§ 3.17 p.m.
§ BARONESS TWEEDSMUIR OF BELHELVIE rose to move, That the Draft Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 (Continuation) Order 1972, laid before the House on October 17, be approved. The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I beg to move the Motion which stands in my 450 name on the Order Paper. The purpose of this Order is to continue in force Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965. This section gives Her Majesty in Council power to take whatever measures are necessary to deal with the situation in Rhodesia brought about by the Illegal Declaration of Independence. Perhaps it will be for the convenience of the House if I say now that after a decision has been taken on this Order we intend to move the Southern Rhodesia (Immigration Act 1971) Order 1972. This involves no change in existing powers or practices but is necessary because of the repeal of the Commonwealth Immigration Act 1962. This will take place when the Immigration Act 1971 comes into force on January 1 next year. But of course the main purpose of this debate is to consider the renewal of the power under which existing sanctions are carried out.
§ My Lords, it is five months since we debated the proposals for a settlement in Rhodesia and the Report of the Pearce Commission. It was a searching debate, reflecting all the differing anxieties, convictions and experiences of your Lordships' House in this difficult and delicate problem. But at the end of the day it was agreed that we should continue our search for a settlement within Rhodesia in accord with the Five Principles. It was also agreed that the proposals so arduously achieved by my right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, in agreement with Mr. Smith, should, as the term goes, "lie upon the table", so that all Rhodesians could consider their future quietly in their own time.
§ I made it clear, when I spoke in June, that we were convinced that it was essential to keep the existing situation, including sanctions, while we allowed time for considered thought within Rhodesia. I warned then that a solution was unlikely to emerge before the end of the year. It is said that no one is a prophet in his own country; but, alas! I am not confounded. However, I am glad to say that there have been some hopeful signs.
§ The African National Council has made it clear that it wants a solution. Mr. Smith is still anxious to achieve a settlement and I understand has at his Party Conference won freedom of manœuvre. There is a growing mood of compromise among Africans and Europeans in Rho 451 desia. The A.N.C. has held a number of meetings to explain its views to Europeans. A.N.C. leaders recently met a Rhodesian Minister for preliminary discussions and there is much talk of further meetings next year between all concerned. This is a start, although it is slow. In the meantime, however, November is upon us and we have to ask the House to consider whether or not it is right to continue sanctions. As we do so, I suggest that we should not forget that we have a mandatory obligation from the United Nations to observe them.
§ I know that sanctions arouse strong feelings, both for and against, in this House and in the country. The Leader of the House has asked me to say that if your Lordships, after due consideration, at the end of this long debate decide to reject this Order, the Government will introduce. probably to-morrow, a slightly different Order in another place and then in this House. I understand that there might be some doubt as to whether that Order could be framed in such a way as to be sufficiently distinctive in form from the Order which is before us to pass the test of Erskine May. This is a matter on which the experts who advise us and who advise another place may not be entirely of one mind. However, if it were decided by another place that a new Order could properly be laid again. I understand that this House might not wish to adopt a different stance, although obviously this would be a matter for the House as a whole to decide.
§ I will try, quite apart from this, to meet some of the very genuine anxieties and problems that are raised in noble Lords' minds. I realise that a number of noble Lords urge that sanctions are useless. It is said that we are the only country that carries out sanctions. We are not the only country, but I believe that we are the most thorough. There have been various proposals to strengthen sanctions. Our representative at the United Nations has instructions to consider these proposals in the Supervisory Committee, which is due to meet shortly at the United Nations. But our own view is that the most important action that can be taken by other nations is to make existing sanctions more effective. It is said that sanctions do not work. It is true that most articles in common use 452 can be bought in Rhodesia at a price—except, I believe, that great Scottish export, whisky. But the real effect of sanctions is the holding back of capital investment and foreign exchange. Therefore it seems to me that here, where lies the possibility of growth, sanctions have done their work.
§ It is said that sanctions isolate and unite Rhodesians and for certain people are very harsh. I confess that I find this the most powerful argument against them. Therefore, while we ask the House to support sanctions for another year, we intend to take certain measures to ease personal problems created by sanctions. These measures will not of course affect Rhodesia as a whole, but Her Majesty's Government are very concerned about our exchange control rules in respect of Southern Rhodesia as they affect education, the elderly, those with serious hardship problems and organisations such as charities. Many Quite tragic personal problems have come before us. We have therefore studied our rules and propose to make a number of small changes. designed to give some relief. These are in accord with the specific humanitarian and educational exceptions made in Security Council resolutions. I will, with permission, circulate these administrative changes in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ On June 17, 1968, the then Attorney General announced that Her Majesty's Government would keep the power to issue United Kingdom passports where there were special reasons for so doing. We propose to extend the issue of these passports in compassionate cases. We shall also grant them in what is called "the public interest" more liberally than before and this will give Rhodesians a chance to hear other ideas and to see for themselves how people of many differing backgrounds, races and creeds can live and work happily together. Perhaps I should, however, assure noble Lords that both my right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary and myself have seen and will always be ready to see Rhodesians, whether African or European, and of course, will be ready to help whenever we are really needed.
§ Then there is the question of certain Rhodesian marriages, divorces and adoptions which are regarded by the British courts are being invalid and their children therefore as illegitimate. We believe it is 453 wrong that innocent people who may have nothing to do with the illegal actions of the régime should suffer in this way. It is not the intention of the Security Council resolutions to cause unnecessary hardship without any corresponding gain in terms of pressure against the régime. We will therefore submit to the Privy Council an Order under the Southern Rhodesia Constitution Order which will make these divorces, marriages and adoptions in Rhodesia valid in Rhodesian law and thus in United Kingdom law.
§ Noble Lords will remember that in the last debate it was urged that more assistance should be given to the education of Rhodesian Africans. We have also made a study of the level of aid which we give from official funds for Rhodesian African education. As a result my right honourable friend the Minister for Overseas Development intends to make an announcement in the near future.
§ My Lords, I hope it is the view of the whole House that even if we disagree on method we all want to achieve an honourable settlement. But we feel that for a just settlement to come about, agreement between the races within Rhodesia must come first. We must remember that we cannot impose a settlement. Since 1923, when internal self-goverment was granted to Rhodesia, our writ does not run very far, for although we have taken certain executive powers, as I tried to define in answer to a Question yesterday, we cannot assume the whole government of Rhodesia. Therefore imagine what would happen if we said that we could no longer discharge our responsibilities. There would, I suggest, be a running battle within and without Rhodesia and no doubt other nations would seek to intervene. Prosperity therefore would not return, because investment in those circumstances would be far too risky.
§ My Lords, we are the only nation that can give Rhodesia legal independence and international status. This can be granted only by the British Parliament on the basis of an agreed constitution, and it is the only way to avoid the turmoil that otherwise would ensue. However much we may worry personally about sanctions, in an unexpected way they act as a shield against worse to come. They provide a comparative calm so that Rhodesians can ponder their future, learn 454 how to come together and perhaps decide that they can build a true multi-racial society under an agreed Constitution.
§ My Lords, many people in this country have given of their best to Rhodesia, and will gladly do so again. My right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary has put his heart, and all his great experience and ability, into the search for a settlement. Now it is up to Rhodesians themselves. There are real signs that they too would like to end this unhappy affair, but as so many noble Lords are well aware, in the context of Africa the vital element of trust can grow only at its own pace; and while it grows, as we all hope in strength, let us ensure, so far as it is within our power, that we guard Rhodesia's peace. I beg to move.
§ Following are the administrative changes referred to by Baroness Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie:
CASH GIFTS TO RESIDENTS OF SOUTHERN RHODESIA:
1. United Kingdom residents wishing to send small cash gifts to relatives in Southern Rhodesia will now on application be permitted to do so up to a limit of £75 for any one donor in any two-year period. Within this same overall limit gifts to non-relatives will also be permitted but only if humanitarian reasons can be shown. The amounts authorised by the Exchange Control authorities will be counted against the normal allowance of £300 per annum, applicable to cash gifts made by United Kingdom residents to persons residing in the non-sterling area.
ALLOWANCES FOR ELDERLY SOUTHERN RHODESIAN RESIDENTS AND THOSE WITH HARDSHIP QUALIFICATIONS:
2. Residents of Southern Rhodesia over 65 years of age may now on application transfer funds from accounts restricted in this country at the rate of £30 per month for a single person, £45 for a married couple and £12 for each dependent child. The rent allowance will be £15 per month or at a higher rent if actual rent is higher. Persons under 65 years of age will only be allowed to make transfers if it can be demonstrated that specific hardship factors exist, but the new ceilings will apply. These changes have been made on humanitarian grounds because the existing level of allowances has proved inadequate to meet genuine hardship, and to enable persons above the normal retirement age to enjoy the concession without having to show that specific hardship exists.
TRAVEL ALLOWANCES FOR CERTAIN VISITORS TO SOUTHERN RHODESIA:
3. Foreign currency facilities will now be permitted on application to the following categories of travellers who wish to visit Southern Rhodesia.
