§ 2.7 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD GARDINER)
My Lords, I beg to move, That this House takes note of the situation in Southern Rhodesia. The situation in Southern Rhodesia is one in which there is an illegal Government; a state of emergency has been declared, and regulations have been made under it which provide powers, inter alia, to control the movement of persons, to detain persons, to place cordons around designated areas, to prohibit the possession, sale or distribution of newspapers; to control or prohibit printing or publishing of any designated book, newspaper, pamphlet, et cetera; to prohibit the possession of arms within designated areas; to prohibit gatherings or classes of gatherings; to designate protected places or areas and to control access to them; to impose curfews; to deny access to restrictees and detainees or any communication with them; to arrest persons on suspicion without warrant and to detain them for up to thirty days, and to detain a person in any place, including a dwelling, flat or room; that is to say, a power of house arrest. In addition, there is provision for detention camps.
It is an offence punishable by imprisonment or fine to publish or distribute information, statements, et cetera, likely to cause alarm or despondency. By further regulations nearly all civilian employees, including judges, can be directed to stay at their posts indefinitely on conditions fixed by the Minister, and can be directed to perform any act deemed necessary by the Minister. Employees can be suspended indefinitely, and other persons drafted into public service.
229 Failure to comply with, or hindrance of, regulations incurs penalty of fines up to £500 or imprisonment up to two years. Censorship operates through the Director of Information or censorship officers, to whom any article must be submitted before publication. The Government have powers to take over, intercept or suspend telegraph, telephone or Telex services, and to take over or control any radio station, service or apparatus. Employees of printing and publishing firms or communications services can be directed to stay at their posts and must obey directions given. There are wide powers also as to goods and services, as well as financial provisions.
In addition, a new Constitution, which is of course quite invalid, has been promulgated, and under that Constitution if the Queen does not appoint a Governor General on the advice of the illegal Ministers of Rhodesia within fourteen days a Regent will be appointed. Section 128 of the illegal Constitution provides that the Chief Justice and other judges may be required to accept the illegal Constitution on pain of automatic dismissal without compensation. The Governor has been ordered to leave Government House, and regulations provide that civil servants and judges can be directed to stay at their posts indefinitely. The entrenched clauses of the Constitution are now safeguarded merely by a two-thirds vote of Parliament.
My Lords, in these circumstances it is the view of Her Majesty's Government that it is extremely urgent that an enabling Bill should be passed by Parliament to enable them to deal with this situation. The liberties and even the lives of people are in question, and it is quite impossible to know at what hour of what day it may be necessary, at once, either to amend some part of the Constitution or to give the lawful Government, in the person of the Governor, powers which it has not got. It was for that reason that the Government wished to introduce this Bill on Thursday, or, if not on Thursday, on Friday; and it was at the wish of the Opposition that it was delayed over the week-end so that a full debate could take place in another place on Friday. In the course of that debate the right honourable gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said: 230It would be right for the Government to be able to get the enabling Bill through all stages on Monday."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 720 (No. 4), col. 540; November 12, 1965.]That it why I have moved this Motion: so that, before this Bill arrives from another place, the Bill having been published, your Lordships' House will have every opportunity of discussing the situation in Rhodesia, and then the Bill.
I am not an expert on Rhodesia. There are, I know, many Members of your Lordships' House who know a lot more about Rhodesia than I do. The noble Lord, Lord Alport, for example, I suspect knows more about Rhodesia than perhaps any other Member of your Lordships' House. But it may be that there are in your Lordships' House Members who know even less about Rhodesia than I do, and your Lordships will perhaps forgive me if I therefore direct myself primarily to them. One should perhaps state some basic facts first. There are approaching four million Africans in Rhodesia, and something approaching a quarter of a million Europeans. They have had full internal self-government for forty years; and, since 1961, on the 1961 Constitution. This is a somewhat complex Constitution. It provides for a Governor General and a Legislative Assembly, to which 65 members are to be elected—50 on an A Roll and 15 on a B Roll. The qualifications for the A Roll are higher, and it was not thought (as is, of course, the fact) that many Africans would be qualified for the A Roll. Qualifications for the B Roll are less; so in general one may say (as has in fact happened) that the A Roll seats are at the moment in effect European seats and the B Roll seats are African seats. The voting qualifications are extremely complicated on both Rolls, because there is a series of alternatives. They depend, in the main, either on what your income or the value of your property is or on your educational qualifications: and the mixture is such that the more money or property you have the less education you need have, and the higher education you have the less your income or property need be.
There is a Declaration of Rights covering a very wide field of human rights. It covers, in fact, the right to life, the 231 right to personal liberty, freedom from slavery and forced labour, protection from inhuman treatment, protection from deprivation of property, protection of privacy of home and other property; provisions to secure the protection of the law; freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association; and protection from discrimination by written laws.
The implementation of the Declaration of Rights is in the hands of a Constitutional Council, which includes representatives of all races; but their powers are extremely limited. All Bills are submitted to them. If they take the view that a Bill is racially discriminatory, they so report to Parliament, and that has the effect of delaying the passage of the Bill for some time. But their powers are set at naught if there is a State of Emergency or if the Prime Minister certifies that the particular Bill is one of urgency. In any case, they have no similar powers concerning legislation which was passed before 1961: and, of course, the main Act of a discriminatory character, the Land Apportionment Act, was passed before 1961.
The main clauses of importance—those dealing with the Governor General, the Legislative Assembly, and so on; and, of course, those referring to the Constitutional Council—are entrenched, and the form which the entrenchment takes is that before any of those clauses can be amended either there must be four racial referenda—that is to say, a referendum of the European, African, Asian and coloured races—and they must all be in favour of it, or the British Government must agree. For some reason which I do not pretend to understand, the clauses which provide for the 50 A seats and the 15 B seats are not entrenched clauses.
My Lords, if I may (and I am afraid that I shall exceed my usual twelve minutes, but as this is a complex subject I am sure that the House will understand), I should like to say quite a bit on a subject which was not really discussed in another place on Friday at all. It seems to me that, in the main, we are here really dealing with human beings—white men and women and children, and black men and women and children, in Rhodesia; and that, if we wish to arrive at a right conclusion as to what ought to be done 232 in the tragic events which have occurred, it is our duty to try to understand (whether we agree with them or not) what are the views of the different people, white and black, in Rhodesia.
When I went to Rhodesia, I went to learn. I listened to what Mr. Smith's Cabinet said; I listened to what Mr. Smith said, both in the Cabinet and privately, and to what Mrs. Smith said. I listened to what Mr. Nkomo and the other leaders of ZAPU said. I listened to what the leaders of ZANU, Mr. Sithole's Party, said; I listened to the individual Members of Parliament who were supporters of the Smith Government; I listened to other members of the Rhodesian Front, including a large number of individual tobacco farmers; I listened to what representatives of the Church said; I listened to what representatives of the universities said. I listened to the heads of the Tobacco Trade Federation; I listened to the Chambers of Commerce. Of course, I listened to the then Opposition headed by that fine Olympic yachtsman, Mr. Butler. I listened to what his Members of Parliament said. I listened to what African Members of Parliament said. I listened to what Mr. Parry said and to what the Independent European Members of Parliament said. I listened to the trade unions, to white trade unions and to the black trade unions. I listened to African traders; I listened to all the heads of the Civil Service departments—all Europeans of course. I listened to what very junior African civil servants said. I listened to what Lord Malvern said and to what Sir Roy Welensky said. I listened to what Mr. Winston Field said; I listened to what Mr. Garfield Todd said; I listened to what Sir Edgar White-head said; and I listened to a good many others. So, while I have no doubt that many Members of your Lordships' House are much more familiar with the different views in Rhodesia than I am, I did spend my time there doing nothing but listening to what they all said.
I think the following is a fair account of the different views. Perhaps I might start with the Rhodesian Front, the Government Party. They say: "When the Europeans came here there were nothing but a lot of savages here and disease was rampant. The different tribes spent most of their time fighting one another. 233 As a result of our coming here, disease is now wiped out to the extent it ever is. We have brought peace. We have established the rule of law and we have developed the country. We have developed it more successfully than any of our forbears could have imagined. Our economic state is now high. This has not happened without a tremendous amount of work on our part. Those of us not born here have all come out here, and by dint of hard work we have created the country's present economic state. It is not only a State in which the European's living standard is high; it is a State in which the African's living standard is high, so much so that we have over 100,000 Africans, who are not Rhodesians, but who have come in from the African-run countries around us; because the African-run countries around us have not the skills to create the amount of employment or the economic standards which we can provide for them here. In the field of education—nearly all of which is, of course, provided out of taxation on the Europeans—you will find in Rhodesia a higher proportion of Africans going to school than you will find in any of the countries around us and it is, to our view, ridiculous that, when Britain has given independence to all these countries around us in the last few years, we who have been internally independent for forty years and have made the enormous success which we have in the development of the country, should be the one country in this part of the world which is refused independence."
If one says: "Do you think that some might think it was a reflection on Rhodesia if, having been fully self-governing for forty years, it is only in Rhodesia that the Africans are not sufficiently advanced to get to majority rule?" then they say: "But no African is fit for majority rule. They were not fit for majority rule in any of these countries around us. Look at what is happening in all these places. Look at Ghana, where President Nkrumah goes and locks up his enemies without any sort of charge being made against them or without any sort of trial. Look at the case of Dr. Danquah, a member of the Bar and a leader of the Opposition, who had done just as much as Nkrumah to obtain independence for Ghana. He dies in detention having never been charged with anything.
234 If President Nkumah's judges refuse to convict somebody on a capital charge because they do not think he is guilty, then he removes the judges. Look at Nigeria where they have just had elections and where they are all busy killing one another because they cannot agree on what was the result of the elections. Look at Kenya. We have seen a lot of English farmers, who were there; but who have been driven out. We see them as they come through Salisbury. Look at Malawi and the sort of statements that Dr. Banda makes, saying at the moment that somebody ought to be publicly hanged before he has even been tried. Look at Zambia in the North. We know what is going on there because we have a very efficient security service."
They say—and Mr. Smith told me this himself, and obviously he felt about it strongly: "Do you know that quite recently one of the Ministers in Zambia locked the door and tried to rape or seduce his European secretary? None of these countries were really fit for democracy. They would all have done a lot better if they had stayed under British rule; and we are not going to allow the same sort of thing to happen here. This is our birthright. We have settled here. Some of us are second generation Rhodesians. Having worked as we have, and having made the success that we have in Rhodesia, we see no reason why we should move out before the Africans are anything like fit for majority rule. We are not anti-British. It is the British who seem to us since the war not to be the people they used to be. There are no more loyal supporters of the Queen than we. We fought for Britain in the war, and the fact is that we have merely decided to maintain Christian standards of civilisation in this part of the world and the rule of law."
My Lords, if Mr. Smith were here, I think he would say that this is a fair account of the views honestly held by the Rhodesian Front and explained by them. Of course I like Mr. Smith. He is, I think, a very sincere man, and the sort of man who, if he made you a promise, would carry it out. But I think he has a power of self-deception which is much greater than most of us have, though no doubt we all have a bit. For example, in the time of the last Government he strongly affirmed that at the time of the 235 negotiations and consultations, when the Federation was breaking-up, the Government had given him an undertaking that Rhodesia could have independence on the terms of the 1961 Constitution. He was taken by that Government very carefully through the documents; it was shown to him that there was no document that suggested anything of the kind. Then he said that it must have been an oral promise. Of course, the negotiations had been conducted for Rhodesia by Sir Edgar Whitehead. Sir Edgar Whitehead issued a public statement to say that he had never asked for any such promise and had never been given any such promise.
Sir Alec Douglas-Home ultimately wrote, in September, 1964, to Mr. Smith saying:I am writing to confirm what I said to you; namely, that no undertaking explicit or implicit, was given about the British Government's intentions regarding Southern Rhodesia's independence in the event of the dissolution of the Federation, which we were not at that time contemplating, nor was any such undertaking asked for. Sir Edgar Whitehead confirmed this in a speech in your Legislative Assembly on August 25 in which he said. 'No agreement was made with Her Majesty's Government to the effect that after the Federal break-up, if such happened, we would necessarily be granted sovereign independence without any further change.'And Mr. Smith then accepted that that must obviously be right and that he had been wrong.
Almost as soon as this Government took Office, Mr. Smith was saying, "You must remember that in the discussions which took place about federation we were promised that we should have our independence on the 1961 Constitution, and we were misled." Our High Commissioner in Salisbury then took him very carefully through all the documents again; reminded him again of what Sir Edgar Whitehead had said, and Mr. Smith accepted again that he must be wrong about that. Yet later, when he was over here discussing matters with us at No. 10, in the middle of a speech he suddenly said, "Of course, you must remember we were grossly deceived, because there is no doubt that at the time of the negotiations about federation we were promised that if the Federation broke up we should get independence on the 1961 Constitution." I am quite sure 236 that each time he said these things he sincerely believed them to be true. We sometimes find that with witnesses. A witness says something, and you think, "He must know that is untrue". Then it turns out that, however unreasonable it may be, the witness does in fact believe it.
My Lords, before I leave the Rhodesian Front, there are two other points of their view which I should mention. The first is this. They always said to us, or did when I was out there: "Of course we accept majority rule, because we accept the 1961 Constitution; and under the 1961 Constitution, as African educational and financial status improves there is, of course, bound to be African majority rule. Therefore we accept it." But when Mr. Smith was over here, we asked him whether, if there was United Kingdom help, he would increase the amount of African education. And he said, "No. We believe in education for its own sake, because the African who is to some extent educated is more use to us economically than one who is completely uneducated. But we do not believe in bringing African majority rule nearer, and we certainly should not agree to African education being expedited for that purpose. The Rhodesian Government would think it wrong to accelerate the educational advance of the Africans simply in order to improve their political status in the community." Mr. Smith said he must make it clear that the Government Party in Rhodesia did not believe in majority rule.
The matter was carried a stage further when my right honourable friend the Prime Minister was in Salisbury. Even when I was out there we had discussed the fact, that, because the clauses of the Constitution which provided for 50 A seats and 15 B seats had not been entrenched, if there was independence, there would have to be some sort of guarantee against a retrogressive amendment of the Constitution. Mr. Smith indicated that he did not agree, and the reason why he did not agree really appeared only in discussions with the Prime Minister in Salisbury, when he said he could not agree because, if the time ever came when it looked as if the Africans would get a majority in the Legislative Assembly, and the Rhodesian Front did not think that they were fit for 237 majority rule, they would decrease the B Roll seats to one or increase the A seats in order to stop it. It became, perhaps for the first time, crystal clear that they do not really believe in majority rule, at all events in their lifetime, as Mr. Smith has sometimes put it himself. I asked Mr. Harper, when he was over here, "When do you think the Africans will be fit for a majority rule?". He said and I have no reason to suppose that it was not his honest opinion, that he thought two hundred years.
There is one further point as to their views which I shall be less good at explaining, because I have always found it difficult to understand it myself; but that is not for lack of asking either Mr. Smith or his colleagues for information about it. It is; why do they want independence now to the extent even of having a rebellion and taking power illegally? In other words, what is wrong with continuing on the existing Constitution? What is the crisis about? They have got all the powers in their own hands except in matters of foreign policy. What is the need for independence now?
To that question, Mr. Smith has, again, two reasons, mainly this first. When you ask him about this, what he always says, is, "We cannot stand this awful uncertainty any longer. We cannot go on in this uncertain way. Although the economy is strong, we should be in a better financial position still if we had more investment capital. We cannot get investment capital because we are not independent. Financier after financier has said, "If you are independent, there is any amount of money you like". It is this lack of investment capital that is holding us up." I said, "Well, I do not know much about financiers, but I should have thought that what a financier primarily wants is stability. Do you not think it is, perhaps, your threat of a which has naturally made financiers hesitant to put a lot of money in Rhodesia until they see whether or not there is going to be a rebellious Government?" The answer was, "No, No, it is not that at all; it is this dreadful uncertainty. We must end this dreadful uncertainty."
The second reason, which he also gave on television when he was here, is: "This will enable us to have better control of 238 the Africans, because so long as the Africans feel they can get to London, and there is somebody over our heads to appeal to, we shall have a certain amount of trouble with them. Once they realise that we are in the saddle, and are staying in the saddle, and that we are the people who decide things, we shall have much less trouble with the Africans."
That brings me to the African Nationalists, whose case, I am glad to say, is very much shorter. They say, "Nothing less than ' one man, one vote', to-morrow. We are not interested in anything else and our great remedy for all the problems of Rhodesia is violence." Last year there was a good deal of violence in the townships, not by Africans against Europeans, but by gangs of young men employed by Mr. Nkomo, who beat up those who did not join the Party, and gangs of young men employed by Mr. Sithole who beat up those who did not support his Party. Their great remedy for everything is violence. If asked to defend this, they would, I think, say, "We know the Rhodesian Front. We have boycotted the Constitution and the Elections because this would be a farce. It would look well if we were in Parliament, but the real truth, whatever they say, is that the Rhodesian Front do not believe in majority rule, and they have no intention that there shall be majority rule, at least in their lifetime. If we address meetings or try to spread our views, we are arrested and sent into a restriction area, and our wives and children are left to starve. What on earth remedy have we except the remedy of violence?"
The Council of Chiefs—I do not think I have mentioned them, but we spent a whole day at the Indaba and half a day talking to them—are all in favour of independence. They do not call it independence, they call it cutting the strings with Britain. They say, "We have a simple choice. Either we cut the strings with Britain, or it is Nkomo to-morrow. We do not want Nkomo to-morrow. We support the Government."
Then there are the rest. By "the rest" I do not mean that they are all unanimous, but they all say substantially the same thing. The leading industrialists, traders, white and black, Opposition Members of Parliament, African Members of Parliament, businessmen, the 239 Churches and the universities all say, "There is no need for any crisis of any kind at all. After all, we have under the existing Constitution all the powers. We are fully self-governing internally. It is not like an ordinary Colony. We have our own Army, Air Force and Police and our own Civil Service. There is no reason why we should not go on with this Constitution which will provide majority rule in time. Nobody can say how long. Estimates vary between five years and fifty years. Most people think probably somewhere about fifteen and twenty years. But it will be a Constitution which will allow in due course for African majority rule. Why on earth cannot we go on as we are? There is nothing really wrong with the 1961 Constitution. If Britain were to grant independence to a minority like the European minority here, obviously there would have to be safeguards for the Africans and there would have to be some changes in the Constitution. But this terrific crisis atmosphere is a thing which has been worked up entirely by the Rhodesian Front for electoral purposes and there is no need at all for any atmosphere of that kind."
If I may, I will now comment on one or two of those different views. In the first place, I think that the Europeans have done a magnificent job in the development of Rhodesia. They have done it by hard work and by skill. I am not a farmer, but I have no doubt at all from what I saw that they are magnificent farmers. Down in the Hippo Valley, where there was land on which nothing would grow and everybody said that it would never grow anything, damming projects and irrigation have made the land grow almost everything. For example, Rhodesia used to be an importer of sugar and now is quite a big exporter. There is no doubt that in the agricultural field they have done a splendid job.
In the field of African education they have not done at all badly. It would perhaps be unfair to countries around them to contrast a country which has been internally self-governing for forty years and has a high living standard with those countries which have only just started. But they have done well in primary education. It is perhaps second- 240 dary education which is somewhat lacking.
In relation to what they say about the countries around them, no doubt we shall all have our own views. I think that here there is really a basic philosophic difference. We of the Commonwealth and all Parties in this country have long subscribed to the view that we are trustees in the case of Colonies while we bring them to a stage of development when they can run their own country. This view is not shared by members of the Rhodesian Front—no doubt quite honestly. They say that all these countries would have been much better off if they had stayed under British rule. If by much better off", they mean economically, I have no doubt myself that that is true. But what do we do when the African whose country it is says, "Well, thank you very much; on the whole I would rather be free and run my own country, even if I do not do it so well as a white minority." How do we equate the scales: economic standard with being free?
Some of your Lordships may have read an account the other day in a newspaper of a Salisbury barman with the average living standard in Rhodesia of about £1,250 a year—the African standard being about £200 a year—who said, "All these niggers are no good. They never will be any good." The thing that struck me was that he said it in front of his assistant, who was an African. People have feelings, and whether this desire for freedom and for running your own show is rational or not, we in the Commonwealth have recognised its strength and have adopted the view which I have set out. It is true that these Rhodesians are the most loyal subjects of the Queen, and that 9,000 fought for us in the war. What they did not mention and what one could not guess from the advertisements in this country, on which they spent so much money, is that so did 15,000 black Rhodesians.
So far as the countries around them are concerned, I should have thought on the whole that we should be gratified rather than disappointed. The general situation in Nigeria is a matter for self-congratulation on our part. I have seen a very large proportion of the Bench and Bar in Nigeria—some 1,500 African lawyers: 750 of them, all trained in 241 London at the English Bar—and a better Bench and Bar one would not want to see.
So far as Kenya is concerned, I think that we probably all should say that we were surprised at the way in which Mr. Kenyatta, from the moment he got into power, without a word of recrimination, has done his best to see that Kenya is a truly interracial country. It is interesting, I think, that at this time leading farmers and others in Kenya should have sent to Rhodesia this message, while the Prime Minister was over there on the 2nd:We, the undersigned are either Kenya citizens of British origin or British residents of Kenya. Most of us have held, or still hold, positions of some responsibility in the public, commercial or agricultural life of the country. We wish to express publicly our feeling of deep shock and dismay at the declared intention of the Rhodesian Government to seize independence in the name of a white minority and in defiance of the British Government's persistent efforts to secure legally enforceable safeguards leading by stages to African majority rule.These efforts have been supported by all political Parties in Britain. We feel we can speak for the overwhelming majority of British people in Kenya when we say that they are most certainly supported here.Some of us have known in the past what it is to stand up for our rights as settlers against an interfering British colonial office. Most of us had perfectly sincere reservations about the speed with which independence was granted to Kenya.To-day, however, we must readily admit that a great many of our fears have proved totally unfounded. Like any other new country, Kenya has its fair share of difficult problems. The disruptive forces of tribalism are not yet stilled. The cold war exerts its malign influence, in East Africa as it does in most other parts of the world.Stock thefts continue to harass the European and the African farmers. Drought and famine have added to the difficulties of the settlement schemes in the Highlands. We desperately need more overseas investment to fight chronic unemployment. Sudden and apparently arbitrary deportation orders have sometimes upset morale among the minority races.Kenya in fact is no Shangri-La. But what country is? To weigh in the balance against the shortcomings just described, we can honestly say that President Kenyatta's Government has kept its pledge to respect the rights of all races and that the bitterness of the past has been largely forgotten in the spirit of Harambee.Racial prejudice is minimal, the rule of law has been preserved. Freedom of religion, 242 speech and of the Press has generally been respected. Law and order has been maintained by a first-class police force under African command.Above all, the Kenya Government has succeeded in the face of enormous difficulties in creating a genuine feeling of stability, an atmosphere in which every man, whatever the colour of his skin, feels free to get on with his job, to earn his living and bring up his family in peace. The European and the Asian are united, in fact, with the African in the urgent task of building a new nation. This is not a political platitude. It is a fact which any visitor to Kenya can see for himself.Indeed, it is a pity that more of Rhodesia's (and South Africa's) leaders do not take the trouble to visit East Africa to learn at first hand what independence has achieved. At all events, we hope it is not too late, even now, to add our voices to the British Prime Minister's and say to Mr. Smith, 'Prime Minister, think again'.This letter was signed by Wilfrid Barger, Jack Block, Sir Michael Blundell, Kenneth Bolton, Michael Curtis, Lord Delamere, Sir Derek Erskine. Sir Wilfred Havelock, E. H. Howard Williams. Sir William O'Brien Lidsay, Charles Markham, Monty Ruben, Humphrey Slade and Leslie Thornton.
It does not seem, so far as I can make out, that any of the Rhodesian Front leaders have ever been to the countries around. None of them seem to have met President Nkrumah, President Kenyatta, President Nyerere or even Mr. Kaunda. They were deeply shocked, of course, by what happened in the Congo. The Congo has had a great effect, naturally enough, on the white settlers in Rhodesia. They have also been affected by the views of some Kenya settlers who came from South Africa and who left Kenya on independence and went back home to South Africa through Salisbury; and these are really the only settlers in Kenya whose views they have heard.
As to the African Nationalists, first of all they expected us to send an army at once to hand them power on a plate, and the only alternative was to call a Constitutional Conference. They seemed shocked when we made it quite plain to them that there was no question of this country sending an army, and it was useless to call a Constitutional Conference if nobody attended it. The Rhodesian Cabinet had made it quite clear from the outset that the last thing they would think of doing was to attend a Constitutional Conference. The 243 African Nationalists could not attend, because they were restricted. So no Constitutional Conference was in prospect.
We strongly urged on the African Nationalists how mistaken they had been in not working the Constitution. As I said to Mr. Nkomo "If only you had worked the Constitution, you would now be in Parliament and would be seen to be what you are, the leader of the African people. You would have had political experience and Parliamentary experience". But they still feel that working a Constitution is something of a trap, and they still talk of nothing but majority rule to-morrow. This is partly because when you have two Parties it is like having two trade unions. As long as one says, "Nothing less than one man, one vote, to-morrow", the other is obliged to say, "Nothing less than one man, one vote, to-morrow," and it is difficult to get any sense out of either of them. This is not a difference of ideas. It is a personal difference between Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Sithole. The Organisation of African Unity and everybody else have tried, but have not succeeded in bringing them together.
As to the Chiefs, they are really hopeless. We spent a day at the Indaba. There are, I think, about 700 of them and one cannot deal with them there. We thought that if we saw the Council of Chiefs around a table we could find out what they thought. Their position being hereditary—once a Chief, always a Chief—a number of them are very old and obviously completely senile and "gaga". Most of them are completely illiterate. It may be that in some cases they really represent their tribes; but in other cases they obviously do not represent anybody. They are highly respected in many quarters as civilian judges, which is what they are, in tribal matters, and some resent that the Government should have brought them into politics. When you ask them, "Why do you think the only choice is between cutting the strings tomorrow and having Nkomo to-morrow?", they say, "That is what the Government tell us; and that is what the African Nationalists tell us, and obviously it must be so". They do not understand the Constitution.
They have been promised by the Government that if they support the Govern- 244 ment the Government will give them back their old criminal jurisdiction, so that they will have more power over their people. I do not think that they support the Government merely because they are paid by the Government and can be dismissed by the Government; I think they support the Government for the very good reason that it pays them to do so. They do not like the African Nationalists, but they like to have more powers in the tribal areas. We tried to go into this further at what we thought was going to be a round-table discussion with the Council Chiefs. But Mr. Harper had been very much in charge of the Indaba and had made arrangements for all members of the Press to be there when we were talking to the Council—Mr. Harper was very much there—and discussion really became impossible, because whatever we asked for, Mr. Harper, in effect, told them what the answer was.
I have no comment to make on what I have called "the rest". I saw no reason to disbelieve them when they said that there was no real need for a crisis atmosphere at all. After all, the Smith Government itself has all the powers in its own hands. But the one and only thing that my right honourable friend the Commonwealth Secretary and I said to everybody when we went there, including particularly the Government and their supporters, was, "We have not come here to try to establish African majority rule to-day or African majority rule tomorrow. Nobody is threatening you with anything. There is no reason why you should not go on as long as you like under the existing Constitution." We did, I hope, get this across: that there never has been, as I think, any real reason why by desperate means independence should he seized now, except that this is the call on which they had won the Election—in fact, on which they had won two Elections—namely, that they would obtain independence, and, if necessary, take it.
I feel rather sorry for Mr. Smith. There is no doubt that in the last fortnight Mr. Smith has been fighting, and I should think knowing him, fighting pretty hard, against an illegal declaration of independence. I know he feels that he has nailed the flag of to his mast to such an extent that if he gave it up he would probably have to retire from 245 public life. But I know he feels that it is really a mistake, and that if it had been done at all, it should have been done before. But he has a lot of extremists in his Cabinet, and I am afraid that they have carried the day.
I found that there was a difference between Rhodesians and non-Rhodesians—and by "Rhodesians" I mean men born in Rhodesia. It splits into three. About one-third of the people there were born in Rhodesia; about another one-third come from England, and the other one-third come from South Africa. The Rhodesian Front themselves differ a bit. I talked to a number of tobacco farmers who had come from South Africa, not because they disagreed with anything that was going on in South Africa, but because the land in Rhodesia is better for growing tobacco than in South Africa. But Mr. Smith is a Rhodesian, Sir Humphrey Gibbs is a Rhodesian and the Chief Justice is Rhodesian. Most of the extremists in the Cabinet, I think, are not Rhodesians in that sense. Mr. Harper came from India. Mr. Dupont, Mr. Lardner Burke and Mr. Wrathall—in fact most of them—have come out from here since the war, and in many cases fairly recently. But it was because we knew throughout what appalling problems would arise if there was an illegal declaration of independence that, although we could see no need for this crisis atmosphere, we have done every single thing we can to avoid it. I am glad to see that Mr. Maudling takes that view. Some, I think, may say that we went too far to appease them. But I can assure the House that there is nothing which the Government could have done to avoid this which they did not do.
At this hour I am not going to start on the question of sanctions, or to argue about what is punitive and what is not punitive. But I would suggest for your Lordships' consideration that, first, the least we can do is what we said we would do, including not taking their tobacco, which is a step we said we would take. The public statements we have made were not disagreed to by the Opposition Party here. If we did not mean what we said, we were bluffing; and we had no right to make such statements if we were bluffing. That, I should have thought, is the least we can do. How far we should 246 go is a matter of opinion. There are those who cry "Forward!" and those who cry "Back!". Some would like to do nothing, so long as it is not effective. That does not seem to be a very sensible point of view. Others would go further, and use force. But it does not seem to the Government that, whatever the problems of Rhodesia are—and they are great—they could usefully be solved by force.
I should hope that some at least of your Lordships may have heard what my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary said about that at the United Nations yesterday. I know that some noble Lords (the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, for example) do not think that the United Nations can ever do anything at all. There are extremist members in Mr. Smith's Cabinet who think that, too. I should not have thought, if a war started between two countries like India and Pakistan, that the United Nations could stop it. I should not have thought they would have the effect they had at the time of Suez But when you get, as you did the other day in this matter, the vote of 101 to 2, it is no good saying: "This is an African bloc." This is really world opinion, and it is very difficult to stand out against it.
Not the least of the difficulties of Her Majesty's Government is seeking to retain control at the United Nations in limiting the steps to be taken to those which Her Majesty's Government think ought to be taken. Of course this is a point on which the appearance or non-appearance of the unity of this country is going to have a considerable effect. If they see that this country appears to be divided on what they regard as far too limited measures to be taken, it will, of course, make the task of my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary an even more difficult task than it is now.
At the bottom of this there really is a basic difference. Mr. Smith was right in one sense when he said that the differences are irreconcilable, because the real difference at the heart of this problem is that we in the Commonwealth believe that it is our duty in respect of all Colonies—and this is a Colony—to develop the inhabitants of the country so that they get to a position in which they can rule their own country. This is not the view of the Rhodesian Front: they do not believe in majority rule. The 247 situation which we have to face is that we have to consider what is necessarily involved in the whole of the relationship between white people and black people in Africa. In conclusion, I would venture to hope that, for some of the reasons which I have mentioned, we in this country shall be able to approach these difficult problems with as great a degree of unity as possible.
§ 3.2 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT DILHORNE
My Lords, it is, I think, useful that we should have a general discussion on Rhodesia before we turn our attention to the Bill, which I understand is likely to reach us early this evening. I am sure the whole House is grateful for the exposition given by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor of what he learned, and the information which was given to him, on his visit to Rhodesia. That, of course, is now some time ago. I was sorry myself that the noble and learned Lord did not at this moment say more in explanation and justification of the action which the Government have taken and propose to take at the present juncture. We shall be discussing that inevitably and rightly in the course of this debate, and I do not propose to refer to the Bill in any detail now.
The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor began his speech by telling us of the wide powers that exist under the State of Emergency—powers that, of course, can be legally exercised only by the Ministers of the Rhodesian Government and those acting under them. He also told us about the new Constitution which has been—he used the word "promulgated", but I think "announced by" Mr. Smith would probably be a better description, with its power apparently (I have not seen it myself) to require the Chief Justice and others to accept directions given to them by the Executive. The noble and learned Lord went on to say that it was, in the view of Her Majesty's Government, extremely urgent to pass the enabling Bill. I should like to say just this about the Bill. Were it not for the urgency, I should myself have seriously considered tabling some Amendments to improve its language in the course of our debate. I feel some doubts as to the way in which certain things are expressed in it. But we recognise that 248 it is urgent and desirable that that Bill should, if possible, receive the Royal Assent to-night. While I will raise certain points when we come to the Bill in the hope that I shall get satisfactory assurances, undertakings and explanations from the Lord Chancellor, I hope that he will not think that in doing so I am in any way seeking to impede the passage of the measure.
Now may I turn to the present situation or, indeed, perhaps look-back, and look back a little longer than the noble and learned Lord? For weeks, months and, indeed, years, we have all hoped that what has happened would not come to pass, and successive Governments have striven hard to find a satisfactory end agreed solution; and our present Government have done so, too. But I am sure that all your Lordships were surprised and shocked when the news came last Thursday that the Prime Minister's efforts had failed and that Mr. Smith had embarked on this illegal course. My mind went back to the talks we had with Mr. Smith in 1964. They were not easy. Then, too, there was a threat, a very real threat, of U.D.I. Then Mr. Smith maintained, as he did in the recent talks, that the people of Rhodesia, African and European, wanted independence to be granted on the 1961 Constitution. Mr. Smith accepted, and I quote the words of the Joint Communiqué published on September 12 1964:Independence must be based on general consent.He also said:He was convinced that the majority of the population supported his request for independence on the basis of the present Constitution and franchise.We said, in effect. "Prove it to us". And Mr. Smith undertook to do so. The threat of U.D.I. then was averted, and to that extent those talks succeeded. Mr. Smith was told that it would not satisfy us, or the world, just for him to call an Indaba and to get the support there for his claim. In fact, Mr. Smith has not, I am sorry to say, fulfilled the undertaking he gave then to prove his statements.
The Communiqué—it was a joint Communiqué—went on to say that he recognised that we, Great Britain, were entitled to be satisfied about this and, as The Times said on that day:He abandoned recourse to U.D.I. until the test of public opinion in Rhodesia had been made.249 That test has never been made. The purpose of the Royal Commission was, if I understand it correctly, to make it, but it would seem that it was only after the London talks were ended, only after the Prime Minister's visit to Rhodesia, that a Royal Commission for this purpose was suggested. It was on November 3 that the Prime Minister told us that the Government—and I ask your Lordships to note his words—wereprepared to agreeto the Rhodesian's Government's proposals beingput to the test of acceptability to the people of Rhodesia as a whole".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 718 (No. 670), col. 1027, November 3, 1965.]That was on November 3 of this year. So it was only then that our present Government were prepared to agree that that which Mr. Smith had undertaken in 1964, namely, his assertion, which few can credit, should be put to the test.
Then the Prime Minister, having said that the British Government were prepared to agree to this, told Mr. Smith—and again I quote:The British Government cannot, of course, be expected to commit themselves in advance to accept that report "—that was the Report of the Royal Commission—particularly as, in any case, the eventual decision rests with Parliament alone.A week later, on the very eve of U.D.I., the Prime Minister told us that he put this question to Mr. Smith, and, if I may, I will remind your Lordships of its terms. He said:We asked them the following question. ' If the United Kingdom Government undertook to commend to Parliament, whose sovereign rights must be reserved, a unanimous report by the Royal Commission to the effect that the 1961 Constitution was acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole as a basis for independence, would the Rhodesian Government give a corresponding undertaking that if the Royal Commission submitted a unanimous report to the effect that the 1961 Constitution was not acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole as a basis for independence, they would abandon their claim in this respect.'It goes on, of course, but for my purpose I need not quote any more; it is not really relevant to this discussion.
I must say that it seems to me a pity that this was not said earlier—that the British Government were prepared to 250 agree that Mr. Smith's assertions should be tested—because I feel that if it had been done then, there might at least have been a chance that the Declaration of U.D.I. would have been postponed, and the Prime Minister has frequently emphasised the need for time in connection with this problem. U.D.I. would at least have been postponed, and perhaps avoided. There is at least a chance that Mr. Smith would have accepted this proposal. After all, Mr. Smith recognised in 1964 that we were entitled to be satisfied about this. Now we have to recognise, sad though it is—and I accept, as we all do, that the Prime Minister and his colleagues have tried very hard in this matter—that those efforts have failed.
Now we have to decide what coupe this country should take. I was disappointed, I must admit, that the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, did not make some observations on this subject, or more observations than a reference to force. My Lords, before turn to that matter there is one correction I should like to make. I see that in the course of the recent talks in Rhodesia, according to Command Paper 2807, on page 122, this is recorded as having been said:Mr. Smith said that the Conservative Administration had virtually conceded this point; in particular, the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Dilhorne, had agreed, during the discussions in September, 1964, that, if the Rhodesian Government could satisfy the United Kingdom Government that their Constitutional proposals were acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole, the United Kingdom Government would no longer have any grounds for intervening.My Lords, the first I saw of that was when it was published in the Press last Saturday morning. I was quite certain then that I had said nothing of the kind; that Mr. Smith was entirely mistaken. The record of the talks at which I was present is also published in this volume, and if your Lordships care to look you will see that there is not a single word in that record which supports Mr. Smith's statement. I am quite sure that I said nothing of the kind, and although, naturally, people do make mistakes, I cannot understand how this mistake came to be made by him. My Lords, I thought it was desirable to make that public correction of something which appears to have been said and to which importance might have been attached in the 251 course of the Prime Minister's talks in Rhodesia.
The noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, began his speech by saying that there was an illegal Government in Rhodesia. What Mr. Smith and his colleagues have done has been described by the Government as an act of rebellion—of rebellion against the Crown—and it is quite clear, beyond any shadow of doubt, that such authority as they exercise has no vestige of legal right behind it, neither under the law of this country nor, I venture to say, under the law of Rhodesia. My Lords, faced with this, what action should we take now? One possible course would be just to say, "This is an act of rebellion, but there it is; we will not do anything about it". No doubt a number of arguments could be advanced for that, but in my view it would be utterly wrong for us to take that course. Indeed, if I might take a leaf out of the book of the Leader of the House, who so often talks to us about moral questions, I would say it was morally wrong as well.
The noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, referred to world opinion in this context. Of course we should have regard to world opinion, and not least, I should have thought, to the opinion of Australia, Canada and New Zealand. There is no doubt at all that they would think it wrong and would consider that we were failing in our duty if we did not take steps now; if we just treated this as an unfortunate event and took no action about it. I would also say that no one who has any regard for the rule of Law and the sanctity of obligations under it could aquiesce in the illegality of this usurpation of authority.
Another course would be to use all the means at our disposal, including force, to restore constitutional Government under the law. There are, we know, some who think the use of force for this purpose would be morally justified. The Government have, and I think rightly, rejected this course, and what they propose is to apply economic sanctions. Sanctions are a blunt instrument. They will, if effective, hit not only those acting illegally and the supporters of the illegal régime, but also loyal Europeans and Africans. It is better, the Prime Minister said, for the action to be effected quickly 252 than for it to be lingering and to involve prolonged hardship, and I am sure that your Lordships will agree with that.
So, my Lords, we have to consider whether the proposed sanctions are likely to be effective quickly. I should be grateful if the Government could tell us more about them. I have heard it said, for instance, that the ban on Rhodesian tobacco will begin to be effective in only about nine months' time. I should like to know from the Government whether that is really the case, and how they think that ban will be effective now. I think the case for that ought to be made to your Lordships, and I am sorry that the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, apart from a reference to tobacco, did not make it. He asserted that a public statement had been made about this matter which had not been disagreed to, as if that established the approval of Parliament. I should like to know, and I press the Government on this, whether it really is the case that that sanction will not begin to bite for some nine months, and if it is not the case I press that that should be made clear.
All sanctions, if they are to achieve any purpose, are bound to hurt, to be punitive in a greater or lesser degree. It is all very well to say, as the Prime Minister did, that the Government's purpose is not punitive; and I agree that the intention behind the imposition of sanctions is not just to punish Rhodesia and all its peoples for what Mr. Smith and his colleagues have done, but to secure, if possible and as soon as possible, the rejection of this illegal régime by the people of Rhodesia. And the hope is, as I understand it, that as the economic pressures begin to be felt pressure will be applied in Rhodesia on this régime and that this may bring about a change of heart. I hope that that hope may be realised. But I think we must recognise that we are dealing with very determined men. Their actions have already shown them to be that. Before U.D.I. they declared a State of Emergency, and no doubt they propose to use, and use illegally, the emergency powers there created. They have already put under restraint one of their political opponents, and so it is not inconceivable that they may seek to do the same to any in Rhodesia who oppose their actions and policies.
253 It has often been said, in this House and elsewhere, that we have a duty to both European and Africans in Rhodesia. That, of course, is true. At this time I think we have a very clear duty to give all help, support and guidance to those in Rhodesia, and I am sure there are a great number of them, who remain loyal to the Crown and who, although their voices may be silent at present, would like to reject this illegal régime. I hope that clearer guidance can be given to them than has been given from this country so far.
The Government have said that it is the duty of public servants in Rhodesia to sustain law and order and at the same time they must do nothing to further this illegal régime. Does this mean that if one of the ex-Ministers now exercising illegal authority signs an order depriving a political opponent of his liberty, an order which would be valid if made by a Minister under the emergency powers, it is the view of Her Majesty's Government that the police should give effect to it in the preservation of law and order? If the police do, they will certainly be assisting the illegal régime, and if they do it will make it much more difficult for opponents of this régime to make their voices heard and to play their part in securing a return of lawful and constitutional government. If it is the Government's view that the police should not enforce any such order made by the illegal régime, I hope very much that that will be stated.
I have read very carefully, as I daresay many of your Lordships have, the Attorney General's statement of the legal position, and there are some observations that I should like to make with regard to it. He said:I should point out in general terms that there is abundant authority for the conclusion that conduct of the kind that has taken place is treasonable. So would he steps taken by anyone, whether in Rhodesia or this country, or by anyone else owing allegiance to the Crown, with the intention of furthering the objectives of the illegal régime or inciting others to take such steps."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. Commons. Vol. 720 (No. 4), col. 516, November 12, 19651.]As a general proposition stating the law of this country as applied to British subjects before 1948, I certainly should not quarrel with that. But the learned Attorney General did not refer to the 254 British Nationality Act, 1948 passed by the previous Labour Government. Section 3 of that Act provides that a British subject who is not a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies should not be guilty of an offence against the law of the United Kingdom by reason of anything done in a country mentioned in subsection (3) of Section 1 of the Act—and one of the countries mentioned is Rhodesia—unless the act would he an offence if he were an alien and if the act done in Rhodesia would be an offence if done in a foreign country.
That, if I understand it correctly, means that a Rhodesian citizen would not be guilty of an offence or a treason against the laws of the United Kingdom in respect of anything done in Rhodesia unless it would be an offence if he were an alien and had done it in a foreign country. And if I understand that section correctly—and I shall be grateful for the Lord Chancellor's views upon it—it would appear wrong to say or to suggest that any Rhodesian citizen guilty of conduct of the character described by the Attorney General, guilty of that conduct in Rhodesia, could be convicted in this country of treason. I ask and hope that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor will say whether he agrees with what I have said. The Attorney General is, of course, responsible only in connection with the law of England, but I am sure that he does not claim, any more than I should, to know and to be an authority on the law of Rhodesia, which is not the same as that of England.
I have drawn attention to this matter not because I wish in any way to weaken the effect of anything that the Attorney General has said, but because Section 3 of the British Nationality Act is certain not to escape attention, and it is, I think, important that if, notwithstanding that section, what the Attorney General has said is right in law, that should be made clear beyond any shadow of doubt. It may be the case, and I trust it is, that in this respect—that is to say, in relation to treason—the law of Rhodesia is similar in all material respects to the law of England. If it is, what the Attorney General has said is clearly right. Of course, what he has said is clearly right in relation to those who, though in Rhodesia, are still citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies, and if the law 255 of Rhodesia is similar to that in this country, Rhodesian citizens, though not triable in this country, would, if guilty of such conduct, be triable and punishable in Rhodesia. Nothing that Mr. Smith has done or can do can alter that law, and I ask the Lord Chancellor to take an opportunity of dealing with this point fairly fully, because I think it is not unimportant.
I should not like to conclude my observations without paying a tribute to the Governor of Rhodesia for his fortitude, his courage and, not least, the propriety of his conduct. It seems to me that he has already set a fine example to the loyal Rhodesians of Rhodesia in the course he has pursued; and the same, of course, applies also in relation to the Chief Justice. To sum up, I join in deploring and condemning the action taken by Mr. Smith and his colleagues. I cannot believe that it was in the true or long-term interests of Rhodesia. For years they have enjoyed internal self-government. The only practical legal significance of independence validly granted would be the right to conduct their own foreign relations. Now, by their actions, they have, it seems to me, put the whole future of the territory in jeopardy.
I think it impossible that this country should continue in its dealings with Southern Rhodesia as if nothing had happened. I agree that we should seek to restore the rule of law and the end of this illegal régime as soon as possible; and in considering the sanctions now proposed, and others, if there are any others, proposed by the Government in the future, we must, it seems to me, apply the test suggested by the Prime Minister: Are they likely to be effective, and effective quickly? I am sure we are all united in hoping that the day will soon come when this illegal rule will be ended, and that it will be followed by Rhodesia taking her place as an independent member of the Commonwealth, with not just a Constitution acceptable to a minority, but a Constitution broadly based, clearly fair and just, and giving adequate representation to a multiracial society.
§ 3.32 p.m.
My Lords, there are, I think your Lordships will agree, times when public official discussion about particularly delicate matters of diplomacy has 256 indeed its drawbacks. I do not concede or suggest that this is an occasion when publicity is a disadvantage, for it is most necessary that the people of this country should know the views of their representatives in both Houses of Parliament—and I personally consider that the House of Lords is in a broad sense very representative and certainly very responsible. It is essential, too, that the people of Rhodesia as well as of the whole of Africa, and indeed all foreign countries, should know clearly how we are handling this tragic situation brought about so unwillingly by irreconcilable views. At the same time, it may be only too easy to exacerbate resentments and deep antagonisms unless' we handle our discussion here to-day with sobriety and as much moderation as we can command.
I propose, therefore, merely to summarise quite shortly what I believe to be the views of my colleagues on these Benches; and not to try to recapitulate moves which have proved to be abortive, nor yet to suggest decisive future action which can only be decided upon by Her Majesty's Government, who alone can assess the immediacies and the quickly changing values in a most unstable scene. Since the Party for which I speak is fundamentally based upon the principles of liberty of the subject and of human rights, we are of course much concerned that this country and the Commonwealth shall not lag behind world opinion in these fields, and indeed shall lead it.
It has been our criticism of recent British Governments (and I am not going into Party politics now) that they are too insensitive to the impetus of progress which has been such a phenomenon all around us, particularly since the end of the last war. We were rightly reminded last week by several speakers, of the most prominent and leading and responsible position which we held for so many decades; and we were rightly exhorted to pursue at least the high ideals of that pre-eminence, even though (as the noble Duke, the Duke of Devonshire pointed out) we were no longer the hub and the focal point of prosperity and progress. In the case of the Labour Party, our criticism is, in general—and I am not going into detailed criticism—that we are hanging back in our great responsibility towards internationalism and in taking our place as a partner in the forefront of 257 world progress and co-operation; whereas, on the other hand, in the case of the Conservative Party we rather feel that too much pride is held in our past glories, and therefore is retarding us in almost the same way. In the matter of emergent nations, of which Rhodesia, with her preponderant coloured majority, is obviously one, we cannot afford to be reactionary or static; and I consider that both the present Government and their immediate predecessor are to be admired and praised in the attitude and action which they have taken.
The fault—which is no fault of ill-will or bad faith—lies in the reluctance of the late Rhodesian Government to accept the speed of world development which in some cases, as in Rhodesia, outstrips the ability and the competence of those in power to control it or to guide it. This backwardness in Rhodesia, this failure to keep up with world opinion, may well be in part our own responsibility in this country for having failed somehow to educate people like Mr. Smith and his colleagues in the inevitability of progress from racialism to human co-operation, quite irrespective of all old traditional barriers, which I need not name.
Therefore in this tragic situation I can only say that the progress in political development which has the support of Her Majesty's Government was inevitable: and that it is pitiful to see so many of our own kith and kin in Rhodesia as misled as was King Canute himself. Our affection and our regard for them remains. We understand with deep sympathy their difficult and often tragic position, of seeing so much labour and devotion and dedication over so many years being apparently cast aside. That indeed is tragic. That is why I devoutly hope that some sort of reparation and compensation can be fully taken into account when this matter is solved. But the change to the new world—the new world in politics and democracy—cannot be put off; and if it can be achieved only by the bitter discipline of sanctions and commercial pressure, then I fear that these harsh measures must regrettably be employed. It is my wish, as I know it is the wish of all of us in this country, that the solution, even accompanied by grievous disappointment, 258 may be achieved without physical force, without violence, and without bloodshed.
§ 3.37 p.m.
§ LORD BUTLER OF SAFFRON WALDEN
My Lords, I should like first of all to crave the indulgence of your Lordships in rising to address this House for the first time. I can only say that I hope, in view of the length of the list of speakers, to be short, and that I shall be able to bring some of my own experience in this matter before your Lordships on this occasion. I have been singularly well trained in Parliamentary manners and etiquette, having been for some considerable time a Member of another place and for six years its Leader. I should apologise to your Lordships' House that, unfortunately, I have to leave before the end of the debate. This is due to an engagement in Cambridge which was made three months ago, and which I did not feel it possible to break, particularly as this was an emergency sitting of the House for a special debate. I hope, therefore, that your Lordships will understand if I am not here for some rather critical moments at the end of the debate, but I shall hope to make my point of view perfectly clear.
I think the first thing we have to get clear in our minds—I certainly learned this during the period when I was Foreign Secretary—is that the background to this question is one of most intense international feeling, quite apart from the feeling we may have within our own country: and that there is most intense feeling in the Commonwealth, which I learned about when I was First Secretary in charge of Central Africa. In view of this intensity of feeling, in my opinion, unless there is a high degree of national and international unity exhibited at this moment inflammatory tendencies may develop which may put in question peace itself, and certainly will put in question the existence of the modern Commonwealth as we know it. Therefore, I can say with absolute certainty that the eyes of the world and of the Commonwealth—and I would support what the noble and learned Viscount says about Australia, New Zealand and Canada, as well as the other members of the Commonwealth—are upon us to see how we are going to act.
On the other hand, I should like to say this at the opening of my remarks. 259 If we go too far and indulge in physical action, in particular, I feel certain that we shall push Southern Rhodesia into even more negative courses than those upon which they have embarked, and we shall then—there has been little reference to South Africa, either in the public Press, or hitherto in debate in either House—see a danger of the Zambesi River being for a long time ahead the frontier of white supremacy from South Africa upwards. There never was less case for spite, or more case for firm statesmanship, than we see at the present time.
I do not find it surprising that this issue should come to a head. I was deeply involved with this matter when I was in charge of Central Africa. Indeed, perhaps the only criticism or comment I should like to make on the Prime Minister's conscientious stewardship in this matter was when he said that nobody before him had had so many talks with the personalities engaged in Central Africa. I could not help thinking, when listening to the speech of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, that he certainly appears to have had a good many talks. I must add myself to the catalogue, and I will undertake not to give an account of all the talks I myself had. During the Prime Minister's recent visit to Central Africa I received a message from the Southern Rhodesian side—because I have many friends among the Southern Rhodesians—saying, "We have had all this before."
There may be some slight value in my taking part in this debate, because I may be able to indicate that both parties, and the last Government as well as this, have in fact been through this and put the case in the last Government almost as much as the case has recently been put by the Prime Minister. I seem to remember long hours of conversation with Mr. Winston Field, Mr. Dupont, and also Mr. Smith, and I am not sure the toughest is not Mr. Dupont. I remember hours of conversation with Mr. Nkomo, which very often consisted of addresses by himself of a singularly eloquent character to which it was difficult to make any reply. I remember equally long conversations with Mr. Sithole. As the Lord Chancellor has said, the difference between the two gives a sort of contrapuntal 260 value to their remarks which seems to make progress almost impossible. At the time when I was discussing this issue with Mr. Field, the Southern Rhodesians were making it a condition that they should be granted independence on terms suitable to themselves before they agreed to attend the Victoria Falls Conference which wound up the Federation. In the end, wiser counsels prevailed, they attended the Conference, and I think that we wound up the Confederation in a dignified manner. But, later on, Mr. Field was dismissed by the junta which controls Mr. Smith, and the issue of independence remained wide open, only to be brought to a head now.
I should like in this connection to repeat what was said by the Lord Chancellor in relation to this story about an understanding between the British Government and the Government of Southern Rhodesia that if the Federation were to break up Southern Rhodesia would have complete independence. My name has been associated with this alleged promise, and I should like to support what Sir Alec Douglas-Home said on May 10, 1964, which is in the Command Paper which we have before us in this debate. Sir Alec then said:I must make it clear that there is no substance whatsoever in this claim, and that no such assurance was ever at any time asked for by the Government of Southern Rhodesia or given by the British Government.That is my experience and those are the facts of the situation. I say that nobody should be surprised that this matter should come to a head, since it has been clear to me, at any rate, for some time that the points of view of the British Government and the Southern Rhodesian Government are, and were, irreconcilable. To say this would seem to mean that I am critical of attempts to bring the two sides together. This is not so. I think it was the duty of the British Prime Minister to exert every effort, personal and corporate, to avert the disastrous rift, which, from now on, is bound to be a source of ever-increasing grief and anxiety to us all.
I studied with care the five principles which have been discussed and which I need not elaborate to the House: namely, unimpeded progress to majority rule guarantees against any retrogressive amendment of the Constitution an immediate improvement in the political 261 status of the African population; and progress towards ending racial discrimination. Those were the first four. I believe that it was the fifth principle, namely, that the British Government would need to be satisfied that any basis for independence should be acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole, which was always likely to be the breaking point. Indeed, I believe Mr. Smith felt this to be the irreconcilable point. Looking back, what a thousand pities it is that Mr. Smith and his Cabinet did not realise the strength of their hand! They were given a trump card when the Prime Minister stated that he did not expect majority rule to be established immediately. This was realistic and sensible on the part of the Prime Minister and it deserved a response, namely, that an effort should be made to proceed with the other four principles on which Mr. Smith himself said he found less difficulty in proceeding: that is, that there would be an advance towards African self-government and that some steps would definitely be taken in this direction.
I notice in The Times to-day that there is an extract from the witty and wise Lord Malvern—and how much we regret he cannot be here to-day, as he says in his interview, to take part in our debates! Then he goes on to say:What a mess they have made of things! if we had got together with an African middle-class within fifteen years the thing would have been quite different, but they had not the intelligence to see that.Whether one agrees with Lord Malvern or not, one realises that he is probably the greatest statesman in the whole of Southern Rhodesia. Most of us realise what a tribute we should pay to him for what he did to build up that country.
I went into a long negotiation with Mr. Winston Field about the possible basis for an independence grant. It would have necessitated, in the first place, a great improvement in secondary education in Southern Rhodesia. Their primary education is already about the best in Africa, and that is forgotten in the general criticism of the country and of its leaders and statesmen. If I had been Mr. Smith I should have tried for a loan from this country to assist even more than we do in their secondary education. Another step would have been an improvement in the number of B Roll seats, 262 as well as a widening of the A Roll register, and then, finally, an ending of racial discrimination by the repeal of the Land Apportionment Acts. I approached Sir Robert Menzies and got his preliminary blessing that this was a possible line of approach. We were nearing the possibility of some understanding that there would be a definite prospect of Africanisation and of the Africans taking part in the Government. Then it all broke down.
It was, to me, a great source of sorrow. I helped to grant independence to Malawi, I helped to grant independence to Zambia, and I knew what these proud peoples would feel in Southern Rhodesia and how they would be feeling that they must have some form of independence themselves. However, we must register the fact that Mr. Smith did none of the things; that he never showed any convincing sign of moving along the road to African participation. We must realise that he is supported by a caucus and a Party more ruthless than himself; that he was fully warned of the consequences of breaking with the Commonwealth and with the Crown. He was shown the strength of feeling in what is called the White Commonwealth; he knew the strength of the feeling in the United States of America. I cannot but come to the conclusion that, in the circumstances, the logical results which flow from leaving the Commonwealth and breaking with us must follow.
I should like now to go over, quite shortly, with your Lordships what the possibilities are. The first is the use of physical force. Here I should like to support the language, the demeanour, and the action of the Foreign Secretary at the United Nations. I think the British Government have been absolutely right to oppose the use of force. Here I should like to take a leaf out of the book of my friend Dr. Banda—one of life's great realists—in which he reminded us not to underestimate the forces at the disposal of Southern Rhodesia. We are fortunately not in a position to-day to define what are the loyalties of these forces.
I should like just to remind your Lordships how this was all decided. We sat in a small room at the Victoria Falls Conference—we did not do this in the main Conference—and there the Northern Rhodesians, as they were then called, 263 and the Malawi representatives agreed to the Federal Air Force being passed over to Southern Rhodesia. That always seemed to me to be the turning point in the history of the Southern African continent. I would beseech your Lordships to realise that any attempt to impose a solution by force, either by the United Nations or by neighbouring States, or, most unlikely, by the British Government, would be likely to rally these powerful forces to what we now call the "rebel Government"; to lead to a disaster—a disaster in which the assailants would be as badly mauled as the Southern Rhodesians themselves. Again, we must remember the danger of a possible link-up with South Africa. I therefore trust that all the Government's efforts at the United Nations and elsewhere will be directed against imposing a solution by force.
I see that the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury is to follow me, and therefore I must be somewhat careful about this portion of my speech because he has an unfair advantage over me. I would say only this: that I have attempted to study what he said on this subject of force, and with the aid of The Times I now have a clearer indication of what he had in mind. But any reference to force seems to me to need to take into account the terrible physical and logistical difficulties of using force in this area. I would quote the words of Burke, used in his famous speech on conciliation with America, which is rather apt to our great debate to-day:The use of force",he saidis but temporary. It does not reduce the necessity of subduing again. A nation is not governed which is perpetually to be conquered.So much for the use of force.
I now turn to the various economic sanctions which have been mentioned by the Government and by other people. I have read the Prime Minister's Statement in another place on Thursday last. For the most part, the very strict measures which he proposes should follow on the enabling Bill are the logical outcome of Mr. Smith's breaking with the Commonwealth. Where the plan goes further than 264 what we had in mind when we were in Government is in relation to the tobacco imports and to sugar. Up till now, I have heard no proposals for Britain's supporting oil sanctions, or the extreme view of policing with warships the Portuguese and other coasts. I am glad of that, since total economic sanctions have seldom been successful in world history, and we must remember that 4 million of tile inhabitants of Southern Rhodesia who will suffer are Africans, and only some 220,000 are Europeans.
On the understanding that wider sanctions and the use of physical force are out, the question that then arises is whether one should support the enabling Bill and the accompanying list of measures, or whether one should oppose the Bill, or amend it and resile on some of the more important measures. As I have said, when I was a Minister I was prepared for all measures resulting from breaking with the Commonwealth; that is, controlling remittances, blocking balances, taking away the Preference, applying exchange control, and so forth. But when I am asked now whether I am going to support the Bill or oppose it, taking with it the extra and stricter measures proposed by the Government, I have the following considerations in mind.
It is, in my view, vitally important that we in this House should not put ourselves athwart the deeply felt feeling in the country, in the United States of America, in the Commonwealth and in the world. In view, further, of the magnificent stand of the Governor, to which the noble and learned Viscount referred—and knowing him as I do I feel most deeply for him in the circumstances—and of the Chief Justice, whom I also know, in view of all these considerations, we should support the Bill and what flows from it. We should not allow any feeling of hesitation in our resolve to be felt, either in this country or abroad. What we are doing is very strict, and may be strict enough to bring more sense and order into the situation. Of course, we must all watch with deep anxiety and care the developing situation, and be guided by the information given us by those in authority.
Before I conclude, I should like to refer to the ethics of the situation. It may be said that it has for long been a 265 principle of British policy not to use external pressure to coerce another Government to adopt internal policies to suit our own ideas. Certainly, we live with the Government of Spain, we live with the Government of Russia, we have normal diplomatic relations, and we took no special steps when South Africa left the Commonwealth. But here there was, and is, a question of Her Majesty's Government's deciding on the terms on which independence can or should be granted to a dependent Power.
I have explained that in my time I went to all possible limits to try to encourage the Southern Rhodesian Government to take the first and vital steps along the lines of possible self-government for the Colony. Her Majesty's Government to-day have had their own negotiations, and now, in return for that, we have all been faced with a resolute and illegal act of defiance. If we ignore that, we lose our own influence in the councils of the world and in the Commonwealth. What is more important—and this is the most important argument of all—we lose our own influence to control events and prevent them from being carried to unwise and bloody extremes. We must therefore move forward with firmness but with the utmost self-control, so that our own control of the situation may result in a happier future than at present seems possible for the peoples of Southern Rhodesia. I will quote Burke once more. He said:A State without the means of some change is without the means of its own conservation.It should be our aim, my Lords, to show the people of Southern Rhodesia that to face the need of change is the only way to ensure their own conservation.
§ 3.58 p.m.
THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF CANTER-BURY
My Lords, it falls to me to be the first to welcome to our debates the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, and as he and I are old friends it is a special privilege to do this. I know that we all hope that the noble Lord will frequently give us, as he has given us to-day, the great value of his counsel, coming, as it does, from such knowledge, experience and wisdom.
It is indeed a tragedy which we are facing, and, I would mention, not only a tragedy for countries but a personal 266 tragedy for many persons. The Rhodesian crisis has brought to many people grief between friends, and grief between relatives, too; and we cannot forget that among those on the other side in Rhodesia are people who, however mistaken we may think them, are God-fearing people who care for Christian values. We are very lacking in imagination if we do not have some understanding of the fears felt by some of the white people, who know about the violence, and even the chaos, which has occurred in some parts of Africa. But it is a tragedy in which there are clear moral issues, as the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, has been telling us so clearly. I believe that the people of this country, after some inevitable bewilderment, are grasping what these moral issues are.
First, there has already been the issue of the wrongness of allowing independence to Rhodesia except on the basis of all the conditions which the Prime Minister has described in the five points. I think it is important for us to be clear that the issue is not just one of democracy: it was not, and it is not, an issue of, "One man, one vote". There are things which matter more than votes. The issue has not been that of immediate rule by the majority, but of a safeguarding for the members of that majority of real progress in education, in civil rights and in freedom from racial discrimination. It is in these matters that the obligation of this countries lies.
Next, now that U.D.I. has happened, the issue for our country in the sight of the world, and not least in the sight of all the countries of Africa, is that our country should be seen to uphold law, order and justice with the same resolution everywhere, whatever be the race and colour of those in relation to whom law has to be upheld. Nothing could damage us more in the eyes of African countries—and, I would add, in the eyes of the God of justice and righteousness—than that we should even seem to falter in this duty and obligation.
Now the matter of sanctions. What are they for? What are they designed to achieve? Many people in the country have been rather confused about the aim and ethics of sanctions. I do not believe that sanctions have very much signify- 267 cance as a kind of gesture of protest. Gestures of protest may be right, but a mere gesture could damage people whom we least want to damage and could leave the final situation no better. Again, I do not believe in sanctions as a sort of punishment; and, in any case, they could, if prolonged, bring punishment to innocent people, Africans as well as white. But sanctions have, I believe, both moral validity and reason behind them if their aim is, as the Prime Minister has told us, to bring about the end of the illegal régime in Rhodesia. I would thus call sanctions not a moral gesture, nor a punishment, but an effective moral instrument to achieve a result. That is perhaps their sole justification.
Presumably sanctions can be effective partly by causing such difficulties for the Rhodesian régime as to disable it from carrying on, and partly by causing more people in Rhodesia to see that this régime offers just no way forward. But, my Lords, if sanctions are to do that, they must be really effective and as quick as possible in their effect. Only thus can they be the effective moral instrument. Otherwise, sanctions can drag on in embittering ineffectiveness. Perhaps, very soon, the question of oil may arise. It has been suggested that an oil embargo, if practicable and effective, might be the strongest form of pressure. The report in The Times to-day of what the noble Viscount, Lord Malvern, has said is most significant.
As to possible action beyond economic sanctions, my own view is known as to what I believe Christian conscience should say if the lamentable necessity arose. It is good now to hear from the Government that any intervention to uphold order would be on request of the Governor and not on request of any Party on either side. I believe, therefore, that the actions already taken and now being prepared by Her Majesty's Government have behind them sound moral principle. I do not believe that the Government could, without dishonour, be acting differently. But it is a course with dangers on either side.
On the one side there is the danger that any vacillation or watering-down of sanctions would mean slow, ineffectual sanctions, leading to much prolonged 268 bitterness and no firm result. There is the danger that other countries, either within the United Nations or on African soil, should lose patience and go to extremes—and nothing might more easily excite other countries to extremes than if they saw Britain, in contrast with some of her own actions in the past, in Africa and elsewhere, being unable to uphold law in a territory where there is, after all, a British Governor and judges whom we recognise.
My Lords, no Government could have a harder task than ours at this time: the task of steering between these two dangers and of being resolutely firm, yet looking for a law and order which must, in the end, go with reconciliation and with changes in outlook. In following this course I believe that the Government at this moment and on this issue deserve the support of all our citizens, if there are differences as to what particular sanctions are likely to achieve, no doubt these differences must be debated, but we can all surely hope—and, certainly so far, today's debate has encouraged us to hope—that these differences will not prevent all our leaders from being at one in stating clearly, and upholding, the moral duty of our country. There are at stake not only the future of Rhodesia and the future of much else beside, but also the honour of this country.
§ 4.8 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, anyone, I suppose, who takes part in this debate—one of the gravest, I imagine, in the political experience of any of us—must clearly weigh his words with care, so as not to inflame further an already sufficiently tragic situation. I will try to do this, strongly though I feel that it is, in part at any rate, our own past and present treatment of the Rhodesians that has brought them to their present pass.
But first, I think, in accordance with the traditions of this House, I should make it clear that I have a personal interest. I have myself a long family connection with Rhodesia. The capital of the country, Salisbury, was named after my grandfather, who was Prime Minister at the time it was founded at the end of the last century; and I am a Freeman of that city—an honour of which I am very proud. I have also a territorial connection, in the form of a share in two 269 farms, but I hope the House will agree that that should not inhibit me from speaking on the affairs of Rhodesia any more than having a share in a farm in England would debar one from speaking on the affairs of our own country. It may, indeed, be said that it gives me an additional qualification, in that I have a personal experience of the country and its peoples which is riot, unhappily, open to all of us.
Now, my Lords, I would turn directly to the events of the last week which have led up to the final break in the negotiations between the two countries, and to last week's decision by Mr. Smith and his colleagues to make a unilateral declaration of independence. In doing so I would say that I do not intend, except indirectly, to deal with some of the points raised by the most reverend Primate in the speech he has just delivered to us. That does not mean that I agree with him. I could not disagree more strongly with some of the things that he has said; but time does not permit me to stray from the main theme of our discussion. I hope he will forgive me if I leave it at that this afternoon and turn directly to the discussions between the United Kingdom and the Rhodesian Governments.
We have had two accounts of those discussions, one from Mr. Wilson and one from Mr. Smith; and, as so often on occasions like this, they differ widely. Mr. Wilson said, in effect, that there was no difference of substance between the two Governments and that this was merely the action of a little clique of "small frightened men". Mr. Smith, on the other hand, said—and I will quote his words:on the main issue that is at stake, the Governments have moved further apart.Now, whatever may be their views of his latest action, all who know Mr. Smith will, I think, agree that he is a man of outstanding rectitude and honesty. I think that emerged from the account which the Lord Chancellor has given us this afternoon. He would not say what he did not think. I therefore cannot personally accept, sans phrase, the Prime Minister's account of what emerged from the discussions.
We have had the White Paper and that, no doubt, gives the truth as the Prime Minister sees it; and I am not suggest- 270 ing anything to the contrary. But it is not, I suggest, the whole truth: there is something missing. I believe that that element, which is not mentioned at all in the Prime Minister's account (nor even in the very frank and moderate account which the Lord Chancellor gave us this afternoon), is the deep feeling of distrust and suspicion of all British Governments which exists to-day and has grown steadily in the minds of Rhodesians as a result of their own and their neighbours' experience in recent years.
I am not going to suggest for one moment that that is all the fault of the present Prime Minister. He has come on the scene very late in the day when mistrust was already created. I recognise to the full that the blame must attach far more to the leaders of my own Party over that period. I am pretty certain, too, that Lord Malvern, whom the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, quoted, would also agree with this—in fact, I am not certain that it does not emerge from the interview to which the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, referred. In saying that, I do not detract in any way from the very warm welcome which I am sure we all give the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, for the very thoughtful and important contribution which he made this afternoon.
Mr. Maudling, in a speech over the week-end, said, with commendable candour, that he could not think of any major thing the Prime Minister had done wrongly or had not done. He had, after all, only been following the same lines as Mr. Macmillan and Sir Alec Douglas-Home would have done. And the same line of argument was pretty well followed, I thought, this afternoon by my noble and learned friend Lord Dilhorne. Whether it was tactful of Mr. Maudling to say what he did at a moment when the policy of the late Government was crashing in ruin and disaster, I really do not know. But what Mr. Maudling saw so clearly, the Rhodesian leaders saw, too. To them (and as the long and tortuous discussions proceeded, it became more and more clear to them), this was the same old policy. As the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, himself said, a friend of his in Rhodesia had written to him, "We have heard all this before".
271 They remembered how again and again Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom had put forward proposals for Constitutions for British dependencies in Central Africa; how, again and again, those Constitutions had been accepted by the local Government and then, with the ink hardly dry on them, those Constitutions one after another, had been scrapped under African pressure; and new ones put forward.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
The noble Lord will have his opportunity of saying that later. At any rate, as a result of previous experience, the Africans in Central Africa—that is the view, at any rate, of the white Rhodesians: their convinced and sincere view—had no incentive to co-operate with the local Europeans: they were always looking over their shoulders hoping to squeeze something more out of the United Kingdom Government: and they nearly always got it. The Rhodesian Government saw this process beginning all over again.
There was a proposal for a Royal Commission whose recommendations they felt were designed to bind them but not the home Government. That, as I understand it, is the inner meaning of the sentence in Mr. Smith's broadcast:—The bitter lesson of the Federation"—which means, as I understand it in this context of the Monckton Commission—is constantly in my mindThat is the meaning, too, of that other sentence:I would he failing in my duty to all of you who live in Rhodesia if I was to permit this country to continue to drift in the present paralysing state of uncertainty.There was, I repeat, in the Rhodesian view—and it is a view I think noble Lords must take into account, whether they agree with it or not—no possibility of any enduring settlement between the Europeans and the Africans so long as the Africans were encouraged to continue to look over their shoulders to London.
Then there was that obscure phrase to which the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Waldon, rightly referred, about any settlement having to be acceptable 272 to the Rhodesian people as a whole. Mr. Wilson had used that phrase again and again. But what did it mean? Did it mean what it appeared to mean? Were the United Kingdom Government, in effect, suggesting something that we do not in fact practise in our own country, with an infinitely more advanced population—a plebiscite, or referendum, to the whole population? How should the Rhodesians know? I do not know myself what that phrase means. I do not suppose that many, if any, of your Lordships do. All I know is that we should not accept such an idea as a referendum to the people as a whole here.
Only the other day we passed through this House the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Bill. In my speech on the Second Reading debate, as some of your Lordships may remember, one of the main points I made was that the proposal had never been submitted, in this case through a General Election, to the British people as a whole, who, infinitely more advanced than the Africans, should surely have been able to give a view worth having on a comparatively straightforward point like that. Yet, although it was not disputed in the debate, I think, from any quarter, that the large majority of the British people were strongly opposed to abolition, what reaction did I get? A shocked raising of hands; a united shout from the supporters of the Bill: "It is not our job here to follow public opinion. Our job in Parliament is to do what we, the Government and Parliament, think right; not to follow but to lead public opinion." The noble Baroness, Lady Wootton of Abinger, on the Third Reading of the Bill even went so far as to urge my noble friend Lord Colyton not to pay too much attention to what she called "ill-informed public opinion"; and, comforted by this reflection, the majority of your Lordships trooped into the Lobby in support of the Bill.
I wonder what these noble Lords think now of a proposal that the recommendations of a Royal Commission touching the future of Rhodesia, which were bound to be of a most complicated kind, should be submitted to the arbitrament of the people of Rhodesia as a whole and not merely of the Rhodesian Parliament, although they must know that the vast proportion of the voters in such a 273 plebiscite could have no real understanding of the complexity of the issues involved and have in fact only just learned enough to repeat endlessly, "One man, one vote", as if it were some kind of magic incantation. At any rate, I hope the House will appreciate with what sceptisim such a proposal may well have been received, not only by Mr. Smith and his colleagues but by the body of white Rhodesians as a whole, and how it could only tend to increase their suspicions that they were going to be sold down the river once again.
Then what about that other argument so frequently used to-day, that the white people of Rhodesia are not concerned with the rule of law? I think the most reverend Primate referred to that. I do not believe, if he will forgive me for saying so, that there is a word of truth in such a suggestion, at any rate so far as by far the greater part of the white population are concerned. There is, indeed, one aspect of the law with which Rhodesians, perhaps more than us, are very much concerned and which may be said to colour their whole life: it is to ensure—the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor put the case far better than I can this afternoon—that that measure of law and order should be maintained on which all civilised life depends, that measure of law and order that we enjoy here.
They have seen what has happened in the Congo, which is, after all, not so far off from them as it is from us—things so horrible that the British Press has been reluctant to print them—and they do not want those things to happen to their wives and children. That is one of their main preoccupations at the present time. And who shall say that it is an entirely unworthy one? Should anyone say, "If it is, indeed, their object to maintain free institutions, why do they themselves keep certain people under restraint?", it would surely be fair to remind this House that it is not for us here in this country to throw stones at them. For, in our own emergency, in the days of the last war, not so very long ago, we ourselves found it necessary to keep quite a number of people in confinement under Regulation 18B, for six years without trial, not because we had no regard for liberty but for the opposite reason—that we regarded them as a danger to our 274 very existence as a free nation. Can we, looking at Africa to-day, looking at the Congo and looking at Southern Sudan, regard the present attitude of the Rhodesians, who, after all, are our own stock and who value just those things that we value in this country—can we regard their attitude as so indefensible? Have we forgotten so soon what we did in a similar case?
