§ 2.45 p.m.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARYOF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS (LORD BESWICK)
My Lords, I beg to move that the two Orders standing in my name on the Order Paper be approved. First, I must apologise for a much longer speech than I should like to inflict on your Lordships, but I feel it will be required of me faithfully to explain these lengthy and somewhat involved Orders.
The purpose of these two Orders is to give effect, when read together with the 1146 1965 Petroleum Order, to the Resolution of the Security Council adopted on December 16, 1966. That Resolution imposes a binding obligation on all member States of the United Nations to provide for effective and selective economic sanctions against Rhodesia. We shall honour our obligations. At the same time, it will be noted, our responsibility for sanctions is now shared. Like some of the other Orders made under the Southern Rhodesia Act that have come before this House, these two operate not only as part of the law of the United Kingdom but also in certain respects as part of the law of Southern Rhodesia itself. They do not operate as part of the law of any other of our overseas territories but so far as is necessary, separate and corresponding provision has been made for that.
Article 1 of the principal Order prohibits the import into the United Kingdom of goods specified in Schedule I to the Order that have been exported from Southern Rhodesia since the commencement of the Order. These goods are: asbestos, iron ore, chrome, pig-iron, sugar, tobacco, copper, meat and meat products, and hides, skins and leather. Under paragraph (2) the Article has effect as an enactment relating to customs so that all the provisions of the Customs and Excise Act 1952 concerned with the import of goods are applied. I appreciate that this method of legislating by reference does not normally commend itself to this House, and I must explain why we thought there were good reasons for adopting it in this particular case and that of Article 3 dealing with exports.
As the House knows, we have had in force for over a year now a ban on the import from, and the export to, Rhodesia of virtually all goods, certainly all those covered by the Security Council Resolution. This ban has been imposed under the standing legislation under which all our export and import controls are operated. It is enforced and administered by the Customs and Excise largely through the machinery of the Customs and Excise Act 1952. Articles 1 and 3 of the Order do not, therefore, materially alter the position prior to these Orders having been laid.
But it was thought desirable that we should be able to point to specific legislation prohibiting the import and the 1147 export of the goods mentioned in the Security Council Resolution. On the other hand, we still wanted Customs and Excise, with all their expertise in these matters, to continue as the Department responsible for enforcing the prohibitions. We also wanted them to have at their disposal machinery and administrative and legal procedures to which both they and the importing and exporting trades are accustomed. Since it would not have been a practical proposition to have reenacted, with all the necessary adaptations, all the relevant provisions of the Customs and Excise Act 1952—the Act runs to hundreds of sections and many Schedules—we decided, reluctantly, to draft Articles 1 and 3 in the form which they now take. I hope that the House will agree that in the circumstances this procedure was justifiable.
It may help if I give a few examples of the more important provisions of the Customs and Excise Act which will thus be available for the purposes of these two Articles. Section 44 deals with goods improperly imported; Section 45 deals with penalties for improper importation; Section 56 with offences in relation to the exportation of prohibited goods and the penalties for such offences; Section 301 with the penalties for making untrue declarations and statements; and Section 304 deals with knowingly dealing in prohibited goods. These, I should have thought, were all straightforward administrative procedures, and I mention them simply to show that although this Order is dealing with matters by reference they are not matters about which there is any secrecy.
Article 2 (except for paragraph (5)), operates as part of the law of Southern Rhodesia as well as of the United Kingdom. It prohibits the export from Southern Rhodesia of the goods specified in Schedule 1 to the Order and also prohibits certain ancillary transactions. In particular, paragraphs (2) and (4) regulate contracts concerned with the export of such goods and other acts calculated to promote their export; paragraph (3) regulates dealings in such goods that have been exported in contravention of the Order; and paragraph (5) deals with transmission of funds to, or for the credit of, persons in Southern Rhodesia for the 1148 purposes of a transaction involving the export of goods contrary to the Order.
Paragraph (6) of Article 2, together with two other corresponding provisions elsewhere in this Order, is the subject of the amendment effected by the Second Order. Paragraph (6) as originally enacted followed the form which has been virtually common form in these Orders. It declared, in effect, that contravention of certain provisions constituted an offence if committed by any person in the United Kingdom or in Southern Rhodesia (since the provision operated as part of the law of both those countries) and also if committed anywhere else in the world by persons falling into any of the three categories described in sub-paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) of paragraph (6). No difficulty has arisen over the second and third of the categories described in paragraph (6). But the definition of the first category, that is to say, the category described in sub-paragraph (a), did on reflection seem open to criticism in two respects. First, it did not cover persons who, though United Kingdom citizens or British citizens without citizenship or British protected persons, were not ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom. This could, at least on the technical level, be criticised as a failure to give full effect to the Security Council Resolution, which requires us to cover the activities of all our nationals. Secondly, there was always the possibility of such a person committing in some other country an act which is forbidden both by this Order and by the corresponding law of his own territory and then turning up in this country. In such a case he would not only be immune in practice from prosecution under his own law but he would also be legally immune from prosecution here since he was not ordinarily resident here. To deal with both these points it was therefore decided to remove the limitation inherent in the words "and is ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom" that appear in sub-paragraph (a) of paragraph (6) of Article 2, and also in the corresponding provisions in Articles 4(2) and 6(6). At the same time, it was thought desirable to bring the corresponding provision of Article 1(2) of the Petroleum Order exactly into line. Hence the amending Order.
1149 Articles 1 and 2 of the principal Order have dealt with the export of certain goods from Southern Rhodesia. Articles 3, 4 and 5 deal with trade in the reverse direction; that is to say, with the supply of certain goods to Southern Rhodesia. Article 3 prohibits the export from the United Kingdom to Southern Rhodesia of the goods specified in Schedule 2 to the Order. Article 4 prohibits the supply or delivery of those goods to Southern Rhodesia and also prohibits certain ancillary transactions. Article 5 prohibits the import of those goods into Southern Rhodesia and, again, certain ancillary transactions. The goods in question are: arms, ammunition, aircraft, motor vehicles, and equipment and materials for the manufacture, assembly or maintenance of any of these goods. The question whether equipment and materials are in fact for the manufacture, assembly or maintenance of any of these goods may not be readily apparent in every case, and to meet this difficulty Part II of Schedule 2 lays down certain rules. Broadly speaking, the effect of these rules is that equipment and materials are deemed to be for a prohibited purpose if, and only if, it is shown that the person concerned himself intended that they should be used for that purpose or if it is shown that he had reasonable cause to believe that another person intended that they should be used for that purpose.
I should emphasise again that, though petroleum is not one of the commodities covered by Articles 3, 4 and 5, the supply of petroleum to Southern Rhodesia contrary to the Security Council Resolution is adequately covered by the Southern Rhodesia (Petroleum) Order 1965. Articles 3 and 4 of this Order and Articles 1 and 3 of the Petroleum Order are in fact now virtually identical. Article 6 deals with the manufacture and assembly in Southern Rhodesia of motor vehicles and aircraft. Paragraph (1) directly prohibits the use or operation of undertakings in Southern Rhodesia for this purpose, and paragraphs (2), (3) and (4) strike at certain related or ancillary transactions which might otherwise enable this prohibition to be evaded or disregarded.
Article 7 is the provision which gives effect to that part of the Security Council 1150 Resolution which calls upon States to prevent the carriage of the various prohibited commodities in their ships and aircraft. It will be seen that paragraphs (1) and (3) deal with goods exported from Rhodesia and paragraphs (2) and (4) with goods that are being carried to Rhodesia. It will also be seen that, because of the different nature of these two situations, the offences concerned are framed in somewhat different terms, and the ship-owner or master who is accused of carrying goods to Rhodesia and who is relying upon absence of guilty knowledge has a rather wider defence open to him. Again, I should remind the House that the carriage of petroleum is not covered by this Article, but that Article 2 of the Petroleum Order is the virtual equivalent of paragraphs (2) and (4) of this Article.
Before turning to Article 8, I should emphasise that Articles 4, 5, 6 and 7, like most of Article 2, form part of the law of Southern Rhodesia as well as of the United Kingdom. Article 8 confers certain powers to investigate ships and aircraft that are suspected of being involved in the carriage of goods contrary to Article 7 or to the Southern Rhodesia (Petroleum) Order 1965. In respect of ships, these powers are conferred on authorised officers; that is to say, on naval and military officers, customs officers, consular officers and Board of Trade officials. In respect of aircraft they are conferred on the Board of Trade and officers of Customs and Excise. They are wide-ranging powers, but they are justified. I hope noble Lords will agree that we cannot afford to have British ships and aircraft flouting the Security Council Resolution with impunity. I am sure that in most cases these powers will not need to be used, but, in view of the wide diversity of ships and aircraft that operate under British registration, we cannot rule out the odd case of deliberate contravention, and in any case the mere existence of these powers should be a deterrent to anyone in the shipping trade who might be tempted to evade the sanctions. The fact that we have taken these powers will also help us to persuade other countries to police their own shipping equally effectively. Conversely, it will help us to resist any demand, wherever it may come from, that any other authority should police our shipping. For all these reasons, I hope 1151 that the House will agree that this provision, though drastic, is justified.
On a matter of further detail, I would point out to the House the difference in paragraph (1) of this Article between the powers in respect of a ship outward bound from Africa with a suspected Rhodesian cargo, and the powers in respect of the more urgent case of a ship inward bound with a cargo suspected of being destined for Rhodesia. In the former case there is not the same urgent necessity for interference, and we have therefore not thought it right to take a power to do this.
Article 9 and Schedule 3 confer certain powers on the Treasury, the Board of Trade and the Commissioners of Customs and Excise to obtain evidence and information for the purpose of securing compliance with, or detecting evasion of, this Order, or of the prohibition on the carriage of petroleum that is imposed by the Southern Rhodesia (Petroleum) Order. Again, these powers are admittedly wide-ranging and, in a sense, drastic. But again they are powers that we cannot afford to dispense with, if the prohibitions we have imposed are to be a reality and not mere window-dressing. For the most part, I am sure that the commercial community will scrupulously comply with the law, and it is only fair to the majority that we should have power to deal with the few black sheep.
Article 10 deals with penalties and with proceedings for offences against the Order. I would particularly draw attention to paragraph (5). This provides that proceedings for an offence against the Order shall not be instituted except by, or with the consent of, the Treasury or the Board of Trade or, in England and Wales, the Director of Public Prosecutions, or, in Northern Ireland, the Attorney General for Northern Ireland. This ensures that prosecutions will not be brought lightly or frivolously. Proceedings for offences under the Customs and Excise Act 1952 can only be brought by the Commissioners of Customs and Excise. Article 11 deals with the discharge of the functions conferred by the Order on the Treasury and the Board of Trade. The discharge of the functions of the Commissioners of Customs and Excise is covered by the 1952 Act.