ALLOWANCE FOR SOUTHERN RHODESIA RESIDENTS VISITING THE UNITED KINGDOM:
4. Rhodesian residents visiting the United Kingdom will now be allowed on application to draw up to £20 per week per person from their fund restricted in this country in suspense accounts. There has been no increase in the allowance since 1966.
FUNDS TRANSFERRED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES:
5. To bring United Kingdom controls into line with Security Council Resolutions, it has been decided to allow Southern Rhodesian residents on application to make transfers for generally recognised educational purposes from accounts blocked in the United Kingdom, to any other country, subject only to any general rules which apply to transfer to the country concerned.
TRANSFER MADE TO WIVES AND DEPENDENT CHILDREN IN SOUTHERN RHODESIA:
6. For humanitarian reasons United Kingdom residents, having dependent wives, former wives and dependent children resident in Southern Rhodesia will be permitted on application to make transfers from the United Kingdom at the rate of up to £30 per month, £12 for each dependent child and £15 for rent purposes or more if the actual rent is higher. The applicants will not be required to prove specific hardship unless they wish to transfer sums in excess of these scales when application will be considered on their merits.
TRANSFERS TO SOUTHERN RHODESIA BY CHARITABLE, RELIGIOUS, MEDICAL AND EDUCATIONAL ORGANISATIONS:
7. Where charitable, religious, medical and educational organisations wish to transfer money for current expenditure in excess of the 1965 level, in order to continue their humanitarian works in Southern Rhodesia,
applications will be considered on their merits. Remittances authorised will be in sterling to Rhodesian account.
LIFE ASSURANCE POLICIES:
8. Proceeds from life assurance policies related to retirement, taken out by Southern Rhodesian residents before November 11, 1965, will in future be treated by the Exchange Control Authorities as though they were pensions. Beneficiaries will be permitted on application to transfer the proceeds, including lump sums, to Southern Rhodesia, provided it can be shown that the maturity date of the policies was within 5 years (either side) of retirement from normal occupation. Provision has also been made for widows and dependent relatives (under 19 years of age) of deceased beneficiaries, and persons whose policies have matured any time since 11th November 1965 to enjoy these concessions also.
§ 3.31 p.m.
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
My Lords, I rise to say that of course on this side of the House we agree with the Motion introduced by the noble Baroness with her characteristic grace and strength. I know of nobody who combines those two qualities so well. I will leave my noble friend Lord Shepherd to deal with the, I must say, rather complex constitutional issues which she raised, but I should like to say that we give a welcome to her proposals for compassionate relaxation in some ways, though I shall be very anxious to examine exactly what those proposals are, particularly in relation to passports, because we on this side have been worried about which people have been granted British passports. In this connection one wonders whether any help can be given to the hapless members of the A.N.C whose Rhodesian passports have been removed from them and who are as a result unable to travel. However, I welcome warmly what the noble Baroness has said, and we particularly look forward to the announcement about the education of Rhodesian Africans in this country.
The House knows that we on this side have always consistently held that sanctions must be retained for three reasons: mainly because we are sure that they are one of the basic reasons for Mr. Smith's increasing desire for settlement; because we feel we must keep faith with the Rhodesian Africans for whom we are responsible; and because we are in honour bound to observe the United Nations mandatory rule.
My Lords, we had a remarkable debate only three months ago which lasted until 457 late on a Friday evening, with seventeen speakers, and showed the depth of feeling. It also, I think, shows that there cannot be very much new to be said on this issue. It is rather surprising, therefore, not to say interesting, to see that thirty-four Members of your Lordships' House have put themselves down to speak so soon again. When I look at the composition of the list I feel rather tempted to ask the noble Earl who is to reply, "Is this a private fight, or can anyone join in?" On the last occasion the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, pleaded with the Government to keep the Settlement on the table and to consider lifting sanctions because, he said, plenty of things could happen between August and November. Well, nothing has happened in Rhodesia to give us any cause for lifting sanctions, as the noble Baroness herself has said.
In the June debate to which the noble Baroness referred, the noble Lord, Lord Napier and Ettrick, said:… if we are invited to renew sanctions again by Order in Council in November, not only shall I find it impossible to support Her Majesty's Government but I shall vote against it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 21/6/72, col. 293–4.]The House is familiar with the views of the noble Lord and with those of his noble friends Lord Coleraine, Lord Barnby, Lord Gridley, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, and many others. Even if we were not, we should have noticed that extraordinary letter in The Times last week which was signed by eighty-three—I do not know what to call them: rebels, backwoodsmen? They are not backwoodsmen in one sense of the term, for many of them are active Members of your Lordships' House, but backwoodsmen in the sense that they cannot see the future and the new world that is growing. They are backwoodsmen in that they are unconstructive and are looking always to an irretrievable past. I was deeply disappointed to find that among them there were even some backwoods-women.
My Lords, we on these Benches do not use the argument of guilt by association. It is as monstrous to equate all African behaviour under majority rule with General Amin's behaviour, as it would be to attempt to say that all members of the Conservative Party are like Mr. Enoch Powell. Equally, and more seriously, just because Hitler came to 458 power under a democratic system, are we to condemn the system of democracy? Far better than I can myself, that letter was answered by Dr. Barkham, who was the Senior Consultant Physician at Mulago Hospital in Uganda and who has himself been expelled by General Amin. He said:To identify Uganda with the present actions of her 'Government' is a tragic mistake.… For however much the plight of the Asians deserves our immediate compassion and help, in the long run it is the Africans … who need all the understanding and support we can give them.In my view, that comment shows an infinitely greater generosity of spirit than was displayed by the signatories to the other letter. We have all condemned General Amin's behaviour over the expulsion of Asians, and we very much look forward to hearing from noble Lords who want us to raise sanctions condemning the Rhodesian Land Tenure Act under which tens of thousands of Africans are uprooted from their ancestral lands, sent to remote places where there are fewer schools, poorer soil, very few social welfare benefits, and the rest of it. The social, economic and political injustices which go on in Rhodesia, the jailing and detention of people indefinitely without trial, all make it imperative that we use the few instruments in our power to maintain pressure on Mr. Smith's régime to prove to the Africans and to the world that they can still have faith in us. As Mr. Dingle Foot put it so pertinently in The Times:Why should racial persecution in Uganda be held to excuse racial persecution in Rhodesia?We must maintain sanctions, however much we dislike them—and we do—because, apart from anything else, if we did not, we should be betraying the courage and the hardiness of those Africans who came out and voted during the Pearce Commission's visit. We greatly look forward to the contribution we are to have from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce to-day. We feel tremendous admiration for all the work he did. We should like to ask what are to be the future lives of Mr. Garfield Todd and of Mr. and Mrs. Chinamanu, who were detained for carrying out the normal political activities which they were promised by the Smith régime under the Pearce Commission? The noble Lord 459 himself spoke out very strongly about this, and we should like to ask the Government to go on making representations about the release of these people, as well as the other thousands who are detained, and have been so for ten years.
If we are to ask the Government to reason with the régime, we must keep such powers and strengths as we have. Many noble Lords have taken a special interest in the Tangwena people and their redoubtable Chief who, as your Lordships know, have been turned out of their land by the Smith régime quite illegitimately and against the advice of his courts. A friend writes:All their houses have again been burnt—thoroughly. Belongings are piled in as well and things like cooking pots are bashed or riddled with bullets. I spent a forlorn morning. A few goats, still miraculously alive despite jackals, were roaming on the steep hillside. Elsewhere there were no signs of life; no smoke and no thatched Rondavel homes—only black scars with the white ashes still fresh from the recent burnings. Almost the entire area East and North of Nyafaru has been burnt … The Chief and many of his followers are still managing to stay free, not in their homes, of course, but in the wild and mountainous country, and in spite of the fact that there are three police camps there who make continuous raids.As he says:Fortunately we can always hear them coming because they make so much noise.This valiant man has written again to the Queen—and I should like to stress to "his" Queen, as he describes her—askingif it is the law to burn houses and take away children.But he adds:We shall never fight them. We shall not even throw a stone.These are the people who look to us for protection. These are the people who would be betrayed if we took off sanctions and let go our strongest form of pressure on the Smith régime.
I was very glad that the noble Baroness mentioned the African National Council and Bishop Muzorewa, because this is the spirit of that very remarkable new African Party. Of course, the Smith régime is doing its best to repress it. Membership cards have been burned; their outdoor meetings have been forbidden; indoor meetings are allowed, but in some mysterious way you can never get 460 all insurance is owned by Europeans. As I mentioned, the Bishop's passport has been taken away, although he needs urgent medical treatment which can only be had abroad. This is not a violent organisation. This is a Christian and non-violent organisation. I should like to quote to you the peroration of the last speech the Bishop made before he was taken ill:Now, brethren, again the Bible says, Where there is no vision the people perish'. I call you to catch a vision that can save our country. I call you in the name of God, 'Let us come and reason together', return to legality and take our rightful place in the community of nations.We cannot keep our faith with these people unless we keep our remaining strengths.
