HL Deb 04 August 1972 vol 334 cc687-736

2.46 p.m.

LORD ALPORT rose to ask Her Majesty's Government whether there has been any change in their intention to re-enact the Southern Rhodesian Orders in Council when they expire in November next. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper. I would not argue in this House or anywhere, that there is any direct parallel between the position in Rhodesia and that in Northern Ireland; yet there was one remark made in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, which seemed to me to have a very considerable bearing upon the present situation in Rhodesia. It is simply this. He regretted, and rightly so, that certain actions which could have been taken months or perhaps years ago, were not taken, because, as he said, if they had been taken some of the problems which we are facing at the present moment might not be so dire and difficult so far as Northern Ireland is concerned.

The reason why I raise the subject at this particular point in the business of your Lordships' House is that this same situation applies to Rhodesia. I do not think it right that we should leave some set of proposals to be on the table indefinitely while a period of reflection continues. I do not think that time is on our side, or on the side of the Rhodesians, at the present moment. I believe that there are certain things which could and should be done now which might help to prevent some of the problems which confront Rhodesia now, and will confront Rhodesia in the future—and not only Rhodesia, but Her Majesty's Government as well.

It is right that we should discuss this matter in your Lordships' House. I am sorry that so little attention has been paid to the problem in another place during these past months. As I said earlier on, I do not think that this is something which can be left to lie. As I understand it, at the present moment the Government's position is that the proposals agreed between Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Mr. Smith, I think last year, are to lie on the table, as the phrase goes, while there is a pause for reflection. I should like to ask my noble friend the Minister of State how long this pause is to last, and who is supposed to do the reflecting? Is it expected that Mr. Smith, after due consideration, will come forward with new proposals which will help to resolve the doubts and difficulties of the situation and the lack of confidence, so far as his intentions are concerned, in the minds of a great majority of the Africans? May I ask whether he is likely to do that when presumably, at the present moment, the proposals which he agreed with Sir Alec Douglas-Home appear to remain the terms upon which the United Kingdom Government would be prepared to reach a settlement with the Rhodesian Front?

The second question that I should like to ask is whether it is the British Government which is to do the reflecting, and what lines are those reflections now taking? What are the possibilities that Her Majesty's Government have in mind? Are they considering abandoning or altering sanctions? Are they hoping that some change in the position in Rhodesia will get them off the difficult horns of the dilemma which they are on at the present moment? Are they working out some new and constructive policy to produce a solution which will be acceptable within the Five Principles and to all people in Rhodesia itself?

I felt—I may, of course, be wrong—that the decision to leave the proposals of last year on the Table indicates an understandable degree of exasperation and frustration on the part of Her Majesty's Ministers. It strikes me now, however, looking back, as being a slightly "governessy" attitude, the sort of thing that might apply to children in nursery days: "If you will not eat what cook has sent up, well, we will just leave it on the nursery table until you do."Your Lordships may remember how one sat there looking at that cold, glutinous mass of rice pudding, wondering whether to eat it and be sick or sit where one was until bedtime came.

There is a tendency—and that is why I take that particular simile—to consider and regard the Africans of Rhodesia as children, and to believe that change will take place and that they will learn with the passage of time as a result of the arguments put forward by the Chiefs, or what-you-will; that they will change their minds because they will realise the wisdom of the British Government and the Rhodesian Front and how important it is to them to take the advantages held out, so it is said, within the proposals that were reached by Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Mr. Smith.

Anybody who knows Rhodesia well, as many of your Lordships do, would know that there was no chance at any time with intimidation, pressure and all the rest of it put right out of the way—of an African majority in the towns, in the urban areas, in the native purchase areas or in the Tribal Trust lands, accepting any agreement which was acceptable to the Rhodesian Front régime. As Bishop Muzorewa has said, the terms which are at the present moment lying on the Table can lie there till doomsday and they will not be acceptable to African opinion in Rhodesia. If there is any illusion in your Lordships' House or in this country that the Chiefs or a small middle class of Africans can be compelled, persuaded or bribed to endorse the agreement, I can assure you that that is not so. Your Lordships will know, I am sure, that it was the deliberate policy of the British South Africa Company, and subsequent Southern Rhodesian Governments, over a long period of time to emasculate the powers of the Chiefs, and they did so extremely effectively. They turned them from their hereditary and traditional role within the tribe into the servants of the Government.

I say nothing against the integrity of the Chiefs. They are men of power, they are men of dignity, and also men of courage. Although they sometimes look narrowly at their own interests, they also reflect the will of the people when it is possible for the people to express that will; not when that will and the views of the people are subject to pressure from the Government and are hidden from the Chiefs. I have seen, when I was for that period in Rhodesia, Chiefs who at one time appeared to be agreeing to something which was in accordance with Government policy, changing their views very quickly indeed when they realised what the real views of their tribal areas were. There is no chance, in my view, of any factor arising which will enable the present proposals which lie on the Table to become acceptable within the Five Principles.

In those circumstances, what then should Her Majesty's Government here do? Should they leave the situation gradually to mature until something happens and which will perhaps make some new development of policy possible? I thought I would bring to your Lordships' attention in connection with this the background, as it was understood in Rhodesia, to the negotiations and to the settlement which we are at the present moment considering. It is contained in an article in the Rhodesian Financial Gazette of April this year. To me it is a most illuminating article. The Rhodesian Financial Gazette represents very closely the point of view of the rank and tile and the influential supporters in industry and agriculture as well on the Rhodesia Front regime. This is the report which it produced on April 14 about the efforts which were being made by the Rhodesian Front spokesmen to explain their attitude to the proposals made by Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Mr. Smith. It says: The Government's race policy will not change significantly—whether or not there is a settlement with Britain. This has been made clear by the Prime Minister, Mr. Ian Smith, in the current series of talks he is giving to the Rhodesian Front meetings throughout the country. Mr. Smith's campaign round the country is the third stage in a drive by the Front to convince members that the party has no intention of changing its basic policies—despite what opposition parties claim.

It goes on: At its series of meetings the Rhodesian Front has been stressing that while it will implement the proposals, it will do so in a 'Rhodesian spirit', which probably bears little resemblance to the 'spirit' envisaged by Whitehall.

It is against that sort of background that the proposals which form the basis of the settlement at the present moment lie on the Table. I suggest to your Lordships, and I ask the Government whether they will not agree, that the fact that those proposals remain current is a continuing obstacle to any new initiative, whether it be in Rhodesia or here in the United Kingdom. I should like to suggest to them that the time has now come to remove them, and to say quite categorically that the proposals which were proved by the Pearce Commission to be unacceptable under the Fifth Principle are now no longer a basis for settlement with the Rhodesian Government.

At the same time I believe they should do two other things as well: they should make it clear that in any further discussions it is essential that Bishop Muzorewa personally, and a representative of the organisation over which he presides, should be parties to those discussions. I can only give your Lordships my own personal evidence in this connection. When I had the opportunity of meeting and speaking to the Bishop here not many months ago I felt quite clear that if it had been possible for the late Sir Edgar Whitehead and Mr. Duncan Sandys to be negotiating with him at the head of the African Nationalist Party there would have been not only a chance of reaching a settlement but also a settlement which would be sustained and supported by the African opinion behind that leadership.

One must not forget that one of the great trials and tribulations, indeed one of the tragedies of Rhodesia is the way in which African Nationalist leadership has been forced always towards the Left as a result of the lack of any co-operation, any "give", so to speak, by European public opinion. Joshua Nkomo during the early days used to speak of himself as a Rhodesian, and there was a chance then that there would be an agreement which would be acceptable both to black and to white and might provide a stable solution for Rhodesia, but he fell under many influences which I regard as being tragic from his point of view and against the interests of African security in Rhodesia as well as himself. But he was largely impelled in that direction because of the lack of sympathy and support and obvious intention eventually to find some compromise on the part of the leadership within the European community. It would be a tragedy if Bishop Muzorewa were forced into exactly the same position. He is a man of quite different character and background from Joshua Nkomo, but we know what it is like to be an African leader subjected to pressures of all sorts. One must stand up for things that are not easily congenial to one or have behind one a wild and irresponsible group which is too easily identified in newspapers and by European opinion, as the real core of African political opinion. That is why I say that time is not on our side. It is not on the side of the moderates who remain in Rhodesia or on the side of the Europeans there. I therefore urge Her Majesty's Government to do everything in their power to strengthen moderate opinion, both European and particularly African, at this time.

This brings me to the question of sanctions, to which my Question is directly related. I have all along taken the view, certainly after their failure during, the first few months to bring a solution to the Rhodesian problem, that sanctions must fail because they are clumsy, a blunt instrument of policy, passive in their form, negative and all-embracing. Like the rain, they fall on the just and unjust alike—on men like Mr. Chinamano and Mr. Todd, who have suffered imprisonment on account of their political views, and on our interests, in exactly the same way as they fall on the leading members of the Rhodesian Front and most anti-British elements that exist in Rhodesia.

If sanctions are to be effective they must, if possible, be made positive, dynamic and discriminating, and I have a suggestion which may or may not be practicable. We read in the newspapers recently that the Burley part of the tobacco industry was suffering and might collapse. I do not have the newspaper cutting with me from which to quote and I apologise in advance if my figures are wrong, but the principle remains the same. I understand that the Burley tobacco crop in Rhodesia is manufactured to the tune of 80 per cent. by Africans. If that is the case, then it should be possible to distinguish in our sanctions policy between African-produced tobacco—for example, Burley tobacco—and the ordinary high-grade tobacco produced for the most part by European farmers. Is it possible to distinguish between tobacco grown on estates which give special advantages for African advancement—for example, special rates of wages and better conditions—and those which do not? Might it be possible by this means to encourage the attitude of mind among both Europeans and Africans that it is in their interests to be on the side of constitutional and racial progress and harmony, rather than on the side of punishing the whole population alike?