I have said these things to-day because I believe that this is, in a sense, a moment of truth, in which we must all search our consciences. We live here in England, 5,000 miles away from Rhodesia. Most of us have probably never been there. Most of us probably will never go there. In such circumstances, while I suppose that all of us regard majority rule as the ultimate goal of British policy—it always has been—are we so very certain that we are right about the pace of constitutional advance for Africans that is safe for Rhodesia to-day? These Rhodesians, we must remember, are the only people at this time who are keeping the British way of life alive in Central Africa. Are we so sure that this is the right way to treat them, to stigmatise them as traitors, to do our utmost, by every means in our power, to beat them to their knees and call in the rest of the world to help us?
That is no doubt the easy course for us, but are we so sure that in the long run it is the wise and courageous course? We are told that Mr. Smith and his people—and, I suppose, a large section of the population of Rhodesia—are rebels. That, indeed, may quite rightly be the technical word, but I cannot believe that they are rebels in any disgraceful sense, any more than George Washington was or those Irish leaders of the past, who I am sure the noble Earl, Lord Longford, holds in high esteem.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, there, of course, we had a small country fighting for its freedom—not 200,000 people trying to oppress 4 million.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I do not propose to argue with the noble Earl. The point I was trying to make—and I did not make it as a debating point—is that there are nominal rebels who are not disgraceful rebels but fighting for a high ideal. Their action, it may be said, has been wrong, and a 275 great many noble Lords would argue that that is true. I personally have always opposed a unilateral declaration of independence and I regret as bitterly as anyone that things should have come to this pass. Their action may be said to have been unconstitutional. Certainly it has been, and those of us who believe in constitutional action must regret deeply that, for that reason alone, it has been regarded as necessary to take this action. But there are occasions, as Burke, who has been so often quoted this afternoon, once said at the time of the American War of Independence, when men driven to a certain point say to themselves—and I would recommend this classic dictum by one of our great political thinkers to the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne:It is not what a lawyer tells me I may do; but what humanity, reason and justice tell me I must do.Personally, placed as the Rhodesian Government were and bearing in mind their past experiences of British Governments, I cannot regard what they have done as wicked; and our supine repudiation of our own kith and kin, who alone have made Rhodesia what it is, under pressure mainly from a hostile junta of semi-civilised States, whose motives are wholly political, this stigmatising of them as rebels, when in fact they were, as I think most of us realise, the loyalest of the loyal subjects of the Queen, seems to me—and I am not ashamed to say it—about the lowest point our country has ever reached, and I am pretty sure that countless people in this country feel the same. These letters in my hand are the sort of thing that reach me by every post, from people of every section of the population who hold the views which I have made bold to express this afternoon. Do not, therefore, my Lords, I beg of you, with all the force at my command, do not, by any action that we now take, let us sink lower still and give any impression, in this country or outside, that we are persecuting, for reasons of mere expediency, those who have proved themselves in our own extremity our truest friends in the world.
Feeling as I do, quite frankly, my first instinct was to vote against the Second Reading of this Bill, but I believe that that would not be a proper course. For 276 once this unhappy situation has been reached, everybody must realise that there well may be certain steps which have to be taken, some which may even be regarded as uncontroversial but which, in any case, are inevitable. But it is my intention, when the Bill itself comes to your Lordships' House at a later hour to-day, to move an Amendment to ensure that, before any action is taken by Order in Council under this Bill of a nature which touches the imposition of sanctions, it must first be approved by both Houses of Parliament. That is not only, I think, clearly desirable in a matter of this importance, but also, I submit, in the highest degree constitutional. As such, I shall move it, and I hone that it will receive the support of the Government and the House.
§ 4.31 p.m.
§ LORD VERNON
My Lords, as this is the first occasion on which I have had the honour to address your Lordships, I should like to crave the indulgence of the House. In spite of the pitfalls of the subject of this debate, I shall try to be as brief and non-controversial as possible. The dilemma which now faces this country regarding Rhodesia is indeed agonising, and to those who, like myself, have personal ties with Southern Africa, I think it is especially agonising. I say this because the problems in Rhodesia are, to my way of thinking, but a microcosm of the problems further South—problems which in the case of South Africa have much more dreadful and much more serious implications, implications which will have to be faced one day; and, possibly, the sooner they are faced, the better. But that is a point to which I shall be returning a little later in my speech.
We must all admire the prodigious efforts made by the Prime Minister during his visit recently to Salisbury, and subsequently, to reach agreement with Mr. Smith on the basis of an advance towards majority rule. But I cannot see how negotiations on these lines can ever have had a real chance of success. The trouble is that the so-called five principles from which we cannot depart are not what Mr. Smith and his colleagues either want or can accept. There is so much at stake for Mr. Smith and his fellow Europeans. They see threatened, not only their homes—in many cases the 277 only homes they have ever known—but also their livelihood and their whole way of life: a way of life closely modelled on that in South Africa and, let us be frank about this, a way of life which has been connived at by successive British Governments over a period of forty years, during which time Rhodesia has been independent in all but name. Indeed, it is only by chance that Rhodesia is still the responsibility of the British Crown. If the referendum in 1922 had been marginally different and Rhodesia had voted to join South Africa, Rhodesia would now be part of the Independent Republic of South Africa.
I think we have to be quite clear what we are trying to achieve. At present there is great injustice in Rhodesia for the African majority. But we do not want to replace injustice for the many by injustice for the few. We must arrive at a solution where there is justice for all. The use of force to quash the rebellion has been ruled out, quite rightly, by the Prime Minister. There are many arguments against the use of force, but to my mind one of the most cogent is the effect it would have on the Armed Forces who might be asked to carry it out. Speaking personally, if I were still in the Armed Forces, and much as I dislike the mentality and racial attitude of the Europeans in Rhodesia, I should find it difficult, if not impossible, to obey orders to shoot down people some of whom were my comrades in arms in the last war. I sincerely hope that no British Government, whatever the provocation, and whatever the pressure brought to bear on them, both in the United Nations and from certain quarters in this country, will ever put British troops in such an invidious position.
We must all hope that the present measures will bring about a change of régime in Salisbury. But if they do not, and if the sanctions at present being applied do not work—and there is considerable doubt whether they will work, in view of the loopholes which exist through South Africa and through Mozambique—and if in the last resort Mr. Smith knows that we are not going to use force, then it seems to me that this country will be placed in a very weak and humiliating position before the world, because although we might continue to maintain that Rhodesia is our sole 278 responsibility, we should be unable to show that we were achieving results. If the circumstances should arise, I should have thought that there was a strong case for admitting quite frankly and openly that we have been unable to resolve this problem, and for placing it fairly and squarely before the United Nations, in which we could play a most constructive rôle.
But I think there is another reason why the United Nations may be a more appropriate body to handle this. In my view, strong coercion against Rhodesia alone—and I emphasise "alone"—is not desirable either by force or by sanctions. The problem should be looked at not in isolation, but in the framework of Southern Africa as a whole—and by that I mean Africa South of the Zambesi River. By reason of history, geography, education and race, it is often forgotten that so many of the white minority of Rhodesia are Afrikaners. For all these reasons, Rhodesia is closely affiliated to South Africa, where the root of the trouble lies. Too often in the past we have been buffeted from one African crisis to another as the pressures have mounted against us. This time I suggest that we should give a lead. But if the Rhodesian problem is to be looked at in this wider context, we must be realistic. The parrot cry of "One man, one vote", becomes completely senseless when applied to a population of 8 million Africans, 3 million Europeans and upwards of 2 million coloured people. It cannot conceivably be fair.
I want to suggest to your Lordships this afternoon a rather different approach. I believe that the only answer which is fair to all—and we must be fair to all—is to partition Southern Africa, including Rhodesia, between the races. We should aim to settle, as the result of a single package deal, the problem not only of Rhodesia, but of South Africa, South-West Africa and the Portuguese territories as well. I envisage a genuine partition of that country and its wealth, not the bogus form practised by Dr. Verwoerd in his Bantustan. I shall not attempt to go into the details of such a settlement—it could take various forms—but I certainly foresee the white people giving up the whole of Natal, including Durban, part of the Transvaal, and a large part, if not the whole, of Rhodesia.
279 It will involve very heavy sacrifices by the white people, but when they had made those sacrifices they would at least be left with a country which was entirely theirs, where their children could grow up and which would, I hope, he internationally guaranteed. I am, of course, well aware that what I suggest this afternoon would not be readily acceptable to Dr. Verwoerd, any more than it would be to Mr. Smith. It is then that I suggest that coercion should be used. If the United Nations were able and were willing to offer Rhodesia a wise, reasonable and practicable alternative, which would not he the case with majority rule, then I think they should not hesitate to enforce compliance by economic sanctions against South Africa and Rhodesia. If these were thoroughly applied, I am sure there is little doubt that they would prove effective.
What I am advocating would be very difficult to effect. It would cost a lot of money, it would cause hardship to many, and there would have to be movements of population. I realise that I shall be told that what I suggest is, therefore, impracticable. But I myself believe that all these obstacles can be overcome if there is a will to overcome them. This problem must be faced sooner or later, and let us face it now, while the opportunity occurs. To look beyond the frontiers of Rhodesia to these wider horizons at the present crucial time will require great courage, but we shall achieve much more, and we shall achieve it more fairly, and by doing so I believe we shall gain the gratitude of future generations, not only in this country, but in Southern Africa as well.
§ 4.42 p.m.
§ EARL ATTLEE
My Lords, it falls to me to congratulate the noble Lord who has just sat down on a very interesting and constructive speech. I do not want to detain your Lordships long. I have no long experience of Rhodesia. Thirteen years ago I visited both Northern and Southern Rhodesia. At that time these problems had not arisen acutely. We had the wise leadership of the noble Viscount, Lord Malvern, who made such an impressive contribution to-day in the Press.
280 I can recall talking, both in Northern and in Southern Rhodesia, with Africans, and their great opposition at that moment was to the Central African Federation, on the ground that they could not trust Southern Rhodesians. They said that there were Southern Rhodesians who would not accord the African his place which he demanded as a civilised, or potentially civilised, human being. They were right. But, of course, if one wants to job back, one can see how these troubles arose long ago. I recall how we all applauded the action of Sir Henry Campbell Bannerman in giving back self-government to the Transvaal—a very generous act. There were only two Members in the House of Commons who saw the danger and raised the matter. They were Sir Charles Dilke, and Mr. Keir Hardie, who pointed out the danger of handing over to a white minority a very large black population who were not only different in race, but their servants and their employees.
Then we had the same problem again in 1933, and we made the same mistake. We did not allow for the potential development of the African. Perhaps it was very short-sighted; perhaps we could not see. It seems to me to-day that we have this situation, where the present ruling clique in Southern Rhodesia consists of people who do not know educated Africans, whose relations with the African is that of master to servant, whose mentality is rather that of an American in the Southern States before the Civil War, and whose descendants survive to-day in the Ku Klux Klan. It is no good jobbing back. What we have to look at to-day is the position, both now and in the future.
I think that the Prime Minister went to all lengths to try to reach a settlement. He was following in the steps of Conservative Prime Ministers. I recall Mr. Harold Macmillan's words in South Africa about the "wind of change". Many people did not like that phrase. But he was right: there is that "wind of change". This trouble in Southern Rhodesia is only part of a world-wide change, the relationship between peoples of different colours and different stages of civilisation. In my day it was in Asia; to-day it is in Africa.
281 That is the problem that must be solved by the younger generation to-day—how to effect a proper relationship between these great races. It is not just a case of treating them well, and that kind of thing. This is a case of status. The African to-day, like the Asian yesterday, claims status. He wants to be in a position in which he has self-respect, and you cannot give him that so long as you deny him human rights. To-day we have this very difficult position. It is rather suggested that it has been brought on by this country, but I do not think so. This present situation has been provoked by the fact that there are in power in Southern Rhodesia a comparatively small group of people who are actuated by fear. It should be realised that it is a fear one might well have of people exposed to a much larger population with wives and families at stake. It is a real fear. But fear is not a good counsellor. It is a pity that these people who are in the grip of fear should be those who were formally in command in Rhodesia, people mostly of mercenary descent, whose attitude towards the African was far different.
Now to-day we have this problem, and I think it is inevitable that we should take strong action, but no stronger than is necessary—decisive action, but endeavouring to do as little harm as possible. That is our duty. We must look beyond the immediate trouble. We must not act out of vindictiveness. We act only because we have to try to establish equal justice. I think we are quite right to try to bring this matter to the United Nations. It may be that it will have to be settled in some way by the United Nations, but perhaps, in the very interesting suggestion of Lord Vernon, we may have to be prepared to take generous action where people find they can no longer stay in Southern Rhodesia. I am quite sure we must realise the full demands of the Africans.
I thought that the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, gave an expression of a view so often taken by ruing classes. They are afraid of other people in subjection. It is the kind of attitude taken by Lord Addington in regard to Peterloo and the Tolpuddle Martyrs. That kind of action, that kind of statement, is so plausible. Such people are afraid of the 282 ordinary working people in this country, whom they call "the mob". We very nearly came to a bloody revolution at that time, and but for wiser counsels over the ages we might have had a revolution. We got away from that, but we have to realise that the Africans to-day are in just the same position as the uneducated people in this country were then. We are their rulers and we are also their economic exploiters; and I say that, when we apply these sanctions, they should be short, sharp and strong. The sooner they can stop, the better; and the sooner we are prepared to treat with these frightened people—Mr. Smith and his friends—generously, the better.
Perhaps we might get a guarantee for their safety from the United Nations, which includes the African States as well as the European and Asian States. Something of that kind may be needed in order to restore confidence. To-day we are suffering from the fact that power in Rhodesia has fallen into the hands of frightened people, and one cannot get frightened people to hear reason. It may be that some degree of coercion by economic sanctions is necessary. If those sanctions are to be applied, let it be done thoroughly. We have examples of sanctions which did not work. If only we had applied sanctions properly, we should have stopped Mussolini in his tracks. Whatever action is taken, let it be decisive and forceful, but not vindictive, and with a realisation of the feelings behind this con test.
§ 4.55 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF SWINTON
My Lords, I am sure that anyone who speaks in this, debate to-day must speak with a deep sense of responsibility. I think many would not wish to speak, and I myself would much rather not have taken part in this debate, but if one has borne responsibility in this area for Rhodesia and the Federation then I think it is one's duty to try to make as constructive suggestions as one can. In this tragedy—and it is a tragedy—which has come upon Rhodesia there is one thing on which, I think, all your Lordships will be agreed, and that is a feeling of profound regret that the Rhodesian Ministers were not prepared to carry on under the 1961 Constitution until the Royal Commission had a chance to function or some other solution could be reached.
283 For my part, I am convinced that throughout these negotiations the Prime Minister has been sincerely desirous of getting a settlement, and I believe also that Mr. Smith has been sincerely desirous of getting such a settlement. There is one thing in the course of the Prime Minister's negotiations which I regret. At one stage, and it may have been an important stage, in the discussions I think it was unfortunate that the Prime Minister, perhaps not intentionally, gave the impression, while accepting that there should be a Royal Commission—which I think was a valuable suggestion and was one which, after all, Mr. Smith was just as prepared to accept as the British Government were—that the two Governments would he in a different position: that the Rhodesian Government would be bound by the unanimous findings of the Royal Commission but that the British Government would not be so bound.
It is quite true that later on the Prime Minister said that what he had meant was that Parliament would have the last word. Of course that is quite true. Parliament is paramount. But what the Prime Minister could, and I think should, have said at the critical stage, as indeed he said afterwards, was that if the Royal Commission made a unanimous report, then just as he expected Mr. Smith's Government to accept that, so his Government would recommend such a solution to Parliament. That was done in the end and in spite of that the break took place, but I cannot doubt that the hesitation, as it appeared, in regard to the acceptance of a unanimous report must have been used by some of the people in Rhodesia, including some of the Ministers, to oppose a settlement. It is common ground that there are certain Ministers in Rhodesia who were really quite determined throughout not to come to a settlement, and they may have used that to oppose it.
I think there are three things that we should remember about the 1961 Constitution. I agree with the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, that this Constitution really has given to the Government of Rhodesia practically complete self-government. It is true it has not done so in regard to foreign affairs, but I should have thought the great issue is 284 not whether they should spend a great deal of money in appointing Ambassadors here and there. In everything that concerns the internal affairs of Rhodesia under that Constitution they have been completely masters of their own house. As Mr. Smith himself pointed out with regard to that Constitution, at the Conference at which it was established nearly everybody accepted it: the British Government, of course, accepted it; so did Sir Edgar Whitehead's Government, which was then in power, and so also did the Africans. That is very important.
Remember, the Africans, both Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Sithole and the Africans they represented, accepted it; so did the Central African Party, and the coloured community and the Asians, and the representatives of the Chiefs. What is more, it is again recorded in the record of that Conference that all the Africans agreed that the provision for the Constitutional Council which was enshrined in the Constitution afforded to the Africans quite as good a safeguard as the reserved powers of the Secretary of State. I think it is worth quoting:The Conference agreed that the decision to enshrine a Declaration of Rights in the new Constitution, to establish the Constitutional Council and to permit appeals in this connection to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, would provide safeguards against discriminatory legislation as fully effective as those at present afforded by the powers reserved to the United Kingdom Government.Under that Constitution Southern Rhodesia prospered; under that Constitution it developed; under that Constitution it borrowed money; and under it the Africans also prospered exceedingly. As a matter of fact, the Africans in Southern Rhodesia were certainly a good deal better off materially than the Africans in Northern Rhodesia. And it was that Constitution that Mr. Smith claimed was acceptable to the majority of the population and should be the basis of the grant of independence, and it was that issue that he was prepared to leave to the Royal Commission.
I do not agree with my noble friend Lord Salisbury on one point, when he says it is quite impossible to say that something should be acceptable to the population as a whole, and, What does it mean?—we do not go by it here. In fact, so far as I could follow him, the greatest test of merit was that you should 285 disregard public opinion. But in fact what Mr. Smith himself said was that he interpreted the population as a whole, and the British Government accepted that interpretation as meaning that it was acceptable to the majority of the people, and that was the test that would have been put to the Royal Commission. Surely, in the face of all that it is a disaster that Mr. Smith and his colleagues have rushed into U.D.I. Without a doubt, it will prove a disaster to Southern Rhodesia. But, let us make no mistake, it will be damaging for this country, too—damaging economically at a time when our economy needs all the trade and all the opportunity that it can possibly get; damaging also to less material but not less real and valued interests, to ties of long friendship, often with kith and kin.
To-day, as it seems to me, the important consideration for all of us is, Where do we go from here? In this tragic situation, of course the Government and Parliament here must take action. But let that action be calm, wise and well-considered. Hot heads are quite as dangerous as cold feet. Let us remember that there are not a few in Rhodesia who did not want illegal action; and, what is more, I feel sure that there are many more who really had never considered what it meant, who had never thought of the consequences at all, and who will profoundly regret, if they see the consequences, that this action should have been taken, and many more certainly who when they see the results will wish to retrace their steps. These people, naturally and rightly, have friends here. They are not friends who condone illegal action, but they are friends who want to save Rhodesians from themselves. So, whatever we do, let us avoid making it unnecessarily difficult for a future Rhodesian Government to retrace their steps. That, surely, ought to be the supreme aim of all of us and all action should subserve that purpose. Doors can open as well as shut, and doors which have been shut, even slammed, can be reopened.
I was anxious, as we all were, to see the form the Government's proposals would take. I thought one thing to be absolutely essential, and I think it is largely met under the Bill. The thing that I thought was vital was that all action should be under the constant 286 supervision and control of Parliament, and that, as I say, is largely met by the provision for Affirmative rather than Negative Resolution. But, subject to this, there are a number of measures, such as exchange control and day-to-day matters, which have to be dealt with immediately and must be done continuously. On the other hand, there are other sanctions, larger economic sanctions, about which there cannot be all that hurry. An Order can be made and it can be brought at once before Parliament; it can be debated in both Houses within a day or two of being made; both Houses can express opinions. If there is agreement, then it goes through, but if there is not agreement and if second thoughts are needed—and very often the Government feel such second thoughts are wise—then the Order can be taken away and a new Order made within twenty-four hours and brought forward.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Earl on a point of clarification? Of course, in this House under the Special Orders procedure it does take more than twenty-four hours; it is bound to.
§ THE EARL OF SWINTON
I am sure that we could all agree. Anything can be done by legislation or indeed by Resolution of this House, and I am quite sure we could pass whatever was necessary, either by Bill or Resolution or amendment to our Standing Orders here, to bring any Order requiring an Affirmative Resolution before this House with quite as much speed as it could be brought before the other House. I am sure that, if the Government agreed, the whole House would readily assent to any amendment of our procedure to make that effective. I say that for another reason. I think there is a very large measure of agreement to-day. It seems to me that it is so enormously important that that measure of agreement should he maintained. It is important for this country; it is important for the effect in Rhodesia, too; it is important for the effect in the world. With doubtful Resolutions, on which on merits there may well be two opinions, the more we discuss the proposal fully and frankly the more we are likely to maintain that agreement which is so desirable. That would apply to all the Affirmative Resolutions.
287 I would venture to suggest to my noble friend Lord Salisbury that if the Government met him on that and said they would bring any contentious Resolution before both Houses as rapidly as possible, he might be willing not to amend the Bill in the way that he is tentatively proposing to do. But perhaps the most important of all the sanctions that we have heard about stands outside this, because it comes under a different procedure—I refer to tobacco. As I understand it, that comes under some Act of 1939 and is subject only to a Negative Resolution.
§ LORD COLYTON
No. I am sorry to interrupt my noble friend. It is not subject to Negative Resolution either.
§ THE EARL OF SWINTON
I am much obliged to my noble friend. If it is not subject to any Resolution at all, then as there cannot be need for any hurry about this matter, as the existing crop has been bought, some procedure, perhaps merely a Motion of Government intention, ought certainly to be brought before both Houses so that the matter can be debated on its merits and action taken after full consideration. I am not committing myself at the moment on whether this is right or wrong. There is this to be said about it: that if this sanction were imposed it might he a most effective sanction, because money has to be borrowed for the crop, to finance the planting of the crop and so on, and that makes it something which comes home to a large number of people.
On the other hand, may this not fall on the just and on the unjust? There are a large number of people in Rhodesia who grow tobacco. There may be many farmers who are interested in growing tobacco but who are not active supporters of Mr. Smith. Many of them no doubt are; I do not know. But surely there should be an opportunity for considering what the results will be before this sanction is imposed. And, what is perhaps most important of all, although certainly it will hit the tobacco farmers it will hit surely the natives far harder. I had a great deal to do with getting started the growing of the right kind of tobacco in Rhodesia and elsewhere, away back in the ' thirties when I was Colonial Secretary. There are probably tens 288 of thousands of Africans in Rhodesia who are employed in growing that crop to-day.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, will my noble friend allow me to interrupt? I understood him to say that he thought it desirable that this Order banning the import of tobacco should appear before Parliament so that it could be debated. I think he said that, did he not?
§ LORD COLERAINE
Would my noble friend allow me to tell him that I propose to move an Amendment in Committee on the Bill which would have exactly that effect? I will show my noble friend that Amendment, and I hope I may count on his support when he has seen it.
§ THE EARL OF SWINTON
That is most interesting. So long as we get this issue brought before Parliament, whether it is brought under an Amendment, to bring it actually within the scope of this Bill, or whether it is brought by a Resolution of the Government ad hoc, I do not particularly mind. But I am glad that we are at one that this is a matter which, before action is taken, ought to come before both Houses of Parliament.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, this is a matter in which the noble Earl is considerably interested. Would he permit me to remind him that there are opportunities for this matter to be debated in another place on Supply Day and on a Resolution? As the noble Earl also knows, it would always be within the right of any Member of this House to raise the matter on our own Order Paper so that it can be discussed. Therefore it would be quite wrong to say that this matter could not be discussed in either House.
§ THE EARL OF SWINTON
Well, it was not I who said that it could not be discussed in either House. I was asking that it should be discussed. The noble Lords who interrupted me said that it could not be discussed here. But my point is that it is a matter of urgency. We cannot wait for a Supply Day in another place. I do not know how long it takes to get a Private Member's Motion nut down here. As I understand 289 it, the Order is now in effect. That, I think, is most serious. My plea is all the stronger if the Order is in effect. And if at present everybody is forbidden to finance the new tobacco crop, then the sooner this matter is brought before both Houses the better, and it certainly ought to come before the House on the initiative of the Government.
I do not want to make a Party point of this issue. I have not myself made up my mind about its merits. But if the noble and learned Lord wants to carry the whole House and the whole country with him and as far as possible keen us together on this question, then let us have every opportunity for debate and unbiased consideration. I am sure it need not mean delay to make it subject to Parliamentary control. This Parliament can, and I am sure will, act with expedition and firmness, but with a deep sense of responsibility. But in all the actions that the Government propose—certainly in all the action that we in Parliament take—always let us have is mind the aim that Rhodesia will come back into the Commonwealth.
§ 5.17 p.m.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, no doubt your Lordships will be wondering why I am taking part in this debate at all since it is clear that I have no special knowledge of Rhodesia, but I must say that I feel I know enough at least to suspect that comparing the Rhodesian revolt of a few settlers in one of the African lands to the great historical revolt of the American colonists in the 18th century, as I rather think the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, who has just left his seat has tried to do to-day, is flying in the face of all history; and indeed, worse than that, endeavouring to confer a sort of moral justification on this Rhodesian revolt which I am sure the great majority of people in this country would not admit that it possessed.
§ LORD HASTINGS
My Lords, would the noble Lord say why it is flying in the face of all history to compare this with what happened in the American revolt?
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, it is a totally different thing. The American colonists were a large and flourishing community, and they had been there a 290 long time. They were not surrounded by millions of local inhabitants as the Rhodesian settlers are surrounded by 4 million Negroes. The situation is totally different in every way. The American colonists were inspired by the great doctrines of Locke and the French philosophers. I do not think that Mr. Smith is inspired by any particular philosophy.
§ LORD HASTINGS
My Lords, I really think that the noble Lord should go back and read his history again, because his facts are entirely inaccurate. In trying to make an analogy between the American and Rhodesian revolts I feel that the noble Lord should not make statements like that which are wholly historically untrue.
§ LORD GLADWYN
I was not attacking the noble Lord. I was merely commenting on something which I thought the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, said. But, of course, if I am wrong I shall be the first to apologise.
But, my Lords, what, greatly daring in view of the long list of speakers, I wanted to do when I put down my name, was to draw attention to what I think is quite an important aspect of this situation—namely, that of the United Nations, an organisation with which I have had a great deal to do in the past, and with which I have, to the best of my ability, tried to keep up since I retired from the Foreign Service.
I do not think that, under the stress of any present emotion, we should regard the United Nations only as an intolerable, if happily rather powerless, governess, or that action by it, or under its auspices, would necessarily result in transforming Rhodesia into a sort of Congo; though I must say that if it had not been for the United Nations I believe the horrible situation in the Congo a few years ago would probably have been even worse. There is no doubt at all that, United Nations or no United Nations, Mr. Smith's lunatic gesture would have given rise to a dangerous situation in which the great Powers of this world would probably all have been involved. But the United Nations is supposed to be, and to some extent already is, a machine for dealing with just such dangerous situations as this. It is possible that in the long run it may even be of considerable use. 291 What is the intention of the United Nations in the present crisis? The Security Council, of course, is rightfully obliged under the Charter to decide how any situation—and this, of course, is "a situation"—which might threaten international peace and security (that is the phrase used in the Charter) should most suitably be dealt with. That is what it has to decide. Equally, under Article 2(7) of the Charter it is not entitled to concern itself with such situations as are within the domestic jurisdiction of any member. But we have ourselves so often in the past winked at the non-application of this rule that it would be difficult to invoke it over Rhodesia; though it is true that the French are doing precisely that at present, if I understand the position aright. Morever, since the Rhodesian Government is in a state of flagrant rebellion, it is difficult to see how we could effectively maintain that the effect of its actions was solely the concern of Her Majesty's Government. Thus, there is no reason why the Security Council should not concern itself with Rhodesia, and indeed every reason, I think, under the Charter why it should. In any case, this is the position, as I understand it, which has now been taken up by Her Majesty's Government. So the object of our admirable Foreign Secretary is, presumably, to have this situation examined, if possible, under Chapter VI of the Charter, which is, broadly speaking, that relating to "peaceful settlement."
But, with the best will in the world, it is difficult to see what a peaceful settlement of this situation can possibly be, other than the peaceful surrender of Mr. Smith to Her Majesty's Government and the instalment by Her Majesty's Government of another, and presumably more co-operative, Government in his place, willing and able to proceed with the development of the 1961 Constitution. If this is not the objective, what is? What it is hoped to achieve therefore, one imagines, is some discussion in the Council as a result of which the Council will approve such action as Her Majesty's Government have already taken to attain their end and keep the item on its agenda in case such action does not have the required result. Unfortunately, there is little reason to suppose that it will have 292 such a result in the short run, beyond, I am afraid, severely straining the economy of Rhodesia and, to a slighter extent, that of other nations, including our own.
Few people really expect economic sanctions of any kind, even those relating to oil, to have the desired result, except perhaps over a period of years. I remember very well being a sanctioneer, as they called it, in the League of Nations in 1935. My experiences then certainly led me to believe that it was wrong to adopt sanctions at all unless one was prepared to go as far as the use of force if sanctions did not work. Anyhow, if nothing further happens beyond the sanctions we are now proposing, I am afraid that Mr. Smith will probably stay in power for a considerable time, and the rebellion as such will be seen to have succeeded, at any rate temporarily. That is what will probably happen. Mr. Smith may he increasingly "punished" for his rebellious gestures—though we are assured that the action to be taken is in no way punitive—but the only immediate result of the whole operation will be that we shall have been punished too.
Noting this fact, the Security Council will either have to recognise its own powerlessness to deal with the situation or have solemnly to declare that this is a situation which threatens international peace and security within the meaning of Article 39 of the Charter. Needless to say, such a decision can be taken only if it has the concurrent votes of the five Permanent Members and two others. If a Permanent Member actually abstains, the practical effect is exactly the same as if he voted for.
Once this crucial decision has been taken (this is the point), one thing leads to another. Under the Charter a chain of events is set afoot which must lead either to a severe loss of prestige and influence for the United Nations as a whole or to the progressive and successful application of force of one kind or another, including, in the last resort, military force. Each progressive measure of force will, of course, have to have the concurrent votes of the five Permanent Members, or the equivalent abstention, otherwise it will not be valid. Permanent Members would also be well 293 advised to get agreement between themselves before doing anything of the kind as to the financial implications.
Since, in the case of Mr. Smith's rebellion, we must count on the desire of the Russians, and one or two other members of the Council, to adopt what they no doubt would call forward policy, everything depends on the nature of the votes cast by the United States, France and Britain on this crucial issue of whether the rebellion is or is not a threat to international peace and security under the terms of Chapter VII, Article 39, of the Charter. If, and only if, it is so judged to be, it does not make any sense to say, in advance, that only measures of compulsion stopping short of military force will be employed to bring Mr. Smith to heel. Having decided that the rebellion is in fact a threat, the Security Council would be bound legally to do its best to eliminate it. The final measure laid down in the Charter for doing this is precisely military force.
It may well be that the Security Council will decide that no such threat exists, in the sense that, pending observation of the effect of the means already taken, it will still lie within Chapter VI of the Charter relating to peaceful settlement. If they do that, it will probably be because of the contrary votes of the three Western Permanent Members, or of one of them. But I must say that doubt whether we should be well advised to veto a positive resolution in this sense if it were known to be going to receive the concurrent votes of our two Allies, America and France, and more particularly the former. That really would expose us to the obloquy of the world and most certainly would sound the knell of the Commonwealth. There is no doubt about that.
So what I think we might very well do, if the United States decides to vote "For" on this crucial issue—which is no doubt rather improbable—would be to say that if the chain of events which is then initiated by the Security Council's decision were to end up in the application of force, it would have to be left to the United Kingdom, to us, to apply such force, and that our concurring vote on this issue would be given only on that clear condition. In other words, by "showing willing", as it were, to apply 294 force if absolutely necessary and in the last resort, and provided, presumably, that we had all possible logistic and financial support also, we should be acting at once as the agent of a legally formulated world public opinion and would maintain our own control of the situation.
If we vetoed a resolution concurred in by the other great Powers concerned, this would hardly be the case. We should not have control of the situation then. Why not?—because then, under the resolution United For Peace—which, incidentally, was negotiated by the noble Lord, Lord Shawcross, and myself way back at the end of 1950—the matter would pass to the General Assembly, and if that majority of the General Assembly included America and Russia (which it obviously would in the circumstances for we should have vetoed the thing with our sole vote in the Security Council) then undoubtedly the Assembly could take effective military action and no doubt it would. Whereas if the Assembly majority did not have such support owing to the Security Council having failed to arrive at any decision, then any action by it would be ineffective, doubtfully legal and could of course, if necessary, be disregarded.
The present position, as I understand it, is that Her Majesty's Government have firmly stated that, in their view, force is no remedy for the present situation and should not therefore be employed, except, apparently, in the rather curious event of its being requested by somebody in Rhodesia or even by the Governor, if indeed he remains at liberty. If the United States shares this view, and there is some reason to suppose it does, then there is no prospect of any effective action to alter the existing situation in Rhodesia, I am afraid, since the economic sanctions which the Security Council might approve would most likely not result in the collapse of Smith, at any rate for some time, while, as I have said, the General Assembly in the absence of American support would be physically and indeed financially quite unable to organise any military action; unless indeed the Russians were deputed by a two-thirds majority of members of the Assembly to undertake an expedition—an invitation which I myself believe, however, they would undoubtedly decline. Even if they gave logistic support to a Ghanaian or 295 Ethiopian army, or any other army, which is theoretically possible but I should have thought not very likely, there is no present willingness on the part of Rhodesia's neighbours to admit any such forces to their territories. Moreover, what measures other countries would take in those circumstance, is just anybody's guess. In other words, a kind of Congo situation really does seem to me to be a bit of a nightmare. So perhaps is the idea that perfectly innocent whites would be massacred elsewhere in Africa if Mr. Smith appeared in any way to be getting away with it.
We have even heard lately that there is a possibility of a race war starting shortly in Africa and involving the world. I must say that I very much doubt this possibility. Exactly who will fight whom in this African race war? Will the Russians, who after all are white, be drawn into the war against the blacks, or is it supposed that the Americans and the European armies will take the field against the embattled Negro race? I must say, my Lords, I rather doubt whether the general cause of peace is advanced by exaggerating the horrors of the present situation.
It must be admitted that if in the long run economic sanctions are seen to be pretty useless from the point of view of achieving our ultimate end, it is conceivable, though even then unlikely, that Zambia and other neighbouring States might, as a result of some resolution by the General Assembly, call in Soviet or even, I suppose, Chinese military forces. But if they did this, which I repeat is unlikely, it would mean upsetting the whole world balance, and I suspect that this would be rectified by other means before the Russians or the Chinese even got near the Zambesi, just as it was rectified when the Russian ships turned back from Cuba.
What is certainly deplorable is the extent to which co-operation between blacks and whites in Africa north of the Zambesi River may be prejudiced by the Rhodesian attempt to put the clock back south of it, which cannot of course in the nature of things last for very long. But there really is no reason why such co-operation should be imperilled if Her Majesty's Government not only vigorously oppose Mr. Smith, but even go so far as 296 to say at some stage—not now necessarily—that while themselves objecting to the use of military force except in the last resort, they would nevertheless co-operate in any action decided on by the Security Council acting within the strict limits of its legal competence.
My Lords, I have attempted to set forth in a few minutes as best I can the legal and political position so far as the United Nations is concerned, as I understand it. But there is only one golden thread to lead us safely through what The Times has properly described as a political minefield, and that is absolute Anglo-American unity. No British decision should if humanly possible be taken without American approval and vice versa. We are unfortunately not yet in the European Economic Community; otherwise, the same might well have applied o our European neighbours also. Still, a united Western view, if it is achievable, would also be of the greatest assistance in enabling this country to emerge with untarnished honour from one of the greatest moral crises in its long history, and it is to that end that we should all work, irrespective of any Party feeling.
§ 5.38 p.m.
§ LORD MACPHERSON OF DRUMOCHTER
My Lords, I apologise for addressing your Lordships for the first time on such a controversial subject. Unfortunately, it is one on which I cannot remain silent. Rhodesia is a country which I know from many visits, a country in which I have many acquaintances both black and white. Naturally, I do not agree with or condone the illegal action taken by Mr. Smith, but I do not altogether agree with the way is which this serious situation has been handled. It is my opinion that the majority of people in this country do not know the position, and I find it distressing that the bulk of the British Press has not more fully explained the facts which have led to the critical situation of to-day.
The Rhodesian Constitution accords the vote regardless of race or colour. The voting system is designed not to maintain privileges for any one race, but to protect and maintain standards for all. In the United Kingdom we give the vote only to those of us over the age of 21. In fact, I assume that below this age we consider that the individual is not sufficiently intellectually mature. But 297 Rhodesia has very different conditions to contend with. The average adult of 21 is not ready to control the destiny of his country.