Article 12 contains the usual interpretative provisions. Paragraph (2) makes 1152 it clear that goods passing through Rhodesia merely in transit are not caught by the Order. This is intended to prevent, in particular, any difficulty about the transit through Rhodesia of goods from Zambia, especially Zambian copper. Paragraph (3) makes it clear that goods imported into Rhodesia for the purpose of the three Common Service Organisations are also not caught by the Order. Finally, paragraph (4) safeguards the position of vehicles and aircraft whose entry into Rhodesia, either on an ad hoc journey or as part of a regular scheduled service, is merely incidental to their carrying persons or goods and is not part of the process of importation in the ordinary sense of that word. Article 13 deals with the commencement of the Order and also specifies those provisions which operate as part of the law of Southern Rhodesia as well as of the United Kingdom.
My Lords, I apologise again for the fact that I have gone on at some considerable length, but I assume that noble Lords would wish that this Order is correctly and fully explained, and that we can later, if necessary, read in Hansard what is it all about. The mandatory Resolution, which these two Orders are designed to implement, opened a new phase in this unhappy business. The commodities covered by the Resolution comprise 60 per cent. of Rhodesian total exports in 1965. If the embargoes are successful—and we shall do our utmost to ensure they are successful—Rhodesia's exports will be reduced by up to a further £30 million, with particularly serious effects on the mining and agricultural sectors. I say this in no spirit of vindictiveness, and with no feeling of satisfaction whatsoever. I want the sanctions to be as severe as possible so that the time that they apply shall be as short as possible. Sanctions can be ended only when Rhodesia returns to legal rule and the way is opened up for all Rhodesia's people, of all colours, to play the fullest part of which they are capable, in the political and economic developmnt of their country. It is because I believe that most of us in this House seek that objective that I hope these Orders will be approved. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the Southern Rhodesia (Prohibited Trade and Dealings) Order 1966 be approved.—(Lord Beswick.)1153
LORD COLER A1NE
My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Lord could enlighten us on one point? Could he tell us how many Governments which are members of the United Nations have passed legislation to give effect to the Resolution of the United Nations?
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, a number have passed legislation, a number are in the process of passing legislation, and some countries do not require to pass legislation. But all member States must report to the Secretary-General of the United Nations by the 15th of this month on the action which has been taken.
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, as I say, all member nations must report to the Secretary-General by the 15th of this month, and until that time, until the Secretary-General reports to the Security Council, it is not possible to give any complete figures.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord a question arising out of that? Could the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor say at the end of the debate how many have at any rate already begun the measures?
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, I have no doubt that my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor will have a good deal of information to give at the end of the debate. Whether figures of that kind can be collected and are useful at this transitional stage is a matter for discussion.
§ 3.8 p.m.
§ LORD HARLECH
My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, said, the laying of these Orders before Parliament represents a further chapter in the unhappy story of this country's relations with Southern Rhodesia. As he freely admitted, he dealt at some length with the precise scope and purposes of these Orders; and no doubt some Members of your Lordships' House will wish to comment on and question some of the detailed provisions contained in these Orders. However, I wish to confine myself to explaining my general attitude towards these Orders. Certainly they deserve serious discussion, particularly 1154 since, in answering questions last Tuesday, the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor indicated that this would be a suitable opportunity on which we might take up various points concerning Her Majesty's Government's action in taking the whole question of Southern Rhodesia to the United Nations in December.
I do not think it is necessary for me to restate the reasons why we on these Benches deplored Her Majesty's Government's action. We did so since we did not believe it was in the long-term interests either of this country or of Southern Rhodesia. We made our views absolutely clear by voice and by vote when we debated the whole matter at some considerable length last December. However, I think it right that I should take a few minutes to explain our disapproval of the Resolution introduced by the United Kingdom in the Security Council, which was urged by the United Kingdom in that Council and which was pressed upon other members of the Security Council by Her Majesty's Government's representatives, and which appears to be the principal reason why we are now asked to assent to these Orders extending the scope of sanctions against Southern Rhodesia; although in the earlier part of his speech the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, rather indicated that the Government were particularly anxious that the Security Council should see that at least we were doing something after having passed this particular Resolution.
I appreciate what the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, said last week, to the effect that the Security Council cannot be legally fettered with regard to what it judges to be a threat to peace. Nevertheless, it still seems to me to be of immense importance that members of the Security Council should exercise the greatest care in the interpretation of the Charter. Above all, the representatives of this country should set the highest standard in seeking to uphold the clear intentions of the provisions of the Charter. I do not believe that they have done so on this occasion. I believe that they have been motivated by a political expediency which can do only harm, both to the United Nations and to the interests of this country in 1155 the long run. Her Majesty's Government may be right in law, although eminent men—and perhaps some of them will speak this afternoon—are prepared to dispute even this; but I am sure it is quite wrong for Britain to take the lead in urging on members of the Security Council such a grotesque interpretation of the Charter.
Last week at Question Time I mentioned that the former Secretary of State in the United States of America, Mr. Dean Acheson, was among those who held this view. He holds the view strongly, and as he has a rather trenchant way of expressing himself I thought I would quote some of his words this afternoon. These were contained in a letter that he wrote to the Washington Post:Rhodesia's voting laws and system of popular representation in its Legislature are not contrary to any international obligation. The one-man, one vote deduction from the Fourteenth Amendment"—of course, he is there talking about the United States Constitution—is not recognised in international law, as our friend King Feisal of Saudi Arabia can testify. Indeed, the present system in Rhodesia, broadly speaking, has been in effect and regarded with complacency in Great Britain for nearly half-a-century.He then goes on to say—…this system operates entirely within the boundaries of Rhodesia and affects no-one else. In such a situation, the U.N. Charter is plain. Chapter I, Article 2, Paragraph 7, provides unequivocally that the United Nations shall not intervene in matters which are within the internal jurisdiction of any State. The United Nations evades this simple command by reasoning worthy of the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass. One has to follow it closely. Rhodesia, in doing what the U.N. has no jurisdiction to forbid, annoys African members to the point where they may transgress against the first commandment of the U.N. (Chapter I, Article 4):'All members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.'He then continues:Since Rhodesia, by doing what it has always done and with which the United Nations cannot constitutionally interfere, incites less law-abiding members to violate their solemn obligation not to use force or the threat of force in their international relations. Rhodesia becomes a threat to the peace and must be coerced.1156 That seems to me to be an accurate description of what has happened.
The British Government were anxious to impose mandatory sanctions on trade with Southern Rhodesia, but the Charter does not permit such a form of coercion unless a threat to peace has been established. The Government therefore introduced a Resolution with these words inserted, although they made no attempt to support this assertion with any reasoned arguments. Perhaps, as the noble and learned Lord seemed to imply last week, other representatives on the Security Council could have raised some objection if they disagreed, but when the Government which up to that moment had declared that they had sole responsibility in the matter themselves claim to have discerned a threat to international peace, it is not too surprising if other people are misled. I suggest that the blame does not lie with them but with Her Majesty's Government, who are the authors and the instigators of this particular Resolution. I have given your Lordships some indication of why we disapprove so strongly of the Government's policy of seeking to make the application of sanctions mandatory under the United Nations Charter.
As to these Orders, in so far as we see in them the expression of this policy we find them objectionable. In so far as they are simply an attempt to make sanctions more effective there cannot be the same objection from those of your Lordships who, in painful circumstances, felt that the imposition of sanctions was unavoidable. I believe that at one time such a view was held by the majority in all parts of this House. Nevertheless, the extension of sanctions which these Orders represent, combined with the severance of all communications with Mr. Smith or others exercising authority in Southern Rhodesia, seems to us to constitute a policy of despair, and indeed a policy which was conceived in a fit of bad temper. The Prime Minister now says that he hopes for the establishment of a moderate Government in Salisbury which might take up matters at the point where they were broken off after the "Tiger" episode. What strikes me as somewhat unrealistic is the piling on of sanctions while refusing to have any contact whatsoever with those in Rhodesia who might influence events in the direction wished for by the Prime Minister. 1157 For my part, therefore, what concerns me about these Orders is that they form part of a policy which is almost certainly doomed to failure.
I now come to the difficult problem of what we, in this Chamber, should do about these two particular Orders. I suppose it might be argued that however much we disapprove of the Government's course of action—and we made this disapproval abundantly clear, I think, during the debate in December—the Security Council has now, wisely, or as we think, unwisely, passed a Resolution which makes it mandatory on the British Government to impose precise and rigorous sanctions. If we were now to vote against the Orders and succeeded in nullifying them we should be preventing the Government from acting in a manner in which they are compelled to act by the clear provisions of the United Nations Charter.
I do not know how much weight noble Lords would wish to attach to this particular argument, but what seems to me to be the most compelling argument against refusing the Government these Orders is that it would be an unprecedented interference by this, a non-elected Chamber, in the executive actions of a Government supported by a large majority in another place. I cannot feel that this would be a proper exercise of our powers.
We may think that the Government are acting rashly and foolishly. Indeed we do think so, and have said so. But, at the end of the day, in a democracy such as ours, the duly elected majority must be allowed to govern and it must also of course accept the consequences and the blame resulting from the pursuit of unwise policies. I would therefore urge my noble friends not to vote against these Orders, in spite of the concern and even the strong hostility some may have regarding them, and in spite of their doubts about the whole present attitude of Her Majesty's Government towards the Rhodesian problem—doubts which I most emphatically share.
§ 3.20 p.m.
§ LORD WADE
My Lords, I should like at the outset to thank the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, for providing an explanation of the contents of these Orders; he did so very fully and very 1158 clearly. Like the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, I do not propose to deal with the Orders in detail, but I have some general observations I should like to offer. The Special Orders Committee have pointed out that the 1966 Order is founded on precedent of previous Orders, and it would seem to me that the proposals put before us in these Orders are an extension of a policy already approved by Parliament. At the same time, the Special Orders Committee have stated that the 1966 Order raises important questions of policy and principle—namely, the interference with trade between Britain and Rhodesia. That is undoubtedly true. But the Orders are also clearly related to another important question of policy and principle—namely, the reference of this issue to the Security Council. In fact the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, has already stated that the Orders are necessary to give effect to the Resolution of the Security Council. Therefore, I do not think one can very well discuss these Orders without some reference to the Resolution of the Security Council.
I would suggest that there are three questions very much in the minds of many in this House as a background to this debate. The first is this. Is the situation in Rhodesia one which was a proper concern of the United Nations? Secondly, did Her Majesty's Government take the right course in referring the issue to the Security Council?—and the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, has expressed his view on that question. Thirdly, are the sanctions supported by the United Nations likely to succeed? I find no great difficulty in answering the first two questions. I am very much less happy about the third. It would seem to me that the state of affairs in Rhodesia was clearly such that the United Nations could properly take cognisance of it.
Article 34 of the Charter reads:The Security Council may investigate any dispute, or any situation which might lead to international friction or give rise to a dispute, in order to determine whether the continuance of the dispute or situation is likely to endanger the maintenance of international peace and security.That is very wide. Some of your Lordships may think it is too wide. But we are not discussing reform of the Charter we are considering its interpretation, and I have little doubt that there was, and is, 1159 in Rhodesia a situation within the meaning of Article 34. Furthermore, the recent pressure by the extremists in the Smith régime—and this was referred to by Mr. Heath in the House of Commons last week—the pressure to get that régime to move to all-out apartheidin Rhodesia, is bound to increase tension in Central Africa and further afield. Again I say it undoubtedly comes within Article 34.