In the case of education, we know very well that the majority of African schooling is still, certainly in large measure, under the control and management of the missionary societies. In my view, sanctions should not apply against African education. I agree with the British Council of Churches that there should be some means by which money from this and from other countries is made available for the advancement of African education regardless of sanctions, and made available in such a way as to ensure that it is applied to African education and not diverted to other means.

My Lords, there are many other ways in which what I frankly mean to be discrimination within sanctions could be achieved, to the encouragement of those who have suffered most as the result of the but against those who have been the perpetrators of it. My Question is to ask the Government what their policy is with regard to sanctions. I have tried to put forward an idea which I hope may be of some value and may be considered.

Behind the situation in Rhodesia there is a continuing and increasingly tense security problem. I said earlier that time was a factor. And time is indeed a factor in this. One knows very well that increasing resources of Rhodesia are being devoted to the defence and security forces. One knows the development that is taking place in the situation in Portuguese East Africa. One knows the continuing and increasing influence of the Chinese penetration of Eastern Africa. It is a theme which I developed in your Lordships' House on a previous occasion, and I will not do so again. All I would say is that I do not believe it is enough in circumstances like these to leave a set of proposals which have no chance of success on the table for a period of reflection. This is a particular point in time when a new initiative is due from Her Majesty's Government and should be taken without delay.

3.7 p.m.


My Lords, I find it somewhat difficult to follow my noble friend Lord Alport, for he has made a speech which I did not think he would make. But may I say that it seemed to me that what the noble Lord was trying to convey to your Lordships was that the proposals which remain on the table are not really acceptable to the Africans. We know that at the moment they have rejected them, but he overlooked the fact that over the last six years there have been talks about talks. There have been meetings on the "Fearless" and the "Tiger", and the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, has carried out extensive negotiations of a secret nature with the Smith Government. He came back here and reported very fully, in the debates which we had on the Pearce Commission proposals, on the result of those talks. Incidentally, I do not think that the noble Lord. Lord Alport, took part in that debate.

My Lords, there are, I am afraid, other reasons why I cannot entirely go along with my noble friend in the speech he has just made, much as I respect his great experience in Rhodesia and Nyasaland. I believe that he was there as High Commissioner from 1961 to 1963. As I see it, this is not November and something may well happen in Rhodesia between now and that month. It will then be—in November—the duty of Her Majesty's Government to state the reasons whether they consider it necessary to continue with sanctions in the absence of any agreement which might eventuate in the period up to November. I, for one, shall listen very carefully to what Her Majesty's Government say in November, and shall then vote according to my conscience.

I have always disliked sanctions, but at the same time I have always said that I did not know what any self-respecting Government could have done in 1966, in a dispute between Her Majesty's Government and the Rhodesian Government at that time, but impose sanctions. Those are the facts, my Lords. It is not for me, as I see it, to go into the merits of that dispute, but I think I know enough to appreciate that in 1966 when sanctions were imposed, no Government at Westminster, of whatever complexion, could have washed their hands of the whole business. If they had done so, I am quite sure they would have lost all credibility anywhere in the world.

Dealing with the morality of the case, I dislike sanctions, and I would agree with noble Lords that it seems futile to continue with sanctions when others break them. It seems futile for this country to go it alone—


My Lords, may I interrupt my noble friend for a moment? I did not say that I regarded it as futile to continue with sanctions when others broke them. What I said was that I thought sanctions should be made discriminating between those who support, broadly speaking, the illegal regime and those who are opposed to it, and particularly between the European and African.


My Lords, in answer to my noble friend, I was not quoting him; I was quoting the opinions of other noble Lords, who have spoken in previous debates, on the futility of sanctions. I was not necessarily referring to what my noble friend said just now. My Lords, I dislike sanctions and I agree with my noble friend that it seems futile for us to continue with them when others break them. It seems futile for this country to go it alone. Sanctions were supposed to be effective "in a matter of weeks": we have had them for six years. It has cost this country in lost trade something in the region of £48 million which we can ill afford. Sanctions have hit the African in Rhodesia harder than they have hit the White Rhodesians. The Africans for whom we have, or ought to have, responsibilities continue to be hit. The Rhodesian African continues to find it increasingly difficult to find employment in Rhodesia. We have to face all this. Are we not near the position at present when this policy is almost virtually at an end?

As regards the morality of our actions, can any one country point a finger at us about international morality when they have honoured sanctions in the breach? There may be some noble Lords who feel that, unless some agreement between Her Majesty's Government and the parties in Rhodesia is reached by November, sanctions must continue. I can conceive that the Government view—although I obviously do not know what the Government's view may be—that to drop sanctions would offend members of the Commonwealth. In that event it seems to me that it would probably be in order for my right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary to go to the United Nations and say that we have played our part for six years, that we have virtually imposed sanctions alone, and ask why we should continue.

In spite of the vehement speeches made on occasion by leaders of the coloured Commonwealth, sometimes in racial tones, we hear very much less of this of late. I suggest that the heady effects of independence are passing and giving way to an awareness of the heavy responsibilities of independence in the running of one's own Government. I do not think therefore, for the reasons I have given, that the Commonwealth would necessarily condemn us universally if sanctions were withdrawn. In the final analysis this is a matter which will have to be settled between White Rhodesians and African Rhodesian, in Rhodesia. Failure is far too awful to contemplate.

My Lords, I hope that in the speeches that follow that no hard words about Mr. Smith and his de facto Government will fall from the lips of noble Lords, for I have this to say to Mr. Smith—and I quote from a paragraph in Lord Goodman's speech in the debate on the Pearce Commission's Report [OFFICIAL REPORT, 21/6/72, col. 267]. Referring to Mr. Smith, Lord Goodman said this: First of all, it is great nonsense to say that he will"— referring to Mr. Smith— achieve nothing by talking to the Africans, because all they want is a change of the terms. He would achieve miracles by talking to the Africans if he merely discussed the terms with them. No great revision of these terms would be necessary to achieve a settlement with a large number of moderate Africans, and the noble and learned Lord Lord Gardiner, has rightly put his finger on a change of attitude on the part of Africans that has appeared over recent months and in the last year or so. It would not be necessary for Mr. Smith to revolutionise these proposals in order to secure more than a modicum of acceptance by the Africans throughout the country. What he would have to do is to show that he rated them as human beings; that he, too, regarded them as worthy of the self-respect of which, by the answer they have now given, they show they regard themselves as worthy". In conclusion, it is my hope that before November Mr. Smith will act on this proposal. If he does, and if this unhappy business is settled—and there is nobody else at present in Rhodesia who can do it but Mr. Smith—then I think countless millions of people everywhere would show their gratitude at what had been achieved.

3.17 p.m.


My Lords, I like to maintain the courtesies of this House. Therefore, may I just say to the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, that I have listened to his speech with, I think, understanding, and if I do not immediately make reference to it it is only because later on I hope to do so. I have looked forward to this debate with a strange eagerness. I have done so because I have wanted to hear what the noble Lord, Lord Alport, would say. He has almost unique experience of Rhodesia. I remember one occasion after he had served there when he went to examine whether there was a possibility of a settlement, and he came back with proposals. On that occasion I did not think that those proposals went far enough, but I was very careful indeed in the speech which I made not to seek to spoil them because, all through these tragic years in Rhodesia, I have been much more concerned to bring about a settlement than to be engaged in controversy on one side or another. I have not been disappointed by the speech which the noble Lord has made. I might almost say that he has now reached a stage where he is more pro-African than I am. In view of the kind of conflicts which we had in another place, that is a quite extraordinary development.

I hate the idea of just saying, "I told you so"; but I should like the Minister in approaching this problem, to remember the speeches which were delivered in this House when first the proposals for a settlement were made. Some of us then warned the Government that those proposals would never be acceptable to the African people, and we then warned the Government that they would find, at the end of any fair estimate of the opinion of the people of Rhodesia as a whole, that those terms would be rejected. My Lords, that has happened. I want very strongly to support the view of the noble Lord, Lord Alport, that it is now a mistake to think that we are in a situation of pause and calm in which we can reflect over months. Anyone who is in contact with the situation in Rhodesia knows that there is not now that situation of pause and of calm. One knows that instead, unless action is taken, the extremes in Rhodesia will become emphasised. You now have on the African side, in the African National Council, a moderate and a constructive and conciliatory leadership. Let nothing be done in response and that leadership will become more extreme. You have on the European side the inevitable reaction to the rejection of the settlement proposals, the more extreme elements on the Rhodesian Front becoming more assertive and demanding. Let this period of pause and inaction go on and you will have the extremes on both sides in Rhodesia becoming stronger.

My Lords, let us just look at what has happened in Rhodesia since the settlement terms were rejected. There has been this appalling tragedy at Tangwena about which the noble Baroness spoke at Question Time. This is the quite incredible situation where for centuries African people who have been at home in their areas are flying out because the area is declared to be white territory.

There is this isolation of the children from their parents, from the comfort and happiness and care which were given to them on the farms and the Government stepping in and taking them away to what they call ironically a "welfare institution". This is the kind of outrage which, if it had been committed by a Hitler or a Stalin, the Whole House would have condemned.

Let me just say that the warning which the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, gave about hoping that nothing would be said against Mr. Smith did not apply to me. I do not believe in these attacks on individuals; it is policy which is the important thing. But let me say that the action of the Administration in Rhodesia in seeking to use the Chiefs, who are their salaried officials, in order to break down African opposition among the tribes and sabotage the views of the opposition of the African population about the Pearce Commission, is another indication of the worse situation that there is in Rhodesia now. Then there is the decision of the Administration in Rhodesia that the African National Council shall not be allowed to hold any meetings in the tribal area.

