HL Deb 17 June 1968 vol 293 cc350-425

3.55 p.m.

Debate resumed.


My Lords, I should like, to start with, to express my gratitude to the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack for the moderation with which he has introduced this Order, and I should like to reciprocate. I approach this grave and complex issue with, I hope, a due sense of responsibility, a responsibility which extends beyond Party or House of Lords considerations, important though these may be. I cannot claim the long and intimate association with Southern Africa which many noble Lords who will be speaking later in this debate have had, but I think I know enough of this problem to know of its importance. I believe it was our former colleague and former Prime Minister, the late Lord Attlee, who predicted in 1964 that the most acute problem which would confront the present Administration would be that of Rhodesia. So it has proved, even though this problem-prone Government has found some other problems along the road. It is a problem, as we have found to our cost, which touches the exposed nerves of our race-conscious contemporary world at one of their most sensitive spots.

I also, I think, know enough of this problem to know of its complexity. Many of us will have some quite harsh things to say about this Order and about the Government's Rhodesian policy. We do not, however, underestimate the immense complications. Let me make it perfectly plain at the outset where we, the official Opposition, stand on the main issues. These of course extend beyond the confines of this Order. I would claim that the policy of the Opposition on Southern Rhodesia these last three-and-a-half years has been straight It and consistent. We have been consistent in that we have not condoned and we do not condone U.D.I.; it was a rash and a foolish act. We have not condoned and we do not condone the police state aspects of the régime. We have not condoned and we do not condone racialism in any form whatsoever.

We have been equally consistent in our belief that an honourable settlement was possible and could be reached in an atmosphere—and sometimes we have not had that atmosphere—free from threat and vituperation and ultimatum. Two weeks ago in another place the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs stated that there were three possible courses on Rhodesia. I know the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, also proffered three possible solutions; I am not quite certain whether they were the same. I quote the words of his right honourable friend from Hansard, Commons, May 30, col. 2141: There is surrender, there is force and there is the peaceful application of sanctions. He forgot to mention the fourth course, the peaceful application of persuasion; namely negotiations. It is our belief that a settlement can still, but only just, be reached by negotiations. On January 25, in a short but very interesting discussion in your Lordships' House, my noble friend Lord Alport expressed his belief that an agreement could be reached which would be acceptable to Britain and which would have the support of all races in Rhodesia.

Moreover, Sir Alec Douglas-Home remains convinced that the proposals which he discussed with Mr. Smith in Salisbury some weeks ago could still, despite all that has happened since, form an acceptable basis for settlement. Indeed, I am empowered by my right honourable friend to say that he has recently received a letter from Mr. Smith confirming that the proposals discussed between them still stand so far as Rhodesia is concerned. I, personally, attach more importance to these communications than I do to some of the quotations, doubtless for public consumption, with which the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack has regaled us.


My Lords, May I ask the noble Earl—because this is a very important point—if he can tell the House whether in those assurances there is any question of a blocking mechanism, so that there is no question of the Constitution being changed?


My Lords, I cannot assure the House because I am not privy to these communications. I think the only people who are in this country are Sir Alec and the Prime Minister, so I am afraid I cannot say more; I do not know.

We have likewise, I claim, been consistent in our attitude towards sanctions. We supported sanctions, albeit with misgivings, as long as they remained a British responsibility and under our ultimate control. We had, it was true, our misgivings. We were told at the beginning that the effect of sanctions would be short and sharp. The noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack, for example, in that debate in December, 1965, from which he has quoted on one or two occasions this afternoon, said he did not think it would now be long before sanctions took effect. That was 29 months ago. Be that as it may, we have been consistent in drawing a sharp distinction between sanctions applied under our own control and mandatory sanctions applied at the behest of the United Nations. As long ago as December, 1966, my noble friend Lord Carrington made our position quite plain, as he usually does. He stated quite flatly in our debate in December: We on this side thought that the proposals for mandatory sanctions were wholly and absolutely wrong. Your Lordships, too, made your position on mandatory sanctions quite plain by voting down the Government Motion of approval.

We were opposed to mandatory sanctions in 1966, and we are opposed to them now, and our reasons I think are clinching. In the first place, we believe that they involve a loss of control by us over the situation in Central Africa. Mandatory sanctions in effect mean that we have become passengers in a vehicle on a steep and slippery slope, without any real control over the wheel, the brake or the accelerator. We believe, secondly, that sanctions cannot work without South African co-operation. Quite clearly, such co-operation will not be freely given. Their logic, therefore, entails in the last analysis a collision course with the Union of South Africa.

Finally, we are convinced that mandatory sanctions can only drive Rhodesians in upon themselves, consolidate support for the regime there, and support for extremist elements within the régime, and thus hamstring such chances of a peaceful and honourable settlement as still exist. Given this, I hold, consistent position, it is not surprising that many of us view this Order with dismay. In our view, it is open to all the objections which we, as a Party, have consistently advanced for the past 18 months. But it is also open to a number of special objections of its own. Thus—I speak subject to correction—under the new sanctions provisions an offence will be committed not only by British citizens, but also, I think, by Southern Rhodesians living and working in Southern Rhodesia. That, I think, is not new. But remember, it is now illegal for anyone in Southern Rhodesia to export or import anything at all. How on earth can this provision be enforced while U.D.I. continues? And if, as we all hone will be the case, there were to be a settlement, would not half the white citizens in Rhodesia be liable to prosecution? Does not this absurd provision make a monkey of the law?

I should like to take another example of the sort of, so far as I know, unresolved complication with which mandatory sanctions threaten us. What, for example, about British directors, and the British members of the staffs of South African subsidiaries of British companies? If those subsidiary companies are trading with Rhodesia, are these directors and those staff members of the subsidiary companies liable to prosecution and to up to two years imprisonment? I do not know. I do not think anybody else does, either.

But, far more serious are the new travel restrictions designed to put Rhodesia and Rhodesians "in Coventry". I am dealing here only with those holding Southern Rhodesian passports or passports issued by the illegal régime. As I understand Article 12, anyone holding such a passport may now be refused admission to this country by an immigration officer, or allowed in only on certain conditions. I had a great number of questions to ask the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack on this point. I am grateful for the long and careful explanation of this part of the Order which he has given us. I would wish to study it carefully, and also carefully to study what he has said about the new review machinery. All I would say is that, if this is a step in the right direction, which it seems to be, it is a justifiable reflection of the public disquiet over the arbitrary actions 3f the Administration with which, at least under this Administration, we have become only too familiar.

At first blush, I can only stigmatise these new travel restrictions as vindictive and stupid. The noble and learned Lord has said that they were not coercive. That may be so. But I should have thought that they might have been precisely and expressly designed to turn the moderate White Rhodesian into a rabid extremist. And worst of all, this provision is lifted straight from our own draft resolution. This petty piece of, I hold, pointless persecution was, it seems, dreamed up in Whitehall; it was not imposed upon us in any way.

Apart from the Order itself there is the United Nations resolution. Since that resolution stands behind the Order it is only right to consider it. To my mind, it is, in two vital respects at least, still wholly objectionable, however in which it may have been improved by the exertions of our representative at the United Nations. In the first place, there is the position of the Zambian economy, still heavily dependent on Southern Rhodesia. My information, right or wrong, is that the Zambian economy is now seriously threatened.

Paragraph 6 of our draft United Nations resolution tacitly recognised this great problem by permitting the landlocked States of Southern Africa to apply only such sanctions as their position permits. This has been dropped, and what we have instead is paragraph 15, not of course a mandatory provision, merely requesting Member States and international organisations to be nice to Zambia in her economic difficulties.

The economic collapse of Zambia is now threatened as a result of the policy of mandatory sanctions to which Her Majesty's Government have subscribed. Can noble Lords opposite assure us that they have solid plans to ward off this new threat of economic collapse and chaos at the heart of Central Southern Africa? Secondly, there is the most damaging provision of all, paragraph 13. It is short and it is important, and I shall, without apology, read it to your Lordships in full. It reads as follows: Urges all States, Members of the United Nations, to render moral and material assistance to the people of Southern Rhodesia in their struggle to achieve their freedom. That is very wide language indeed. One could certainly provide arms and ammunition to the so-called freedom fighters, and one could certainly infiltrate a brigade of guerrillas into Southern Rhodesia under cover of these words.

In another place the Secretary of State for Commonwealth affairs sought to put a platonic gloss upon these words. He said—and I quote from Hansard of May 3, col. 2140: I repeat that they"— he was referring to the nations with whom we negotiate in the Security Council— began with a demand for the use of force. They ended with this resolution, which contained no mention of the use of force. That is the important thing to bear in mind". Maybe that is important if one is being hunted hard in another place and wishes to put the hounds off the scent. But is it not equally important to bear in mind the possibility that those who have advocated the use of force and wish to see it sanctioned in the United Nations resolution were content with paragraph 13 since its wide language would, in their view, cover subversion and violence?

Those, my Lords, are some of our principal objections to the particular Order and to the resolution which stands behind it. Fundamentally they stem from Her Majesty's Government's decision 18 months ago to abdicate in favour of the United Nations final responsibility for Southern Rhodesia and to pursue through the United Nations a policy of mandatory sanctions. That set us on the slippery slope away from a peaceful settlement. How far down that slope we have now slid is shown by paragraph 13 from which I have quoted. That paragraph, so far as I know, was voted without any specific disclaimer from our representative at the United Nations.

The stark question remains: what should be the course of action to-morrow evening in the Division Lobby of those noble Lords, whatever may be their political complexion, who view, as I do, this Order and all that surrounds it with the gravest possible misgiving? We on these Benches must recognise that for us the choice is more complex than it is for our colleagues in another place. Given our composition, it is very possible that a vote by the Opposition against the Order will be carried—I do not know. An Order of this kind has never, I believe, been rejected by your Lordships' House. Such a decision, therefore, is not a decision which my noble friends should lightly take.

For some of us the decision may be easier than it may be for others. We all know, and we all deeply respect, even though we do not on all occasions entirely share, the views of my noble friend Lord Salisbury on this issue. He and those of my noble friends who share his views on this issue have made their position crystal clear by voting already against two of these Southern Rhodesian Orders. For others among us—for example, those who, like me, were prepared to give the Government the benefit of the doubt, who initially went along, albeit with great reluctance, with their policy on sanctions, the position is more difficult. And it is to these noble Lords to whom I wish particularly to address, if I may, my concluding thoughts.

It can be argued that on a grave national issue of this kind, touching as it does at many points the international relations of this country, we should particularly beware of breaking national unity. Indeed, I so argued myself when the Order banning oil exports to Rhodesia was before your Lordships' House in December, 1965. I then argued, in support of my noble Leader's plea that we should not divide, on the analogy of Ireland. I recalled how British policy towards Ireland had been darkened and be devilled over the years by the lack of a united national will, and how our ability to control events there had been weakened by that lack of national will.

My Lords, I do not unsay one word of what I then said. But I would remind your Lordships that it was not by us, it was not by the Conservative Party, that national unity on the issue of Rhodesia was broken. It was broken by Her Majesty's Government, and it was broken by Her Majesty's Government when they took the fateful decision to take this matter to the United Nations, and to tread the downward path of mandatory sanctions. It was they who by so doing, against the advice, expressed in votes of the Conservative Opposition in both Houses of Parliament, who thus weakened, perhaps fatally weakened, our ability to control events in and around Southern Rhodesia.

Again, it may be argued—indeed, it has been argued—that an Order flowing from the mandatory provisions of a United Nations resolution has a sort of privileged sanctuary. It is claimed that we in this House, however violently we may object to the Order as such, should not take action which could place Her Majesty's Government in default of their obligations under the United Nations Charter. My Lords, I, for one, do not take the United Nations and the United Nations Charter lightly. Nor do I consider our international obligations to be light matters. Indeed, one of the most serious charges which we on these Benches level against Her Majesty's Government is the wanton way in which they have shown themselves ready to default on their international obligations.

In any event, let us make the position quite clear in this respect. A mandatory resolution is indeed binding on Her Majesty's Government, but it is not binding on Her Majesty's Opposition. It is thus for Her Majesty's Government to consider, before they incur an international obligation, whether they will be in a position to honour it. That is their responsibility, and it is certainly not the responsibility of the Opposition to give the Government of the day a blank cheque for whatever they may decide to do abroad, be it at the United Nations or elsewhere. That is one side of the picture. The other is my understanding—and here I speak subject to correction—that even if one or the other House of Parliament fails to approve this particular Order it remains effective for twenty-eight days, and that there is nothing to stop the Government from laying another thereafter.

There remain the constitutional considerations. I do not propose to deal at length with them, as I am sure my noble friend Lord Carrington will wish to dwell on this issue when he winds up tomorrow evening. However, I am impelled to say just this. I noted with interest, and some disdain, the minatory utterances of Ministers over the weekend. I noticed, in particular, the threat to abandon the search for an agreed reform of this House. As your Lordships may know, I am a member of the Inter-Party Conference, under the distinguished chairmanship of the noble and learned Lord Chancellor, which is discussing reform. It is common knowledge—indeed, the Lord Chancellor has confirmed it—that the Conference is very close to complete agreement, and I, for one, am glad that this is the case. I have for a very long time felt that reform was needed, and I have also felt that it was highly desirable, if humanly possible, that it should come as a measure broadly agreed between the main political Parties. Nevertheless, my Lords, I think that it would be quite wrong if those who, like me, wish to achieve an agreed measure of reform were to spend our time looking over our shoulders making nice calculations about the effect on reform of our actions in other spheres. No, my Lords, we have our legislative duty to do. The only right, the only honourable, stance for us to take is to treat each issue as it comes before us strictly on its merits.

I recognise, of course, that the issue before us to-day is one of unusual difficulty. It would be unusual—more, it would be unprecedented, I believe, for your Lordships to reject this Order. Yet it is equally clear that this House would be within its constitutional rights in so doing and thus affording to public opinion, to the Government, and, if you wish, to the Opposition as well, a period for reflection. After all, that is what a Second Chamber is for. Furthermore, exceptional measures demand exceptional remedies. For example, I think it is virtually certain that we should have rejected the Stansted Airport Order, had we been asked to take it in its original form. And we should have bee a right to do so.

I believe that this, too, is an exceptional measure and marks a moment of exceptional gravity in the evolution of this tragic story. We on these Benches believe that there is still the possibility of an honourable and peaceful settlement with Rhodesia on the lines discussed in Salisbury between Sir Alec and Mr. Smith. But events are moving fast and there is very little time indeed now left. And now, at this crucial moment, we have this misconceived and dangerous Order.

It is misconceived in that the strategy and psychology behind it is wrong. Retribution through harsher sanctions and through enforced isolation will not, I predict—I may be wrong—break the will of White Rhodesians and open the way to negotiations and a settlement. It will only strengthen the very forces in Rhodesia, the forces of extremism, which it should be the task of statesmanship to weaken. But this Order is not only misconceived; it is also dangerous. It marks yet a further stage in Her Majesty's Government's progressive loss of control over events.