To turn to Article 35, any member of the United Nations may refer a dispute or a situation to the Security Council. The Article reads:Any member of the United Nations may bring any dispute, or any situation of the nature referred to in Article 34, to the attention of the Security Council or of the General Assembly.And it is for the Security Council to decide what action to take. It is true that Article 39 in Chapter VII is not as wide as Article 34, but it is still pretty wide. Article 39 reads:The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall he taken in accordance with Articles 41 and 42, to maintain or restore international peace and security.Again, it is for the Security Council to determine what Article 39 covers.
If I may be permitted one last quotation, Article 41 reads:The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the members of the United Nations to apply such measures.Then follows the provision for economic sanctions. Although it is a debatable point, there is little doubt in my mind as to the legality of the Security Council decision on this issue. But the practical question is, of course, whether the British Government took the right course in referring this issue to the Security Council. I am bound to say I find it rather humiliating that Britain, in dealing with this matter which was said to be a domestic concern affecting a comparatively small number of people in a territory for which Britain is responsible, has not been able to deal with it herself.
I think when the history comes to be written of the declaration of U.D.I. and the events that followed, the failure of the British Government to make a careful 1160 and adequate preparation for U.D.I., and the failure to take swift and effective action when U.D.I. was declared, will be recorded as a grave error which has cost this country dearly. I hope I shall be proved wrong, but whether I am right or wrong, that does not help very much to answer this practical question as to what the British Government should have done.
Either Britain could have referred this issue to the Security Council, or some other nation would undoubtedly have done so. If some other country had referred it to the Security Council Britain could have exercised her veto, but I think it is difficult to conceive of anything that would have been more unfortunate or damaging in its effect than the exercise of the veto by Britain at this particular time. It would certainly have spelled the end of the British Commonwealth. Therefore, the British Government really had very little choice, quite apart from the undertaking given to the Commonwealth Prime Ministers. But the real problem, surely, is how to ensure that the other countries do not backslide in spite of this decision of the Security Council. These Orders which the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, has explained are important, but far more important is the extent of the support for mandatory sanctions on the part of other countries, including those that are not members of the United Nations, such as West Germany.
In the debate on December 8 last, the noble Earl, the Lord Privy Seal, in column 1238 used these words:Our present sanctions are having a marked effect, but there are breaches in the sanctions wall which must be closed if the sanctions are to satisfy the test of effectiveness, and these breaches must and will soon be closed.I suspect that the words:will soon be closedare too optimistic.
I hope it is not going too wide in this debate to ask that in replying the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor may be able to give some indication as to what extent other countries are observing the Resolution, and to what extent there are breaches of the trade embargo, for this is now the responsibility of all member nations. Britain has had to face a great deal of hostile criticism since U.D.I., some of it justified and some of it not. But now, surely, the attention 1161 might be focused upon other nations. If some countries are ignoring or evading the United Nations Resolution, I hope that the limelight will be turned on them. That, in fact, is one of the few merits of taking this to the Security Council.
Unfortunately, as I understand it, the Secretary-General has not much power. He can only gather and circulate reports. But I hope that Her Majesty's Government will do all they can in assisting the Secretary-General in that respect. Meanwhile, I should welcome any information that the noble and learned Lord is able to give as to the effectiveness of sanctions so far. For example, in the case of West Germany, which is not a member of the United Nations, I presume that her action depends upon voluntary decisions of the West German Government. But are the sanctions being applied to existing trade contracts? There seems to be some doubt about that. What is the latest position with regard to the 28 tons of Rhodesian banknotes printed in West Germany? These are clearly unauthorised by the legal Government of Rhodesia.
I apologise for putting these questions to the Lord Chancellor without giving him notice, but if he is able to reply I should be obliged. These matters are all relevant to these Orders. I have always been rather sceptical of boasts such as, "sanctions will soon topple Mr. Smith"; but it is just possible that, in time, if they are carried out with thoroughness, sanctions may create a climate in which it is realised in Rhodesia that U.D.I. was really a mistake. It is in that context, and with that background, that I think these Orders should be considered. If we are to impose sanctions at all, they must be as effective as possible; and because I think that these Orders may help in some small way to make the sanctions a little more effective I think they should be supported.
§ 3.34 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, if I intervene in this discussion to-day it is because I understood from some words that fell from the Lord Chancellor on Tuesday last, and have, in effect I think, been repeated by Lord Beswick to-day, that the re-enactment of the new measures contained in the Orders in Council, which your Lordships are discussing this afternoon, flow from the decision of the Security Council to impose 1162 mandatory sanctions on Rhodesia. I should like to make it clear at the outset that in the few words that I propose to address to your Lordships I propose to deal only with the broad policy underlying the Orders, and not with the details of the Orders themselves.
I cannot regret having asked the Question I did on this subject on Tuesday last, for it at any rate elicited a full reply from the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, giving for the Government the case for taking the action they have. I should like to say how grateful I am to him for making so full a statement; but I must say that, having heard it, as after hearing Lord Beswick's speech today, I found it, for reason, which I shall try to explain, entirely unconvincing.
Like my noble relative Lord Harlech, I do not want to weary your Lordships by traversing once more the arguments that I have already put before this House on earlier occasions; but I continue to hold strongly the view—and there are others far more eminent than I in the law who take the same view—that in spite of what the noble and learned Lord said, Chapter VII of the Charter was never meant to deal with a situation like this. I will try to give your Lordships my reasons for saying that. Chapter VII, I repeat, was meant to deal with aggression and threats of aggression, and the Rhodesian Government, whatever their other shortcomings, have never committed or even contemplated aggression. They want only to stay at peace within their own borders.
I know that the Lord Chancellor will not have this. He buttressed his case on Tuesday last by reference to Article 35 of the Charter. But an examination of cases where previous attempts have actually been made to invoke Chapter VII during the 21 years which have elapsed since the Charter passed into operation—I was going to say "into law", but I do not know whether or not that is the right phrase—will, I believe, lead any impartial person to quite different conclusions.
I have been at some pains to consult the book which has been provided in the Library of this House for the instruction of your Lordships. It is called The Charter of the United Nations, and it is the work of two most eminent Jurists, Professor Leland Goodrich, of Brown University and Mr. Edvard Hambro, the 1163 Registrar of the International Court of Justice, two men whom I am sure the Lord Chancellor himself, and all other legal experts, will accept as high authorities.
What have I found? There have been only four cases of major importance where attempts have been made to evoke Article 39, and they have all, with one exception, been cases of actual aggression. There was the Greek question, which came before the Security Council in 1946. In that case there had been aggression in the fullest sense of the word, for guerrilla bands, with the connivance of the Albanian, Bulgarian and Yugoslav Governments, had actually crossed the Greek border. But no action could be taken because the Soviet Government imposed their veto.
The second case arose from the outbreak of hostilities between Indonesia and the Netherlands in 1947. On this occasion, too, fighting was actually in progress. But doubts were raised whether or not the United Nations had any jurisdiction, in view of the provisions of Article 2(7), to which Lord Harlech has already made reference, which precludes, as your Lordships know, the United Nations from intervening in the internal affairs of member States; and eventually, here again, no action could be taken.
The third case quoted by these authorities arose from the situation in Palestine in 1948. Curiously enough, it had in one sense a close similarity to the last one I have mentioned, for Palestine, at any rate until the termination of the Mandate, was under British jurisdiction. This raised serious doubts whether the United Nations had any right to intervene, and in fact action was not taken under Article 39 for that reason.
Finally, I come to the fourth case. I have left it to the last, for it is the one which seems to have most direct relevance to the present situation. It is the Spanish case in 1946. This arose from the action of a Polish delegate who that year introduced a resolution asking the Security Council to call on all members of the United Nations, under Articles 39 and 41, to sever diplomatic relations with Spain on the grounds, apparently, that the very existence of the Government of General Franco constituted a threat to peace. That is very much the same position as 1164 that taken up by the Afro-Asian Governments, and indeed Her Majesty's Government in this country, with regard to the present Rhodesian Government. What happened to the Polish request in 1946? A sub-committee, to which the Security Council referred this very difficult problem, found that the evidence did not justify a finding that the existence of the Franco régime in Spain constituteda threat to the peace, a breach of the peace, or an act of aggression.They therefore rejected the Polish request. Indeed, they went even further than that. They added a rider that, by Article 39, what they described as "a very sharp weapon" had been entrusted to the Security Council and they said that they must be careful—and here I quote their words—to ensure that:This weapon is not blunted nor used in any way which would strain the intentions of the Charter or which would be applicable in all similar cases.Those were very serious words, and I only wish that the Prime Minister and the Lord Chancellor had studied them. For that, I submit, is just what the Government have done in this case. They have blunted Article 39 as a weapon of justice and made it merely a weapon of political expediency.
The Lord Chancellor took the view, if I understood him rightly—and he will correct me if I am wrong—that on such an issue as this international law does not come into the matter. I now quote him:It is, of course, true that in its determination of a threat to the peace, and in its decision about what measures are called for, the Council will be largely influenced by political considerations."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 279 (No. 98), col. 887; 31/1/67.]He continued:But this is natural as it is a political organ and not a law court. These powers were conferred on a political organ, as distinct from a court, precisely in order that a discretion should be exercised in the light of political considerations.I can assure your Lordships that it is only with great diffidence that I make bold to disagree with the opinion of so great a lawyer as the noble and learned Lord. But I believe that there is a fallacy in his argument which completely destroys its validity, and the fallacy is this. He has left out of his consideration perhaps the most important element that 1165 could have brought him to the right conclusion. I was in my earlier days a student of elementary logic, and one of the things I learnt was this: to reach the right conclusion one must start from the right premises. He, I believe, has left out of his thinking the most important premise of all, and that is the wording of the Preamble.
The Preamble—which if I remember rightly, for it is a good long time ago since we were all at San Francisco, was drafted by General Smuts—must, I submit, in this context be regarded as by far the most important part of the Charter. It governs, and is meant to govern, the whole of the rest of the document, for it sets out in clear, unmistakable terms the aims and objects which the new organisation had been set up to achieve; while the rest of the Charter, for all its length and elaboration is, after all, merely the exposition of the machinery which was set up in San Francisco to give effect to the aims and objects of the Preamble. That being so, every organ and action of the United Nations must, I submit, if it is to carry out the intention of its framers, be within the ambit and spirit of the principles enunciated in the Preamble. Perhaps the most important of all these purposes which were enshrined in the Preamble is—I will quote the exact words:To bring about, by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, may I interrupt my noble friend, I hope helpfully? My noble friend is quoting most effectively, not from the Preamble but from Article I of the Charter. His point is even better than he supposed.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
I thank the noble Lord very much. That being so, how can it be suggested that any reference to international law is irrelevant to the decisions of the Security Council; that it is a purely political body which has nothing to do with international law? The Security Council, I repeat, like every other organ of the United Nations, can act properly only in accordance with the principles in Article 1 of the Charter. Yet the noble and learned Lord never mentioned at all 1166 in his statement this principle, which is, as I see it, the nub of the whole business. I am quite sure that General Smuts, with whom it was my privilege to work extremely closely throughout the San Francisco Conference, would have been just as shocked as I have been by the whole tone and trend of the noble and learned Lord's argument.
