the need to act rapidly and decisively in this direction, if further tragedy is to be averted, and in particular, and most urgently of all, to press on them the need to release Mandela and other political detainees and to unban the African National Congress and other political parties as an essential prerequisite for any dialogue at all.
§ Mr. John Carlisle (Luton, North)
When my right hon. and learned Friend sees President Botha, will he be careful not to impose on the President and the Government of 1023 South Africa an absolute timetable of measures that my right hon. and learned Friend expects to be taken? Particularly in relation to the National Party Congress which is to be held in South Africa in early August, will he ensure that he does not ask the South African Government to impose conditions that they will be unable to deliver until they have consulted their own party and their own people?
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
I shall be presenting the points that I have just described to the South African Government in the context of the definition of my mission arising from The Hague European Council. These discussions will take place against the background of important international meetings that are to be held following my visit. While I am in South Africa I shall seek to meet a wide range of people of all colours, representing all opinions throughout South Africa.
I recognise, of course, that so far there has been reluctance on the part of some South African leaders to meet me in the context of my mission, but, whether or not they agree with our approach, I cannot believe that it is wise for them to withhold their advice at this stage from the mission that I am undertaking. I hope that, on reflection, they will be able to accept the sincerity of the mission that I am undertaking on behalf of the European Community.
The House should recall that this Government, more than any previous British Government, have implemented fully and conscientiously, together with our Commonwealth and European partners, a whole series of measures that are designed to make clear our view of the imperative need to bring apartheid to an end. These measures affect the economic, sporting and cultural relations between this country and South Africa. They have been listed to the House by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and they have this common feature: they have been calculated not to threaten, not to destroy, but to encourage and promote the change, about the need for which we are all agreed.
I wish to leave the House in no doubt about where we stand on the question of possible further measures to achieve that objective. Commonwealth Heads of Government at Nassau agreed that in the absence of adequate progress they would consider the adoption of further measures. At The Hague last month, the European Council committed the Community to enter into consultations with the other industrialised countries in the succeeding three months on further measures which might be needed. As my right hon. Friend said at the subsequent press conference:All agree that further measures are not excluded.As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister also told the House on 1 July, certain contingency plans that were outlined in The Hague communique are being made. She went on:We are not negotiating from weakness. We are negotiating in a way which we believe will have the best chance of success." — [Official Report, 1 July 1986; Vol. 100, c. 822.]It is precisely in the same fashion that I am conducting the mission that has been entrusted to me.
§ Mr. Healey
Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman clear up a point which I know created consternation when 1024 news of the European Community decision reached Africa, because I happened to be in Lusaka? The Prime Minister suggested that it would be a good thing if the Commonwealth summit took no decisions whatsoever on sanctions. Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman now suggesting that this matter should be left over for a further few months until there can be a meeting of the European Community, or is he prepared to fulfil the obligation which the Prime Minister accepted at the Nassau meeting to consider and take decisions on possible further measures at the Commonwealth summit in a fortnight's time? If not, I warn him that he is in for very, very serious trouble indeed.
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
I have no doubt that at the Commonwealth meeting at the beginning of August and at subsequent Community meetings the commitments we made in each of those respective places to consider further measures will be undertaken. Consideration will be given to them.
However, it is important to understand each of the points that the right hon. Gentleman challenged. There was, and there is, no concept of automaticity about any further measures. There was no misunderstanding about this at The Hague meeting.
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
No. Let me tell the House what the Dutch Foreign Minister told the Dutch Parliament on 2 July. There is no doubt about it. He said that not all countries had committed themselves to the package of measures set out in the declaration of 27 June and that there was therefore no automatic obligation on the Community to take further European Community measures in three months' time. That is the position. It was agreed that each of us would consider measures when the time came for consideration, after the three-month process. It was also agreed that no country would rule out any of those measures and that consideration would take place. That is the position.
§ Mr. Healey
The right hon. and learned Gentleman will be aware that the Dutch chairman of the summit conference, Prime Minister Lubbers, met the press immediately after the conference was over. I have the video tape of his interview. He said that it was agreed by the Heads of Government that measures would be taken if the Foreign Secretary's mission failed. That was endorsed by the Danish Prime Minister, although President Mitterrand said that it was a gentlemen's agreement. Whether that was intended to exclude the right hon. Lady I am not sure. But there is no question that the impression of at least the chairman and other members at that meeting was that a commitment was made, whether formal or informal. Is that the case?
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
I am trying to set the right hon. Gentleman's mind at rest, and I shall try to do so again. Let me return to the words of the communiquée. It was agreed that in the next three monthsthe Community will enter into consultations with the other industrialised countries on further measures which might be needed.They were identified. It was agreed that in that consideration no country would rule out any of those measures but that the consideration would be honourably 1025 and fairly undertaken. It is true that different comments were made about that at subsequent press conferences on that day. It was as a result of that that the Dutch Foreign Minister was asked to clarify the position as his Government saw it, and it was in those circumstances that he said what I have just read out: that not all countries had committed themselves to the package of measures set out in the declaration.
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
If the hon. Gentleman wants to have the position clarified, he must listen to the clarification given by the Dutch Foreign Minister, as Chairman of the European Council. The Dutch Foreign Minister went on to say:There was, therefore, no automatic obligation on the Community to take further European Community measures in three months' time.
§ Mr. Julian Amery (Brighton, Pavilion)
Would my right hon. and learned Friend agree that it would be very wrong for major steps to be taken before Parliament has been consulted?
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
One of the reasons for this debate — and the reason for the debate that we had some weeks ago — is to embrace such consultation with Parliament. I cannot give my right hon. Friend a firm commitment in the light of the Government motion passed by the House, without opposition, prior to the European Council meeting. The interest of Parliament in this matter is understandably intense and that is why we are discussing the matter in detail now.
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
I shall not give way again.
There was and is no concept of automaticity about further measures. However, we have agreed to consider these measures. I am engaged in a mission to southern Africa, not to promote measures, but to seek changes and commitments to progress which are desired by hon. Members on both sides of the House, the European Community and the Commonwealth. It must be recognised that I may not achieve those changes. If the mission does not procure tangible and substantial progress in South Africa, I would regard agreement on further measures as likely to be necessary.
§ Sir Ian Lloyd (Havant)
My right hon. and learned Friend has raised a fundamental point. So far this afternoon he has implied that there is a trip wire which immediately, or soon after his return, can generate substantial further measures. He also implies that there are conditions which he expects to achieve when he reaches South Africa. Is it not of the most fundamental importance that these conditions are known and clearly defined?
We are talking about the end of apartheid. What precisely does that mean? Does it mean merely the elimination of all the discriminatory legislation which has appeared on the statute book since 1948? That has always been the definition that we have been asked to accept in this House. Alternatively, does it now mean something more profound — a change in the basic social and economic conditions in that country? If the latter is the case, that applies not only to South Africa but to many other countries in which such social and economic 1026 conditions may be found today. There is no basis on which we can discriminate against South Africa in the latter case as opposed to the former.
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
One of the areas of common ground in this debate has, sadly, been the need to deal separately and distinctly with the case of South Africa. That has been the characteristic of meeting after meeting of the international community and of meeting after meeting of this House.
I understand the importance of my hon. Friend's wide-ranging inquiry, but the objective of the mission — as agreed at The Hague —is for me to visit southern Africa in a further effort to establish conditions under which the necessary dialogue can commence. The necessary dialogue will allow negotiations leading to a truly democratic and non-racial South Africa. According to The Hague communiqué:This dialogue cannot take place as long as recognised leaders of the black community are detained and their organisations are proscribed.That is the importance of the two objectives about which I have reminded the House on several occasions. That is the nature of the mission and it is clearly defined.
§ Mr. Robert Adley (Christchurch)
Like my right hon. and learned Friend, I share the view that few of us believe that economic sanctions in themselves are a cure-all. Equally, not many of us believe that no further measures should be considered and most people of goodwill would support my right hon. and learned Friend in what he is trying to achieve.
The other day we debated an Opposition motion on this subject and the Government removed the word "economic" from the motion, leaving open the proposition that other measures could be considered. Will my right hon. and learned Friend consider a point which has not been raised so far today? While the political power in South Africa is largely in the hands of the Afrikaners, much of the economic power still lies in the hands of British South Africans, many of whom enjoy the right to a British passport—even though many were not born here—which they use to travel around the world. In his future consideration of measures, will my right hon. and learned Friend consider that point?
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
My hon. Friend's point is not lacking in ingenuity and it raises some difficult questions. He may have an opportunity to elaborate upon it in a further intervention.
The right hon. Member for Leeds, East underlined the point conceded some weeks ago by his right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Sparkbrook (Mr. Hattersley), the deputy leader of the Labour party. That belief is at the heart of the speech made by the right hon. Member for Leeds, East. It is that a policy of general economic sanctions would not be in the interests of the British peoplee or the people of South Africa. If that is common ground, as I take it to be from the right hon. Gentleman's speech, it is an important point that should be recognised. That point was at the heart of the speech made today by the right hon. Member for Leeds, East, it was at the heart of the point made by the deputy leader of the Labour party and it is on that basis that I would address myself again to my mission.
§ Mr. Neil Kinnock (Islwyn)
Before the right hon. and learned Gentleman leaves that point, my hon. Friend the 1027 Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Heffer) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) asked what would happen if the right hon. and learned Gentleman's mission did not achieve its intended success. That point has not been answered despite the undertaking that it would be. As the Foreign Secretary is representing the EEC, if the absolute conditions of the unconditional release of Nelson Mandela and the equally unconditional unbanning of the ANC do not happen as a consequence of his second or first meeting with P. W. Botha, what will the Secretary of State do? The Secretary of State's earlier statement that he will be prepared to consider further measures will not impress the Afrikaners or the rest of the world.
§ Sir Geoffrey Howe
The right hon. Gentleman has failed to take note of what I have already said. It is beyond doubt that, within the Community and the Commonwealth, consideration will be given to the question of further measures on the basis of the objectives that I have described repeatedly in the course of my speech. That appraisal will be undertaken on the basis of the further important point that if the mission does not procure tangible and substantial progress, I would regard agreement on some further measures to be necessary.
Before I was interrupted, I was embracing the common ground that I thought had been established. The Opposition, neither in the motion nor through the speech of the right hon. Member for Leeds, East, will not press us to make general, comprehensive economic sanctions. That is an important advance.
There are many families in this country with a real human interest in the future of South Africa and there is also interest in the rest of Europe. In Africa, the human interest in the future of South Africa is even more intense. All these people want a future of peace and justice in South Africa. My mission is not easy but it has a chance. With the support of this House, I will continue to strive for the success of that mission.
§ Dame Judith Hart (Clydesdale)
I begin with the assumption that follows on from the Foreign Secretary's last words that, between now and the next opportunity that the House has to debate the subject, matters will have moved on and the Prime Minister will have had to appreciate the need to take further measures. That is not an unreasonable assumption. The Foreign Secretary went as near as he could to admitting that that will be the case and that during the next two months, during the Commonwealth summit meeting in London, and then in preparation for further meetings, the Government must move towards fuller consideration of further measures.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) mentioned some of the measures that he believes would be effective. He mentioned coal, gold and arms. He said—as we have all noted today—that South Africa has just announced the manufacture of a new aircraft, which means that until now the arms embargo has been ineffective. It has allowed South Africa to develop its manufacturing capacity for arms, its oil and its air flights.
What distresses me — I say this to my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East as well as to the Foreign Secretary — is that we are not devoting the 1028 essence of the debate to considering precisely which sanctions are likely to be the fastest acting and most effective, but will, at the same time, have the least effect on the front-line states and will be totally enforceable. I emphasise the last point because, from my experience when trying to deal with sanctions against Rhodesia, too many commercial buccaneers are supported by their Governments, as was the case with the United States and West Germany and their evasion of the sanctions against Rhodesia in respect of minerals, especially chrome. One must be certain that whatever one does is enforceable, otherwise it becomes nonsense. One must be certain that the measures one takes are effective. If the aim of sanctions is to produce a negotiated settlement and peace instead of a bloodbath, they must be rapidly effective.