There is the threat to the leaders of the African National Council, and the fact that some of them have had to flee for safety outside Rhodesia. There is the continued house arrest of the ex-Prime Minister of Rhodesia, Mr. Garfield Todd —and one is glad to have welcomed his daughter here. But there is not just that. There is the fact that (what is it?) for eight years now the leaders of the African movements have been kept in detention. I remember speaking with Joshua Nkomo ten years ago in London, and I suggested that within five years he would be Prime Minister of Rhodesia. He objected; he said he would be Prime Minister in one year—and he has been eight years in detention. These are scandals which a democratic country like ours ought not to tolerate for one moment.

My Lords, the Question is about sanctions. Let me again say that I hate the whole method of the penalties which are being imposed, and I hate the method of sanctions. But in the circumstances of the last years—and now—what could possibly have been done when you had in Rhodesia a Government which defied British influence, declared its independence and became a rebel Government? What else could you do? The noble Lord, Lord Gridley—and it is here that I am able to make a reference to his speech which I think anyone should make when following another speaker—said there was a danger of our becoming isolated. There was that danger just a few weeks ago. I think the tendency now is in the opposite direction.

We have had a meeting of the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee. That meeting, representing all the countries of the Commonwealth, quite unanimously declared in favour of much stronger sanctions. They made four proposals. These included the proposal that any Governments or any industrial companies which broke sanctions should suffer penalties. It was only by the influence of the British representative on that Committee that those proposals were not sent immediately to the United Nations under the British influence it was agreed that they should be referred to the separate Governments for consideration. I am going to ask the noble Baroness when she replies to say—I put this as a Question earlier on and she indicated that a reply would be available later—whether Her Majesty's Government have now come to conclusions about the decisions which were reached by the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee. Every country in the Commonwealth is now in favour of much stronger sanctions than have been pursued before.

But there is not merely that, my Lords. Last week there was a meeting of the Security Council. This is a report which appeared in The Times on July 29: The United Nations Security Council called today on all states with economic and other relations with Rhodesia to end such relations immediately'. It demanded that all member states should scrupulously carry out their obligations to enforce economic sanctions against Rhodesia. All the members voted for today's resolution except the United States. Therefore the tendency now is not what it was a few weeks ago: that this country can become isolated. The tendency now is in the other direction, in favour of stronger measures.

I was most interested in the noble Lord's suggestion that there should be some discrimination about sanctions. I should like to think that it was possible. I doubt very much whether 80 per cent. of the tobacco industry is under the control of Africans. I think that 80 per cent. or more is produced by the Africans; but I doubt very much whether 80 per cent. of the control of that industry is not in the hands of great plantations which are European-owned and European-dominated. I find it extraordinarily difficult, and I should like to explore the idea, to see how you could apply sanctions to Rhodesia and discriminate on the basis of production between Europeans and Africans. I think that on education the noble Lord made a practical point. I should like to support him in urging on the Government that, despite the fact that the settlement has been rejected, the British Government should maintain their offer to make a substantial contribution towards the education of Africans in Rhodesia. I think that would be a practical point.

I want to end on a constructive note, because we are all wrong if we are thinking only in terms of penalties. I suggest that if any settlement of the problem is to be found, it must be found not just in an exchange of views between our Government and the Smith Administration. If we accept the Fifth Principle, that the whole people must support any settlement, the logic is that the whole people should be consulted in making that settlement. That is logical. At present, we have in the leadership of the African National Council in Rhodesia moderation and construction. I wonder how many Members of this House read the quite extraordinary report of the speech which Bishop Muzorewa, the head of the African National Council, made in the European area. This was a meeting which was quite extraordinary for Rhodesia. It was attended by 900 people, the majority of whom were Europeans. They gave emphatic support to the views which the Bishop expressed. May I just read a little of that report: Bishop Muzorewa said a high percentage of Rhodesians were Christians, and among Africans there was ' a deep aversion to violence … and a desire to solve differences, no matter how great, through consultation rather than by bloodshed'. There were virtually no tribal conflicts in Rhodesia, and the whites were not mainly settlers, but citizens by birth or otherwise'. He continued: 'No sane, responsible leader would want to expel its citizens. Democratic rule will also provide for the protection of the minority and their property'. That is the spirit in which we shall find a solution and a settlement of this Rhodesian problem.

I appeal to Her Majesty's Government to recognise that the settlement proposals are now absolutely obsolete. There is not the least hope that you can go back to them and get agreement upon them. You must now look forward, and if you are looking forward you must bring representatives of the African as well as of the Administration into consultation. This proposal of a constitutional conference, which will represent the Europeans, the African and the British Government, to work out a settlement of this problem is now the only constructive solution. I beg Her Majesty's Government not just to put it into the background but to recognise that unless they proceed with this constructive idea the situation in Rhodesia will get worse, and the tragedy of actual racial conflict may occur if we are inactive.

3.36 p.m.


My Lords, this debate has so far taken on a wider scope than the Unstarred Question would suggest. First, I want to comment on something which was said by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, about the unanimity of the Commonwealth in asking for the intensification of sanctions. He will remember that on July 13 he had down a Question asking what was to be done to tighten up sanctions, and I asked a supplementary question of the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, who was replying for the Government, I asked: Can my noble friend tell the House which members of the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee have themselves been trading with Rhodesia?".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 13/7/72; col. 355.] The answer that I got was that the noble Marquess did not know. But he took note of my remarks. Later on, the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, asked this supplementary question: My Lords, may I ask the Minister this question? Is it not true that in some cases where members of the Commonwealth break sanctions it is because they have to do so in order to live at all?"—[col. 355.] My Lords, the inference of that is that sanctions are being broken by the very people who are asking for them to be extended. All this sanctions business is surrounded by such an atmosphere of humbug and hypocrisy that it is almost unbelievable.


My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord? It is quite clear to what my noble friend Lady Gaitskell was referring. She was not referring to the Commonwealth at large which, as everyone knows, is in favour of keeping sanctions. My noble friend was referring simply to Zambia, and it would be quite impossible for Zambia to live without using Rhodesian electricity and importing some food. That was allowed by the Sanctions Committee of the United Nations.


My Lords, I can only quote what the noble Baroness said. She said: Is it not true that in some cases… not "in a case". She said "in some cases", and from that I assume that she was referring to more than one country.


Two cases in one country, my Lords.


Anyway, my Lords, as I was saying, the working of sanctions is surrounded by a fog of humbug and hypocrisy. To ask for them to be intensified is simply to ask for the fog to be made worse. I must say that I never thought I should hear my noble friend Lord Alport actually ask for the reduction of sanctions. I thought he was going to ask for them to be strengthened, and I must say that I was almost flabbergasted when I heard him suggest that sanctions should be reduced. That is in fact what he has asked for. One has not had time to think very deeply on his proposal when he asks for sanctions to be made discriminatory. My first reaction to that is that, in view of the way in which sanctions have operated so far, it would seem absolutely impossible to make them discriminatory. One would get into a worse mix-up than one is in at present.

Let us take a look at what is happening. The sanctions have been breached in many directions. The original reason for their introduction, which is never quoted now, is the reason for keeping them on. Every other reason is given. For instance, take the Beira Patrol. It is said that if that is taken off we shall let the Russians in. It is no longer being imposed to keep out oil: everybody knows that it is not doing so. When the Secretary of State visited Salisbury I suppose that his own aeroplane had to be refuelled with petrol brought in in defiance of sanctions. On one hand the Beira Patrol is being maintained, and on the other hand petrol which is known to have been brought in against sanctions is being accepted. That is one absurd thing.

Then there is the question of America and chrome. The American Administration wanted the chrome embargo put on again, but Congress would not have it; so America is openly evading sanctions. As we know, many countries actually in the Commonwealth are breaking the sanctions. With all that going on, to suppose that one could introduce a viable system of discriminatory sanctions is being, to put it mildly, altogether too optimistic. One suggestion which shows some thinking in the right direction from my point of view is that it is high time sanctions were reduced. I would go so far as to say that the time has arrived, with the mess that sanctions are in, when they should be removed altogether. It is not very honourable for Her Majesty's Government to be a party to maintaining a policy which is in ribbons in every other direction. I should like the noble Baroness, Lady Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, when she replies to this debate, to make it clear that after November—and of course the Government are committed to keeping sanctions till then; the Orders are there—the Government should not be committed to the present situation, first because of the new demands which have been introduced, and secondly because of the shambles which the sanctions policy is now in.

3.42 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to express my disagreement with those of my noble friends who have stated in the past their belief that the Fifth Principle of Sir Alec Douglas-Home's Five Principles should be scrapped and that the proposed settlement with Rhodesia should be implemented without the agreement of the African majority. The people who have expressed that view have not been very vocal in this debate but they certainly have been on previous occasions, and perhaps they will speak later. It is a fairly widespread view among noble Lords, and it needs correction.

Many of your Lordships will have seen a recent B.B.C. television series on the British Empire. Indeed those programmes were the subject of a debate initiated in this House by my noble friend Lord Ferrier. Unlike the producer of the series, I do not believe that British colonial rule consisted only of beatings, executions and oppression in one form or another. On the contrary, when the time comes for a full and fair assessment of our colonial record I think we shall emerge with considerable credit. Not the least creditable of our achievements was that we sought, and were largely successful, to bring forward to independence all the subject peoples for whom we were responsible. In some cases it may be that independence was granted too soon and that the people were not ready for it; but I think this was forced upon us by the circumstances.

Leaving aside the rather special case of our North American colonies on the Eastern seaboard of the United States, there have been only two exceptions to our practice of granting independence to the majority in colonial territories. The first was South Africa; and there, after one of the most generous examples of peace that have ever been made between victor and vanquished, we handed over full power to the white minority. In due course our trust was betrayed, with consequences for the African and coloured inhabitants of that country of which we are all aware. There were terrible and humiliating consequences, and they are still with us to-day. The second exception is of course Rhodesia, where independence has been seized illegally by the white minority Government. It is probably unfair to attribute blame to the Liberal Government in 1910 which handed over power to the white minority in South Africa, because it was difficult then to foresee what would happen and it may be that no other course was open to them. But let us at least not make the same mistake again. Let us ensure that this time in the case of Rhodesia we do not hand over power to the minority.