For when one takes into account his own statement of Tuesday last, again in column 887, that a threat to peacecan arise as much from a situation within a State as from a dispute between States"—what is the position we reach? It is surely that any member State, simply because it objects to the domestic policy, or even the political colour of another State, can arraign it before the Security Council on the grounds that the very existence of that Government is a temptation to its neighbours to attack it and that it is therefore a threat to peace under Article 39; and that the Security Council, having been apprised of this matter, may come to whatever decision it likes, not on any grounds of justice or equity or international law, but purely on grounds of political expediency: not because the Government in question is in fact threatening the peace of any of its neighbours, nor because it has external ambitions at all, but because its neighbours do not much like its colour or kind.
Is that a position which any of us could seriously defend? What happens to the principle laid down in Chapter I, Article 2, sub-paragraph (7)?—this point was also mentioned by my noble relative Lord Harlech. That Article was regarded at San Francisco as one of the most fundamental in the Charter, without the insertion of which I think it is very doubtful whether the United Kingdom Government, which it must be remembered was composed of all political Parties in this country, would have signed the Charter at all. Does the Lord Chancellor really expect us now to accept the view that the Security Council, at any time it likes, can drive a cart and horses through that provision? Can it by a mere wave of its wand treat that provision as if it did not exist at all? That is surely a very strange doctrine indeed. I recognise that the noble and learned Lord did the very best he could with the material 1167 available to him; but the material was very poor and I thought that even he, with all his brilliant advocacy, made—if he will forgive me for saying so—a very poor case of it.
In order to justify an appeal under Chapter VII, he had surely to prove that Rhodesia was threatening someone, and that he signally failed to do. For Rhodesia, as everyone knows, whatever else may be said of her, does not threaten anyone. As I said earlier, she wants only to live peaceably within her own borders. As a result, he and the Government have lent their authority to a theory destructive, I believe, to all those moral principles for which the United Nations is supposed to stand, and have asked us to embark instead on the dingy and dangerous paths of political expediency.
Of my own Party I will only, in conclusion, say this. No doubt this afternoon they will do what they think right, and not what they think politically expedient, on a matter which raises such grave issues as that which we are discussing this afternoon. I appreciate fully the force of the arguments which were advanced by the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, at the end of his speech, regarding the constitutional position of this House. But that is really, after all, an argument against ever opposing a Labour Government in this House for fear that we might win, and I do not think that a very defensible or noble attitude to take up. Moreover, as I have already said, the Orders which we are being asked to pass are both pernicious in themselves and, I believe, most dangerous for the future. They are contrary both to the letter and spirit of the Charter, and also to the lesson which I think we certainly ought to have learned from the Polish precedent (which I have already quoted to your Lordships) and, if I may say so, from the Spanish precedent where both Governments were concerned. I still hope, therefore, that the leaders of the Opposition Parties in this House will show a very much more spirited attitude than they have up to now before this debate comes to an end.
§ 3.53 p.m.
§ LORD SALTER
My Lords, I am not to have the pleasure, which I had anticipated, of congratulating the absent noble Lord, Lord Bicester, on his maiden speech, so I must turn at once to the 1168 subject before us this afternoon. I am a layman. I speak with no special legal knowledge, but I feel bound to raise some legal questions this afternoon. I assure your Lordships that I do so both with diffidence and with deference, but I feel bound to do so.
When I listened to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor last Tuesday, I could not help feeling that he was arguing as if this were a question to be decided by English law, but he will agree, I am sure, that the law which defines the powers of the United Nations as an institution under its Charter is a matter of international law, and not of English law. International law is in several important respects very different from English law. In the first place, we English have no written Constitution, and therefore the law which English courts have to interpret is law which is created either by specific legislation or by case law. That puts us in a very different position and greatly increases the range and authority of the part played by case law, by comparison with an institution such as the United Nations which is created by a specific law, which has to be interpreted by and in accordance with international law.
I would venture to put this to the noble and learned Lord. We have had evidence from my noble friend Lord Salisbury who was present at San Francisco as one of the two representatives of Great Britain at the drafting of the Charter in 1945. I gather from him that he does not think it was the intention of those who signed that Charter that the institution of the United Nations should have the power of imposing mandatory sanctions in such a case as the one now before us. Also, as my noble friend Lord Harlech has told us, we have the opinion of Mr. Dean Acheson. I should like to emphasise a little the importance of what Mr. Acheson says and his position in saying it.
Not only has he been Secretary of State for America; at San Francisco he was the principal representative of the United States. He was in a position, as, indeed was my noble friend Lord Salisbury, to know what was in the minds of the delegates of the Governments at San Francisco, and what they intended. He makes his own position perfectly clear in the article which has been quoted by my 1169 noble friend Lord Harlech. He thinks, quite definitely, that the provisions of the law under which the United Nations was created do not give it the authority to impose mandatory sanctions in a case such as that now before us.
Of course, in international law—and here I feel sure that the noble and learned Lord will agree with me—the intentions of those who frame and sign the law are relevant to the interpretation of what that law means. They are not in English law. We have had evidence from my noble friend Lord. Salisbury and we know what was in the mind of Mr. Dean Acheson, who was, as I said, the principal representative of the United States at San Francisco, and who, of course, was in a position to know what the other delegates there present—including General Smuts and also Lord Halifax, who was then our principal representative—meant. We have had his quite definite view, speaking, I suggest to your Lordships, with more authority, by virtue of the facts which have been referred to, than any other living person can do.
What follows from that? It surely follows that, if the United Nations do not have authority within the properly interpreted meaning of the international law which created them, then their action in imposing mandatory sanctions was illegal; and I cannot see any escape from that. I present this with great deference and diffidence, only pleading as an excuse that it has been my task for many years to administer matters which have been subject to the limitations of international law. I suggest that what I have just said is true, not in English law but in international law, and that, therefore, on all the evidence before us, there is every reason to believe that this decision imposing mandatory sanctions was beyond the powers of the United Nations as an institution acting, as they were, within a written constitution under which, so far as we can see from the evidence, this was an illegal act.
§ 4.1 p.m.
§ LORD REAY
My Lords, in one respect I sympathise with what the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, and the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, said. The phrase "threat to peace" in the United Nations Charter has always been open to something unsatisfactorily akin to casuistry in its interpretation. However, 1170 it seems to me that the United Nations Security Council is, as the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor said. and as it should be, ultimately a political body, and that it made a ruling that it was entitled to make; and I see no reason to quarrel with the views that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor gave us last week, that there was no illegality committed by the United Kingdom Government in bringing this matter before the Security Council. In addition, if we had not done this it seemed clear then that some other country was likely to do it. We had pledged ourselves to the Commonwealth to do this if those circumstances arose which ultimately did arise; and this Party supported the United Kingdom action at that time, because to none but the Conservative Party did it seem remotely plausible to expect any further advantage from continuing the talks with Mr. Smith unless the pressure against him was increased.
At this juncture I would not seek to quarrel with the ultimate policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to Rhodesia. It would probably fall within the scope of this debate, but, in the first place, that policy seems clear enough. It seems to me to be that, without prejudice to further and future negotiations with the Smith régime, and without prejudice to the date at which independence on the basis of majority rule would ultimately be given to Rhodesia, Rhodesia must renounce its independence and will receive it back only as a country under majority government, and that sanctions will not be lifted until these demands have been met. Although that policy has, I think, very serious objections, it is not necessary to argue that point now. The question which I think one can ask now—and it seems to me relevant at this stage because these Orders are instruments of Her Majesty's Government's policy at this moment—is this: What progress at all is being made towards achieving Her Majesty's Government's objectives? From all appearances the answer would seem to be, as it has been hitherto, very little indeed.
In another place on January 27, answering a Question put to him about the evasion of sanctions and asking for Her Majesty's Government's estimate of the average flow of refined oil products 1171 at this time into Rhodesia, the Commonwealth Secretary had this to say:I prefer to say nothing which might reveal the extent of our knowledge of the régime's complicated and expensive methods of procurement."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 739 (No. 131), col. 389; 27/1/67.]What we are to make of that Answer, I do not know. Perhaps it means that the Government know nothing; perhaps it means that the Government have some very unsatisfactory news indeed. In any case, what we do know is that, so long as the Smith régime is provided with oil, it cannot be viewed as being under any serious pressure at all. We also know that Her Majesty's Government have proved themselves in the past to be, to say the least, less than competent in the use of the information that it has been in their power to acquire. So I should like to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they ever intend to reveal anything at all of their information on this question; and I should like to remark that a continued reticence on their part only allows a further licence to doubt the efficacy of their policy in regard to Rhodesia.
I would refer to one other matter. There has been one positive indication of the unpromising results in store for Government policy, and that is what has been happening in Rhodesia itself. Not at all unpredictably, there has been a further lurch to the Right. In the Salisbury Parliament on January 27, Mr. Smith said that now that Britain was out of the picture they could get on with the job themselves. He said that reference to the United Nations had slammed and locked the door against further talks. He said:I believe that the ideal after which we are striving is a system which acknowledges our different communities"—and this, without contradiction, has generally been taken to imply, as I am quite sure it does imply, a closer intended move towards an official policy of apartheid in Rhodesia.
One thing that all this makes clear is that, far from there being any sign of a more compliant political attitude in Rhodesia, there has in fact been the reverse. A brief whisper of a more liberal movement seems to have died as soon as it was reported. And yet without this compliance the present expensive policy, 1172 which is likely to become more expensive, will continue; and in any but the very longest terms, if even then, is likely to be as futile in the future as it has been in the past.
I would end by saying that the Government must face up to the fact that they have to make a choice between three choices. They must either continue with their present policy, of which these Orders are a typical instrument, and accept that they will as likely have to do so for years as for months—with all the direct expense of this to us in terms of sanctions, with the sacrifice that it imposes on the growing economies of Rhodesia and Zambia, with the great danger that it has to the possible collapse of the economy of Zambia, and with the dangers of racial rioting in either of the countries, Southern Rhodesia or Zambia, but particularly in Zambia. Or the Government must reinstate their readiness to use force to impose a solution, which might, even if it had to be used (and here, of course, it is quite possible that the threat of it might be sufficient) very easily be less expensive in terms of both life and resources. Or, thirdly, the British Government will have to realise that they must come to the best terms they can with Rhodesia, risk Zambian retaliation on copper and on sterling, risk the break-up of the Commonwealth and drink the bitterest draught of ignominy that any nation can ever have taken such elaborate trouble to prepare for itself.
I sometimes almost think that any one of these courses would be better than the Government's monthly dance of pretence that they know precisely what is happening in their policy towards Rhodesia, precisely where it is going and when it will arrive there.
§ 4.9 p.m.
My Lords, we were told on December 8 that any vote against the Government was a vote for Mr. Smith. My vote was not for Mr. Smith. Ever since the Socialist Government came to power in 1945 I have been careful to oppose them seriously only on occasions when I felt that their action was unworthy of the ordinary, decent man I know in Britain. That is why I voted against them last time, and that is why I shall vote against them to-day if your Lordships choose to divide.