It disturbs me that the outstanding area where all of this could be achieved has not even been mentioned in the debate. That is financial sanctions. I draw to the attention of the House, of my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East and of the Foreign Secretary the simple fact that, in the United States, as most of us know, the lobby and the passion of public opinion on South Africa is infinitely greater than it is in Britain. The Congressmen and Senators must heed public opinion and behave accordingly on the issue.
In 1975, the House of Representatives passed a Bill, and in April of this year the Senate passed a Bill by a majority of over 90 to 3, which has now gone to the Senate Finance Committee. Of course, anything can happen to it there and, ultimately, President Reagan could veto it. Nevertheless, it has gone through the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Bill is highly specific. It calls for a total embargo on financial relationships between American financial institutions and South Africa — that includes an embargo on new investments, new loans and the rolling over of loans—and on any more of the negotiations that took place in January and February this year which rescued the South African economy. At the same time, the Bill calls for the entire disinvestment by transnational corporations based in the United States.
If there are to be rapidly effective sanctions, it is important, as the Foreign Secretary said, that the Security Council of the United Nations reaches agreement on this. To do that it is important to have the support of the United States for whatever is agreed. There is no better starting point for that support than a Bill which has gone through Congress and the Senate and is sitting in the Finance Committee with overwhelming support of public opinion in the United States. Not only that, but the Bill has met no great resistance from the American business community, which seems to be more capable of recognising its long-term interests than is the British business community.
If one looks ahead, whether to negotiation or a bloodbath, it is historically evident that in the not too far distant future the world will deal with a black South Africa. Any business interest, such as the South African Chamber of Commerce, which, as I mentioned in the previous debate, gave evidence to the panel of which I was a member, must recognise that its future lies in coming to terms with that simple fact.
It is ludicrous that the House does not give more attention to studying the ins and outs, the pros and cons and the problems and the advantages of introducing early severe financial sanctions. Let me take a possible 1029 disadvantage. What would happen to the British interests in South Africa? The Bank of America recently pulled out of South Africa completely with apparently no grave disadvantage. Barclays Bank has retreated and has transferred its interests in South Africa.
The Foreign Secretary, as far as I know, has in his economic relations department only three officials and a couple of boys capable of considering the economic aspects of the issue. He might have called in masses of people from the Treasury, but I doubt whether they would be terribly helpful. If one considers the self-interest of the British banks, it is doubtful whether any bank has extended its operations in South Africa to the extent where withdrawal would cause it any problems. The position is not the same as the over-extension of some British banks during the debt crisis in Latin America. I doubt whether the self-interest of British banks presents an insuperable barrier to their going along with us. Indeed, they would have to if legislation was introduced for withdrawal, no new loans, no rolling over of loans and no rescheduling of loans to South Africa.
Why could that be important? We do not have much experience to go on. However, we can mention one experience. In August last year, South Africa was in a difficult financial position. It was seeking rescheduling of loans, new loans and a rollover of loans. The rand took a tremendous tumble. By January and February, with the assistance of the Swiss hanker who raced all over Europe to try to whip up support for rescheduling, but who has now withdrawn because he says that not as much progress has been made as he understood would be made, the crisis was over. But between August and then when the rand was under tremendous pressure and when South Africa was desperate about its financial position, we saw some of the smallest but most dramatic moves forward in the attitude of the South African Government towards making concessions on apartheid.
In January or February rescheduling was agreed and everything was wonderful. It appeared that there was no more need to worry about South Africa's financial position. From that date began the events leading up to the state of emergency and all that has happened since. That is only a short period historically, but people cannot quote anything else in evidence and it is strong evidence.
The greatest influence on political change in South Africa, as in every society which is basically capitalist—I use the word not pejoratively but factually—will come from the business community. If the business community is worried, there will probably be the pressure for change. If the Foreign Secretary wishes pressures to achieve negotiation, the business community is priority number one. I do not understand why, in all the talk about general economic sanctions and comprehensive mandatory sanctions, we are not analysing closely what could be done and what measures would be likely to be the most effective.
I mention again briefly the role of the transnational corporations, because the Bill that has gone through the House of Representatives and the Senate calls for complete disinvestment by them. That is presumably something on which we could agree with the Americans to go to the Security Council. We would not be starting from scratch. President Reagan may not like it any more than the Prime Minister would like it, but it is at least a starting point for agreement with the Americans without which no sanctions can be effective.
1030 During the consideration which the Foreign Secretary will give, on his forthcoming visit to South Africa, and I would suppose during the weeks that follow, when precise support for some sanctions must be forthcoming from the British Government, the financial sanctions so much neglected in the discussion on South Africa should be given a first and important priority. Out of all of the possible measures, I would pick that as being of top priority in terms of effectiveness, being enforceable, creating the least damage to the black South African states and achieving the process of political change.
§ Mr. Edward Heath (Old Bexley and Sidcup)
I have listened with great interest to the right hon. Member for Clydesdale (Dame J. Hart). I hope that the right hon. Lady realises that in the United States the Rev. Leon Sullivan and his principles have had a big impact on Congress and on American business. That is understandable because Congress represents a large black population in the United States. At the same time, the United States percentage of interests in South Africa is limited, and they have been able to bring about a situation in which Congress has led business initially to suspend further investment and, secondly, to consider complete withdrawal from South Africa.
I do not agree with the right hon. Lady that British firms are unaware of the issues and that they do not feel deeply about them. My experience is that the great majority of British firms in South Africa have done an enormous amount to try to improve conditions, certainly in their own plants. This is certainly true in Namibia, where they have been remarkably successful in removing so many discriminatory practices. Rio Tinto-Zinc has, for example, been able to end the custom whereby black workers return to their own homes for six months and then go back to Namibia. All such families now live and work permanently in Namibia. RTZ has also been able to deal with the problem of the differences in promotion prospects between coloureds, blacks and whites. In so doing RTZ has achieved a considerable amount.
§ Dame Judith Hart
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman is right about how many British firms have applied principles similar to those of the Rex. Leon Sullivan. However, I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman will appreciate that RTZ is operating illegally in Namibia.
§ Dame Judith Hart
The United Nations resolution makes it clear that the exploitation of minerals in Namibia is illegal unless done under the control of a popularly elected Government.
§ Mr. Heath
I realise the import of that resolution passed by the United Nations. I was talking about the worthy efforts made by British firms to remove entirely discrimination in Namibia.
The situation in South Africa is absolutely abhorrent and the British people who see it night after night on their television screens loathe what they see and everything connected with it. The situation is now one of the utmost gravity and time is short. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will realise this when he visits Washington and Pretoria.
1031 At the same time as loathing what it sees in South Africa, the country is also confused and the Government must take responsibility for this. The House is in the same situation tonight. We are debating this most important and complex situation on the basis that Opposition Members are arguing for effective deterrents, and the Government are arguing for "not overall" deterrents. Do "not overall" deterrents exclude effective deterrents? The Government have emphasised that they have already taken eight actions and the Foreign Secretary said this afternoon that some are economic. The denial of oil to South Africa is an economic action as is the denial of dealings in the Krugerrand. However, we are told that there must not be economic sanctions because they are not effective. This confusion is leading to a completely false situation and is, I regret to say, giving the impression that it is only with the greatest reluctance that the Government are considering the situation in South Africa and taking action on it.
I wish my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary well in his difficult mission. He is right not to be frustrated by attempts to deter him. I hope that he will recognise the need to take effective action and to make it plain that such action will be taken. Therefore, he must deal with the very important point that the South African Government believe that, when it comes to the crunch, whatever and whenever it is, they will always have the support of the American Administration and the British Government, The South African Government are firmly convinced of this because they believe that they can always use the Communist threat as the argument with which to handle Washington and Whitehall. Whenever one reads the speeches—
§ Mr. Heath
I disagree with my right hon. Friend. I think that we always disagreed about this. There was a time when I thought that Simonstown was important in world strategy and East-West relations. It is no longer important. Nor do I believe that South Africa is of any importance in any possible East-West arms clash.
The irony of the situation is that the longer South Africa continues its present policy, the more it drives its black population into Communist hands and the more it is encouraging the other black states in Africa to move towards a Communist outlook. We must deal with this ironic situation. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will impress, not only upon the Secretary of State in Washington but upon the President, whom he is bound to see, that every time it is said that South Africa is a bulwark against Communism, the South African Government's policies on apartheid and the political development of South Africa are reinforced. Until that argument is completely wiped from our minds we shall be unable to make any progress with negotiations.
This progress may come about only after further action on sanctions has been taken. We must get away from the confusion of whether such actions are measures or whether. they are sanctions. The purpose of them all is to persuade the South African Government to change the situation.
A myth has grown up about Rhodesian sanctions. It is not true to say that sanctions had no effect on Rhodesia. They did take a long time, but they had the effect of 1032 inducing Mr. Smith to negotiate with my noble Friend Lord Home, when he was Foreign Secretary, something which Mr. Smith had previously refused to do.
§ Mr. Heath
It is no good my hon. Friend shaking his head. He was not here at the time and knows nothing about it. Negotiations did take place, and if Mr. Smith had been prepared to move further and then get the support of the black population in Rhodesia a far better situation would now exist in that country. This is another lesson which I hope can be brought home to the Government in Pretoria.
Another lesson to be learned is that, as a result of Mr. Smith not being prepared to go so far, there was then an internal crisis of revolt. This was, of course, fed from outside the country and that will happen in South Africa, too. The consequences will also be the same. There will be ghastly bloodshed, the Government will be swept away, and the white population will be in a worse situation than if they had developed properly today. I am sure that this is right and I am glad to see the Foreign Secretary nodding his head.
§ Sir Ian Lloyd
My right hon. Friend implied a few moments ago that the sanctions imposed on Rhodesia were wholly responsible for bringing Mr. Smith to the negotiating table. Does he agree that, at that time, the most significant role was played by the South African Prime Minister who was unwilling to see that situation continue on his northern border, and who therefore brought great pressure to bear on Mr. Smith which was far more effective than any sanctions which the United Kingdom was able to impose?
§ Mr. Heath
It was because of the sanctions imposed on Rhodesia that the South African Prime Minister saw a situation developing which he could no longer tolerate. That is why Mr. Smith agreed to negotiate. It was a combination of both facts.
When will the President of the Republic of South Africa and his Ministers recognise that their country is now in the same situation as was Rhodesia when he told Mr. Smith to negotiate? That is a key question, and I suggest that the Foreign Secretary must bring about a recognition from South Africa that it is now in the same situation as was Rhodesia.
The Commonwealth is in great peril, as is our position with our European allies. In part, that again is due to the Government's emphasis, which appears to be negative, on what they will not do instead of being forthcoming and emphasising what they have already done. They should emphasise that the purpose of the visit is to secure a negotiating position and, if it fails, further action will be discussed and taken.
In saying that further matters will come under consideration, the Foreign Secretary opens up the gravest doubts among everybody as to whether the Government are serious. The Government can say that after consideration they will decide what further action they will take. [Interruption.] The Foreign Secretary said that it was for consideration. If they say that after consideration they will take further action, that is a positive attitude, and by now the Government must have had time to work out what steps they will take.
I agree that there is a great deal of room for moving along with financial arrangements. If the right hon. 1013 Member for Clydesdale talks to the banks, I think that she will find that very few are prepared to regard South Africa as creditworthy and therefore they are not taking action. But it is possible for the Government to agree to take action about the banks in South Africa. Of course, it is possible for them to agree, as has been suggested, about the withdrawal of consular representation. It is possible for them to take action about airlines which, as has been suggested by the leader of the Social Democratic party, might in some ways be very effective. It may be that we shall have to give notice of when we shall cancel those airline arrangements and do that legally. If that takes time, it is hanging over South Africa that unless it embarks on serious negotiation there will be that interference with its communications.
On trading questions, agriculture is probably the best subject on which to start. Of course, each of those measures will cause hardship to people and one cannot estimate how great that will be. But if we are determined to deal with the problem of South Africa internally, its apartheid and its political position—its democracy or lack of it—it is necessary to recognise the consequences of pursuing such policies.