First we had the reference to the United Nations—the abdication of ultimate British responsibility. Then we had mandatory sanctions based upon the perverted logic that the régime in Southern Rhodesia, whatever its other vices may be, constitutes a threat to international peace and security. Now, if I may remind your Lordships, we have in paragraph 13 of the resolution on which this Order is based the clearest possible incitement to violence. I would remind your Lordships of the words used by the Ambassador of Guinea at the United Nations in speaking to this part of the resolution. These are his reported words: For the first time the United Nations, the highest body, has approved the guerrilla struggle in Rhodesia as well as the assistance by individual States to freedom fighters. But the danger of international confrontation implicit in this Order, or rather in the United Nations' resolution that stands behind it, does not lie only within Rhodesia and to the North; it lies also to the South. The Government take pride in the fact that the vote in favour of the resolution was a unanimous vote, but they would be unwise if they delude themselves into thinking that international action to enforce it will be equally unanimous. I predict that once again we shall find that sanctions bite more slowly and less effectively than we anticipate.

What then will follow? My prediction is that what will follow, as night follows day, will be a demand, a clamour, for even tougher measures, and measures which will carry with them even graver risks to international peace. The inexorable logic of the situation would then demand a quarantine around, a blockade of Southern Africa including, not least, the Union of South Africa. I readily concede that the Government have up to now resolutely set their faces against the use of force; and I was glad to hear further confirmation of that impression by the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, this afternoon. They have also set their faces as yet against any economic confrontation with South Africa. But can they guarantee that they would veto a resolution demanding such action if it were to be presented at some time in the future to the United Nations? Can we be assured that this Government of slither might not ultimately slither into such a disastrous confrontation?

My Lords, to conclude—and I have not reached this conclusion lightly—it is my belief that in these exceptional circumstances we are almost compelled to say to the Government, "Think again". "Think again", before any irrevocable break between Britain and Rhodesia takes place, while there is still the glimpse of a chance of a peaceful and honourable settlement, before chaos takes over in Rhodesia and perhaps in Zambia as well, before a frontier of violence is drawn between white and black in Southern Africa and before a possible collision course is set with South Africa itself, we should, in my view, pause and ponder. Accordingly, having weighed these exceptional circumstances with exceptional care, I would advise my noble friends to vote against this Order in the Division Lobby tomorrow. I would just add this. Let not noble Lords opposite seek to misconstrue that vote, if it takes place—


We have no alternative.


It will not be a vote in favour of the illegal régime. It will rather be a vote cast in support of common sense, of moderation and of continued negotiation.


My Lords, before the noble Earl sits down, could I ask him, as he made great play with Zambia, whether he has official Zambian support for his view that the Zambian Government would not support Her Majesty's Government in this implementation of a United Nations resolution?


My Lords, may I slightly correct the noble Lady, who may have misheard me? I was not meaning to imply that the Zambians would not necessarily fall in with the line of mandatory sanctions, but that, if they were to do so and were not to receive adequate economic compensation, then their economy would be in very dire straits indeed.

4.27 p.m.


My Lords, all those who are taking part and who will take part in this debate are very conscious of the importance of the debate and of the crucial vote which is to take place tomorrow. The constitutional issue in some respects overshadows the debate on the Order itself. As the first speaker from the Liberal Benches, may I make it clear at the outset that, quite apart from the merits and demerits of the Order, I feel that it would he very unwise indeed to reject this Order. I take the view that the advice given by the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, on February 6, 1967, to which the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack has referred, was sound advice and I think that it is still valid. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, when he said [col. 1157]: I cannot feel that this would be a proper exercise of our powers. I do not think that this is quite the same kind of Order as the Stansted Order, which was a domestic matter. It seems to me that the rejection of this Order would be comparable with a case where a treaty had been solemnly entered into by the British Government, had been ratified by the House of Commons, and then is rejected by a non-elected upper House in order to embarrass the Government. It may well be that such action would be a Godsend to the Labour Party; it may be just what they are wanting to try to revive their somewhat lowered fortunes in the electoral field. But it can scarcely be expected that I should accept that argument as a reason for welcoming the rejection of the Order.

There is a distinction which we have to make between an Order and a Bill. For example, on the Transport Bill a number of Amendments have been tabled. I shall be voting for some of those Amendments; some may be carried and will be sent to the Commons in order that the Commons may have an opportunity of reviewing them and perhaps accepting some of them. But an Order is not amendable, and the custom has rightly grown up that we in this House do not reject an Order. It has been suggested in some quarters—and the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, seemed to favour it—that this House might reject the Order the first time with the intention of allowing it to go through if presented again. It seems to me that that would make your Lordships' House look rather foolish. It would create the maximum of constitutional controversy with the minimum of benefit to those who dislike the Order. Therefore, if the Order is to be approved I hope it will be approved to-morrow if it passes the Commons to-day, and I hope that those who feel uneasy about it will find it within their consciences to abstain.

I recognise that the attitude to this Order is affected by one's views about. the whole policy of sanctions, and I am sadly aware that some rather rash things have been said from time to time about the effectiveness of sanctions, but I need not go over all that ground again. Surely the basic question remains: Is it right that Britain should condone a rebellion? Is it right that Britain should condone the disregarding of those principles which have been so often stated to be essential if there is to be progress towards a multiracial society in Rhodesia? At the time of U.D.I., all Parties made it clear that they regarded such condonation as wrong, and all Parties accepted the policy of sanctions, though with varying degrees of enthusiasm. I cannot see any great merit or logic in supporting sanctions but in opposing any steps which might help to make them more effective. Furthermore, having taken the matter to the United Nations and having achieved a unanimous vote on the resolution, with some difficulty, Britain is surely under some obligation to observe and carry out the terms of that resolution. If Britain is prevented from doing so by a non-elected Chamber, if Britain is prevented from observing the resolution for which the British representative has voted it the United Nations, then I think the consequences will be serious and far-reaching.

Turning to the Order itself, I recognise that it would cause some hurt and embarrassment, but that, alas! nearly always follows from a rebellion. It is our duty as a legislative Chamber to examine this and other Orders, and I therefore have one or two specific questions to put. Some have been dealt with by the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack but, for the record, may I ask one or two questions which I think require looking into? Article 1(1) of the Order provides that: Except under the authority of a licence granted by the Minister, all goods that are exported … are prohibited to be imported into the United Kingdom. That expression Except under the authority of a licence granted by the Minister occurs throughout the Order. How does a person or a company operating in Southern Rhodesia set about applying for such a licence? What precisely is the procedure to be followed? It is clearly important that the procedure should be known and understood by those affected. Furthermore, it is important that anyone wishing to apply for a licence should know in what circumstances a licence is likely to be granted. That is not a question as to the merits or demerits of the Order, but as to the interpretation of the Order and the steps to be followed by anyone wishing to observe the terms of the Order. An adequate answer is not to be found in paragraphs (1), (2) and (3). In any case, the circumstances under which a licence will be granted are not made abundantly clear to persons and companies wishing to observe the Order.

Secondly paragraph 2(3) of the Order provides that Except under such authority as aforesaid, no person shall deal in any goods that have been exported from Southern Rhodesia. If there is doubt as to the origin of the goods, where does the onus of proof lie? Where goods have had to pass through other countries before arrival in this country, how are persons or firms to know that the goods in question have originated in Southern Rhodesia? How is an individual or firm to know whether or not he is observing the rules laid down in the Order? Again, this is not so much a question of the merits or demerits of the Order as one of the interpretation of the Order for the enlightenment of those who wish to try to observe it.

Thirdly, Article 12(1)(]b)(ii) provides that any Commonwealth citizen whom the Secretary of State has reason to beleve— to have furthered or encouraged or to be likely to further or encourage any unconstitutional action becomes subject to the restrictions set out in Article 12. This involves possible loss of a passport, refusal of entry or deportation. Again, I think we should ask: What precisely is meant by the words likely to further or encourage any unconstitutional action"? Are any rules laid down for the benefit of those who wish to know what is the meaning of this provision? What, if any, are the criteria, and have they been laid down in any rules which are or will be made available to individuals who wish to know whether or not they are observing the provisions of Article 12?—and I mean without waiting until they have been individually informed.

If the answer is that it is left to the discretion of the Secretary of State without any reason being given, that will place individuals in a difficult and embarrassing position and may create genuine hardship and injustice. It is true that where a rebellion has taken place there is always a possibility that some individuals may suffer in consequence, but there is a duty upon the Government, in introducing an Order such as this, to lay down as clearly as possible the rules by which the Secretary of State will be guided, for the information of all individuals who may be affected by the Order. I welcome the setting up of the Review Committee under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice Cairns which was referred to by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, and I shall study what the noble and learned Lord has said, but I think it is still important to say that the persons to whom the Order may apply must know as precisely as possible what are their rights and duties.

Turning now from detailed comment to a more general one, I should like to ask Her Majesty's Government what steps will be taken in the future to ensure that other countries will so far as possible observe these sanctions. It is rather hard on Britain that some other countries should break sanctions with impunity—and I am not referring only to South Africa and Portugal—while Britain has briefly to Hansard and to the debate in to take all the blame. May I refer which the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, took part, which has already been quoted? I then asked a question about the breaking of sanctions and referred to an earlier speech by the then Lord Privy Seal. I said: 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 closed' are too optimistic."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6/2/68, col. 1160.]

I am afraid that is true.

I was in Rhodesia last July and I also visited South Africa and Zambia. I travelled entirely alone and therefore not under the auspices of any organisation, and I was not beholden to anyone. I met with great kindness, although sometimes perhaps with a little suspicion. In Salisbury I stayed in the same hotel as the noble Lord, Lord Alport, although that was just a coincidence. I was there to listen and I met with a wide range of views varying from an evening in a Salisbury club to a long talk in a less comfortable place with an ex-detainee. In passing, may I say that I told the ex-detainee what a lot of harm I thought had been done to his cause by the disputes between the two African Parties in Rhodesia. I find it extremely difficult to give any fair summary of what I ascertained, but may I make one or two brief observations?

The first is that I think our relations with Rhodesia are like a Greek tragedy, but it is a Greek tragedy which started long before U.D.I., and among the white Rhodesians the feeling of distrust of British Governments attaches as much to Conservative Governments as to the present one. Coupled with that is the feeling that the British people have gone soft. Secondly, since U.D.I., on Britain's part there have been far too many words and too little action. By that I mean that there has been far too much verbal denunciation and not enough effective action; and it would have been very much better if it had been the other way round. Therefore I shall try to be as objective and as dispassionate as possible. Thirdly, since U.D.I. Rhodesia has, alas!, moved away from, rather than towards, a multiracial society. If only, after U.D.I., Mr. Smith had said: "Now that we are independent, we will prove that our critics are wrong: we will in fact hasten towards majority ruse; we will do out utmost to remove racial discrimination", then, perhaps, there might have been very great sympathy for him. But, alas! it has moved just the other way.

I made a visit to the University; and, if I may say so, I think that the University, in spite of the limits on its political freedom should continue. I hope it will. I had lunch with a number of the staff and the students, and I met one very interesting African graduate. After lunch I went up to his room and had a very long talk with him. He told me of his difficulties in obtaining employment. He had got a very good degree. He was obviously suited for work tinder the equivalent of our Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. He specialised in developing food production, in productivity. But all his efforts at obtaining employment had been unsuccessful. He had managed to get a post as a research student, but the future was not bright, and he thought that probably in the end he would have to find a job in Zambia or in Malawi. I mention that just as an example. There are many others.

My Lords, if I thought that throwing out this Order would really lead to a complete change of heart, and that there would be a spontaneous effort to achieve progress towards a multiracial society, that there really would be unimpeded progress towards majority rule, then I might have some hesitation about the Order. But all the evidence seems to be to the contrary. In fact what would happen, and what I fear, is that Africans who still look to us as those who will uphold the principles of which we have so often spoken will feel that this is the final "sell-out", while some at any rate of the Rhodesian Front would merely regard the rejection of this Order as another example of British weakness. It may be that some noble Lords will regard this as a choice of evils. I admit that there is no easy way out; but if it is a choice of evils, then surely to go back on our resolve to stand firm until there is an honourable settlement would be the greater evil. As to the constitutional issue, to flout the House of Commons, to overrule the elected Chamber, would undoubtedly be the greater evil. I believe that it would be one of the greatest mistakes this House has made for a long time. I therefore hope that this Order will be allowed to pass.

4.43 p.m.


We are, my Lords, one and all, I believe, deeply concerned, deeply worried about what to do in this debate; whether to throw cut the Order or whether to vote for it, with the extension of sanctions. Your Lordships have already heard arguments, fierce arguments, on this question, and we know that over the rest of to-day and to-morrow the argument will rage hard and with real conviction on both sides. What is the best way of bringing about a solution of the Rhodesian tragedy, which is what we all desire? And at the end, my Lords, none of us will know for certain. It will remain a matter of opinion.

If that were the only issue I, for one, should be inclined, I think, to reject the Order on the ground that sanctions are unlikely to bring the Rhodesians to the conference table. But this is not the only issue, and we are not alone; we are not on cur own. All the nations of the world are now concerned. The action proposed follows a resolution passed unanimously by the United Nations, and we must never forget this. Some of your Lordships will feel—and I think the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, was of this inclination—that this is really not the business of the United Nations; that this ought to be our affair; that it is a colonial matter, or a matter between the Rhodesians and ourselves. My Lords, the pass on that was sold long ago. It was sold in the days of the Conservative Governments, when we allowed the United Nations to discuss and debate colonial affairs. I must confess that at that time I was much dismayed. I, as a Minister of State, felt that this was a mistake. But that was the policy, and this is the sequel.

I repeat: we are not on our own; and we are, I believe, under obligation to give effect to the latest United Nations resolution. Support of the United Nations is surely a cardinal matter of policy for us all. Certainly it is for me, and those of your Lordships who knew my father and his life will not be surprised at this. One cannot support the United Nations when it suits us to do so and not support them when it does not. If it were a matter of conscience—if, for example, the resolution had advocated the use of force—then I think we should have been bound to use the Veto. But otherwise we must go ahead and carry out the resolution passed by the United Nations.

So, my Lords, I believe that we must support the Order, even though we may be doubtful whether our action, and that of the other nations which will follow, will lead to that settlement which we all so deeply desire. Whether it will or not remains a matter of opinion, but our obligation to support the United Nations is, I believe, something of a matter of principle, vital to us and vital to the future of the world. This compels me, and I hope that it will compel others of your Lordships, to vote for the Order, or, if this is asking too much, at least to abstain.

4.48 p.m.


My Lords, I do not propose to enter at all into the constitutional matters of this coming vote and of this Order. All I wish to do is to put forward some of the reasons why I believe it is right for this country, right for Africa and right for Rhodesia that the Order should be supported. Perhaps the strongest reason of all has been given by my noble friend Lord Perth. We cannot dismiss from our minds the fact that we are to-day living in a world—and we are deliberately living in this world, because I am glad and proud to say that it is to a large part of our own making—where the individual power of individual nations counts for less and the collective will of collective nations, the United Nations, counts for more. That is something for which we in this country, including the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, among others, fought hard and achieved, and it must be right for us in a matter of great international importance of this sort to adhere to the decision of the United Nations.

