HL Deb 22 October 1968 vol 296 cc1463-5

3.15 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that the Draft Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 (Continuation) Order 1968 be approved. I believe that it is the general wish of the House that a full debate on Rhodesia should be held at an appropriate moment. As my noble friend the Leader of the House told your Lordships last Wednesday, the Government will seek to facilitate any such debate whenever the House wishes, and indeed we should welcome it. But, if I may borrow a phrase which was used last week by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, I doubt whether it would be in accordance with our usual practice to raise a full debate on the whole subject of Rhodesia on such a comparatively narrow aspect as the Continuation Order. Therefore, I do not intend to say anything at this stage on the general problem of Rhodesia, and will confine my remarks to the Order itself.

Your Lordships will be aware that Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 has to be continued in force from year to year. It is necessary at this stage to extend it for a further year. I ask the House to permit this Order to be approved. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That the Draft Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 (Continuation) Order 1968, be approved.—(Lord Shepherd.)


My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord that this would be an inappropriate occasion on which to debate the whole question of Rhodesia. I hope that, although we extend this Order to-day, in fact it will not continue to operate for the whole of another year. I do not think one ought to say anything at all about the Rhodesian question. I welcome the noble Lord's assurance that facilities will be given for a debate whenever it is thought that a suitable moment has arrived.


My Lords, I should like to follow the example of the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and agree that we should merely support formally this Motion to-day. We shall, however, want an opportunity at an appropriate moment to put forward to the House our views on the recent "Fearless" proposals, which the House must know are not acceptable to us.


My Lords, as one who has consistently opposed the policy on Rhodesia I must nevertheless agree that this is not the moment to discuss the Rhodesian question. However, I should not like it to be assumed that, if one takes no action, one is changing one's views and supporting this Order.


My Lords, as one of those who opposed the original Order, and while agreeing with the propriety of the usual channels that there should not be a debate or a Division upon it, I cannot miss the opportunity to try to give in two or three minutes the reasons why it would seem that this Order is not likely to help matters along. After the brutal treatment by Russia of Czechoslovakia, there is in all quarters a strong desire to avoid any extension of disorder in Africa, and I am sure that it is unlikely that the continuance of what this Order aims at is going to bring any help to the Africans in Rhodesia. It is hypocrisy to pretend that this increases the aspirations of the Africans. Anybody who knows Africa, who has travelled the country, recognises that the Africans want employment much more than anything else. This Order is not going to help, and it is my intense hope, as it is that of everybody else, that the discussions which have taken place will be continued until they arrive at an effective decision.


My Lords, I also agree that this is no time for a debate on Rhodesia. But I felt, as one of those who opposed sanctions from the very beginning and who has not lost that antipathy to this method of dealing with the situation, that I could not let this Motion pass without placing on record that my views have only been encouraged by the passage of time, and that I am still entirely opposed to sanctions in any shape or form. That is all I wish to say now.


My Lords, as a dissident on these Benches from the policy of Her Majesty's Government I just want to say that I shall refrain from making any comment on the last two speeches which have been made. But I hope that very soon we shall have a full opportunity to discuss the Rhodesian issue in this House.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

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