§ Mr. John Carlisle
My right lion. Friend talks about the consequences of further economic sanctions and offered to the House the example of soft fruit. Does he not understand that at the moment, because of the limited sanctions that have already been imposed by other countries, including Britain, dole queues are lengthening in eastern Cape and there is now hunger and starvation in that part of Africa? If the measures that he advocates, particularly in relation to soft fruit where the majority of the labour force is black, came into effect, there would be widespread misery in that part of the world. Is he willing to have that on his conscience?
§ Mr. Heath
And the Government may be changed. Of course I realise what is going on. The main purpose is to get the Government to change their policy or to change the Government. We must be frank about that. That is what the whole question is about. Those who are genuinely concerned about apartheid and the political institutions in South Africa recognise that that is the situation and there is no point in hiding it.
Industrial goods are a more difficult matter to handle. But all these things must be done in conjunction with the Community, the United States and Japan, and, if possible, with as many other countries that are involved as possible. One of the things that worries me most is that Congress will use its powers, the President will be forced to go along with it, and we shall then find ourselves still more isolated unless we too are prepared to take further action in that respect. To be isolated from the United States, in the Community and also in the Commonwealth, is the worst possible situation in which we could find ourselves.
My hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North (Mr. Carlisle) raised the question of those who are already starving. Of course, I know about that. It has been on every television screen, as have the poor whites who are unemployed as well. That is the consequence of having a Government who behave in this way. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] What is necessary is to ensure that the neighbouring African states have a full realisation of what is involved in each of the actions that we are taking. That is another of the differences between Rhodesia and South Africa.
1034 During the days of sanctions against Rhodesia, large supplies went through Rhodesia to the African states. They would never admit it and we have never troubled them with that publicly, but it went on. What will happen in this case when the original right of entry is closed? How will they be kept supplied and how will they deal with their trade? Has that been discussed with them? We do not know whether my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary discussed that with them during his recent visit, but it is of crucial importance because they will no longer have the channel of supply, in and out, which they had in those days.
The right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) has said that I mentioned a blockade. If one comes finally to having to go for full sanctions, I do not see how they could possibly be enforced without a blockade. Therefore, we should recognise at the beginning that that is what it would come to. If my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North wants to deal with apartheid, as I assume that he dues, and with the political situation there, he must face up to that fact because that is what is required.
The right hon. Member for Leeds, East discussed the questions of sanctions being immoral. I do not quite understand the argument about sanctions being immoral.
§ Mr. Heath
I should hate to think that my right hon. Friend and her colleagues on the Front Bench who sat in the Cabinet between 1970 and 1974 when we had sanctions against Rhodesia thought that we were indulging in orgies of immorality. That really would grieve me. I do not think that my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary feels that today or felt that then. No, these are measures which one is loath to take, but one must balance the pros and cons.
On trade and industry, 40 per cent. of capital investment in South Africa is British and we are likely to lose that unless we show those who are the majority and who will one day have power that we recognise that fact. A large part of our trade is with South Africa, but we must also recognise that we have twice as much trade with black sub-Saharan Africa as we have with South Africa. If black Africa decides to act against us on this question, our trade with it will suffer far more than our trade with South Africa.
§ Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)
As a former Prime Minister, would the right hon. Gentleman care to comment on what he sees as the role of the Palace in this situation?
§ Mr. Heath
I regret that the role of the Queen— let us use the proper terminology in this matter—has been brought into public discussion. The Queen is Head of the Commonwealth and in that position she understands fully her responsibilities in a constitutional situation. I have no doubt about that and it is not necessary for anyone to bring the Queen's position into this question.
We shall all regret it if countries leave the Commonwealth. At least, I shall certainly regret it immensely because the Commonwealth still performs a useful function. I regret the withdrawal of countries from the Commonwealth games in Edinburgh. But my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and members of the Government are the last ones to complain about that. Look at the political pressure that they used in 1981 to 1035 stop our teams going to Moscow after Afghanistan. That was a political question and this is a political question. I saw some of the inside work on that and why the British sailing team did not go, so we had better be a little modest in our attitude towards withdrawals from the Commonwealth games and just regret them and hope that they can be prevented.
This is a grave situation, moving with great rapidity. I am sure that my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary will carry out his task with the utmost determination but we must be realistic and appreciate that he may not succeed. We must then be prepared to follow that up with the policies that we are discussing today and I hope that he will be well prepared to do so and can give confidence to the Commonwealth and to Europe that the British Government will play their part in dealing with this increasingly dangerous situation. If that is the fact, we must, as far as possible, try to achieve unity in Britain on what we are going to do.
We lived through 15 years of Rhodesian sanctions and we all saw the disunity that was caused then in some parts of our country and in some parts of the Conservative party in particular over that matter. The last thing that we want is to have a similar argument across the Floor of the House about the measures that we are taking. We should do the utmost we possibly can to reach agreement about this to deal with apartheid and the political institutions in South Africa so as to bring about peaceful change as speedily as we can. The responsibility is on us, Government and Opposition and all Members of the House, to ensure that the country understands the issues and the reasons for the action being taken and that it is as united as possible behind them.
§ Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
I am sure that if only the Prime Minister would overcome the resentment that I fear she still harbours and listen to what the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr. Heath) has just said she would follow his advice.
The Foreign Secretary had an opportunity this afternoon to undo some of the damage that has been done by Government statements, especially by the Prime Minister's statements, during the past few weeks. I fear that he did not succeed. He might have been able to undo some of the damage if he had confined his speech almost entirely to the sentence which ran:If my mission were to fail, I would regard agreement on some further measures as likely to be necessary.That is not the form of words that I would have chosen, and it does not go quite as far as the form of words that the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup suggested, but if that had been the general signal of his speech, it would have led to a great deal more hope and set at least some minds temporarily at rest around the Commonwealth. It would have given the impression, which I am sure the right hon. and learned Gentleman wants in his heart to give, that he enters the Commonwealth meeting at the beginning of August determined to take that line.
However, the right hon. and learned Gentleman's speech had so many deferences and so many obeisances to the views of the Prime Minister that the signal that he might have been giving was hopelessly confused. The right 1036 hon. and learned Gentleman travels about on his flying missions giving the impression increasingly that he is endowed with no more authority than the Queen's Messenger who carries Foreign Office bags from capital to capital or the cabin crew pouring the drinks on the plane. For that to be true of a Foreign Secretary who is universally liked, widely respected and generally thought to have the best interests of the Commonwealth at heart is ludicrous and humiliating. If that proves to be his position at the end of his mission and when the Commonwealth leaders meet at the beginning of August, I hope that he will not allow himself to remain in that posture.
It must be very difficult to give up the office of Foreign Secretary. It is a very noble office, but there is a level of humiliation to which that office ought never to be brought and to which no occupant of it should allow it to be brought. I hope that that will be firmly in the Foreign Secretary's mind in the little time which remains before the meeting of Commonwealth leaders.
It is not the Foreign Secretary who is the problem in all this. While he whispers about possible measures, the Prime Minister screams her defiance. Any signal which the Foreign Secretary gives is wholly overborne by the message that she gives. She has appeared day after day on television screens. She has given long interviews, and her message has been seen and heard in every part of the Commonwealth and the rest of the world. She responds in a seemingly uncontrolled manner, expressing her violent disapproval of sanctions and even of some of the more modest measures that have been discussed today. When the people of the Commonwealth and others see her, they can draw only one conclusion—that she is not prepared to contemplate any measures which she thinks might bear heavily on South Africa.
Standing out of the Prime Minister's interviews is an anger, an emotion and a zeal, one fraction of which, if it appeared to be dedicated to the cause of ending apartheid, might get us somewhere. The Prime Minister's emotion and anger is, however, directed entirely at the measures which the majority of people and countries suggest should be used to deal with apartheid. I have never seen the Prime Minister expending in a television or radio appearance the type of anger and emotion on the issue of apartheid that she expends on the means of which she disapproves. That is what leads me to believe that the proportion is all wrong —her emotional commitment is about the means and not the ends. Whatever views the Prime Minister may hold about the evils of apartheid — I take her at her word when she says that she disapproves of it and wants it to be changed—her emotion is expended not upon those evils but upon the issue of which means are to be used.
§ Sir Ian Lloyd
Surely my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is entitled to hold vehemently the view, as she does, that if sanctions will produce not the end of apartheid, which we all want, but the destruction of the South African state, they are undesirable.
§ Mr. Beith
But not one atom of that vehemence is directed against what is happening in South Africa now. I acknowledge that she disapproves of apartheid, but her emotions seem gravely misdirected.
What is the Prime Minister saying about sanctions? She says that she does not believe in general or total sanctions —some of the time because she does not think that they 1037 will work and some of the time because she thinks they will do harm. There is considerable inconsistency between those two views. Half of the time she is implying that the effect of sanctions would be negligible because many countries will not participate, and half of the time she is implying that their effect will be so strong as to harm those parts of the population which we are most anxious to help.
I shall leave that inconsistency aside, however, to consider the more immediate issue, which is that the Prime Minister never allows herself to be questioned on specific sanctions and measures. Every question that she has answered in the House during the past five or six weeks has been answered as if it were a reference to general, total, mandatory sanctions. She has never allowed herself to utter a comment which was clearly and separately addressed to specific measures.
What is the right hon. Lady's motive for doing that? The effect is to give the impression that there are no measures which are likely to be effective which we would contemplate supporting. If she believes that certain measures are damaging, why does she not come out in support of such measures as she thinks will have a more desirable effect or such as she can accept will not have all of the undesirable consequences that she has mentioned in regard to general economic sanctions? Her failure to show support for such measures repeatedly undermines the Foreign Secretary's repeated insistence that some further measures will be considered. What is her attitude to the report of the Eminent Persons Group?
§ Mr. Donald Anderson (Swansea, East)
Does the hon. Gentleman agree that, by adopting that attitude, the Prime Minister devalues in advance those moves which ultimately she will have to make, and therefore gains no credit for herself or Britain?
§ Mr. Beith
That is absolutely right, and any step that the Prime Minister is forced with obvious reluctance to take at the Commonwealth leaders' conference will seem that much less because of the vehemence with which she has denounced all sanctions hitherto.
The Prime Minister has never given a clear statement on whether she agrees or disagrees with the Eminent Persons Group, about which she has often spoken in general. That group said:We are convinced that the South African Government is concerned about the adoption of effective economic measures against it. If it comes to the conclusion that it would always remain protected from such measures, the process of change in South Africa is unlikely to increase in momentum and the descent into violence would be accelerated. In these circumstances, the cost in lives may have to be counted in millions.In all of her references to the hunger which she believes would result from general economic sanctions, what is her view of that statement? What is her answer to the EPG, which said:The question in front of Heads of Government is in our view clear. It is not whether such measures will compel change; it is already the case that their absence and Pretoria's belief that they need not be feared defers change. Is the Commonwealth to stand by and allow the cycle of violence to spiral?The Prime Minister daily answers, in effect, that she is prepared to stand by and see the cycle of violence spiral.
What is the effect of all this? On the South African regime it is as the EPG says—they think that they are all right. They think that they have a friend in the Prime Minister and praise her lavishly. They believe that she is 1038 their last bastion of defence against economic pressure. That has been said again recently in a radio broadcast, and it is being said with increasing fulsomeness.
What is the effect on the black majority population? They increasingly believe that Britain is their enemy. From their distant point of view, it is hard for them to distinguish between the Prime Minister, who in their eyes represents Britain, and the country as a whole. We know from what is said in the House that the Prime Minister's view is widely contradicted. We know that there is increasing public dissatisfaction at what she is saying. There is now substantial public sympathy for measures against South Africa.
The view from the townships, however, is that Britain is not a friend of the majority population. We have to try to change that. What hope is there for the future if our relations with South Africa—there will be majority rule in South Africa in our lifetime—if we have been seen to crush that state's aspirations year after year? Where is that country to look for support if it has been denied it by us? It will look to those countries most ready to offer it, such as those in eastern Europe or the Communist world which can see a political advantage in gaining the allegiance that might come from such support. What is the alternative to violence if the people see no support coming from us? The Prime Minister is offering nothing to the majority community in South Africa.