Like the noble Baroness, I rejoice very much in the hopeful signs that meetings may be beginning to take place. One meeting did take place, because of the passionate desire of the Smith régime to achieve some kind of settlement before their economic ruin. But even that meeting was unable to be repeated, and Mr. Smith now says that he did not know that one of his own Cabinet Ministers had arranged it. So one's hope is tinged with a little despair. For those noble the insurance for the indoor halls, as Lords opposite who tell us that Africans suffer most under sanctions and wish to have them lifted, may I explain to them once again that Bishop Muzorewa himself has said:Africans accept sanctions as the price of their freedom",and that they repudiateany person who claims on our behalf that sanctions should be withdrawn to alleviate suffering through lack of employment.We have made the case so often to show that sanctions are effective—the increasing economic disarray, the lack of rolling stock and tractors—all these arguments have been deployed so often that I will not bore the House by going over them again, but I do not think they can be denied. Added to the sanctions is the increasing anxiety of the Rhodesians about their security. We know that they are deeply worried about the incursions on their Mozambiquan and Angolan frontiers. And in this connection I look forward very much to listening to my noble friend, Lord Gifford, who has just returned from a difficult and dangerous 461 journey through Mozambique. I hope he will speak later. That, of course, is quite out of our province, but sanctions are not. On these Benches we have never accepted the settlement proposals. I myself am rather sad that they are still lying on the table, because they have been refused by 90 per cent. of the Rhodesian people. But we must strive for a settlement of some kind, an honourable one, and in doing this it would be folly to throw away all we have achieved in these last seven years—the political gains and the economic ones, in spite of all the sufferings and sacrifices.
In our last debate Her Majesty's Government accepted our Amendment which called not merely for keeping sanctions but for strengthening them. May I make an appeal, or suggestion perhaps, for some ways in which our sanctions could be strengthened. First, at the United Nations: could we ask for more co-operation in the patrols of Beira and indeed of Laurenco Marques? Perhaps the new Malagasy Government might co-operate, as they did before, in the R.A.F. patrols. Could we ask Her Majesty's Government, when new applications are being made at the United Nations, to emphasise, if not to make it a condition, that new members should observe the mandatory sanctions? And could we ask for a strengthening of the Sanctions Committee? Since we are to go into Europe, could we not use our influence with our partners in the E.E.C. to ensure that they apply sanctions, so that we are not at an economic disadvantage with them? And could we make quite sure that membership of E.E.C. shall be denied to Portugal so long as she contnues to be one of the greatest sanctions breakers and comforters of Mr. Smith? Above all, should we not try harder to co-operate with the Commonwealth through the Commonwealth Secretariat, which has asked us specifically to do so? At home there are many things we could do. We could bring in legislation to make goods leaving Rhodesia become invested in the Crown, so that we could then sue those who were involved; even in the United States they have managed to do this. We could make sure that any sale of goods to South Africa carried with it a prohibition against resale to Rhodesia. There are many more suggestions that one could 462 make, in particular in relation to the multi-racial corporations.
My Lords, although without my spectacles I cannot see the delicious clock, I feel I must not go into any more details. The noble Baroness said that there were signs for optimism. I feel that there are, but most of all in the magnificent and unbowed spirit of the Africans, who wish for their freedom but who want it by non-violent means. They look to us. I understand the impatience and frustration of noble Lords opposite with people who break sanctions when we do not. But I beg the noble Earl to ignore the spears and daggers at his back and to continue to apply our legal sanctions, and to uphold the honour of this country in face of the rest of the world.
§ 3.48 p.m.
§ LORD BEAUMONT OF WHITLEY
My Lords, I am a little appalled to follow on two such eloquent speeches which have also had the virtue of brevity. I may not be able to follow the eloquence but I certainly intend to follow the brevity, not as a measure of the importance of the subject but as a measure, perhaps, of the number of times that we have had this debate, a measure of the length of the list of speakers and a measure of the fact that the position of noble Lords on these Benches is well known. We should like, first of all, to congratulate the Government on the Orders that they are bringing before us to-day. It is true that any alternative seems to us to be unthinkable, but it appears that there are some people who are prepared to think even the unthinkable. "Unthinkable", I call it, because of our responsibility to all the people of Rhodesia, and I go so far as to say our very special responsibility to the black population. The history of so many British colonies in Africa was one of exploration and exploitation of a kind by settlers, and a reluctant takeover by the Colonial Office, under pressure from missionaries trying to protect the native people; and the fact that this pressure was successful enabled us in the 'fifties to hand hack to the people of Africa their countries, power over their own lives, with democratic constitutions, which I still unashamedly believe to be the best form of Government.
Now it is true, as has been pointed out, that many of these countries have torn up these constitutions and have gone 463 back on the present that we gave them. Nevertheless, although this is sad, we can hold up our heads proudly in this country and say that we discharged our duty well to these countries and these colonies over the last thirty years. Rhodesia was the exception. Rhodesia was the exception where, as in Ulster—and there are some quite interesting parallels between the two countries—we handed over power to the settlers, while reserving to ourselves powers which we then neglected to use. I believe that we have, as a result of this position, a responsibility to the native peoples of Rhodesia which we must honour, and we must avoid the mistake which, to our shame, a Liberal Government made when it handed over power in South Africa.
The question is: can we do anything? There are some of your Lordships who would say that there is little that we can do. There are many noble Lords who say that sanctions are not working, but many of them are those who said that sanctions were not working before they brought Mr. Smith to the conference table. The argument that we are bringing hardship to the African is less effective than it was. As the noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, has said, we now know what we formerly suspected, that there is a considerable body of African opinion which wishes us to continue sanctions even if it means more suffering for them. This is perhaps because they have taken the point that the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, seemed to have missed—and I am sorry that he is not taking part in our debate to-day—that some suffering now may save a very great deal of suffering in the distant future. I think Lord Goodman's thesis was really based on the idea that politics is the art of the possible. There is a great deal of truth in that old saying but I, for one, would not be in politics if I did not think that along with it went the idea that politics was the art of making things possible.
We know that Mr. Smith and many of the white minority in Rhodesia desperately want a settlement with this country. We know that some sanctions are working, no matter what some people say. We know, for instance, that 60 per cent. of the farmers of Rhodesia made losses in 1970, and that that was a similar pattern 464 to what has been happening over the past three or four years. We know that the foreign exchange and capital market sanctions are having a very considerable effect. Here I am sure that we welcome the intentions of Her Majesty's Government in trying to ease personal hardship for those who bear no responsibility for the situation. We on these Benches will look at these proposals with welcoming but critical eyes, and I hope that we shall have an opportunity to talk about them at some other time when we know the details. We very much welcome the announcement about more education.
We are also sometimes told that the result of continuing sanctions will be merely to bring in a more Right Wing Government, as happened in Central Africa for quite a long time, and indeed has happened again in Ulster. But I think that this is to neglect the fact that in the long run there must be an end of some kind to this series of Governments, and while it is happening more and more moderate people are released from their loyalty to that particular Government and pushed into a situation where they can mount an effective opposition. This is already beginning to happen in Rhodesia. At the same time, many of those who are really moderate are freer to express themselves, because perhaps when they were in Government they felt that they must keep the Party together, and that they must not speak out strongly for what they wanted for fear that they would not carry weight when it came to the decisive arguments. If they are excluded by the coming of a more Right Wing Government, these people can speak up very strongly. There are many people talking about Rhodesia to-day in the terms that all three Parties in this House talk about it, who not very long ago we should have regarded as far from liberal. This middle-of-the-road ground, I am sure, is working, and if there should be, which I hope there will not be, a Government further to the Right than Mr. Smith's, it will not necessarily be a total disaster.
Not only should we maintain sanctions, but I agree with the noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, that we should in fact be considering how to enforce them more, and indeed how to increase them—and I, too, have my 465 suggestions: first, that we put very strong diplomatic pressure on the American Government to plug the sanction breaking on chrome; secondly, that we try to police the whole sanction operation rather better. I understand that it is quite possible, with almost all the major exports of Rhodesia, to test these exports and identify quite clearly what country they have come from. If this was done, it would be far easier to catch sanction breakers. Thirdly, I think that we still have to think about oil sanctions very seriously, and there must come a moment when we say to ourselves, "How can we stop the sanction breakers on oil?", and, indeed, ask ourselves whether it is possible and necessary to apply oil sanctions to sanction breakers on oil. Fourthly, possibly we might give generous grants to the white Rhodesians who want to leave Rhodesia and settle elsewhere, and even to those who want to go and settle in South Africa.
We cannot shrug off our responsibility for the 96 per cent. of the population of this country for which we hold legal responsibility. This is, to use the old phrase in a slightly new sense, the white man's burden now. It is not nearly as heavy as the black man has to shoulder, and it is up to us, even at some inconvenience to ourselves and to our kith and kin, to continue to shoulder it.