I have not myself been a consistent supporter of Her Majesty's Government's Rhodesia policy and, notwitstanding the brilliant advocacy of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, I did not vote in favour of the settlement, because although it was superficially attractive there was no satisfactory guarantee that it would be honestly implemented by future Rhodesian Governments. I did not vote against the settlement because the Africans were given the right of veto. They have now exercised that right—wisely, in my opinion—and, equally wisely, the Government have accepted that the settlement cannot be implemented and have said that a pause is now necessary for reflection.

My noble friend Lord Alport said that the settlement proposals were still on the Table and that this was not sufficient; but I feel that the pause means, in effect, that there must be some movement by the white Rhodesians towards the views of the African majority and, as the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, said and as my noble friend Lord Alport also said, this must mean taking into consultation on future developments the African Nationalist leaders: otherwise you are not going to get any advance. In the meanwhile sanctions are continuing and I do not see what more can be expected of the Government in the present circum- stances. It is regrettable that we have not achieved a settlement; but it is surely better to have no settlement than to have one made on dishonourable terms, as would be the case if it were made without the consent of the Africans. That is why I personally regard the Fifth Principle as so vitally important and why I could not support the Government were the Fifth Principle to be jettisoned. I do not think for a moment that the Government are jettisoning it.

On the matter of sanctions, it seems to me that the Government cannot commit themselves at this stage. My noble friend Lord Alport suggested, if I understood him correctly, that sanctions should be strengthened. Perhaps he did not mean that they should be strengthened; he certainly suggested that they should be made discriminatory in order not to hurt those people who are trying to help. No doubt the noble Baroness will say whether she thinks this is possible. I share the view of the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, that in practice it would be very difficult to carry out that suggestion. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, also said that the Commonwealth countries were all in favour of the strengthening of sanctions. This is true. I am sure it is true that Zambia are breaking the sanctions only because they have no alternative. It is not only the Commonwealth countries who are affected and concerned in trading with Rhodesia. The United States, Japan, some of our E.F.T.A. partners and E.E.C. countries are also affected. We have to face the fact that if sufficient countries ignore sanctions—and I do not say that point has been reached, but it may be reached—sanctions could become a farce and we should have to review our position.

I believe that the general policy of Her Majesty's Government at the present time is correct; I hope that they will continue on these lines and I interpret the phrase "the settlement lying on the Table" as meaning that any movement will have to come from the white Rhodesian side, and in any future negotiations Bishop Muzorewa, and his African colleagues, will have to be taken into consultation.

3.53 p.m.


My Lords, I am afraid that I hold lax views on morality in politics in that I have always agreed with Lord Carteret who in the eighteenth century, when writing instructions to one of our Ambassadors, said: It shall be your duty to jumble out something that will be of interest to our country. National security and national welfare are always the two things which must come foremost in any discussion of foreign policy or international relations. These are essential. I sometimes dissent from my friends when they urge that this country should take a particularly strong line because they disapprove the conduct and policy of our allies or other countries with which we may not be closely connected. I dissent because invariably it is not possible for this country to dispose of its resources in pursuit of what one might call strictly moral aims. Sometimes one has to make distinctions and one has to make compromises.

For instance, although I think that the Vietnam War began in folly, and is continuing as an evil war involving the methods which are waged by our American allies, I have often dissented from those who think that our Government—whether the present or the previous Government—should have taken some special measures to indicate to our American allies how detestable they thought their policies were. It is much more our duty to act in those concerns in foreign affairs in which we personally can have some concrete influence. It is much more important that this country should devote its attentions to Northern Ireland than to Vietnam.

However, when it comes to the Rhodesian problem we have to recognise that, for better or worse, although we have little power in the matter, it is, at any rate for this decade, an issue in which we must take into account the moral problems. We have little power to do good—and perhaps I here dissent a little from what the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, said when he called for particular action to be taken by the Government to bring the Africans into consultation in Rhodesia. I do not see how we have the power to do this. But, having said that, let it be remembered that we have a special relationship with Rhodesia. We cannot avoid the fact that it was once a part of the Commonwealth and that the Rhodesians are still de jure subjects of the Crown.

Again, I disagree with African opinion which thought that the British had a duty to mount an armed force to overwhelm the Smith régime when it declared unilateral independence. I must say, as an old member of the Joint Planning and Intelligence Staff in the War Cabinet during the War, that I would have hesitated to advise any general to mount such an operation. I believe that had such an operation been mounted it would have ended in a situation such as that seen in the years from 1776 to 1778 in North America. Nevertheless, the fact that we do not have this power greatly to influence what goes on in Rhodesia does not to my mind at this moment absolve us from pursuing the policy which we have had to pursue since the Declaration of Independence by Mr. Smith.

The British Government nailed their colours to certain principles. It was not only the British Government of the time which did that; it was the Opposition which has become the British Government to-day. It would be regarded as a great betrayal of the principles we have stood for publicly if we now, at this moment, abolished sanctions. I share all the doubts which noble Lords have expressed about the validity of sanctions. I fully understand that the time may come when, from sheer weariness, from the sheer absurdity of the situation, with all other countries in the world trading with Rhodesia, we think it right to abandon our stand. But that time has certainly not yet come. It would be a great mistake if we fell out of step with other nations in the Commonwealth.

In this decade this issue has become something of a moral crusade among the younger members of our society. It is strongly felt to be one of the issues on which we can declare, at some cost to ourselves, our concern with the black populations in the world in their underdeveloped countries. This, it may be said, is mere sentimentalism. Yet there should be in each decade some issues which stir the sentiments not only of the young but of many civilised people. Surely the feeling that in the world to-day there is a horrible disadvantage attaching to countries in Africa—in fact, to black peoples all over the world—is a motivating force, one of the factors which stimulate and excite the imagination of many people to-day.

I think we should lose faith as a Government if at this moment we changed our stand. That is the only reason why I felt obliged to speak to-day. I think the suggestions made by the noble Lord, Lord Alport, about some way of modifying sanctions should be studied. I share the scepticism expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, that one can have, as it were, a two-tier sanctions policy, but nevertheless let it be studied. I am very glad to have heard the way in which the noble Lord, Lord Alport, with all his experience, opened this debate, and I should like to associate myself with another noble Lord, Lord Vernon, who I believe shares some of my own diffidence about speaking on this subject and whose remarks I took particularly to heart.

4.1 p.m.


My Lords, before saying what I wish to say, I should like to express my great admiration and respect for the noble Lord, Lord Alport. I say that now because what I am going to say does not entirely coincide with—in fact, it differs quite widely from—the aspect which he has painted. I rise to make a brief contribution to this debate, because I view with increasing distaste the policy of sanctions. The habit of preaching to other countries is certainly an easy exercise. Perhaps the world would be a better place if members of the United Nations decided to set a good example, instead of their present attitude of preaching. Charity is not the only virtue which should begin at home.

One cannot abolish the cultural immaturity of another race by their premature promotion to a dominant position. Ideally, the Government of a country should, as I see it, be the product of a system that is likely to place government in the hands of those competent to manage and use it wisely. The Rhodesians of European origin did not take another nation's country. They have spent generations in building a new country whose growth has attracted other settlers of African origin, with African standards of life and thought. Suddenly to pretend that they are all of equal status, differing only in colour, and that they can therefore be treated as one nation would mean, in short, the handing over of the present controlling minority to an immature majority with a totally different culture and outlook on life. One look at Africa teaches one that the prematurely independent countries in Africa are positive emblems of immaturity.

With those few general remarks I want now to come to this Question and to sanctions, with particular reference to the questions posed by the noble Lord, Lord Alport, and to recent statements in the Press that the Rhodesians of European origin seem to get an unsympathetic attitude from some of the Press. I gather from the Press that the British Government have joined with other members of the United Nations in urging the continuance, and still more the stiffening, of sanctions against Rhodesia. Surely we should reflect on what we are doing. Sanctions spell attempted economic murder. This is one of the aspects of war. May I ask whether the attempt to strangle a nation with an economic rope is any less ruthlessly uncivilised than strangling an individual with a rope of hemp? Furthermore, is not this policy senseless because it is unlikely to breed success? It will result in the poisoning of our future relationship with both races in a country whose friendship is of great importance to us geographically, industrially and in many other ways. It will even prejudice the livelihood of the coloured Africans whose welfare it professes to promote.

Do we so blatantly adhere to the time-honoured principle that the way to treat a dissenter is first to knock him down and then to lead him up to grace? Is not the scheme agreed between Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Mr. Smith the only visible and viable hope of gaining time—this is where I differ from the noble Lord, Lord Alport—for an ultimately amicable solution of a problem which inevitably defies any immediate final settlement? I am not blind to the immense difficulties of the Rhodesian situation, but I am sure that time and a continuously flexible approach is the only road to hope in solving a problem so intrinsically difficult. The dream that one can achieve peace and plenty through the medium of economic blackmail, in which we are engaged, can only end in a nightmare. Sanctions should be abandoned by the British Government at once. It was, and is, a totally unworthy policy. The position was summed up long ago by one of our greatest poets: 'Tis not in mortals to command success—But we'll do more, Sempronius, We'll deserve it.

4.10 p.m.


My Lords, I wish at the outset to thank the noble Lord, Lord Alport, for raising this Question. He was the High Commissioner when I was last in Rhodesia, which was at the time of my father's death. I am an Indian and I was naturalised in 1947. My mother and father are both buried in Salisbury, Rhodesia. I will not ask the noble Baroness to answer that conundrum. I simply state the facts.

My Lords, I shall intervene for only a very few moments. Unlike many of your Lordships I have not been to Rhodesia since the days of U.D.I. However, until my father died in Salisbury in 1962 I visited Rhodesia nearly every other year from 1950 for at least six weeks at a time. I was in Rhodesia during those years of the "Capricorn Africa" idea, the Central African Federation scheme. It was then that I got to know the Rhodesias and Nyasaland and their peoples very well—whether I was in Fort Victoria or Zimbabwe in the South or Kitwe up in the Copper Belt, which is now Zambia, Bulawayo or Chirundi Bridge which is the great bridge across the Zambesi and its great escarpment.