1173 The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack made a wonderful speech on December 8. If he will allow me, a humble and ignorant person, to say so, the charm and the eloquence of his speeches are so great that it takes me a long time to examine the propositions that he puts forward. But I have given them greater examination, and I think it fair to come back to them and say that his principal points were these: That we were in a difficult position because we had responsibility without power, but that if we managed to impose mandatory sanctions the businessmen in Salisbury would begin to find life quite insupportable and might come around; that one of the difficulties was the completely unreasonable minds of the people in Salisbury; that they were entirely obsessed with one idea, and that one could not reason with them properly as citizens of the world.
What I say about that is that you cannot have responsibility without power; the whole point of responsibility is that you have power. I do not know much about English law, but I know that when a man's mind is so far gone that it does not give him the power to control his actions, he is not treated as a guilty person but as a sick person; it is realised that he has not responsibility because he does not have the power. That is perfectly true. What the Government seem to be trying to do in this matter is to cozen themselves and the world into believing that what took place many years ago under another Government has not, in fact, taken place, and that they have some lurking power which gives them responsibility. To my mind you cannot have responsibility without power.
So far as the businessmen are concerned, I can remember a creature called the "economic man". When I was young we decided that the "economic man "did not really exist. I cannot help thinking that the Socialist Government's "businessman" has taken the place of the "economic man". When the businessman in Salisbury feels the pinch, if he is like every other businessman I have known, then he will draw in his belt and go on to the bitter end. For that reason, I do not echo the hope of the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, that sanctions will bite hard and deep and will create such misery in Southern Rhodesia that the people will quickly come to terms; 1174 because if I know anything about my countrymen, I can assure him that they will not come to terms and that there will be sheer inflicted misery, without result. That will be the effect of what we are being asked to do this afternoon.
My Lords, I do not want to say much more than that. I think an enormous amount of opinion in the country is mounting against the action the Government have taken, and I am quite sure that at any rate one-third of the people in the country are opposed to it. I cannot help thinking that it will fail, and that it will have repercussions in the world which we shall all have reason to regret. It has happened to me in my private life many times in the past that people have done that which I think utterly wrong and against which I might take action. I have come to the conclusion that any action taken will only make things worse than if no action had been taken at all. That is the principal moral argument, as I understand it, against revenge: that whatever you do makes the situation far worse. That seems to me to be very much the point here. Nobody regrets Mr. Smith's U.D.I. more than I do, but once declared I am certain that it would have been very much better for us to have taken more time to consider more carefully what to do, and to have taken less drastic action. We should then have been more likely to have found friends there than we are now. I very much regret it, but I certainly shall vote against this Order if I get the opportunity.
§ 4.15 p.m.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, I am not a lawyer and I cannot enter into the illegalities of the action, not so much of the Government as of the Security Council of the United Nations; because it seems to me that if there is any illegality it is in the action of the Security Council. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor—and I subscribe to what the noble Lord, Lord Saltoun, said about his powers of persuasion and oratory—said that the decision whether any case constituted a breach of the peace or a threat to peace was for the Security Council alone to decide. Of course, that is true. I think that the noble and learned Lord would agree with me that the Queen in Parliament has the power to enact that everybody who does not vote Socialist in 1175 the next Election shall be executed. Of course, we have the power. We have the power to do anything we like; the Security Council has the power to do anything it likes. But that does not mean that what we do, or what the Security Council may do, is not subject to a somewhat higher test, the test of morality and justice.
My noble friend Lord Salisbury drew your Lordships' attention to Article 1 of the Charter and I think he was justified in saying that Article 1, which defines the principles and purposes of the Charter, governs all the rest of the 110 Articles of the Charter. My noble friend read out Article 1, Section 1. Perhaps I might refresh your Lordships' memories by reading it again:To maintain international peace and security and to take effective collective measures…and to bring about by peaceful means and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law"—and I will repeat—in conformity with the principles of justice"—not expediency—and international law the adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.My noble friend has already quoted from the authoritative work by Goodrich and Hambro; and if any noble Lord cares to read the comments on the Charter he will see that this phrase,in conformity with the principles of justice and international lawwas not slipped into the Charter by accident. This phrase was not, in fact, in the Dumbarton Oaks Agreement as presented at San Francisco. It was inserted at the instance of a number of Governments at San Francisco, including the four sponsoring Powers, for this purpose (and I quote again from Goodrich and Hambro):The insertion of these words was intended to provide a safeguard against the settlement of international questions on the basis of political expediency.I hope the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor will not think I am being offensive when I say that they were inserted to provide a safeguard against the kind of interpretation which he gave to Article 39 the other day.
1176 My Lords, let us consider for a moment the case of Rhodesia in the light of that phrase, in the light of justice and international law. So far as justice is concerned, I should have thought that the first thing one would expect if a country or a State (and Rhodesia is a State, whether we like it or not) is arraigned and accused by no matter how big a majority, the first principle of justice would be that she should be heard in her own defence. Rhodesia was not heard in her own defence. She made application; the application was not even answered. What kind of justice is the Security Council dishing out?
Let us look at what has happened. As my noble friend pointed out, Rhodesia has made no threat, adopted no militant attitudes, taken no aggressive action whatsoever. But it is Rhodesia who, according to the principles of justice and international law as interpreted by the Security Council, is conceived to be the aggressor. President Kaunda says that blood must flow before there is a settlement of the Rhodesian question. Who is the aggressor there? Apparently, Rhodesia. President Kaunda's Government sends broadcasts into Rhodesia designed to break up the Government there. Again, according to morality, justice and international law as defined by the Security Council, Mr. Smith is the aggressor. Zambia sends in terrorists to kill cattle and to burn human beings. Again, according to the principles of justice and international law as interpreted by the Security Council, it is not Zambia who is the aggressor; it is Rhodesia.
My Lords, I cannot believe that there is any one of your Lordships who is happy in this situation or easy in his conscience about it. I think that one thing is clear from the debate to-day: that no one, not even the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, hopes for very much from these Orders; that they will topple Mr. Smith, or bring Rhodesia to surrender. What I think is quite clear and quite apparent is that these Orders and the actions which Her Majesty's Government have taken to bring Rhodesia to the United Nations have done very little harm to Mr. Smith, very little harm to the de facto Government of Rhodesia, but have done infinite harm to the United Nations.
1177 Anyone of my age, anyone who can remember pre-war controversy or who was interested before the war in international affairs, must realise that the Covenant of the League, ineffectual as the League was, mischievous as it sometimes was, had a hold on men's hearts and minds that the Charter does not have. One of the reasons why the Charter does not have it is because of the interpretation which has been put on the Charter, not only by Her Majesty's Government but by the other member Governments. They have debased it. My noble friend Lord Harlech said we have stretched international law, and that is very true. It is just as evil to stretch international law for political purposes as to stretch municipal or domestic law; just as evil and very much more dangerous; and no one can say where this folly of the Government and of the Security Council is going to land us and land the world.
There is one more thing that I should like to say, if your Lordships will bear with me. A time like this, when we are taking new measures, even if we know them to be ineffective, is a time to take stock. What is it that we are trying to do, any of us, in this Rhodesian situation? The other day I read through the documents relating to the meeting on H.M.S. "Tiger". I read through debates we have had here and in another place, and it seems to me crystal-clear that in this country, in this Parliament throughout this issue we have been thinking not of the Rhodesian people, or the Rhodesian peoples if you prefer that term; we have been thinking of everything but the Rhodesian peoples. We have been thinking of the Commonwealth; we have been thinking of the United Nations; we have been thinking of world opinion; we have been thinking of opinion in the Labour Party; we have been thinking in the Conservative Party of the public opinion polls when we stand up and say what we believe in. We have never thought for one moment about the Rhodesian peoples, and one thing surely is clear. It is that if we go on—
§ LORD ALPORT
My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt my noble friend, but it would help, at any rate it would help me, to know what he means by "the Rhodesian people".
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, I have said "Rhodesian peoples"—with an "s". I mean everybody of any colour. I think that is the answer to my noble friend. We have thought of nothing—we have thought of votes, yes, and of electoral rolls, but we have never thought and we have never considered what is best for the peoples. Above all, the thing which has been uppermost in our minds, I think, has been this. These people are in rebellion. Not only are they in rebellion; they are in rebellion against us. They must be squashed. We do not mind other people being in rebellion. We do not mind Nigeria being in rebellion and three or four Prime Ministers being assassinated in one day. We do not mind Ghana. We do not mind what happens in any other African countries because the rebellion there is not against us. We recognise them at once. But this whole tragic year of debate and charge and counter-charge has really been nothing more than an exercise in face-saving—not only saving the Government's face, but saving our own collective face. I have not the quotation, but Burke has often been quoted. He said, speaking of the public attitude towards the colonists in the Revolutionary War, that it stemmed partly from the feeling of insecurity and weakness. I am sure that our attitude towards Rhodesia today stems from that more than from anything else. If we cannot do anything else, by the Lord Almighty, we will teach a people of the population of Portsmouth where to get off!
§ LORD ALPORT
My Lords, before my noble friend sits down, may I say that he referred to a people of the population of Portsmouth. I did not know that the population of Portsmouth was 4,250,000 strong.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, if my noble friend will allow me to say so, I was quoting. Many speakers—perhaps the noble Lord himself—have referred to the white population as the same as the population of Portsmouth. We are so determined to knock this population down that we do not give a "tinker's curse" what happens to 4 million blacks.
§ 4.30 p.m.
My Lords, I intervene at this rather late stage in the debate after much has been said, but there are two things that I feel I should 1179 like to say to Her Majesty's Government. The first is this. I am totally opposed to sanctions and have been from the beginning. In general, I do not believe that sanctions are any sound way of conducting negotiations between two countries or of trying to settle a dispute, in particular because they produce conditions in which there are considerable risks in international relations, and in operation they react most unfavourably against that part of the population which is least able to protect itself.
I want to refer to this latter aspect in the first place. We all know that it is those who are in employment who are going to feel the initial effect of sanctions in Rhodesia, and, by and large, that means the African population—the workers in the factories and mines, the office staffs, the tobacco labour force, the self-employed farmers and African cooperatives. Yet these are the people towards whom the alleged benefits of the policy of Her Majesty's Government are supposed to be directed. Your Lordships will also be well aware that there is a large migratory labour force from Malawi which will be seriously affected, if sanctions have the effect which presumably is hoped for by Her Majesty's Government. It is a matter, I think, of some significance that we do not hear much from Dr. Banda in favour of a policy of sanctions. He would appear, wisely, to be more interested in looking to the economic prosperity of his own country than in joining the cold war against neighbouring Rhodesia.
I should like to give just one example of the manner in which sanctions can destroy hopeful and worthwhile development. I know of a small African cooperative, which has been started, advised and encouraged and initially financed by a progressive and able Rhodesian tobacco farmer, whom I knew in the early days. It is a project which received some little publicity in the Press not so long ago. The financial basis of this co-operative is tobacco—of course, one of the principal targets of sanctions. This is just one of the small, useful contributions to Rhodesia's future and the country's real prosperity which can be destroyed. It does not seem to make sense to me that this and other similar ventures should face an undeserved collapse.