§ 3.58 p.m.
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, before I develop the main theme of my speech, I think it would be appropriate to make some comment on the speeches which have gone before. I felt that the noble Baroness, when introducing this extension of the Rhodesia Order and making comment that those people who wished to support the continuance of sanctions were doing so in the interests of the people of Rhodesia, was not giving credence to those of us who feel that we are equally interested in the welfare, the happiness, the well-being and the good government of the people of Rhodesia continuance of sanctions. I saw at first-not continue with sanctions. That is the first point I wish to make. She also mentioned that if there was a Vote tonight and the Orders were not approved, they would be reintroduced and your Lordships would have the inconvenience of coming back to deal with them. I 466 felt that that was some kind of threat. I have no idea what will be the result of this debate, but that will not prevent my continuing to speak to your Lordships from my experience and from my conscience.
There is one aspect of the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, which I did not understand. I simply cannot follow the smug self-satisfaction with which some of us consider that everything we have done in our Commonwealth and Colonies has been amply justified by events. The noble Lord seemed to be very pleased. He said that we had discharged all our responsibilities to our former territories with satisfaction. What are we trying to do in Rhodesia but to bring about an orderly Constitution? But what has happened to our Constitution-making in Uganda? That has resulted in the most frightful bloodshed, horror and suffering, with people being flung into prison. I cannot entirely divorce what has happened in Uganda from what we are trying to do in Rhodesia.
This is a matter of conscience, but if there is a Division this evening I shall be bound to vote against the continuance of sanctions. I shall not take that action lightly, because I have a profound respect for my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary and for noble Lords who may well disagree with some of the reasons which I shall give for the action which I propose to take in certain circumstances. But for me that is not the real point of the matter. I was in a country which was overrun when I was serving overseas as a colonial officer. I cannot forget my own suffering, but that was simply nothing to the suffering of the people when there is a breakdown of law and order. I think that to-day we are thinking of what might happen in Rhodesia, and of what we are trying to achieve for the people there. There is this issue of a stable society, and I want to consider that beyond the issue of the continuance of sanctions. I saw at firsthand the suffering of Malays and indigenous people with the breakdown of law and order. In gaol, under the Japanese, I felt, as did many of my other camp companions at the time, that we had let people down when we had treaties to defend them. That was an occasion when we were unable to honour our 467 obligations to people overseas; and when one compares what happened then with our obligations in Rhodesia and Uganda one thinks twice about whether our present actions are really in the interests of all the people in Rhodesia.
For the last seven years we have had sanctions against Rhodesia, but while the part of Africa in which Rhodesia is situated has been in turmoil and confusion, Mr. Smith has maintained law and order. I shall not refer again to what has happened in Uganda and Nigeria, because that is known to everybody. But if you were to ask Africans whether they would prefer to live in Uganda, Nigeria or Rhodesia, and particularly if you were to ask Ugandans that question, they would say that they prefer to live under the Government of Mr. Smith. I think there would be no question about that. There is no point in blinking the issue which, as I see it, stands out in stark reality. In all the years when I served overseas we believed that the Commonwealth was an association of peoples, far more than it was an association of Governments.
Let me give a final example to your Lordships of another experience of mine. After recovering in England when the last war ended, I went back to Malaysia which was facing a virtual breakdown of law and order under a Communist insurrection. I talked to people at that time, when we were in process of leading people on to self-government and independence, and the consensus of what they said to me then was, "For God's sake, the British must not go! We want peace. We want to be able to trade and to sleep peacefully in our beds at night, without being intimidated with a gun." What are we talking about in the context of Rhodesia? Are we not talking about the timing of majority rule and the creation of a multi-racial society? Has not experience shown that people prefer a Government which gives them some stability, to a Government which, under local majority rule, has brought death and horrible suffering, as in the case of the peoples of Uganda? For me to-day the issue goes deep. When we are discussing sanctions, we are really talking about the future lives and well-being of all Rhodesians.
468 There is one other point which I do not understand in the present context. I have heard it stated in some Government quarters that the British Government obtained a near agreement with Mr. Smith. After painful and laborious negotiations with the Rhodesian Government, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary obtained an agreement—and I leave out for the moment the fact that it was conditional upon its acceptability to the Africans. The fact remains that an agreement was obtained between Mr. Smith and my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary. I presume that my right honourable friend considered it was the best agreement in respect of African interests that he could obtain at that juncture. I believe that to be so, because I have a very high opinion of the integrity, honour and character of my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary. I am further of the opinion, which is open to argument, that even if there are further negotiations or discussions between Mr. Smith and local African leaders in Rhodesia, the continuance of sanctions can result only in increased intransigence on the part of those African leaders who, because they feel that in some way they are supported by sanctions, will make excessive demands. If it is said that sanctions will bring Mr. Smith to the negotiating table, I must say that I consider that Mr. Smith has already been at the negotiating table.
After the agreement was reached, my right honourable friend appointed a distinguished judge, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, to head a Commission to go to Rhodesia to test its acceptability to the African population. Noble Lords are aware that there was an interval of some weeks between the reaching of the agreement and the arrival of Lord Pearce's Commission in Rhodesia. As I understand it, it was no part of Lord Pearce's duties to ascertain what activities occurred in this country or in Rhodesia prior to the arrival of his Commission. He would, one assumes, be concerned only with carrying out the test of acceptability after his arrival.
But, my Lords, what indeed occurred, both in this country and in Rhodesia, prior to the arrival of the noble Lord and his Commission? I am instructed that 469 it is in order for me to quote part of a speech made by Mr. Smith on June 6, 1972, in the Rhodesian House of Assembly. He said:In Britain the enemies of a settlement made good use of the intervening period between the signing of the agreement and the start of the test of acceptability. Church organizations were early in the field and the British Council of Churches sent two men to Salisbury to campaign against the settlement. Those two addressed a meeting of the Christian Council of Rhodesia in Salisbury, advocating rejection of the proposals, and then proceeded to visit a number of other centres in Rhodesia where they met local churchmen. The British Council of Churches also produced a pamphlet urging that the proposals be rejected and this was distributed in the United Kingdom and in Rhodesia.In London an organization was formed which called itself The Rhodesian Emergency Campaign Committee' on which were represented the Anti-Apartheid Movement, International Defence and Aid, the London branches of Rhodesian terrorist movements and many others. Their stated aim was to frustrate the agreement which had been reached by the two Governments. The International Defence and Aid Fund, which is well known for its support of terrorist movements, sent out two London solicitors who played a large part in organising the ANC campaign on a day-to-day basis.…So here we have the remarkable situation of a number of British organizations deliberately setting out to frustrate an agreement … which by common consent was in the best interests of the Africans of Rhodesia. One can only wonder at the motives of these people. Was it genuine concern for the well-being and progress of the Africans or was it their deep-seated hatred of the Whites of Rhodesia? I will leave honourable members to answer that question for themselves".Mr. Smith went on:I must make it clear at this juncture that by no means all Rhodesian churchmen opposed the settlement. Many spoke out courageously in favour, while others took a neutral position".
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, would the noble Lord not agree that in that very same speech Mr. Smith accused the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, of a deliberate conspiracy with Her Majesty's Government to wreck the inquiry of the noble Lord, Lord Pearce?
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, I am unable to answer the noble Lord on that point. I should rather like notice of it. I recollect that what the noble Lord suggests was in fact said; but I wish to develop my argument as best I can.
470 My Lords, I have let my noble friend the Minister have a copy of this speech, and I must ask the Government what their views are on what I have read out and on what took place in the Rhodesian Assembly. May I further ask the Government: was this not a quasi-judicial inquiry to be carried out by a distinguished judge? If there was in fact propaganda, as has been alleged, against a settlement, were the organisers of this propaganda against a settlement not acting in prejudice, almost in contempt, of Lord Pearce's Commission prior to its arrival? If in fact there was propaganda and activity of terrorist organisations whose main purpose was to thwart an agreement, and this took place prior to the arrival of Lord Pearce, was this not in defiance of the conditions under which the Commission had to operate, inasmuch as it would prejudice the free expression of opinion and the establishment of the truth in Rhodesia? It would seem to me much more than a normal political activity which was allowed to go on in Rhodesia during the time the Commission visited that country. I should like a considered Government reply to the points that I have raised. My view would be that it would be in order, perhaps, to use propaganda at an election. or if a referendum was being held in any country; but I feel from my own convictions that to use any form of propaganda in a country where a test of acceptability was being carried out would in the circumstances prejudice, or be likely to prejudice, a proper finding.