My Lords, so far as Rhodesia itself is concerned, what are the reasons for taking the action that we have so far taken and which we are now proposing to take? These reasons have nothing whatever to do with false pride or personal antipathy. Surely the past record of the efforts of the Government and of the Prime Minister shows that this is not a question of pride. And whatever may be the personal relations between the Prime Minister and Mr. Smith there can be no accusation of failure to make every effort—culminating in the "Tiger" talks—to bring about a settlement. It is not any reason of that kind which prompts the action which this House is now considering. Surely, the first reason must be our responsibilities toward the 4 million Africans who are part of what was, and still is, the self-governing Colony of Rhodesia. We have a responsibility to them which, however much it might suit our convenience to do so, we cannot disregard.

I would remind your Lordships that this responsibility is not simply a recent invention of the present Labour Government, neither was it an invention of the late Conservative Government. It goes back much further. If I may, I will read to your Lordships the words of the then Duke of Devonshire from a White Paper of 1923. He said: His Majesty's Government think it necessary definitely to record their considered opinion that the interest of the African natives must be paramount, and that if, and when, those interests and the interests of the immigrant races should conflict, the former should prevail. Those were words at the time concerning Kenya; but they would be as relevant to Kenya or to any other country for which we are responsible in East Africa, in Central Africa or elsewhere.

So, my Lords, first of all it is our responsibility to those people that prompts us to take this action. Secondly, it is our own national honour. We are on trial in the eyes of the world—particularly of Africa, but also of other countries—to see whether we are prepared to match by actions the fine words which have been promulgated by politicians and Ministers of all Parties; or whether we have become that sort of a country which is prepared to say fine words but which, when the bill for those fine words comes home, is prepared to turn its back, to get up and leave. National honour demands that we bring the declaration of independence to an end and that we do it by any means we believe to be effective.

There is also self-interest. There is the self-interest purely of business, of trade; because—let us be under no illusions about this—South Africa, though important trading partner, is not by any means the only trading partner on the Continent of Africa. There are very many other countries with whom we trade and with whom we could trade a great deal more. There are already signs that weakness with regard to Rhodesia has a very bad effect on our trade and makes the efforts of our exporters more difficult. I have only to point to the Zambian pipeline, which is now being constructed by the Italians rather than by the British, as an example of the sort of thing which could happen.

Finally among the reasons why we should take this action are the political ones—political so far as Africa itself is concerned. Africa to-day is a political vacuum. It wants (and it is right that it should so want) to create its own forms of government. It does not want to have imposed on it Western, Russian, Chinese, or any other form of government. It wishes to work out those forms which suit its own particular circumstances. I believe that it is right that it should do so; but I also believe that what the West can offer, and, in particular, what the United Kingdom can offer, to Africa by way of example and as the result of experience is of enormous importance and of enormous help to the developing countries there—of far more help, of far more importance, I believe, than what they can gain from, shall we say, Russia or China. But both these countries have their eyes on Africa. Both are anxious to step in and extend their influence, and to achieve, if possible, a Chinese or a Russian form of government in as many countries of Africa as possible.

My Lords, there can be no doubt in our minds that the more that we being mainly representative in Africa of Western civilisation, are discredited, the easier it is going to be for Russia or China to exert their influence. I ask your Lordships a very simple question. If you were sitting to-day in the Kremlin, or in Peking, charged with the responsibility for your country's policy towards Africa, for what would you pray?—to whatever gods they pray in those places. Would you pray for U.D.I. to come to a rapid end with the collapse of Mr. Smith and the triumph of the United Kingdom? Of course, you would not. You would pray for a continuation of U.D.I. for as long as possible, for the eventual success of Mr. Smith and for the discomfiture of the British; because that would make your job easier. That is surely a sufficient reason for supporting this present Order.

My Lords, we know perfectly well that it is difficult for President Kaunda, in Zambia, and President Nyerere, in Tanzania, to maintain their forms of government—Governments which I personally respect in many ways. Both Governments—and particularly that in Zambia—are doing their best to remain neutral in the struggle between the great Powers and to hold a fair balance between us. Further North, in Kenya and Ethiopia, there, too, are Governments which are no doubt friendly towards the Western way of life. But before many years, regrettable though it may be, President Kenyatta and the Emperor of Ethiopia, both great men, but both in their seventies, will no longer be with us. There will then be a struggle for power, a struggle for succession; and, using loose terms, the Left and the Right will compete for power. How much easier it is going to be for the Left to gain control in these two countries if, once more, we have been discredited in the eyes of Africa and the Smith régime is in unfettered control of that country! We do not want any form of neo-colonialism there; but I believe that Africa and the whole world will be a better place if Western standards, and particularly British standards, are respected and, sometimes, followed.

My Lords, to summarise, the reasons why I believe this Order should be accepted are these: first of all, that we may be able better to fulfil our obligations to the 4 million Africans in Rhodesia; secondly, to preserve our national honour in the eyes of the world, and especially of Africa; thirdly, to help by our example in the evolution of good government in Africa; and, fourthly—a smaller point but not to be disregarded—the promotion of our own material interests, of our own trade.

That is what we must try to do. How can we do it? We have abjured the use of force. That is out; it is not allowed. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has repeated that. I am sorry. I am not an advocate of force; but I do not think it was right to say at the outset that we should never use force. I think it weakened our position. But that is the position and we have to accept it. Therefore we must rely solely on peaceful means—non-force means: we must rely solely on sanctions. And, my Lords, sanctions, to be effective, must be as wide as possible, as far-reaching as possible; and they require collective action. It is no good for us individually, as one country, to impose sanctions. We must have the support of all the members countries of the United Nations in order to make them effective, and that is what we are now attempting to secure.

In my view, we are too late in making the attempt. We should have done it many months, even years, ago. I know that I am now criticising my own Party, when I say that we have been beguiled in the past, as are noble Lords opposite to-day—as the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, showed that he was to-day—by false hopes; by wishful thinking; by a Micawber-like attitude of "Let us hold on; let us do nothing, let us make' no decisions that are irrevocable or difficult or awkward—something is bound to turn up sooner or later" In other words, my Lords, we have been beguiled by a refusal to face facts.

We have heard from the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, that months ago Government Ministers told us that sanctions were beginning to bite, and that it would be weeks, not months, and the rest of it. Those are indications of the way in which, unhappily, Her Majesty's Government have suffered from the same disease that noble Lords opposite are suffering from to-day; that of hoping against hope that they would be spared the harsh decision to impose wider sanctions; of taking really tough action which would hurt innocent people as well as those who are guilty of bringing about this state of affairs.

My Lords, we cannot bury our heads in the sand any longer, and I am glad that Her Majesty's Government have now realised that. Even now, to my mind, they are not going far enough, but they have at last put procrastination aside and are beginning to face reality. I am afraid that before this situation comes to an end they will have to go still further. I can only hope that they will go as far as is necessary and as quickly as possible; because they must realise, and noble Lords opposite must realise, that the longer hard decisions are put off, the more likely you are to be faced with the need to make even harder decisions. I can only hope that to-day's actions have not come too late.

5.3 p.m.


My Lords, I have listened with great interest to all that the noble Lord, Lord Walston, has said. I do not think that he beguiled me—I do not think that I am beguiled by anyone; at least I hope not. It certainly is a gross misrepresentation of the position of members of the Party on these Benches to say that we sit here hoping against hope that something will turn up. The noble Lord, Lord Walston, cannot have listened to the excellent speech made by my noble friend Lord Jellicoe, who pointed out that we still believe (I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Walston, rejects it) that there is a possibility of reaching a favourable and satisfactory settlement by negotiation.

I should like to start my speech by saying that, looking back over the past, I am not at all sure that the prospects of a satisfactory settlement have not been gravely impeded by the mishandling of the present Government, accompanied always by a threat of some kind of sanction or something unpleasant. I had not intended to start by dealing with that particular issue. I wanted to begin what I have to say this afternoon by considering some of the arguments which have been advanced, to the effect that there is something wrong, something improper, something unconstitutional and that it would be something which we should not do if, out of principle and not at all for expediency, we came to the conclusion that it was right to vote against this Order.

The noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, gave us a very interesting review of past history, and another edition could easily be written. It was not until some time on that he made any reference to the Order that we are now discussing. But as I expected—and the noble and learned Lord did not disappoint me—at the very conclusion of his speech he gave vent to veiled hints of the kind of consequences that might ensue to your Lordships' House if we on these Benches decided that it was our duty to vote against this Order.

Last Saturday, The Times was even more explicit. Where they got it from one does not know, but they published, with all their authority, a statement that the Government had given a warning that if we take the course of rejecting this Order—I quote their words: the question of abolishing the House of Lords as presently constituted must become an immediate political issue. And the Chancellor of the Exchequer has spoken to the same effect. It is thus clear, is it not? beyond doubt that if we vote against this Order and carry the vote, we must expect the imposition of sanctions upon us. But, my Lords, I would think it equally clear that whatever may be the consequences to this House, or the consequences to any Member of this House, we should not be deterred by any threats of that kind from doing what we conceive, whether rightly or wrongly, to be our duty.

Why is it that that kind of threat is being uttered? Should we, if we voted against the Order, be doing something so very wrong, something we have no right to do? The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, laughs, but this is a serious issue, and it is no use trying to misrepresent the argument by suggesting that anyone who doubts the wisdom of the Government is a supporter of Mr. Smith and the illegal régime. I should like, if I may, to be able to carry on with what I hope will be a serious contribution to this debate without the undertones of the noble Lord's laughter.

If I may get back to what I was saying, it has been said—and I want to deal with the argument—that it is unprecedented for this House to throw out an Order. I entirely agree. But Orders such as the one we are now considering are a form of subordinate legislation, usually used to fill in the details of a measure contained in a Bill approved by Parliament. This Order is made under very wide powers contained in the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965, and its contents are such that in my opinion (I will give reasons later for saying this) its provisions ought really to be enacted by a Bill and not by a piece of subordinate legislation.

My Lords, I have a great regard for precedent, as, I have no doubt, has the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor—perhaps I might claim to have a greater regard for it than he has. However that may be, I do not think that the fact that we have not rejected an Order before is a valid argument for not rejecting this Order now. For, after all, it is the Government's decision to introduce the contents of this Order in an Order and not in a Bill. Had they introduced the contents in a Bill no one who knows anything about our Constitution could say that we should have been acting improperly in passing Amendments to it, or indeed in rejecting the Bill at some stage—it might have been on Second Reading, or at the end. That would not be unconstitutional, and it would be only when the Commons had disagreed with us and we had stood firm that there would be any issue between the Houses to which the Parliament Act would apply. And the Government know that as well as anyone.

When the Parliament Act was passed I suspect that it was thought unnecessary to make it do so, for Orders were then in truth subordinate legislation. But since then the normal legislative procedure has been more and more by-passed by the use of Orders. Perhaps this is partly due to the practice that grew up during the last war. When the Government seek to by-pass the normal legislative process, it does not seem to me to lie in their mouths to complain if this House takes the course it can take in relation to Bills. That right was given to this House by a Labour Government in 1965. So that it does not seem to me that Mr. Jenkins, or anyone else, can legitimately complain if we decide to exercise a right which the Government of which he was a member so recently gave us. I think it odd if this Government seek to rely upon precedent.

I am not addressing myself at the moment to the question of how we should vote, or saying how I should vote, because I want to brush on one side considerations that seem to me to be irrelevant in determining that. There is another consideration which has been advanced. The noble Lord, Lord Wade, gave expression to it to-day. It is that if we reject this Order we shall be flouting the opinion of the elected Chamber. The expression of that opinion has been supported by reference to observations made by my noble friend Lord Harlech. Of course, the other place has not yet expressed any opinion, but we may assume that, with the aid of the Government Whips, and of course the Liberal Party, it will do so in the course of to-night. But I think, if I may say so with great respect, that the observations of my noble friend Lord Harlech did not set out the position quite fully or quite accurately. Surely a distinction requires to be drawn between a decision of the elected Chamber on a matter on which they have a mandate from the people of this country and one on which they have no such mandate.

In the past, Parliament, and particularly the other place, has been vigilant to resist encroachments by the Executive; and when the Executive—not nowadays the Crown—seeks to make a law in this way it may be that that role which the Commons formerly discharged has now passed to this House. If this House exercises its right and rejects the Order, the contest will not be with another place, but once again will be a contest between Parliament and the Executive.

But, my Lords, however that may be, the Government have no mandate from the people to make what is contained in this Order law. In the whole course of his speech the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor never for one moment suggested that. Indeed, I do not think that the Government claim it. They claim that their mandate comes from the United Nations. I shall have a little more to say about that. But it is clear, is it not? that they have no mandate from the people, and equally clear that they dare not seek for one, for they know what would happen if they did. Yet constitutionally is not that just what should happen? If one of the Government's important measures is defeated in Parliament, is not that what has happened in the past, and is not that, I suggest, what the Government should do, if defeated on this Order?

But they dare not. Instead, they threaten to alter the rules while the game is being played. I feel that it is an abuse of power. I cannot, and do not, say that it is illegal for the Government to seek to do by subordinate legislation and not by a Bill what they propose in this Order. Deprived, as we have been by the course the Government have deliberately taken, of power to make amendments, can it really be argued that it is not open to us to take the course which we could properly take if this were a Bill, and reject it? I do not think that it can.

I should now like to come to the question of whether it would be right to vote against this Order. This is a very important and serious issue. I have given it as much thought as I can, and I should like to explain the reasons which have led me to my conclusion. I start by fully appreciating the consequences of either voting for or against this Order to-morrow night. If I may go back to history, the Southern Rhodesia Act was passed through Parliament within five days of U.D.I. We all gave it a speedy passage. No one objected to it. It was not subjected to a critical examination. It was an Act intended to be in force for only one year, though I agree that it was extended later.

When it was passed, the Prime Minister told the people of this country what sanctions measures it was proposed to take. On November 12 in the House of Commons, he said: It is our view that these measures will be effective … we have no other measures in contemplation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, col. 635.] No doubt some were influenced by that assurance and consequently did not criticise the width of the powers taken in the Act. The Prime Minister also said: These measures are harsh. They will involve hardship. But the Government consider that quick and effective measures will involve less suffering than a long-drawn-out agony. Two and a half years, my Lords. Is that not a long-drawn-out agony? With no other measures contemplated, and with the assurance I hat measures would be quick and effective, I do not think that Parliament can be blamed for giving the Government the very wide powers they now seek to exercise. For I do not suppose that anyone thought that two and a half years later not only would the Act be still in force, and "quick and effective measures" still in operation, but also that we should have the Government introducing even harsher measures.

On November 12, the Prime Minister said—and this is my last quotation: Every measure has been judged and must be judged against its ability to restore the rule of law and the functioning of a democratic constitution in Rhodesia."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, c. 632.] I ask the Government: Is that still the test? I think that we ought to be given a definite answer to that question. Having listened carefully to what the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor said this afternoon, I draw the inference from what he said that this is no laver the test.