I must put forward the great case for the valuable efforts of the Europeans in that part of the world during those years. I was present when Kariba started and later when the Cofferdam was flooded and burst. I was there when the last brick was put on the dam, and I remember that last night when I was there with my wife and the cheerful Italians who built that great project. What a wonderful job they did! Later, I was in Kitwe, which is now Zambia, when the great electricity network of Union Miniére, which went down from Elizabethville on the Congo, was linked up straight through the Rhodesias and down to Johannesburg. Finally, my Lords, the great potential that was starting during those years from 1950 up to 1960 I sincerely hope is still going strong, and I hope for the day when sanctions will end.

4.12 p.m.


My Lords, I should like very much to support my noble friend who has just spoken. I have three points to make about sanctions. I am very much opposed to sanctions: first, on moral grounds; secondly, because the people in Rhodesia who are likely to be hurt most are the coloured people: and, thirdly, because I believe that you cannot sit on either side of an Iron Curtain or brick wall and get anywhere. One of the best ways to solve your problems and settle your differences is by the intercourse of trade.

4.14 p.m.


My Lords, regretfully I must start with an apology to your Lordships that, owing to an engagement which is unfortunately compelling, I must leave your Lordships' House at half-past four and this debate has come on rather later than I had reason to anticipate. I feel that perhaps too little attention has been paid to the basic legal justification for sanctions; namely, that, as I understand it, the United Nations Charter requires that the offending State shall have committed or intends to commit an act prejudicial to international security. The extension of that argument to U.D.I. strained the credulity of at least some of us and to-day it is even more difficult to believe as a justification. Most people—certainly I, for one—had no sympathy whatever with the action of Rhodesia in its U.D.I., nor do I attempt to justify it now. But, in so far as the general acceptance of the policy of mandatory sanctions by this country is concerned, I feel that its object was mainly penal in the hope of punishing Rhodesia for an act which we all deplore.

In the light of experience that objective has singularly failed. It has, admittedly to a small extent, affected the Rhodesian economy by a restriction of foreign resources. Its chief effect, however, has undoubtedly been to hurt the African through unemployment and a lowering of what I would say was the standard of growth of the economy of Rhodesia as a whole. My own experience of that country is now six or seven years out of date, but I think my noble friend Lord Alport would expect me, in view of what he knows of my previous association, to make some comment on the suggestion he made with regard to tobacco.

My Lords, this is an entirely novel suggestion. My first reaction was, I think, the one which was voiced by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway; namely, that this is terribly difficult in principle and, not only in principle, but in practice, too, because it envisages tagging the tobacco that would come on the auction market with not only the origin but also with what I would call the racial persuasion and the political affiliations of the grower who sent it. As the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, pointed out, the great majority of people interested in that crop, whether sold by Europeans or Africans, are the Africans themselves: it is the Africans themselves who are mainly responsible for growing it. Therefore I would not myself see any prospect of help to the general situation arising from such a suggestion.

As regards future general policy I feel that to continue sanctions simply by renewing them for another year could be capable of considerable misunderstanding, not only here but in Rhodesia itself. I strongly believe that the proposals, which were not, unfortunately, accepted, would have worked to the great benefit of the country as a whole, but undoubtedly to the benefit of the Africans in Rhodesia. While it may well be that the noble Baroness who will reply will refer again to the necessity for time for reflection—the Foreign Secretary referred to this and I believe the noble Baroness also referred to it in your Lordships' House on a previous occasion—and granted that time for reflection is required (a time that goes beyond November) I would put in a plea for consideration that the terms of the extension of that time, if such be necessary, be on what I might call a temporary basis and definitely not an undertaking to maintain sanctions for another full year, which I would seriously regret.

4.19 p.m.


My Lords, I apologise for not putting my name down to speak in this debate but I have been sitting as an arbitrator to-day and I had not anticipated I would be able to be in your Lordships' House. I have on a number of occasions expressed my views about Rhodesia and I have no intention of repeating them to-day. I want first to thank the noble Lord, Lord Alport, for having put the Question down so that noble Lords may see whether the Government have now a Rhodesian policy and, if so, what it is.

As to sanctions, while deeply respecting the sincerity of all those who have expressed opinions, I regard with some scepticism pleas by white people that we should give up sanctions in the interests of black people whom they are harming so much; I think the black people are the best judges of what is in their own interests. Secondly, I believe that sanctions, and sanctions alone, have brought Mr. Smith three times to the conference table and will do so again. In any case I could not myself regard with favour any suggestion that we should flagrantly disregard a unanimous Resolution of the Security Council.

I look forward to hearing—I hope we shall the views of my noble friend Lord Caradon, and those others whose names are on the list of speakers, and to hearing what the Government have to say, particularly as to the actions of our own representative on the Sanctions Committee.

4.21 p.m.


My Lords, when I came into your Lordships' House this morning I did not really intend to stay for this debate, but after I heard the Question put by the noble Lord, Lord Alport, I felt that I must express from these Benches, thinly occupied though they are on this Friday afternoon, how warmly I support what the noble Lord said and the way in which he put his Question. I have no doubt that the Smith/Douglas-Home proposals should not be lying on any table; they have been rejected and there is, as the noble Lord said, no chance that they are going to be accepted by the African population. There is no point in their lying on the Table. Of course we can go on considering and reflecting, whether they are on the Table or not.

The noble Lord, Lord Gridley, quoted what the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, said in his speech in this House and the advice he gave to Mr. Smith. All I would say is that if Mr. Smith had taken the noble Lord's advice then undoubtedly the position would be very different to-day. If he takes that advice between now and November the position will be different in November, but at the present time there seems to be no sign that he is going to do so. In those circumstances I was not quite sure what the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, was getting at.

As regards sanctions, I liked very much the suggestion made by the noble Lord, Lord Alport, that one might be able to introduce some kind of discrimination so that they would not hurt where we do not want them to hurt. But I am afraid I am in agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, that I do not feel that that is practicable. It would be interesting if the noble Baroness who is to reply were able to say that she thought something could be done in the context of making our contribution to African education—the contribution that was promised as part of the deal which is now not coming off. This would be a splendid thing. What I do not know is whether, if a contribution is made, there is any means of ensuring, once the funds have reached Rhodesia, that they will be used for that purpose. It might be that there will be some possibility there.

On sanctions generally I found myself completely in agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Annan. It seems to me that this is the only way in which we can make an international protest, whether it is effective or not, whether it hurts us, or whether it hurts someone else. We cannot go marching down the street with banners or go lobbying people: the only way we can make a protest is by taking this sort of action. Personally, I believe that the great majority of people feel that this is a case where a protest must be made and where it would be right to continue it. I shall quite understand, of course, if the noble Baroness says that November is early enough to decide what the next action is to be.

Finally, the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, suggested—and I found myself agreeing with him—that it is perhaps for Britain, as the father figure or perhaps I should say the mother figure in this issue, to initiate the next round of discussions. Of course, as the noble Lord, Lord Alport, said, this must be discussion at one and the same time with Mr. Smith and with the representatives of the Africans. The noble Lord, Lord Annan, said that we have no power to do that. He may well be right, but I wonder whether we could not put ourselves into the position of inviting Mr. Smith and the representatives of the Africans to come to London for a conference. If Mr. Smith says that the Africans cannot come because he will not let them out, that is the end of it; but we shall have done the best we can to get the conference with Mr. Smith and the African leaders. I rose only to assure the noble Lord, Lord Alport, of the support that we on these Benches feel for the attitude he has taken.


My Lords, my reason for suggesting that Mr. Smith might follow the proposals which lay on the table was that it seemed to me that these were proposals which had been achieved after about six years of work to try to get somebody to the table. Although the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, said they were not the best he would like, they had been accepted by the British Government and might have been the basis on which agreement could be established with the Africans, even if some modifications were required. It seems to me a complete negation of the situation not to do something about those proposals which lie there now.


I follow what the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, said. I think there has been a great deal of confusion here and it goes a long way back. Your Lordships' House, I think I am right in saying, approved the proposals by a substantial majority; but many of us who voted for the proposals voted for them because they included the clause that they had to be agreed by the Africans. Many of us believed that they would not be agreed by the Africans: because they gave the Africans the opportunity of agreeing we supported them! The Africans having rejected them, I regarded the proposals as dead, but no doubt the noble Lord will take note of what the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, said.

4.27 p.m.


My Lords, I apologise for not having put down my name to speak. I have only recently returned from Africa, where I find North of the Zambesi an almost universal view among the Africans I was able to consult in four separate countries. They have no doubts. As I have listened to this debate I have had three recollections in my mind. At one time I had the distinction of being a fellow member with the noble Baronesss who is to reply of the British delegation to the United Nations. At that time I resigned from my position because the Government of that day refused to accept the recommendation that African leaders should be brought into consultation. That was many years ago. My second recollection, when I was on the other side of the House, was coming back from New York to urge that the decision of this House to refuse to grant approval for the sanctions which had been agreed in New York should be reversed. I well remember coming back, and we achieved our purpose at that time. The third recollection I have is when I had the honour of presenting in the Security Council the resolution which secured the unanimous vote of the Council for mandatory sanctions against the illegal regime in Rhodesia.

I said then, and it was said by the previous Government, that the Government accepted primary responsibility for what took place in Rhodesia, a British Colony. We have claimed that responsibility. We have never sought to shake it from us. If we attempted to run away from that responsibility now, as we sometimes hear it suggested we should, then I believe we should rightly be condemned internationally by the whole range of countries represented at the United Nations. It is not for me, at this stage of the debate, to refer to the speeches made throughout the afternoon—it would be very wrong to try to do so, tempted though I may be—except to say, if I may, with very great respect, that I listened to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Alport, with admiration for his courage and his constructive approach. I think that his voice in this matter, both in Africa and elsewhere, carries very great weight, and I am glad to pay my tribute to the lead he gives us.

