§ 3.38 p.m.
§ THE LORD PRIVY SEAL (THE EARL OF LONGFORD)
My Lords, with permission, I should like to repeat a Statement on Rhodesia which my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has just made in another place. His words were:
"As the House will know, my right honourable friend the Commonwealth Secretary returned this morning from his visit to Salisbury, where he had extensive talks with the Governor and also saw Mr. Smith.
"The Government will, of course, be considering most carefully his report on his discussions and, at the earliest possible moment, a fuller Statement will be made."
§ My Lords, that concludes the Prime Minister's Statement.
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Earl for repeating that Statement. May I ask him whether this means that the Government do not intend to take any action at the United Nations, as has been so widely rumoured in the last few days they intend to do, and that before they take action at the United Nations there will be an opportunity for this House to debate the whole question?
§ THE EARL OF LONGFORD
My Lords, I appreciate the force of what the noble Lord, Lord Wade, has said, and also the concluding observations of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington. I am afraid that the Government are to-day 497 considering this whole question with exceptional care, and I have nothing to add to what I have told the House this afternoon. The House must not draw any conclusion either optimistic or pessimistic from that. The House must, I am afraid, just accept from me that the Government are weighing up the whole situation most carefully this very day.
§ LORD CARRINGTON
My Lords, of course, I accept that, and I do not want to press the noble Earl too hard, but he will remember that undertakings were given, both in this House and in another place, that before the next stage was taken there would be an opportunity for a debate in both Houses of Parliament. I do not see that anything that has happened in the last few days needs to have changed that pledge.