In conclusion, my Lords, I am against sanctions. I believe Mr. Smith wants an agreement with Africans that will give stability to Rhodesia. I do not believe that Mr. Smith is a fool. I believe he sees clearly that at some time or other he will have to come to terms with five million Africans. Any idea to the contrary would be extremely foolish, and detrimental to everybody in that country. I feel, quite frankly, that at the moment sanctions have nothing to do with the point. I consider that sanctions hinder an agreement, since they increase African nationalist intransigence. I also feel that sanctions are a cruel deception to Africans in Rhodesia because sanctions lead them to believe that they will get something better from Mr. Smith than 471 was in the agreement which was so painfully negotiated between him and my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary. I do not believe, my Lords, that any better terms, or markedly different terms, are obtainable than those which have been obtained already by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary. Finally, my Lords, I regret to say that I do not think we have very much influence in Rhodesia at the present time. To go on shows a reluctance to face reality; and the continuance of sanctions will only increase the difficulties which in the future will face Her Majesty's Government in dealing with this protracted issue.
§ 4.18 p.m.
§ LORD PEARCE
My Lords, in this long debate I have only one point to put before your Lordships, and that a short and, to me, quite conclusive one. In your Lordships' daily task you are writing history, whether you will or no, and if those who oppose this Motion have their way the page of history that you will write about Rhodesia in 1972 will be to this effect. First, that your Lordships had a Commission going the length and breadth of Rhodesia telling the people of that country, and incidentally the world, about the proposals, finding out their opinions and assuring them that if the answer was "Yes" sanctions would cease and if the answer was "No" things would continue as they were and sanctions would go on. Secondly, that in this same year your Lordships had a Report showing that the answer was "No" and accepted it. Thirdly, that in this year—in this very year—your Lordships discontinued sanctions. I need hardly assure your Lordships that I would have had nothing to do with that Commission if I had conceived the possibility that your Lordships, by such a volte-face, would have given the lie to what your Commission was saying, at your instance, in Rhodesia. My view would be the same whichever way the volte-face was—whether, the answer being "Yes", your Lordships had been pressed by those who thought the agreement was wrong because it gave too little and, in spite of the "Yes", continued sanctions; or whether, as now, the answer being "No", your Lordships are pressed to discontinue sanctions. I believe that that would be the view of every member 472 of the Commission. You cannot really do it. A reputation for straight dealing is a thing of value not to be lightly jeopardised or thrown away. You can maintain it only by straight dealing.
I happen not to believe that things are as hopeless as some people make out. I believe that valuable lessons have been learned by both sides in this traumatic year and that those lessons will bear valuable fruit. It would, indeed, be sad if, at the instance of those who would oppose the Motion, the cardinal lesson to be learned by the people of Rhodesia as a whole, Africans and Europeans alike, was that they could not trust what they were told by a British Commission at your instance.
§ 4.22 p.m.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, on June 21 last I made a substantial speech on this matter on the Amendment to an Amendment which was moved by my noble friend Lord Coleraine, and I then answered, I should imagine, all the points made so charmingly by the two noble Baronesses to-day. Out of respect to the long list of speakers I do not intend to repeat myself; I do not think it is necessary. However, there are one or two things which perhaps should be said. First, I should express my own opinion that we all owe a deep debt of gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Pearce, and to his four or five Commissioners and assistant Commissioners who undertook this most difficult duty. I had the honour of meeting Lord Pearce and three of his assistants in Rhodesia in March last and I thought then, as I should naturally think from even reading their names, let alone from knowing their reputation, that they would do such a job extraordinarily well and diligently. Having read the whole of the Pearce Report and its supplementary documents, I would add the word "ingeniously". They were very ingenious in trying to ascertain opinions which, frankly, were not there. They were very ingenious.
My Lords, why was there not an opinion there? It was because it was quite impossible to imagine that 5 million Africans, in the state in which these people were, could possibly have an opinion about a matter which they could not read and which the overwhelming majority of them could not understand. 473 That a few hundred thousand may have had an opinion may be true; but that 5 million could have an opinion could never have been true and it was beyond reason to assume that any real enlightenment could possibly come out of the work of the Pearce Commission. Nor do I accept the view, although I recognise how genuinely it is put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Pearce, to-day, that the Pearce Commission was charged by this House and by its terms of reference to go to Rhodesia and to say to the people: "If we, Pearce, say 'Yes', Britain will do this; and if we, Pearce, say 'No', Britain will do that." I do not think for one moment that that was their duty. It may have been implied by much of what they said, but it was not the reason that they were sent there. Therefore I do not accept the view that if we take a different action now we are—what was it the noble Lord said? Was it "breaking faith"?
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, to make a volte-face is very often an extremely wise thing to do. I thought that the noble Lord used words which implied lack of trust or something of that sort; and that is far more important. I do not think he was charged with that duty and I submit to the House that that part of his argument was wholly invalid.
My Lords, may I then, having praised the Pearce Commission, praise also Mr. Smith and Sir Alec Douglas-Home. I have nothing but praise for them for having made the settlement which they arranged. It is useless to go back upon the history of this matter and to say that there should never have been a Pearce Commission and that there should never have been any test of acceptability. Sir Alec Douglas-Home himself virtually admitted that publicly when, in the Chamber in June last, he said that we must find another way if any new approach were to be made or if any new settlement were to be considered. We will not go back to this acceptability business. He himself virtually admitted—
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
My Lords, I must apologise for interrupting the noble Lord. I par 474 ticularly do not wish to be discourteous to him. Would he not agree that the Foreign Secretary has allowed the proposals to lie upon the table—which is very far from repudiating them, as the noble Lord is trying to imply?
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
My Lords, the noble Lord implied that the Foreign Secretary had decided that the Pearce proposals were no good, but in fact the Foreign Secretary has left the settlement proposals lying on the table.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, there is not much good in their lying on the table. There is not much good to anybody in that. The point I was making was that in my view the Pearce Commission was not entitled to say—the noble Lord, Lord Pearce, was entitled to say it but his point is invalid—that it was charged with the duty of committing this House to an action on a "Yes" or a "No", and that if he said "Yes", or "No", we should be breaking faith. I do not accept that.
My Lords, I was on the point of praising Sir Alec and Mr. Smith. The only way the settlement will be reached will be for the British Government to abandon sanctions. My noble friend Lady Tweedsmuir who opened this debate used these words: there would be a "running battle" and there would be "turmoil". Those were her words: a running battle and turmoil in Rhodesia. My Lords, how much in error I am sure she is! There could be trouble in Rhodesia if unemployment among the black people goes on increasing as it is now; there could be turmoil in that event. Nothing is more likely to cause turmoil and trouble in a population of that kind than unemployment and dire poverty. The cure for it is to get rid of sanctions. To keep them on is the one way to make sure that trouble is going to mount and mount. That seems to me to be the strongest argument of all. Our duty is to these people, to try to give them the best possible life that they can have. I do not think that any settlement of the Rhodesian question is possible with the assent of and the acceptability to the 5 million unless it is majority rule; 475 and, my Lords, if the Rhodesians got majority rule to-morrow as part of a settlement agreed to by all—it is the only kind of agreement which would be made by all—they would abandon it next year, because the then Government of Rhodesia, being black, would want to remain in power. The only reason for having majority rule is to get into power. When you are in power you do not want elections if you can help it. I do not say that that applies to us, although one might almost begin to believe it. There are people, friends of the noble Baroness opposite, who seem to like obeying the laws that they like and disobeying the laws that they do not like, as if they did not care about the rule of Parliament or the rule of law. I am surprised to hear—
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, if the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, will forgive me for interrupting him, may I say that I think the noble Lord said that my noble friend had friends who would break the law; who have a contempt for the law. Can the noble Lord say who are those friends?
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, of course I could. I could recite them by name, but it would not be really relevant. They are very well known to the noble Lord and just as well known to every one of the noble Lords opposite. It is manifest that there is a minority in the trade union movement which keeps the laws it likes and breaks the laws it does not like. These people are defying Parliament, and I am astonished that the noble Lord should question that. I will gladly write and tell him their names and give him chapter and verse if he likes, but I will not waste time on it now if the noble Lord will forgive me.
Now may I deal with the justification, which I feel it is desirable to make very briefly, for the vote which I shall try to cast to-night, if I am still alive and all goes well? First of all, it is one of the reasons for the existence of a Second Chamber in any bicameral system that the Second House, the Upper House, shall be a revising Chamber, a Chamber which can cause the other House to think again. That is one of the great purposes of a second House and one of the most important, and there can be nothing wrong in 476 asking the other House to think again. It does not raise a vote of confidence against the Government; it does not threaten the Government. It merely exercises this delaying power which is one of the most valuable things in the Constitution. It is open to the other House to think again; to think that I am a very wise man and that my noble friend Lord Colyton is wiser still. It is open to them to say that this is a nonsense and to send it back again. I then would not vote against them again. So it seems to me it is not merely an obligation on us to do our duty, if that is how we feel; it is the very reason that we are here as a Second Chamber.