We come then to the question of British interests. Certainly we must consider the matter from the point of view of British interest, and we have two clear alternatives. The first alternative is the policy of mounting pressure on the white minority régimes of Southern Africa; mounting pressure—political, economic and other pressures—for what purpose? Mounting pressure in order to achieve the purpose of African consultation, of African participation, in the government of their own countries. We ask no more; nor do they. It is not for us to decide exactly the programmes and methods, but it is for us to require—and I believe we have an absolute right to require—that the great majorities, the African majorities South of the Zambesi, should be consulted about their own future and should be enabled to take a full part in the government of their own countries. That is all they ask and that is all we ask, and that is what the mounting pressure is for: to achieve African consultation, to achieve African participation.

The alternative—and we have had ample warning of it in this House this afternoon—is diminishing pressure. Does anyone imagine that the Government of South Africa or the illegal régime in Rhodesia will, in regard to Rhodesia or Namibia, or South Africa itself—or, for that matter, the Portuguese Government in regard to the Portuguese territories—reverse their policies if we remove the pressure? Do they imagine that kind words will lead to a change in their policies? I say this with absolute certainty: that if we remove the pressure, if we merely rely on their own good will, then we shall be perpetuating the cruel policies which are condemned—yes, condemned—on both sides of the House. Therefore, we have a clear choice, and I think we want a clear answer. I greatly hope that the noble Baroness, who has established in this House over a number of years, and particularly recently, such an outstanding reputation, will give us the answer that the policy of this Government is considered, is persistent, is consistent; that the policy of this Government is mounting pressure to achieve justice for the African populations South of the Zambesi.

4.33 p.m.


My Lords, I, too, must apologise for not having put my name down to speak in this debate, but I was not certain that I could be here. I shall not detain your Lordships for long. I should first of all like to direct attention to my noble friend's Question. My noble friend asks Her Majesty's Government … whether there has been any change in their intention to re-enact the Southern Rhodesian Orders … So far as I know, they have never expressed any intention to re-enact them in November. In another place, my right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary said that it was necessary to have a time for reflection, and that he believed that that time might extend beyond November. He said: … today we are keeping the status quo, and it could go on beyond November …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 15/6/72, col. 1763.] There was no undertaking that it would; no declaration of intention that it would. My right honourable friend Mr. Richard Wood, who wound up that debate for the Government in another place, said this: The question has been raised whether sanctions will be renewed in November when the present order lapses.… I see no reason or need to pronounce finally today on a matter which has no relevance until November ".—[col. 1869.] I hope very much that my noble friend the Minister of State will not feel obliged to go beyond what my right honourable friends said in the House of Commons.

It seems to me, listening to this debate, that there have been two illusions floating about in the air. One illusion is that Rhodesia is not an independent State but a State dependent upon us. Rhodesia is an independent State and the fact that we do not recognise its independence does not make it any less of an independent State; the fact that sanctions are being exerted against Rhodesia does not lessen its independence, any more than sanctions against Italy lessened Italian independence in 1935. That is one illusion, that Rhodesia is not an independent State. In fact, we have very little power to affect developments there, and such power as we have, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Annan indicated, is power for harm rather than power for good.

The other illusion is that sanctions are not stiff enough. The problem is not that sanctions are not stiff enough, but that they are not being observed. Are we really to suppose that the positive, dynamic and discriminatory sanctions suggested by my noble friend are more likely to be observed than the present ones? Surely, they are much less likely to be observed for it could be far more difficult to police them. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, whose sincerity in these matters we all respect, but whose policy has been conspicuous by its failure over the past nearly seven years, told us that three times sanctions have brought Mr. Smith to the negotiating table and that they would bring him a fourth time. I would quote against the noble and learned Lord the opinion of another noble and learned Lord, the present Lord Chancellor, who said only a few months ago: All the evidence seems to show that as each successive set of negotiations has taken place they have successively disclosed a less favourable negotiating position. That, my Lords, is a less favourable position for us. I can see no reason why, even if the continuation of sanctions brings Mr. Smith to the negotiating table again, that process will not continue. It will again be a case of the Sybilline Books, and we shall not get as much then as we shall have had now.

When I listened to the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, I could not help wondering whether sometimes in the still watches of the night he ever wondered about the morality of the United Nations' action in these matters. He is well aware that the late Dean Acheson, a great friend of this country, a great friend of international action and one of the founders of the United Nations, described the mandatory sanctions as "bare-faced aggression". I must say that when we hear the United Nations saying that Rhodesia was a threat to world peace, I can think of only one parallel and that is an exact parallel—when Herr Hitler said that Dr. Benes and Jan Masaryk were a threat to world peace in 1938.

The noble Baroness who is to reply and who, I have no doubt, will do so with her usual charm and intellectual distinction, took me to task in our last debate. She semed to think that I wish to appease Mr. Smith. I would ask her this question. In what sense can a country with a population of 50 million and more, with great industrial power, and still with some considerable military force, be said to appease a population of a quarter of a million whites in Rhodesia? The question of appeasement does not arise there. But what we have been doing is appeasing the Afro-Asian lobby in the United Nations; appeasing members of the Commonwealth who do not seem to wish us particularly well but who are still incapable of doing us any particular harm. There is where the charge of appeasement lies and I hope that the noble Baroness will say a word about that.

My Lords, I have great sympathy with my noble friend Lord Vernon. As he knows, I did not agree with what he said about the Fifth Principle. I think that the Fifth Principle is inoperative, but I do not think that in the light of everything that has been said we can conceivably accept the present settlement as conditions are to-day, or in any foreseeable future. I think that would be completely wrong. I agree with a great deal that the noble Lord, Lord Annan, said about morality in politics. I agree with him also, in spite of his view that politics was not the field for the display of moral gestures, that we have a special obligation to the peoples of Rhodesia which is and which must be recognised as a moral obligation. One of the worst aspects, as it seems to me, of continuing the campaign of sanctions is that, knowing we are powerless and that we cannot influence events in Rhodesia by continuing sanctions, we give the Africans the entirely deceptive delusion that somehow we are going to make things better for them through sanctions when I think that most of us know that we are not.

My Lords, there is just one more thing that I want to say and I thank your Lordships for your patience at this hour. I will quote from a greater authority than I.

If sanctions succeed in bringing about a change of political orientation in Rhodesia, the way to a settlement, an honourable and generous settlement, is possible between the two countries.… If, however, sanctions were to fail as a result of the demonstrable failure of other countries, members of the United Nations, to fulfil their obligations, it would still be possible to reach a settlement. We should be able to go to the United States and say that, although we have carried out our undertaking under the United Nations Resolution in the letter and in the spirit, others had failed to do so. We could present them with the evidence of this failure. We should then be justified, among reasonable people, in feeling ourselves free to negotiate in those circumstances the best possible settlement of this dispute."—[OFFICIAL REPORT 18/6/1968; c. 554–5.] I do not know to what extent my noble friend Lord Alport has changed his views in the last four years, but that seems to me to be the wisest thing I have ever heard him say on the Rhodesian problem.

I would ask the Government to consider seriously whether the time has not come when those conditions adumbrated by my noble friend four years ago have in fact been realised, and whether it would not be more honourable and for the betterment of Rhodesians of all colours and shades, as well as for our reputation, to approach the United Nations and say, as the noble Lord suggested, "We have done our best and we can do no more." That would be honourable and intelligible. It would cause a lot of anger, but we should have to face the music. In any case, we shall have to face it one day. I suggest that the sooner we face it, the happier place Rhodesia and Southern Africa will be.


My Lords, perhaps the noble Lord who has just spoken will allow me to say that I do not in any way detract from the views which I expressed on that occasion. The difference of opinion between him and me is that sanctions have failed. Certainly they have not succeeded in doing what they were originally intended to do, but no one should underestimate the impact they have made, and are making, on Rhodesia.

4.47 p.m.


My Lords, perhaps I should reply first to the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, and tell him that I am against appeasement of evil in whatever size, shape or form it appears. For that matter, when the whole of the Western world and a good deal of the rest of the world were appeasing Hitler he was numerically far below the forces which eventually overcome him. I do not think that numbers have anything to do with the matter. The question is one of principle, and the principle of sanctions Governments of both Parties have thought to be the right thing in this quite horrible problem. Of course the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, can take care of himself only too well; but the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, as to whether the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, slept easily at night when he thought about sanctions was adequately summed up in your Lordships' House when we last voted on the views put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, when he was defeated so conspicuously.

I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Alport, for giving us the opportunity to have this very fascinating debate. It is extraordinary that at this hour on a Friday, after a peculiarly hard week, there should be so many of your Lordships still here and, all out of place and so on, getting up to speak. I am delighted that the noble Lord, Lord Alport, succeeded in astonishing everybody, especially perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Grimston of Westbury. I should like particularly to endorse what he said about Bishop Muzorewa. There is no question but that he is a most formidable man of great moderation, of Gandhian views on anti-violence; and there is no doubt at all that we must encourage him in every possible way. We must encourage the Rhodesians themselves to have talks with a man of such stature and moderation. I am particularly glad that my noble friend Lord Brockway mentioned that really remarkable meeting with the Europeans in Salisbury. It had never happened before. There were 900 Europeans inside the hall and hundreds outside because they could not get in. I know that the noble Baroness, Lady Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, who is to reply to this debate, will agree that we must do everything in our power to urge the Smith régime to have talks with this man.

The noble Lord, Lord Alport, will not expect me to endorse his remarks about Mr. Joshua Nkomo and, by implication, the other nationalist leaders, such as the Reverend Mr. Ndabaningdhi Sithole. If the Smith regime gets more extreme, there is no question but that Mr. Smith himself may probably have to go; and if they get even more extreme then one does not know whether a moderate like the Bishop can keep the power and influence which he has undoubtedly at the moment with the African people.