What is the effect of all this on the Commonwealth? It is tearing it apart, just as it is tearing the Edinburgh Commonwealth games apart. I was horrified yesterday afternoon that the very mention of the name of the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth evoked a loud jeer from Tory Benches. Many of the hon. Members on the Tory Benches this afternoon may not have been there then. The Secretary-General has sought to present the views of Commonwealth countries to the best of his ability, and to present the consensus within the Commonwealth. That a man occupying a civil servant position such as that should be castigated and jeered by Tory Members is an indication of the extraordinary depths to which the Conservative party is sinking in its attitude to the Commonwealth.
Sir Anthony Kershaw (Stroud): It is not fair of the hon. Gentleman to say that the Secretary-General was jeered. That is not the right word. The Secretary-General was not appointed to be spokesman of the Commonwealth. That is not his job. He has a responsible job and, of course, he is entitled to express his own views on anything. However, he is not entitled to say that he speaks on behalf of the Commonwealth because he does not.
§ Mr. Beith
It would be extraordinary if the Secretary-General went around the capitals of the Commonwealth stating those views which are in direct contradiction to those reached at recent Commonwealth conferences. All the Secretary-General seeks to do is to voice the views which Commonwealth conferences have agreed upon. He has the evidence of the recent conference at Nassau on which to base those views. Of course, he must take some account of change and developing events in the meantime, as any person in such a position would. It would be an extraordinary Commonwealth Secretary-General who, in these circumstances, chose to pick out the views of the Prime Minister and advance those rather than the views of the Commonwealth leaders who were in a majority at the meeting.
§ Mr. Beith
I must make some progress in what I had intended to be a brief contribution.
The Commonwealth is a source of enormous strength to its members. It is a community of political co-operation which crosses the north-south barrier. It is something very precious and we should be striving to maintain it. It also has great trade importance. There are about £7.5 billion worth of imports from the Commonwealth to this country and £8.5 billion worth of exports from this country to the Commonwealth. We should be deeply concerned about its future.
I must say to those Commonwealth leaders who are thinking that they should leave the Commonwealth if it is unable to act coherently and sensibly in this matter that that is not the question that they should be addressing. The question is, what is wrong with the leadership of the Commonwealth if that comes about? We are moving to a position, in the course of these events, where countries other than Britain will be seen to occupy the key leadership position in the Commonwealth, countries such as Canada, India, Australia, and Nigeria. They are closer to the consensus of views within the Commonwealth. It is extraordinary for Britain, with all its historical involvement in the development of the Commonwealth, to put itself in that position.
Far from seeing this as a time for leaving the Commonwealth, the Commonwealth leaders should see the solution to the problem, if they are unable to carry the British Government along with them, in the assertion of leadership from different quarters within the Commonwealth. That would be part of the maturing process of the institution.
The Government should be working on a programme of measures which they would be ready to bring in the moment the Foreign Secretary's mission is completed. We have had enough delay. If the Government go to the August meeting with the intention of another leapfrogging delay saying "We cannot agree on anything because we have to wait for the next European Council of Ministers meeting and if we cannot agree there we must wait for another session of the House and then there will have to be another Commonwealth conference", the whole process could go on for ever. The Government must be looking at measures such as the banning of intercontinental airline flights and of new investment, not because that would have a profound effect in itself, because very little investment is taking place, but because it would be a signal. They must be prepared to look at bans on specific products and attempts to re-enact the rescheduling crisis that faced South Africa recently.
§ Mr. Terry Davis (Birmingham, Hodge Hill)
If the hon. Gentleman is calling for a ban on new investment in South Africa, will he explain why last week the Liberal party abstained in a vote which would have stopped the tax relief under the personal equity plan of income and capital gains from shares in companies trading in South Africa? Is it not a case of the Liberal party saying one thing and doing another? How does the hon. Gentleman answer the charge of inconsistency?
§ Mr. Beith
It was an extremely badly worked out proposal. Its effects on companies in Britain could not be so precisely estimated as to distinguish between trading activities in South Africa and trading activities in the rest 1040 of the world. It was a piece of gesture politics. It was not an efficient gesture which could be brought to bear effectively on those companies really trading in South Africa. That was the conclusion we reached. The temptation was to vote against it because it was so badly conceived. However, we did not want to appear to support the Government's general resistance to any kind of measures. It was an attempt to introduce in the context of the Finance Bill a proposal which was not adequately worked out.
§ Mr. Beith
I must not give way any more because many hon. Members wish to take part.
At the same time as doing all that, we must continue the process of discussion with the front-line states to see that we are ready to assist them, especially over issues such as transport. I give the Foreign Secretary credit for the fact that he has not blunted or stopped that process. It is taking place. It was taking place before he went to Lusaka. With that there must be a commitment that we are prepared to strengthen our assistance. Zimbabwe is deeply involved in seeking to maintain through Mozambique transport routes which are threatened by the direct intervention of South Africa in supporting those who are attacking the routes. It is an irony that the routes which were used to defeat sanctions against Rhodesia are now the routes which may not be open, unless the troops of Zimbabwe can keep them open, to enable sanctions to be carried out.
The British Government must be ready to assist the front-line states. We support the motion and we believe that the signal which should be coming from the House and the country is that we are on the side of the majority community in South Africa in its desire to have democratic rights and in its desire to break down a system which has oppressed the majority for so many years. All those who share that feeling on the Conservative Benches should be ashamed that the speeches of the Prime Minister give the impression that the Government and Conservative party do not share that aspiration. They have only to talk to the leaders of other Commonwealth countries to realise that that is the impression they give. This may be one of our last opportunities to make clear where we stand on this issue.
§ Mr. Andrew Hunter (Basingstoke)
With the greatest respect to the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith), I utterly and profoundly disagree with the sentiments he has expressed. I regret that Opposition Members — and I include here the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed—do not appreciate that in this general debate on South Africa there is much more common ground between us than there is gulf. We share the one objective: to seek to encourage those who can overthrow apartheid to do so, and to create in its place a form of government acceptable to all races. That is the common ground.
I listened to the remarks of the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey). I detected in his utterances what I would call three fundamental inner flaws. In his absence I address them to the hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson), and I hope that he will reply to them when he addresses the House.
The first inner flaw, the point of omission from all of the sincere utterances of Opposition Members—I do not 1041 doubt their sincerity—is the failure to appreciate that there has been significant change in South Africa. That change does not go far enough. I do not think that any of us would say that it does. However, things have happened in South Africa over the past five years which were utterly inconceivable 10 years ago. That acknowledgement is missing from the thesis presented by Opposition Members. Job reservations have gone, the Mixed Marriages Act has gone, influx controls have gone, the tricameral Parliament is established, freehold rights for blacks have been extended and we have a declaration of educational parity for all races. That could not have happened before. Let us hear acknowledgement of those facts in the thesis presented by Opposition Members. Of course it is not enough, but the winds of change are blowing through South Africa.
On the second inner flaw, I find myself, with great regret, quarrelling profoundly with my right hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr. Heath). Even if sanctions were to work economically, they would not work politically. If we destroy the economic well-being of the Afrikaner, we will not turn him overnight into a western liberal. The reverse is the reality. If we destroy the economic well-being of the Afrikaner, we shall force him into the inner laager, which means the defeat of the very objective which should unite all hon. Members.
The third inner flaw in the argument presented to us by the Opposition is their failure to account for what I believe to be another fundamental factor. Were South Africa to indulge in counter sanctions, we would be obliged to call off our sanction programme within, say, 12 months. The rest of southern Africa is far more dependent on the wealth and economy of South Africa than South Africa is dependent on her markets in the borderline states and elsewhere in the African continent. We know that 99 per cent. of Lesotho's imports, 91 per cent. of Swaziland's, 88 per cent. of Botswana's and more than 66 per cent. of Zimbabwe's, Zaire's and Zambia's come from South Africa. How can the rest of the world undertake economically to make provision for that which counter sanctions would deny to the rest of southern Africa? I believe that the imposition of sanctions is a non-starter.
Those are the inner flaws in the Opposition's argument. As I have said, I acknowledge the sincerity with which they are advanced. 1 applaud what my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister have been saying in contending that sanctions pre-eminently are unlikely to be effective. It is a horrific reality that some countries and many companies prefer money to morality. Sanctions would not be implemented effectively. That is a pragmatic view and it does not mean necessarily that we should not embark on the course of sanctions, but let us not kid ourselves that they will work.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup acknowledges that it would be immigrant workers, the indigent blacks and the front-line states who would suffer from sanctions if they were to be effective. I am not prepared to shoulder that moral burden. If they want sanctions, they can apply them themselves. The immigrant black workers can get out of South Africa. The indigenous blacks can withdraw demand and labour, and the frontline states can withdraw their demand. They do not do so and they ask us to do it for them.
I welcome the reaction of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and that of my right hon. and learned 1042 Friend the Foreign Secretary to treat with disdain and cynicism the meaningless talk of democracy and one man, one vote within South Africa. Where in the rest of the African continent is the example? Where is the paradigm of virtue and the respecter of minorities that we can point to and enable us to say to South Africa, "Follow that lead"? We know what the answer is: absolutely nowhere.
I want genuinely to know the answer to another question. If we have a President of Tanzania who says that he does not believe in democracy, Westminster style, arid if we have a President of Zimbabwe who says that he does not believe in Western-style democracy, why should a President of South Africa believe in Westminster-style democracy?
§ Mr. John Carlisle
Perhaps my hon. Friend will reflect on the fact that no black African Government have ever been changed by the ballot box.
§ Mr. Hunter
I accept that entirely. I do not have my hon. Friend's experience or knowledge of African affairs and I welcome his intervention and do not challenge him.
The Commonwealth dimension now enters the debate. We must be on our guard. The Commonwealth is not ours. It is not a confederation of former colonies over which we preside. It is a brotherhood of independent nations which are equal members. Likewise, the Commonwealth games are not ours. We are inviting other Commonwealth countries to come to Edinburgh to participate in various athletic pastimes. It would be tragic if the Commonwealth were to suffer grievously as a result of the stance that is now being taken by certain Commonwealth Governments, but I will not be bullied or browbeaten into doing what I know to be wrong to preserve a mistaken concept and understanding of the Commonwealth.
There are at work in South Africa forces of evolution, not revolution. The object of our diplomacy should be to identify and encourage those forces of evolution. I am talking about the body of white thinking which is far in advance of the South African Government and that body of black thinking which does not want the way of violence and revolution. I applaud and support the stand which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs have taken. I hope most sincerely that they will not be deflected from the course of truth.
§ Mr. Guy Barnett (Greenwich)
There was a considerable contrast between the speech of the Foreign Secretary and that of the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr. Heath). Peppered throughout the Foreign Secretary's speech were phrases such as "further measures are not excluded", "we shall consider further measures" or "there is no automaticity", the last word being a new one for me. Everything that the right hon. and learned Gentleman said was qualified and conditional.
As the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup said, time is short and we are in great peril. Time is short, as the Eminent Persons Group made clear in South Africa. If something does not happen very soon—this can never be said too often to those such as the hon. Member for Basingstoke (Mr. Hunter)—there will be a bloodbath in South Africa. If something s not done to change the Government's policies very soon, the Commonwealth will break up. The consequences of a failure on the 1043 Government's part to do something practical and positive are likely to stretch far beyond South Africa and far beyond Britain. That failure so to act will have profound consequences for the world. That is why I agree with the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup that time is short and that we are in great peril. We are expecting from the Government a greater sense of urgency and a larger measure of commitment than was apparent from the Foreign Secretary's speech.
I have mentioned the Commonwealth and it was mentioned by the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) and the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup. I was sorry when it was said that the Commonwealth still had a role to play, or still was an asset. I take a different view. I believe that the Commonwealth should have a growing role in the world in future, and I believe that it will. It has already played a vital part. I do not think that the Commonwealth has ever received the credit that it deserves for the settlement of the Rhodesian issue. It played a far larger part than most hon. Members are prepared to accept or admit. I have in mind the part played by Malcolm Fraser of Australia, Michael Manley of Jamaica, Julius Nyerere and other leading statesmen of the Commonwealth at the time, including our then Foreign Secretary, Lord Carrington. I believe that the part which the Commonwealth played was crucial and was a major success.