1180 In speaking in the last debate on Rhodesia, I made the point that throughout Africa the basic needs of all its inhabitants are often lost sight of in the heat of political controversy. It is a point which is worth repeating. Whatever the considerations which may have been in the minds of Her Majesty's Ministers, I wonder whether they placed such sufficient emphasis on the probable results of their policy of sanctions against the inhabitants of Rhodesia, as well as against those neighbouring States which look to the Rhodesian economy for financial support and employment. In opening this debate, the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, expressed his regrets at sanctions. He hoped that they would be both intense and severe and, at the same time, short. I wonder whether they will be short. It seems, at any rate to me, rather remarkable that the Party which forms Her Majesty's Government to-day (historically), in many quarters, believed to represent the Party of justice and social progress, should now be operating a policy of sanctions which will hurt those it professes to be aiding as much as those of our own race who appear to be the target.
If sanctions are not believed likely to become effective, of course there was never a case for setting them up; but if they are intended to be effective—and we must suppose the application to U.N.O. for mandatory sanctions means exactly that—then in view of Rhodesia's continued and united defiance the results might be as damnable as was suggested by my noble friend (perhaps I may be permitted to call him that), Lord Saltoun, when he said in the Rhodesia debate on December 8:In my opinion, there are no effective sanctions that do not involve starvation and, therefore, the starvation of children."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, col. 1382; 8/12/66.]I, too, have seen something of extreme deprivation among African families, due to drought or just lack of purchasing power, and I place myself firmly beside my noble friend Lord Saltoun in repeating his words to your Lordships. I believe them to be both true and accurate.
There is a certain fatality about the march of events in Central Africa which appears to be ignored. The partial disruption of potentially great industries, such as copper mining, including the 1181 copper mines of Zambia, which are in trouble, the slowing down of the former sound agricultural economy in Rhodesia, the decay of confidence in established channels of trade and commerce, further exaggerated now by the tightening of sanctions, serve no good purpose to the people of Central Africa; and if the purpose of sanctions is to force the acceptance of majority rule ultimately on the ruins of what has been built up since the days of Cecil Rhodes, then I myself can see only a long twilight in this part of Africa and another dark page in the history of man's endeavour.
The second point I wish to make is that the adoption of sanctions inevitably leads to stiffened resistance and a "backs-to-the-wall" attitude. This is perfectly understandable. People are less amenable to reason or successful negotiations. On this one point I am in entire agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Reay. Sanctions have united the country from end to end against Britain—predictable, of course, to those who know the Rhodesians, but perhaps a surprise to those who do not. As sanctions tighten and undoubtedly make life increasingly difficult in Rhodesia, I am convinced that they will not bring the change in Government policy in Salisbury that Her Majesty's Government may wish to see. On the contrary, they are bound to bring an increasing bitterness and hostility which will spread on both sides and involve other countries in an emotional struggle from which no one will benefit.
Do Her Majesty's Government believe that, through United Nations mandatory sanctions, Rhodesia will knuckle under and accept the sort of terms and future prospects for settlement that are on offer to-day? If that is indeed the belief held here, I fear that it shows a continuing lack of discernment which has marked so much of this country's dealings with Rhodesia in recent years. My fears are the same as those shown in many responsible and informed quarters in Britain and other interested countries overseas: that the continued implementation of sanctions will lead, step by logical step, to a confrontation with the whole of Southern Africa. Her Majesty's Government has stated that this will be avoided and that such a situation will not be allowed to develop. The Prime Minister has said so. I believe, as so many others do, that now 1182 that the issue is in the hands of the United Nations the matter will go much further than the Prime Minister expects, and that this country may be faced with most impossible demands for more positive action, which could ultimately lead to hostilities, from a group of nations, some within the Commonwealth and others without it, whose own domestic policies are far from being above reproach.
I listened carefully the other day, as we all did, to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor when he replied to the Question put by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, on the legality of the reference of Rhodesia to the United Nations, and I must say that I, too, was somewhat appalled at the wide interpretation of the Charter that could be put upon any political dispute taken to the Assembly and the Security Council as a basis for United Nations action. We have heard a great deal to-day from many noble Lords much more qualified to speak on this subject than I am, and I will say no more. But whatever consequences may arise from such an interpretation, it seems obvious to me that it opens the door wide to all sorts of pressures which could place this country in a most invidious position. Rhodesia is not the only target of United Nations criticism in Africa, and we should no longer assume that Rhodesia can he isolated from her neighbours for treatment.
The one other thing which I think I should say is this. I believe that the present policy of the British Government (and it has been mentioned here to-day) against Rhodesia is not acceptable to the people of Britain. As I have some special reasons for knowing, and through public and private discussions across the country, it has become clear to me that opinion in this country, cutting clean across Party, religious or social distinctions, while recently uncertain, is coming out now increasingly firm against sanctions and against any further escalation of the cold war. What I think we should all like to see is a fresh, constructive approach, perhaps conducted initially through intermediaries; and I hope very much that this may happen before any crucial decisions are made in Rhodesia, at the United Nations or, subsequently, here in Britain. There can be no doubt that a settlement is in the interests of both countries. But slam on the sanctions, heat up the irons, and the wounds 1183 inflicted will divide us far beyond any point of reconciliation.
I have said enough in disapproval of the two Orders, and I still hope up to this last moment that the House may divide against them. I listened to the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, with great dismay, although I confess that I thoroughly appreciate the issues involved. I feel, however, in this particular case, that maybe noble Lords who sit on the Opposition Front Bench have misinterpreted the feeling in this country, that these sanctions should be opposed, and that in dividing against these Orders your Lordships' House will be exercising its constitutional prerogative in a way which would be interpreted in the country as acting correctly. I believe that these Orders are contrary to the best interests of the people in Great Britain and Rhodesia. They will not achieve their purpose without a level of human misery and degradation which this country should be ashamed to contemplate as coming from a country of humanitarian and civilised traditions; and in their application they may involve us in far greater problems of real danger, to the total detriment of ourselves and a vast population of Central and Southern Africa whose wellbeing depends on orderly and peaceful progress—on trade, not blockade.
§ 4.47 p.m.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, it was on December 8 last year that the noble Lord, Lord Wedgwood, made a deeply impressive maiden speech, and he has followed that to-day with a speech no less impressive. With nearly everything that he said I find myself in agreement. I will say at the end of my speech why I believe he is wrong in his final advice to the House, and perhaps he will keep an open mind until he hears my reasons. In that debate on December 8 I made it clear how totally I opposed the Rhodesian policy of Her Majesty's Government. I considered then, and I consider now, that that policy is morally wrong and disastrous in practice.
I do not, however, want to repeat what I said on December 8, nor the warning that I ventured to give on sanctions on November 15 of the previous year, 1965, when I begged Her Majesty's Government to consider, in imposing sanctions, 1184 whether those sanctions were in the least calculated to bring about the result which they themselves said was their object; namely, to bring about a Government in Rhodesia that would be more acceptable to them. I suggested the probability that sanctions would have precisely the opposite effect. The main reason why I intervene to-day is to speak on the important matter raised by my noble friend Lord Salisbury; that is, the question of the legality of the action taken under the Charter.
In common, I think, with the whole House, I was grateful for the Answer given last Tuesday by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. He apologised for the length of his Answer, which was unusual in answer to an oral Question, but the whole House agreed that he could not possibly have expressed himself more shortly; and I think that perhaps we should be a little unfair to him if we took any section of that Answer as though it had stated at length his final views on the problems with which he was dealing. Let me make it clear where I thought he gave an impression which was very dangerous indeed, and in this I found myself in absolute agreement with what was said by my noble friend Lord Salisbury. It is true, as the noble and learned Lord said, that the Security Council is not a court of law; but that does not mean, of course, that it is not bound by the terms of the Charter or is entitled to make its own law at its unfettered discretion.
I do not think that my noble friend Lord Salter was right in thinking that the noble and learned Lord had overlooked international law. My noble friend Lord Salter pointed out that under international law, in contrast to English law, one looked beyond the mere words of the Statute into preceding negotiations. Of course, the Lord Chancellor did that in his Answer last week. In so far as that is concerned I do not complain, but, as I said, the fact that the Security Council is not a court of law does not mean that it is not bound—and strictly bound—by the terms of the Charter. In fact, it means that it is all the more important that it should pay the greatest respect to the actual terms of the Charter. My noble friend Lord Salisbury, and my noble friend Lord Coleraine in his moving speech, have both quoted Article I of 1185 the Charter, from which, therefore, I need not again read the vital words; but conformity with the principles of justice and international law is certainly intended to cover the whole Charter.
Can it really be said that the Security Council has observed those words in this case? The closest precedent where anything of the sort has been previously attempted was mentioned by my noble friend Lord Salisbury—the case that arose in April, 1946, when the Polish delegate asked members to sever diplomatic relations with Spain under Articles 39 and 41. In my respectful submission, the sub-committee to which this question was referred by the Security Council gave proper advice and a proper interpretation of Article 39. Of course, they decided in that case that, whatever they thought of the Franco régime, it could not possibly be said to constitute a threat to the peace. The sub-committee advised on that occasion that the Security Council, before they acted under this Article, must beaffirmatively satisfied that one of the enumerated conditions had actually come into existenceat the time they came to their decision.
Can it really be said that they came to a considered decision that the de facto régime in Rhodesia constitutes a threat to the peace? Surely it is straining the meaning of words to say that Rhodesia constituted a threat to peace merely because others disliked its government or threatened violence against it.
And what of the principles of justice? Surely before measures are taken against a de facto Government of a country, justice demands that it shall have the right to be heard. This is a requirement of natural justice and has nothing to do with the specific requirements of Article 32, which perhaps is not strictly applicable in this case because it is not a matter of dispute arising under Chapter VI; but under natural justice and the principles of justice, of course, they ought to have been heard. Perhaps I might note in passing that here I am dealing only with Chapter VII, which is alone concerned because it is under that Chapter that action has been, and is being, taken.
Some people outside may be under the impression that the United Kingdom has some sort of dispute with Rhodesia under the Charter. Of course it has not, nor can that be asserted; because, of course, 1186 if the United Kingdom had itself been in dispute it would have been prohibited from voting by paragraph 3 of Article 27 of the Charter, if the Security Council had been dealing with a dispute. It was not. It was dealing, as indeed the noble and learned Lord said, with the words in Article 39 on which it made its decision: that the position in Rhodesia constituted a threat to the peace. In my respectful submission, that shows a contempt for the provisions of the Charter; and, I am afraid that, although it is the latest and worst example of disregard of law by the United Nations, in recent years either the United Nations or one of its lesser bodies, such as UNESCO, has shown an increasing disregard for the law in dealing with such countries as Portugal.
The vigorous letter of Mr. Dean Acheson was quoted by my noble friend Lord Harlech. As I listened to that letter I thought what joy Mr. Dean Acheson would get by reading a leading case in our own law which makes very much the same point. I refer to the case of Beatty v. Gillbanks, which was a rather amusing case. It concerned a West Country town where an intended Salvation Army procession was threatened by a "Skeleton Army". The Salvation Army planned a procession through the town and violence was threatened against it by this other army. On that occasion our court of Queen's Bench had no difficulty in finding that the activities of the Salvation Army ought not to be interfered with because the "Skeleton Army" threatened violence against it.