The suggestions of the noble Lord about sanctions were extraordinarily interesting. He is absolutely right when he says that the rain falls on the just and the unjust, and I wondered whether he remembered a poem of my youth which ran like this— The rain it raineth on the just And also on the unjust fella. It raineth more upon the just Because the unjust has the just's umbrella. I think in this case, although I could not resist quoting the poem, it is not really apposite, because the unjust are the whites and there is no doubt at all that sanctions are hurting the Europeans more than the Africans. That is one of the reasons why, fascinating though his suggestion was, I do not think there is much hope of its succeeding. For instance, I cannot imagine the Government allowing the very, very scarce railway rollingstock (which we know to be in dreadfully short supply) to be used specifically to take the African tobacco to the ports for export, or giving them special drying facilities, and so on. I just cannot see that happening.

When so many noble Lords have said that sanctions are not succeeding, I find it very difficult to understand how they can close their eyes to their success. Of course we know that businessmen all over the world have been trying to erode them. The Gnomes of Zurich, who charge tremendous rates, have done the same and even the United States Government to their eternal shame, have broken the chrome sanction. But there is no doubt that Smith's economy is in desperate straits, as the noble Lord, Lord Alport, has lust said. We will not go over all the arguments again, but what really matters is that the keeping on of sanctions has prevented Mr. Smith getting one of the main things he wants, which is white immigration.

Let no-one on the other side of the House think that we on these Benches feel any sense of glory or triumph about the imposition of sanctions. Rhodesia is a most lovely country, and it is an absolute tragedy that the situation should be as it is. There was an article in the Rhodesian Herald the other day which said that the young people are trying to leave the country; that they can see no future for themselves, no future jobs; they see no culture and they see no political future. This is because it is a country which is trying to turn the clock back and to exist on social, political and economic injustice. As the noble Lord, Lord Annan, said, these are the very things in which the young take tremendous and, indeed, overwhelming interest. It is a tragedy that the situation should be as it is. But the curious thing is—and here I would certainly disagree with the noble Lord, Lord Alport—that there are quite a few benefits coming to the Africans out of the sanctions policy. For instance, because the Rhodesians cannot import consumer goods they are having to start industries of their own. This has led to a quite remarkable increase in the employment of semi-skilled Africans. Because white immigration is not materialising, Rhodesia has been forced to employ Africans where that would never have been dreamed of before. Four or five years ago when I was last there, it would have been quite unthinkable to have an African teller in a bank or to have an African behind the counter in a post office, dealing with blacks and whites equally at the same guichets. Friends from Rhodesia tell me that this is what is now happening; this is because of the sanctions that have been kept on and because of the economic situation which has followed. There are even more subtle effects. Since they cannot export these consumer goods, for the first time they are welcoming the Africans as customers.

For those who do not know Rhodesia it will seem unbelievable that when I was last there, which as I have said was about five years ago, on one occasion I went shopping with a very senior nursing sister. She was a night superintendent in the largest hospital in Harari and had hundreds of lives for which she was responsible every day of her life. She and I went to a shop, but she had to wait outside because she was black. This sort of thing is now changing because of the economic situation and because of the pressure which Rhodesia has felt from the outside. Nobody likes to feel isolated in the way that they do. There is no question that sanctions have made an enormous difference in this way. As my noble and learned friend Lord Gardiner said, one always is suspicious when the white people call for sanctions to be lifted because they are hurting the African people. Africans have not asked us to lift the sanctions. On the contrary, it is the Africans in Rhodesia as well as—as my noble friend Lord Caradon pointed out—Africans outside Rhodesia who have urged us to retain sanctions.

The noble Lord, Lord Gridley, asked, "Why should be go it alone?" My Lords, we have done so before, but on that occasion we had the whole Commonwealth behind us. If we lifted sanctions on this occasion we should have the Commonwealth not behind us but against us. I am quite clear in my mind that the Government know this as well as we do. I have great faith, unlike what the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, said, that when the noble Baroness comes to reply she will fulfil what the Government have so far promised to do. In our last debate they accepted our Amendment, they accepted the point to make sanctions more effective in order to create an atmosphere for constructive discussion in Rhodesia. The noble and learned Lord who sits upon the Woolsack said, referring to sanctions: … they have been imposed by a vote of the Security Council, under Chapter VII of the Charter. What would be the effect of our unilaterally removing them? Certainly it would be serious, both in its repercussions on the future of the United Nations Organisation and upon our own interests. I earnestly say to my noble friends that, whatever may be the value of such a course, it is not one that we should embark upon."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26/6/72, col. 360.] I lay great faith in the words of the noble and learned Lord and of the noble Baroness opposite.

The noble Lord, Lord Gridley, said that nobody should say anything against Mr. Smith and his régime; but it is very difficult not to mention one or two things. I will not go into this aspect in any detail. My noble friend Lord Brockway referred further to the peoples of Tangwena, and we were discussing this subject this morning. I know how difficult it is to discuss this matter by question and answer, and I know how difficult it is for the noble Baroness to obtain information. I should like to assure her that, quite apart from the unbelievable cruelty of taking these children away from their mothers, these children have already been deprived. They have already lost their fathers; they had to watch their homes being burnt and see the cattle taken away and the crops burnt. Their own school was destroyed by the Government of Rhodesia. These children were taken from the sanctuary of legal guardianship at Nyafaru with some of their mothers and relatives, to what I now find is described as an encampment outside Salisbury. The Government of Rhodesia, and the Smith régime, say, "Come and fetch your children". This involves 200 miles of travelling for these poor tribesmen, and they know perfectly well that if they do go to fetch their children they will be arrested.

My Lords, these children are being treated as hostages. It is very difficult to forgive something of that kind. And, of course, the Tangwena are not the only people forced to move; hundreds of thousands of Africans have been uprooted. I can give your Lordships so many examples: the Weya Reserve, the Mutema Reserve, the Mutambara Reserve—one could go on for ever. I will not do that, but the Tangwena are not atypical. They are just an example of why sanctions must be retained, so that the Africans do not lose their faith in us. They still look to us; and so does the world.

I should like to ask the noble Baroness whether any progress has been made (I asked her last time we spoke about this subject) in discussions with our colleagues at the United Nations on strengthening sanctions in the ways we suggested—perhaps by inspectors at ports or a permanent secretariat or something of that kind. I am quite sure that this Government will keep their word about retaining sanctions. Unfortunately, the speeches which noble Lords opposite make, calling for the removal of sanctions, echo around the world. The Press of the world nobly supports those who call for economic measures which will benefit big business, the international combines, and all the rest. Those of us who call for responsibility and morality are considered more boring. Perhaps we are though mynoble friend Lord Annan is never boring. But those will be the people who are reported. We have a great prestige throughout the world, because of the success of the Pearce Commission and the way its work was carried out. As a result, we are trusted in a way in which we had not been trusted before. We must not throw away this trust that we now have. People in the Commonwealth, people in the Third World and people in Europe, at this moment particularly, must still believe that Britain honours her obligations; that Britain stands by the United Nations, and that we still deeply care for the people who are in our trust.

5.2 p.m.


My Lords, I also should like to congratulate my noble friend Lord Alport on having raised a debate on a Friday afternoon in which he has had no fewer than 16 speakers. He is much to be congratulated. But of course he was raising what the noble Baroness described as "this quite horrible problem"—the problem of Rhodesia, of sanctions, of how and when we are to obtain a settlement. When Lord Alport began his speech he said that time is not on our side. I must say I agree with him on that. He also asked: How long is this pause going to continue? It is only two months since we had the Report of the Pearce Commission and, as my right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary said in another place on June 15, sanctions will be continued while we allow time for further reflection in Rhodesia. He made it perfectly clear that the time required would involve renewal in November of Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965.

We do not rule out some further initiative coming from this country. But we think that at present the best hope lies through consultation, if possible, and discussion between all Rhodesians themselves. I say "all Rhodesians" because I prefer saying that to "all races in Rhodesia". This is the whole point of this period of reflection which must give enough time; and while that is taking place we must in this country keep the status quo, which includes the continuation of sanctions. I suggest to my noble friends who are unhappy about sanctions that surely the one thing we should not begrudge those who are striving for some kind of conciliation and compromise in Rhodesia is time.

The noble Lord, Lord Alport, said that the settlement proposals, while lying on the Table, were an obstacle and that they should be withdrawn, but I would put it to him that they could very well be the basis for consultation, which is what is beginning to happen now. Both the noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, and my noble friend spoke in particular about Bishop Muzorewa, who I understand has had a remarkable series of informal meetings with all the Rhodesians he has so far managed to contact. By doing that I think he is trying to strengthen moderate opinion throughout his country and to endeavour to explain what are the objects of the A.N.C.

My noble friend said that he was in favour of sanctions, but asked whether they could somehow be made more discriminating. This point was taken up by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, by my noble friend Lord Vernon, by the noble Lord, Lord Sinclair of Cleeve, and also by the noble Viscount, Lord Simon. They all, one after the other, thought that it would not really be possible to have this kind of discrimination, and that it would be very difficult to do. My noble friend Lord Gridley suggested that a lot might happen between August and November. That is perfectly true. We wish that a lot will happen, but at the moment we do not foresee that it will. He also expressed the view that sanctions are hitting the Africans harder than the Europeans, but, as the noble Baroness pointed out, while that may be true in some sense they have also brought certain benefits in that they have brought about greater employment through the creation of new industries.

My noble friend Lord Gridley said that the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs has said that if sanctions are shown to be, as one noble Lord has described them, a "farce"—and I think this was particularly mentioned by my noble friend Lord Coleraine—then we will go openly to Parliament and to the United Nations and explain why. In the meantime, I think it is worth pointing out that if we are to have any influence in a country where we really have very little power on the ground, as the noble Lord, Lord Annan, pointed out, then we have only one lever and that is sanctions. It is sanctions which have created great difficulties for Rhodesia from the point of view of investment.