The report of the Eminent Persons Group is another major achievement of the Commonwealth. It can be too easily dismissed by hon. Members—most of them are on the Government Benches—who are inclined to say, "We can forget about the Commonwealth. It has no further relevance as far as we are concerned. We are part of Europe." I do not accept that view, for several reasons. As the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed rightly pointed out, the Commonwealth is a vital organisation. In world affairs it is unique because it brings together some of the richest and poorest countries. It brings within its compass nations facing enormous problems of poverty, economic development and debt. It is also the only organisation that encompasses practically every racial group in the world.
It is interesting that practically every country in the Commonwealth has a racial or tribal problem to contend with. Only recently we noticed the tragic position in Sri Lanka and the Sikh problem in India. Leaders in east Africa are trying to sort out the almost intractable problems which they inherited from Britain when we formed those countries with little or no regard to racial groups.
If the hon. Member for Basingstoke is asking for a two-party democracy in east Africa, he is crying for the moon. Those countries have a terrible job trying to build a nation from their inheritance. If he wants an example of a democracy in Africa, I can give him one. I visited a democracy in February: Botswana is a two-party democracy with a remarkable measure of freedom and a great regard for the political system inherited from the United Kingdom. To criticise Commonwealth countries only a quarter of a century after they gained their independence with all the problems which they must face is absurd, especially when one recognises that this country evolved towards democracy over many years.
§ Mr. Barnett
I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman wishes to interrupt or merely to shout, but clearly he has something to say.
§ Mr. Carlisle
Do not exactly the same rules and conditions apply to South Africa as those which the hon. Gentleman so eloquently described in relation to east Africa? Can he not accept that the South African people will not move towards one man, one vote precisly because of what has happened in other Commonwealth countries and the problems which they face?
§ Mr. Barnett
I do not think that that is true. African Governments have tried to move to one man, one vote. It is inadequate to argue that there has never been a change of Government because the system of democracy adopted by many Commonwealth countries has led to Ministers losing their constituency seats. Therefore, an important form of democracy is being worked out. In some ways it is influenced by African traditions of democracy which those countries are right to attempt to follow rather than slavishly following the two-party Westminster model. Something exciting and important can come from that.
The Commonwealth is an institution which brings together a great variety of races in different countries. The right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup was a member of the Brandt Commission and he will recognise the important contribution made to it by the Secretary-General of the Commonwealth. He will also recognise, as most hon. Members do, that the Commonwealth still has a major contribution to make on that issue because it contains so many rich and poor nations. It has published a number of documents and statements which are significant and valuable to the international debate about how we can solve the problems identified by the Brandt Commission. I would be desperately sorry to see the Commonwealth break up, but we are in great peril of that.
The situation in South Africa is also frightening. Yesterday afternoon some of us were privileged to listen to a talk given to the British-Zimbabwe parliamentary group by the Speaker of the Zimbabwe Parliament, Didymus Mustasa. He spoke movingly about how Zimbabwe, its President, Prime Minister and Government want to retain the closest possible relationship with the United Kingdom, and many points he made have been confirmed in this debate. We do a great deal of mutual trade, and many relationships exist which we hope will continue to exist. Many members of the Zimbabwe Government were educated at British universities, which underlines the importance of extending opportunity to Africans and other members of the Commonwealth to study at our universities. But Speaker Mustasa said that the behaviour of successive British Governments has been such as to drive Zimbabwe into the arms of the Russians. Those are almost his words.
Zimbabwe was unable to get any assistance from us when Didymus Mustasa was in the bush among the freedom fighters. How much assistance did he get from British Governments when he was fighting for the independence of his country? He got some assistance from my right hon. Friend the Member for Clydesdale (Dame J. Hart) who ensured that every refugee from the Smith regime could obtain education here, and we are reaping some of the benefit from that now. But how much assistance did we give those people? How much assistance 1045 are we now giving the African National Congress? How much assistance could we give, given all the talk of the hon. Member for Basingstoke and others about the plight of the front-line states and about how terrible it would be for them if we applied sanctions against South Africa? How much assistance are we prepared to give? That is the key question.
§ Mr. Anderson
My hon. Friend probably knows that the Government have just announced that they will offer an additional £15 million over five years to southern Africa. He may like to put that in the context of the £400 million a year which is being spent on the Falklands.
§ Mr. Barnett
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that staggering comparison. [Laughter.] The laughter of Conservative Members demonstrates that there is little sympathy or interest from a certain section of the Conservative party. Their words and jeers are not worth listening to. It was interesting to note the flak that my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) received from a certain section of the Conservative party. Frankly, it could not care less about the needs of some of the front-line states and the problems which they face as a consequence of the murderous attacks made on them and the attempts to destabilise their regimes. The £15 million is peanuts, considering the problems which those states face.
We should think seriously about assisting those countries by providing military equipment and, if necessary, soldiers to enable them to defend their borders, especially the Beira corridor, so that they can have a trade link separate and independent from South Africa. That would protect them to some degree from the type of consequences which have already arisen but which will inevitably arise increasingly when economic sanctions are applied. We should not pay attention to the crocodile tears of Conservative Members.
§ Sir John Page (Harrow, West)
The hon. Gentleman is a distinguished and long-serving member of the Labour party. Is his view that, if necessary, British troops should go into the borderline states to maintain sanctions part of Labour party policy? Perhaps he will expand on that because it is an important aspect which was touched on by my right hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr. Heath).
§ Mr. Barnett
When my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) replies officially for the Labour party, I hope that he can give the hon. Gentleman the firm official answer that he requires. That is certainly something which I have been pressing in the House for some time and it would make an important contribution. The hon. Gentleman may already know that the British Army makes a valuable contribution in Zimbabwe by training the Zimbabwe army, and that there are already British troops in Zimbabwe. Therefore, it would be a natural extension for Britain at least to send equipment or to give other forms of military assistance to enable those defenceless countries to defend themselves against the attacks that they have received from the south.
I do not want to detain the House much longer, but I feel that I should underline the points that I have made —that I agree strongly with the speech of the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup; that we are in peril; that time is short; and that decisions must be taken. I hope 1046 that the House listened carefully to what my right hon. Friend the Member for Clydesdale said about sanctions. Much more debate needs to take place in this House, and I think that my right hon. Friend's speech was one of the more constructive in the debate so far. Basically, my right hon. Friend said that there was no point in the absurd argument about whether measures were or were not effective. We should decide what effective measures could be taken, judge which were likely to have the desired effect —the effect that I hope every hon. Member wants—and recognise that this is not cheap debate, but an issue of deep concern to everyone in the African continent. It must be of deep concern to everyone in the world.
§ Sir Frederic Bennett (Torbay)
I wish first to anticipate possible interventions in my speech. The last time that I spoke on this issue several remarks were directed across the Benches to the effect that I had business interests in South Africa. I have none and have never had any. Perhaps that statement will save at least one intervention in my speech.
I shall barely comment on the speech of the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Barnett) because it wandered into the realms of fantasy. As he represents a party that constantly votes against Defence Estimates because it believes that we are spending too much on the armed forces, it was rather odd that he should contemplate sending expeditionary armies to half a dozen countries on the African continent, and maintain them there to repel hypothetical attacks from South Africa. His speech, I repeat, took the debate temporarily into the realms of fantasy.
I have almost the same view of an earlier suggestion that, if necessary, we should enforce a boycott. Contrary to the comment of my right hon. Friend the former Prime Minister, I was in the House at the time of Rhodesian sanctions and witnessed their effect. Even that limited boycott was a grotesque and unsuccessful farce. We had an aircraft carrier steadily rusting away and one or two auxiliary ships cruising steadily outside Lourenco Marques but Rhodesia's trade continued to go through both South Africa and the port of Beira in Portuguese south Africa. Eventually, the aging vessel was withdrawn. before perhaps it sank to the bottom of the ocean. I shall return to Rhodesian sanctions later as an example of what could or could not happen in South Africa.
My first visit to South Africa was in 1947. I spent some time both in South Africa itself and in what was then Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe. I have three distinct recollections of that time, and I have regarded them constantly as valid right up to the present day—despite many frequent subsequent visits during which, at universities and other institutions, I have to the best of my ability warned about the inevitable consequences of apartheid, unless changes were made while there was still an atmosphere of moderation in which to make them. On one occasion, surprising as this may be to Opposition Members, my remarks were quoted as proving that. I must be the only Communist in the British Conservative party — a label not usually attached to me. Therefore, my conscience is clear on my attitude of trying to induce people to change their minds before change became brutally and cruelly inevitable.
The first of my three recollections is that, having travelled throughout South Africa, this House made the 1047 fatal mistake — as did most European and other countries — of not recognising that South Africa has evolved not as a country but as a continent comprising a whole series of peoples—black, white and other shades —who are just as different one from the other as the peoples of the continent of Europe. If one day we could understand that and take a different approach, we might help to create some form of satisfactory Government within the context of that multiracial continent. We might then, in this House and elsewhere, begin to talk sense.
The idea that there is a greater community between the Asian living in Durban, a Cape coloured, some of the black African tribes, the Afrikaner or the rural members of the so-called homelands and the Zulu is the same as saying that there is no difference between people living in Spain, in Sweden or in Greece. It is utter rubbish. If people visited South Africa not on a carefully arranged propaganda trip but to learn about the people, they would understand that we are trying to deal with a continental problem with fundamental racial differences.
My second recollection is of the certainty of the doom of apartheid. I saw it coming as long ago as 1947. As a young man, I thought that apartheid was an immoral concept. However, unfortunately plenty of immoral concepts and immoral states continue to survive. The Foreign Minister of one such state visited this country within the last few days. That country—the USSR—has survived on a wholly immoral basis since the Communists first gained power. However, a country can have an immoral totalitarian system provided that it is totalitarian.
What doomed the South Africans to the crisis that has now arisen was that they tried to have the best of both worlds. They tried to educate and provide a better standard of living—and therefore being bound in the process to foster greater aspirations — for the very people whom they would inevitably dominate if their system of apartheid could continue. The sowed the seeds of their own destruction long before the Commonwealth, the United Nations or anyone else got round to it. How could they have thought that they could send black people to educational institutions to gain a higher degree of education, to train to a high level to work in industry, and thereby to obtain a standard of living higher than any obtainable elsewhere in Africa without realising that they could not prevent the emergence of political aspirations? That is why apartheid was doomed from the start. It was based not only on immorality but on total unfeasibility in the long term. Indeed, I am surprised that it has taken 40 years for them to begin to understand that. In 1947 I bet £100—and I am not a gambling man—that apartheid would end within 20 years. Unfortunately, I was 20 years out and so lost my £100—yet my concept of what would happen has turned out to be correct.
The third and perhaps the most important of my recollections is that no one in the House should underrate the built-in obstinacy of the Afrikans. Once again, we made a fatal mistake at the end of the last century when it took the whole might of the then British empire to bring the Afrikaners to their knees. It took three whole years before they would give way. If we think that stopping Krugerrands coming into this country or imposing any of the other suggested sanctions can be done without carrying the Afrikaners with us—and I am not talking about the ridiculous suggested boycott with non-existent 1048 ships cruising up and down—we are wholly wrong. On the other hand, I believe that my right hon. and learned Friend can carry Afrikaner Ministers with us, because they will listen to reason provided that we do not force them publicly to denounce themselves. If we did that, that Government would fall and another even more extreme Afrikaner Government would emerge. If we say, "If you do not do this and this, we will do that and that," we shall not succeed. If anyone thinks that that is the way to handle an Afrikaner, it is time that he paid a visit to that part of the world.
It is, therefore, time to begin looking at reality, and I therefore wish now to discuss the present position. When we talk about sanctions and measures, I wish that we could return to real history and not the rewriting of it. In the 1930s, people launched into a high moral code about sanctions to prevent Italy from conquering Abyssinia. That is never quoted, because it is inconvenient to remember that the only result was that Italy took Abyssinia more brutally than it should have done. She used mustard gas instead of more conventional means quickly to achieve her objectives.
The Rhodesian sanctions have been mentioned several times. It is not true to say that sanctions of themselves brought down the Rhodesian Government. That is selectively to rewrite history, which we do too much to suit certain individuals. I visited Rhodesia at the height of the sanctions period. For the first time in their history, the Rhodesians had had to bring in car parking regulationns for Salisbury because there were more cars on the roads than ever before. Half of the vehicles came from France and the other half came from Japan. Yet both of those countries were subscribers to the sanctions exercise.