My Lords, I feel I must deal with this last point because it was mentioned by the first three speakers. Though the word was not mentioned, it was implied by the noble Lord, Lord Pearce, that is, this question of honour. The noble Baroness, Lady Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, said that we must do what is honourable. The noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, talked about honour. The noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, used the same word and the noble Lord, Lord Pearce, implied it. There is nothing dishonourable about losing a battle. The only people who think that are those who have never been in a battle and do not know what it is. Whenever you go into a fight or a battle you expect either to win or to lose; you take your courage in your hands and you go in. What is damn' silly is having lost the battle not to realise that and make new dispositions. That is quite ridiculous and we have to face the fact that we have lost this battle. The object of a battle or a war is to make people change their minds. The Rhodesians have not changed their minds and in my judgment they will not do so. There is a lager mentality there, not dissimilar to the British mentality when we stood alone in 1940 and 1941. Great courage—
§ LORD CHORLEY
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord whether he excludes all the black people in Rhodesia from the category of Rhodesians? He refers to the Rhodesians as if they were all just white people.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, I do not think I said that; I certainly did not mean to imply it. I was 477 at that moment talking about white Rhodesians and the noble Lord, Lord Chorley, heard me right. That is what I was talking about. They are determined to go on governing. I have not the slightest doubt that they are determined, and that they will succeed. I have not the slightest doubt that the best way for progress for the whole country, including primarily the 5 million black people, is to free them to settle their own affairs. Now it is said that they are not free to settle their own affairs because black men dare not open their mouths without being locked up. That is only partly true. It is not the only country in the world where you get locked up for saying what you think. There are quite a number of countries, with which noble Lords opposite seem to be great friends, where this happens.
The pressure of opinion among the black people, whether in Rhodesia or South Africa, is always there and is very great. It is heard and will be listened to. The only hope of a settlement is that the white men should govern and manage the Rhodesian economy and the Rhodesian State—and they are the people who can do it de facto; in some respects de jure, but certainly de facto—that they shall come and make a settlement with Britain and that they will do it after consulting the opinions of those black people, who may number some tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, who can understand what it is about and bring new proposals to us or that we take new proposals to them. That is one possibility. The third possibility is that we do what the Americans did; that is, consult no one at all and just take off the sanctions. That is the one I would prefer.
My Lords, I want to return to this question of honour. Your honour is not engaged because you have lost the battle. You are much wiser to go back to other lines, to fight your battle again, if it is a military battle or if it is a battle of words or a battle of political theories. Fight it again in some other direction or in some other part. It is said that we cannot get out of the obligation to the United Nations. I think that is quite absurd. All we have to do is just what we like—I was going to use stronger words—and the United Nations cannot do a thing about it. They can pass resolu 478 tions till they are blue in the face but it does not make any difference to anybody. That is a fact. It is no good pretending that it has any effect—not upon big people or strong people. It has no more effect on us than water on a duck's back.
So I advocate that we vote against the sanctions to-night. I do not expect that it will prevail. One ought to be responsible for what may happen if it does, and I have already said that it will probably come back again from the other place and then we can let it go by. Send it back for consideration. That is the kind of duty that I think we have to perform. One last reason for this vote, my Lords. It will be a shot across the bows of the ship of State and it will warn the Foreign Secretary—a man I very dearly and greatly admire—and the Government that they cannot come back and do this again next year.
§ 4.39 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I have listened to many speeches in this House during the years that I have been a Member of it, but I cannot remember ever having listened to a speech so forceful and so condensed as that of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce. After he had spoken I felt that there was no more to be said. I am afraid, however, that that is not going to stop many of us, including myself, from saying things. Having listened to the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, I am afraid that there still are things which must be said, because the force of the logic and truth in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Pearce, does not seem to have got home to the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale.
I cannot attempt to express what Lord Pearce has just done so well as he did, but I should like to put it to the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, and any of his friends who may still feel as he does—any of those 83 noble Lords who signed the letter that has been referred to and whose minds have not yet been changed—that the issue is really quite a simple one. Her Majesty's Government, through the person of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, arrived at a provisional agreement with Mr. Smith, thanks largely to the ability and skill of the noble Lord, Lord Good- 479 man. That agreement was subject to the agreement of the people of Rhodesia as a whole, and it was made clear, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, has said, that if they agreed sanctions would be removed, and if they did not agree sanctions would not be removed. As the noble and learned Lord told us he undertook his important commission on that understanding.
Now that it has been shown beyond a peradventure that the people of Rhodesia as a whole reject these proposals, the Government, to their credit and to their honour, have adhered to their original policy, and the agreement has not been ratified. That surely is quite a simple issue of honour. The noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, said that there is nothing dishonourable in losing a battle. Of course there is not, and nobody would suggest that there is. There may he incompetence; there may be cowardice; but there is no dishonour simply in losing a battle. There is, however, dishonour in deserting your friends; those who rely on you, who trust you, and to whom you have a responsibility. Those are the people of Rhodesia, who have shown clearly, through the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, what it is that they want and what it is that they trust Her Majesty's Government to do.
My Lords, sanctions have had some effect, although perhaps not so much effect as we should have wished. They have, as we all agree, at least brought Mr. Smith to the negotiating table, and have persuaded him to move farther than he had ever moved before. Without sanctions we should never have had the negotiations with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and we should never have had the Commission of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, and his colleagues. The effects are slow, but they are cumulative. They are gradually building up, and we are seeing increasingly the effect they are having, particularly in the capital structure of Rhodesia. After seven years of sanctions much of their capital equipment' is wearing out. They need new aircraft, for instance, for their internal air lines. They need new equipment for their essential industries. That they are finding it ever harder to get; they know it, and it is worrying them. What is even more important to them is that they want access to 480 the capital markets of the world; and that they are denied. These pressures building up on them have brought them to their present stage, and if continued, as they will be, will bring them still further towards a fruitful form of negotiation.
I should like to make one remark here in support of something mentioned by my noble friend on the Front Bench. We know that sanctions are being broken. We know of the glaring example of the export of chrome to the United States. I would urge upon Her Majesty's Government to use all the diplomatic persuasion and pressure of which they are capable to persuade the United States Government to fulfil their obligations in respect of sanctions. I would also urge them to look seriously at the possibility, by legal constitutional means in this country, of declaring chrome and such other commodities as are illegally exported from Rhodesia against the sanctions to which we and our friends are parties, as the property of (shall I say?) some holding body in this country, so that a payment for them must be made not to the Rhodesian companies and individuals, but to this body acting as trustees for them against such time as Rhodesia once more returns to legality.
Sanctions must be maintained. Of that I have no doubt, and most of your Lordships have no doubt. But we must do more than we are doing. It is no use simply letting the proposals lie on the table. It will be a long time before they are picked up; and if they are picked up again I believe the result will be as it has been up till now. What we must do is to work positively for a settlement. A settlement can be achieved only if there is the agreement of the Rhodesian people as a whole. As my noble friend reminded us, if we needed reminding, that means the black Rhodesians just as much as the white Rhodesians.
The report of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, demonstrated one thing above all others; namely, that the reason why the proposed settlement was rejected was not so much because of its terms, but because of the lack of confidence of the black Africans in the white Rhodesian Government. Until there is some improvement in that situation and some form of confidence is created, there is little hope of achieving a settlement that is satisfactory to us as well as to 481 them. There are various ways in which this can be achieved. It may be achieved slowly—it is bound to take a long time—but we must work towards it. One way is by certain acts of the Rhodesian Government: not big acts; not acts which go against their real philosophy, but acts which could have enormous significance. For instance, they should release Mr. and Mrs. Chinamanu and others who have been restricted because of their political views. Such an act would go some way towards creating confidence.
My Lords, while I am on the subject of those who are detained in prison—. and noble Lords will have read letters in the Press describing their conditions, which cannot give pleasure to anybody—I would remind your Lordships of the case of Mr. Garfield Todd, a former Prime Minister, a respected statesman and a fine man. It is true that he has been released from gaol with no charges made against him, but he is still detained and restricted in his movements. The effect of that restriction, which I do not think is known to many of your Lordships, is that he is allowed to move from his house, but not far enough to visit any other house, and not even far enough to travel round his own farm. He has perhaps one bright spot: the circumference which is drawn around his house and beyond which he is not allowed to go is just wide enough for him to go down to the river, where he can fish. That is the life to which this former Prime Minister of Rhodesia, this loyal Rhodesian, this fine man is condemned by this arbitrary act of the present Rhodesian Government. The removal of that restriction would in itself help to create some confidence.
A second matter, again already mentioned, is the situation of the Tangwena people. They have been evicted from their ancestral and traditional holdings: and not only that, but 110 Tangwenan children were removed from their mothers and fathers in August of this year in order to be placed, in the words of the Rhodesian Government, "in a place of safety". That kind of action cannot lead to any increase at all in confidence. But until the mistrust between black and white Rhodesians is removed there can be no possible hope of settlement; and that distrust cannot be 482 removed until there is contact between the two sides and they are able to speak.