Let me remind the House of his argument. There was a resolution before the United Nations—a resolution advocating the use of force—and by skilful work Lord Caradon got that dropped a id another resolution—the resolution which is in force—was passed in its place. We are told that that was a great triumph; that we are right to accept this second United Nations resolution, because if the first had been put forward and passed we should have had to veto it. I think that summarises the argument of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor at that point. I refer your Lordships to that for this reason: that if that what led to the tabling of this Order, the test laid down by the Prime Minister I as not been the governing test for the introduction of these particular sanctions.

I should like to know whether the noble Earl, Lord Perth, who thinks that we must vote for this Order because it has been passed by the United rations, and without our veto, would accept the same proposition if a resolution advocating the use of force had been passed and we had not exercised our veto. Great respect as have for the United Nations, I do not think we can transfer to them all our duties and our responsibilities. We have a duty not only to the people in this country but to all races in Rhodesia. I should be the last to suggest that that was not the case. But I entirely agree with the observation of my noble friend Lord Jellicoe, that the great mistake made by Her Majesty's Government was in trying to divest themselves of some part of the responsibility for the discharge of that duty by transfer to the United Nations.

If we are to apply the test of the Prime Minister—namely, the ability to bring back the rule of law and the restoration of a democratic Government in Rhodesia—surely we are in a far, far better position to judge to-day of the effectiveness of sanctions than we were 2½ years ago. My Lords, what is the position? We have heard from the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor that no one has recognised Rhodesia. But that is not the effect of sanctions. We have heard him say that some businessmen are trying to exercise some influence—two and a half years after their imposition. What other consequences are there? I wish that they had been more favourable. Has any opposition sprung up in the political circles in Rhodesia to Mr. Smith? I do not see any sign of it.


It is a police State.


Indeed, some may say that he is more firmly in the saddle than other people who exercise the functions of Prime Minister elsewhere. But whatever the reasons may be (the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, says, "It is a police State"), all I say is this: that I myself can see from the application of sanctions up to date little, if any, sign that they have been proved in these two and a half years to be inducing a change of attitude in Rhodesia. I wish that were not the case, and I hope that it is not; but there is nothing which the Lord Chancellor said which convinced me that it is not.

One goes on from that. Fears were expressed that the imposition of sanctions might consolidate people behind the regime. I always thought there was a grave risk of that. Supposing that other countries tried to impose sanctions of this kind on us, I know what our attitude would be. We should all unite; we should forget our political differences and our disagreements, and we should be united in our determination not to give in. I find it difficult to suppose that the white population in Rhodesia would react very much differently from the way that we should react in these Islands. So I must confess that I am frankly disappointed at the effect of sanctions so far.

Then the question remains: Is it established that this further turn of the screw of sanctions will, or may, do the trick? We have heard little about that from the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. If I were satisfied that there were grounds for supposing that the imposition of further sanctions would do the trick, I think I would not vote against this Order. But if it be the case that they will not contribute to the result that we want to see, and, further than that, that they will have an adverse effect, then those who really want to see a settlement are, I think, left with no option but to vote against this Order.

Ought we not to be told, also, what the cost of sanctions to this country in loss of trade with Rhodesia and with South Africa has been? The Government must know. I suspect that it runs into many millions of pounds. If it be the case that the imposition of sanctions up to now has not brought about any indication of a change of attitude—in this connection the Lord Chancellor said that Mr. Smith, who is in control, is quite intransigent—and if it be that this policy is costing this country an enormous sum of money, surely those are effects that we ought to take into account in deciding whether to impose these further sanctions.

These measures, we are told, are not intended to be punitive. My Lords, they are. They may involve (and I think the Lord Chancellor will agree) great and prolonged hardship to innocent people, and, what is more, to innocent people many of whom cannot have the least influence on the course of events. The Home Secretary allows a notorious troublemaker to stay in this country in the belief that his visit will be beneficial to him. No holder of a Rhodesian passport, however innocent he be, however opposed to the Smith régime, will be entitled to free entry into this country in the future. We are told that this resolution was introduced by the United Kingdom delegation. I feel that the hope for the future lies, not in severing all contact with the people in Rhodesia, but in securing more contact with them and exercising to the full all powers of persuasion. It is clear that the only reason why this Order comes before us now is not because it is believed that it will bring about a settlement, but because of the resolution passed by the United Nations.

I have said that I think it was wrong to transfer responsibility for Rhodesia to the United Nations, and I must say that I should doubt whether it is really within the Charter. I think I am correct in saying that under the Charter there is no right to interfere with the internal affairs of any other country, and that the reason why this is sought to be justified is because it is said that the present situation in Southern Rhodesia constitutes a threat to international peace and security. My Lords, that is a very easy thing to say, but to me it carries very little credibility, for to me it seems that all the threats to international peace and security come not from within Rhodesia, but from outside. If the situation in Rhodesia is such as to warrant United Nations' intervention, one could think of many other countries where the same could easily be said, and perhaps with more force. However much one deplores and is opposed to the illegal regime—and I have never said a word in its support—however much one hates some of the actions that that régime has taken, certainly it has not been demonstrated to my satisfaction that the present situation there constitutes a threat to international peace and security.

My Lords, we cannot I think divest ourselves of our responsibility, and I am certainly not prepared to vote for this Order just on the ground that it implements the United Nations' resolution, which I would say and submit the United Kingdom Government certainly ought to have vetoed and had the courage to veto—leave all the sanctions out on one side, but because of the inclusion in that resolution of paragraph 13. Bearing in mind the prohibition on all imports and exports to Rhodesia, what does "the provision of material" mean to the people of Southern Rhodesia in their struggle for independence? Although the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, sought to put a gloss upon it, surely it can mean only the supply of arms and materials, and it was so interpreted. I cannot understand a Government of this country, in order to avoid putting a veto on a resolution advocating the use of force, accepting without vetoing a resolution which enabled, I think clearly, and indeed encouraged, the provision of material for a civil war.

I cannot myself—and this is the conclusion to which I have come—vote for this Order on the ground that it implements a resolution to which the Government have agreed. They did not consult Parliament in advance, but, as usual, they require Parliamentary approval of what they have done; and that I am not prepared to give on the information at my disposal. As I have said, if the Government could satisfy me that a further turn of the screw of sanctions had a reasonable chance of bringing about the end of the illegal régime, my view would be different, but so far that has not been done.

I shall vote against the Order for another reason, too. If this Order is not approved the Government may hate time to reconsider it before reintroducing it, if they decide to reintroduce it, and it has in my belief grave defects. I shall draw attention to two of them. First of all, Article 2(3) makes it an absolute offence to deal in goods exported from Rhodesia in contravention of Article 2(1). This means that a person can be convicted and is liable to a fine of any amount, and imprisonment for two years, if he deals with such goods, in complete ignorance of the fact that they are goods of that character and with no reason to suppose that they have been exported from Rhodesia. I should have thought that the recent drug case showed the difficulties which arise from the creation of absolute offences.

Then, Article 12(1)(b) gives the Secretary of State power to refuse entry to any Commonwealth citizen, and under paragraph (ii) of that particular provision he can refuse entry if he has reason to believe that the citizen has furthered or encouraged or is likely to further or encourage any unconstitutional action … or any action calculated to evade or contravene or to facilitate the evasion or contravention of this Order". Those are very wide powers. I listened with care to what the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor said about this at the end of his speech, He spoke, if I heard him correctly (I want to study what he said), about an Advisory Committee presided over by Mr. Justice Cairns. But he referred to it as perhaps fulfilling the same role as the Committee on Regulation 18B. Those who remember what happened in relation to that Regulation did not find that a very convincing argument. But the fact remains that the decision there will be left at the end of the day—I think the Lord Chancellor made this clear—to the Secretary of State, and from that decision there will be no appeal. When I remember the opposition there was to restrictions on entry of Commonwealth immigrants, it really staggers me to find the Government seeking to take such wide powers themselves to exclude the entry, even for a visit, of a Commonwealth citizen who happens to be resident in Rhodesia.

Those are two of the matters I should like to have further considered. On those grounds alone I do not think we should pass this Order now. Unless the course of the debate makes me change my mind, I shall vote against the Order, not only on this ground but because in my belief it contributes nothing to the solution of the problem. It is likely to make it worse and likely to make it more difficult, if not impossible, to obtain a satisfactory settlement.

If the Order is defeated, what then? The noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, spoke about a period for reflection. A period for reflection may be short, but it also may be useful. If as a matter of principle the Government decide to reintroduce this Order, while we can then consider the position again, I myself would say at the moment that if this Order came before this House again I should feel disposed to vote against it again, not out of sympathy with the illegal régime, for I have none of that, but on principle. And I do not think that in this matter principles should be sacrificed to what may appear to be political expediency. However, we have not to decide that issue now. If the Government are defeated on this Motion, then, my Lords, the proper constitutional course for the Government to take, though a course which I fear there is no risk of their taking, is to seek a mandate from the people of this country.

5.38 p.m.


My Lords, I rise with considerable trepidation, and I have been warned by several noble kind friends that I have chosen a very bad subject on which to make a maiden speech and that I may lose my reputation. I do not worry much about that, because I have no reputation to lose, but I do feel rather like a small boy who has been told by his mother that he may go and paddle in the sea but must not get his feet wet. I am determined to keep my feet dry, but if, by any chance, I should stumble and fall into troubled waters, I hope and trust that your Lordships will attribute it not to any bad taste on my part but really to the musings and ramblings of an ignorant octogenarian.

Yesterday I spent a very comfortable afternoon reading in Hansard fifty pages of the debate on November 15, 1965. After I had read it I realised that only once had I seen the word "conciliation". Then I looked again, rather hoping that I should see words which I have always maintained are synonymous with, and even embody, that word: the words I was looking for were "Field Marshal Smuts". Field Marshall Smuts was a man who knew Africa. He knew it like the back of his hand and he was a wonderful servant to his country. I am not here to go into panegyrics of anybody, but I think he deserves well and I should like to know what his feelings would have been had he been here to-day. If he had been here to-day I think he would have taken a very sensible and strong view.

He was a man who held strong views, and I think that what he would have said to-day, if he had been asked, would be something like this: "You know, I have been through all this in my life. I fought against aggression; I fought for the freedom and the independence of my country, and I lost. Hundreds of my compatriots were killed, my country was overrun, my women and children were put into concentration camps, my farms were burned and I was vanquished and completely beaten. I had to sue for peace and I came eventually to the conference table—which I was forced to do. And when I came to the conference table I suddenly found I was no longer a vanquished man; I was a victor. Everything for which I had been fighting I suddenly got—my freedom, my independence, my country, my laws, my farms, even my language. Then, for the first time, I realised the stupidity and the senselessness and the futility of bitterness and squabbling, which only lead to war."

My Lords, I think he would have said something more. He had very definite views. Probably some of your Lordships knew him intimately, and I think that those who did would probably agree with me that he had strong views and almost a downright way of saying things. Twice during the East African campaign I came into personal contact with him when I was a young and inexperienced subaltern of the King's African Rifles. The first occasion was to earn from him (and I am proud of it) a mild rebuke, and the second time was to receive from him a friendly word of encouragement. But I think if he had sat here to-day among your Lordships he would have sent a message to us all. To all those who lead us to-day in this country, and all those who lead the different factions in Rhodesia, and to the Africans on both banks of the Zambesi I think his message would have been this: "For heaven's sake come to the conference table! Come down to earth; bury the hatchet! Do as I did in the hour of my humiliation and in the moment of my triumph. Forget and forgive. The lion of Rhodesia will, and must, lie down with the African lamb; and the British Commonwealth and no-one else will lead them."

My Lords, the sands of time—and, I expect, your patience—are running out. If I have said too little—which I do not think for a moment I have—it is because I have been afraid to overstep the bounds of your conventions. If I have said too much (which I probably have) I can only crave your indulgence, but I can tell your Lordships this: that whatever I have said or expressed or implied, it has come from the bottom of my heart, because in Africa I have always had a great friend and I owe her people, both black and white, a great debt of gratitude. In the early decades of this century I had the privilege of going and living in what was then called British East Africa, where any white man or white woman could ride or walk through its veldt or its valleys or its fields or forests, or even the native reserve, and he or she could go unarmed and unaccompanied and would be always welcomed with a happy smile or greeted with a hearty handshake.

And I knew another Africa—the neighbouring Africa, invaded by hordes of European and South African and Asiatic troops, bringing death and destruction to a kindly and innocent people who gave their lives in their tens of thousands for a cause of which they knew nothing and for which they cared less. And then I knew another Africa, that same Africa which had changed its name, and you all know the horrors that were perpetrated there; but on that I shall draw a veil and only beg your Lordships, with all the emphasis at my command and with all respect and all humility, do not, for heaven's sake, let that happen to Rhodesia!

5.48 p.m.


My Lords, I am grateful to the two noble Lords who have allowed me to alter my place in the long list of speakers, not least because it gives me the opportunity to be the first to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Poltimore, on his maiden speech. As he said, he chose a subject of critical concern to us all, but he has spoken from a long knowledge of Africa. He also spoke movingly, in a way which we should like to remember, and we should like to tell him that his speech was neither too long nor too short but was just right. We acclaim what he has said, and we hope that on many other occasions he will add his wisdom and his counsel to our debates.

On this well-worn theme I hope to be brief. The imposition of sanctions must always be acutely distasteful to us. It involves great loss, it involves suffering and hardship to many people, and it brings dislocation and estrangement between countries. Any debate on the extension of those sanctions with those results clearly needs our careful scrutiny, although it is fair to add that, whereas no doubt sanctions will fall most heavily upon the African population of Rhodesia, they have—so far as they have been able—expressed their willingness for the cause in which they believe. For anyone to speak, as I and others do, abort sanctions when other people are involved and we are not, is something that requires great humility from us.

It is the duty of Parliament not only to make actual decisions at particular moments but to keep in mind the long-term objectives; and sometimes in our discussions on this subject we halve given to the world outside, and especially to the people of Rhodesia, an impression of far greater division of opinion than actually obtains. At least, I hope so. I hope there has never been any question Lord the Lord Chancellor has said. It among us, in this and previous Governments and all Parties, that we have a common objective: that we do not want to see a Rhodesia which is either dominated by a white minority or by a black majority, but a people consisting of white and black who are coming steadily to share freely and fully in the life and government of their own country, and that the steps towards this end should be made clearly, stably, reliably and manifestly built into the Constitution and policy of the Government concerned.

We recognise that this is the creation of a new society and not the continuation of something that is there, and we have on many occasions recognised also the difficulties of this. I recall in a previous debate one menace noted in the present policies by the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition, Lord Carrington, when he denoted in them what he called a whiff of apartheid, and that whiff may grow stronger over the years. Equally, we are aware of the other danger, of the rise of black consciousness in Africa, which itself constitutes a danger for a multiracial society like Rhodesia. But in all this I hope our discussions may not obscure from the world our objective: it is Rhodesia as a whole, and there is tragic misunderstanding about that. We have comments sent back to us from people in Rhodesia on the way in which our policies are presented to them—an attempt to crush Rhodesia, a challenge to every Rhodesian, and emotional phrases of that sort. Rhodesia can mean, I suppose, what you like it to mean, but to us it must mean all the peoples of Rhodesia, the 4 million black as well as the 200,000 white there, and our desire to see them established in a new and freer society. I hope that nothing that we say in our own issues at home would take away from that common objective.