What happened in Rhodesia—let us state the facts and not what we would like it to be — was that the Portuguese empire collapsed and the roads to the coast through Beira and Lourenco Marques were blocked. Rhodesia had no seaport and the only route remaining was through South Africa. The South African Government forced the Rhodesian Government to give way on the propositions put forward by Lord Carrington and others, because the South African Government were not prepared to carry alone the flak for Rhodesia being able to survive against world opinion in case the flak was then directed at them. It was a statesmanlike measure from their point of view to try to induce the Rhodesians to give way. However, that is history. Certain right hon. and hon. Gentlemen, and others, do not like history. What I have said can be easily proved.
§ Sir Frederic Bennett
My right hon. Friend has already reproved several of our hon. Friends because they were not MPs at the time and did not know what they were talking about. I hesitate to say the same thing to my right hon. Friend, because he was here and did know all about it. Yet he must accept my opinion that it was not sanctions—they had gone on for 15 years—that brought Rhodesia to the negotiating table. It was the collapse of the Portuguese empire, as I have said, and the fact that the South African Government was left with the sole 1049 responsibility. which it was not prepared to take, to keep Rhodesia going. That is how I and most of my colleagues see the facts. Certainly, the history books do so.
When the Russians invaded Afghanistan, there was an outcry about sanctions. It was said that if we operated sanctions against the Soviet Union, and if the Americans led the way by withdrawing wheat supplies, Russia would be forced to withdraw from Afghanistan. She is still there and she is still killing people. The Americans have found that their wheat ban had no result, because Russia was able to get its wheat from other sources. The pathetic attempt to induce change in Afghanistan by way of sanctions has been shown for what it is.
I have visited the Library and I have checked on the United Nations records. The biggest breaker of sanctions against Rhodesia, including France and Japan, was the Soviet Union. No one has mentioned that in today's debate. We have talked about getting the consent of the Americans. What better understanding can we have than what the Russians would do if we exercised sanctions against South Africa? If the Russians were to do what they did in the case of Rhodesia, sanctions would become a dangerous farce.
If the sanctions are ineffective and are only an irritant, they will do nothing but strengthen the South African Government who will then say, "We can go on as we have always done, because whatever the West does, it is not effective. We can continue unchanged." If the sanctions are effective in the only sense that they can be, they would cause large scale unemployment. They would cause intense misery to the very population we are trying to help, according to the precepts on the Opposition Benches.
No one has mentioned today the estimates that have been given that if the comprehensive, mandatory and immediate sanctions which the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) espouses were implemented, up to a quarter of a million job losses could occur in this country. Will the Opposition include that in their programme?
§ Sir Frederic Bennett
Let the hon. Gentleman then tell the people in his constituency that he is willing to advocate even the loss of 20,000 jobs there. I prefer the figure that has been provided from other sources that up to a quarter of a million job losses may occur. If hon. Members will not admit that, it shows that they are not prepared to admit the consequences of what they seek.
One of the factors that does not help us to get a receptive hearing in South Africa is that South Africa thinks that the world is ideologically prejudiced and biased against its Government, and, of course, its white inhabitants. I have received a number of letters pointing out that this is the 10th anniversary of Soweto and, therefore, it is an occasion for special feelings. Yet I have not noticed many motions on the Order Paper pointing out that it is the 25th anniversary of the Russian invasion of Hungary when 20,000 Hungarians were killed. Why do we not have motions calling attention to that anniversary 25 years later?
1050 Twenty years ago the Berlin wall was built. I wonder why we have not had a series of demands from the Opposition for a debate to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Berlin wall.
The acts of hypocrisy in which members of the media and hon. Members indulge, when we are trying desperately to send the Foreign Secretary on his way with a real prospect of trying to get a negotiated settlement, makes his task all the more difficult.
§ Mr. Richard Caborn (Sheffield, Central)
The hon. Member for Torbay (Sir F. Bennett) referred to the loss of a quarter of a million jobs. The Prime Minister has referred in the House to, I think, 120,000 job losses. The Foreign Office has brought the figure down to 50,000. Two independent reports, to which I referred in the House a few weeks ago, cited a figure of between 12,000 and 20,000. To talk about a quarter of a million job losses can only have come from a leak from the South African embassy.
I shall refer to how the feelings in this country are manifesting themselves. I am a member of the Anti-Apartheid Movement. I am privileged to be on the national executive committee of that movement. Two weeks ago, we had a demonstration and a festival in the streets of London. Many pop stars participated, free of charge. More than 200,000 people—some say that the figure was 250,000—participated at one time or another during that day of events. It was probably one of the biggest demonstrations on an international issue in the United Kingdom for over a quarter of a century.
All types and classes of people attended the demonstration — blacks, whites and coloureds. The Christian Church was well represented, as were many political parties. That manifestation on the streets of London showed to some extent the feeling in the United Kingdom. The Anti-Apartheid Movement has hundreds of branches in this country. Through those branches, the movement is implementing the people's sanctions, the people's boycott of South Africa, which is having an effect. The membership of the movement increases daily.
A recent opinion poll showed that the British people, rather than being hostile to sanctions—the debate is at a level where people are becoming involved — are in support of sanctions against South Africa. Unfortunately, the Prime Minister came out of that poll rather badly. She was perceived by the British public as a supporter of P. W. Botha and of the apartheid regime in South Africa.
Not only has the Prime Minister brought the British Government into disrepute in the international arena but we are discredited. Because my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) clearly outlined that issue, I shall not go into the details. It is a sorry and serious matter when a British Prime Minister is regarded in that manner by the international community. That can do untold damage in the short and the long term.
In October 1985, at Nassau, an agreement was made to apply, in the Prime Minister's words, "teeny weeny" sanctions. The other members of that conference, because of their sincerity, took on trust the Prime Minister's argument that the Eminent Persons Group should go to South Africa. Some of us condemned that proposal at that time but, nevertheless, it went ahead.
In October 1985, at Nassau, a motion was tabled on the agenda, and was subsequently included in the accord 1051 released after the meeting, that eight further measures against South Africa should seriously be considered if the EPG did not make progress in bringing about change in South Africa.
There has been a change of mind. My right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East said that he had changed his mind from supporting bringing in progressive sanctions to supporting the imposition immediately of fairly strict sanctions.
What will Heads of Government consider in London on 3, 4, 5 August?
They are not major sanctions, or not as we would interpret them. They are minimum sanctions which we should seriously consider. I should be pleased if the Minister will tell us how far the Government are prepared to go.
- "(a) a ban on air links with South Africa;
- (b) a ban on new investment or reinvestment of profits earned in South Africa;
- (c) a ban on the imports of agricultural products from South Africa;
- (d) the termination of double taxation agreements with South Africa;
- (e) the termination of all government assistance to investment in, and trade with, South Africa;
- (f) a ban on all government procurement in South Africa;
- (g) a ban on government contracts with majority-owned South African companies;
- (h) a ban on the promotion of tourism to South Africa."
The penultimate paragraph in the conclusion of the EPG report, which was unanimously agreed, stated:The question in front of Heads of Government is in our view clear. It is not whether such measures will compel change, it is already the case that their absence and Pretoria's belief that they need not be feared, defers change. Is the Commonwealth to stand by and allow the cycle of violence to spiral? Or will it take concerted action of an effective kind? Such action may offer the last opportunity to avert what could be the worst bloodbath since the Second World War.Those strong words ask for the minimum sanctions which will be discussed on 3, 4, and 5 August. Those questions should be answered by the Minister of State.
Invariably, I come in at the fag end of debates on South Africa, so I should like to speak for just two more minutes. Reference has been made to the support of £15 million. In the past two or three weeks, I have written to 34 British multinationals. Because of the national service agreement in South Africa, British multinationals with subsidiaries in South Africa are subsidising the military. Following two years of conscription, the wages of those who go for further training with the military are topped up by the British multinationals. I have heard from reliable sources in South Africa that employees of European multinationals, who are paid and subsidised by their companies, have been seen on the backs of wagons used in the so-called "control" of the streets of South Africa but, in fact, have been shooting blacks. The sum of £15 million is being sent to South Africa through British multinationals subsidising the military. These multinationals are also topping up their employees' wages. That is nothing less than scandalous. I hope that multinational companies will play their part in stopping this type of subsidy to the military.
§ Mr. Jerry Hayes (Harlow)
The hon. Member for Swansea, East (Mr. Anderson) has given me two minutes to speak, although I hope that he does not time me closely.
1052 The House should be deciding precisely how we can take measures that will generally change the position and free the blacks in South Africa. It is easy to posture and make grandiose statements about so-called sanctions which we should take while knowing full well that we shall sleep easily in our beds and nothing will happen.
I have been to South Africa—not on a Government-sponsored tour but on an independent tour. My group had the opportunity to meet people such as Bishop Tutu, Buthelezi, Allan Boesak and various Ministers. Right hon. and hon. Members would be foolish if they believed for one moment that they could bounce the Afrikaner Government into doing anything that they did not want to do. We cannot do that. That is why it is right that my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary should at least try to do what he can.
The only group that can facilitate change in South Africa is big business. Those people have economic muscle. About 20 years ago, they abolished apartheid in their own enterprises. Mr. Botha, the state President, is faced with a divided Cabinet—on the one hand, there is Mr. Pik Botha, who is after the state President's job, and, on the other, there are people who are against the so-called "reforms" which Mr. Botha says he wants to introduce. I sincerely believe that, if my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary fails in the next few days in Pretoria, the British Government will have to put forward positive measures which will send a signal of disapproval and which we hope will be effective. We must not for one moment fool ourselves into thinking that such measures will bounce the thoroughly wicked Government in Pretoria into changing their position one iota.
§ Mr. Donald Anderson (Swansea, East)
The quick answer to the point raised by the hon. Member for Harlow (Mr. Hayes) is that the South African Government can bask in their defiance because they know that, ultimately, they can rely on the British Government's support. So long as they labour under that belief, they will refuse to make the necessary moves.
Apparently, the Foreign Secretary has moved a little from the Prime Minister's intransigence. One can interpret the right hon. and learned Gentleman's points, with all their qualifications, as meaning, "If there is no tangible progress towards securing the objectives, some further measures, in my view, are likely to be necessary."
What is the Foreign Secretary's definition of "progress"? He has set as his task that of convincing the South African Government that Nelson Mandela and the other imprisoned leaders should be unconditionally released and the major parties should no longer be banned. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman be content to take the South African Government's word about a release at some future time, or will he make the release of Nelson Mandela a certain aim without which he will give a commitment to the House to embark on these "further measures"? So far the Foreign Secretary has been coy about that point.
The Foreign Secretary knows from his dealings with the South African Government that they will try to play for time and present some sort of agreement which is full of loopholes. He knows, for example, the long delays over the independence of Namibia from Security Council resolution 435 of 1978. If he wants further examples of the duplicity of the South African Government, let him look 1053 at those secret missives in relation to Mozambique, in spite of the Nkomati accord, which the South African Government signed in good faith with Mozambique. If he wishes to come closer to home, let him look at the Coventry Four. Four self-confessed representatives of the Armscor were indicted in this country. The first secretary of the South African Government, Mr. Pelzer, went to a High Court judge and pledged the full faith of the South African Government that they would return those four to this country for trial if they were allowed bail to return to South Africa. They returned to South Africa and then, of course, they said that they would not return to this country.
In the light of those clear examples of South African duplicity, will the Foreign Secretary accept something less than the release of Nelson Mandela before he embarks upon further measures or sanctions, call them what one will? Our fear is that the right hon. and learned Gentleman, decent man as he is, will return from his lonely odyssey brandishing a piece of paper saying, "Peace in our time." That would be greeted with derision in the world, and by the EEC and certainly by the Commonwealth.
Recently, the Prime Minister said that it was a pity that South Africa was no longer a member of the Commonwealth. Might it not be that her motive for saying that was that she was seeking to find at least one friend in the Commonwealth? The South African Broadcasting Corporation commended the Prime Minister for standing up against the mob. Does it thrill the Foreign Secretary as he embarks on his own safari that she has only the commendation of the state South African Broadcasting Corporation?