As the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has advised your Lordships, the Legislative Assembly consists of 65 members, 50 of whom are elected by the more highly qualified A Roll and 15 by the lower qualified B Roll. Without boring your Lordships with all the alternative qualifications under the different Rolls, I think the minimum qualifications are worth mentioning: for the A Roll an income of £330 per annum or ownership of property to the value of £550 and four years' secondary education; for the B Roll, over 30 years of age and an income of £198 or ownership of property to the value of £385. The system may not be ideal, but it is designed to entrust the control of the country to the educated, to the people with a stake in the country and to those people earning a basic wage. It is reported in the Press that this system could give an African majority in as little as 15 years, but, as somebody else has said, what Africa needs most of all is time.
As education plays such an important part in their voting system, I should like to give your Lordships some further facts. The 1957 share of the revenue for African education was 11.9 per cent. of the total; in 1962–63 it had risen to 20 per cent., amounting to £5¼ millions; and in 1964 the amount voted was £6.2 millions. It must be borne in mind that taxation falls mainly on the shoulders of the 220,000 Europeans. This, surely, shows what a tremendous effort Rhodesia is making to educate her people. Of the African population of school-going age, 95 per cent. now receive a minimum of five years' education. Lastly on this subject, I think it is interesting to compare Rhodesia's ratio of children at school to total population with those of some other African countries. Rhodesia, 1 in 6; Ghana, 1 in 8; Algeria, 1 in 21; Mali, 1 in 61; Ethiopia, 1 in 108. I hope that what I have said will show your Lordships that Rhodesia is striving to obtain a multiracial community far sooner and on far surer lines than most other African countries.
One of the most important causes of Rhodesia's illegal action is that the Afri- 298 can nationalists will not participate in any constitutional discussions but would rather run to London. It is hoped, it may be vainly, that once it is realised that the power of London to veto legislation and to interfere in the internal government of Rhodesia has been stopped, the African nationalists will then sit down with their own Government and work out their domestic problems.
How are we to break this present critical position? By economic sanctions, thus penalising the very people this House is so anxious to protect? To bring, as some reports say, Mr. Smith to his knees? Yes; no doubt we, backed by the rest of the world, will bring Mr. Smith and Rhodesia finally to their knees; but at what cost? And then what? The Prime Minister has reiterated that he is always willing to negotiate. Surely we cannot sit back satisfied with the disastrous position we have to-day whilst our enemies work away and exploit this breach and our embarrassment. This whole question has become too vital and too important for Party politics, with each side striving to win political gain from the other.
I should like to suggest a delegation, not from the Government (as our Government and the illegal Government of Rhodesia cannot be on speaking terms) but from the British Parliament—if you like, a fact-finding mission. What we want to know, and what should be put to this country, is: what are the terms the Rhodesian people consider they can possibly accept, and what exactly are the clauses the British Government wish to insert into the 1961 Constitution? It is also just possible that such a mission could find a solution, now that Rhodesia has had a taste of the world's reaction to U.D.I. In the present circumstances, I cannot think of anyone more suitable to lead such a mission than Sir Alec Douglas-Home, one of the most respected Members of both Houses and someone whom I am sure would obtain the maximum co-operation in Rhodesia; and he could be supported by such other capable brains as Lord Shawcross and others. This whole position, irrespective of who caused it, must be resolved as soon as possible, before we do unthinkable damage to Rhodesia, this country and the Commonwealth.
§ 5.47 p.m.
§ LORD COLYTON
My Lords, my first duty—and a great pleasure it is—is to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Macpherson of Drumochter, on a clear, simple and constructive speech, delivered in a most effective way. We all remember his father, who sat on the Labour Benches, with great affection; and we remember, too, the great interest that he always had in the Commonwealth. It is, therefore, a real pleasure to all of us to welcome his son here to-day, and to say that we hope to hear from him often in the future.
My Lords, this is a day of deep sorrow for us all, and especially, I think, to those of us who know and love Rhodesia. It is a tragic break after 75 years of a close family relationship between our two countries in peace and in war. Before I proceed further, I must declare an interest in Rhodesia, as a director of a company with timber and some city property there. I would first wish to endorse what my noble friend Lord Salisbury said about the terrible disillusion in Rhodesia in regard to Britain, which has affected members of all Parties there, over the last five years. For over forty years Rhodesia has had full internal self-government. She has never been a Crown Colony, as the Prime Minister suggested in his broadcast on Thursday night. She has never been governed from Whitehall. The only British legislation which has ever been specifically passed in regard to Rhodesia is the enabling Acts which brought into force the two Constitutions of 1923 and 1961. Now we have U.D.I. and this enabling Bill.
I suppose it is true that history has shown that in certain circumstances illegal declarations of independence have, in the long run, justified themselves. I am referring particularly, of course, to the American Declaration of Independence and to the Declarations of Independence of Spanish-American countries throughout the nineteenth century, often carried through with our help.
I did think that the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, was a little ill-advised—I am sorry that he is not in his place—to rebuke my noble friend Lord Salisbury about his reference to the American Declaration of Independence. He said that one could make no comparison. In some ways that is not true. There was 300 certainly no consultation with the American Indians on that occasion, certainly no "one man, one vote" there. But all you have to do is to look at the television on any Saturday night to see what happened to them. I think perhaps that the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, and the noble Lords who sit on those Benches must have forgotten that the yellow colours they sport at Election time were taken straight from the buff facings of the uniform of the American rebel militia.
I am not suggesting—do not let it be thought—that I am condoning U.D.I.; nor am I suggesting in any way that the Prime Minister has behaved as a modern Lord North. On the contrary, except for his rather hectoring message to Rhodesia in October 1964, I would submit with all respect that both he and the Commonwealth Secretary have shown a rare understanding of the feelings of Rhodesians, white and black, and of all the other aspects of this most intractable problem. I felt the same thing when listening to the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack this afternoon. If I may, I will venture to correct him on two points. One is that Sir Humphrey Gibbs is not a Rhodesian: he was born in this country. The other is that, when he referred to the one-third South Africans in Rhodesia, he perhaps overlooked the fact that very many of them moved up to Rhodesia to get away from apartheid.
As I say, I felt up to a fortnight ago when the Prime Minister returned from Salisbury that he and his colleagues had handled the Rhodesian question with conspicious tact and skill. When he first put forward his proposal for a Royal Commission, I felt there was still hope. In his Statement to the House of Commons to which I listened on November 1 he made it clear that, although the matter was ultimately one for Parliament, if there was a unanimous report by the Royal Commission it would in practice mean that both sides would accept it. Then, unfortunately, as my noble friend Lord Swinton said, he changed his position in his Statement to the House of Commons on November 3. I thought he put forward conditions which it was impossible for Mr. Smith to accept. The first was that it must be made known that the British Government themselves 301 disagreed with the Rhodesian Government's Constitutional proposals. The second was that, even when the final and unanimous report was submitted, the British Government could not be expected to commit themselves in advance. It was what one newspaper called, "Heads I win, tails you lose". It meant that if the Rhodesian people rejected the proposals, Mr. Smith's cause fell to the ground; but if they accepted them the British Government still reserved their position as to what course of action to take. The third was a suggestion for a national referendum in Rhodesia which, once "one man one vote" was excluded, was clearly contradictory and unacceptable.
Although at the last minute I think the Prime Minister modified his attitude on the second point, I had little doubt after November 3 that U.D.I. was only a question of time. That is not to say that I approved it. I am bound to tell the House that I have given this question of U.D.I. much thought over the past two years. I have come to the conclusion, rightly or wrongly, that U.D.I. could only be justified under extreme provocation either by some act of the British Government, such as an attempt to impose a new Constitution on Rhodesia, or by some act by the United Nations in which they sought to coerce the Rhodesian Government through sanctions or by force. I could not feel that the impasse reached last week in those negotiations really fell within that category.
So we are hound to ask ourselves why Mr. Smith decided on this course of action. At first sight, as other noble Lords have said, it might seem that it would have been so easy for him to carry on indefinitely under the present Constitution. But to understand his reasons, we must try to look into the minds of the European population of Southern Rhodesia over the past twenty years. There is no doubt, although there is no written document to support this, that Southern Rhodesia could have had its independence for the asking during the war, or immediately after. At that time it was not considered to be particularly urgent, and Rhodesians doubted whether the trappings of sovereignty were really worth the additional burden on their limited exchequer.
302 Then, in 1953, came federation, and all the hopes and dreams of a great multiracial State headed for independence within the Commonwealth to which that gave rise. It was not until after successive tragic events led to the break-up of the Federation that Southern Rhodesia turned to the only practicable alternative; namely, independence for themselves. They saw Malawi and Zambia, their former partners in the Federation—countries far more backward than they were—going forward to independence. They saw the great stream of British immigrants drying up and the falling away of overseas capital investment in Rhodesia to a mere trickle. They felt that only by a permanent solution to this issue of independence could they succeed in retrieving their fortunes and ensuring the full development of the natural resources, brains and manpower of Southern Rhodesia to the benefit of all its inhabitants alike.
So it was that the Government of Mr. Winston Field and his successor, Mr. Ian Smith, entered into negotiations for independence based on the 1961 Constitution. I will not attempt to go into all the matters which the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, has touched upon this afternoon; but I felt at the time that this was fully justified. The resistance shown by successive British Governments to this plea has only hardened European opinion in Rhodesia and slowed up African advance to political equality of status.
The correspondence and the interchanges dragged on, first under one Government and then another; more and more wild statements were made, and resolutions passed at the United Nations. To the North, in newly-independent States, there were mutinies, Communist infiltration and modification of the Constitutions within a few months of adoption. Political rights of the Europeans throughout those territories have been virtually extinguished. Even to-day there are 1,300 European mixed farmers in Kenya, who, after 20, 40 or 60 years of hard work are quite unable to carry on their farming—and that in spite of the fact that they have a friendly and helpful African Government. Yet they cannot sell their farms and get out. In oilier territories there were uprisings, followed by massacres on such a scale and so 303 bestial as to be beyond description. Zanzibar first, then Ruanda, and more recently the Congo.
So the Rhodesians, in their uncertainty as to their future, saw the possibility of all those things happening to them. I am convinced that, as other noble Lords have said, in their final attempt to achieve independence by negotiation they were entirely sincere. But time was slipping away. There were, of course, in my judgment some unnecessary pinpricks on the part of the British Government; like the attempt to block the appointment of a Rhodesian diplomatic agent in Lisbon which had been conceded to the Federal Government of Rhodesia and Nyasaland in 1957 and transferred to the Southern Rhodesian Government in a letter from Mr. Duncan Sandys to Mr. Winston Field on December 10, 1963. There were, in my opinion, injudicious statements, like that of the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, who in the midst of these negotiations told an audience in New York:The confrontation between black nations in Africa and the former colonial Powers is not far ahead. The fuses are already lit, ready to blow the whole world sky high.I do not think that that was the height of diplomatic tact.
There was also the encouragement given, most unwisely—and here I do blame the Government—to Sir Hugh Beadle, the Chief Justice of Rhodesia, whom we all know and admire, to come to London without the authority of his Government. That, I feel, must have been almost the last straw. Incidentally, I was amazed to learn from the Prime Minister's speech on Friday that he had been discussing with Sir Hugh Beadle the implications of, and counter-measures to, U.D.I. while he (the Prime Minister) was still in Salisbury and before U.D.I. had happened at all. After all, Sir Hugh is a high functionary of self-governing Rhodesia and not of the United Kingdom.
However, whatever may have been the final calculation which influenced Mr. Smith and his Government, the thing is now done and an illegal declaration of independence has been made. What should our actions be? I believe that in these conditions our aim should be to minimise the damage and mitigate the ill-effects flowing from the present situa- 304 tion on all concerned, on Rhodesians, black and white, on Zambia, on Malawi and, finally, on Britain herself. It is in this light that I feel bound to view the Prime Minister's Statement on Thursday and the Bill which we are shortly to consider.
Of the long list of harsh measures which the Prime Minister read out and which it is proposed to take, some are constitutionally consequential on Mr. Smith's illegal action. Others are, in my judgment, merely punitive. What are our reasons, for example, for banning purchases of tobacco and Rhodesian sugar? Are the Government not aware that the effect of this will fall, to begin with, only upon thousands of African workers in the field, who at the moment are engaged in putting in seedlings? Is it the Government's aim to stimulate unemployment and starvation and, ultimately, chaos and bloodshed, in an attempt to bring Mr. Smith's de facto Government to its knees? I cannot believe that this is their purpose, nor do I think that they will succeed in doing so; but by their proposals they will undoubtedly cause untold suffering to hundreds of thousands of Africans and their families, both in the country and in the towns.
I was glad to see that the Prime Minister repeated his undertaking that there should be no use of force. At least, there is to be no second Boer War. But if that is conceded, what can be the justification for using these other cruel and punitive measures? I understand from the Bill that we are to have an opportunity of discussing and approving some, at any rate, of the measures which it is intended to impose. I hope that when these measures come before both Houses of Parliament we shall address ourselves to them in a spirit of humanity and Christianity and in an effort to limit the damage to what is constitutionally absolutely necessary and inevitable.
There are certain aspects of the sanctions which the Government are seeking to impose on which I should like to ask one or two questions. Can the noble Earl who is to reply for the Government say how it is possible to argue that Rhodesia can remain part of Her Majesty's Dominions but at the same time is no longer to be entitled to the privileges appertaining to that status? I am 305 referring to Imperial Preference and, for example, the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. Can the noble Earl tell me under what section of the Rhodesian Constitution of 1961, the Commonwealth Secretary, acting through the Governor, had the right to dismiss Mr. Smith and his Cabinet last Thursday? Or is this one of the things which are to be regularised retrospectively by the Bill? If so, I think that we should be told accordingly.
What will be the effect of these measures on our own balance of payments? What is it going to cost us? Are we, in fact, going to have to spend at least £35 million a year in order to buy American stockpiled tobacco, which no doubt they will be only too glad to get rid of? It seems to me that these and many other matters need to be cleared up. No doubt they will frequently be coming before us in debates over the next weeks and months.
I submit again to your Lordships that the way to preserve law and order in Rhodesia, and perhaps, let us hope, one day bring about a return to legality and to the Commonwealth, is not by penal and punitive measures, subject to the inevitable constitutional steps to which reference has been made. For 37 years, from 1923 to 1960, Rhodesia advanced, entirely under its own Government, to high standards of education, health and housing, to become one of the most progressive territories in the whole of Africa. Since 1960, political advancement has been rapid. Rhodesia is one of the few countries in Africa where a genuine non-racial democracy has been emerging in peace and in order. My belief, despite what the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has said, is that had independence been freely conceded in 1963, when the Federation broke up, we should have had majority rule in Rhodesia within fifteen or twenty years. I still believe that even to-day the majority of Rhodesians would accept this. Those who voted for Todd and Whitehead, Welensky and Malvern, would accept this, once they were sure that their own future as an independent country was in their own hands. Whatever we may feel about Mr. Smith's action, do not let us now, by our actions here, throw Rhodesia into chaos, racial strife and bloodshed which could destroy all.
§ 6.6 p.m.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, may I first refer to the speech which has been delivered by my noble friend Lord Macpherson of Drumochter? I heard his proposal that a fact-finding commission should go to Rhodesia. That was exactly the objective of the Royal Commission, which has been rejected by Mr. Smith and his colleagues, even after all the concessions which were made by the Prime Minister in his telephone conversation, which has been reported this morning. Nevertheless, I should welcome a fact-finding commission going to Rhodesia. My only criticism of my noble friend's proposal is of the personnel which he proposed. I am not sure that they would be acceptable to all sections of the public in this country.
The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, and I have frequently clashed in another place. I want to say to him that I recognise the deep sincerity with which he has spoken, as I recognise the sincerity with which the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, spoke earlier in the debate. One of the difficulties about this controversy is that there is this sincerity on both sides and I know that both the noble Lords will extend that recongition to me, as I extend it to them. I would only put to them' this point. If this had been an African Government, instead of a European Government, in a British Colony which had not reached the stage of independence, and if that African Government had seized independence illegally, if that African Government had suppressed every political Party of Europeans in its territory, if that African Government had imprisoned or exiled the leaders of those European Parties, if that African Government had been responsible for an action like the Land Apportionment Act, which so unfairly divided the ownership of land between African and European populations, if that African Government had practised the kind of racial discrimination which is practised by the minority White Government in Rhodesia, would they not immediately have said that the British Government were justified in declaring the declaration of independence illegal? Would they not immediately have said that the British Government would he justified in declaring that that was a rebellion?
307 Indeed, in those circumstances, I think they might well have urged much further action than the British Government have taken in the case of Rhodesia, where a Government representing a minority of 220,000, with an African population of 4 million, has illegally claimed its independence in that way. I am saying this because I think your Lordships will understand the reaction of Africans to this situation when they compare the stern steps which would have been taken against any African Government in a British Colony which illegally claimed independence, and the steps which have been taken in the case of the Rhodesian Government.
I want to make one further reference to what the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, said. He stated that the reference to a referendum in the declarations of our Prime Minister was a contradiction of his Statement that he was not immediately asking for one man one vote. In fact, the Prime Minister did not propose the referendum as the only means by which the opinion of the Rhodesian people as a whole could be taken; that was a matter for the Royal Commission. But I would point out to the noble Lord that the first reference to a referendum as a possible method of taking the opinion of the people of Rhodesia was not made by Mr. Harold Wilson; it was made by Sir Alec Douglas-Home. I have here an extract from the record of a meeting held at 10 Downing Street on September 7, 1964, between Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Mr. Ian Smith, the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia, which was published in the Blue Book (Cmnd. 2807) which was issued on Friday night. This is the quotation:The Prime Minister, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, repeated that Mr. Smith must try to go further than a mere indaba"—that is, a Conference of the Chiefs—(to show that there was African support for independence) and must move towards something in the nature of a referendum.The Prime Minister, in suggesting that that might be one method, was only repeating what Sir Alec Douglas-Home had said before.
May I say how much I appreciated from the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, and, indeed, from the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, and others, tributes to the manner in which the Prime 308 Minister handled this question. The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, made certain reservations about later developments. But the Prime Minister was in this position of extraordinary difficulty. He had to appeal to the opinion of four different and conflicting spheres. He had first to carry with him public opinion in this country, because he is the Prime Minister of this country, and must have the support not merely of Parliament but of the people of this country in this grave crisis. I think that the Prime Minister's extra, ordinary reasonableness and extraordinary moderation in the conduct of these negotiations has gone far in carrying British public opinion. Secondly, the Prime Minister had to exert influence upon opinion in Rhodesia itself. Again, I would say that by his conduct during his visit to Salisbury, and by the discussions which he had with representatives of every section of the Rhodesian people, he went a long way in causing misgivings among those who have now taken the course of a unilateral Declaration of Independence. It may be a little time before we see the total effect of the influence which he exerted while he was in Rhodesia.
However, the Prime Minister had not only to think of opinion in this country, nor of opinion in Rhodesia: he had to think of opinion among the African people of that Continent, and not only its peoples, but its Governments—and there we must acknowledge this evening that, so far, the Prime Minister has not succeeded in gaining the conviction of the African peoples about the depth of his determination in handling this rebellion in Southern Rhodesia. I find it most significant that even the more moderate Governments of Africa, like those of Ethiopia and Senegal, equally with the more radical Governments, like Guinea and Ghana, are dissatisfied with the action which the British Government have taken. This is of enormous importance to us, not only in our relationship with the African people, but particularly with the independent African countries which are a part of our Commonwealth.
The fourth group of public opinion which the Prime Minister has had to influence during these difficult negotiations is the member States of the United Nations. Here again, it is evident, from the resolutions which have been carried 309 by the overwhelming majorities to which the Lord Chancellor has referred, that in the United Nations there is not criticism of the British Government for what they have done: there is criticism of the British Government because they have not gone far enough.
I agree, to an extent which I did not expect, with the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne—I expected it more in the case of the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden—who said that if economic sanctions are to be imposed those economic sanctions must be effective and rapid. The noble Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, referred particularly to the sanction which is to be placed upon the export of tobacco. He is quite right in saying that the maximum effect of that sanction will not take place until the harvest next spring. But I think perhaps he overlooked the fact that, as the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, said, the seedlings are now being sown, and therefore the farmers, who are among the greatest supporters of the illegal Declaration of Independence, must already be now looking forward to the effect of the sanction, and perhaps may be having second thoughts. But I agree entirely that, if economic sanctions are to be effective, they must be extended from what they are at the present time. There was the quite extraordinary interview, to which reference has already been made, with Lord Malvern in The Times this morning, in which he suggested that the sanctions which have been imposed will not be effective. He said:'They'"—that is, the British Government'seem to be just playing at it, but we shall know more after the debate in the House of Commons to-morrow.' An oil sanction was the only one which would have a sudden effect on Rhodesia, ' but if they cannot find a way to fly in oil to Zambia they will kill that country too'.Southern Rhodesia will receive help from the Republic of South Africa and from Portugal, and I think they will be probably the only two Governments in the world that will give help to the illegal Government of Rhodesia. Neither Portugal nor South Africa are oil-producing countries. South Africa may have a Southern Rhodesia comes from the Middle East, and we may expect that 310 the Arab Governments of the Middle East will take action to stop that oil from going to Southern Rhodesia. The companies who transport the oil are American and British, and in view of the support which the American Government are giving to the British Government in the policy they are now pursuing, one could hope that the American and the British Governments will exert some influence upon those American and British companies.
If economic sanctions are to be effective, they must extend beyond the sanctions which are at present put into operation, and the extension of sanctions to oil would be the most effective way in which to do it. I do not believe, personally, that economic sanctions alone will bring about the results which we want. Governments are extraordinarily resilient in meeting economic pressures of that kind. I am one of those—and I think perhaps my record may have shown it—who are deeply opposed to the use of force. I rejected absolute pacificism only in the Spanish war, which was a rehearsal of the Great War. One of my reasons for rejecting absolute pacificism then, strangely enough, was exactly the situation which has now arisen in Southern Rhodesia: that a position might come where the white minority might seek to assert its right to govern the vast majority of the African people.
I understand the reasons which the Prime Minister has urged for not resorting to force, but he has indicated that there are circumstances in Southern Rhodesia where force might be necessary. Up to this moment, there has been little force in Southern Rhodesia following the declaration of independence. Only in this afternoon's newspapers do we read of the beginning of a resistance. But I think we shall be very unaware of what is likely to develop if we do not expect resistance to occur in Southern Rhodesia, because Southern Rhodesia at the moment is mentally a slave State. There is a censorship which does not permit the people of Rhodesia even to know that the British Governor there has dismissed Mr. Smith and his colleagues.
Arising from that, I should like to ask whether the Ministers, when they reply, can indicate what steps are being taken by the B.B.C. to supplement its present 311 service, so that the people of Rhodesia may learn the facts and may learn the truth. But it is not only the censorship. Under the emergency which is now in operation in Southern Rhodesia, anyone who expresses verbally, even in private conversation, criticism of the Government may be arrested and imprisoned. I am beginning to wonder whether the Bishop—or was it the Archbishop?—who very courageously preached his sermon yesterday, may become a victim of that decree under the emergency laws. The matter goes even further than that. Any African who wears the headgear which Joshua Nkomo wears in Southern Rhodesia may be arrested and imprisoned. I have one of those hats in my hand. It seems to me to be a mark of the establishment rather than of subversive propaganda. But if I were to put that on my head in Southern Rhodesia to-day, I could be immediately arrested and imprisoned. That is a repetition of what happened in India in similar circumstances, when any Indian wearing a Gandhi cap could similarly be arrested and imprisoned.
When we see conditions of that kind in Southern Rhodesia, I think it would be over-optimistic to expect that resistance will not take place, and that resistance will not be suppressed. I believe that we have to look forward to a situation in Southern Rhodesia in which there will be not only resistance within Southern Rhodesia but also, perhaps, in the present mood of African Governments, assistance from those Governments for those whom they regard as their brothers in Southern Rhodesia. Many of these Governments have already declared that they are involved in a race war with the white minority illegal Government in Rhodesia. The race war is mounting, and we must have that terrible picture in our mind as we are thinking of the future. It may be necessary for the British Government, not only because of the situation in Southern Rhodesia itself, but because of the intervention of African Governments, to think in terms of a peace-keeping force going to Southern Rhodesia.
There is a third danger, to which the Prime Minister referred in his speech in another place last Friday: that China and Russia are now competing for 312 influence in the whole continent of Africa. China and Russia may intervene, and in the present depth of determination which there is in the minds of Africans and African Governments, despite all their non-alignment, they are likely to welcome any intervention which is on the side of the African population in Southern Rhodesia. In all these circumstances, I say seriously to your Lordships that, bearing in mind the probability of resistance and repression in Southern Rhodesia itself, the probability of intervention from African Governments outside, and the possibility of some intervention by the Communist Powers, it may prove necessary for the British Government also to intervene. I ask, if it is so, that such intervention should secure the endorsement of the Commonwealth and of the United Nations. Indeed, I think there is a good deal to be said for the view that, if there is to be an intervention, it should be an intervention by a mixed force which would not give the impression of just a white force invading that country.
My Lords, I think the greatest hope of finding any solution to this grave issue, which may not only spread to other parts of Africa but even develop, if outside Governments are individually involved, on the world scene, will be that Mr. Ian Smith and his Government will crumble, not only from the effects of action taken by the Government here but from the action taken by the courageous whites in the independent Judiciary and, it may be, in the Army and the Air Force, who may bring down their Government.
We must realise that this issue of Southern Rhodesia represents the deepest issue which the generation of to-day has to solve. It is the issue of the relationships of races in the world. If I ever despair of our present time it is on account of the degree to which racial feeling still exists and is reflected in so many parts of the world. Southern Rhodesia is the test. Is a minority representing 220,000 Europeans to have the right to become an independent Government over 4 million Africans? If for a moment we contemplate that, we are surrendering the whole principle that peoples, whatever their colour and their race, belong to the same human family. We are I surrendering that principle not only in 313 Southern Rhodesia but for the whole of Southern Africa, and particularly in the Republic of South Africa, where that principle is most humiliatingly denied. Therefore I would say to your Lordships this is a crisis much greater even than Southern Rhodesia; it is a crisis which reflects the most fundamental principle facing all mankind to-day. It is the crisis as to whether those of one colour have the right to govern another, or whether we are going to move forward into a world in which all races and all colours may co-operate in an ordered democracy.
§ 6.35 p.m.
§ LORD CACCIA
My Lords, unlike many of your Lordships, I have no direct knowledge of Rhodesia. I shall therefore be brief and restrict myself to two points on which I have some small experience, negotiation and organisation. The first is a point of negotiating method. On this I should like to start by adding my small tribute to the Prime Minister for the way in which he continuously strove to keep the channel open for further discussion with the Rhodesian Government. Once he had decided, and again I think rightly, that force should not he used, this was the classic canon of diplomacy, methodically carried out. In the end Her Majesty's Government were frustrated last Thursday by the unilateral declaration of independence and were forced, however reluctantly, on the course—and let us not mince matters—of economic and psychological warfare.
What now? I assume that the object of these sanctions is not to extract an unconditional surrender but rather to reopen the channel of communication, which the Smith group closed, on certain conditions and with certain objects. One of these conditions has been made clear: that the illegal and unilateral declaration of independence must be repudiated. But is that all? Is the position still as stated by the Prime Minister in his last telephone conversation with Mr. Smith, when he said, "As far as we are concerned we have never ruled out the status quo"? Does that still stand? And would a repudiation of the unilateral declaration of independence lead automatically and at once to the withdrawal of sanctions, and would nothing more be demanded? Or is this a case of the Sibylline books? It would surely be a point of essential 314 importance for the Rhodesian people and any possible successors to Mr. Smith's present group. In supporting the action of the Government may I therefore urge that they should make it plain what alternative to Mr. Smith and his policy is now open to them. If unconditional surrender is not our aim, would not clarity about these things be the most hopeful way of getting back to the negotiating method which the Prime Minister followed with such persistence and vigour before U.D.I.?
My second point concerns our own Governmental and administrative organisation. In this crisis the present set-up still provides that one Secretary of State and one great Department of State, the Commonwealth Relations Office, deals with the relations between this country and Rhodesia while another Secretary of State and another Department, the Foreign Office, handles the foreign aspects, and this includes the United Nations. Such a pattern of organisation is, I submit, bound to be time-consuming, wasteful in men and money, and a blunt and imprecise instrument of government.
I do not say this out of any spirit of criticism of the Secretaries of State concerned. Indeed, if I may, I should like to pay my tribute to the splendid manner in which the Foreign Secretary defended our case in the United Nations yesterday. In doing so he was triumphing over the organisation rather than being supported by it. Nor do I say this out of any desire as an ex-member of the Foreign Office to promote some form of take-over bid. From this point of view of organisation it does not matter who takes over whom. They are loyal and sensible officials in both Departments, who now in any case belong to the same Service, Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service, and can be relied upon to make any system work after a fashion. I admit that sometimes you can get good decisions from a bad system, just as you can obtain bad decisions from a good organisation. It is human to err. But I also agree with the first Lord Hankey, that a good organisation is far less likely to lead to misunderstandings, muddle and misjudgment than a bad organisation.
It may perhaps he argued that any change would be unpopular in the Commonwealth. I doubt it; and, in any case, Canada has already gone that way. It 315 may also be said that the middle of a crisis is no time for change. But when is this moment of calm likely to come? And is it not time enough to look again at this after the Indonesian confrontation, with one Secretary of State and one Department dealing with Malaysia and another Secretary of State dealing with Indonesia, the United Nations and the United States; the Cyprus incident, with the Commonwealth Secretary dealing with the Cypriot Government and the Foreign Secretary responsible for relations with Greece, Turkey and the United Nations; and now this Rhodesia crisis?
There is another aspect. Her Majesty's Governments, of whatever Party, nowadays consider it their duty in the national interest to exhort industry to reorganise in order to achieve greater productivity, to save technically trained manpower and to reduce costs so as to be more competitive in world markets. They also exhort trade unions to get rid of restrictive practices and outdated lines of demarcation. Does this not make it all the more incumbent on Her Majesty's Government to make sure that they themselves have no beam in their own eye?
It is an ill wind that blows no one any good. If from this Rhodesian crisis we could achieve some streamlining in the Government machine, in short a Department of External Affairs and a Secretary of State for External Affairs, we should, in my submission, have got rid of a system which I do not think could have been dreamed up by anyone unless it had developed out of quite other circumstances of pre-war times.
§ 6.42 p.m.
§ LORD MOLSON
My Lords, for the last few years I have watched affairs in Central Africa, and I have had the feeling that I was watching the denouement of some Greek tragedy. And although this U.D.I. is one of the steps towards the end, it is, I fear, by no means the end of the tragedies that we shall witness. The Monckton Report said that it was most desirable for economic and social and political reasons that the Federation of Central Africa should be maintained but that it would inevitably break up unless the Southern Rhodesian policy and social attitude was fundamentally changed. Neither Sir Roy Welensky nor Sir Edgar Whitehead, the two Prime Ministers in 316 power at that time, was willing to take any step of that kind and the Federation of Central Africa has come to an end.
Southern Rhodesia is to-day facing the same kind of disaster because of the unwillingness of the Southern Rhodesian electorate to make the sort of changes in a liberal direction which we said were a condition of survival. First of all, Sir Edgar Whitehead went and was replaced by Mr. Winston Field as Leader of the Dominion Party or Rhodesian Front, which repudiated even the principles for which Sir Edgar Whitehead had stood. Then because Mr. Winston Field was not sufficiently extreme, he was got rid of and replaced by Mr. Smith. There is only one of the members of the present Southern Rhodesian Government of whom I have any experience; that is Mr. Harper, the present Minister of Industry, who gave evidence before us when he was the Leader of the Dominion Party of Southern Rhodesia. When he had completed his evidence, which was at cross purposes with that of the Federal Leader because it was so much more extreme, I said to one of my colleagues, "If that man ever obtains power or influence in Southern Rhodesia the outlook is very bad indeed."
I have studied the Blue Book containing the recent exchanges and I admire the patience and courtesy which the present Prime Minister has shown in carrying on these negotiations. But however courteous, persistent and optimistic he may have been, I do not think anyone who really studies these transactions can believe that they ever could have been successful. At page 72, Mr. Smith said this to the Prime Minister:He must make it clear that the Government Party in Rhodesia did not believe in majority rule. They accepted that the 1961 Constitution would eventually bring it about; but they would not take any action to hasten this process. The criterion of fitness for majority rule must be a criterion of merit, i.e., a criterion in terms of those standards of civilised behaviour which other independent African countries were not succeeding in observing.In order to understand the full significance of Mr. Smith's statement, it is necessary to turn to a later conversation, at page 105, when the British Prime Minister was trying to ensure that the franchise clauses, which as the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor said 317 are unentrenched, should be safeguarded in the event of independence. Mr. Smith bad estimated that anything from fifteen to fifty years would be required for an African majority—But 5 years ago Sir Edgar Whitehead had predicted a period as short as 12 years. The Rhodesian Government must therefore"—and I emphasise the word "therefore"—retain their powers in this field, since, if it appeared at a future election that an African Government was probable and the Rhodesian Government felt, in the light of developments in the countries to the North of Rhodesia, that this would still be premature, they must have the power to delay such a majority by, for example, a reduction in the "B" Roll seats. In the last resort, this would he their only means of preserving their civilisation.Those two quotations in juxtaposition mean this, that not only was the present Rhodesian Government unwilling to do anything to expedite an African Government coming into power, but if under the Constitution of 1961 it appeared that this was going to happen sooner than Mr. Smith expected, as soon as Sir Edgar Whitehead had calculated, in that case it would be necessary for them to alter the franchise in order to postpone the advent of an African majority in power until the Rhodesian Front in its wisdom decided, having regard to other countries north of Rhodesia, that the Africans were likely to be suitable recipients of political power.
§ LORD HASTINGS
I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord. I am sure he would not like to mislead the House. It is not a question of altering the franchise, which is one of the entrenched clauses—the franchise qualification. It would be a question of altering the representation of reserved seats. That is rather a different matter. I thought the noble Lord would like to be quite clear about that.
§ LORD MOLSON
Yes, but the effect would still be, as the Prime Minister of Southern Rhodesia indicated, to postpone the advent of an African Government to power. That is exactly what he said:The Rhodesian Government must therefore retain their powers in this field, since, if it appeared at a future election that an African Government was probable and the Rhodesian Government felt… that this would still be premature, they must have the power to delay such a majority by, for example, a reduction in the "B" Roll seats.318 That seems to me to make it quite plain that, short of a change in the attitude of the Southern Rhodesian Government, it was impossible for these conversations to succeed. It is the fact, of course, that each hoped that the other would retreat. We are therefore now confronted with a unilateral declaration of independence.
When Mr. Macmillan as Prime Minister asked me to serve on the Monckton Commission, with great prescience he told me what he feared for the future. As many of your Lordships know, Mr. Macmillan has a love of slightly abstruse historical analogies. He said, "We are facing in the future in Southern Rhodesia the alternative dangers of a Boston Tea Party or a Servile war." The reality is for worse. We already have the Boston Tea Party, but I greatly fear a Servile war in the future. It is essential that this Parliament, and this Government, should take measures against this rebel Government. Some of them are automatic, because they have chosen to go out of the Commonwealth, and therefore it follows logically and of their own choice that Imperial preference and other concessions and advantages enjoyed by members of our family of nations should come to an end. There are other measures, partaking of the character of economic sanctions, which I am sure it is essential that we should introduce—and tobacco is, I think, one of those. Sanctions are really only of two kinds. There are ineffective sanctions and effective sanctions. Ineffective sanctions are not only useless; they are worse than useless. They exasperate and exacerbate, they cause ill will and achieve nothing.
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, may I interrupt my noble friend for one moment? Exclusion from the sterling area is the greatest sanction of all.
§ LORD MOLSON
Yes, I do not doubt that, and I entirely agree. I take it that that is not actually one of the automatic results that follow, because Canada is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and yet is not in the sterling area. But, if I may resume, not only must the sanctions be effective, they must be effective as speedily as possible. I think it is most interesting that Lord Malvern, who has such great knowledge of this matter, said that the best hope was for sanctions to work quickly, to give the 319 Government, by which he meant the men illegally holding power at the present time, a rude awakening, otherwise Rhodesia will go down and down.
What objective have we in mind when we apply these sanctions? It is, first, to bring about the fall of the Smith régime. Secondly, I am sure it must be to restore in some form effective British rule in Rhodesia. I disagree with the noble Lord, Lord Caccia, who has just spoken, in suggesting that it is necessary for us at this stage to indicate with whom we should be prepared to do business. It is quite impossible to look into the future.
§ LORD CACCIA
My Lords, if the noble Lord would permit me to interrupt, may I say that I did not suggest that we should say with whom. I merely said that if there were other groups who were contemplating trying to remove the illegal Government, they might be urged to or dissuaded from such action by knowing in advance what sort of conditions they would have to face if they took such a step.
§ LORD MOLSON
I think it difficult for us at this time to foresee exactly what the conditions would be. But I entirely agree with the noble Lord that the Government would be wise to hold out the prospect that if a more responsible and a moderate Government could he formed in Rhodesia, we should be prepared to do business with them. That would involve their coming back into the comity of the British Commonwealth. It would mean the restoration of some form of British authority in that territory.