It is indeed unfortunate that our own constitutional questions should in some way seem to get involved in something which belongs to a quite different part of the world. But let us please assert to the world that we stand ultimately for the same thing, and the sincerity and the consistency with which we assert this and pursue our objective of a fully free Rhodesia in any decision that we make will obviously affect our own standing in the world, as the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor has said. It will be seen to be a moral question for us as well as a political one always, and it will be judged to some extent on the grounds of those Christian principles of human dignity which our own countrymen have taken to Rhodesia and elsewhere in the cause of Christian missions. All this I hope we might ourselves be agreed upon, and therefore our debate must be a much more realistic one, whether this or that proposal helps us towards this final end.

We have had already a good deal of examination of the proposed mandatory sanctions. They have been dubbed a downward path. We would all recognise that there are in them elements of uncertainty which only the future can unveil. They have been termed "the turn of the screw". That is perhaps a more realistic description of them, although I think that would miss the real point, that is, that the mandatory sanctions would exhibit in a far more unmistakable way the condemnation which the world as a whole extends to the present policies of Rhodesia. This is, I think, important, for the isolation of Rhodesia must be seen to be self-isolation and not something we are ourselves creating.

If we were not to consider this raising of the temperature in sanctions, we have a right to ask whether the alternatives are achieving the objective we have in mind: is it to be assumed that the present sanctions, painful though they are, are achieving the objective? I think it is conceivable that they are doing more than is commonly realised. Yet they have not yet produced that round of negotiations for which a number of speakers have appealed. They have not indicated that there is any particular change of mind or a readiness to talk in ways that would lead to some new solutions. Where is the moderate element in Rhodesia to which reference has been made? Has it emerged seriously in the course of this period, and can we really suppose that the continuation of the present situation will itself produce the result we want?

We must be realistic about this. If it does not, what again can we expect? Do we honestly think that the present régime, as it has been exhibited to us in its past policies, is leading towards a solution that will pass the test of time? I recall a book by a very famous English humorist which was called Leave it to Psmith. But I suspect that this is precisely the policy which so many elements in Rhodesia and so much Christian opinion with which we are in touch would regard as not funny at all at the present time. If not this, then are we not bound ourselves to go forward along the line which the Government in this Order have produced for us? In what way otherwise can we say that the United Nations Security Council resolution is being interpreted except by way of rejection by us, unless we are going to show determination to stand firm by the consequences of it?

I hope I may just say one more thing. We have—and we have recognised this—particular responsibilities towards Rhodesia. In the Security Council resolutions lately, and sometimes phrased in ways which many of us would find objectionable, there is a constant reminder of the responsibilities of the administering Power, which is the United Kingdom. And we ourselves have never disputed this, since our claim before U.D.I. that the decision rested with us; and we have not repudiated it since. But beyond the constitutional position we have—and we must not abrogate this—a peculiar responsibility towards Rhodesia because of our position in the world. We are a world Power able to take a world view of it. We may not understand the internal situation of Rhodesia as well as many of them, but we understand the situation outside Rhodesia a good deal better than the people of a country who have been until lately very much cut off from any information at all. We have had, in addition, the painful experience, for which we have shed much blood, of leading dependent nations into their own freedom. We are the centre of a Commonwealth of many nations and races, and above all we have always sought to stand by that one organ of world opinion and authority, the United Nations, for which, in this present instance, I submit we have a very special responsibility.

Do we accept responsibility for Rhodesia as a whole and for all its peoples? Have we a special relationship to them and others which means that we cannot stand aside? We know that there is a great temptation in the country, out of weariness or particular sympathy, to hope that the issues may be resolved without our having to take any further decisions ourselves. But this is really to that we give up our responsibilities, and if we are going to do that, let us do it publicly and not privately. But, of course, we do not wish to do this, and I cannot myself see any other way in which we can assert that responsibility than by accepting, however painfully, the consequences of a step which will set out before Rhodesia the cost of their pursuance of policies which we ourselves abhor and from which we want to rescue them.

6.0 p.m.


My Lords, first I should like to add my congratulations to those offered by the right reverend Prelate to the noble Lord, Lord Poltimore, on the occasion of his maiden speech. We listened to him with the greatest sympathy for his championship of Africa and of its inhabitants. I thought he made his points with admirable clarity, and I hope that we shall hear him again quite soon in the future. When I first had the privilege of speaking in your Lordships' House it was in a debate on Rhodesia. On that occasion I completed my remarks by saying that I was certain that threats and international sanctions and hatred were not the right way to deal with Rhodesia. In company with many of your Lordships, I have repeated similar remarks ever since, and I do so again to-day.

I listened to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor with the greatest attention, particularly to his information on Article 12. I hope to say something later on his remarks about the Six Principles. I listened, too, to the moss admirable speech of the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, who I am sorry is not present at the moment. I found myself in almost complete agreement with everything he said, and later on I should like to support some of his remarks about Central Africa.

In my view, to those who believed in them, sanctions originally made sense only if they achieved the object of pelting the negotiators round a table. This has now happened on a number of occasions, on H.M.S. "Tiger" and in Salisbury, and they have all failed; and it becomes obvious from what we have heard from the Prime Minister that talks will not now be possible without what is virtually a complete surrender by the Government of Rhodesia. Your Lordships will judge for yourselves the likelihood, or not, of that happening. So what do Her Majesty's Government really believe that they can achieve by introducing these petty and vicious sanctions and regulations, under the guise of an Order in Council and at the behest of their masters, the Afro-Asian Group at the United Nations, and. incidentally, expecting your Lordships meekly to agree to these provisions?

There is a Latin quotation from the 17th century with which your Lordships may be familiar, of which the well-known English translation is: Whom God would destroy He first sends mad. There are those who think that they can achieve their aims by depriving Rhodesians of access to this or other countries because they may—and here I quote from the Order— be likely to further or encourage any unconstitutional action in Southern Rhodesia"— et cetera. How can any one judge who is likely to be for or against unconstitutional action? The noble Lord, Lord Wade, particularly raised this point in his speech just now, and I should like to support him in it. We should like to hear from the noble Lord when he replies how this Article can be interpreted. Do they think their aims can be achieved by imposing criminal and heavy financial penalties, as in Article 13 of the Order, on those who might suggest in public here that Rhodesia was perhaps a good place to live in, or in which to go and settle? Or do they think they can achieve them by refusing to allow newspapers, books, periodicals or any other documents to go from this country to Rhodesia, as is the case under Board of Trade regulations? If so, they must be mad, and their reasoning, and, indeed, it would seem their humanity, thoroughly bad.

Indeed, I say with restraint that there are some features in this Order, in the Articles and particularly in the first Schedule, which lay citizens of this country open to obligatory investigation and examination under something close to those conditions more normal in a police State. I do not think the British people realise what are the provisions of this Order, as there has been little publicity about them. When they do, I hope public protest will be thoroughly suitably voiced. It appears to me that it is nothing less than a 20th century Inquisition which is contemplated.

Some of your Lordships may know that I have spent many years in Africa. There is a gulf between the physical and political background and thinking of this country and the realities of life in primitive and emergent Africa; and those who plan our policies here, in Whitehall and Westminster, should go and live in Africa for a year or two, and then, on their return, we might have different and much more objective, and perhaps even more understanding, views expressed in responsible circles. The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, might agree with me on this; he mentioned it in an earlier debate.

Incredible though it is, I have come to the conclusion that Her Majesty's Government do not want a settlement with Rhodesia. On H.M.S. "Tiger", a Constitution was agreed—by far the most difficult part of the exercise. This was jeopardised and thrown away by those stupid clauses on the return to legality. Then the noble Lord, Lord Alport, on his return from his mission to Salisbury, indicated that negotiations could be productive. When Mr. Thomson went to Salisbury he chose to disagree about the number of Chiefs in the Legislature, claiming that they were not representative of African thinking. But, to my mind, by far the worst of the Government's failures to try to reach agreement was the flat refusal by the Prime Minister of Sir Alec Douglas-Home's offer of his disinterested services, on his return from Salisbury, when he claimed—I am sure that Sir Alec's claims must be given the greatest attention—that he could have achieved a settlement in Salisbury had he had members of the Government with him. That refusal shows that Her Majesty's Government's intentions towards a settlement cannot be taken seriously.

Her Majesty's Government extricated themselves from the unpalatable prospect of Sir Alec reaching a settlement, which they did not want to endorse and which would have been so much in the interests of Rhodesian Africans, for whom Her Majesty's Government profess to be so seriously concerned, and they are now trying to commit us, through this Order, to economically destroying them along with the whites. The Prime Minister and others talk about "moral issues" and "clean hands". Aden? Arms for Federal Nigeria and tribal genocide? Sanctions against Rhodesia—and what next?

Indeed, what next? I should like to turn to that now. As a number of your Lordships have already said, there does not seem to be any prospect of Rhodesia's capitulating, and there is going to be a continuation of nothing less than cold war hostilities. Who knows what next the United Nations will propose for us—arms and material assistance for glorious freedom fighters, trained in Communist camps in various parts of the world, and proceeding to their nefarious ends through Zambia? The noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, touched on this subject earlier on. Is this what Her Majesty's Government want? Perhaps they do not want it.


This is the most disgraceful speech I have ever heard.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, has said that this is a disgraceful speech, but I am saying what I believe to be true. I believe that this is what might be likely to happen. And what then? Retaliation by Rhodesia along the Zambesi possibly, and further inflammation of Zambia's relations with her neighbours. You will have seen in the papers, as I have, that Zambia does not intend to operate these sanctions. She cannot, as she is dependent, for example, on coal from Rhodesia for her copper mines, and for passage for Zambian copper through Rhodesia to Beira. If these arrangements were to collapse, what then? There would be grave risk of severe difficulties in Zambia. You have heard from the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, how delicately things are poised at present. Who in the wide world, as the noble and learned Lord Chancellor said earlier on, could wish for troubles which could eventually lead to the most awful calamities such as happened in the Congo in the past and in Nigeria at the present?

I spoke to your Lordships on this point in the last sanctions debate in February of last year. Do Her Majesty's Government expect Zambia to continue in her present state indefinitely? Do Her Majesty's Government expect that we shall underpin her economy if, by any chance, her industrial productivity declines? Our investment there, which is substantial as it is, is already under attack. In my view Zambia is far more realistic about sanctions than Her Majesty's Government. Doctor Banda also, looking to his own Malawi economic interests, has stated that he has no intention of operating sanctions; but of course Doctor Banda's views are now not as important as they appeared to be formerly. They do not impress Her Majesty's Government because they do not fit in with their present political thinking. The geographical circle, we know, is completed by Portuguese Mozambique and the Republic of South Africa, and we all know that they do not intend to string along with United Nations sanctions. It is my view that if sanctions which have no hope of success continue we shall see an inevitable procession of events for which we in this country shall bear full responsibility.

I have spoken previously about the paramount importance of stable government, on which all else depends; all hopes for the future, all progress to prosperity and a tolerable life for all. Look around Africa and see what happens when stable Governments, c f whatever complexion, collapse. The chief sufferers are the vast majority of inhabitants who do not have the means of adequately protecting themselves. Can we not learn from our own mistakes and be humble enough to realise that we here in Britain do not have to live or die from the consequences of an out-dated political thinking about what is right or wrong for Africa and its inhabitants. I am sure that in the impasse that we have come to we should refuse to give authority to this Order in Council. I suggest that the right approach now is for Her Majesty's Government to take up Sir Alec's offer of mediation, and empower—


My Lords, what is his offer?


Sir Alec and the Prime Minister apparently, according to the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, as you heard earlier, are the only two people in this country who know the provisions of this offer.


My Lords, if the noble Lord will permit me to say so, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, so I understand, is still bound by the Five Principles of his own Administration, one of which was that there should be a blocking mechanism in order that there should be no change in the Constitution that would deny the African advance in course of time. In view of what my noble friend said at the beginning when he quoted the speeches made recently by Mr. Smith, does the noble Lord believe, in the light of what Mr. Smith has said so recently, that there is a chance of finding a solution within the Five Principles by which the previous Administration are bound?


My Lords, I cannot comment on what may be in the mind of Sir Alec Douglas-Home. We understood that he had heard from Mr. Smith that the proposals that were placed before him in Salisbury were still open for agreement, and I should not like to go any further than that. I believe that he should now be empowered by Her Majesty's Government to try to negotiate the sort of settlement which will lead to the recognition of an independent Rhodesia under the Crown and with a Constitution which offers the best possible prospect for the future for all the inhabitants of Rhodesia.

I should like briefly to refer to the Six Principles which the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, mentioned earlier and about which the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, has just spoken. The implication of the Six Principles, of which the last was added recently, is that no one race should be able to dominate another. My Lords, with deep regret I do not believe that it is possible to devise a Constitution that will endure on that basis. A Constitution is possible of operation only by those who have the will to operate it. Therefore, I come to the conclusion that the Six Principles should not be a limiting factor. In the context of present-day realities—I believe the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, may disagree—they are out of date, and no settlement can be reached by binding the hand of a negotiator from fixed positions.

An agreed settlement, with the chance of peace in Central Africa, is worth incomparably more, my Lords, than a blind insistence on past dogma. Rhodesia has much to gain from a settlement, and so have we. The dividing factors can be reduced if there is a real desire to reach agreement and a determination to resist the clamour for more and more ill-advised action by the Afro-Asian group at U.N.O. All countries involved in Central and Southern Africa need a peaceful solution. The dangers are obvious if this is not achieved. Support for this Order is support for further confusion and an invitation to further anarchy and bloodshed along the Zambesi, let us be in no doubt about that.

Finally, and I apologise for taking up your Lordships' time for so long, I would refer to the constitutional position here as I see it. I am enjoined by Her Majesty's Writ to be present at Parliament … considering the difficulty of the said affairs and dangers impending … to treat and give counsel upon the affairs aforesaid. Threats of what will happen to your Lordships' House if it does not do what the Government of the day require of it make no impression upon me at all. There is no future for this House if it yields to threats of its extinction. I shall vote as my counsel indicates, and that, I believe, is my first duty so long as I am a Member of your Lordships' House and sit on these Benches.

As to the Order, the British electorate, as the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, has pointed out, have had no opportunity of expressing their collective view on the question of sanctions against Rhodesia, and I have some reason for thinking that if these matters were referred to the country these measures would not find support. I shall vote against the Order, and I very much hope a majority of your Lordships will do the same.

6.19 p.m.


My Lords, on the last two occasions that I have addressed your Lordships' House it has been on matters relating to personal freedom and justice against the interests of the Government, and with encouragement and support from the Opposition. That was with regard to Court Lees School, and also to Sir Reginald Verdon-Smith and Bristol Siddeley, and I am very grateful for the support that I received from the Opposition in what I believe to be a necessary claim that people, no matter how unpopular they might be, should have a chance to defend themselves. Once again one is on one's feet in the interests of individual liberty and justice. But this time I find myself in sympathy with the Government and not with the Opposition Party.