It is difficult to see how any reasonable individuals can dissent from these elements in the Opposition motion. Who can deny that there is a constitutional crisis looming, and that the Commonwealth is in danger of breaking up unless there are major moves on the part of the Government? Who can deny, after the failure of the Eminent Persons Group, that there is a danger of change being deferred yet again unless sanctions are imposed? Most sensible Members accept that. We believe that the Foreign Secretary and the Minister of State accept that effective sanctions will have to be imposed. Without them, who can deny that inevitably there will be a bloodbath in southern Africa which will make as naught all our nice calculations about the effect on jobs and on British investments? If that bloodbath comes about, it will sweep aside all our trade and investments in that country.
Since our previous debate, the Foreign Secretary has embarked on his safari. We wish him well. We know that he is a decent individual. But we also know that he is battling against the odds. Hardly had he embarked on the aeroplane before he read Hugo Young's interview with the Prime Minister. Poor Seigfried had no more cruel a stab in the back than the one that the Prime Minister delivered to the Foreign Secretary. The Prime Minister repeated the theme of her concern for the blacks. In effect, she said that she knew their interests better than they do. She repeated her concern for morality, which comes ill from someone who has shown no clear appreciation of the desperate position and repression of the blacks within South Africa.
I take no pleasure in saying this. The Foreign Secretary must know it, and the Prime Minister, too, because she has been told by our own diplomatic missions overseas. Rightly or wrongly, the perception of the Prime Minister among the majority of black leaders is that she is not on 1054 their side, that she is fundamentally opposed to their aspirations. She is just not believed when she says that she is against apartheid. Anyone with foresight must realise that the writing is on the wall for white minority government in South Africa. It is wrong for this country to be so closely identified with the old regime in South Africa, and so mistrusted by the emerging forces within that country. Might it not be a good thing for Britain if we were to give some signals of appreciation and sympathy for those emerging forces within South Africa?
Is the Prime Minister preparing for a famous victory, a deal under which Pretoria will promise to dismantle apartheid at some stage in the future, with many qualifications? Will she continue to give President Botha the benefit of every doubt? Is she prepared to ignore the possibility of the Commonwealth breaking up on the rock of her own intransigence in this matter? That has set her apart not only from the Foreign Office and the Ministers in it, but from the sensible majority of her own party.
The Prime Minister may feel passionately on this subject. Can she at least spare a thought for the passion of the families of the thousands of blacks who have been killed in South Africa over the past 18 months? Can she spare a thought for the wives and families of the 4,000 or more blacks and others who have been detained in South Africa, and for those, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) and I saw, at the Delmas treason trial of 22 leading blacks who in any sensible country would be playing a leading part in their own Government? Can the Prime Minister at least spare sonic of that passion for them or for the wives and families of those who do not know what has happened to their dear ones in South Africa or, indeed, to the blacks and others who are forced to flee their country because of the repression? I say to the Prime Minister that passion in the defence of vice is no virtue.
§ The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mrs. Lynda Chalker)
This short debate is vital to us all. It is vital that the Commonwealth continues to be that important channel of dialogue and debate among countries across the world, regardless of colour or creed. I should like to repeat to the House something that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said only a few day ago, on 11 July:The major objectives of our membership of the Commonwealth remain:We are told that the Commonwealth is under threat. The Commonwealth has survived many crises. Its unity and strength are based on the very many things that unite us. There are more things that unite than divide us. Those bonds remain and will continue to remain. In the Commonwealth, we are at one in our wish to 1055 see an end to apartheid and a rapid and fundamental change in South Africa, for which my right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary is working so hard. I do not believe that differences of opinion, which are about means, not ends, can undermine Commonwealth unity. The Commonwealth is too strong for that.
- (i) the maintenance and reinforcement of the continuing strong links at all levels between member states and their peoples;
- (ii) continued support for the Commonwealth as an organisation which can play a constructive and stabilising role in world affairs, notably in promoting democratic principles, international understanding and world peace;
- (iii) the development of the association as a unique channel for encouraging co-operation and understanding between the industrialised and developing countries;
- (iv) the maximisation of the political and economic benefits of our Commonwealth membership. [Official Report, 11 July 1986; Vol. 101, c. 279–80.]
The differences that exist will be discussed fully when the Commonwealth leaders meet next month. I am convinced that they can and will resolve the problems before us in the ways that they will decide. We want the Commonwealth to remain an effective force not only in promoting a solution to the present crisis in South Africa but in every sphere in which its influence is felt and is much needed across this very dangerous world of ours.
That bring me to the importance of my right hon. and learned Friend's mission. The House must remember that the Eminent Persons Group emphasised that the alternative to genuine negotiated settlement in South Africa is chaos, bloodshed and destruction. Faced with that alternative, which we all abhor, I hope that the House will agree that the Governments of the Twelve were not just right but absolutely right in wishing to make every possible effort to break the deadlock and to open the way to negotiations and the suspension of violence. That is a formidable task, requiring great patience and perseverance. On the first leg of this mission, which my right hon. and learned Friend found so valuable in establishing a closer understanding of the issues, we naturally met differences of opinion, but that will always be so. It cannot be right, however, for people in the House to talk down the mission for purely party political reasons. They should seriously ask themselves whether that in any way serves the cause of peaceful change that my right hon. and learned Friend is seeking to achieve.
In today's debate, as expected, there have been comments about divisions and differences, but in the Government there is strength and unity of commitment to do all that we can to bring a speedy end to apartheid and a change to a non-racial, democratic system of government in South Africa. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has made clear so many times, we utterly abhor apartheid and we are totally committed to finding the most effective way to achieve the changes that we all want. It is in the achievement of that end that our paths diverge—I think that the House is agreed about the ends. It is in the light of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group report, the work agreed to be reviewed at the August conference and the decisions taken by our European partners on 27 June, that we must examine in detail what might need to be done.
We are still at an early stage. My right hon. and learned Friend has just completed the first leg of what may be a long, very detailed and very intense series of visits. It is absolutely clear that if, at the end of those consultations with the leaders of the Economic Seven, the Commonwealth and the European Community we can reach decisions with the unanimous backing of the European Council, 320 million European people and also the Commonwealth, that will be the way to bring about effective change in South Africa. Without that weight of world opinion and the effective commitment of all those countries to achieve that change, we shall not succeed and 1056 people will seek to avoid sanctions for their own selfish purposes. No one in the House or in the country would want that.
We should be looking forward, not underestimating the difficulties, but convinced that talking to the leaders of the economic giants of the world, to the leaders of the Commonwealth and to all who should be involved in the dialogue that we seek to achieve in South Africa is the way ahead and we are determined to carry that process through to the very best outcome that we can achieve.
The Eminent Persons Group report has been quoted. We said in that report that we should promote dialogue in South Africa and the suspension of violence on all sides. We all wish those objectives to be achieved. That is fully accepted, but it is a decision that Heads of Government will be taking in a few weeks' time.
§ Mr. Healey
The Minister referred approvingly to the Eminent Persons Group. Indeed, she described it as her own report when she said -We said in that report". But the report stated that the failure of the British Government and other Governments so far to impose sanctions had deferred change. The report said that sanctions were necessary to produce change—that is also the view of many Conservatives, including the right hon. Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (Mr. Heath) — so will the Minister make it clear that when she says that sanctions will not work without everyone's agreement the Foreign Secretary's purpose is to achieve agreement on sanctions? Otherwise, she is deceiving the House.
§ Mrs. Chalker
The right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey) is up to his usual tricks, so eminently displayed in his opening speech. My right hon. and learned Friend the Foreign Secretary, in all his efforts in southern Africa, is seeking to find a way forward and to persuade the South African Government that the unconditional release of Nelson Mandela and other detainees, the unbanning of the ANC and other political groups and the end of the state of emergency should be achieved in very good time. Otherwise, the matters now being considered by European and Commonwealth leaders and the leaders of the Economic Seven will have to be further considered and a decision arrived at.
A decision that will be effective in bringing about an end to apartheid must be workable. The right hon. Member for Clydesdale (Dame J. Hart) put her finger on it when she talked about effective measures and the effect that certain financial decisions already taken have had. Whether they can be pushed further is being discussed and will be further discussed and will no doubt be discussed by my right hon. and learned Friend in Washington on Friday. It is important that there be unified backing for the efforts being made from both European Community and Commonwealth, that we do not concentrate on the views of extremists and that we move to the very thing that we have been seeking—the end of apartheid.
It is impossible to say exactly what could be done and how it could be done in terms of any measures that might have to be considered, but I remind the House of the importance of the positive measures that we are already taking. In addition to the £22 million that we are already giving to the states of southern Africa and to black people in South Africa, my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has announced an additional sum of £15 million for education and training for non-white South Africans.
§ Mrs. Chalker
Yes, but £3 million for transport projects in the front-line states is of major importance, as the hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Barnett) recognised. Those measures will do more to develop the way in which the front-line states and others diversify their markets —something that we have already been working on and shall continue to encourage.
None of the measures being discussed is finite. They have not been decided. We are negotiating with all the leaders whom my right hon. and learned Friend is meeting and seeking to meet to find the best chance of success. We are not committed to or against any of the measures that have been mentioned. My right hon. and learned Friend is engaged on a mission to try to achieve the very progress that all Members of the House claim to wish to achieve —an end to apartheid, the unbanning of the ANC and other groups and the unconditional release of Mandela as well as the lifting of the state of emergency. As my right hon. and learned Friend has said, if his mission cannot achieve that, he would regard agreement on further measures as being likely to be necessary. This is of vital importance for the mission that is going on, and we should remind ourselves that without those efforts we have no chance of persuading the South African Government to move further down the path on which they have started in recent years. The right hon. Member for Clydesdale is absolutely right—
§ Mrs. Chalker
I wish my right hon. and learned Friend every success in his mission. and I am sure that the whole House joins me in that, and will accept the Government's amendment.
§ Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:—
§ The House divide: Ayes 204, Noes 319.1060
|Division No. 261]||[7 pm|
|Abse, Leo||Callaghan, Rt Hon J.|
|Alton, David||Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M)|
|Anderson, Donald||Campbell, Ian|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Campbell-Savours, Dale|
|Ashdown, Paddy||Carlile, Alexander (Montg'y)|
|Ashley, Rt Hon Jack||Carter-Jones, Lewis|
|Ashton, Joe||Cartwright, John|
|Atkinson, N. (Tottenham)||Clark, Dr David (S Shields)|
|Barnett, Guy||Clarke, Thomas|
|Barron, Kevin||Clay, Robert|
|Beckett, Mrs Margaret||Clelland, David Gordon|
|Beith, A. J.||Clwyd, Mrs Ann|
|Bell, Stuart||Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S)|
|Benn, Rt Hon Tony||Cohen, Harry|
|Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)||Coleman, Donald|
|Bermingham, Gerald||Concannon, Rt Hon J. D.|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Conlan, Bernard|
|Blair, Anthony||Cook, Frank (Stockton North)|
|Boothroyd, Miss Betty||Cook, Robin F. (Livingston)|
|Boyes, Roland||Corbett, Robin|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Corbyn, Jeremy|
|Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)||Cox, Thomas (Tooting)|
|Brown, Hugh D. (Provan)||Craigen, J. M.|
|Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E)||Crowther, Stan|
|Brown, R. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne N)||Cunliffe, Lawrence|
|Brown, Ron (E'burgh, Leith)||Cunningham, Dr John|
|Bruce, Malcolm||Dalyell, Tam|
|Buchan, Norman||Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l)|
|Caborn, Richard||Deakins, Eric|
|Dewar, Donald||McTaggart, Robert|
|Dixon, Donald||Madden, Max|
|Dormand, Jack||Marek, Dr John|
|Douglas, Dick||Martin, Michael|
|Dubs, Alfred||Mason, Rt Hon Roy|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Maxton, John|
|Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G.||Maynard, Miss Joan|
|Eadie, Alex||Meacher, Michael|
|Eastham, Ken||Meadowcroft, Michael|
|Edwards, Bob (W'h'mpt'n SE)||Michie, William|
|Ellis, Raymond||Mikardo, Ian|
|Evans, John (St. Helens N)||Millan, Rt Hon Bruce|
|Ewing, Harry||Miller, Dr M. S. (E Kilbride)|
|Fatchett, Derek||Morris, Rt Hon A. (W'shawe)|
|Faulds, Andrew||Morris, Rt Hon J. (Aberavon,)|
|Field, Frank (Birkenhead)||Nellist, David|
|Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn)||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon|
|Fisher, Mark||O'Brien, William|
|Flannery, Martin||O'Neill, Martin|
|Foot, Rt Hon Michael||Orme, Rt Hon Stanley|
|Forrester, John||Owen, Rt Hon Dr David|
|Foster, Derek||Park, George|
|Foulkes, George||Parry, Robert|
|Fraser, J. (Norwood)||Patchett, Terry|
|Freud, Clement||Pavitt, Laurie|
|Garrett, W. E.||Pendry, Tom|
|George, Bruce||Penhaligon, David|
|Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John||Pike, Peter|
|Godman, Dr Norman||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)|
|Gould, Bryan||Prescott, John|
|Gourlay, Harry||Radice, Giles|
|Hamilton, James (M'well N)||Randall, Stuart|
|Hamilton, W. W. (Fife Central)||Raynsford, Nick|
|Hancock, Michael||Redmond, Martin|
|Hardy, Peter||Richardson, Ms Jo|
|Harman, Ms Harriet||Roberts, Allan (Bootle)|
|Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Roberts, Ernest (Hackney N)|
|Hart, Rt Hon Dame Judith||Robertson, George|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)|
|Healey, Rt Hon Denis||Rogers, Allan|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Rooker, J. W.|
|Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)||Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)|
|Holland, Stuart (Vauxhall)||Sheerman, Barry|
|Home Robertson, John||Sheldon, Rt Hon R.|
|Howells, Geraint||Shore, Rt Hon Peter|
|Hoyle, Douglas||Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)|
|Hughes, Dr Mark (Durham)||Short, Mrs R.(W'hampt'n NE)|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)||Silkin, Rt Hon J.|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport East)||Skinner, Dennis|
|Hughes, Simon (Southwark)||Smith, C.(Isl'ton S & F'bury)|
|Janner, Hon Greville||Smith, Rt Hon J. (M'ds E)|
|John, Brynmor||Snape, Peter|
|Johnston, Sir Russell||Steel, Rt Hon David|
|Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)||Stewart, Rt Hon D. (W Isles)|
|Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald||Straw. Jack|
|Kennedy, Charles||Thomas, Dafydd (Merioneth)|
|Kilroy-Silk, Robert||Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)|
|Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil||Thompson, J. (Wansbeck)|
|Kirkwood, Archy||Thome, Stan (Preston)|
|Lambie, David||Torney, Tom|
|Lamond, James||Wallace, James|
|Leadbitter, Ted||Wardell, Gareth (Gower)|
|Leighton, Ronald||Wareing, Robert|
|Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Weetch, Ken|
|Lewis, Terence (Worsley)||Welsh, Michael|
|Litherland, Robert||White, James|
|Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)||Williams, Rt Hon A.|
|Lofthouse, Geoffrey||Wilson, Gordon|
|McCartney, Hugh||Winnick, David|
|McDonald, Dr Oonagh||Woodall, Alec|
|McGuire, Michael||Wrigglesworth, Ian|
|McKay, Allen (Penistone)|
|McKelvey, William||Tellers for the Ayes:|
|MacKenzie, Rt Hon Gregor||Mr. Sean Hughes and|
|Maclennan, Robert||Mr. Ron Davies.|
|Alexander, Richard||Amess, David|
|Alison, Rt Hon Michael||Ancram, Michael|
|Amery, Rt Hon Julian||Arnold, Tom|
|Ashby, David||Fletcher, Alexander|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Fookes, Miss Janet|
|Atkins, Rt Hon Sir H.||Forman, Nigel|
|Atkins, Robert (South Ribble)||Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)|
|Atkinson, David (B'm'th E)||Forth, Eric|
|Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Vall'y)||Fowler, Rt Hon Norman|
|Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N)||Fox, Sir Marcus|
|Baldry, Tony||Franks, Cecil|
|Banks, Robert (Harrogate)||Fraser, Peter (Angus East)|
|Batiste, Spencer||Freeman, Roger|
|Bellingham, Henry||Galley, Roy|
|Bendall, Vivian||Gardiner, George (Reigate)|
|Bennett, Rt Hon Sir Frederic||Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde)|
|Benyon, William||Garel-Jones, Tristan|
|Best, Keith||Glyn, Dr Alan|
|Biffen, Rt Hon John||Goodhart, Sir Philip|
|Biggs-Davison, Sir John||Goodlad, Alastair|
|Blackburn, John||Gow, Ian|
|Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter||Gower, Sir Raymond|
|Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Grant, Sir Anthony|
|Boscawen, Hon Robert||Greenway, Harry|
|Bottomley, Peter||Gregory, Conal|
|Bottomley, Mrs Virginia||Griffiths, Sir Eldon|
|Bowden, A. (Brighton K'to'n)||Griffiths, Peter (Portsm'th N)|
|Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)||Grist, Ian|
|Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard||Ground, Patrick|
|Brandon-Bravo, Martin||Grylls, Michael|
|Bright, Graham||Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)|
|Brinton, Tim||Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)|
|Brittan, Rt Hon Leon||Hampson, Dr Keith|
|Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)||Hanley, Jeremy|
|Bruinvels, Peter||Hannam, John|
|Bryan, Sir Paul||Hargreaves, Kenneth|
|Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon A.||Harris, David|
|Buck, Sir Antony||Harvey, Robert|
|Bulmer, Esmond||Haselhurst, Alan|
|Burt, Alistair||Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael|
|Butcher, John||Hawkins, C. (High Peak)|
|Butler, Rt Hon Sir Adam||Hawkins, Sir Paul (N'folk SW)|
|Butterfill, John||Hawksley, Warren|
|Carlisle, John (Luton N)||Hayes, J.|
|Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)||Hayhoe, Rt Hon Barney|
|Carlisle, Rt Hon M. (W'ton S)||Hayward, Robert|
|Carttiss, Michael||Heathcoat-Amory, David|
|Chalker, Mrs Lynda||Heddle, John|
|Channon, Rt Hon Paul||Henderson, Barry|
|Chapman, Sydney||Hickmet, Richard|
|Chope, Christopher||Hill, James|
|Churchill, W. S.||Hind, Kenneth|
|Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)||Hirst, Michael|
|Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)||Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)|
|Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)||Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling)|
|Clegg, Sir Walter||Holt, Richard|
|Cockeram, Eric||Hordern, Sir Peter|
|Colvin, Michael||Howard, Michael|
|Conway, Derek||Howarth, Alan (Stratf'd-on-A)|
|Coombs, Simon||Howarth, Gerald (Cannock)|
|Cope, John||Howe, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey|
|Cormack, Patrick||Howell, Rt Hon D. (G'ldford)|
|Corrie, John||Hubbard-Miles, Peter|
|Couchman, James||Hunter, Andrew|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas|
|Crouch, David||Irving, Charles|
|Currie, Mrs Edwina||Jackson, Robert|
|Dickens, Geoffrey||Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick|
|Dorrell, Stephen||Jessel, Toby|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J.||Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey|
|Dover, Den||Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)|
|du Cann, Rt Hon Sir Edward||Jones, Robert (Herts W)|
|Dunn, Robert||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael|
|Durant, Tony||Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine|
|Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke)||Kershaw, Sir Anthony|
|Eggar, Tim||Key, Robert|
|Evennett, David||Knight, Greg (Derby N)|
|Eyre, Sir Reginald||Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)|
|Fallon, Michael||Knowles, Michael|
|Farr, Sir John||Lamont, Rt Hon Norman|
|Favell, Anthony||Lang, Ian|
|Fenner, Mrs Peggy||Latham, Michael|
|Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey||Lawler, Geoffrey|
|Lawrence, Ivan||Ryder, Richard|
|Lee, John (Pendle)||Sackville, Hon Thomas|
|Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh)||Sainsbury, Hon Timothy|
|Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Sayeed, Jonathan|
|Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd)||Shaw, Giles (Pudsey)|
|Lilley, Peter||Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')|
|Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Lord, Michael||Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)|
|Luce, Rt Hon Richard||Shersby, Michael|
|Lyell, Nicholas||Silvester, Fred|
|McCurley, Mrs Anna||Sims, Roger|
|Macfarlane, Neil||Skeet, Sir Trevor|
|MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute)||Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)|
|McLoughlin, Patrick||Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)|
|McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st)||Soames, Hon Nicholas|
|Madel, David||Speed, Keith|
|Major, John||Speller, Tony|
|Malins, Humfrey||Spencer, Derek|
|Maples, John||Spicer, Jim (Dorset W)|
|Marland, Paul||Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)|
|Marlow, Antony||Squire, Robin|
|Marshall, Michael (Arundel)||Stanley, Rt Hon John|
|Mates, Michael||Steen, Anthony|
|Mather, Carol||Stern, Michael|
|Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)|
|Mellor, David||Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)|
|Merchant, Piers||Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)|
|Meyer, Sir Anthony||Stewart, Ian (Hertf'dshire N)|
|Miller, Hal (B'grove)||Stokes, John|
|Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)||Sumberg, David|
|Miscampbell, Norman||Taylor, John (Solihull)|
|Mitchell, David (Hants NW)||Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)|
|Moate, Roger||Terlezki, Stefan|
|Monro, Sir Hector||Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M.|
|Montgomery, Sir Fergus||Thomas, Rt Hon Peter|
|Moore, Rt Hon John||Thompson, Donald (Calder V)|
|Morris, M. (N'hampton S)||Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)|
|Moynihan, Hon C.||Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)|
|Neale, Gerrard||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Needham, Richard||Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)|
|Neubert, Michael||Tracey, Richard|
|Newton, Tony||Trippier, David|
|Nicholls, Patrick||Twinn, Dr Ian|
|Normanton, Tom||van Straubenzee, Sir W.|
|Norris, Steven||Vaughan, Sir Gerard|
|Onslow, Cranley||Viggers, Peter|
|Oppenheim, Phillip||Waddington, David|
|Oppenheim, Rt Hon Mrs S.||Wakeham, Rt Hon John|
|Osborn, Sir John||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Ottaway, Richard||Walden, George|
|Page, Sir John (Harrow W)||Walker, Bill (T'side N)|
|Page, Richard (Herts SW)||Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)|
|Pawsey, James||Waller, Gary|
|Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth||Walters, Dennis|
|Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian||Ward, John|
|Pollock, Alexander||Wardle, C. (Bexhill)|
|Porter, Barry||Warren, Kenneth|
|Portillo, Michael||Watson, John|
|Powell, Rt Hon J. E.||Wells, Bowen (Hertford)|
|Powell, William (Corby)||Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)|
|Powley, John||Wheeler, John|
|Prentice, Rt Hon Reg||Whitfield, John|
|Price, Sir David||Whitney, Raymond|
|Prior, Rt Hon James||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Raffan, Keith||Wilkinson, John|
|Rathbone, Tim||Winterton, Mrs Ann|
|Rees, Rt Hon Peter (Dover)||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Rhodes James, Robert||Wolfson, Mark|
|Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Wood, Timothy|
|Ridsdale, Sir Julian||Woodcock, Michael|
|Rifkind, Rt Hon Malcolm||Yeo, Tim|
|Rippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)||Younger, Rt Hon George|
|Robinson, Mark (N'port W)|
|Roe, Mrs Marion||Tellers for the Noes:|
|Rost, Peter||Mr. Francis Maude and|
|Rowe, Andrew||Mr. Gerald Malone.|
|Rumbold, Mrs Angela|
§ Question accordingly negatived.
§ Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith pursuant to Standing Order No. 33 (Questions on amendments), and agreed to.
That this House reasserts its commitment to the Commonwealth and the goal of peaceful change in South Africa through negotiation; does not believe that general economic sanctions would help to secure that objective; notes that the Government is committed by the Nassau Accord and the Declaration by the European Council at The Hague on 27th June 1986 to consultations with the Commonwealth, the Community and other allies on further measures which might be needed; and welcomes the efforts of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in his capacity as President of the Twelve to establish conditions in which negotiations can take place.