One other thing which the Pearce Commission helped to achieve was the appearance of the African National Council. To-day, there is a body which can speak for the African people. Later on I am sure it will split into many different groups, but to-day there is that one body. Some of its leaders have been restricted; some have had their passports removed; and they are not accepted by the Rhodesian Government as being able to speak for the Africans. It is essential that the leaders of the African National Council be given full freedom to travel—to travel abroad, to come to this country, to talk to us and to other people; to travel in their own country, to speak and to write. If they speak wise things, if they speak the truth, nobody need be afraid. If they speak seditiously and incite to violence, there are laws under which they can be prosecuted. There is nothing to fear from them, only the fact that they may succeed in doing something which the present Government do not wish—
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, before the noble Lord finishes, would he allow one question? I much admire his sincerity, though I do not agree with him very much. I just wonder whether he knows where chrome comes from. If we do not get it from Rhodesia we have to get it from Russia. We cannot make our entire stock of armaments, nor can the Americans, without chrome. Unless all armaments are going to be abolished we must have chrome; so we buy this from a country which locks up its opposition, but we must not buy it from another country which locks up some of the opposition. Is that the noble Lord's philosophy?
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, that is not my philosophy. My philosophy is that as members of the United Nations, which is our greatest strength against attack in the world to-day, we must adhere to the sanctions of the United Nations. Your Lordships may laugh, but do you seriously think that we in this country, with its 55 million people, are any longer capable of defending ourselves as we did in the great days of the British Empire? Of course we cannot: do not let us fool ourselves. Her Majesty's Government, the Opposition and indeed all of us, have supported the United Nations, 483 and helped to create it, because we believe it to be the greatest force for world peace. Now the noble Lord is saying. "Let us turn our backs on it." I would say also that of course we need chrome for armaments; but does not the noble Lord know that the stockpiles in the United States to-day, with no further imports whatsoever, are sufficient for all their requirements for the next four or five years? There is no need, for defence purposes, to buy chrome from Rhodesia.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, if I may now continue, what I am suggesting is that if there is to be a settlement there must be contacts from both sides, and we must use our endeavours to promote, if not talks then at least, in the old phrase, talks about talks. This will not come simply by wishing for it. Her Majesty's Government must take the initiative and I would suggest to them that they should appoint some respected figure—there are many of them: I will not embarrass noble Lords by mentioning some of them who are already in this Chamber; and there are others outside—whose job would be primarily to do this. Of course he must not confine his activities solely to Rhodesia, because when we get down to it the key to a settlement in Rhodesia lies North and South of Rhodesia: it lies in Pretoria, in Lisbon, in Lusaka, in Dares-Salaam.
This person whom I urge Her Majesty's Government to appoint would do his best to bring the African National Council and the Rhodesian Front—openly or behind closed doors, I do not mind how—together to talk. He must also "lean upon the leaders of South Africa and Portugal (there are many ways in which he can do that, and I need not elaborate upon them), in order to get them to use their endeavours to bring about a settlement, which they wish for, particularly in South Africa, and also to "lean upon" those in Zambia, in Kenya and in Tanzania to use their influence with the leaders of the African National Council to do the same. There is not so much need to do that, because the African National Council has already announced that it is willing to meet anybody at any time in any place. In other words, my 484 Lords, Her Majesty's Government must now renounce their passive attitude of letting the proposals lie on the table and seeing what happens. They must positively work, slowly, quietly and persistently, towards bringing together the black Africans in Rhodesia and the white Africans. In so doing, they will be helped, I believe, by some wise man, respected throughout Africa, whose job it would be to achieve just this.
§ 4.56 p.m.
§ LORD O'NEILL OF THE MAINE
My Lords, I rise to support the Government in general and the Foreign Secretary in particular. Anything that anybody says in this noble House after listening to what the noble Lord, Lord Pearce, was able to say in four minutes is certainly a little superfluous, so I will try to be very brief. There are, in my view, many occasions in history when policies have been abandoned just as they were about to be successful. As the noble Baroness said in introducing this Order, it could well be that this policy, although it has appeared up to now to have been unsuccessful, will produce the possibility of talks and movement in the future. I always thought it was a mistake for the Government of the day who introduced sanctions to suggest that it would work in a matter of weeks. I was interested to hear Mr. Callaghan this morning on the B.B.C. "Today" programme more or less admitting that himself. Ever since this problem has been on our plates Sir Alec has shown great courage. In 1964 there was the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, which could well have been wrecked on the rocks of Rhodesia had it not been for the skill which he showed at that time. I personally believe—and I am not making this remark in any spirit of hostility to the gentlemen on the Front Bench, many of whom are my friends—that had Sir Alec won the Election in 1964 and had he been able to continue to negotiate with Mr. Smith, U.D.I. would not have been declared.
May I, for one moment, digress? In a very slim volume which I brought out this week, I retail my tiny little efforts which took place some five weeks before U.D.I. was declared. It so happened that Sir Humphrey Gibbs's son fell ill in Belfast, and Lady Gibbs came to stay with us. She realised, as did any intelligent person, that we were on the eve of 485 U.D.I., and I made a suggestion to her, not in a vacuum but based on previous knowledge, that if there were to be a Royal visit to Rhodesia from, I suggested, Her Majesty the Queen Mother, possibly U.D.I. would not be declared. I based that on my knowledge of the Queen Mother's very successful visit some years before that event. I am not giving away any secrets, because I retell this in my slim volume which has been published this week. I immediately contacted the Prime Minister, Mr. Harold Wilson, and put this proposition to him—not, naturally, in the name of the Governor. I wish to make it plain that Lady Gibbs said she could not speak for anybody. Nevertheless, I put this proposition in front of the Prime Minister and he gave it the most careful consideration. After a week he informed me that, on balance, they had decided that it was not possible to pursue this suggestion. Soon after that, U.D.T. was declared.
Sir Humphrey's son, when he was allowed out of hospital, spent Christmas with us. Again I made an approach, but on a slightly different angle, because by this time the Queen Mother had had a serious operation. Remembering that Dr. Malan, who formed the first Nationalist Government in South Africa, had asked the King out to recuperate, I suggested that possibly the Queen Mother might go out to Government House to recuperate. Once again this was found not to be possible. I mention this merely in passing; but—and there are so many "ifs" and "buts" in this whole unfortunate history—possibly U.D.I. might not have been declared, on both the counts of Sir Alec's personal character and courage and of the possibility of a Royal visit.
All I should like to say, in conclusion, is that once again I support the Foreign Secretary, who has had such tremendous experience in the particular field about which we are talking to-day. We cannot possibly ignore the remarks of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, who brought to our attention that in this very year we gave certain undertakings, and we should not go back on them and break our word. We should pay attention to what the noble and learned Lord had to say, and I wholeheartedly support the Government in their continuation of sanctions for at least another year.
§ 5.3 p.m.
§ LORD CARADON
My Lords, it is necessary, in dealing with a subject we have often debated before, that all of us, on both sides of the House, should endeavour to exercise restraint in what we say. I believe that decisions are to be taken now which not only are of far-reaching consequence for Rhodesia and, indeed, for Africa, but are of far-reaching consequence for the future reputation and position of this country, and for the future effectiveness of the institution of the Commonwealth, and most certainly in the relationships of this country with the United Nations. I believe that what we decide now, and the course which is now set, will affect the whole prospect of British leadership in the world in coming years. Therefore I do not feel that in having a long debate, if necessary, we are in any way shirking our responsibilities or failing in our duties.
I believe that it is very necessary that we should look at the various propositions before us, and take a decision which can, I greatly hope, enable us to escape from the hesitations, errors and failures of the past. There have been many of them, and they have not been the responsibility of one Party alone. Therefore I listened with very special attention to the speech from the noble Baroness who opened our debate. My respect for her skill, if not always for her politics, is unlimited. I thought she almost excelled herself this afternoon in the skill that she showed in dealing with a very difficult situation. There were one or two things she said which gave me encouragement.
The noble Baroness did not fail to emphasise—and it should be emphasised, especially in view of what we have heard subsequently—that we have a mandatory obligation. It is not for us to decide alone exactly what should be done. In the Security Council I had the honour of moving a resolution which was accepted unanimously and which imposed upon this country, at the institution and initiative of this country, an obligation from which we cannot be released except by a positive vote requiring nine votes of the fifteen in the Security Council. I was glad that the noble Baroness did not shirk that responsibility. It is as well that we should know and be reminded of it.
487 Secondly, and rightly, it must be admitted, she said that sanctions have done their work. I would not put it in the past; I would say they have started to do their work. Universally it is accepted in the Press—even in the Press of South Africa and, indeed, Rhodesia—that sanctions are having an increasing effect. The net is closing, and this is not disputed. I am glad that the noble Baroness should have said so herself. I am glad that she proposed to us that sanctions should be renewed for a year. That is what we are considering. I say that particularly in view of what we read in the newspapers yesterday that there was some suggestion that the matter might be reviewed in July. We are considering the continuation of sanctions for a year.