In so far as Mr. Dean Acheson rightly drew attention in his letter to the provisions of Article 2, Paragraph 7, it is fair to say that that paragraph has a proviso at the end excepting action under Chapter VII of the Charter. Therefore, we are driven back to the legality of the action taken under Article 39, and I submit that that action was wrong. No precedent whatsoever can be found for the action of the Security Council in this case. I doubt whether the precedent set is yet understood and appreciated by some of the great Powers who either concurred in or voted for that action. To give an example, I wonder whether it is generally realised in the United States of America that should there be, unfortunately, at some future occasion, racial riots in Los Angeles, there is no reason whatsoever 1187 why that matter should not be brought before the Security Council on the precedent that is now being set. I have no doubt that, should that be done, the United States, which has no inhibitions about trying to protect its own interests in international law, would use the veto: but, of course, that would not prevent the matter from going before the Assembly for further discussion there.
I ventured to tell the House why I agreed with my noble friend Lord Salisbury that this was an improper use of Article 39 of the Charter. I think it sets the most dangerous precedents, and in the long run endangers the United Nations itself. Let me return to Rhodesian policy. Let me remind the House why I believe the policy of Her Majesty's Government to be immoral. The object of Her Majesty's Government, summed up, and fairly summed up, at the end of Lord Beswick's speech, is to inflict quick and great injury on the economy of Rhodesia. My Lords, it is sometimes necessary to do an evil in order that a greater good may flow from it, but I hold it to be absolutely immoral to seek to injure a Government and people when you have no reason to believe that any good will flow from it. That I believe to be the position here. There is no reason whatever to think that if this policy succeeds and enormous injury is done to the economy of Rhodesia, that will bring about a Government in that country which will be more likely to agree with Her Majesty's Government in the purposes they have in mind.
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, I hope the noble Lord will quote me correctly. I was not saying I wanted to injure the economy of Rhodesia. What I said was that I wanted a situation in which all people of all races could make a contribution to the political and economic development of the country.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, I gathered that that was the object after the sanctions had succeeded. If the noble Lord is saying that the whole object of these sanctions is to strengthen the economy of Rhodesia, he is saying something so incredibly absurd that I would not credit any Minister with it. Surely, whatever may be your ultimate object, the immediate object of sanctions is to injure the economy of Rhodesia. If the 1188 noble Lord wishes to intervene again I will willingly allow him.
§ LORD BESWICK
My Lords, what I said—and I do not wish to prolong what the noble Lord is saying—was that certainly I wished to see a return to legal government, but to twist my words to say that to injure the economy was my objective was quite wrong.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, I am sure, whatever the noble Lord may think of me, if I said I was quoting him, then that is the last thing I meant to say. I did not take his words down. I was summarising the effect he was hoping for from these sanctions. It is perfectly true that he thinks this will induce a return by some Rhodesian Government to "legality", as he calls it. There is no reason whatever to think these sanctions will have that effect. No reason has ever been given why merely punishing Rhodesia with sanctions is going to bring about the result that the Government desire. We know the noble Lord, Lord Beswick, is a humane and decent man, and if anything I said suggested the contrary, of course, I regret it. What I am talking about is the policy the Government are seeking to enforce. That policy is to ruin the economy of Rhodesia in the hope that that will bring such pressure to bear on the Government there that it will yield to the wishes of Her Majesty's Government. I see no reason of any kind to think that this result will be brought about. That is why I think the policy is fundamentally immoral. That is why I agree so much with what was said by so many speakers this afternoon, in particular Lord Wedgwood in the speech which immediately preceded mine.
My Lords, I asked in the debate in December whether, if this injury is caused to Rhodesia, anybody supposes it will only be Mr. Smith and his supporters that suffer. Does anybody suppose that it will only be Rhodesia that suffers? Does anybody suppose that Zambia will not suffer? I know the Government have long forgotten the fact that the people of this country are going to suffer, nor do I lay particular stress on that, because if this country indulges in a policy which I believe to be as immoral as this one, it will deserve to suffer for it, and it will.
I now come to the final point on which I differ from the advice given by the noble Lord, Lord Wedgwood, and others. 1189 My Lords, I cannot vote against these Orders. I want to give my reasons, and I hope my noble friends will agree that the reason is not funk. The reason is one that at any rate has merit in my own mind. It is quite simply this. I detest the policy of Her Majesty's Government in the matter of Rhodesia, and I desire them to change that policy, as in the end I believe they will have to. I detest that policy entirely, but I want their responsibility for it to be absolutely clear. They regard the Orders which they are seeking to pass through Parliament as vital for the pursuance of their foreign policy. I believe that foreign policy is bad. I want their responsibility to be clear, and I do not believe that you will hasten that day if what they regard as an essential part of their foreign policy which they can carry in another place were to be defeated here. I think that would be used by them as an excuse for the failure which will otherwise become clear to our country and the world.
Noble Lords may think that reason good or bad, but I know that my noble friend Lord Salisbury at least will know I am not actuated in this matter by funk. My reason is that I do not believe it would do any good whatsoever to the cause which I and my noble friend Lord Coleraine and others have in mind; namely, to cause this bad policy to be changed. I believe that policy will be changed the sooner if we make clear what we think of it in this House, in Parliament and in the country, but do not nuke it impossible for the Government to carry out an executive action for which they can carry approval in another place.
§ 5.10 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD GARDINER)
My Lords, we have had an interesting and wide ranging debate. As your Lordships know, there are, of course, many things which have led to the situation in which we now are. It is possible, no doubt, to take the view that we should not have subscribed to the Communiqué at the Commonwealth Prime Minister's Conference and should have let the Conference and, if necessary, the Commonwealth break up instead. It is possible, I suppose, to take the view, though I do not know that I have heard anyone expressing it, that, having agreed at the Conference to take certain action, we should have broken our word 1190 and not gone to the United Nations as we promised. The question today is simply this, is it not? Britain having gone to the Security Council, and having got from the Security Council the Resolution she wished to get, is she to be the only country which then takes no step to put it into effect? That is the only real issue which is before the House.
However, as certain issues have been raised I will do my best to say a few words upon them. First of all, I was asked what other countries have legislated, are in process of legislation, or are going to legislate. I am afraid I am not in a position to answer that question. I believe that some have legislated. Some can deal with the implementation of the Resolution administratively, and some, including Germany, are still considering what legislation is necessary. But at the end of nine days from today all members of the United Nations are under an obligation to make a return to the Secretary-General as to exactly what they have done, and on the 1st of next month the Secretary-General will report to the Security Council what all the countries concerned have done to implement the Resolution.
I was asked about the banknotes case. The position in that case, as I understand it, is that the German Court has ordered the notes to be released to their destination, but that an appeal against that decision has already been launched, and that an order has been made by the Court suspending its original order pending a hearing of the appeal.
On a further question of fact, the noble Lord, Lord Reay, asked what was the present effect of sanctions in Rhodesia, and he complained that there seemed to be a good deal of silence about this on the part of the Government. If there is or appears to be, I think it is simply for this reason. There is no doubt that at one time the Government thought that sanctions would be effective in a shorter space of time than they have been, and once one has been proved to be too optimistic one is naturally hesitant to say very much. But the fact is that so far voluntary sanctions have reduced Rhodesia's exports from an annual figure of £143 million to about £80 million, as a result of which Rhodesia's imports have been cut by about one-third compared with 1965. 1191 There appears to be little doubt that they have been able to sell only about one-third, at the most, of last year's tobacco crop, and that most of it is in warehouses in Salisbury and elsewhere. It is not tobacco which can be disguised. I remember when we decided to go over to Commonwealth preference and started using a great deal of Rhodesian tobacco, most of our tobacco manufacturers had to alter their machines in order to use it. The new season's crop will be starting in March, and I remember I said in December that in the case of a one crop country if they could not sell their second year's crop, apart from where they were going to put it, the effect on them is obvious.
The other crop with which they were doing a lot of good was sugar. Apart from a small sale to Portugal, the sugar position is disastrous. Last year's crop was a record one, but a great deal of it has had to be left in the ground. We have read in the papers of the desire of employers to get rid of employees in the motor assembly plans because there is nothing for them to do. How many weeks the assembly plants will last we do not know. South African statistics show that over 4,250 white Rhodesians emigrated to South Africa in the first nine months of last year. The actual figure is probably much larger, because the 4,250 are those who have registered as permanent immigrants. We must see, therefore.
Most of the arguments advanced were arguments of law about the Charter of the United Nations. I quite agree that this is a matter of international law. I quite agree that Dean Acheson takes a different view from the Security Council, as he is quite entitled to do. He was at San Francisco. But this does not really depend upon somebody's recollection of what was said at San Francisco, because the records are there. I venture to repeat what I said a few days ago. The San Francisco Conference rejected all proposals—because there they are in the records—to restrict the Council's freedom of action by specific provision in the Charter, and expressly decided, as shown in the records, to leave the Security Council to decide what constitutes a threat to peace.
Whether it would be useful for me to say much more about the points raised on 1192 the Charter this afternoon, I do not know. But I would suggest that it is quite useless to seek to argue, as the noble Marquess did, that Article 39 is simply dealing with an act of aggression, because both Article 1 and Article 39 deal with three different things: the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression. Where you find three different things they must contemplate three different things, and not solely an act of aggression. Of course, the first part of Article 1, which is dealing with taking collective measures, says:to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches…So you get the same three things again.
Then a good deal of reliance was placed on Chapter I, Article 2, paragraph 7 which says:Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorise the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any State or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter…It was said that Rhodesia is essentially a domestic matter within the domestic jurisdiction of a State. Then the paragraph goes on after a semi-colon:but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter VII".That is why the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, was so right in saying that no reliance can be placed upon that paragraph in relation to the matters under discussion.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble and learned Lord for a moment, I think he is most skilfully evading the whole point which all of us have been making this afternoon. The point we made was that any action which the Security Council made must bein conformity with the principle of justice and international law.The point which the noble and learned Lord has made is that the Conference gave the Security Council a completely free hand to take any decision they liked about a breach of the peace, or a threat to peace, and said nothing about conformity with international law or the principles of justice. In our mind, those two things should govern anything that 1193 the Security Council do. The noble and learned Lord entirely ignored the whole of that.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, the parts of Article 1 deal with two different things, peaceful settlement and collective security. It is quite short. In its first part it is dealing with collective security. Then it goes on to deal with peaceful settlement. That is the order in which they appear in Article 1—you have Chapter VII, so to speak, before Chapter VI. The first part is this:The purposes of the United Nations are:1. To maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace,"—that is the collective security part. Then—and to bring about by peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law, adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of the peace.I should have thought that the words relied upon are intended only to apply to the second; but no doubt these things are open to question. Nothing which this country did in taking this to the Security Council in December has affected this; because if some people, whether Dean Acheson or the noble Marquess, took that view, I cannot think why they did not say so a long time ago now. After all, it was in November, 1965, that the Council determinedthat the situation resulting from the proclamation of independence by the illegal authorities in Southern Rhodesia is extremely grave; that the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland should put an end to it, and that its continuance in time constitutes a threat to international peace and security.I wonder that those concerned to-day did not say then: "This is all wrong. This is all contrary to international justice".