We have had great experience throughout the centuries, but especially after the last war, of establishing a form of Administration in territories which for some time have not been under our control. I am sure that that is essential. I say that for this reason: that our main object must be to ensure that our intervention and our policy shall be the policy that will prevail. We must retain the confidence and support of the United Nations, of other members of the Commonwealth and, as far as possible, of African States in the vicinity of Rhodesia, that our steps are intended, and are likely, to be effective in restoring our authority in Rhodesia.
If that is not done, then there will be intervention by others. That is quite certain. 320 There might be intervention by the United Nations. After the experience of the Congo, I do not desire to see that. There might be intervention by the Communists—possibly by Russia, possibly by China, possibly by both of them, either in co-operation or in opposition to each other. I do not know which would be the more harmful. There might be intervention by African States on the frontiers of Rhodesia. All that is most undesirable. I believe it is essential that, when law and a Constitution is restored in Rhodesia, it should be done as the result of the initiative and persistence of this country, and I believe that it well may be that Britain's most valuable services to Rhodesia will lie ahead.
§ 6.59 p.m.
§ LORD SILKIN
My Lords, we have reached the stage of being one-third through the debate with which we are threatened this evening—there are still two-thirds of the speeches to come—but already it looks as if there is a certain consensus of opinion in this House. I do not mean by that that we are all in agreement. I do mean, however, that we are in agreement on some of the courses and some of the facts which have emerged. For instance, not one single speaker—and the majority have been from the Opposition—has suggested that U.D.I. is justified. Everybody has condemned it more or less—some much more strongly than others. Nobody has suggested that the Bill which we hope to receive some time to-night or early to-morrow morning should be opposed. The only comment that has been made on the Bill by a number of noble Lords is that certain parts of it might be amended; in other words, that sanctions are too strong.
The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, has put down an Amendment which I can hardly believe he himself takes really seriously, because if we really are to impose sanctions we must impose them quickly. We cannot afford to indicate a sanction which we propose to operate subject to the approval of the House: it must operate from the time when the Order in Council is propounded and published. There may be something to be said for reducing the period of 28 days, but to suggest that it is not to be operative until both Houses of Parliament have approved it, is, I think, to render 321 the sanction wholly ineffective. That is a point which we can discuss in Committee; it does not go to the root of the whole matter.
A number of speakers in this debate have clearly shown they appreciate that this is a very difficult problem. I myself find it extremely difficult because, like the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, I think I understand the situation and the feelings of the settlers in Southern Rhodesia. Probably, if I were in their position, I should feel the same—a fear that something which one has built up over the years, some of them for twenty or thirty years, something in which their forbears have been involved, a situation which has come about by hard work, is being imperilled by the overwhelming mass of people who, they feel, are unsympathetic to them and will endanger their whole way of life. All that is understandable, but we also have to understand the other side, too.
The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, asked whether we thought that in the long run we were embarking on a wise course. I do not know what is wise; nor does he. I do know what is right, and it seems to me that it cannot be right that the situation which the noble Lord, Lord Molson, so accurately described should be allowed to continue indefinitely. It cannot be right, that a small minority, one in twenty, should be in a position to say, "For all time we will oppose the other 19 out of 20 having equal rights in this country with us." It is quite true that the white people have built up the country and in the course of so doing have benefited the Africans. The Africans did not ask the white people to go there, but they have incidentally benefited; and I am prepared to concede that, if by some action on the part of the Africans the white people were forced to leave, economically the Africans would for a long time to come be worse off. That one must concede, but is it not a matter for them? After all, we fought a war and suffered severely in the interests of freedom and the right to manage our own affairs in our own way. Is it not understandable that African people should feel in exactly the same way?
The issue is much wider even than merely the question of the Africans in Southern Rhodesia. In my judgment, the future of the whole Commonwealth is at 322 stake, if we did not take the action which we are taking on the unilateral declaration of independence then it seems to me that the whole Commonwealth would disintegrate. After all, the vast majority of the members of the Commonwealth are not white people: they are coloured of one kind or another. All of them, without exception, are sympathetic to the course we are taking. If we fail to take this course, it seems to me almost certain that the majority of the countries which constitute the Commonwealth would desire to leave and it would break up.
There is to-day, of course, a school of thought which would prefer that we should be left merely with a white Commonwealth—Canada, Australia, New Zealand. I do not know whether or not the noble Marquess takes that view, or whether the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, agrees with it. I should be very interested to hear. If we do want to preserve the Commonwealth—and I feel passionately that it is worth doing; it is something which we have contributed to the world, which is for the benefit of the peoples of the world and which will be increasingly for their benefit—if that is felt to be worth while, I feel that in this case we really must take the strongest possible line in support of the African population.
To come back to the matter whether this course is wise or not, the noble Marquess's view is, of course, as good as mine—possibly better, because he knows the country and knows the people while I do not. But I should have thought that at least there is one thing one can say, and that is that if we are embarking on sanctions we should try to make them effective and speedy. There is no point in weakening the effect of sanctions by eliminating certain items where we can exercise the maximum pressure. Of course, I quite realise that if it were possible to prevent oil from going into Rhodesia that perhaps would be the strongest sanction of all, but we have no direct control over oil and we are not in a position to impose those sanctions. However, in regard to sugar and tobacco it seems to me that those are effective sanctions which we ought to use and which are readily available. I do not understand the distinction between one kind of sanction and another. One flows naturally and legally from the course 323 which the Southern Rhodesians have taken, and the other is merely punitive. If, of course, it had no other object than to be punitive I could understand, but the object of all these sanctions is to put pressure upon the Rhodesians so as to induce them to realise that they have got to come to an understanding with this country as to their future course. In my view, the more effective we make the sanctions, the sooner will this realisation on their part come about.
I feel that almost everything that can be said in this debate has been said, but I think, with the most reverend Primate, that this is a moral issue. It is not a question of expediency. In the last resort it is a moral issue, as to whether we are to stand by and see 4 million people allowed to remain indefinitely in an inferior position, not to be given the opportunities of advancement, of better education, but remaining almost literally hewers of wood and drawers of water; or whether we should take the step of recognising that these are human beings, our brothers and sisters even though their skins may be different, and give them the opportunity of living as full a life as we should like for ourselves.
§ 7.11 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF WINCHESTER
My Lords, a fortnight ago a letter appeared in The Times under the heading "Ministry of Reconciliation", signed by eleven signatories including myself. Those of us who signed the letter felt that we could not at that stage support a resolution before the British Council of Churches which suggested a course of action which might involve the use of force, as the most reverend Primate the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury was quick to point out quite correctly in words which have been frequently, if I may say so, taken out of their context. I was one of those who believed that at that particular juncture, when delicate negotiations were in progress, such a resolution was inopportune and that it was vitally important that the Church's essential ministry—that of reconciliation—should not be prejudiced.
But now, as a result of the breakdown of negotiations and the unilaterial declaration of independence which we all so deeply deplore, a new situation has 324 arisen; a situation fraught with so many problems to which there are no easy, no immediate, and no wholly right solutions. In this agonising situation, whilst the primary task of the Church qua Church remains unchanged—namely, to fulfil this ministry of reconciliation in Rhodesia and indeed throughout Africa, come what may—Her Majesty's Government have a clear, inalienable, moral obligation placed upon them: the responsibility for fulfilling their trusteeship for the welfare of all the peoples of Rhodesia, of the 4 million Africans as well as of the 200,000 to 250,000 Europeans.
I welcome the assurance of Her Majesty's Government's Prime Minister, that force will not be used to achieve constitutional ends. I interpret "force" in that context to mean physical or military force, and I know it is a sincere hope shared by us all that law and order may he restored without the necessity of any form of police action to preserve human life. The one thing that matters supremely, as I see it, is that whatever measures of an economic character are put into operation by Her Majesty's Government, with the support of the United Nations, whilst they should not in any sense be punitive, at least in intention, should be rapidly effective in achieving their sole purpose—namely, the establishment of a new Government with which negotiations can be resumed until a basis of independence can be agreed which will secure full justice for all the peoples of Rhodesia, black and white, white and black, and which will promote the true interests of that country. As Her Majesty's Government pursue their onerous task and endeavour to fulfil their unenviable responsibility, they will have the full moral support of a great body of Christian opinion in this country and in Rhodesia, and I trust they will receive from this House the full, unhesitating support which they need and deserve.
§ 7.15 p.m.
§ LORD HASTINGS
My Lords, I am very happy to follow the right reverend Prelate who has just resumed his seat, because he has referred to the moral issues and I intend to devote part of my speech, in an indirect manner albeit, to the moral questions lying behind the problems which face us now. This U.D.I. descended upon the people of this country with suddenness and as a great 325 shock, and I feel sure that they feel, in the majority, utterly bewildered and confused and would like to have some guidance. The Prime Minister has said that he considers U.D.I. an avoidable and unnecessary action, and added that a form of madness had seemed to descend upon the Rhodesian people, because it is the people who are backing the Smith Government. I agree that this was an unnecessary action and that there has been some madness, but I do not agree in precisely the same way that the Prime Minister has meant to indicate.
Before I go further I must declare my interest. It is well known to many of your Lordships, but as I have not been able for a period of five years to speak on Commonwealth affairs in general and on African affairs in particular, as I used to do, there are many noble Lords who have joined this Chamber since who will not be aware of my interests in Southern Rhodesia. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor referred to my noble friend Lord Alport, who spent two—or was it three?—years there as Her Majesty's High Commissioner. I was resident, and a permanent resident, in Southern Rhodesia from 1951 to 1957 when I was farming. I still have my farm and I visit it every year. During that period of residence I belonged to all the local organisations, like the Farmers' Union, and I had the privilege of being chairman of the local country club, which forms a very important centre in a rather far-flung community of that nature. I was also interested in politics, and at the time when Mr. Garfield Todd was Prime Minister and leader of the United Rhodesia Party I was chairman of what was described as one of the most active branches of Mr. Todd's Party.
Perhaps it is worth telling your Lordships that in 1956, soon after I had become a Member of your Lordships' House, I was the only Member of either House of Parliament who took the trouble to go to the now famous conference at Salima on Lake Nyasa organised by the Capricorn Africa Society, at which people of all races were present. It was an inspiring occasion, and it is with an added sense of tragedy that I have to inform your Lordships that practically all those Africans, Asians and coloured people who were at that con- 326 ference of a multiracial nature now belong to one or other of the nationalist African organisations. One wonders why and how that could happen.
We are asked tonight to bring a moral judgment to bear and to take a very serious decision on the Bill which will shortly come before us, and perhaps even more serious ones in the forthcoming weeks and months. Therefore, with your Lordships' permission, I should like to hark back a bit farther even than did the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden.
The real reason why this tragedy has happened—and it should never have been allowed to happen—lies further back. The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, has mentioned the fact that the Government of Rhodesia was never a Colonial Government, in the true sense; and in 1923, of course, it could have chosen to join the Union of South Africa and thus obtained its independence. However, it looked forward to better things, because, of course, the majority of the people were purely British and not Afrikaners, and they wished to remain British with British institutions. They chose as they thought a better future.
In the war, for the great services rendered by Rhodesia, that country was in fact—verbally, certainly, if not in writing—offered its independence (I know this is true), but Lord Malvern turned it down because he considered that his country had not a viable economy. It was as recently as 1958 or 1959, I think, that I heard Sir Alec Douglas-Home, when he was a Member of this House and Commonwealth Relations Secretary, say that a viable economy was still considered one of the cardinal principles before the granting of independence. Of course, that has all changed now. Then, at the time of the setting up of the Central African Federation in 1953, Southern Rhodesia, very reluctantly, agreed to join the Federation—reluctantly because she did not want the inclusion of Nyasaland; which, in the outcome, proved to be a grave error. At that time, I think, it is almost certain that Southern Rhodesia could have had her independence if the Federation had not been set up. You must remember, my Lords, that we are talking of 1953, and not of 1963.
327 As the years went on the Federation failed and came to an end, and I think it must have been a great shock to Southern Rhodesia, which had turned down the chance of independence at least twice, and probably a third time, to find that she could not have it at the dissolution of the Federation. And why, my Lords, could she not have it? It was because we had moved forward ten years and the policy of Her Majesty's Government had changed. I think we must acknowledge that fact. It demonstrably changed after 1959, in response to the advance in world political opinion and the demand of the African nations, some of whom had already obtained their independence. But the fact is that Her Majesty's Government had changed their policy, and the Southern Rhodesians and the Federal Government felt let down—and I do not think one can be surprised at that.
Now, my Lords, may I go back a little further and deal purely with Southern Rhodesia? In 1958, after I had returned to this country and had given up my residence in Rhodesia, Mr. Garfield Todd was removed unceremoniously as leader of the United Rhodesia Party and as Prime Minister. I broadcast on the B.B.C. current affairs programme on the same day, saying that I felt more harm would be done to the political career of those who had turned him out than to that of Mr. Todd himself. It looks as though I may have been wrong about Mr. Todd, but who knows what the future holds? I was certainly right about the people who turned him out, who have long since receded into political obscurity. I believe that that was the first great mistake made by the Europeans in Rhodesia. Then Sir Edgar Whitehead came along, and he had trouble with the Africans, largely, I think, because the Federation was not going too well; and he had to pass certain restrictive laws.
We come next to the 1961 Constitutional Conference. By that time it was fairly clear that the Federation was going to fail. The Monckton Commission had already taken place, and it was obvious that the two Northern Territories would break away. The Southern Rhodesians were getting very worried, and my friends in Sir Edgar Whitehead's Cabinet and among his Members of Parliament— 328 almost every one of whom I knew personally—asked me what I thought should be done in order that they could obtain their independence. I said: "When this Conference comes along, you must give at least 25 per cent. representation, and preferably more—perhaps even one-third representation—to the Africans, and slightly widen the franchise." My Lords, that was not done. If it had been done, I think that would have been accepted by the Africans and we should not have been in this mess now. So I think that that was the second mistake that the European Rhodesians made.
But let us remember that there is another side to this coin. That Conference was attended by Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Sithole. They had agreed to accept the best they could get, which was the fifteen seats in Parliament, and they put their signatures to the document which Mr. Duncan Sandys brought home. But they were not strong enough to stand up against the pressure of some of their more extreme elements, and in particular to the pressure of outside African influence—and some of that influence was not anxious to see the success of a multiracial community in Southern Rhodesia; it wished only to see African domination. As a result, Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Sithole backed down from their signatures and boycotted the election and actually began agitating throughout the country. One has to face that fact.
I believe that, of all the mistakes that have been made during the course of this tragedy, that was probably the greatest folly of all, because if the Africans had stuck to their signatures, and had worked this Constitution, not only would they have been the official Opposition now, but the Right-Wing Government of Mr. Winston Field would never have come to power. Why do I say that? Because the Africans boycotted that election and indulged in agitations, and there had to be repressive laws; and because, hardly before the ink was dry upon the Constitution, there was agitation outside, among the Afro-Asian Nations, in the United Nations, to advance upon the Constitution, which had not yet been given even a chance to work, simply because the Africans would not work it.
It was because of that, coupled with Sir Edgar Whitehead's bold gesture to 329 put in his election manifesto the proposed repeal of the Land Apportionment Act, that the Europeans were induced to believe they could not trust the Africans, and that they must get their independence. That is why they put in a Right-Wing Government at that time. Whatever the negotiations have been since, and whoever has done whatever they have done, and however hard they have tried, from the day Sir Edgar Whitehead lost the election the day we are now facing has, in my opinion, been inevitable. There was perhaps a chance under Mr. Winston Field, who is a great gentleman and a very reasonable and wise leader. Under him, we might have been able to come to terms.
Now we come to the part played by our own Governments and the Opposition. I still believe that we might have been able to manage it under Mr. Winston Field; but here again we were not offering enough guarantees for the minority of the population in the long run, the Europeans. My Lords, the offers which have been made by Mr. Wilson in these last days and weeks, I think I am right in saying, have been at least equal to, and I believe more generous than, any offers which were made by the Conservative leaders in the previous five years. But let us remember this: why were these offers not made by the Conservative Party earlier? Because, if they had been made before the 1962 election, we should not be in this mess to-day.
I am bound to say that one of the reasons, at any rate, why they were not made is because, in order to make them and to be able to carry the Commonwealth, the United States and the United Nations with us, we should have needed a united national attitude towards it, and we had not got that. Let us remember that if, in those years, we had made such offers as have now been made by the Labour Government, we should have been most strongly criticised by the Labour Opposition, who were at that time wedded to giving independence solely on the basis of majority rule and on the principle of "One man, one vote".
Therefore I am bound to point out to your Lordships that we all have made our share of mistakes. In looking at this question one can only say that almost at every step the wrong movement has 330 been made at the wrong time or, perhaps more important, the right move has not been made at the right time. That refers to the Europeans in Rhodesia; it refers to the Africans in Rhodesia; it refers to the African nations outside Rhodesia; it refers to the United Nations and to the whole of Parliament in this country, both Government and Opposition, at whatever period we are discussing.
I am bound to agree with my noble friend Lord Molson that this has been the unfolding, with horrible inevitability, of an ancient Greek tragedy; and it is my humble opinion that all of us, all the participants who have taken part in this tragedy, will stand judged at the bar of history as morally guilty. I wish to make this quite clear to your Lordships, and I hope it will be quite clear to the people of this country, because we are called upon to make serious decisions. Since there are moral issues involved let us remember the prayer given us by the most reverend Primate on television on Thursday night. I think I can remember it fairly accurately. It was this:God give guidance to all the Rhodesians and to each one of us in the ways of justice, reason and love.And when we use that prayer, let it, above all, apply to ourselves, and do not let us imagine that it is to be applied to the people of Rhodesia alone.
It is in that spirit that I should wish to turn to the Bill which is before us. There is no doubt that there has been an illegal action. We are faced with a technical act of rebellion, in any case; and that is something, whatever one's personal feelings and interests may be, that we cannot approve of and cannot condone. Therefore, I shall vote for this enabling Bill, knowing that I shall be offending some of my friends in Rhodesia; but I can do no other because certainly it is legally and morally right to vote for this Bill. But when it comes to certain other details, there I think we shall need further explanations; because we do not know what is going to be done under this Bill. It is clear that under the Bill certain actions of a constitutional kind may be necessary in the field of the maintenance of law and order, should that eventually break down.
But when it comes to sanctions, this Bill does not really seem to apply to that matter at all. We are going to be faced 331 with the application of sanctions not by Orders in Council but under administrative Regulations which have been made under other legislation; and we may not have the opportunity to discuss it. Therefore I would seek explanations on these matters, because when it comes to discussing such things as that, if we discuss them, in the future, I should have much greater difficulty in voting for specific sanctions and I should certainly not do so on moral grounds.
I was glad to hear the most reverend Primate, I think it was, say that sanctions are not a moral issue at all. From what I said previously in my speech I hope I shall have carried the House with me at least as far as that. We must regard them from the standpoint of practical, conciliatory, positive politics, both national and international. I do not think I shall detain the House any longer on the details of tobacco sanctions. Perhaps to-morrow I can help the House on that, because, after all, I am a tobacco grower myself.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord? None of us knows when we shall have the opportunity of discussing some of these details; but I think if the noble Lord is meaning to absent himself until tomorrow he might find the issue had been settled in his absence. I cannot give a promise of when we shall be talking about these matters.
§ LORD HASTINGS
I am sorry. I do not intend to absent myself except for a temporary period. I shall be here certainly later this evening. I did not realise that one would have the opportunity of discussing in greater detail such a matter.
§ LORD HASTINGS
My Lords, I will say briefly as regards tobacco that although the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, said rightly that the seedlings have been put in, of course they have to be transplanted; and they have not been transplanted yet in great numbers. Therefore the costs incurred by farmers so far in this season are negligible and can be cut 332 altogether. They will grow such tobacco as they think they will be able to sell. Therefore it is my opinion that the tobacco farmer, if he has been wise enough to build his farm also into a mixed farm, as I have, will be able to carry on on a lower ebb. Tobacco sanctions, therefore, not only will not begin to work until the sales get under full swing next April, but are not likely to have the effect it is believed they will have. For that reason, if I were given the choice I should vote against it; but I shall not vote against it in fact, because I have a personal interest and it might be for ever afterwards said that that was the reason for my taking that line. But this is of a practical and technical nature.
My Lords, I have said all I need to say. I have said it to make sure that everybody in this House, and so far as possible in this country, should approach this subject with real humility, in the knowledge that we must bear our share of the guilt, and therefore adapt all our methods to bringing about conciliation in Rhodesia on a basis which the European people of that country, quite apart from the Africans, can accept. If only it had been said before (and not merely last week by the Prime Minister; and I mean said before even by my own Party) that there was no question of an African majority to-day or to-morrow, if that had been made perfectly clear a long time ago, then I think we should have been able to reach agreement long before now.
§ 7.39 p.m.
§ LORD ALPORT
My Lords, we have just listened to a very moving speech, and one which represents the dilemma which many people in Rhodesia are facing at the present time. I shall, I hope, in the remarks that I have to make, perhaps supplement something that the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, has said by making two personal references. I never thought in the last thirty years that it would fall to me to congratulate as a maiden speaker in this House the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden. Many improbable things have happened, but that, so far as I am concerned, is the most improbable of all. I am very glad to have the opportunity to say that now, after over thirty years of comradeship, and sometimes of conflict, I, like others of your Lordships, have learned of his integrity 333 and wisdom, and I am very glad that we are to have the opportunity of having it at the disposal of your Lordships in the future.
The other thing I would say is how much I appreciated the speech of the right reverend Prelate the Lord Bishop of Winchester. Those who listened to him will find strength from his advice in the difficult decisions we are called upon to make. I should also like to explain that, although I speak from these Benches, in matters relating to this problem of Rhodesia I regard myself as speaking—as I am entitled to do—as an independent. So long as I possess any opinion—and I do not overestimate it—I can say that it will continue to be exercised to prevent divisions created by Party allegiance from confusing our judgments and affecting the manner in which this matter is handled.
This does not mean that I do not have a passionate interest in the situation which confronts us in that country. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor was kind enough earlier to-day to say that I had had some experience of affairs in that part of the world. I should not like to make too great a claim on that score, but it is a fact that my family has been associated with Southern Africa over two centuries, before the British came there. As a result I have no doubt that one's outlook is confused, but I hope that in other ways one's judgment is clarified. There is no precedent of which I can think in British history for the situation which confronts us at present in Rhodesia: not the American War of Independence; not Ulster, and nothing I know of this side of the sixteenth century.
We have to remember that the history of Rhodesia and Southern Africa does not start in 1953, or 1945, or 1923, or before the First World War. The problem of the relations between two attitudes to advancement in that part of the world has been true right back at any rate to the beginning of the nineteenth century. It has been the conflicting views of the Dutch, on the one side, and of the British, on the other. The decision made by the Rhodesian people in December, 1962, when Sir Edgar White-head's Government was defeated and replaced by that of Mr. Winston Field, was consciously, or in the case of many of them unconsciously, to opt for the 334 Dutch solution for the future of race relations in Southern Africa, which is opposed to the British tradition. There has been a struggle for the soul of Rhodesia over a very long period; from the days of the first settlement. It was decided very narrowly in favour of the British point of view in the referendum of 1922, and from then on there was a gradual development of liberal attitudes in relation to race relations throughout the territory.
In the referendum of 1961 it seemed certain that the majority of Europeans in Rhodesia would wish to continue in close relationship with British policy in this matter. After all, they were watching very closely the developments outside their own territory. They were frightened by what they saw when the refugees from the Congo came through, and they were concerned with what they thought were unwise decisions from the British Government in relation to other parts of Africa; and they were astonished to find, when South Africa left the Commonwealth and proceeded as an independent Republic, that, so far from South Africa suffering as a result, she enjoyed almost immediately substantial economic advantages and relative internal security.
The whole trend in Rhodesian ideas has been drawn over all these years since the first settlers went North to Southern Africa, in general, and British South Africa, in particular, rather than to the United Kingdom. When the British point of view in the Republic of South Africa was clearly unable to withstand the expansion of Dutch ideals and ideas, and was threatened with the acceptance of those things, those in Rhodesia took it as a lesson. Much of this may well have been unconscious, but the results were absolutely clear. In 1962, after the election of that December, there was never any chance under the Government elected at that time, whether under Mr. Winston Field or under his successors, of an agreement being reached between any British Government—I repeat, any British Government—and the Rhodesian Front Government.
My Lords, this is no new view, so far as I am concerned. My Secretary of State, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, will remember that I gave that advice when I served him, and I think that the noble and learned Lord the Lord 335 Chancellor will bear me out when I say I gave that advice some many months ago. Nothing that any Government could do, whether under Sir Alec Douglas-Home or the present Prime Minister, could have reached an accommodation with the Rhodesian Front Government. Of all the parties that took part in the Constitutional Conference before the Constitution of 1961 was accepted, only one refused to accept and acknowledge the conclusions of this Conference. The United Federal Party and the United Federal Government, under Sir Edgar Whitehead, accepted that Constitution; the Central African Party accepted that Constitution; the representatives of the Chiefs of the coloured communities and the Asian community all accepted that Constitution. Mr. Nkomo, as Lord Hastings has said, and Mr. Sithole, accepted it, although I know that they subsequently resigned. The point is that one party refused, and that was the Dominion Party, which formed the framework and the basis for the present leadership in Rhodesia. I find it extraordinary, after knowing the whole of that background, and knowing that the Government never accepted the constitutional settlement of 1961, that they should use it as a basis for their future independence.
I know that suspicions are wrong and that good faith is the essential element in political progress, but although they may remember the mistakes—and there were mistakes—of British Governments of all Parties in the past, though they may attribute to us lack of good faith, we on our side have a right to historical memory as well. We remember the good faith which brought about the South Africa Act of 1910 and the safeguards that were writen into that Act to ensure at any rate a basic freedom for the peoples of all races in South Africa. And we have seen over the years the gradual emasculation of the rights of so many who live in the present Republic of South Africa.
When the moment came for us to realise, whether they understood it or not, whether they are conscious of it or not, that the people of Southern Rhodesia had opted for a South African solution—not in detail, not doctrinaire, not as part of the full panoply of apartheid, no doubt, but fundamentally an orientation to South 336 Africa rather than to Britain—then we in this country, whatever Government were in power, had a duty to make certain that the safeguards which were written into the Constitution, before independence was granted to any Government in Southern Rhodesia, were sufficient to ensure reasonable prospects of freedom and progress for the people of all races in that territory.
I have listened in Rhodesia, at second-hand so to speak, to the debates in your Lordships' House and since I have returned I have listened to every one that has taken place. There have been many accusations of bad faith levelled at successive British Governments. I have seen how these have been used and exploited in Southern Rhodesia by people who are fundamentally anti-British, to denigrate everything this country has stood for, everything which this country could accept as a possible future for the people of all races in Southern Rhodesia. If good faith is the issue here, we also have a right to be certain of the good faith of any Southern Rhodesian Government to whom we hand over full and independent power over the future of every man and woman in that territory, regardless of race, creed or colour. This is not a Party point of view. This, I believe, is a British point of view.
At this present moment, His Excellency the Governor, the Chief Justice, the heads of the religious communities and many other honourable people are seeking, even after the twelfth hour, to restore Southern Rhodesia to the British orientation. I should not speak too passionately, I suppose, but I have found it incredible to hear in this House, the Upper House of the British Parliament, speeches made in support of a rebel Government without any mention made whatever, without even any tribute of a personal nature, to the Governor, who represents alone constitutional authority in Rhodesia at this moment and who is facing a dilemma your Lordships and I should pray to God we shall ourselves never have to face. The only thing that we can do is to ensure that whatever we say, whatever action we take during the long controversy that lies ahead of us, is designed to restore the British position in Southern Rhodesia, to help the Governor, the Chief Justice and the large number of men and women there, 337 who look not southward but back to this country for their moral values and their political processes and their hopes for a decent future for themselves.
How can we help His Excellency the Governor? I would say that the Government have got to make clear the conditions which we in our British Parliament will accord to the Government that succeeds the Smith régime. There must not be an attitude of unconditional surrender by the Rhodesian people. We must try to ensure not only that the people of Rhodesia and the people in the Civil Service, the Army, the Air Force and the police, if they take the right decision in the terrible dilemma with which they are faced and if they turn to the Governor and the constitutional authorities there, will receive reasonable and proper support, but also that their country and what they stand for will not, as a consequence, be suddenly thrown into the melting pot of some new policy about which they know nothing. We have to be definite with them now. We have to tell them the constitutional settlement which will be come to by a British Government with the successor Government to the Smith régime as soon as Rhodesia returns to its allegiance. We should be specific on the conditions that are going to be available to those who remain loyal in the Civil Service and Forces and to those who are going to support, may be at great cost to themselves, the British point of view in Southern Rhodesia.
I should like to see the Prime Minister making an immediate statement. But that is not sufficient. In Southern Rhodesia, they know the vicissitudes of British politics—one Party in power to-day and perhaps another Party tomorrow. They have seen their interests become the football (as they always refer to it) of Party politics. Therefore, any decision about the constitutional settlement at the end of this rebellion must, in my view, be one that is underwritten not only by the present Government but by the leaders of the Conservative Opposition as well. Then we shall have a definite and decisive offer to make to the Rhodesian people so that they will know what their future is. They will know, if they decide to make the right decision, the decision that is demanded by duty and loyalty, the decision that is 338 demanded by us here, which we are calling upon them to make, though luckily enough we do not have to make it ourselves, that they are doing something for the future of their country which they can be assured is in its best interests. In that sort of spirit, I think that we in this Parliament and in this country may gradually find a return to support for the constitutional authorities in Rhodesia. If we fail, we face—and they face—a tragedy. But if we succeed in that way, we shall have been doing a service not only to the peoples of Rhodesia, not only to ourselves and to the Commonwealth, but to the whole desperate and fervent problem of race relations throughout the world.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ LORD SOPER
My Lords, I shall count it a prize to be able to follow in the spirit of the last two speeches to which it has been our privilege to listen. I should like to begin by paying a tribute, as a non-Anglican cleric, to a Bishop of the Anglican Church, Dr. Alderson, who is Bishop of Mashonaland, who yesterday in Salisbury Cathedral spoke with great courage on the moral issue which has occupied your Lordships' House in this debate all to-day. It was he who said, with a splendid determination and a carelessness of his own personal safety, what has been said in this House with equal fervour, but with very different prospects of danger.
There has been among all the vicissitudes of this debate a complete unanimity that we are confronted with a moral issue. It is as to the way in which that moral issue has to be effectively demonstrated and exercised that I would invite your Lordships to listen for a few moments to one who is a professed pacifist, and makes no apology for it. I do not intend to embark upon an evangelical effort, but any conversions, of course, will be happily received. What I want to do, if I may, is to assert a position which, though held by a few, is necessarily, even in the opinion of many who have opposed themselves to it, a reasonable and intelligible interpretation of the Christian faith.
I believe that in all circumstances the application of armed force for the solution of moral problems defeats the ends to which that armed force may be dedicated, because it uses inappropriate means 339 to secure those ends. This, of course, presents a host of difficulties, and they are difficulties of which I am not unaware. What I believe, however, is that at least the pacifist position is worthy to be stated; and though I do not attempt to prove that all those who refuse the arbitrament of armed force for a solution of the problem of Rhodesia are animated at this moment by a pacifist faith, yet I most cordially recognise the absolute right of the attitude which Her Majesty's Government are taking in refusing to embark upon armed violence as a method of solving this difficult problem. I find that if the moral issue is the one with which we are to be concerned—and your Lordships have given ample assent to that proposition—then it follows inexorably that moral agencies must be employed to secure the moral end.
I find myself in, not so much disagreement, but a certain amount of bewilderment from time to time when I listen to ecclesiastical pronouncements; and in order that I may not be offensive to fellow clerics, to whom I owe so much, let me put this in the first person plural. We parsons are adept at generalisations. We are not nearly so good at reducing our generalisations to precise terms. It is always, it seems to me, a worthless thing when you are dealing with a particularly precise problem to talk of force. It is possible to pour buckets of holy water over the word "force", which if it were defined in more precise terms would immediately appear to be a very different thing from the kind of benison which attaches to it when sometimes it is used.
Similarly, when to-day we hear that sanctions are not a moral issue, I frankly do not understand what those words mean. If we are concerned with a moral principle, then it seems to me that it follows as the day the night that any attempt we make to deal with that moral issue must be in moral terms. I confess my utter and complete rejection of the use of armed violence to secure a moral end to the present dilemma, which has afflicted South Africa as well as Southern Rhodesia, and which has afflicted the world as well as this country. When something is wrong I believe that it is better in all circumstances to refuse it, though I am well aware of the fact that in this sinful world some element of compromise is inevitable. I be- 340 lieve that the exercise of armed violence under any conditions will be fatal, and, therefore, I support the Government wholeheartedly in their refusal to countenance it. I am not thereby relieved of the responsibility of trying to face an issue—though I would in interpolation make the comment that there are a number of people who seem to me to be concerned with activity, as if anything done is better than doing nothing. This seems to me an elemental and courageous fallacy. If the only bottle by the bedside of the patient contains strychnine or arsenic, it is better to leave the patient alone than fill him up with it.
Believing as I do that what is morally wrong cannot turn out to be politically right, I am the more concerned to think and spell out what seems to me to be the probable consequences of any resort to violence. I hesitate to criticise my noble friend Lord Brockway, especially as he is not here at the moment, but I did intimate to him that, though I agreed with a good deal of what he said, I must join issue with him on the question of the result of armed force. Your Lordships noticed with what judicious care my noble friend spoke this afternoon. I am bound to point out that had you been at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park yesterday afternoon, you would not have heard from the sponsors of the Movement for Colonial Freedom references to the possibilities that may prove exercise of forces necessary. What you would have had handed to you, and would have read and probably heard, over my noble friend's signature, was the following injunction:The further action we call for is British intervention to remove the Smith régime and to impose direct British rule, backed by all the necessary armed forces.That is a very different kettle of fish, and to many of the adolescent cowboys in Hyde Park, of various coloured skins, it is an incitement to violence that has no moral basis at all. And though I do not necessarily agree with the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, that we are facing the imminent prospect of a conflagration that will reach to the uttermost shores of Africa, I do believe, and I make my testimony to it as clearly as I can, that those who would operate force at the beginning must calculate the escalation of that force; and if they will the end, they must will the means, and all the means, to that end.
341 I hope that we shall execrate the use of armed violence as any possible solution to this terrible problem with which we are confronted.
But, as I said, that does not exonerate us or relieve us from responsibility. What shall we do if we are by moral principles Withheld from using armed violence? Shall we use sanctions? Must they be punitive? I am personally a little bothered about the word "punitive". So far as I understand my dictionary, the noun is "punishment" and the adjective is "punitive". What is wrong with punitive actions when people have committed sins or crimes? What is wrong with punitive sanctions if those sanctions are intended to punish? Of course, punitive sanctions would be entirely wrong if no crime had been committed. When I see all the sickening apparatus, as the Prime Minister does, of apartheid and of a totalitarian régime in Southern Rhodesia, I hate it. I am confirmed in my hatred of it by the advices that come to me from the missionary societies and the various churches in Southern Rhodesia who are not nourished and supported by theologies that have polluted the churches of South Africa in the past. I am content to believe that we are facing something that is evil.
And, quite apart from the moral evil which is involved, there is the constitutional evil to which reference has so frequently been made this afternoon. Are then sanctions wrong if they involve penalties not only upon those for whom those penalties are intended but also upon others who are innocent? In the world in which we live there is no possibility, it seems to me, of isolating the criminal and isolating the penalties which are attached to his delinquency. We must seek to minimise that application of punishment where it is not deserved, but we cannot guarantee that anything we do of a punitive nature can be exactly and precisely levelled upon the unworthy head and life of the one who has committed the offence.
On the other hand, there is a moral objection to the use of any punishment which is not reformative but is in fact recriminatory. In many cases it could be argued, and I for one would want to argue, that it is morally just as bad to starve a South African or a Southern 342 Rhodesian child as it is to shoot that child in the head. If sanctions are calculated to produce conditions in which you apply a different kind of violence which in fact has the same lethal effect, then it suffers from the same basic objection.
What then can we do? I believe the Government were entirely right in selecting, in the realm of sanctions, such sanctions as they believe can quickly be applied and can be effective to the maximum degree upon those upon whom those sanctions should rest, and to a minimum degree upon others who will necessarily be in some way disadvantaged by them. In that regard, I have no doubt that sanctions must be effective, and I would not prejudge the effectiveness or otherwise of the sanctions which have already been instituted. I heartily approve them, not as a matter of absolute equity but as the best that can he done in the circumstances and which may, indeed, if they are protracted, create a situation where, to quote a number of noble Lords, Mr. Smith is brought to his knees. Professionally that is a "consummation devoutly to be wished" I should heartily like to see Mr. Smith brought to his knees.
I believe that we have underrated, as yet, if our own hands are clean and if we do not threaten violence, the moral capacity we have to sustain and encourage those forces in Southern Rhodesia which are already in opposition and can, I think, be sustained and have their opposition increased. I view with some horror the reflection that, in the days when there was a large and growing opposition to Hitler, it was largely the threats of violence which bound the German people to him in the unholy bonds of the Third Reich. I want to liberate the people of Southern Rhodesia to carry on the constitutional fight and to support them in that fight, so that this evil régime may be overthrown and that a better one may come.