As the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster said over the weekend, one must not be selective in the causes which one chooses to defend. On this occasion I am seeking to defend not an individual but the majority of a country. I find time and again, as the right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of Chichester, said a short while ago, that we forget this fact. People refer to "Rhodesia", and so often refer just to 219,000 Europeans, equivalent to the inhabitants in a borough roughly the size of Croydon, forgetting the 4 million Africans, many of whom are in prison without a charge being brought against them and without being given an opportunity to defend themselves.

Your Lordships may remember that when we debated this matter some time ago I referred to a situation which was known to me because I had some friends out there in the academic world. This was before the recent student revolts, but there was a mild students' revolt there when a number of students questioned something which Mr. Smith had said. For daring to question what the Government had said, 149 students were taken off to a camp by the police, their trousers were taken down, and on their bare behinds they were thrashed with a cane, six strokes each. I cannot think what on earth would happen to the professional workers at the Sorbonne if similar things were to happen there, or indeed in our own universities. If such a thing were to happen here in this country, every single Member of your Lordships' House would be outraged. Noble Lords would say that they had no sympathy for certain extremist views expressed by the students, but the fact that people could be treated like that was intolerable and something which no civilised country could tolerate. Yet that is what happened to those students in Rhodesia for daring to criticise Mr. Smith's régime. That is the reason why I am on my feet this afternoon to do as I have done on two previous occasions; that is, to speak in the interests of justice and of freedom on behalf of those who are oppressed.

The noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, and I were partners in the Court Lees affair, and I got to know him sufficiently well, if I may say so without impertinence, to know that he would not be taking the side which he is to-day if he did not believe passionately that this was the way forward. I respect his view and respect what he said, but it all depends upon the assessment one makes of the situation. The noble Earl said—and I hope that I quote him correctly—"We believe that an honourable settlement is possible". If I could believe that, as quite clearly the last noble Lord who spoke believes, then things would be very different. I know that the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, believes that to be true; but all my information suggests the contrary.

When Mr. Smith tells members of the Opposition, and others, that he seeks an accommodation, I take that as seriously as some accommodations that we, were promised thirty years ago: "This is my last territorial demand, and then I am satisfied." Those of us who belong to that generation, having had our fingers bitten, should be very careful about having them bitten again. It was not the promise that was made to passengers through Germany, but something that was spelt out in black and white in Mein Kampf.

To-day, I am not impressed by what is said by people who are wined and dined by the white Rhodesians just for a day or two and then come back with all these promises. What I am much more impressed by is what appears day after day in the Rhodesian Press and in the utterances of Mr. Ian Smith and his colleagues. Mr. Smith has said flatly that he has no intention of allowing the coloured people to have a majority in that country. From his point of view that is a fair and reasonable thing to say; that is his outlook. But at least let us accept what he says for what it is worth, and do not let us pretend that what he really means is something other than what he has said and to which he is committed.

I would ask the Opposition to believe that I speak to-day not as a member of a political Party but as a member of the Bishops' Bench, believing that a multiracial community is a necessary consequence of a Christian view of life. What depresses me is that we are losing Africa to Christianity because the African believes that Christianity is identified with those in comfortable positions who are enjoying privilege and affluence and who are treating Africans as second-class citizens. Even those who have fought great battles there for justice—people like the late Bishop Ambrose Reeves of Johannesburg, was so identified in the eyes of some of the coloured people that when he was thrown out of Africa, coloured people said to him, "Go, and take your white God with you." Such is the image of us so-called Christians in that Continent.

Perhaps your Lordships think that what I have said is an exaggeration and that I am just depending on things which students say or which are said by extremist movements in this country. I can assure your Lordships that is not true. I wish it were. I have with me a letter from a brother Bishop in Rhodesia, and this is what he tells me: The drift towards apartheid is increasing in momentum. You will have heard of the decision in Salisbury to segregate public parks and that Africans occupying offices in Salisbury are being given notice to leave white areas. The idea that Smith is a moderate is quite absurd. The Rhodesian Front is officially committed to a policy of separate development and it will go as quickly in that direction as it can. While pretending to disapprove of those who speak too loudly about these intentions, it can pursue the policy with quiet determination. Why do not honest people see it for what it is?—because I would not for one moment wish to question the integrity of those who hold a different view, both here and in Rhodesia itself.

I say that for three very simple reasons. First, for those in Rhodesia there is a censorship. The Bishop says that this is largely due to the tight censorship and the fact that few white Rhodesians ever hear any news from the outside world. I am quite sure that in the Rhodesian papers to-morrow all the speeches from the Opposition side, and certainly the speech of the noble Lord who preceded me, will be printed in full. I do not sup- pose for one moment that a single sentence I have said, or anything said by any Member of the Government, will appear. Such is freedom in this wonderful peace-loving country of Rhodesia! That, then, is the first reason that they do not have the opportunity to know the facts—because censorship does not allow it.

Secondly (this is very convenient and, Heaven knows!, we do this in our own country; all Governments, all Oppositions do it, and no doubt I am as guilty as anybody), if we are faced with a basic issue we try to avoid facing it and to prevent other people from seeing that issue by getting away from principles and turning it into a squalid personal battle. As the Bishop himself says: This has become a war between Wilson and Smith, and it is said If only we can hold on in Salisbury, in Rhodesia, then Wilson will be defeated and the Conservatives will come to power and will then ratify our independence'. I am quite sure that no member of the Opposition would want that. I am quite certain that they would disapprove of views expressed in terms of that sort. Nevertheless, I ask them in all seriousness: is it not possible that this debate will be interpreted as a pro-or an anti-Wilson approach to the multiracial problem?

The third reason why people find difficulty in understanding is because of the use of the word "terrorists". If our country were occupied by a strong coloured group who had it all their own way, you and I, my Lords, would try to win freedom for ourselves. I am sure of that. We should regard ourselves as freedom fighters, but, of course, the other side would describe us as terrorists. I think we need to be very careful when we are told that by certain decisions which we are making—for instance, about approving sanctions—we are aiding and abetting terrorists. I just do not believe it. What will really happen if we pass this Order is that we shall then encourage those who love their country and are seeking freedom for it, whereas if we do not pass it the consequences of such a British sell-out will be incalculable.

In conclusion may I just make two points, the first of which I hope your Lordships will not dismiss as sentimental. I believe that noble Lords opposite will realise that I am as deeply concerned as they are to find a solution. But only yesterday morning, in a part of my diocese where there is a very large coloured minority, I was celebrating the Holy Communion and it was my joy and privilege to give the Sacrament to dozens of white and coloured people who knelt side by side at the Table. Then the mothers brought up their children again, both white and coloured, for me to bless them, and afterwards I had my refreshments with them. That is the vision which motivates me and which I believe basically motivates all of us. To this we are pledged and it is our prayer that we shall achieve it.

The second point I want to make is that my diocese is linked with a diocese in Chicago. I was there and in Detroit last summer, and I saw with my own eyes the consequences of "too little and too late". There I saw the appalling devastation and the terrible hatred, and on the very day I left the mayor had got through the local parliament some vast sum of money for the buying of machine guns to be used, if need be, this year.

My Lords, those are the two pictures. Which is the one most likely to be realised in Rhodesia? If we sell out now, there is no doubt that though, like Danegeld, we may buy temporary peace, in a matter of years there will be a situation even worse than that which I encountered last year in Chicago and Detroit.

It is my longing that what shall be achieved in Rhodesia is what I experienced yesterday morning at the Table of the Lord in South London.

6.35 p.m.


My Lords, the right reverend Prelate who has just spoken was good enough in the course of his speech to credit my noble friend Lord Jellico with sincerity. The right reverend Prelate was supporting the Motion; I hope he will be prepared also to credit with sincerity others who oppose the Motion. I find it easy to credit Her Majesty's Government's Ministers with sincerity in supporting this Motion, because I greatly respect all three Ministers who are to take part in this debate.

My noble and learned friend Lord Dilhorne reminded the House of some provisions of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965, under which this Order is brought forward. I do not think I go as far as my noble and learned friend in thinking that it is improper for Her Majesty's Government to use that Act in order to make, or seek to make, this comprehensive Order, because that is the Act which the Government themselves passed in order to enable them to deal with the Rhodesia problem. It provided expressly in Section 2, that such Orders can be made but that they shall expire at the end of a period of 28 days unless they have been approved by Resolution of each House of Parliament.

What I find quite incomprehensible and, I may say, intolerable, is that the Government should say there is anything improper in this House coming to an honest conclusion whether or not it should approve an Order, when that is the very method they have laid down as the right way of dealing with the Rhodesia problem. It may perhaps be said that wherever there is provision for the approval of something by a House of Parliament it always says "each House of Parliament", but that is not so. In an Act passed as recently as the 30th of last month, the Industrial Expansion Act 1968, there was express provision for the approval of a scheme by a Resolution of the Commons House of Parliament. It is not always that an Act says "each House of Parliament", but where it does say "each House of Parliament" it cannot be wrong for each House of Parliament to decide the question before it upon its merits, because that is what Parliament is for.

The Government now seek our approval of the Order made on June 7. What principles should guide us in coining to a conclusion on whether or not to approve that Order? Clearly, the first consideration, I should have thought, was the merits of the Order itself, and to that I shall return. Of course, every noble Lord who thinks this Statutory Order wise and good will vote for it. But is any Member who is sincerely convinced that it is a bad Order justified in not voting against it? I can find no such justification. As the noble Lord, Lord Wedgwood, reminded us in his speech a few moments ago, certain things are stated in our Writ of Summons to this House. We are summoned here to give our counsel. That must mean our honest counsel; and counsel must include how we vote as a result of our debate. To-morrow we shall vote under the express provisions of a Statute only two years old. Is it therefore so remarkable that we have not yet had a vote against any Order made thereunder? The long tradition that is alleged for not voting against such an Order applies, in the special conditions of this Statute, to a period of two years and no more. Let me say quite clearly that to-morrow, in my view, every noble Lord must be guided by his own conscience. I propose to vote according to my views of the merits of the Order. I should think it shameful to do anything else. I should further think it inconsistent with my constitutional duty to the Crown and to Parliament.

My Lords, there are Ministers and writers in the Press who urge that it would be contrary to our personal interests to vote against this Order. Ministers even hold out threats or concealed bribes to induce us to refrain from acting on our convictions. I think that these threats and bribes perhaps cast more light on their own character than on their knowledge of your Lordships' House.


My Lords, if the noble Lord will allow me to interrupt him, I am not quite sure what he is referring to, particularly when he talks about bribes.


I referred both to Ministers and to writers in the Press. The noble Lord will find one or two examples this morning of an allegation that if we vote against this Order to-morrow, all chance of a certain Lords reform which is said to be otherwise possible, and which might result in a quite considerable increase in salaries to certain noble Lords, would go. I am certain that the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, would never hold out such a bribe. I think he had not come to the House at the beginning of my speech, when I expressed my belief in the honesty and sincerity of the Ministers who are to take part in this debate; and I think that he makes the same assumption about me. What I was referring to were the writers in the Press and some ministerial utterances. I may say that one was made by a not wholly obscure member of the Government—namely, the Chancellor of the Exchequer —which certainly contained threats or bribes. I am saying that those threats and bribes reveal the character of those who made them more than they reveal knowledge of the character of your Lordships' House.


My Lords, I am sorry to return to this point—and I was here at the beginning—but it is just this word "bribe" that I am bothered about. I should not have thought this alleged offer of £1,500 a year would have carried very much weight. Perhaps the noble Lord would just like to leave it at "threats", although I personally would deplore that.


Perhaps the noble Lord prefers the word "inducements". I am sorry if I have shocked the noble Lord the Leader of the House, but I think the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack is quite familiar with lawyers sometimes referring to threats of disadvantages or offers of advantages, and I was using "bribes" in the sense of offers of certain advantages which might come in certain circumstances and which would be threatened should we use our votes honestly to-morrow night and should that lead us to defeat this Order.

I now come to the merits of the Order. So far, I admit, I have said nothing in reply to the right reverend Prelate who spoke just before me, and who frankly and rightly, from his point of view, commended the Order on its merits. I take a different view from him of the merits, not because I am any fonder than he is of certain things that are happening in Rhodesia. The main reason I have come to so different a conclusion, the main gap I found in the speeches of both right reverend Prelates, is the absence of any ground for believing that the imposition of these further sanctions would lead to any of the results that they sincerely seek. The purpose of this Order, as a simple perusal shows, is to do whatever we can to ruin Rhodesia economically and to bring about a breakdown of law and order in that country. Let me say at once that I have never been a pacifist, and I admit at once to those who take a different view that it may be true that you must sometimes use cruel means to bring about a good result. But surely, if that is your motive in imposing cruel means, you must have some reason for expecting a good result.

Her Majesty's Government may once have believed that the effect of their sanctions would be the fall of the Rhodesian régime and its replacement by a régime with which they could come to an agreement. If they did think that, can they really believe that still? Do they really believe that these sanctions will cause the downfall of the Rhodesian Government, or that, if that were the result, that Rhodesian Government would be replaced by men with whom they would find it easier to deal? All the indications from our experience since sanctions were first imposed is that, whatever else they have done, they have not weakened the Smith régime; and, if there is any feeling developing against it, it is just as likely to be on the part of those who would be more extreme than of those who have hitherto been considered more liberal.

Many people have mentioned the Six Principles. Of course, there was a great deal of merit in what was sought to be expressed in those principles. Why does anybody suppose that the adoption of any of those principles will be brought nearer if a further attempt, doomed to failure, is made to apply more coercive sanctions? I have spoken, I think, in one debate a year on Rhodesia. I spoke on November 15, 1965, on December 8, 1966, and on February 6 last year, and I attempted to analyse the legal considerations as I saw them. Whatever else these sanctions do, it does not seem to me that they bring about any of the results hitherto put forward as desirable, and least of all the results which are embodied in the Six Principles. Sanctions may indeed make the world a poorer place and spread hardship and poverty in areas much wider than Rhodesia. They will do absolutely nothing to help the Africans, whom the Government say they wish to help and whom, I am sure, the right reverend Prelates also wish to help.

It is said that the purpose of these sanctions is to carry out a United Nations resolution. I am not going to examine all the obligations set out in the Charter but I suppose the one that expresses most strongly the obligation is Article 25: The Members of the United Nations agree to accept and carry out the decisions of the Security Council in accordance with the present Charter. Those last words are not unimportant, as those who have studied the legal com- mentaries on the Charter will know. The position under the United Nations sanctions is not simple; but if those are right who take the view that I and others—including a former United States Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Acheson—have put forward quite recently, as well as some years ago; if, that is to say, there was not a threat to peace within the meaning of Article 39 of the Charter, there is a great deal that the United Nations has done on this matter which is unprecedented and which, in the view of some of us, is legally most dubious. Certainly nothing like this has ever been attempted before by the United Nations.

But, dealing further with these sanctions, are Her Majesty's Government quite sure that they are wise to discourage travel and intercourse between this country and Rhodesia? Will that make Rhodesia more, or less, dependent upon South Africa and Portugal? Those are matters that should be carefully considered. Reference to the United Nations' resolution has been made, quite rightly, in many speeches and in that with which the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack opened the debate. Reference has been made not only to the Order before the House but also to that resolution. Paragraph 13 of the United Nations' resolution is widely interpreted as an invitation to the use of force and to civil war. Her Majesty's Government tell us—and I accept their sincerity—that that is not how they wished it to be understood. But it is how it was quite certain to be understood in many countries thoughout the world, and particularly in Africa.