None of us likes to see this happen to a people who, while many of them may now be second or third generation, were originally of British stock. But the fact remains that, however successful Rhodesia has been in getting around some of the trading sanctions, there is no doubt that the importance of London as an international money market, and the reluctance of entrepreneurs to risk their money in a country whose long-term future remains in doubt, have meant that the Rhodesians have found it extremely difficult to get foreign capital. It is really because of the acute balance-of-payments situation that the problem in Rhodesia has grown so much, and, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner rightly said, it is this perhaps more than anything else which brought Mr. Smith to the negotiating table.

Some noble Lords asked: if we are to have sanctions, can we not make them more effective? I was asked what was being done about this point. When the Security Council discussed this matter on July 28, the United Kingdom delegate, together with all the other delegates, voted in favour of a resolution; and our representative, Sir Colin Crowe, said that it was not enough for the Security Council to pass resolutions. What counted was for sanctions to be carried out; and not merely by this country, he said. He quoted the Statement by the Secretary of State in another place on June 9 about the evasion of sanctions and said that we would not wish to single out particular Governments for blame but that it was necessary to keep up the pressure on the Rhodesian régime by applying sanctions. In the United Nations Sanctions Committee we urged that the recommendations of that Committee should be sent to all member Governments for careful study. This was accepted by all concerned, and this in fact is what is happening.

Several noble Lords—notably my noble friend who opened the debate, the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, the noble Viscount, Lord Simon, and the noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies—spoke about the problem (or should I call it the opportunity?) of education. Under the settlement proposals we would have given a quite considerable sum to help with African education. But the fact remains that even under the sanctions legislation we can allow, for example, the transfer of funds to Rhodesia for the missionary societies for their schools there. In the 12 months ended June, 1972, £122,000 has been sent for capital projects, and £54,500 for running expenses in the schools they control. We ourselves contribute on a considerable scale to the Special Commonwealth Educational Programme for Rhodesian Asians, and those still living in Rhodesia are also eligible for the Fellowship Plan which provides for post-graduate studies in research. Britain is still the largest contributor to these Commonwealth programmes and has at a cost of £430,000 made 270 of the 400 awards granted since 1966.

Since our last debate on the Pearce Report, on June 21, there have been several calls to Her Majesty's Government to consider whether we could give any further assistance for Rhodesian African education and we are considering carefully and in detail how we could contribute something further, something which would be a humanitarian exception under the sanctions legislation. I am not in a position this afternoon to say exactly what this would be, except to say that I believe that we shall be able to do it despite the fact that we have returned to the status quo, including sanctions.

My noble friend Lord Vernon felt that the trouble with the settlement proposals was that there was no guarantee that they would be carried out. That is perfectly true. There can never be any guarantee in any country, but the fact remains—I said this in our last debate—that a hopeful sign in the Pearce Report was that, on the one hand, as far as one could understand it, those who expressed a view among the Africans were not asking for immediate majority rule now while, on the other, the Rhodesian authorities were accepting that there should be majority rule, even if the timescale was subject to different interpretation by different people. In that way, therefore, I think that maybe there is a possibility that moderate elements in Rhodesia might come together.

It was interesting to try to sum up how many noble Lords who had spoken were for and how many were against sanctions. Roughly speaking, there was a fair division between the two, and I think that those who spoke against sanctions really genuinely felt that they were not the way by which we could influence moderate opinion in Rhodesia. I think they felt that they might unite Rhodesians among themselves to overcome external pressure and that it might make for a better climate of opinion if sanctions were removed. But, my Lords, as we have so little power, I suggest that until there is a real movement within Rhodesia itself, among those who live there and those who will have to live there in the future, I do not think we can do anything but carry on with the situation as it is.

I should just like in ending to assure the House that we are very well aware of our responsibilities in this matter, even though at this moment we stress the need for action by Rhodesians themselves. We are still very much concerned that a solution should be found on the basis of the Five Principles and we watch very carefully and get a certain amount of news about developments in Salisbury and elsewhere, since the Pearce Report. There have been certain actions which we do not think are at all helpful towards moderate opinion, and we hope very much that these will be reconsidered. But there have also been real signs that there is a search for a settlement, and we hope and believe that everything which has been said in this House will be carefully studied, because, whether those who have spoken are for or against sanctions, we are united in this House in wanting to see an honourable end to this terrible problem within Rhodesia.

5.17 p.m.


My Lords. I deferred until this moment participating in this discussion, because I waited to see its course and, particularly, to listen to the noble Baroness. In this House, Unstarred Questions customarily deal with a cause or a subject and are not a straight Question. The words on the Order Paper suggested a straight Question which could equally well have been put down as a Starred Question. The noble Lord, Lord Alport, whose eloquence and clarity of expression we always so much enjoy—though we frequently disagree with his views—to-day took a line entirely different from what, as my noble friend Lord Grimston of Westbury said, could have been expected. The line which he took was so novel, arresting and suggestive that its effect was completely to destroy sanctions. It was the best reasoning we have had in this House for discontinuing sanctions. I have consistently opposed sanctions over these several years. I will make no attempt to repeat what I have said on those occasions, but I want to associate myself entirely with what was said by my noble friend Lord Coleraine.

Coming to the noble Baroness's speech, which I particularly wished to hear, she had a very difficult case. The expressions of opinion in the House have been such as to make her course a difficult one, particularly in view of the fact that her words as a Minister will be closely followed, but I am more encouraged than I was disappointed. To begin with I felt disappointment, but the puzzle is, how long is the period of reflection to be? The noble Lord, Lord Alport, particularly stressed that point. How long is it to be? The Minister says it is to be long enough to enable all shades of opinion in Africa to get together. That may be years. I believe that there is a strong swing of opinion of Members of your Lordships' House against sanctions; it is certainly overwhelming in the country, and so it is that we are puzzled and regret that the noble Baroness was not able to say something of encouragement that sanctions might come off before the date in November which has been mentioned.

Well, my Lords, the actual position in Rhodesia is that very good settlement terms were offered to the country after sincere, delicate and painstaking negotiations between the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister of Rhodesia. It is regrettable. The noble Lord, Lord Goodman, recommended that the terms should be accepted. He recommended them strongly. Surely they would have benefited the Africans in Rhodesia very much now. But how can they? Of course the Pearce inquiry made a return on, I think, 6 per cent. of the population: 6 per cent—what a derisory amount! My Lords, should we be expected to make a settlement in Northern Ireland based on 6 per cent. of the population—humbug! nonsense! We should not. There are three and a half million Africans in the tribal trust lands. Go over the country; see them living in the kraals—how can you test that opinion? The situation is one which in that particular phase does not bear water.

In our discussion on the Pearce Report much play was made of the indifferent attitude of the Rhodesian Government towards the matter. I remember that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, particularly emphasised that. What had the Smith Government done? But supposing an active, aggressive campaign of pressurising African opinion had been embarked upon by the Rhodesian Government from the moment a decision to have the Pearce Commission was announced, what a denial and denunciation would have taken place in this House trying to affect African opinion! There have been repeated criticisms of that kind. The Rhodesian Government took the right course of neutrality. Sanctions have not succeeded. What was their aim?—to destroy the Rhodesian Government, which means the economy of Rhodesia. If they had done so, what would have been the result? We should either have an influenced puppet Communist Government such as we have in other places in Central Africa, or we should have thrown Rhodesia right into association with South Africa. That is not what is wanted. To return to sanctions, surely these were inherited. Why is it not possible for the Government to say forthwith, as has been said by one of my noble friends behind me, "We have played our part. We have applied the necessary sanctions. Nobody else has done the same." Go to Rhodesia, and you will know that they are being broken by every other country. Why should we be the scapegoat for the world? On that point I cannot do better than quote from a letter I recently received from a very eminent general who was high in the information services during the war.


My Lords, I hesitate to interrupt the noble Lord, but are we not getting into some difficulty? This is an Unstarred Question. The noble Lord who asked the Question has no right of reply, but other Members can speak, and at the end of the debate the Minister replies. The Minister has replied, and I would respectfully suggest that we are getting into some difficulty if other noble Lords are going to start the debate all over again.


My Lords, I must deny what the noble and learned Lord has said, because the discussion—it was not a debate—has ranged very wide. Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, sitting behind the noble himself ranged widely. Others did the same.


But the Minister has now replied.


I have given way once. I was on the point of quoting a letter.


My Lords, I wonder whether I might interrupt. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, has raised a point of order. I understand that the usual form is that the Minister replies to the Question, and that is the end of the debate. But, as I understand it, it is not out of order, though it is unusual, for other noble Lords to speak afterwards. Of course the Minister has no further right of reply, and so this is by way of a comment. I believe there is nothing in Standing Orders against this.


My Lords, may I say, as one who took part in this controversy some years ago, that I think what has just been said is quite right?


My Lords, I was about to quote, with the permission of the House, from a letter received from an eminent general who was high in the information services during the war: It is a long time since we suffered such a national humiliation as when Wilson took this matter, an internal one if ever there was one, to the United Nations I dispute that sanctions are valid under the Charter. We have discussed this. They are only valid by usage, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, said. I have not the Hansardwith me, but I can turn it up. They are valid on usage, not on the terms of the Charter.

So far as the United Nations are concerned, it is a conspiracy of blackmail by a certain proportion of the numerous nonwhites in the United Nations to try to threaten us with a loss of trade if we do anything which would be a commonsense thing to do with regard to Rhodesia. The sensible thing would be to resume contacts. I appeal for us to resume contact; to hold people at a distance is not the way to make progress. Discuss matters face to face. That is the only way to settlement in human affairs. I appreciate what the noble Baroness was able to say but I regret that she could not go further. She will surely carry away an impression that there is widespread concern about the further continuance of sanctions. It is in that vein that I hope she will understand the debate that has taken place to-day.

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