I would add one last word, and it may sound almost Cloud-cuckoo-land after what I hope has been a more or less considered evaluation of the situation. If, by the application of severe economic sanctions, the evil effects of those sanctions are passed on in terms of starvation to the poor and innocent 4 million people of other coloured skins from our own, 343 then if, in the past, we have felt it appropriate to load up aeroplanes with bombs and to drop them, if we thought it appropriate at the time of the Berlin airlift to endeavour to feed 2 million people, is it fantastic to believe that the same expertise and the same adventure in good relations could not in fact do much to alleviate the evil which might be the accompaniment of the imposition of severe sanctions? I, for one, would humbly invite this House to believe that when once you have put away the threat of violence, when once you have taken the gun out of your pocket, then, for the first time, you will be free to examine other methods of social change which hitherto have been hidden from us precisely because we have been obfuscated by the power, so-called, of might rather than of right.
I support the Government most heartily in their repudiation of armed violence. I support them equally heartily in their moral concern to do something which will be effective in bringing this evil Administration in Southern Rhodesia to an end. For the time being, therefore, I am thoroughly in favour, for what it is worth, and I lend my support equally heartily to the fulfilment of their programme of sanctions.
§ 8.16 p.m.
§ LORD CLITHEROE
My Lords, first of all I should like to apologise for the fact that I was late in my place to-day, but unfortunately I was held up by fog in the North of England. Secondly, I should like to say with what interest I have listened to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Soper, and I will try to deal with some of the points which he made, especially with reference to the question of sanctions.
I myself have some knowledge of and interest in Central Africa, and I know something of the feelings of people in various countries in Central Africa. I feel very deeply the sad situation in which we are, and particularly the conflict of duty which it brings in its train for many of my friends, not excluding His Excellency the Governor. I do not propose to criticise anyone this afternoon, or comment on what has gone before. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, that we are all to blame. I want to make it absolutely clear that I am totally opposed 344 to economic sanctions, and I will try to explain to the noble Lord, Lord Soper, why. In my judgment, economic sanctions will either fail or they will lead to war. Lord Soper has already told us that he will be opposed to any military intervention and, therefore, he would obviously accept my argument, if it were the case that it would lead to war. But I believe they will fail because I think they will be ineffective.
I remember very well thirty years ago, when I was in the House of Commons and we entered upon a programme of sanctions against Italy. Noble Lords who are as old as I am will remember that, too. These sanctions against Italy failed in their object and, what is more, they played a part in leading to an infinitely more terrible war. What will the effect of these sanctions be? This is the point I should like to put to Lord Soper. He talked about punitive sanctions to punish someone. I want to consider who is going to be punished when he considers whether he can support conscientiously punitive sanctions. First of all, the effect of sanctions will be this. Our trade in this country will be damaged and our balance of payments will be upset to a substantial degree. That, of course, will have, as one of its consequences, a certain amount of unemployment, and it will also reduce the ability of this country to continue its social programmes.
Secondly, we shall have to buy our tobacco from America at a cost of very many tens of millions of pounds, and though that is something which the United States of America will not mind, none the less I want to think of the effect it is going to have in Rhodesia. In Rhodesia I think there are roughly 200,000 acres, or something of that sort, under tobacco and there must be more than 100,000 workers engaged in working in tobacco, all of whom have wives and many of them have very many children. All of these, if they lose their jobs, will suffer. They are the people upon whom the punitive sanctions will fall first and hardest. There will be suffering and unemployment and hardship in Rhodesia, and the poorest people will suffer the most.
Who else will be punished? There are many working in Rhodesia to-day who are immigrants from other neighbouring black countries, such as Zambia 345 and Malawi. These will be sent home and they will add to the problems and the poverty in the countries to which they are sent. Who will be punished by that action? Southern Rhodesia has no wish to damage her neighbour, Zambia—none whatever—but if sufficient provocation is given, what may happen to the relations between those two countries? I have no doubt noble Lords know the difficulty of Zambia, a land-locked country. Zambia depends almost entirely on the Rhodesia railway system which passes through Southern Rhodesia to Zambia. If the frontier between those two countries were to be cut, Zambia would be cut off from supplies which reach her at present, including oil and petrol. Who would suffer then and on whom would the punishment fall? Supposing the power were to be cut off from the Kariba Dam, which is the last thing the Government of Southern Rhodesia would want to do. This would bring to a standstill the copper mines in the copperbelt of Zambia and put out of work tens of thousands of people there. Who would suffer then and on whom would the punishment fall? The people of Zambia depend also on the coal which comes up from the Wankie Collieries to Zambia. They are entirely dependent on that.
All these things mean that it would be a terrible tragedy if strife were to take place between Southern Rhodesia and Zambia. Let us pray that it will not do so! But, for goodness sake! my Lords, do not let us provoke it, and that is what we are on the verge of doing. In my judgment these sanctions will lead either to failure or to war. Pray let us think again and let us return to the path of conciliation. Above all, we want to avoid bloodshed and disorder and bitterness which may last for many generations.
§ 8.25 p.m.
VISCOUNT DE L'ISLE
My Lords, it is more than four years since I last addressed your Lordships' House. I do so to-day, as have many other noble Lords, with a deep sense of the tragedy of the situation with which we are confronted. I have listened with great attention to many notable speeches to-day. I must confess that I am a little confused, and not least by the great emphasis on the moral issue which confronts us. So 346 many noble Lords have seen it plain and clear. It is not so distinguished in my sight. I believe that we have a very practical issue before us. How can we best return Southern Rhodesia to the allegiance of Her Majesty?
We have had two remarkable speeches, one from the noble Lord, Lord Caccia, and one from the noble Lord, Lord Alport. I think the noble Lord, Lord Caccia, was entirely right in recommending to Her Majesty's Government that they should at the earliest possible opportunity make plain to the people of Rhodesia the terms upon which Her Majesty's Government would treat with a new Government in Rhodesia and the opportunities and advantages which would accrue therefrom. I am sure, too, that the noble Lord, Lord Alport, was right in emphasising his concern that Southern Rhodesia should return to what we may term the British tradition of politics.
I believe that we shall achieve neither of these objects if we allow ourselves to be provoked, whether by moral fervour or by political irritation, into taunting the people of Rhodesia and the people of South and Central Africa. After all, morals, like many other things, go in fashion: what was fashionable some years ago in the moral field is less fashionable to-day, and vice versa. It is better that we should not arrogate ourselves a position of self-righteousness, which very often declines into cant. We should see, so far as we can, the difficulties and the tragedies which confront all those peoples in Africa, black and white, who dwell together, sometimes alas! in strife. We should concentrate on those points of reconciliation which will, I hope, result not in a conflagration but in a continuation of the progress towards a multi-racial society.
I share the view of noble Lords who have expressed doubts whether sanctions will, in fact, achieve the objective which they are designed to achieve. I think they are much more likely to exacerbate feeling and to drive into the arms of the extremists those elements in Rhodesia who really feel the weight of the imputation of their guilt of rebellion. External pressure almost invariably hardens opinion and with pressure comes a feeling that, "If need be, we can endure all." In 347 this terrible situation we need to reconcile and not to exacerbate. I think the message should go out from this House that the wisest counsel is to use good temper and good manners.
§ 8.29 p.m.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, I wish to deal almost entirely with two topics, the question of sanctions and the question of the United Nations. Before I come to them perhaps your Lordships will allow me to make clear, what will not surprise you, that I deplore the unilateral declaration of independence at least as much as Her Majesty's Government. I think that I see the dangers and difficulties of illegality at least as much as they do. But, my Lords. I have sufficient knowledge of history, I hope, to remember that when nations struggle for independence the question of legality is not the only one, and is not always that which is considered the most important. After all, it will be generally conceded, I think, that most people, and nearly all historians, think that Mr. Burke was at least as intelligent and morally right as Lord North.
With a great deal of what the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack said at the outset of this debate I found myself in agreement. I thought he made the most unnecessary apology that had ever been made to this House when he apologised for taking more than twelve minutes over his speech, because I thought his masterly account of the different attitudes of various parties in Rhodesia was not only of fascinating interest but very useful indeed to all of us, and particularly to those like myself who have no knowledge or experience of life in the area. With one or two things that he said towards the end of his speech, as I shall indicate, I am not in complete agreement. As my noble and learned friend, Lord Dilhorne pointed out, the Lord Chancellor did not deal at all with many of the subjects which so much interest us and with which we are concerned. I do not blame him for that, because I expect that part of the Government's case probably awaits the introduction of the Bill. I may say, incidentally, that I have no particular objection to the Bill.
Before I come to the two topics that I mentioned, I must make one thing clear 348 about my view of the Prime Minister's negotiations in this matter. Whatever my differences with the Prime Minister and his Government on all other subjects, I watched with sympathy the efforts he made to reach a solution of this problem and hoped that his visit to the country would be crowned with success. As I say, I do not think I had anything other than a desire that he should succeed. But, having said that, I must make equally clear that I cannot myself share the view that he did everything that any man could and that his negotiations are not open to criticism. I sat in your Lordships' Gallery of the House of Commons on November 3, less than a fortnight ago, and heard the Prime Minister making a proposal which was designed to avert, and which he hoped would avert, the tragedy that has since taken place.
I listened with great hope to a great deal of what he said, but there was one paragraph in his speech which so much depressed me that it removed all hope from my mind that he would succeed in his object. I do not wish to trouble the House with it again—it has been mentioned by more than one noble Lord this afternoon; but it was the paragraph that has been described as "Heads I win, tails you lose": the proposal that a unanimous Royal Commission which came to a conclusion adverse to the Government of Rhodesia would have great consequences, but that a unanimous conclusion in their favour would have no result whatever; the British Government would remain entirely unbound. Of course it is true that Parliament would have the last word, but that does not mean that a Government cannot give an indication of what its own attitude would be.
I came back to this House in time to hear the Statement repeated here. I thought rapidly whether I should make any comment on what seemed to me this disastrous paragraph. I had no hesitation in thinking it wise to remain silent, because if one had pointed out this defect it might have been thought that it would have prejudiced what chances there were. And I also had one final hope: I thought that in this matter the Prime Minister had made so obvious a mistake that Mr. Smith might consider it worth while to put some questions to our Prime Minister. What I have said in criticism of the 349 Prime Minister I think he himself subsequently thought a just criticism, because, as we know, in his final efforts he made a statement which, had it been made at that earlier stage, would perhaps have given some hope. But I do not put it higher than that. I do not question the Prime Minister's good faith in these long efforts. I only think that in that matter he made a great mistake.
Now I come to the question of sanctions. What is their object? Their object is not, of course, to ruin Rhodesia economically; it is not to produce the breakdown of law and order, though they may do both those things. The object, of course, is to induce in the people of Rhodesia a desire to change their Government. Perhaps I should give it in the Prime Minister's own words. This is what he said on November 12, in his speech in another place. He was talking about the object of restoring Rhodesia to the rule of law, and he went on in these words:This can be done, in our view, only by bringing the rebel régime to an end, by making that régime unworkable, and indeed, creating a situation where at the earliest possible moment the people of Rhodesia, acting through the only legal Government there—the Governor—themselves want to see and ask to see a lawful Government in its place."—[OFFICIAL REPORT (Commons), Vol. 720 (No. 4), col. 633, 12th November, 1965.]I can appreciate that that is a worthy and proper object. What astonishes me is that nobody seems to have asked himself the question: are the sanctions proposed calculated to bring about that result? That is the most vital question of all. If they are not calculated to bring about that result, but may bring about those other undesirable results, they will not achieve their object.
I am not so certain as my noble friend who has just spoken that these sanctions must be bad, but I implore the Government to ask the right question: are they calculated to bring about the result they desire? Everybody assumes that the only thing that could be wrong with them is that they are not severe enough. They say, "Nothing could be worse than ineffective sanctions". Perfectly true. But it is assumed, without any evidence, that to make them more severe must make them more effective. There is no certainty whatsoever about that. If these sanctions do subject Rhodesia to great economic 350 injury, and possibly to the breakdown of law and order, then they may not induce the people of Rhodesia to seek a new Government. They may unite them behind their present Government, struggling, as they think, against great injustice and vindictiveness. But that will not induce them to seek a new Government. Such a desire will certainly not be the automatic result of action thought to be vindictive. Here I should like to say that I am sure my noble friend Lord Salisbury was right on one thing. Though I do not agree with him in everything he said, I am sure that he is right when he says that the late Government of Rhodesia—this de facto illegal Government of Rhodesia—believe they are right. That does not make them right; it does not make their attitude lawful. But it has great relevance on what are likely to be the consequences of sanctions if they are thought to be vindictive.
The two speeches which gripped the House as much as any in the debate to which we have listened were the speeches of Lord Caccia and my noble friend Lord Alport. A most interesting thing about them is that both speeches mentioned what they wished the Government to do on the political plane, and neither expressed a great confidence in the sanctions now proposed. I do not want to weary the House by saying that all these sanctions are necessarily wrong: some of them may be right. But I should be much happier if I felt entirely convinced that the Government asked themselves, about these sanctions, this single all-important question: will their tendency be to bring about the result that the Prime Minister has described as their object? If not, there is no sense in them. I confess that I have great doubts whether sanctions obviously intended to be coercive will even tend to induce the people concerned to seek new leaders. I may be quite wrong, but I thought it right to express those doubts.
Those doubts are increased by the fact that two false arguments are being used, in my opinion, by those who support these sanctions, and support them without question. One of the arguments used by the Prime Minister and by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, in his opening speech this afternoon, was that the Government must impose all these sanctions because they 351 said in advance that they were going to do so. I agree that, of course, it would be wholly improper for Her Majesty's Government to bluff, and I entirely accept that they were not bluffing. Nevertheless, the fact that you have said you were going to do something is not a justification for doing it, if in fact it will not bring about the legitimate object that you have in mind. I hope that the Government will not be too proud, if they find that there is something in these doubts, and that these sanctions are not calculated to bring about the result they desire, at least to look at them, or at some of them, again. I do not doubt that some of these sanctions must result from the illegality that has been committed, but I do not think it follows that nearly all of them must.
The second matter that troubles me is this. There are many supporters of extreme sanctions in Parliament, and there are many writers in the Press, who ought to know better, who say that the Government must impose these sanctions even if they are foolish, because otherwise somebody else will so something more foolish still. I have purposely slightly exaggerated the terms, but I have not falsified the argument. The argument is this: whatever these sanctions do, unless we do the most sensational things, the United Nations may do something worse. I say that that would not, in any event, be a good argument. It is not an argument for doing something in which you do not believe—that otherwise somebody else may commit an even greater folly.
Actually what is feared about the United Nations, as I shall endeavour to show, is based upon a misconception. The Security Council cannot lawfully authorise any action whatsoever of which our Government do not approve. Let that not be forgotten. I was not myself in favour of, and I should not myself have advised, taking the initiative in summoning the Security Council at all, although, of course, had any organ of the United Nations asked us for some information, I think we could, in accordance with precedent, have given it.
Nevertheless, I concede at once that there are respectable arguments on the other side, and some leaders of my own 352 Party have expressed the view that the Government were right themselves to take the matter to the Security Council. Anyhow, I am not going to criticise that. But what I am going to criticise is the idea that, having brought it to the Security Council, they would be justified in allowing the Security Council to take some action by way of sanctions of which they disapprove.
There is so much misunderstanding about what the Charter provides, that perhaps I may do again what I did in this House just over nine years ago, when I reminded the House of what was the position about the so-called veto. Most of the population of this country is genuinely under the impression that the Charter (which they have not read) contains some mention of a veto which, for some strange reason, it is improper to use. The Charter of the United Nations does not, from beginning to end, mention the word "veto". What is generally referred to as "a veto" arises under Article 27(3) of the Charter, under which most decision of the Security Council are made by an affirmative vote of seven members, including the concurring votes of the permanent members—and we, of course, are a permanent member. If a permanent member votes against a proposed resolution, there can be no decision of the Security Council. What does that mean? That is called using the veto; when the permanent member votes against a resolution of which he disapproves.
The merit or demerit of such action must depend on the demerit or the merit of the proposal before the Security Council. That is quite obvious. I do not suppose that even the Liberal Party would say that it is never right to vote for a minority view, but the idea that it is always improper to use the veto means just that. So when the Prime Minister expressed his fear of "a Red Army with blue berets", with "an aura of legitimacy" from a resolution of the United Nations, it could get no such aura of legality from the Security Council except with our connivance.
But it may be said: if we vote against the Security Council resolution, it could then go to the General Assembly under the uniting-for-peace procedure adopted in 1950, that is to say, that the Assembly might pass a resolution by a two-thirds 353 majority. Of course, if the Assembly did, that resolution would have no such legal effect as anything done by the Security Council, and no country has been more emphatic than Russia in saying that it is illegal to take action on such a resolution of the Assembly where there has been no resolution of the Security Council. I do not, of course, deny the power of the Communist countries and others to make mischief if they are so determined, but I do say that their aura of authority from the United Nations is not one of the risks, if we play our hand correctly. If Russia, itself in default on many resolutions of the United Nations dealing with Hungary and other matters, wishes to intervene in Central Africa with the aura of the United Nations, I dare say that the attempt would not collapse from its inherent hypocrisy, but that is not really a matter with which we have to deal. I want to make it absolutely clear that, if the Government proceed with sanctions, it should be on their own conviction that the sanctions on which they proceed will bring about the result they intend; and let them not hesitate to use the veto against sanctions which they themselves regard as disastrous.
§ 8.54 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF SOUTHWARK
My Lords, as we have already heard, there are so many in your Lordships' House for whom the sadness of this occasion is heightened by personal associations. It is comparatively easy to generalise and to take sides when one thinks of the dissidents as nameless, anonymous groups—white, black, settlers, natives. It is more difficult to generalise when one thinks of the dissidents not like that but in personal terms, perhaps even by Christian names. This is how I am trying to think this evening. Although I have never been to Africa, it has been my privilege, especially when I was vicar of the University Church in Cambridge, to know and to minister to a great many Rhodesians, both white and coloured. White and coloured met at the Communion Table in the University Church and together we shared the sacraments. Again, a fortnight ago, when I was asked to meet in the Guest Room in your Lordships' House the leader of a delegation of Rhodesian businessmen, I found that here was the boy whom twenty years ago 354 I used to teach in the school where I was a master and he was a pupil.
It is such poignant associations that compel us to strive for a solution which will reconcile those who are estranged and prevent further estrangement. It is the possibility of this further estrangement that troubles me most—the prospect of what may happen if either side in Rhodesia takes to shooting or to extreme measures. Passions will be raised, bitter things said in the Commonwealth; and, let us face it, murder of Europeans, in revenge for harsh measures, could stretch from Sierra Leone to Somaliland and everywhere from the Sahara southwards.
I understand the mood of the white Rhodesians. What the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, has said, with sincerity I am sure, is appreciated by so many of us in this House who do nut agree with his conclusions but who admire his sincerity and appreciate his point of view. We understand the mood of the white Rhodesians. They have worked hard in their country which country gives them their living, and they fear that if white minority rule comes to an end a one-Party State will take its place which could be destructive both of wealth and of life. But I also understand, as do your Lordships, the mood of the African. The mood is a feverish one, but you do not make him any better by rebuking him. You have to diagnose its cause, and fundamentally that cause lies in the way in which the African for generations has been made to serve ends not his own. When we have paid the last tribute to the integrity and self-sacrifice of the best of our race who have governed Africa, developed its commerce and sought its people's welfare, we cannot forget that we did it even at our best as trustees, as being in loco parentis. The African to-day is in revolt against being a ward, against being treated as a child. This is very hard for us in Britain to understand. I know it is very hard for myself to understand, especially when we have been conscientious trustees and devoted parents. But not all our contacts with the Africans have by any means been at this exalted level.
If we are to understand the prevailing mood of Africa's hostility to the West—and there are few things more important than understanding this mood; we who 355 are in the Church are being constantly reminded of the need of this by our missionary—we cannot do better than listen to the words of an oppressed people of antiquity as expressed in Psalm CXXIII:Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us: for we have had more than enough of contempt. Too long our soul has been sated with the scorn of those who are at ease, the contempt of the proud.Yes, it is with a deep understanding of those words of the psalmist of long ago, as precisely expressing the mind of Africans to-day, that we must judge both the present moment and the possible future events. That is why if we fail we may have to prepare ourselves for very ugly happenings, not only, and not necessarily, in Rhodesia. Now this is not being an alarmist. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, takes a different view. I respect his judgement greatly, but I have to admit that it is almost opposite to the expressions of opinion that we get in the Church from those who are working at the grass roots in these countries. It is not being an alarmist; it is a cautious estimate of what may occur in the present mood of African exasperation.
With this as a background, I make very briefly three points. First, the extremists on both sides must be saved from themselves, and I emphasise "on both sides"; and we must seek to save Africa from the consequences of the stupidity of the extremists. Above all, we must remember that there are wise, sober-minded people on both sides, and it is to these that we should direct our appeal.
Secondly, to date it is the white Rhodesians who have taken the step that might lead to the dreaded catastrophe. Their revolt could be the trigger for a different sort of revolt of quite terrible proportions. It is for this reason that the British Government must remove the finger of the white Rhodesians from the trigger, and thus save Rhodesia and the rest of Africa from the consequences of their folly.
Then, thirdly, it is no part of the Church's duty, speaking as I am now from the Episcopal Bench, in a situation as complicated as this, to prescribe particular political or economic actions; that is the business of Government and 356 of Parliament. What the Church can properly say is that the saving of people from the consequences of their folly is often very painful. Such pain is not necessarily punitive; it may be redemptive—I emphasise that word "redemptive". I cannot believe that the Prime Minister, or any member of the Government, or any member of the Opposition, wishes to punish Mr. Smith just for the sake of punishing him, and I think it is a great pity that such a loaded word as "punitive" is being so carelessly used. What the Prime Minister wishes to do, I hope and I am sure, is to redeem the situation before it is too late, and in that process of redemption he deserves our full support.
I conclude as I began. We are faced with a quarrel within the family, among people whom we know. This is not unusual; the members of a family often fall out and it is the task of the family to regain its unity. Let us therefore avoid emotive words like "treason" and "rebel", while not hesitating to take whatever harsh measures may be necessary; and, again, harsh measures are necessary in nearly every family. Yet let both sides, setting aside hurt pride, make another effort and another effort and yet another effort, to reopen negotiations in the hope that our divisions shall be healed.
§ 9.5 p.m.
§ LORD WINDLESHAM
My Lords, it is not easy to follow a speech like that which we have just listened to from the right reverend Prelate. I thought it was a speech of exceptional charity and one which has given a further perspective to this debate. I was also interested in what the right reverend Prelate had to say about thinking in personal terms, and that is a point I should like to return to in just a few moments. I shall support this Bill when it arrives from another place, and I shall do so wholeheartedly and without any reservation. I support the action of the Government and of the Prime Minister in the last few days and over the period of the negotiations before the declaration of independence on Thursday, and I shall therefore vote for the Bill and against both of the Amendments. I say that at this stage because I shall not speak again in the debate, and I wanted to make my position quite clear.
357 However, I have two questions about some of the things which have been said in the last few days. The first concerns the political rights involved. I am not talking now of the illegality of the unilateral declaration of independence—that is beyond doubt—but of the other arguments that are used. There is the argument in the interests of the African majority of "One man—one vote"—an argument of democracy. Then there are the arguments in the interests of the white minority—the arguments of property; again, something which has a place in democratic theory and democratic practice. These rights are difficult to disentangle and extremely difficult to evaluate in the situation in Rhodesia as it is. I think, also, that they are likely to look rather different in Salisbury from how they look in London.
The second point on which I want to touch, following the right reverend Prelate, is the Rhodesian leadership. I would not join in any denigration of Mr. Smith. I had an opportunity to meet him and to talk with him briefly when he was in London for the last round of negotiations, and I found him, in that brief acquaintance—and there are others who have known him over a much longer period—a thoughtful and direct man of apparent sincerity and integrity. Here was a man in an impossible situation. It is true that it was a situation to which he and his Government had contributed, but its origins go back to that day in 1889 when Cecil Rhodes's emissaries first arrived in the territory; to the form of quasi-independent administration, the Chartered Company, which they were later authorised to set up; to other events in 1923; and to the sad experiment of Federation in Central Africa. All these factors built up to last week's climax.
To Mr. Smith, in the position in which he found himself, and subject to the pressures from his own supporters in Rhodesia, there must have seemed practically no alternative. It is difficult in these circumstances not to feel some sympathy for Mr. Smith. If we think in personal terms, I do not know what some of your Lordships would have done if they had been in precisely that same position. But the whole point, my Lords, is that we are not in that position. The crux is that we are not in the same position as Mr. Smith, and we cannot afford to think and behave as 358 though we were. We are in London; we are in Parliament, and we have a wider responsibility. This is the other side to what the right reverend Prelate was saying about thinking in personal terms.
What we are observing and what we have to recognise is one of the oldest and most familiar conflicts in international politics—indeed in any politics for that matter—which is where a particular interest, which may be legitimate or illegitimate, diverges from the general interest. There is an analogy here with a trade union leader who seeks wage increases above that which an industry or perhaps the country can afford. He seeks to obtain an additional advantage which he believes to be in the interests of his members. Yet those interests may conflict with the wider interests of society as a whole. He can still do so believing it to be the correct and right thing for the group he is elected to represent.
The action taken by Mr. Smith to protect the particular interests of the white minority is bad, not only because traditional law has been set on one side but because the whole future of Rhodesia has been jeopardised. I object to U.D.I. fundamentally because it is a threat to the future peaceful development of Rhodesia and of Africa. It is a threat, also—and a very serious one—to world order, in which we as well as the Rhodesians have a stake. There is a text in this week's Economist, in the leading article, which Rhodesians might take note of. In a very good phrase, the Economist says: "History will not allow it"
The southern part of Africa, it has been said, is now like a time-bomb, and a time-bomb, even when buried under an orderly surface, will go off once the fuse has been lit. We do not need to look to Russia in 1917 to see that. It is also a shameful place in which things are done of which nobody can be very proud. Rhodesians now join South Africans as people who cannot go out of their own country, out of their own enclosed and shuttered world, without explaining and justifying what is done in their country. The only way forward in Rhodesia, as elsewhere, is for a vital, educating and advancing society in which all the citizens of the country can feel that they have a part and in which they have a future. I believe, my Lords, that 359 the events of last week have now made this harder to achieve in Rhodesia, perhaps even impossible to achieve, and I very much fear that we, as well as they, will live to grieve over the results.
§ 9.14 p.m.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, I do not want to enter into an irrelevant argument with the last speaker. I want to affirm that neither South Africa nor Rhodesia are shameful places; the former is my country and the latter my neighbour. I went on record, some six or seven weeks ago, in a letter in The Times newspaper, when I urged upon the parties to this dispute that Rhodesia should inch its way towards independence de facto, rather than throw down the gauntlet of independence de jure. I wrote to Mr. Smith, to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and to Mr. Heath. I mention these matters for the record and to show that I did the best that I could to avoid the issue now upon us.
I have not, of course, had the opportunity of reading all the papers, and I do not know where this matter stuck or whether that particular aspect was thoroughly tested, tried and found to be unassimilable. But I much regret that that advice—no invention of mine—was not taken, because it would seem to me to have been the way to approach this matter. And this links up with my view that neither South Africa nor Rhodesia is shameful. Nor is the last speaker, the noble Lord behind me, right to say of Mr. Smith that he was just a representative of the white man, as if he were nothing else. He and his fellows, and previous Governments in Rhodesia for thirty years, have brought forward in a most remarkable way, educationally and materially, the people committed to their care, and they are to be praised, not to be blamed, for all they have done for their country.
Now, here we are; and at the end of this enormously long debate I have very little to say. I want to try to avoid repeating what has been said so much better by others, but I have something to say which I am not sure has been said. It is my guess that Mr. Smith and Rhodesia will sweat this out. It has to be remembered that in this cold war 360 upon which we are embarking—and how right the noble Lord, Lord Caccia, was to mention psychological warfare—the Rhodesians will be fighting on interior lines. They are a tough people; they have much in common with the Afrikaners whom, sixty or seventy years ago, it took the greatest country in the world four or five years to bring to terms. And it would not surprise me in the least if, notwithstanding the sanctions that have been proposed, the present, the de facto, Rhodesian Government (and we must admit that is what it is) is there for quite a long time. It would not surprise me if some change of opinion in Britain, perhaps even a change of Government, or the replacement of this Government by another one of the same Party but of a different view, might not make terms.
The American colonists who broke away were eventually recognised—nearly everyone is recognised some day—and the offences or crimes or actions of one generation become ships that have passed in the night. Who would now recommend that we should go to war with Russia to free the Baltic countries or the Balkan countries? Who would recommend that we try to undo the partition of Ireland, or that we solve the problem in Cyprus by some other method than the one we are now pursuing?
These things tend to become fixed as the pattern of time goes on; and it is my guess that the Rhodesians will sweat it out and that Her Majesty's Government will fail. But at what cost! We shall have impaired the viability for a generation of two countries: Southern Rhodesia, for one, and what was Northern Rhodesia, for the other. We may have brought ourselves to hot war, because cold wars sometimes develop into hot wars, and we shall have exacerbated the situation between the Europeans and Africans to a degree that is almost unthinkable.
We shall not even succeed in helping the Africans, because, having impaired our trade more than we have already done in Southern Africa, having perhaps lost the stability of the pound and the favourable balance of payments which we were promised for the next year or two, we shall be less able to help the emerging countries in Africa than we are now. There are few countries in the 361 whole of Africa that make a living—only three or four, and two of them are those most concerned with us in this matter. Even those that do make a living North of the Zambesi, though still getting loans and help from us, will do so only to the degree to which we do not impair our capacity to help them.
I say this because otherwise it might be thought that I am talking for a white interest, as the noble Lord behind me suggested Mr. Smith was doing. I have no interest in Rhodesia. But I know this: that it is the strength and financial solvency of the European countries that are able to finance development in these coming territories. I know also that the only thing we give—and this may be important—to African peoples when we give them independence is the vote, but for a very short time, because their leaders abolish the vote after the first round, and so "One man, one vote" becomes "One man, one vote once". The other thing we give them is the satisfaction of the ambitions of the very few who are capable of leading and are, in fact, the leaders. I should like to see a way in which they can be brought into things but how disappointing when Southern Rhodesia tried to operate the 1961 Constitution and the leaders of the Africans refused even to try!
Nevertheless, I am not wholly unhopeful about Southern and Central Africa. There are three or four territories, be they small ones, where something like a democratic system is operating, well. There are notably the three High Commission Territories, particularly Lesotho and in another setting, the Transkei. In all these territories they have, mainly, "One man, one vote" and, in Lesotho. "One man, one vote twice". That is an improvement.
As I have suggested, it can work, but it cannot work if we impoverish these countries. I believe that in Rhodesia if Mr. Smith and the Chiefs could be brought to talk together, ignoring for the time being the politicians, something sensible could be done; and I recommend this course. How much better that this cold war which we are now indulging in, instead of being one that may last for nine years or nine months, should be a nine weeks' wonder! The initiative is 362 with us to make it so. Looking into the crystal ball, I see a Federation or confederation of all the States South of the Zambesi in which all men, of whatever colour, have equal status in the Federal Parliament. It would be much better if this idea could be worked for and attained by countries that are solvent and strong, and helped by a Britain that is solvent and strong, than by countries that have been impaired by a long enduring cold war.
My last observation is this. I read with pleasure that on the day before he left, the ex-High Commissioner for Southern Rhodesia placed his poppy and little white cross in the Garden of Remembrance at Westminster. That touched me rather deeply, because I have often presided at and organised that garden, and it reminded me that these men were our comrades, my comrades.
Now I have a question to ask of the Lord Chancellor, and if he cannot answer me to-day, perhaps he will write to me. May I send a copy of Hansard to that Brigadier? I do not happen to know him, but that is immaterial. I should like him to know that there is at any rate one ex-Serviceman here who appreciated his gesture. The point of my question is not entirely drama, or to please him: it is to ask a wider question. Can any of us here write to our friends and relations in Rhodesia, or shall we be committing treason'?
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
There is no reason why any noble Lord should not write to any friends in Rhodesia. There may be some limit as to what may be said. It has already been stated by the Government that we have no intention of interfering with free speech. If the noble Lord were to write to a friend in Rhodesia urging him to go and arrest the Governor, a different situation would arise.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
I should have in mind to send him the Lord Chancellor's speech, as well as my own.
§ 9.23 p.m.
§ LORD GLENDEVON
My Lords, after that trenchant question by the noble Lord, and the formidable, and I am sure absolutely correct, answer given by the Lord Chancellor, I shall be brief. I am 363 sure, in any case, that your Lordships will agree that at this hour we all ought to be as short as we can, and I certainly will. At least two speakers in this debate today, the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, have said that previous Governments must take much of the blame for present events in Rhodesia. History, and only history, will show that. If it is right, then sympathy for all Rhodesians must follow to that extent. But even if it is right, there was, in my view, no excuse for Mr. Smith and his Government to lead their people blindly, as I believe, into this avoidable impasse.
I see the noble Lord the Leader of the Liberal Party in his place. He compared Mr. Smitth to King Canute. I realise that this debate is about Rhodesia and not about soil erosion, but I should like, in passing, to set the record straight. King Canute always gets blamed for what he never said. What happened was that King Canute was told by the men around him that he was all-powerful and could stop the tide, and he said: "Don't be silly; I can't". I hope the noble Lord will get it the right way round.
§ LORD GLENDEVON
I always like to help the noble Lord, even if it is not about the present crisis. What I was saying was that there was no need for this crisis, and no excuse for this illegal and unconstitutional act. I hope that the whole country will unite behind the Government in condemning this act, just as the whole Commonwealth has done. To do so will be to stand upon the rule of law—nothing less and nothing more than that. To do so will be, in my submission, the greatest single service that we can render at this time.
I do not want, and none of your Lordships has wanted, to say anything unduly harsh or avoidably unkind, and this is not meant to be, either. But I wanted to say something in my speech to your Lordships that ought to be said. Nothing has hurt me more, or offended me more, in the whole of this terribly sad crisis than what is to me the complete conflict between the loyalty to the Sovereign as it has been so forcibly expressed by Mr. Smith and his friends, 364 and the way in which that loyalty has been shown. Loyalty to the Sovereign is inconsistent with disloyalty to the Crown; and it is inconsistent with the treating of Her Majesty's representative with the contempt with which he has been treated in Salisbury, and I regret it deeply. One says that quite genuinely, and much more in sorrow than in anger.
I do not suppose the ramifications of what I have said were thought out by men in great difficulty and who were in a great dilemma, but nevertheless if one is big enough to lead a people, or to run a show, one ought to be clear enough in one's mind about where loyalty begins and where it ends. In this context I should like to ask the Government a question about servants of the Crown who are serving Rhodesia. I may be wrong about this, but I believe I am right, and I should be very much obliged for information about it. There was something about this in the Press to-day, but I did not get my information from the Press. I am told that the Commonwealth Relations Office has sent a document to Rhodesian civil servants outside Rhodesia in the last few days, and that in that document these servants of the Crown have been given, I am told it is, 24 hours—I do not know whether that is right. The Lord Chancellor shakes his head, and I am glad that that is not so. But I am told that they have been given a very short time—and I hope this is not correct either—to sign a declaration of support for Her Majesty's Government, in the absence of which they have been told we can do nothing for them in the future. They have not, however, been told that if they will declare allegiance to the Crown, then they will be looked after. This is what I am told, and I am ready to be corrected if I am wrong. Clearly I have the time wrong, but if they have been given a very short time to sign a declaration of this sort in this crisis, I think it is too quick and too abrupt a way to treat them.
§ LORD GLENDEVON
Those who are serving Rhodesia here in London, and also in other posts. I heard of one in Tokyo, and one in Washington. I am simply repeating what I have been told, 365 and I do not know whether I am accurate. If people think this has happened and it has not, then it will be for the good of everybody for the record to be set straight.
I have only one further subject to mention, and that is the subject of sanctions. This, of course, is going to be the rub. I realise that many of your Lordships feel differently from others of your Lordships about it. I take my stand upon what I believe to be the right view and it is, as has been said, to persuade the people of Rhodesia to have a Government which will revert to constitutional action. There is nothing vindictive at all in setting that objective. Strength of purpose is obviously the intention of the Government, and they are right to intend it; and strength of purpose must not be confused with vindictiveness nor, on the other hand, is it in the least inconsistent with compassion. It is going to be our duty. I am afraid, to cause a good deal of pain and a good deal of discomfort, but, my Lords, let us then be ready to heal.
LADY EMMET OF AMBERLEY
My Lords, before my noble friend sits down, could he enlarge on the question which he has put to the Government about Rhodesian civil servants abroad? Surely the loyalty of civil servants in Rhodesia also should come into the picture and they should have some assurance from the Government as to how they stand if they remain loyal to the Crown.
§ LORD GLENDEVON
My Lords, I did not mention them because I understood that civil servants actually in Rhodesia have not been sent this document. Certainly on the general question, one hopes very much that the Government will be able to say to these people, wherever they may be, whether in London. Salisbury, Washington, or wherever they are, "If you feel you can give your loyalty to the Crown, come what may, we will look after you afterwards".
§ 9.37 p.m.