I wonder how many noble Lends saw the Press report which appeared, I think, in many papers—the cutting before me is from the Daily Telegraph of June 1—of the remarks of Lord Caradon in New York. He said that the resolution in no way requires Britain to use force or to encourage terrorism. But he went on—and perhaps so as not to be unfair to him I had better give the exact words: He said that perhaps the most important point about the resolution was that it was adopted unanimously. All of us, no doubt, had reservations on the final text, but nevertheless it was important that for the first time we achieved a unanimous vote on Rhodesia'. What does that mean? Everybody understood it differently but it was a great thing that everybody signed it! That is really not the recipe either for wisdom or for peace.

My Lords, I suppose that ever since I have been in politics I have urged, both in domestic disputes and in international disputes, that we should get rid of the hateful habit of trying to find a formula.


My Lords, I was trying to follow the noble Lord's argument. Is he seriously denying that decisions taken by the Security Council under Article 39 and 41 are legally binding on this country if taken by the requisite majority?


My Lords, I read Article 25 of the United Nations Charter and I called attention to the words, "in accordance with the present Charter". And I say, speaking for myself, that I think, if I am right, that there was not, within the meaning of the Charter, a threat to peace. I think that that throws a good deal of doubt on some of the United Nations conclusions. I do not go as far as the noble Lord sought then to put in my mouth; but I think that is a question that needs and justifies further investigation. While I do not wish to indulge in a long argument with the noble Lord, I would only say that it would be even more unfair of him if he tried to make me agree with his law than if he tried to make me agree with his politics. I regard both demands as almost impossible.

My Lords, I was dealing with the matter of seeking to find a formula. Finding a formula can mean one of two very different things. A formula may be a means for honest men to express their agreement; it may also be a means for politicians to conceal their differences. There is a great deal of difference between the two; and to seek to find a formula in such a matter as a resolution on sanctions before the Security Council is very dangerous indeed, unless actual agreement is really reached.

There is just one matter mentioned by the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack on which, out of respect for his speech, I should like to make one comment. In previous speeches on many occasions I have always deplored the use of the word "veto" when it means that one of the Permanent Members has not concurred in, or voted for, a majority decision of the Security Council. It gives many people the idea that there is something called a Veto provided in the Charter which it is generally improper to use. I know that the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack said that it was serious to use it. With that I agree. Nevertheless, I am certain that if the United Nations is to be a useful body, and is to make progress in the development of International Law and practice, at least two things are absolutely necessary.

It must pay the greatest regard to the provisions of the Charter—which, to my mind, it did not do in finding that the situation in Rhodesia was a threat to peace—and secondly, no Power must hesitate to vote against a resolution in the Security Council if they disagree with it. All that voting against that resolution means is that they disagreed with the other people on its merits. I think that not even the Liberal Party will say that it is always improper to be in a minority.


My Lords, the fact is that we were not in a minority. We voted for this resolution and we are therefore bound by it. We voted for it and our country is therefore committed.



My Lords, I am sure that is the noble Lord's view. I do not know quite what is his conception of the purposes of the British Parliament, but that is another matter. I explained at the beginning of my speech what I understand is the obligation of every Member of either House to vote on the proposition before it in accordance with the merits. I agree of course with the noble Lord that the fact that this resolution has been passed is one argument in its favour. I have tried to give the reasons why I do not regard it as conclusive and why I feel reasonably certain that history will not think that it ought to have been regarded as conclusive.

My Lords, let me conclude by saying this. It seems to me horribly irresponsible, in the present state of the world, to do anything to promote civil war. I believe that this is precisely what this United Nations resolution has done. It also seems to me to be wicked to take active steps to make the world a poorer place, in the misguided hope that the possible punishment of a régime may compensate for the widespread injury done to the innocent. My Lords, unless Her Majesty's Government deploy convincing arguments to the contrary not yet put forward, I must vote against the Order.

7.2 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, expressed very forcibly, and claimed very forcibly, his right to vote according to his conscience. I do not think that any noble Lord on this side of the House would take exception to the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, or any other noble Lord opposite, voting according to his conscience. We are not looking at the matter from that point of view. For the last sixty years, ever since the days of the Parliament Act controversy, we have had a built-in majority on the Conservative Benches, and a kind of convention has developed that, at any rate regarding Orders, the built-in Conservative majority in your Lordships' House would not vote against an Order put forward by a Labour Government. May I put it in this way? Suppose during the Suez adventure, when there was a Conservative Government, with a Conservative majority in the House of Lords, it had been necessary, for some purpose or other, to have an Order put through both Houses, would there have been any practical difficulty? Of course there would not. The Whips would have been put on and the Order would have gone through the House of Commons and through your Lordships' House. But the position to-day is entirely different. Here we are—


My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt the noble Lord, but it does happen. I think it was in 1937, when there was a Conservative Government, an Order was laid which was withdrawn in your Lordships' House because it was objected to by the whole House.


My Lords, "One swallow does not make a summer". I will not deny that on occasion that might have happened. But here we have this vitally important Order which, no doubt within their rights, noble Lords opposite will defeat when the vote comes to- morrow. All through this debate there has been a thread of severe criticism directed against the word "sanctions". The trouble is—I say this in a kindly spirit—that many noble Lords opposite have no use for the United Nations—let us be frank about it—and they have no use for sanctions. But it is no use our taking a merely negative attitude of that kind. This terrible problem faces us all.

Like other noble Lords, I have been to Southern Rhodesia and I have been filled with admiration at the work which has been done and the development which has resulted from the know-how of the white minority—the modern factories, the building up of the economy, and so on. But, as the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Southwark very rightly pointed out, there are 4 million Africans living in Southern Rhodesia and they have their human rights. This year we are commemorating International Human Rights Year. What human rights are they enjoying in Southern Rhodesia? The whole trouble is due to the fact that we are not able to relate the rights of the 220,000 white minority, having regard to what they have done for the country, to the rights and aspirations of the 4 million Africans.

The noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, argued that we had no right to ask the House to pass this Order because we have not a mandate for it, but the question of a mandate would not arise if there were a Labour majority in your Lordships' House. It never happened, even in the case to which the noble and learned Lord referred. It has never been argued when a Conservative Government were in office that they had to have a mandate when asking your Lordships to pass either Bills or Statutory Orders.

I thought that the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, made a very balanced speech, and I am sorry that when he ceased to balance he came down on the wrong foot and advised his colleagues to vote against the Order. He said that the mere fact that the Government might be bound by a resolution of the Security Council did not mean that the Opposition was bound by it. That is an extraordinary constitutional theory, my Lords. I have never heard it before, but even if it were true, surely no one would justify a loyal Opposition to a Labour Government preventing a Labour Government from carrying out their responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations. Our country is one of the founder members of the United Nations. We have accepted the obligations of the Charter. Surely it would not be argued that the Opposition are not bound by sanctions imposed under the Charter.

The noble Lord, Lord Conesford, is in grave doubt whether the resolution passed by the Security Council is legal, but I can see no reason to doubt its legality. Article 39 does not place the responsibility upon lawyers or the International Court of Justice of interpreting the Articles of the Charter on whether or not there is a threat to peace. It says: The Security Council shall determine the existence of any threat to the peace. It is a responsibility under the Charter which is accepted, as I understand it, by both sides of the House, and it is placed upon the Security Council which has unanimously decided in favour of mandatory sanctions whatever mental reservations may exist among members of the Council. The noble Lord, Lord Conesford, has been in Parliamentary life a long time, as I have, and we have often had to agree to Motions put forward by our own Parties about which we have had mental reservations. We cannot take into account mental reservations on the part of those who voted in the affirmative when they sat on the Security Council. We were told by my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor that all the permanent and temporary members of the Council unanimously voted for the passing of this resolution. The noble Lord, Lord Wedgwood, has left his seat and I am sorry to have to say this in his absence, but his reference to "Afro-Asian masters of the Government" at the United Nations seemed to me to be a cheap jibe quite unworthy of any Member of this House.


My Lords, I appreciate what the noble Lords says about the uselessness of mental reservations and that the same might possibly apply to an express reservation. The Government say that paragraph 13 of this resolution is not interpreted by them as an invitation to civil war. But all the countries that do interpret it as an invitation to civil war are, according to the noble Lord, equally justified.


My Lords, I should like some evidence from the noble Lord that any one member of the Security Council interprets paragraph 13 as an open sesame to supplying arms to or authorising the sending of bands of guerrillas into Southern Rhodesia. I do not believe that that is consistent with a proper interpretation of paragraph 13. I believe that to take the view that it permits the despatch of arms or guerrillas into Southern Rhodesia would be to drive a coach-and-horses through the resolution passed by the Security Council. If they had been going to authorise the despatch of military forces, they would have said so.

Whether our Government are right in saying that they have given material aid to Southern Rhodesia, I do not know, but I can see nothing to justify the interpretation of the word "material" as consistent with the word "military". Indeed, the action is taken under Article 41 of the Charter, which says: The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions. I think it would make nonsense of this resolution if Member States were to consider that they were entitled to send arms or guerrillas into Southern Rhodesia in order to make things difficult for the Government or for Mr. Smith's régime in Southern Rhodesia.

I was impressed by the point made by the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, in his speech about the value of negotiations. He said that the Secretary of State had informed the House that there were three possible methods of dealing with the situation in Southern Rhodesia. There was the use of force; there was the possibility of surrender and there was what has been done, the imposition of sanctions. The noble Earl said that there was a fourth method—negotiations. I agree with that, and I do not agree with the right reverend prelate the Bishop of Southwark that there is very little hope of securing a negotiated agreement with the illegal régime in Salisbury. I was shocked by the statement of the noble Lord, Lord Wedgwood, that in his view Her Majesty's Government did not even want a settlement. That is really complete nonsense. Of course we want a settlement, but we must have regard to the interests not only of the 220,000 whites but also of the 4 million Africans living in that country, and that is what we are seeking to do.

The key to the solution of the Rhodesian problem lies in Salisbury and not in London. If the leaders of the white minority are prepared to agree to a just and equitable settlement, from the point of view of both white minority and black majority, there will be a settlement and an end to the terrible position that exists to-day. I cannot understand why there should be this difficulty. Ever since U.D.I. was announced, in November, 1965, Her Majesty's Government have made repeated attempts to bring about a settlement. There have been three Secretaries of State at the Commonwealth Office since 1965—Mr. Bottomley, Mr. Bowden and now Mr. Thomson. All three of them have been to Salisbury with the intention and hope of securing some kind of agreement.

Reference has been made to the discussions on the "Tiger". I have always understood that the Prime Minister and Mr. Smith got very near to achieving a provisional agreement, and that that agreement was torpedoed by the extremists in Salisbury. How can we get an agreement unless it is to be on the basis of equity. Are we to surrender? Is that what is wanted? Are we to appease the white minority in Rhodesia?

Even if the United Nations, as they well could do under Article 41, were to decide that force had to be used, I hope and believe that Her Majesty's Government would think a great deal before they went along with that policy. If we are going to rule out force, if we are going to rule out appeasement and if we cannot get anywhere for the moment with negotiations, pending another conference, we must go ahead bringing pressure to bear on the illegal régime, even though it brings some sacrifice to the people of Rhodesia. I should think that it is better for them to undergo this economic sacrifice than to have a blood bath such as is happening in Nigeria at the present time. If we had sent armed forces into Southern Rhodesia, we might have had a holocaust there which we could not visualise. The people of this country do not want to use force. They want a settlement.


My Lords, is it not a fact that one of the reasons for the present blood bath in Nigeria is that the white Government ceased to obtain and was succeeded entirely by a black Government.


My Lords, with great respect to the noble Marquess, I would not accept that. I. think that the mistake made in Nigeria was that they did not do what we have done in the case of Southern Rhodesia. They should have taken their problem to the United Nations or to the meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers. They did not do that. That is what happens when force is used. They are perfectly entitled to do that under International Law, as we should be. The precedent or analogy of Nigeria is not one that makes much appeal to my mind.

In conclusion, I would say that I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, that every noble Lord must vote according to his conscience, but I would ask the noble Lords opposite to think once, twice and even thrice before they reject this Order. This is an international matter now, and if this Order is rejected it will be construed as repudiating the resolution or the United Nations Security Council itself. It would also be an abrogation of our responsibilities under the Charter, and it would not only have international repercussions, for the reasons I have just stated, but also have national consequences of which noble Lords are fully conscious.

7.21 p.m.


My Lords, I hope I can qualify as a genuine Back Bencher without any crypto-relationships with any other side. I hope, also, that my various speeches—although I am not a frequent attender— which have been made mainly on behalf of African peoples and their particular problems will not disqualify me in their eyes for what I am going to say now. I am in fact a freeman of a small African town—I daresay I am not the only one of your Lordships who is—simply because I have espoused the cause of the nation of which it is a part in debates in your Lordships' House. Therefore I am fully aware that we are dealing with the destinies of 4 million Africans; they are principally in my mind, and have been throughout.

I have started our debates on Rhodesia in this House three times, and once I arrived here without knowing that the debate had already been cancelled, so what I am going to say now would have been said earlier, and not specifically in connection with this Order. I had intended to come with two proposals. The first proposal was that exercise "Topple" should be called off; and the second that negotiations in accordance with a new principle should be started not under duress.

When we first discussed sanctions, and when I joined the majority of your Lordships in voting for them, I think we all supposed that the sanctions would be not grievous, not vindictive, not punitive, would last for a short time and so on. I level no reproach whatever at those who proved to be mistaken; I knew no better myself. Nevertheless, I presume that we all had in our minds that there might be no better than a 50–50 chance of the "topple" taking place. Now that the "topple" has not taken place and the illegal régime has been consolidated, I think the proper line is not to persecute it further, but to negotiate.

It has always been a principle in my life in negotiations that you cannot expect genuine negotiations when one of the parties is under duress. That is why I see no very valid difference between the Conservative point of view and that of the Government. So far as I understand it, on the Conservative side they want to go on throttling the victim while negotiating, so long as their own fingers alone play on his windpipe and nobody else has a hand; whereas on the Labour side they will not talk; they will throttle alone. I do not think that either of these methods shows any chance of success.

I should like to ask the question of Her Majesty's Government, as to whether they are free to negotiate, because (I may be out of date) I am sent a photostat copy of all resolutions of the United Nations, and I note resolution No. 2262 of the General Assembly, which reads as follows: Recalling further that the Government of the United Kingdom, Great Britain and Northern Ireland has declared on several occasions that the racist minority régime is illegal; that it will not negotiate with that régime on the future of Rhodesia, and that it will not grant independence until majority rule is established in the territory. Is that a commitment of Her Majesty's Government, or is it not? If it is a commitment, then all thought of negotiations is futile; we go on and on, and I agree that where we are heading for is the use of force. Perhaps an answer may be given before the end of the debate to the question as to whether or not this is the standpoint of the Government. It is not what has been said in this House.

