HL Deb 24 November 1964 vol 261 cc740-1

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what, in the last year for which figures are available, was the total value of exports from the United Kingdom to the Republic of South Africa; what was the value in the same period of United Kingdom imports from South Africa; and whether Her Majesty's Government's representative at the United Nations will be instructed to resist any proposal for an economic embargo against South Africa, apart from the export of arms.]


My Lords, for the last year for which figures are available—that is from January to December, 1963—the total value of exports from the United Kingdom to the Republic of South Africa was £195.8 million. The total value of imports from South Africa for the same period was £114.7 million. The total value of United Kingdom re-exports to South Africa was £2.2 million. These figures exclude the figures for South West Africa.

As to the second part of the noble Earl's question, the Security Council established an Expert Committee in New York last June to consider measures which might be taken by the Council in relation to South Africa. Her Majesty's Government are playing a full part in the work of this Committee. This participation does not in any way commit us to supporting any particular measures against South Africa


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his full Answer. Is he aware that two years ago, by a two-thirds majority, the United Nations Assembly demanded full economic sanctions, which of course is not binding; and will the Government be careful not to let themselves be jockeyed by this new Committee into some act of folly which would have a crippling effect on the British balance of payments but no effect whatever on the internal problems of South Africa?


My Lords, the Committee of Experts to which the noble Earl refers is in no way in a situation to jockey Her Majesty's Government into any position at all. It is purely a Committee of Experts which will eventually report to the Security Council which set it up. But I may add that Her Majesty's Government are, in principle, as they have stated, already opposed to the use of economic boycotts to achieve political ends; and it is in the light of this, without any commitment either way, that we at this time are taking part in the work of the Security Council Expert Committee.