§ LORD REAY
My Lords, speaking late in the evening, and yet far from last, I will add only a few comments to this grave debate. The Government are committed by the moral logic of recent history to the application of sanctions against Rhodesia. The purpose of these, by their effect of discomfort and in- 366 security on the supports of Mr. Smith, must be the collapse, or the retreat, of the rebellious Government. At the same time, this effect must occur before the application of these sanctions over a long period causes serious damage to the economy and a serious decline in investment. The longer the rebel Government remains in power during the application of severe sanctions—and the sanctions are already severe—the less recoverable will be the damage done to the economy the harsher and more embittering will be the repressions of the State police; the graver will be the threat to the structure of the country from a hungry and unemployed African majority, and the greater will be the dangers, on the one hand, of physical intervention by African parties or their agents, either more or less lawless, and, on the other hand, of repercussive effects on the European minorities of, in particular, Zambia and Kenya.
It is probably correct to say that time was on the side of the British Government during the negotiations which preceded the declaration of independence, but that does not seem to be so any longer. Time to-day looks an enemy, rather than a friend. It seems likely that the sanctions already imposed are severe enough to cause a serious decline in investment in Rhodesia if they are continued over a length of time. In that case the need for their early success in changing the orientation of the rebels becomes the more urgent. And it is worth noting, in this context, that Lord Malvern is reported to-day as holding the opinion that only a sanction on oil would be likely to produce this effect. In that case we are in danger of being in the most unsatisfactory of all positions, where our adopted sanctions are insufficient to impinge on the intransigence of the Government and its supporters, and yet sufficient over a long time to impair the strength of the economy.
It seems to me that only those who decline to forswear some sympathy with the rebellious Government can object to sanctions on tobacco, and that it is only with sanctions on oil that there is a real prospect of securing the effect we want. But if, on the one hand, in this difficult psychological exercise we are to try to reduce the rebel Government by the discomfort of sanctions, we must, on the 367 other hand, be assiduous in extending to the Rhodesians the promise of a more comfortable alternative, by making it clear that progress to majority rule will still be phased gradually, by indicating the conditions on which negotiations will be resumed, by offering, perhaps, compensation for those who would wish to emigrate, above all by making it physically possible for Rhodesian inhabitants to receive Governmental directions and assurances and factual news on the medium wave wireless.
On the question of force, I doubt if the desirability of the use of British troops is going to be as remote a likelihood as has generally been allowed. What successive indignities of treatment of the Governor are going to be unresisted? What disobediences to his command are going to be tolerated? What if the Governor requests physical assistance? What if the rebel Government violates an international agreement in respect of, say, Zambia, which it would be doing if it cut off the power from Kariba to Zambia? These are not necessarily unlikely contingencies and I suggest that any current feeling that the question of the use of force has been finally decided in the negative may prove to be illusory.
I mention these considerations because this is perhaps the last of England's great imperial tests. If we are to be true to all our principles of imperial legacy, we must be determined to the limit of our intelligence and strength to prevent the passage of this Colony to our heirs under a Government whose accumulating characteristic, in my submission, is a defiance of the only principles of government that we can practise or preach or tolerate. That is why, in the circumstances, he only debate that is relevant is a debate about the means of restoring correspondence with this penalised country, and why no possible form of Government reaction is, in its proper circumstances, beyond consideration.
§ 9.43 p.m.
§ EARL DE LA WARR
My Lords. I think perhaps the most outstanding point of this controversy has been its lack of bitterness; the relations between Mr. Wilson and Mr. Smith, the debates in this House, and so far as I know in another place, show almost complete unity 368 on a subject in which immensely deep feelings are rampant. I think it was the Bishop of Suffolk who said the same thing in other words, and I join with him in saying, "Do, for heaven's sake, let us hang on to it." The only minor criticism should feel myself about this debate is that, although it has been mentioned, we have not paid sufficiently high tribute to Sir Humphrey Gibbs, the Governor. With his lady he has shown a common sense, a courage and in integrity, and I think we ought all to be very proud, because although he has become a Rhodesian he is a Britisher by birth. He is the best that England can produce, and I would almost venture to say, if it were not going to seem to be denigrating him, the best that Osbert Lancaster's small grammar school near Slough can produce.
In a debate like this, where so many are speaking, I felt it was right to limit my remarks to just one isue: and indeed, in this discussion we really are faced with only one issue, namely, whether we pursue the policy that we heard over the wireless from Mr. Heath—I think the words were "what flows inevitably from Rhodesian action"—or whether (I know the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Southwark rather objected to the term) we set out to punish.
Before we settle that question we have to be quite clear on our objective. What we all of us want is a lasting, just and, above all, unembittered solution to the tragic problem with which we are faced to-day. How are we to obtain it? The arguments for punitive or really drastic action—use what words you like—are quite simple and clear. One can say that half-baked measures must give us the worst of both worlds. The problem is how to bring home to the Rhodesians as soon, and as drastically, as possible the realities of what they have done.
But we must surely obtain our ends by methods that do the least damage to black and white alike, whether it be in Rhodesia itself or in neighbouring territories. I do not know that much has been said this evening of the danger of the spread of this prairie fire that we may be lighting, but I do not really want to make my argument on the need to limit ourselves to moderate measures. It is quite clear that we must achieve our end, 369 and if something more severe is necessary we must undertake it. But do we know—I do not think we do, and I do not think we can except by experience—exactly where the line can be drawn between action that will be sufficient to make Rhodesians realise the extent to which they have been misled—because I am quite convinced that they have been misled; they have been told again and again that this was not going to be a serious matter for them—and, on the other hand, action that in fact rallies them? Hitler's bombs certainly did not demoralise us; they rallied us. And there comes a point in attack upon a people when you get this situation; that some of my own friends in Rhodesia, who were strongly against U.D.I., have said to me, "We are fighting U.D.I. up to the last, but if we are really attacked we are Rhodesians". That is a reaction that many of us would have.
I think we all know that there are a great number of loyal, moderate and liberal-minded Rhodesians. Many of them have always been against what we call U.D.I. It may be wishful thinking, but I believe that, even to-day, there are many others beginning to realise the extent to which they have been misled. Therefore. I would ask Her Majesty's Government—and I do not feel that I am pushing up against a brick wall, because, as has been said again and again in this debate, Her Majesty's Government have behaved with great moderation and statesmanship throughout their handling of this problem—to bear in mind this possibility. Now what really comes out of it? I would venture to suggest that we should start with what many of your Lordships would consider comparatively moderate measures, bearing in mind that they may prove to be insufficient, but also that there are a number of responsible people in Rhodesia who, once the seriousness of their position is brought to their consciousness, may in fact be influenced by even that moderate action.
I realise to the full that I shall be told that this will not satisfy the United Nations or Afro-Asia, but I think that is something we have to face. Her Majesty's Government have asserted that they consider this problem to be our responsibility. The Leader of the House 370 is not here, but I do not think we have yet been told whether the Government are prepared to carry that attitude to the point of exercising the veto in the Security Council. Whether we shall be informed of this in the debate or not, I do not know, but it is certainly a matter of very great importance. We have a right to claim that this is our responsibility—not only a right under the Charter of the United Nations, but, because of the fact that there is no empire in the world, and there has not been such an empire throughout the history of the world, that has given freedom and independence to so many hundreds of millions of people in the space of a very few years.
After all, who are likely to be our critics? Has not the time come—and I believe the situation with which we are faced to-day gives us an opportunity of mentioning this problem—when we are entitled to ask for judgment of all nations by a single standard? Do we always have to accept criticism from the United States, with their problems in the South, and their having during the last month declared innocent a man who murdered not only a Negro but a white woman for driving in a car with a Negro? Do we have to shrink before the criticisms of Russia, tyrannising, as she does, over millions of her own and other races? India and Pakistan at the moment are tearing each other's eyes out over who is to dominate another race. Has not the time come when a nation with a record such as ours has the right to speak out and be proud of what it has done, and to refuse to accept criticism from those who are themselves in no position to sit in judgment on others?
No one else has mentioned this point, and it may be that I am wrong in thinking that it is relevant to this debate, but it is something which is very strong in my heart. It certainly strengthens my conviction that it is right for us to follow our own consciences and not to be over-influenced by criticism from outside. This Government have shown great statesmanship hitherto. I would say: let them continue to do so and consider carefully whether they should not proceed step by step, testing out and seeing what is the minimum damage they can do before achieving the object that we all hope to achieve.
371 In conclusion, I should like to support the noble Lord, Lord Caccia, and the noble Lord, Lord Alport, in their request to the Government to tell the Rhodesian people exactly what we would settle on. I think the noble Lord, Lord Alport, went further and said: "Let there be an all-Party declaration". The one cry I heard from the then Opposition when I was in 372 Rhodesia just before the last election was: "Do for Heaven's sake give us something on which to fight! We have nothing to tell the people of Rhodesia about what terms are available to them." I believe that Her Majesty's Government and the Opposition would do a great thing for Rhodesia and for the ultimate solution of this terrible problem if only they could do that.
§ 9.58 p.m.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, we have heard on every side today, and in the past few days, of the paramount need for national unity. For my own part, I am not sure that that is now really the most important thing. When we are at war national unity is essential, and indeed has to be enforced, but we are not at war with Rhodesia. We may hold that they are in rebellion, though for my own part I must say that I regard it as a technical rebellion, but we are not at war with them. Of course, while the negotiations were going on one could argue that national unity was paramount, and indeed at that time national unity was real. I do not believe that there is any one of us in this House who did not pray that a unilateral declaration of independence might be averted. But now we are faced with a new situation, and we must decide upon the best means of meeting it. That, surely, is simply a matter of judgment, and I believe—I hold most firmly—that it is not only our right but our duty to exercise our judgment in the light of that reason which God has given us, and that experience which we have had.
My Lords, I do not believe in the argument that if there is any wavering in support of Government policy it will strengthen Mr. Smith's hand, will unite the White Rhodesians behind him. In fact, I think exactly the reverse will happen. If we pursue the role which the Prime Minister and the Government have indicated, of savage sanctions designed to bring a change of heart in the shortest possible time, I am afraid that we shall bring a change of heart all right, but it will not be the kind of change that we want. I was in communication this evening with a friend of mine who has just returned from Salisbury. I say "I was in communication" deliberately, for I did not in fact speak to her except through an intermediary, because she was in bed with a fever. She arrived in this country from Salisbury on Saturday, and had been in transit through Salisbury over the two or three days covering the U.D.I. and its immediate consequences.
She told me that she was staying with friends who were entirely opposed to U.D.I. but they told her that, now that it had come, and in the light of the re- 374 action of the Government, they would support Rhodesia's independence to the death. She told me, too, that that was the experience of all the friends that she met in Salisbury during that couple of days—and, as I have indicated, her circle of friends was entirely among those white Rhodesians who, until then, had been opposed to U.D.I. I would implore your Lordships and the Government to consider whether, the more extreme the pressure becomes on Mr. Smith and his Government, the more it will in fact consolidate opinion behind Mr. Smith rather than cause a division. For my own part, I think there is a very real danger of this policy, which we are all invited to support unanimously, producing that effect of consolidating Mr. Smith's position rather than weakening it.
Like others of your Lordships, I have studied this Command Paper on the documents relating to the negotiations between the United Kingdom and the Southern Rhodesian Governments. I find it extremely good reading. Something is made clear to me by this document that I have never understood before. Before I develop this point, I should like to tell the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, if he would allow me to do so, that I listened to his speech this afternoon with the greatest admiration for its objectivity and its absolute fairness. As he was speaking, I felt that if the noble and learned Lord had been in charge of these negotiations, not only for the last three or four weeks but over the last three or four years, the Rhodesian Government would have formed a different opinion from that which unfortunately they did form about the reliability and the integrity of British Ministers. I hope the noble and learned Lord will forgive me for paying him that compliment.
But as I was about to say, the noble and learned Lord is puzzled, I was puzzled, and I think we have all been puzzled by the fact that the Rhodesian Government, which had the reality of independence, still insisted on the formality. Why, when they had the substance were they so desperately keen to get the shadow as well? I believe the answer is partly to be found in this record. I think that if your Lordships will read this record you will come to 375 the conclusion that there was a gulf which was quite unbridgeable between the British Ministers of any Party and the Rhodesian Government. It was not a question of argument; it was not a question of logic; it was simply that the two sides were not playing the same game and they were not playing it on the same ground. The Rhodesians, I think, were there as patriots. We may think their patriotism misguided; but they were there as patriots and were thinking only of the future of their country. The British Ministers. I think, were entangled in a labyrinth of constitutional law; and they never seemed to get out of it except for occasional excursions into the effect of all this upon our relationships with the Commonwealth or with the United Nations or on world opinion. The Rhodesians were thinking of Rhodesia; we were thinking of matters entirely different.
The crux of the whole matter is to be found in particular in one passage in this report on the negotiations. It is on page 124; and if your Lordships will bear with me I will read out the passage which seems to me to be so important in this connection. Lord Graham, that is the noble Lord whom we know and respect as the Duke of Montrose, who has so often intervened in our debates on these subjects and who now, I suppose, we have to regard as a traitor, saidthat many Africans preferred good government to majority government, especially in the light of the experience of their fellow Africans in, e.g., Tanzania and Malawi.MR. WILSON said that the issues raised by a statement of this kind involved fundamental questions of political philosophy which it would take a very long time to explore in detail. It might be better that the two Governments should try to abstract from their respective political philosophies and to confine themselves to the more specifically constitutional problems which confronted them.MR. SMITH said that what confronted them was precisely a question of political philosophy, not merely one of constitutional law.I believe that that passage and, in particular, the sentence which I have just read out by Mr. Smith, defines the real difference between the two parties and does much to explain whey they are so insistent upon getting the formality as well as the reality of independence.
376 The Prime Minister and others have denied that any true analogy may be drawn between the American War of Independence two hundred years ago and what is happening in Rhodesia today. In his final news conference before he left, the Prime Minister emphasised that that Declaration of Independence showed a decent regard for the common opinion of mankind, whereas the Rhodesian declaration, if it came, would fly in the face of world opinion. The quarrel with the United States started not with the fine words of the Declaration of Independence, but with a squalid squabble over taxation. But the nub of the argument was the same two hundred years ago as it is today. It is simply this: that a people of British stock who had grown into nationhood were not prepared to submit any longer to the control of a Parliament 3,000 miles away in which they had no representation.
I believe that that is really the issue to-day so far as Rhodesia is concerned. If that is so, can we really imagine that sanctions and pressure, which, as the noble Lord, Lord Reay, said, may carry us farther than we expect to go, are going to bring people of British stock to heel? I myself cannot believe it. Others have tried this. We ought to know this, because white Rhodesian behaviour in this is very much our own behaviour, as a number of people, from Philip of Spain to Hider, have found out. They have had to find it out the hard way. I very much hope that we shall not have to find it out the hard way. When everything has been said, the fact remains, as more than one noble Lord has pointed out to-night, that our real job now is to try to pick up the pieces. I think that in anything we do, in anything that the Government do, we have to be sure that there are some pieces left to be picked up and that, through Mr. Smith and Mr. Wilson, we have not wrecked this unhappy people and this unhappy State beyond recovery.
§ 10.16 p.m.
§ LORD GRIMSTON OF WESTBURY
My Lords, I am sure your Lordships have all been impressed with the speech to which we have just listened. At this time of night I hope not to detain your Lordships for too long, and I have cut out parts of what I was going to say. However, there are one or two things which I think should be said in this debate. We can all agree that what has happened is 377 tragic, but I think what we all ought to agree, as well, is that the fault is not entirely on the Rhodesian side; and the realisation of this should influence out future actions.
The build-up of the climate of opinion in Rhodesia which has brought the Smith Government to power and made the U.D.I. declaration possible has been going on for years. No political Party in this country can disclaim their share of responsibility over those years. I suppose that in legal phraseology the Smith Government may be rebels. But can any of your Lordships who heard his broadcast the other day believe that in his heart he is a rebel? I found it a very moving broadcast. The Union Jack is to continue to fly; the National Anthem is to continue to be sung: and I could not help feeling how favourably that compares with other places, where on the grant of independence a republic is immediately proclaimed, allegiance to the Crown is severed, the Union Jack is pulled down and they proceed to "gang up" against us in the United Nations. Cynics may say that this is pure sentiment. But sentiment is a very potent thing in the world, and I am not ashamed of it.
The Rhodesians have certainly flouted the rule of law. But is it for us in this House to stand in a white sheet over that matter, when we remember that only a few short months ago we in this House retrospectively reversed a judicial decision of the highest court in the land? I think we should remember this.
I referred to the build-up of the climate of opinion in Rhodesia, and I think it is best exemplified in remarks which were made to me when I was last in that country. I may say that I do not claim a great knowledge of Rhodesia, but I have paid several visits there over the last few years. This was the gist of the remarks that were made to me, not by one person, but in different parts of the country: "We know you are going to treat us as expendable. You are much more interested in your image at the United Nations than in doing justice to those who have built this country and to whom you have been content to give virtual independence for years". That was a very general view, and I am sorry 378 to say that it is certainly, to quite a large extent, justified.
Let me remind your Lordships, first of all, of the United Nations Congo operations. I make no excuse for doing this. Your Lordships will remember that the United Nations was originally called in to maintain order after the mutiny of the Force Publique. At that time in Katanga there was in power President Tshombe, a friend of the Belgians, who was running a viable Katanga in law and order when the rest of the Congo was a shambles, and doing it with the help of the former colonial power and with white mercenaries. He was indeed sowing the seeds of multiracial development. But that was anathema to the Afro-Asian group and their friends in the United Nations. What would have been a peace operation was turned by that interference into a campaign to oust Tshombe from Katanga. They succeeded, with the help of the United States and ourselves, in achieving that object, and after much bloodshed Tshombe was ejected. The Rhodesians saw all this happening at close quarters.
Let me remind your Lordships—perhaps you have forgotten—that during that time at one moment the United Nations asked for 1,000 lb. bombs to be delivered to them for a police operation. This was stopped by the indignation which was aroused in the British House of Commons. This episode, I think, has a bearing on the powers we are shortly proposing to give to the Government, but I shall come back to that later. Anyway, after a year or two Tshombe was back again with his white mercenaries, and it is thanks to that fact that quite a number of missionaries and others were saved from a massacre. It will be seen in to-day's paper that Tshombe has now won a vote in the Congo Parliament.
What I want your Lordships to remember is that that man, who wanted to work with the white colonial power, was driven out by the United Nations with the support of ourselves and the United States, and the lesson of that was not lost upon Rhodesia. Then there came the break-up of the Federation and the handing of independence straight away to Northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. The impression which has been created on the minds of many in Rhodesia by these events is that Britain 379 has been in far too much of a hurry to hand over to black majorities, with precious little regard for the feelings or the fate of those who have built up the country, and when this process reached a point where there was a white population large enough and powerful enough to revolt, it has done so, and it is not surprising. That is the tragic position we have reached, and we must, if honest, admit that we have a heavy portion of the blame. When I say "we", I mean all political Parties in this country.
Now I come to the question of sanctions. According to the Government, they are designed to bring home to the Rhodesians what they have done, but not to punish. The Government have explicitly stated that this is a British matter and not one for any outsider. I think most of us would agree with this view. But then why, oh why, my Lords, run off to the United Nations at once and drag them in, particularly after the Congo story? Why not have adopted the attitude taken by the French Government who, refusing to recognise the illegal Smith régime, nevertheless said, "We will take no part in the United Nations over this, as we regard it as wholly a British matter."
I understand that the Prime Minister thinks that by getting in first he will steady the United Nations' demands for drastic action. My Lords, I have been to the United Nations myself. I spent three months there on our delegation, and I do not believe that our going there to try to get in first will do any such thing as restrain the United Nations from making extragavant demands. In fact, I think it may well prejudice our future position. I have seen it suggested in the Press that the Government have up their sleeve oil sanctions as a sop, if necessary, to restrain United Nations' demands for force. I only hope that is not true. I hope this is not the idea, because if it is it will be disastrous, so far as any build-up of moderate opinion to bring pressure to bear on the Smith régime is concerned, and it will make nonsense of what the Prime Minister said in the House of Commons last Friday, which in a moment I will quote.
However, the Government have gone to the United Nations and I trust that they 380 will be ruthless in the use of the veto against action which goes against the Government's declared policy as stated by the Prime Minister. This is what the Prime Minister said:we are not going to indulge in any measures purely for the sake of recrimination, purely for the sake of inflicting punishment, purely for inflicting pain or hardship for their own sake. We are not out to punish…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 720 (No. 4), col. 632; 12th November, 1965.]One may be quite sure—in fact it has already happened—that the United Nations will be out to do all those things which the Prime Minister has set his face against, and what line are the Government then going to take, having invited the United Nations to help? The Prime Minister talked about the prospects of the Red Army in blue berets arriving in Africa unless the United Nations was appeased. I cannot imagine that this is a logistical possibility except with the aid of the United States and ourselves, as in the Congo operation, and I must Fay it seems scarcely credible that the U.S.A., at the present moment pouring out blood and treasure to resist Communist infiltration in Vietnam, would support it in the guise of backing the United Nations in Africa. I believe that the greatest chance of bringing the Rhodesians back is to confine sanctions to what they have brought upon themselves by their own actions and to show them that we stand against the excesses which will no doubt be called for by the United Nations and by other African States.
Finally, I, too, was greatly impressed by the fair way in which the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor put the case for the Rhodesian Front, and I should like to echo the words which were spoken by my noble friend Lord Coleraine. But the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor referred to one answer of Mr. Smith which he could not understand. It was an answer to one of the Lord Chancellor's questions, which was:Why do you agitate for independence when you can govern yourselves as long as you like under the 1961 Constitution?I am afraid, my Lords, that the underlying and really terrible answer to that question is that, after what has passed during these last years, they do not trust us. It is a terrible thing to say, but I 381 believe it is true. They have brought matters to a head and we are faced with this tragic situation. I believe that it is vital now to see that the words of the British Prime Minister, which I have quoted, are adhered to and can he seen to be trustworthy. For that reason, when the time comes I shall support the Amendments to the forthcoming Bill, which I understand are to be introduced with that object in view.
My Lords, I must first say that I spend half my life in Rhodesia, so I might be considered an interested party or even—what is it?—a self-confessed rebel. However, having just come from that country a week or so ago, I felt I should intervene in this debate and I might give your Lordships some relevant factors that you had not already heard. First, consider the state of Salisbury today, which is the same as when I left it: absolute tranquillity, people of all colours walking down the streets politely—buxom Umtazi, skinny Englishwomen, all looking in the shops to see how best to spend their husbands' money. Surely we do not want to alter this now by savage sanctions. Leave those savage sanctions until the Rhodesian Government has passed amending legislation not to the benefit of the Africans.
Tobacco takes a lot more labour than any other crop. I grow about 350 acres. With that I feed, house and pay some 200 African families; I also provide a school for their children. This is a typical set-up of the Rhodesian tobacco farmer. If we put an embargo on Rhodesian tobacco, naturally it will not be grown, and many thousands, perhaps even 100,000, Africans will be put out of work and near to starvation level. What then? Idle hands and empty stomachs are no good to a country. They cause trouble, unrest and probably bloodshed, that word which has been so glibly used by many in this country, even the Church. Perhaps that is what the Government want; but if it is, let this House not be a party to it.
Also, is it wise to destroy an industry that has been so laboriously worked up? The British palate for smoking has been carefully watched, and now more than half the tobacco you smoke in all your cigarettes is Rhodesian. If you lose all 382 that you will have to get it from America. That suits America very well; I believe there is four years' supply waiting in their docks, and very bad tobacco it is, too. I hope it will not give you lung cancer but it may well do so. Should you have to cultivate the taste for American tobacco it will cost us, I believe, about 35 million dollars a year, and that may go on till the end of time. Is that going to help our balance of payments?
The African is the most hospitable person, and no doubt those in the tribal areas will share their last mealy with their brothers who come back from the farming area. But that merely spreads the famine. The unfortunate British taxpayer, I believe, pays some £200 million to the other African States. Does he wish to have to spend even more on subsidising starving Rhodesian Africans whom we have put out of employment?
As regards the effect of sanctions on tobacco, the first planting of tobacco is about now, on the first rains; if this embargo comes into force the second planting in December the tobacco growers would obviously not plant. They will plant groundnuts or cotton or some flowers, or some other crop which does not take one-tenth of the labour that tobacco does. Their fertiliser they can keep for another year. So the immediate effect of the sanctions is on the African labourer. Later on, the effect will of course be on the tobacco grower when, next May, at the tobacco sales, he cannot sell the crop.
It seems to me utterly incongrous to apply punitive sanctions to Rhodesia, a State that is pledged to multiracialism and eventual African rule—certainly a much more liberal régime than that carried out by our friends to the South or to the North. Surely it is better to use the reasonable velvet glove rather than the punitive mailed fist which, as other noble Lords have said, will most certainly drive all Rhodesians into a corner together and invite them to endure any sacrifices. I have many friends in Rhodesia who are members of the old U.S.V. Party. A week or so ago they were all stolidly behind Mr. Smith. They said that Rhodesia speaks with one voice in her desire for independence. Now, possibly they may think differently. So 383 let us give them very opportunity for second thoughts, perhaps an alternative or a coalition Government. I will most certainly support the Amendment of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, so that every facet of the Government's punitive measures may be looked carefully in the mouth by your Lordships before they are carried out.
§ 10.39 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, I rise to offer a few comments on the Rhodesian situation, and I do not propose to detain your Lordships for any length of time. But I ought first of all to say that, like everybody else in this House, I deplore the fact of U.D.I. Or perhaps I ought to say that I deplore the necessity for it. I think that men like Mr. Smith were driven in despair to take this unwise step. We are all familiar now with the negotiations which took place between the Prime Minister and Mr. Smith, and the divergent interpretations which have been placed on the spirit of those negotiations. My own feeling is that reasonableness and willingness to make some concessions were almost entirely on Mr. Smith's side, and that the British Government's demands, however patiently and plausibly set forth, rested on an inflexible foundation and left no real freedom for accommodation.
My reading of the Prime Minister's position is that he dared not appear to be otherwise than inflexible, because he was all the time apprehensive of the United Nations. All this talk about "Red troops in blue berets" seems to me nothing short of the admission of blackmail by the militant members of the United Nations—shall we say Soviet Russia trading on the hysteria of certain members of the Afro-Asian group? I am very mindful of the Veto rights which this country possesses in the Security Council and which can be, and surely should be, immediately used when any such suggestion is ever made. I believed, and still believe, that an acceptable agreement could have been reached between the Rhodesian Government and the British Government on the basis of the 1961 Constitution. Granted certain assistance in educational facilities which would have accelerated African potentialities to qualify for registration as group A voters 384 as well as opportunities for training in the spheres of responsible government positions, I simply do not believe that it would not have been possible for the right sort of negotiator, who understood the atmosphere of Africa, to arrive at an agreement of that sort with Mr. Smith.
I cannot forget, and I do not think anybody should forget, that the 1961 Constitution opened the door wide to the black African citizens of Rhodesia to qualify themselves within a reasonable period of years for a dominant participation in the government of a great and prosperous country. But they were intimidated by self-appointed leaders into refusing to co-operate in any such constitutional advance towards partnership and eventual predominance in a civilised Government. The chance lay with the African community, and they were misled by their so-called leaders into refusing what was a golden opportunity. It is also clear that the militants of the United Nations will go on pressing to the end for the immediate surrender of Government powers to the unqualified numerical majority of black Africans. The Prime Minister has himself said that universal suffrage, "One man, one vote," makes no sense to-day or to-morrow. But that is the danger which looms large on the horizon now. The imposition of various penal sanctions is an act of war and is extremely likely to produce a situation in which the use of military force will be loudly demanded to control the chaos these measures seem likely—or even, some may think, designed—to create.
Let us consider some of these moral considerations. Is not failure to stand up for civilised government, is not failure in obedience to the traditions and sacred beliefs of one's own race, is not substitution of expediency for courageous faith, far greater disloyalty than a technical breach which can legally be called rebellion? The Rhodesian Government, in my view, was driven into this unwise course. Throughout the British world there has always, for many generations, as I have known it, been a passionate loyalty to the Crown, because the person of the Monarch is, surely, a symbol of the traditions and high principles of the British race. It is mentally quite separate from the feeling towards 385 the British Government which may sometimes be, and in my experience has been, a good deal less than cordial.
Amid all this talk about rebels and traitors, if one analyses the facts, on which side is the failure in faith and loyalty? Is it not with us? It is a sorry day when we are ordered by irresponsible foreign representatives to abandon the high principles by which we once stood. We are told that we must swim with the tide, even if it be a torrent of barbarism. Mr. Smith has only asked, after all, that ample time be given to his African fellow citizens to take advantage of the opportunities provided for them, so that they can, if they will—and they have up to date refused—make a constructive contribution to the prosperity of so potentially great a country. They have not been willing to do so.
I can only say that to me it seems that the "frightened men" are on this side of the picture, not on the Rhodesian side. Are not the British Government looking over their shoulder all the time to the United Nations? The United States, Canada and Australia are in strange association with Soviet Russia and Afro-Asians in this insistence that civilisation has no right to survive if it is numerically outnumbered. Incidentally, on this basis I can never understand why our American friends bar the entry of China to the so ineptly called United Nations. How can you on this principle, when you are founding a Government of the world, deny a share of one vote to one-fifth of the world's population?
§ LORD BOOTHBY
My Lords, may I interrupt my noble friend for a moment? He has referred to the traditional position of the Monarchy. Has he any authoritative information about the attitude of the Queen herself on this question?
§ LORD MILVERTON
No, my Lords. Of course I have no such authority. I was merely giving the views of my own experience. But to return to what I was saying, I have never understood why the United States have taken this attitude. It may he that they are so pre-occupied with painting the Statue of Liberty black that they have overlooked these other incidents.
If one thinks of the problems which are going to arise as a result of the 386 tragedy which we have been discussing today, it is indeed appalling for anybody to envisage what this Government will do. I was much impressed by the appeal which the noble Lord, Lord Alport, made to us, that at least we should know exactly what we want to do, in the end, with Rhodesia; what are the terms and conditions which we should be ready to offer to them. It is no use waiting and drifting with time. We should know exactly what we are trying to do in this appallingly difficult situation.
My Lords, I am utterly opposed to the imposition of penal sanctions—at least, viciously penal sanctions—because they are morally unjustifiable; because they are likely to be unsuccessful practically—indeed, if they were successful they would probably lead to actual war—and because they will harm most those people whom they are nominally designed to assist. In conclusion, may I say that it seems to me that now the sun is setting blood-red on the high principles which once governed our relationship to the timing of betterment, both material and spiritual, of hitherto backward countries, but I, for one, refuse to salute this withdrawal from responsibility as the dawn of a brighter day.
§ 10.52 p.m.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, I suppose I should start by saying that I had regarded the transfer of political authority from white to black in Rhodesia as something which was only a matter of time, and not of a very long time at that. I had thought until today that everyone had that view, including everyone in this House. Moreover, in my discussions with the High Commissioner, Mr. Campbell, which brought me into this matter, I had the impression that that was also the view of most responsible Rhodesians. I had thought that we were not divided on a matter of principle, but on a matter of time. I am not one enthusiastic about instant independence as prescribed by, for example, the United Nations, but I came up today for the purpose of voting in support of Her Majesty's Government for one reason more than any other—namely, that the machinery they are devising seems intended, in spite of references to the United Nations, to keep the problem of Rhodesia a British problem.
387 I wonder if I am right in inferring that the Government of the 50 million people or so of this country are the Government of Rhodesia today, and that we govern as, in a sense, a majority Government of 4¼ million Rhodesians. If so, it is comparable with the situation in Kashmir, where 4 million or so Kashmirians are governed by 400 million Indians. India says that this is an integral part of India and that it is nobody else's business, and in that view they were fully supported on October 13 by the Emperor of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa, who not only took the view that it was entirely their business but that there was no sort of case for ever applying the principle of self-determination to Kashmir. It seems to me that if these two authorities in Africa and Asia take this view, we can at least argue with them that the position is legally the same with regard to Rhodesia. The practical difference is that their purpose is to thwart self-determination for ever, whereas ours is to facilitate it without bloodshed.
I wonder, if that is the case, whether I have made a correct inference about these two comparisons. To continue briefly, I wondered whether the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor gave all the weight that was properly due to the position of people like Mr. Nkomo. He referred to Mr. Nkomo saying, "One man, one vote, tomorrow." And he answered it simply by saying, "We have said not today and not tomorrow." But surely behind Mr. Nkomo is Resolution No. 1514 of the General Assembly of the United Nations which prescribes immediate independence, regardless of lack of preparation. Similar views are embodied in the Charter of Addis Ababa, the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity, and in many resolutions of that organisation, which has now 36 members, many of them of our own Commonwealth. Similar resolutions, much more violently expressed, were embodied in the Conference of the Non-Aligned Nations in October, 1964. Representatives of 47 member nations and 10 observers were present—getting on for half the States of the whole world. All of them were afraid of giving one single word of credit to the freedoms that Britain has bestowed, and all of them 388 were condemning us for what we had not done here and there.
In addition to these matters, there are in Tanzania the headquarters of the Liberation Committee and physical forces of the Organisation of African Unity with the Foreign Minister of Tanzania as its chairman, and it is dedicated to violence and subversion in neighbouring countries. Surely that is known to Mr. Smith's Government and to all Rhodesians. If any more were needed, there is the book, published in Britain, written by Mr. Tom Mboya who describes in absolute detail the procedure followed by the nationalists in order to get the white man out. He is represented, as soon as they reach a certain stage, as the enemy, the one enemy, the only enemy; and anything denigrating and mendacious that can be said about him is said. I should have thought the Rhodesians have a genuine crisis which they see plainly; although I must concede that in all Mr. Smith's appearances on television (which usually tells us most nowadays) there was very little of anything I could think of to carry conviction of the genuineness of the crisis.
It seems to me that the Rhodesians must feel that the pressure of the Commonwealth and the non-aligned nations is such that a British Government will not be able to resist it for long. I wonder whether when the phrase "Not to-day nor to-morrow" was used in the course of these negotiations, anybody mentioned the period which has been mentioned to-day (for the first time, to the best of my knowledge, from a high authority) of possibly fifteen to twenty years. If this period is contemplated and considered possible, surely it would be better to start in a different way altogether. Constitutional progress in Kenya and Tanzania was carried out in a virtual vacuum. The poor in pence were elevated to the seats of the mighty and there was nothing in the way of a substantial middle class community of Africans with all sorts of trades, professions and activities. There were only the poor Africans, the African politicians in power, and the rich whites.
Would it not be possible to approach the matter from the absolutely opposite end, to decide, after calculating the cost and the methods of carrying out a plan, to create an African middle class community in twenty or thirty years and give 389 that date as the date after which there would be more Africans with the vote than whites? They could then do what they liked. It seems to me that if that were done, if we did hold the fort, we could bring the Rhodesians—at any rate, the ones I am in contact with—to believe by degrees in the possibility. Those who would not tolerate it would filter away and would not need to be compensated. They would take their opportunities. The noble Earl, Lord Swinton, in his eloquent speech, said, "Keep the door open". This is my contribution to keeping the door open. There is more I could say, but we have been waiting for nine hours, so I will sit down.
§ 11.2 p.m.
§ LORD MOWBRAY AND STOURTON
My Lords, after nine hours, as the noble Earl has just said, your Lordships have heard much wisdom, expressed with tremendous eloquence and sincerity, from all Parties and it leaves little for anybody else to say. But there is one point, which I feel may be stressed, which struck me during the extremely lucid and very fair account which the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor gave us at the beginning of the debate. He told us that Mr. Smith had said to him that if education appeared to be going too well, they would have to think about changing the qualifications. I think I have it roughly right. Obviously, I cannot answer for Mr. Smith, but from what a lot of Rhodesian friends have told me, and from what I have read in the Rhodesian papers, there is one point which ought to be made. Rhodesia, which is a small country in population, stands very high in the educational stakes. They are a people who are dedicated to giving multiracialism eventually. They are not like those living to the South of them, dedicated to not doing so. They are doing it, as the noble and learned Lord said, on the basis of various permutations and one of them is education.
If I may bore your Lordships with details, twelve years ago there were only 263,000 children in their schools. Last year, UNESCO reported that there were 628,000 black children and 36,000 white children between 5 and 14 in their schools. By any standard, this is a remarkable achievement. We all know that buildings are hard to get, and how 390 hard it is to find teachers. This is even more so in a country like Rhodesia. Furthermore, these figures represent 91.5 per cent. of all children of that age in Rhodesia. To compare this with the so-called conservative, enlightened countries, I would just mention one, Ethiopia, which has only 5 per cent. of its children at school. Secondary education has not been progressing so fast, but even here, last year 8,500 children were attending secondary schools, and this year this was expected to be up to 11,500. It is a significant jump. In due course, by these figures multiplying themselves, this would have the effect of giving the vote to more people, not only on the B Roll, but also on the A Roll, which we know is the important one.
There is another point which I think should be made. If sanctions are going to be effective, over a period of time this is obviously going to affect the finances of Southern Rhodesia. At the moment, they are spending on education 9 per cent. of their Budget. This is a large figure, and it is even higher, in a way, than we probably realise. Here in Britain, to educate one child we have three adults to pay taxes towards that child's education. In Rhodesia you have the extraordinary situation of what is really a young country in more ways than one. There, 50 per cent. of the population is under seventeen. This means that one adult has to pay for one child's education.