I would propose that a new policy be announced at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, which I understand is to take place in October, and that a commission of all Parties be sent to Rhodesia, with, of course, the cooperation of the Smith régime, if that is obtainable, in order to study the matter on a different principle from that adopted hitherto. The principle that I suggest arises from what is said in a resolution of the General Assembly, one that is constantly referred to by the United Nations in every one of its resolutions, in every one of those of the General Assembly, and in the vital one of the Security Council. It is a resolution of 1960, No. 1514. There are two paragraphs, one of which I should like to read. It says: 3. That inadequacy of political, economic, social or educational preparedness should never serve as a pretext for delaying independence. My Lords, I think that we have put the cart before the horse. There are constant talks of political advance, whereas the proper sequence is a plan extending over a number of years to raise up a community—not just a few odd individuals, but a whole community—to parity in all respects, educational, political and economic, with the white community before political maturity is granted. I think one is obliged to take stock of what is happening in the rest of Africa. I look around at my African friends with genuine horror and a feeling that we are at least half responsible for the massacres that are occurring. We have done two evil things in Africa. First of all, we have made them independent in accordance with the colonial boundaries as they existed before independence. This has forced together people who detested each other, and dismembered others who wanted to be together, and placed them under one, two, three and four separate sovereign States. That is an intolerable situation which the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity, Mr. Diallo Telli himself recognised, since in 1967 he said: The chief task of this year is the correction of boundaries. That is one problem. The other problem is putting the poor in pence in the seat of the Mighty and hoping for the best. The result is that you get legal and practical situations in country after country where the canvasser addresses the elector in something like the following language: "You, man, you have one vote. Do you understand?" And when he says that he does, the canvasser says: "You man, you have one man to vote for. Do you understand?" That is "One man, one vote". That is the kind of swindle democracy to which we have no obligation to subscribe. It happens as one of the consequences of an African not keeping himself in power. He can no longer educate his children. His income goes down from perhaps £1,000 to £80 a year, or something like that, and the situation is unacceptable to him. We have attempted to put into African society what it is not capable of assimilating.

Nobody knows how many people have died because black cannot get on with black. My own estimate (I can give details if anybody wishes to know) is approximately 2 million since 1960, because we flung people together who cannot be expected to get on. I think of a Syrian I met, an agronomist of the Food and Agriculture Organisation, who was at the time in the Somali Republic and who had come from the ex-Belgian Congo. He said, "In this country the kind of problem existing is that they have only two vets, instead of 200. In the Congo they have four or five large ethnic groups who cannot get on and who detest each other, and no national progress in any economic field is possible". These things have to be cured.

My Lords, I think that majority rule should be put in the deep-freeze. It is the aim, but there are other things. Let us concentrate on the conditions which will make majority rule work, or make it much more likely to work. What I feel we have done in Africa, because we cannot distinguish one African from another, is something that we should not have dreamt of doing in Europe; and if we had done it there it would have had equally bad results. Owing to the fact that I have come here so often and prepared something like twenty versions of a speech, I arrived to-day having prepared virtually nothing. Therefore I am in rather a state of confusion in dealing with my notes. All I wall say is that I am prepared to listen to the final speech of the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, though I have in fact come here to vote against the sanctions.

7.32 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Earl who has just resumed his seat informed us that he had prepared twenty versions of his speech. It is fairly obvious that he brought the wrong one along with him, because never in the whole course of my experience in this House have I heard such effrontery as I heard expressed by the noble Earl. The whole point and purpose of his contribution was: the only future that rests for the black populations is under a white domination. I would suggest to him that it is that idea, that attitude of mind, that is responsible for a great deal of friction between race and race to-day.

I have heard during the course of this debate a great number of strange arguments in support of the point of view against this Order, but I have not heard expressed clearly and in so many words support for U.D.I. and the racialism upon which it is based. Yet, at the same time, speech after speech from the opposing Benches was in opposition to any effort, no matter what it may be, that would bring an end to U.D.I. and the racialism upon which it is based. We heard from the noble Lord, Lord Conesford, who is not in his place, that he intends to vote in accordance with what he considers to be his constitutional duty. I think in point of fact that he has at the back of his mind certain doubts and reservations. He has the fear that if he follows out his intention to vote against this Order it would not be in furtherance of what he considered to be truly his constitutional duty.

It has already been stated that this Order is based upon a unanimous decision of the Security Council. It imposes comprehensive mandatory economic sanctions against Rhodesia. It was clearly indicated by my noble friends, and the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, in an intervention, that it is one of the solemn obligations under the United Nations' Charter for this country as a member of the United Nations to respect and obey those mandatory economic sanctions. I detected a certain amount of embarrassment on the part of the noble Lord, Lord Cones-ford, when replying to Lord Gladwyn's interjection, an embarrassment which he tried to cover up with an extremely rude reply.

There is no doubt that the United Nations expresses the will of the majority of the world community that no people should be oppressed. In the case that we are discussing a black majority is oppressed by a small white minority. Both Conservative and Labour Governments have given support to the United Nations, and to the principles upon which it is based. If the United Nations fail, there is no doubt that the universal disillusionment that would follow would have serious repercussions not only upon this country but upon the entire world. However, my Lords, there is more at stake than even the rights and liberties of the black population of Rhodesia. I would suggest to your Lordships that what is at stake is the whole concept of the rule of law, and Ito individual or Party can seek a transient advantage by challenging the rule of law—only at their peril.

The noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, made a desperate attempt to find all sorts of arguments; he was really scouring the barrel to find arguments in support of his point of view against this Order. One of them was that the Government had no mandate for their attitude towards Rhodesia. I would remind the noble and learned Viscount that not only is there a mandate but there has been a continuing mandate, and a mandate even through the period of Tory Governments, because from 1947 both Parties in Government have subscribed to a policy that aimed in the old colonial areas at the development of a society that would move towards racial equality and full democratic rights for native people. That has been, so I understand, part of the policy of successive Tory Governments, as well as of Labour Governments. The attitude towards Rhodesia to-day is based upon that concept. Therefore, the mandate lies there; the mandate lies at the very basis of that policy. It is utterly foolish to indicate, or to try to suggest, that there is no mandate for the action of the Government towards Rhodesia.

I would suggest that Rhodesia's challenge to that principle of racial equality is the root of the trouble. We are all aware of the actions and the record of the minority in Rhodesia who have been prepared to defy world opinion and hang on to their privileges. In their determination to hang on to their privileges U.D.I. was declared; and U.D.I. was denounced by every responsible Party leader. The strange thing is that the majority of the speeches opposing the Order have all gone out of their way to indicate denunciation of U.D.I. Denounce U.D.I. but do nothing to bring it to an end, apparently is the attitude of mind of noble Lords opposite.

Since November, 1965, the sanctions policy has been accepted by all three parties. There is no doubt about that: the sanctions policy was accepted. The noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, objects to the sanctions because they are implemented by the United Nations. Apparently, if we "went it alone" he would be in perfect agreement. But did the rest of his speech give support to that contention? Certainly it did not. He then went on to say that he objected to sanctions because they were not effective, and in the next breath he condemned this Order because it is likely to be too effective and to be damaging so far as Rhodesia is concerned.

I would advise noble Lords opposite, some of whom I am quite sure have not yet made up their minds, that there is a strong Rhodesian lobby which is determined, by every means in their power, to give aid and sustenance to the illegal régime. I am not saying anything about their objects, I am merely stating that the lobby exists and it would be disastrous for the standing of this House—never mind about the threats; I am talking about the integrity and standing of this House—if Members were misled for a variety of specious reasons.

I would remind the House how fallacious is the argument that has been repeated so often in this debate, that because sanctions have not achieved a swift surrender on the part of Rhodesia we should give up and accept the situation and try to "negotiate"—whatever that means. That is indeed incredible reasoning. On that basis, one could argue that if there is a law breaker who is not swiftly brought to justice then the law should be abrogated. Did anyone ever hear such ridiculous reasoning!—because there is not an immediate effect from the steps you have taken you should forget about it and let the law breaker get away with it.

One noble Lord quoted the words: Those whom the gods seek to destroy, they first make mad". I would apply it to some of the noble Lords opposite and say that a variety of emotions and motives actuate them. I know that a great variety of motives have been expressed and a great many emotions have been stimulated, but if every noble Lord examines the situation and pays due regard to the basic principles on which all this is based, I am quite certain that he or she will accept his or her responsibilities as a Member of this House. They will then recognise, first, their own obligations through the United Nations, and, secondly, their obligations to the principles which have been enunciated by all Governments to seek the development of racial equality among nations. In the light of that, and with the full recognition that this Order is the expression of the policy of an elected Government, I am quite confident that, because so many Members will appreciate their responsibilities and the full repercussions of any decision they make, many to-morrow will go through the Lobby in support of this Order.

7.45 p.m.


My Lords, a glance at the list of speakers yet to come in this debate enforces the desirability of being brief. The case for and against sanctions has been fully presented to your Lordships, and at this late hour there is no need for me to dot the i's or cross the t's. Perhaps it is enough for me to say that I agree with practically every word that the noble Lord, Lord Wedgwood, said, and I disagree with almost every word that the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Southwark said.

Over the years I have spoken in all these debates on this subject, and I have always opposed sanctions and have voted against them from the very beginning of this sad business. My conviction is that this attempt to strangle the economy of Rhodesia and thereby ruin the peace and happiness of 4 or 5 million people—I make no difference in regard to their racial origin; they stand together to lose by this kind of action—is a wrong approach and that it is an evil and uncivilised method of interfering in the domestic affairs of a potentially great country. I regarded it initially, of course, as a grave error of judgment on the part of the Government, and all that has happened since reinforces and confirms my view that statesmanship is rapidly being submerged in spite.

My Lords, I speak as an administrator. We have heard to-night the representatives of various other distinguished professions, but. I think perhaps I look at this matter inevitably from a slightly different point of view, owing to my own background. I should like to make one brief comment on the basic problem of Rhodesia. It is this. Democracy cannot be handed out as a gift, or merely by providing a constitution and the formal symbols of democratic government. I know these are truisms. It has to have its roots in the habits, thoughts and customs of the people. Our rule has always bad two sides: negative in checking the abuse of power, and positive in building a framework of government on the British concept. By a premature insistence on "one man, one vote" and the rest of the popular claptrap which appeals to the United Nations, you will be merely using the forms of Western democracy in order to stultify its aims. You cannot finance success with a flow of words—we know that only too well in this country.

Democratic slogans such as those we have been listening to from some speakers to-night, and the expectation to reap where you have not sown, form an unsound currency anywhere. In sound administrative practice you must distinguish between ultimate ideals and present possibilities, and this is most applicable to Rhodesia. You cannot blueprint an ideal; you will be making a mess of the whole thing if you try to do that. Rhodesia is an outstanding example of general principles being stated as an objective, but the detailed application of those principles must be modified by time and experience and increasing correction and adjustment. If only the Rhodesian Government could be left alone to work this out for themselves, I do not think it is an exaggeration to say that the population of Rhodesia, in all its colours and racial origins, would benefit immensely, both materially and spiritually, as indeed would this country also.

My Lords, the only hope for a multiracial country such as Rhodesia must lie in economic progress married to educational advancement, and you must allow during that process a good and strong Government to superintend it. Perhaps I might at this point say that I resent the implication that has been apparent in some speeches to-night that the Rhodesian Government—which incidentally was an elected Government, under a constitution that was approved in this country—is peopled by a group of oppressors of the black Africans. That is totally and utterly untrue. They are far more capable of giving the African a fair deal and helping him to progress than most Members of your Lordships' House.


My Lords, could the noble Lord then tell us, if what he is saying is accurate, why the coloured majority have to endure such a much lower standard of living than the white Rhodesians?


My Lords, I should have thought that so elementary a question would not require an answer in this House. It is quite obvious that the European has had greater opportunities to progress. He came to help the African in the country. He came also to profit by developing the country, by which he benefited both himself and the people there; and it was his energies and enterprise that enabled the increasing standards of education to be spread as they are being in Rhodesia.

The steady elimination of racial differences would come, I think, with the steady elimination of cultural differences. But all this takes time, and the present policy of Her Majesty's Government seems to me to be an insistence on the suicidal imposition of an impossible speed. Let us try to remember sometimes that the British Empire itself was just a long-term investment in civilisation. I am convinced that even at this late hour an hon- ourable settlement in Rhodesia is possible. Is it not time that our Government stopped preaching about civilised methods and began to practise them?

To my mind the calling in of the United Nations on the plea that the domestic affairs of Rhodesia were a menace to world peace was a shameful subterfuge of dubious justification, even under the United Nations Charter. And when the accused de facto Government of Rhodesia was refused even the right to state its case to the Security Council, the mask of righteousness slipped and the face of malicious prejudice peered out. Why, it is reckoned that at least 37 of the members of the United Nations who have called for the sanctions, and so forth, and taken pleasure in approving them, represent countries under the rule of minority Governments whose people have not a prospect of as happy or as prosperous a future or anything like as much real freedom as the people of Rhodesia.

Do let us try, at any rate when we are in a serious discussion, to drop these hypocritical assumptions. Sanctions up to date have failed, and this attempt to tighten the noose and strangle the economy of the country can only bring misery, unemployment and hardship to the very people whom the authors of this shameful policy profess to be helping and defending.

I have said nothing about the petty personal vendetta against citizens of Rhodesia. There is no need to take up your Lordships' time in restating that catalogue of discredit. In Rhodesia you are dealing with men, not with the helots of the discredited dictatorship of Whitehall. But for this fixed attitude the Rhodesian question could have been settled long ago, to the benefit of all the races in that country. I do not believe in boycotts or sanctions as instruments of diplomacy, but each country should be left free so far as possible to solve its own economic, social and racial problems without dictation from external sources, and without having to grovel before the interference of other countries of immature status.

The Government of Rhodesia insists upon guiding its own affairs so that it can ensure the existence and the continuance of civilised government. Is that an unreasonable determination? Differences of race, colour, culture and language present problems which are best settled by the people who are trying to found a State in which the standards of civilised government can be maintained in amicable agreement. I have always believed in justice and fair play, and in the many virtues which history has associated with British government, and I am spelling "government" with a small "g". I shall therefore have no alternative but to register my vote against this inhuman Order and the fratricidal stupidity of sanctions.


My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, would he answer the question I asked originally? Is not his solution of the Rhodesian problem really that we should hand over the 4 million Africans to the mercies of the present illegal r6gime, recognise them and then wash our hands of it?


My Lords, with due respect to the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chancellor, the question he has asked me contains several assumptions with which I totally disagree. To say that 4 million Africans are being handed over to the tender mercies of a group of apparently European thugs is such a misstatement in every word of it that I think it requires no answer. Are we not aware that the standard of education in Rhodesia for the black Africans is surpassed in Africa only by that in South Africa; and that in every other way within their means they are devoting a great deal of attention and paying a great deal of money to help their brothers of the country who have had less opportunity of progress than they have had; and are endeavouring to do what every civilised Government would do to enable people who have had fewer opportunities ultimately to reach that status?