§ LORD HARLECH
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble and learned Lord at this point, of course at that time, in1965, the Prime Minister was most clearly on record as saying that he did not feel that it would be right for the British Government to act under Chapter VII of the Charter, and that all action 1194 at that time would be under Chapter VI of the Charter.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, that may be so; but it does not alter the fact that (wrongly, as I understand the noble Marquess to say) as long ago as November, 1965, the Security Council decided that in regard to the situation in Rhodesiaits continuance in time constitutes a threat to international peace and security".The Security Council determined then, at the time when the Opposition were supporting what the Government were doing, and again, in April, 1966:that the resulting situation"—which was the Beira matter—constitutes a threat to the peace, calls upon the Portugese Government"—and so on, and on this country. So the threat to international peace and security which is contained in the Resolution of the Security Council of December is in fact the third time that they have so resolved.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I quite appreciate the point of the noble and learned Lord. It is, as I understand it, that under Article 1collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peaceneed have nothing to do with the settlementby peaceful means, and in conformity with the principles of justice and international law.The Security Council may have decided that way, but I cannot accept it that those who framed the Charter exceptedeffective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace",from the conducting of affairsin conformity with the principles of justice and international law.I believe that justice and international law was meant by the framers of the Charter equally to govern the wordscollective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace.The noble and learned Lord does not think so. He thinks they are two separate things, that in "collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace", the United Nations need 1195 have no regard at all for "the principles of justice and international law". I cannot accept that.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I have been a lawyer long enough to know that there is hardly any document the construction of which cannot give rise to differences of opinion. No doubt the noble Marquess is as much entitled to his opinion, as is Dean Acheson, as the United States Government and the British Government, and all the other members of the Security Council are entitled to their opinion. For the reasons I have ventured to give, all I can say is that I agree with the opinion contained in the Security Council Resolution.
The rest is really a matter of history. In my submission, no one ought to object to this Order unless they really objected to what was done at the Prime Minister's Conference, because it really flows from that. Whether the Prime Minister was wrong not to have walked out of the Conference; to have had no final communiqué; the thing breaking up in disorder and bringing about the end of the Commonwealth, is, of course, much a matter of opinion. I quite appreciate that there are those who say and indeed write, that the Commonwealth to-day is a different Commonwealth from what it was; that the Commonwealth used to be a body of countries all of whose members had the same ideas; that we have nothing now in common with these black men; that talk of democracy in countries where there is no democracy is a farce; and that here we are giving them aid, and they turn round and bite the hand that feeds them. They say that when the Prime Minister goes to address the General Assembly they walk out. That it is a farce to go on pretending that there is any value in retaining the Commonwealth and that we ought to let it go.
The Government do not agree with that, and I do not agree with it, for two reasons. First of all, while there is some truth in what is said, it is also the fact that the United Nations is the only place where all the nations of the world can meet together and talk. But it is not often visited by a Prime Minister. The Commonwealth Conference is unique because you have there Prime Ministers of every country, of every Continent, from 1196 all over the world, of different colours, different social and economic conditions, getting to know one another and talking. I believe that this in itself is of enormous value. They get to know one another as individuals. It will never be the same as it was. It will never again be a Conference where nobody has any idea what anybody says except from reading the final communiqué. Now they go straight off from the table to Twenty-four Hours or Panorama or some programme of that kind.
It is clear that some of them—one must allow for this—are speaking in the knowledge that looking over their shoulder is somebody at home who is quite ready to replace them if they are not thought to be standing up sufficiently for the interests of Africans. It was not pleasant for the Prime Minister to have to sit there in silence and be abused for about a week. But I still believe that, having regard to the value of human communications, the Commonwealth is a body which is worth keeping.
I know a man who is the most reactionary Tory that I have ever met. He is awful! We disagree upon every conceivable subject—and we are great friends. I do not know why this should be. You sometimes meet somebody and I suppose you just take a dislike to him, but, on the whole, the more you get to know people the more you like them. If we were to shut up the Prime Minister in a room for two or three days with Mr. Kosygin, President Johnson, Mao Tse Tung and General de Gaulle, it might be that at the end you would find that Mao Tse Tung and President Johnson had taken like anything to each other. As the House knows, whenever a Prime Minister arrives in London a Member of the Cabinet has to call upon him at once. Naturally, during the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference this has to be divided up. I called upon Archbishop Makarios, the astute Mr. Lee, the Prime Minister of Singapore, and others. These men having got to know one another, in spite of their diverse interests, is of immense value.
The agreement which was made was the only one which could be made unless the Conference was simply to break up in disorder. What did it mean? It meant that we were still not acceding to the general Commonwealth view that the 1197 only way to deal with the matter was by force. We were taking another three months to find out whether we could not come to terms with Mr. Smith. The African Commonwealth was naturally, I think, highly suspicious about these secret talks about talks. We had promised Mr. Smith that they should be regarded as confidential, so that nobody knew what was happening. In fact, Mr. Smith was not really moving at all. Although some critical observations have been made about the time limit, I was not a bit surprised to find that no move at all was made by Mr. Smith until the last week. It was only the time limit that induced any move at all—only about a week before the expiry of the three months when, for the first time, he said that he was prepared to consider a return to legality.
Unhappily, those negotiations having failed, we had, as we had promised to do, to take the matter to the United Nations, provided that the Commonwealth countries were prepared to play their part, and that the Resolution was one which we could accept and did not involve entanglement in South Africa's economy. Having got the Resolution in its present form, we are faced with the alternatives which the noble Lord, Lord Reay, summarised as being to go on with these sanctions, or to use force, or to give in. What he did not say was which course he was in favour of. I think I am right in saying—and I know he will correct me if I am wrong—that he is in favour of force and he thinks that that is what we ought to have used. I hope I am not doing him an injustice.
§ LORD REAY
My Lords, I did suggest these courses as being the three alternatives. It seems to me that the Government were presented with those alternatives, and that what they must do is to recognise that if they are to continue with their present policy they may have to continue with it for a very long time. I recognise that this is a very uncomfortable situation indeed, and an extremely difficult choice for the British Government to have to make. It seems to me that if they reinserted the threat of force, that is to say made it clear that in certain circumstances they might have to use force—and I am certain they would tend to think that this should be their policy—then it is very likely that 1198 this could be a less expensive method, in its cost both of resources and of life, than either of the other two alternative methods.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, I wonder whether the noble and learned Lord would give his own impression on whether the Liberal Party thinks the use of force is one for national determination or for the United Nations.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I gather that the noble Lord, Lord Wade, thought that we ought to have dealt with it ourselves at the beginning. I understood that also to be a reference to force.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I think that Lord Reay's three alternatives are absolutely right. I agree with him that it would be shameful to abandon the four million Africans in Rhodesia. The alternatives, therefore, are either force or sanctions. I am sure your Lordships would not expect me at this hour to start on the whole philosophy of sanctions and whether they are right or wrong. There are those who still believe that the trouble with the League of Nations was that it did not use sanctions, and that it should have employed effective sanctions against Mussolini—and I entirely agree that it means hurting innocent people; sanctions always do hurt people. But it is still a question whether if effective sanctions had been used against Mussolini we should not have avoided the events of 1939. However, I do not propose to say anything more about that to-night.
There was one observation made by the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, which I really cannot allow to pass, though we all know the sincerity with which he holds his views on this matter. He accused not only the Government, as I understood it, but others as well in saying that they were not thinking for one moment of the Rhodesian people. Well, of course, the whole of the observations, with which so 1199 many of us agreed, made in December by the most reverend Primate were concerned solely with the Rhodesian people—meaning by that "all" the people. I think that very often when the noble Marquess speaks of "the Rhodesians" he has primarily in mind the 65,035—I think that is the figure—who comprise the adult male white settlers.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
My Lords, I cannot allow the noble and learned Lord to get away with that. He will never find that in any of my speeches, and I have always been an advocate of a multi-racial Government. That really is a quite unjustifiable slur upon my attitude.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
There have been contexts in which I thought at the time that he could not have meant anything else. But he says that "Rhodesians" means all of them, and I am very glad to hear it. This is really a moral isue at base, as the most reverend Primate said. It is because we are thinking of all the people of Rhodesia that we want guarantees for Africans in their Constitutions before independence and guarantees for the white settlers after independence.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, I know that I must appear to the noble and learned Lord Chancellor as being absolutely "awful", but what I cannot understand is this. If the Government are thinking primarily of the peoples of Rhodesia, and only secondarily of these other matters—the Commonwealth, the state of opinion in the Labour Party, and so on—I cannot understand the declarations which the Prime Minister made to Mr. Smith on board H.M.S. "Tiger", shortly before they parted, when he outlined to Mr. Smith that Her Majesty's Government had other things to think about and more important countries to think about than Rhodesia, and that they were not going to risk breaking up the Commonwealth because of 1 per cent. of the people of the Commonwealth, and so forth. Not one word was said about the future well-being of the Rhodesian people. What I do not understand—and the Lord Chancellor has not made it any clearer to me—is how he can hope that this policy of sanctions, a policy which has not succeeded yet and 1200 which can succeed only at the cost of bringing ruin to Rhodesia, will do anything but harm to the Rhodesian peoples.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
Sanctions naturally hurt. That is what they are there for. But we hope that, when they see the entire world is organised against them, they will pull themselves together and return to legality. All they are being asked to do, after all, is to return to legality. That is all. If the papers are right there is already a petition by 4,000 of their leading citizens, headed by Lord Malvern, pressing for talks to start again and for Mr. Smith to start implementing what on the "Tiger" he said he was prepared to implement.
There is nothing to stop them from returning to legality at any time, and it is our hope that when they see that, organised by the United Nations, the whole world is determined to see they do return to legality; when they see that there is no hope of selling not only the remains—indeed, the principal part—of last year's tobacco crop but this year's crop as well; when they see, both as to imports and exports, the effect which the implementation of the United Nations Resolution is having upon them, they will see that the only sensible thing they can do is to return to legality.
I believe that so far two factors have militated against it. First of all, they thought, as Mr. Smith told me, that the illegal Declaration of Independence would be a nine days' wonder, that the United Nations would never do anything, and that sooner or later some other thing would blow up which would divert people's attention and they would leave Rhodesia alone and let them do what they liked. And, after they had realised that that was not so, then they were persuaded that "Smithy" would settle it. So long as talks were going on, I am quite sure that there was no real prospect of a return to legality among the ordinary settlers of Rhodesia, because they all thought that Mr. Smith would settle it. It is only now, in consequence of what has happened in the last two months, that for the first time they are really beginning to think, "Is there any future in our going on in a state of illegality, with a regime that no country in the world has recognised as the legal government? After all, is not the sensible course to 1201 return to legality on the sort of terms which were under discussion on the 'Tiger'?"
However, the only immediate question before your Lordships tonight, as I have pointed out, is this. As Britain has gone to the United Nations and got the Resolution she wanted, and as the Commonwealth countries have played fair in not carrying the Resolution beyond the point
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and Motion agreed to accordingly.