All this is going to be in jeopardy if sanctions become punitive and disruption takes place. This will put back for a decade, perhaps, some of the advancing youth of that country. This is exactly the opposite of what all Parties and all people of good will want. My only plea to your Lordships is: please do not let us put our necks too much in the noose and, as an honourable Member of another place on the Government Benches said the other day, regret that for the next ten years we shall be trying to undo what we do to-day.
§ 11.7 p.m.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
My Lords, I assure your Lordships that I shall be brief. I felt that I had to speak briefly in this debate, because I have quite a few friends in 391 Rhodesia, though I have no interests there. Every Member of this House has deplored the declaration of U.D.I., because we have to uphold the rule of law. Though I think that sometimes the law can be "an ass," perhaps that is not so on this occasion. What I am really worried about is the question of sanctions, and I should like to say a few words about that.
As I see it, sanctions will either be entirely ineffective, in which case they will make the British Government look foolish, or they will lead to chaos through unemployment and, therefore, unrest and a breakdown of law and order. If sanctions are imposed and they are effective, I think that what might perhaps happen is that we shall find a great common market created in the South of Africa. You will find that Rhodesia will be forced, much against her will, to join up with the Portuguese territories and South Africa. Presumably we do not want that to happen, though perhaps there might be worse solutions. I beg the Government to be careful over the question of sanctions. I agree that we must show displeasure to the illegal Rhodesian Government, but surely the withdrawing of Imperial Preference and such matters is sufficient.
With regard to the ineffectiveness of sanctions, I would point out that if, for instance, we try to put an embargo on oil, we do not control the world's oil supplies. What is to stop South Africa from buying oil from the world and selling it to Rhodesia? In order to make sanctions effective, we should presumably have to apply them to South Africa and to Portuguese territories, which would he quite impracticable. Another point, of course, as some noble Lords have said, is that if we do not buy Rhodesian tobacco it is also going to hurt us. I understand that we should have to purchase, presumably from America, about 100 million dollars worth of tobacco. Owing to our extremely unfavourable external balance of payments and our dollar shortage, I should have thought that this would be the last thing we should want to do, though no doubt it would be extremely gratifying for American tobacco growers.
On the subject of America, it really does irk me that we have them preaching 392 to us regarding the colour problem when their record is deplorable. If you take the State of Washington, I understand that over 60 per cent. of the population are coloured, and no coloured man is even allowed on a local council. In Rhodesia every African, if he has merit, can attain any office in public life. Therefore. I do object to our being taught our business in this matter by America.
The other thing which upset me is that I think it is most undignified that our Foreign Secretary has gone scurrying to the United Nations. By all means send him there, but he ought to say to the United Nations that Rhodesia is a colony, that it is completely our affair, and we propose to do (a), (b), (c) or (d). But to go to the United Nations and to ask for all their support to try to force Rhodesia to her knees through sanctions is extremely undignified and completely immoral. Who are the majority of the members of the United Nations? The majority of them are, as we know, tyrannical dictators. Some of them do not even pay their subscriptions to the United Nations: the British taxpayer subsidises quite a few of them. These are the people whom we are asking to advise us. Honestly, it is most hypocritical.
A number of noble Lords have praised the Prime Minister very highly for his handling of this crisis, but I cannot really agree with them. In my opinion, he has built up this crisis too much into a great world crisis. It appears that he was trying to find a Cuba to justify himself. But perhaps I am wrong here; it is only my opinion. However, I feel that if only we had played this matter down it would have been far better. Surely, by building it up into a great crisis we are only inflaming world opinion.
I agree there is no real parallel, but when South Africa went out of the Commonwealth, it was hardly mentioned. I agree that the parallel is not the same. If you take the India—Pakistan war, there you had the most appalling crisis that the Commonwealth has ever had to endure. But I cannot remember the Prime Minister appearing on television several times, or all this great activity, with everybody flying about the world. I should have thought that that was a far greater crisis than the Rhodesian crisis.
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS (LORD CHALFONT)
Will the noble Viscount allow me to intervene? I have listened to him with interest and growing astonishment, and I should like to ask him three questions. The first is on the question of Washington. Does the noble Viscount realise that Washington has, in fact, no Council but comes directly under the Central Legislature; and does he know how many Negroes are represented there? Does he know how many of the 117 countries of the United Nations are, in fact, tyrannical dictatorships; and will be agree that in fact the fighting in Pakistan and India was stopped by the sole intervention of the United Nations?
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
I can tell the noble Lord quite a few of the United Nations which are, in fact, dictatorships, and he knows as well as I do that great numbers of them are members of our Commonwealth. Does the noble Lord want me to enumerate them? There are Ghana, Tanzania, the Sudan, Pakistan and so on—one can remember dozens. Regarding the India—Pakistan war I agree that on the face of it the United Nations stopped it. But they stopped it only because the Great Powers were behind them. Rhodesia is a completely different matter, because it is entirely our affair.
The other thing on which I cannot agree with the Prime Minister was in his broadcast of 12th November, when he said that since the war the British Government had given freedom and independence to 700 million people. I would say that that is the mis-statement of the century. On the average, these 700 million people certainly have not got anything like the individual freedom they had in the former British Empire. They certainly do not have the impartial justice that they had then.
I think it is a pity that the Prime Minister has apparently tried to work up public opinion in this country against the Rhodesian Government. It is quite true that they have done an illegal act, but they do not embark on slippery politics, and they are, on the whole, a simple people of pure British stock. A large number of them are farmers—indeed, I know quite a few. We should not be hard on them. They may have erred, 394 but I thought the Prime Minister's statement on Thursday was really very cruel. I feel that nothing can be gained by absolutely crushing and browbeating them. By all means let them see that they have been foolish and have broken the law, but do let us try to keep the door open. I see no reason why we cannot reopen negotiations in a short time, after everything has simmered down. Time always has the effect of simmering down affairs like this.
I am sorry to keep returning to this subject of the Prime Minister, but the other thing he said—and I think it was also said by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor—was that we were trustees for the people of the Commonwealth; we were trustees for the minorities, as well as for the majorities. Of course, that is quite true. But then how about the Turkish minority in Cyprus? They are in the Commonwealth, but the whole time their position is being eroded. There are other instances of minorities who are having their position eroded in the Commonwealth. You cannot blame the Rhodesian Government for being frightened of the British Government's intentions.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, could the noble Viscount explain why you cannot blame them for being frightened of the British Government's intentions? We made it perfectly clear to them throughout the whole of the negotiations at every stage that nobody was trying to push them into anything at all. Nobody was trying to make an alteration; as long as they behaved constitutionally, we should behave constitutionally. They might pass laws under which an African throwing a stone would be subject to an automatic death penalty; we might disagree but we should not interfere. If Her Majesty exercised the power of reprieve, whatever we thought, she would do so not on the advice of her United Kingdom Ministers but on the advice of her Rhodesian Ministers. We should continue to observe this convention as long as they behaved constitutionally. There was nothing to stop them from going on as long as they liked under the 1961 Constitution, under which they had all the power. Will the noble Viscount explain how, in those circumstances, he now says they were naturally frightened by the British Government?
VISCOUNT MASERREENE AND FERRARD
I am not saying they were right to be naturally frightened. The British Government has obviously acted in perfectly good faith. The Rhodesian Government over the last few years have been let down; they have had so many changes with various British Governments that they probably now do not take British Governments at their 100 per cent. face value. I am not blaming the present Government. I am just saying that they probably did not believe that everything that was said was true. I am saying they cannot have had 100 per cent. trust, because if they had had 100 per cent. trust they would be quite crazy to declare U.D.I. I personally think they were crazy anyway. But I cannot believe even a madman would have declared U.D.I. if he had had 100 per cent trust.
I would make a last appeal. According to law, the present Government in Rhodesia is illegal, but it is apparently at the moment maintaining law and order and it also is an elected Government. I feel we have to be very careful before we destroy that Government, because if we destroy it then we shall probably destroy law and order, and Heaven knows where it is going to end. So I beg that we shall be very careful in our general dealings with this question.
§ 11.25 p.m.
§ LORD BADEN-POWELL
My Lords, one of the penalties of being the thirty-sixth speaker in a debate is the fact that most of the other people have said what you wish to say yourself. I therefore will not keep your Lordships long tonight. I must, however, before going any further, declare a form of interest in the matter, as many other noble Lords have done this evening, in that my family on my mother's side go back for four generations as Rhodesians—indeed, they came to that country in 1890 with the original settlers. My wife is also a second generation Rhodesian. She and I were both born in that country, and were at school there for the first few years of our lives.
I personally regret very much indeed the fact that Mr. Smith has declared independence. But I feel, as many noble Lords have felt today, that he, and indeed the whole population, both black and white, realised that they were in an 396 invidious position since the break-up of the Federation. We cannot deny that the prosperity of Rhodesia has been brought about by the white Rhodesians' expertise coupled with the black Rhodesians' hard work, and this has been achieved in a relatively harmonious atmosphere so far, just as we cannot deny—and this has already been stated many times to-day by many noble Lords—that this has resulted in one of the most prosperous and go-ahead countries on the African Continent, and one that must surely come under majority rule one day in the future. But as my noble friend Lord Hastings said earlier, with the rising feelings of active hostility, before U.D.I. was declared, among the other African States, in a blind and misguided attempt to stir up hot tempers and unrest in Rhodesia, and all this done with no regard to the 1961 Constitution—the 1961 Constitution did at least pave the way to some form of responsible majority rule—I feel that the Rhodesians of all denominations realised that some form of stand had eventually to be taken.
Unfortunately, this has taken the form, to date, of a tightening of controls and a restriction of freedom, which has transformed the country for the moment, at any rate, into the beginnings of a Police State. The dilemma, as has been mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, has been heightened by the abysmal lack of leadership or coherence so far shown by the African nationalist leaders in that country, and by an apparent lack of willingness on the part of Whitehall to make up its mind. Here again, my noble friend Lord Hastings hit the nail firmly on the head in this matter.
Surely this is one of the roots of the problem, our failure to solve it at a much earlier stage, for we have known that Rhodesia must take the notional step from self-government to independence in the very near future; and the fact that Britain has been so tardy in even attempting to find a permanent solution has been one of the main reasons for bringing about the thought of U.D.I. The blame must rest, to a great degree, on us here in Britain. After all, we have known about the threat of U.D.I. for over a year. It seems to me that the laws of basic justice demand of us in this country that we cannot, with a clear conscience, extract 397 reparation or wreak vengeance—call it what you like—on people in another country who have decided to take these drastic steps in an attempt to resolve a situation in regard to which we, in this country, have been so tardy and have not tried to resolve ourselves.
§ LORD BADEN-POWELL
If we had perhaps gone into this question more thoroughly at the end of the Federation—perhaps, as one noble Lord said earlier, if the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor had been in charge of the negotiations at the end of the Federation—I am sure we might have found a quite different situation from that obtaining to-day.
I now come to the possible consequences of the imposition of sanctions. Surely the imposition of sanctions of any description will serve only to make people more determined to see the thing out. When the severity of the sanctions increases, then the determination increases proportionately, and so the circle becomes tighter and tighter till we find no way out except chaos. I also believe that the Rhodesians will try to sweat it out. Supposing the régime of Mr. Smith were brought to its knees by this method and a more moderate Government could be formed, how would they be able to continue the policy of integration? For now that the tempers of black Africa are roused and crying for blood, we must be very naive to assume that they would allow any form of orderly integration to take place from now on. I fear that a more moderate Government in that unhappy country within the next few months, or even the next couple of years, will not be possible because it will be the signal for some one of Rhodesia's neighbours to the north to start a conflict which may have the most far-reaching results.
All I ask today is that we, as a nation, will consider very deeply and with much heart-searching before taking any step whatsoever that might jeopardise the situation of both white and black Rhodesians, or indeed our own position and commitments on the African Continent. The furore that will ensue on that Continent alone will be heavy 398 enough to bear, especially at the moment, with all the sabre-rattling and cries for blood emanating from the lips of the leaders of the so-called newly emergent countries. Should one of them, or a combination of a number of them, take the law into their own hands and start to flex their muscles, probably with Chinese and possibly Russian backing, they will be attempting to perpetrate another Congo bloodbath and will asuredly tip even further the fine balance which is already under severe strain between black and white Rhodesians.
Rhodesia will not be able to stop this, without the additional burden of economic sanctions and the stabbing in the back that would mean. Both Napoleon and Hitler learned that it was impossible to fight on two fronts, and should Rhodesia, as we know it today, have to fight on two fronts, one economic and one military, she will certainly be brought, albeit bloodily and chaotically, to her knees. Where do we go from there? The rift will have gone too far ever to be healed, and a once prosperous country will be an economic and political backwater. All the good work of the last few years will have been undone and it will all have been to no avail.
There have been many speakers to-day and we have still a great deal of work before us. I have therefore not spoken as fully as I should have liked. All we can hope is that Her Majesty's Government, and indeed the country as a whole, will temper its reasoning, not with thoughts of our losing face in the sight of the world, but rather of putting ourselves into the shoes of Rhodesians and first weighing the consequences of what may issue from the remainder of the African Continent and the United Nations before we ourselves take any action. After all, the thing is now done, it is an established fact at the moment, and there is not a great deal that we can do about it without doing it by force. We cannot allow a recurrence of the Algerian or Congo situation to take place. If this is so and if Rhodesia's neighbours to the North do attack, our rôle here in Britain may have to be extremely different from what it now is. We may find ourselves back-pedalling on decisions which we might have to take now. I therefore ask the House to consider very deeply 399 the sanctions which are now to be imposed before making those sanctions greater or harder to bear for the Rhodesian race.
§ 11.35 p.m.
§ LORD STRANGE
My Lords, I nave come to the conclusion that to say, "I promise to be brief" is unlucky; it does not seem to come off. So I shall say merely that I am on your side. As your Lordships have heard me say pretty often, I live in the Isle of Man, and to that lovely island comes a constant stream of colonists from all of our departing Colonies. Many of them are friends of mine, and they have asked me whether I would try to express their views in your Lordships' House. I think their views are sound, and to a great extent they differ from anything which I have heard in this debate. I think I should say about these people, that I always had the idea that the Empire-builders were alcoholic public schoolboys lying on divans, clapping their hands for chota pegs, or village maidens suddenly overnight growing into haughty queens. But since I have known them I have found them really hard-working, not always very well off—struggling like oneself—rather charming, and rather interested in the future of the country which they have been in for so long.
The first thing they told me, before the present terrible situation developed—and if it had been a racing tip it would have been rather a good one—was that they were afraid that Mr. Smith would win. My friends also said—and, peculiarly enough, it is exactly what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, in a brilliant speech—that they thought there would be many leaks if sanctions were employed, and that it would be a great pity if sanctions were ever employed because it would leave a permanent scar that would take a lot of healing. They thought that Mr. Smith would win, and they were sad that the British Government had been brought to this state, because they thought that they would lose face. This is not what I am saying; it is what I have been told.
The point which these people wanted to make was that when Europeans went to Africa their culture did not always fit in with the Africans, who, after all, are a different race, and that that caused a 400 certain amount of trouble. They told me something which I had never thought of before: that for centuries and centuries the Africans have been nomads, free-ranging people, and the European civilisation, which has shut them up in towns and kept them close together, has a deep psychological effect which they do not notice. This comes out, one might say, in the form of claustrophobia, which is inclined to involve them in riots, as happened in California this year. But my friends also said that the Africans in what they called purely African States were quite able to run their own countries, and to run them quite well.
I have to put brackets in here. What I have been saying is what I have been told. Now I come to what I have to say myself. Somebody told me that somebody else told him that he saw on television last night a document from Kenya, which was signed by prominent ex-British citizens of Kenya. These people live in an African State and they said that they were perfectly happy there under African rule. One of the signatures, I was told, was that of the noble Lord, Lord Delamere, who is one of my oldest friends, and I thought to myself "If Tom Delamere signed it, it will not be far wrong." The brackets are now closed, and I go on to say what I have been told.
As regards the Cape, which has a climate in which British and European people can live comfortably, I am told that when the Europeans first went to it there was nobody there at all; and when they went to Rhodesia the population was so thin on the ground that it could not be counted. They say the Europeans have built up these colonies and that they have made them progress, that they have put up their own buildings and that they are primarily European from beginning to end. They think that morally they really do belong to Europeans, while morally many of the other countries belong to Africans. That is their point of view.
They put it this way. They say that nobody seems to realise how big Africa is. They tell me that there are more live able acres to a human being in Africa than anywhere else in the world; that the countries are enormous and that there is room for all. They say that we in Europe think nothing odd of having 401 France, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Holland and all these places; we in England think nothing odd of having these different countries. If we go and work in Belgium, we naturally obey the Belgian laws and the Belgian customs, and we try to speak the Belgian language. If the French come over here, they try to obey our laws. They probably do not speak our language, but they do come over here and they are citizens while they are here. They think that is the aim of the development of Africa, that that is the future of it: certain purely European-ruled States which Africans can go into under European rule, and certain African-ruled States that anybody can go into and be under African rule. That is the view, as I have told you, that has been given to me by these friends of mine.
I think I should clear myself by saying that I have been to Africa, and that I enjoyed it very much—but then I enjoy going anywhere very much. Through the Victoria League I have had Africans to stay with me, and I thought them very charming. Anybody who laughs at my jokes I think charming. Really, I have no opinion about it. As on previous occasions, I have gone to the Gallup Poll and the National Opinion Poll—as I have told your Lordships before, I have very good access to them. This time I drew a blank. There seemed to be complete apathy. Nobody seemed to be interested in the question at all. But I trust, my Lords, that the British Government have better authority than one person I talked to. It was an old soldier, who said to me, "The Malawis were a wonderful race. They were great warriors, and they had all sorts of lovely ideas". I asked him what ideas they had, and he said he had forgotten. I asked him what his authority was, and he said King Solomon's Mines.
§ 11.43 p.m.
§ LORD RUSSELL OF LIVERPOOL
My Lords, I know that you are all waiting impatiently to hear the last two speeches, but it is not my fault that I am last in the queue. Having regard to what has been said by the noble Lord who has just sat down, I do not propose to say that I shall be brief, but I hope that I shall not speak for too long, and that your Lordships will bear with me 402 for a few minutes. I must say I am a little apprehensive as to whether I shall last as long as that, because a few moments ago, when the last noble Lord was speaking, I heard the noble Lady sitting just below me saying that she was in favour of euthanasia. I hope that she will refrain from using me as a guinea-pig at least until after I have finished my speech.
However much we may deplore the Unilateral Declaration of Independence made by Mr. Smith, I am sure that no one who has visited these countries which during the last few years have obtained their independence, and who has not had his eyes closed to what has been going on there, can fail to understand that many Rhodesians are discouraged, dismayed and somewhat apprehensive at what has happened in some of them since they obtained their independence. Furthermore, anyone who visited the Congo when the United Nations force was there and who did so again this year, as I have done, must fervently hope that there will be no direct intervention by the United Nations in Rhodesia. And if a resolution is put forward in the Security Council—and, so far as I know, that could be happening at the moment—which is asking for force to be used, I hope the Foreign Secretary will oppose it strongly and even, if necessary, use the veto.
Further, although it cannot be denied that Mr. Smith's Government have led the country into rebellion, I hope that the words "treason" and "traitor" will not be used any more in this country. They are words which should be reserved for more suitable occasions. To call the average Rhodesian a "traitor" is only going to make eventual reconciliation with Rhodesia (and I should have thought this was the aim of any British Government) more difficult to achieve. For the same reason, I would ask Her Majesty's Government to think hard before imposing punitive sanctions, by which I mean sanctions which are not purely consequential upon a state of rebellion, because to impose such punitive sanctions is, in my opinion, bound to disrupt the national unity in this country which it is essential that Her Majesty's Government should have behind them while this crisis lasts.
403 My Lords, there are three questions which I hope the noble Earl who is to speak for Her Majesty's Government at the end of this debate may be able to find time to answer. The first springs from the fact that some extremely irresponsible statements have been made recently by a number of African leaders, with one notable exception. Will Her Majesty's Government make it abundantly clear that neither they nor the majority of the people of this country approve of such statements and that such a bellicose attitude can only make the present situation worse? The second question is: Will Her Majesty's Government also inform those who have already been told that the recognition of the rebel Government in Rhodesia is an act of treason, that to recognise an African Government-in-exile will amount to the same thing? Thirdly, if the noble Earl can find the time to do so, will be tell the House what will be the position of a large number of residents in Rhodesia who served in the Forces and who are now in receipt of Service pensions?
There is only one other matter with which I wish to detain your Lordships. It is a matter which was dealt with by the noble Lord, Lord Glendevon. I should like to deal with it for a few moments in greater detail. He was talking about the position of Rhodesian civil servants in this country. They have been asked to sign this declaration. With your Lordships' permission, I should like to read it to the House.From the Commonwealth Relations Office. Declaration required. You are required to declare that you dissociate yourself from the purported declaration of independence made by Mr. Smith and his colleagues, that you do not accept the authority of any Government Mr. Smith and his colleagues may purport to constitute in pursuance of this illegal declaration of independence and you accept the continuing responsibility and authority for Southern Rhodesia of the Government and Parliament of the United Kingdom. If you decline to make a declaration in the above terms you will be regarded as having chosen to adhere to Mr. Smith's illegal régime.I have always believed that the sanctity of the political beliefs of permanently established officials has always been respected. These Rhodesian officials are now required publicly to dissociate themselves from their employers, the de facto Government of Rhodesia. If they refuse 404 to do so they will be deemed to have thrown in their lot with the illegal régime.
I would ask your Lordships to consider the dreadful position in which an African holding such a position finds himself in. There are Africans in this country holding such positions. If he elects to sign the declaration, then in the event of the Smith Government lasting, he will have cut himself off from his own country. If he refuses to sign, then in the event at some date of constitutional Government being re-established in Rhodesia, he would be a marked man as soon as African majority rule came about. I hope that Her Majesty's Government may have second thoughts about this. I agree with noble Lords who have said that this is no time to listen to extremists. The Prime Minister said that any one in favour of ought to have his head examined. It is to be hoped that good sense and sanity will get Her Majesty's Government through the trying times ahead.
§ 11.51 p.m.
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, I do not think that anybody could say that we have not had a full debate. We have discussed this issue for ten hours and I think that I am the 42nd speaker. This has been a remarkable debate, and we have heard some notable speeches. In particular, I think that all noble Lords would like me to mention the speeches of my noble friend Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, and the noble Lords, Lord Macpherson of Drumochter and Lord Vernon, who made their maiden speeches in this debate. They all made splendid contributions.
Of all the other speeches, I hope that your Lordships will not think it invidious if I mention only one, but it was one which struck me very much—that was the speech of my noble friend Lord Hastings. He speaks with great knowledge of Southern Rhodesia, but his exposition was, if I may say so, most dispassionate and well instructed, and it added greatly not only to the credit of this House but also to the reputation of my noble friend.
This is, of course, a debate which we all hoped would never take place, of a situation which we all hoped would never arise. I do not think that there is anyone in this House, and very few outside it, 405 who can be anything but dismayed, and profoundly shocked, at Mr. Smith's decision unilaterally to declare indedependence. Everyone, in every Party, has advised Mr. Smith and his colleagues against it, and no one knows what the consequences of his decision will be. No doubt historians in future, when looking through the events which led up to this climax, will say that a Conservative Government should have done this or a Labour Government might have done that. But of one thing I am quite sure. However Governments may emerge, whether with credit or blame, the Governor, Sir Humphrey Gibbs, will universally he held to have done his duty, and done it nobly. It cannot have been easy for him. He is a Rhodesian resident of long standing, and comes of an old and distinguished English family. The decisions he has had to take in the last few months must have been heartbreaking, yet everything he has done has been absolutely right and absolutely consistent with his position as Her Majesty's representative. I know that it will be the unanimous view of this House that he has behaved with dignity and courage and has well served the Crown.
It would be foolish to deny that over past years there have been many different views about the situation in Rhodesia. A great many people, and certainly I myself, have felt sympathy with the position of the white Rhodesian. As my noble friend Lord Salisbury said, we have felt on many occasions that here were a people who come from the same stock as ourselves; who have worked hard in their country; who are responsible for the high standard of living which they enjoy, and the high standard of living of all their people, African, Indian and European. Some of us have thought it natural, having regard to some of the things that have happened in other parts of Africa, that there has been a feeling by successive Rhodesian Governments that to plunge Rhodesia too quickly into a state of majority rule might for everyone, both black and white, be the worst thing that could happen. Indeed, I do not think there has been anybody—certainly not the Prime Minister, because he has said so—who thinks that at this particular moment it would be right that there should be a Rhodesian Constitution which would ensure a large African majority.
406 All of us feel that there should be majority rule. The dispute between us has largely been one of timing. Those who sit on the Benches opposite think, perhaps, that majority rule should come sooner, for example, than those who take the view of my noble friend Lord Salisbury. But the fact remains that the difference, in essence, has been one of timing. Certainly I felt, and I think that others like me felt, that if we could ensure that the 1961 Constitution was, at any rate for the time being, properly applied, so that African advancement could be assured, then in the course of time—and we should have to see how long it would be—everyone of good will would agree to another step forward towards complete independence and majority rule.
Here I associate myself very much with what the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack said. I have not been able to see why the Rhodesians have found that attitude so difficult to accept. They have, after all, had control over their internal affairs for a great many years. The substance of independence was already theirs. Almost everybody was agreed on the ultimate aim—or, at any rate, they said they were agreed on the ultimate aim. It would have been up to the British Government, whether Conservative or Labour, to support them as they moved steadily forward; and not only to support them, but to hold back the more extreme forms of African and other opinion which were asking for much too much, much too soon. But the fact of the matter is, as everyone knows, that Mr. Smith was not content with this, and was not prepared to accept some of the very conciliatory suggestions put forward to him by the Prime Minister. He has decided to take the plunge, and we are now faced with a situation which all of us have tried to avoid and which all of us have headed. We have in front of us the terrible examples of the Congo and of Algeria, the suffering and the misery, the racialism and hate which have grown out of those two tragic events. At all costs, we have to avoid that.
What we are debating here this evening are the measures which Her Majesty's Government are proposing to take as a result of Mr. Smith's action. Where do we co from here? What are we to do to put right the situation which all of 407 us deplore? There are some who feel (I think the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, is one) that since Mr. Smith and his Government have rebelled against the Crown, force should be used to restore the situation. But I do not think there are many who feel that; or, indeed, that those who have advocated that solution have fully considered the consequences of that action, not only the consequences in Rhodesia itself, but the consequences in the neighbouring countries, and, perhaps more important still, in this country. I am glad that the Prime Minister has set his face against that.
We are then left with two other alternatives. One is to do nothing, and to hope that public opinion, both in Rhodesia and in the world, will force the Rhodesian people to reconsider the action they have taken; that the moderates in Rhodesia will be able to make their view felt and that another Government will emerge which can restore the situation to its pre-U.D.I. position. I am bound to say that I think that outcome would be most unlikely. We have to consider the effect of doing nothing on our friends and potential enemies around the world. We have to consider the effect of inaction on the United Nations and on other people more extreme than some in the United Nations, and some who would wish to use force for purposes not necessarily connected with Rhodesia. We have to consider whether, if we do nothing, it may not appear that the British Government are abdicating power and responsibility and appearing to condone the actions of Mr. Smith, which both major Parties have declared to be illegal.
Or, thirdly, we can take some such action as the Prime Minister in another place has described, for which purpose the Government are seeking wide powers under a Bill which we hope shortly to receive from the House of Commons. Let me make it perfectly clear that we on this side of the House, as I believe it is true of noble Lords opposite, believe that this is a matter purely for the British Government. Rhodesia is a British responsibility. The declaration of independence was directed at Britain and the Crown. The United Nations and other countries do not enter into it, except in so far as we invite them to do so. Now if that is right, are the 408 Government then asking unreasonably for powers to impose some penalties and sanctions on Rhodesia as a result of her action? Anyone who has read this Bill will see that it in fact gives very wide powers indeed to the Government. Under it, the Government can suspend, amend, revoke or add to the provisions of the Constitution of 1961, and they can impose prohibitions, restrictions or obligations relating to Southern Rhodesia or any such persons or things.
When my colleagues and I first saw this Bill, we were concerned to ensure that Her Majesty's Government should justify the introduction of a Bill with such wide powers. I have followed, as I am sure all your Lordships have followed, the assurances which have been given in another place, and will, I hope, be given here this evening, as to how the Government will operate the Bill. They have told us—and I hope the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, or the noble Earl the Leader of the House will repeat this—that they will propose the suspension of the Constitution only in the gravest of emergencies, and that before they do so they will first come to Parliament. They have told us that on other Orders that are laid under this Bill they will give facilities for an immediate debate. It is. I think, fairly well known that, because of the anxiety of those who sit on this side of the House here and in another place, the Negative Resolution procedure which was orginally in the Bill was altered to an Affirmative Resolution procedure.
The Prime Minister and Ministers in this House have also described what steps they intend to take under this Bill. Broadly speaking, they seem to follow automatically from the consequences of what Mr. Smith has done. If any other steps are proposed by the Government, the House has an opportunity of debating them and of making up its mind about them under the Affirmative Resolution procedure and with the guarantee that time will be made available for that debate. Should this state of affairs arise, I do not doubt that the House will judge each individual Order on its merits. It will inquire as to its purpose, and weigh up the likelihood of its success in achieving that purpose. I think myself that the Government have gone a long way 409 towards meeting the initial objections which were aroused by the wide scope of this Bill. I think any Government, faced with a situation so grave, is entitled to ask Parliament for powers of this kind, provided assurances like those I have outlined have been given.
My Lords, it may be that some of your Lordships think that the measures the Government have outlined go too far. Some may think that they do not go far enough. For myself I believe that the Government could have done no less than to make it abundantly clear to the Rhodesian Government that certain consequences must inevitably follow from U.D.I. Sanctions, whether they are consequential or not, hurt. Some of the measures which the Government take will hurt. It is a matter of judgment as to how much further, if at all, one should go in this direction, but, my Lords, I think it is a matter of judgment and not one of principle.
All your Lordships will realise that the proceedings of Parliament will be watched closely by our friends abroad and by the Rhodesian people themselves. The Governor has made his stand plain. The Chief Justice has made his position abundantly clear. We should do nothing this evening which would be construed in the smallest degree as giving comfort to Mr. Smith and his Government. By no action we take this evening must we ever be accused of condoning what he has done. I hope that this evening all of us, whatever Party we belong to, will be agreed that however distasteful it may be to us, and for however short a time we hope these powers will operate, the Government should have the powers they ask for and we should allow them to have the Second Reading of this Bill.
§ 12.7 a.m.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE EARL OF LONGFORD)
My Lords, we have often heard the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition to great advantage in this House, but I do not think it is only because we agree with him so entirely tonight that many of us will feel we have never heard him make a more notable contribution. Certainly he has played a further part in building that national unity which has been such a feature of these difficult days in both Houses, and we would echo many things 410 he said, including his heartfelt tribute to the Governor of Rhodesia. We would also join him in congratulating all three maiden speakers, led, if I may put it that way, by the noble Lord, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden. He singled out the noble Lord, Lord Hastings, who did indeed make a moving speech, and perhaps I may be allowed to mention two other speakers, at the risk of a great deal of unpopularity elsewhere. I think most of us must have felt that the noble Lord, Lord Alport, lived up to the expectations that we have formed of him, and the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, gave us the benefit of many years enduring self-sacrifice on behalf of the African peoples.
My Lords, we all want to get on to the Bill, and that means very few remarks from me. I imagine that there are few speakers who will be so querulous as to ask, after my observations, why their questions were not answered in detail. Therefore, I am afraid I shall have to break our ordinary rules and reply to hardly any questions at all. The noble Lord, Lord Colyton, asked a number of highly pertinent questions, and to show that I have made a note of them may I refer to one at least: "Under what powers were the Rhodesian Ministers dismissed?" They were dismissed by the Governor acting on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen and on her instructions, under Section 43 of the Constitution, which provides that the Ministers hold office during Her Majesty's pleasure.
Perhaps I should at least refer, although I am not in a position to answer it at all explicitly, to the very important question asked by the noble Lord, Lord Caccia, and echoed—although I am afraid I was out of the Chamber at the time—by the noble Lord, Lord Glendevon. The noble Lord, Lord Caccia, asked what would be the position when this emergency passed in Rhodesia: what could we expect then and what could the Rhodesians expect then? The short answer is that any Government in that situation would be appointed by the Governor, and could be appointed only by him. One would hope that a normal situation of that kind would be restored as soon as possible, but I realise that the noble Lord's question went rather wider than that and perhaps I could answer it on another occasion, after full consultation.
§ LORD GLENDEVON
My Lords, will the noble Earl permit me to intervene? The noble Earl referred to me but in fact I did not ask that question. I asked about compensation to those servants of the Crown in Rhodesia and elsewhere who opted for loyalty to the Crown. I quite understand that the noble Earl cannot answer this question now.
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
I am sorry; it arose from my temporary absence; I have heard most of the ten hours' debate, but I missed the noble Lord's speech. The short answer to the noble Lord's question is that the Prime Minister said in another place that we think there would be general agreement that we should accept responsibility for public servants in Rhodesia who out of conscience feel they cannot serve the régime, and proposals will come before Parliament in due course.
There was one issue which came up in various forms during the debate; that is, the question of whether the positions of the two Governments were irreconcilable. In one sense, of course, there has been a fundamental clash ever since the elections at the end of 1962. If anyone wants that developed more fully, I recommend him to read the noble Lord's remarkably fine book where it will all be set out most cogently. But, of course, there is a fundamental clash between anyone who believes in democracy as we understand it in this country and the forces in Rhodesia, those particular forces in Rhodesia, which, as mentioned by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor at the beginning, do not believe in majority rule. May I say to the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, that this official record of documents relating to the negotiations is, I understand, broadly agreed; it is not a question of one man's opinion against another. In the official record on page 72 Mr. Smith is quoted to this effect:He must make it clear that the Government Party in Rhodesia did not believe in majority rule.When one talks of a clash of philosophies, of course one finds it expressed there. I do not think one could say more about that tonight, except that no one who understands democracy as we understand it here could accept that point of view for a moment. 412 However, if one asks whether a rebellion of this kind was inevitable—whether in that sense the positions were irreconcilable, may I say that the Prime Minister (and all will be happy at the tributes paid to him today) has made it plain, and it comes out clearly from the record, there was nothing irreconcilable about setting up the Royal Commission; there was no difference at all when it came to the point. When it came to the point Mr. Smith could not point to any reason why this Royal Commission should not be set up. One is forced to the conclusion that he did not want it set up, or rather the dominant elements in his Government did not want this Royal Commission set up. They were determined to make a break, and all the efforts of the Prime Minister and everybody else foundered on that intransigence, and in that sense the positions were irreconcilable. The Rhodesian leaders refused to allow them to be reconciled; they insisted on a showdown and break. Sir Winston Churchill once called the last world war "the unnecessary war", and I think we can fairly call this the most unnecessary rebellion of all time, because, by the time the position had been clarified and cleared up, there was nothing irreconcilable about the establishment of the Royal Commission.
Now we have come to sanctions. I do not want to cross-examine noble Lords opposite on what some of them have said about sanctions. I think the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, made a superb speech on that aspect, but again I perhaps say that because I agree with him and, of course, the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. One does not need their juristic or forensic skill and knowledge in order to put one or two extremely awkward questions to anyone who shrinks from the kind of sanctions which we recommend. We ask, "Do we want these sanctions to be effective?", and that is the vital point. Of course, it would be ludicrous if we went through all this just as a means of expressing disapproval. They are meant to bite, to hurt; but let me say at once that we do not like hurting or being punitive. Having written a small hook on punishment, which my noble friend Lord Stonham has been kind enough to put in the Library of the House, I do not want to 413 be semantic about it, but these sanctions are intended to bring about a change of heart in Rhodesia.
That is the reason, and I agree with the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, and the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor on what they have said elsewhere. If one is asked whether one knows that they will hurt, then one must admit it. Unhappily, it would be impossible to select one gentleman in Rhodesia and say, "You are the guilty party and these sanctions are to hurt you, and you only." If we are imposing sanctions on a country, then they will hurt that country as a whole; but we hope that there will be a change of heart quickly, and the sooner then we shall be able to make friends again.
We are all agreed that this is an illegal act on the part of the present régime in Rhodesia. It cannot be condoned in any way, as Lord Carrington has said. Then we come to what might effectively be done. We eschew military force, but we embark on the sanctions with no kind of avidity whatsoever. On the contrary, we look forward to the next period with extreme reluctance and regret. Yet we cannot hesitate when we think of the world issues; and, when thinking of this, I am thinking not only of world pressures. The Government of this country cannot neglect this international course—for that is what it is. I am thinking here of some of the speeches we have heard. Lord Brockway spoke most eloquently on this aspect. We cannot say that the 200,000 are all Rhodesia. They are as much a part of Rhodesia as any other part, but we have all to recognise our ultimate and undying responsibility for the whole 4¼ million people, which is the total if the African and white populations are added together. If we simply shrug our shoulders and allow those who embark on such illegal action to get away with it, then we shall be dishonouring the name of Britain; and that, I believe, would not be, and would not deserve to be, forgiven by history.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.