The noble Baroness said that it is the purpose and policy of the Government, as it has been stated elsewhere, to make existing sanctions more effective, and it is of that policy that I wish to speak for a short while this evening. I was glad that the noble Baroness emphasised that we have a British responsibility. Indeed, we have an international responsibility; but primarily it has been claimed—I have claimed repeatedly on behalf of this country in the United Nations—that we have a primary responsibility. We cannot shirk it: we cannot run away from it. As I listened to the speech of the noble Baroness, I remembered from my school days the quotation from Edmund Burke:Tyranny is a weed which grows in every soil,Freedom they can have from none but you.That is indeed the situation which we face in this Parliament—the freedom they can have from none but us. It should be our pride as well as our obligation to see that we do our duty.
Since I speak in favour of the necessity of restraint, I think it is important that we should not be provoked by statements from the other side of the House which normally we should not wish to pass, statements which are insulting to the African peoples generally. Normally we would wish to react to them because someone should be here in this House to speak on behalf of the peoples of Africa and not only on behalf of Rhodesians. Rhodesians are referred to as if only white Rhodesians counted. Therefore I would not wish to be provoked to deal 488 with the insulting comments that have been made in relation to the African peoples, except to repeat that you do not justify the perpetuation of a greater evil in South Africa by the evil which we know exists to-day in Uganda. If we need any quotation at all to support what I say about the great dangers of the situation and the importance of what we are dealing with, I quote Sir Alec Douglas-Home when he was Prime Minister. He said:I believe the greatest danger ahead of us is that the world might be divided on racial lines. I see no other danger, not even the nuclear bomb, which could be so catastrophic as that.I agree with him. We are dealing here with one of the great racial issues of the world and it is well that we should realise its immense importance. People who speak to us in such insulting terms about Africans are those who have been silent to condone and to approve the actions South of the Zambesi, some of them of such cruelty, such callousness, that we on this side cannot be silent when we see these things happening. A day or two ago I saw a film in these premises which gave the illustration of Africans being taken out into the desert and being dumped like rats without shelter or without sustenance. No word of protest comes from the other side of the House when we hear of those things. It is only when it is an accusation against Africans that we hear the sort of speeches we have heard already this evening.
My Lords, I apologise for interrupting the noble Lord. I am following him closely and with at least some of his remarks I find myself in very full agreement. But I must say to the noble Lord that I have listened to the whole debate this afternoon. I have listened to my noble friends. Some of my noble friends who have spoken hold different views from those I hold on this issue. But I cannot in all conscience say that they have been insulting towards black Africa.
§ LORD CARADON
My Lords, I am glad to accept what the noble Earl the Leader of the House says, and if I have exaggerated what I took as an insult then I very gladly withdraw.
I go on to say that there are, as has been pointed out, some encouraging in 489 stances of developments which we must welcome. We have first the fact that the Constitution proposed for Rhodesia no longer need be considered. The kindest thing, perhaps, we can say about the Goodman Constitution was that it was a miscarriage. It would have divided, degraded, disenfranchised the majority of the people of Rhodesia indefinitely, for ever, permanently. At any rate, it is good that that Constitution no longer need be considered. We also know that the attempts to turn the resounding "No" into a "Yes" have utterly failed, and I am sure they will. It is good to know that sanctions are having increasing effect. It is good to know that there is a realisation, I believe an increasing realisation, on all sides that there can be a satisfactory settlement only by agreement. We also know very well that agreement and persecution are not purposes which can go ahead at the same time. And persecution, we have ample evidence, continues.
However, if I have offended against my own rule of seeking to speak with restraint, I gladly proceed now to speak, if I may, entirely constructively. As we know, there are three possible policies. We have known this all along and it is clearer than ever now that there are three possible policies in regard to Southern Africa generally—not only South Africa and Portuguese territories and South-West Africa and Rhodesia. The first policy is a policy of appeasement; that we should go to those in authority and say, "We will agree with you. Whatever you say we will accept. The justification we will put forward is that we couldn't get anything better" This is one policy. The second policy is one of violence. I have never supported it. Certainly I admire men who are prepared to go out and give their lives for the freedom of their country, and I will speak no word against them. But I believe there is a peaceful alternative, and it is our duty to work for it. It is that conviction which makes me speak with the strongest of feeling because I foresee that the violence which will occur if we fail in this effort together is something which is beyond all description.
I noted particularly what President Nyerere to say about guerrilla warfare. He said:Guerrilla war is brutal, horrible and destructive to innocent and guilty, victim and 490 oppressor alike. We must do our utmost to avoid it.I am sure he is right. If through the whole of Southern Africa there is to be a resort to violence, as is not tar away, I fear, then the consequences to the whole of Africa, and indeed the whole world, are beyond imagination. We must therefore work for the third policy, which we have been advocating for some years past. The third policy is mounting pressure on the régimes South of the Zambesi. Mounting pressure for what purpose? For one purpose. For African consultation; African participation. It is not for us to tell the Africans exactly how they should proceed to their full democratic system. Not at all. They can work it out for themselves. It is not for us to tell them even the timetable. Let them say what they wish. But they cannot be left out. They must participate. That is all they ask.
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, might I ask the noble Lord a question with regard to the last sentence? He said he considered it was for the Africans to work out what they wanted for themselves. Does he admit that he himself was a sponsor of a campaign known as the Justice for Rhodesia Campaign, he being a sponsor and the right reverend Trevor Huddleston the other sponsor, after the agreement which was reached between the British Government and Mr. Smith? May I ask him what was the object of his Justice for Rhodesia Campaign if, as he said, it is purely for the African?
§ LORD CARADON
My Lords, I have often spoken for the Justice for Rhodesia Campaign. I am doing so now. We believe that there should be mounting pressure for African participation. That is what we have said; that is what Bishop Muzorewa says; that is what the Africans are saying. That is what we demand and they demand. There can be no other satisfactory answer to people who merely ask that they should have some say in the future of their country. This is what we have been advocating: it is what I have been advocating within this House and outside it. We therefore urge that there should be mounting pressure for African participation.
Now I come to a specific proposal. I have had experience for some ten years of working in and for the United Nations. I have experience of the futilities and 491 the failures which there exist. I know the reasons why the sanctions policy adopted at our initiative in the United Nations has not been more successful. The Security Council sits as a Sanctions Committee once every few months. The members of the Committee have a hundred other matters on their minds, urgent questions of international affairs. They meet occasionally and then, after a short meeting, adjourn for another few months. There is a diversity of responsibility in the Secretariat itself. Many Governments are concerned; many legal complications exist. The fact is that there is no leadership, there is no coherence, there is no drive in dealing with the carrying out of this sanctions policy.
We have heard many suggestions put forward here to-night, and some of them are excellent. The African Bureau has done an admirable task, in my opinion, in carrying out a most thorough examination. I do not say that everything in their recommendations could be supported, but it is a very serious attempt. I am glad they are doing what I think this Government might have been doing. But the proposals exist. What we shall need now is someone who can take hold of this problem, give leadership to it. unity; and therefore I have a specific recommendation to make. Let there be a commissioner for United Nations sanctions, appointed by the United Nations and responsible to the Security Council. Let him give his whole mind, with an adequate staff of course, to sealing the loopholes, dealing with the evasions, proposing methods for improved execution of the sanctions policy, which all of us recognise has not been satisfactory so far.
I have taken the trouble to list, and I ask your Lordships' indulgence to allow me to suggest, what the terms of the mandate to such a United Nations commissioner might be. They are: (1) to coordinate all existing action under Security Council sanctions and resolutions; (2) to give publicity to breaches and evasions and to make representations to Governments concerned; (3) to consider, encourage and initiate proposals for making Security Council sanctions more effective and, where necessary, to make recommendations to the Security Council for further action or additional authority; (4) to prepare the plan of action accord 492 ingly and to report every two months to the Sanctions Committee of the Security Council on action taken and new recommendations for the future; (5) generally to assume responsibility and leadership in positive action to achieve the purposes approved and authorised by the Security Council.
My Lords, I have two things that I wish to say. I believe it is now for us to decide whether there shall be a policy of drift, without any particular purpose in mind, ashamed to go back, afraid to go forward. I believe that, both Parties having accepted a policy, it should be our purpose, as the noble Baroness told us earlier to-day, to make it effective. I believe that the proposal I have made is entirely in that direction, and I cannot imagine that it would not be supported. I am certainly not asking for a snap decision to be given across this noble House on a proposal which I have just made, but I would most urgently ask that this proposal should be considered. hope that it will be put forward by the Government in the United Nations: and if not that, then I hope it will be supported when it is put forward, as I am sure it will be, by others.
In conclusion, I wish to stress once more the danger and the urgency of the matter. I recently had the great honour of being asked by the people of Namibia to go and help them, and I am proud to do so. I do not think there will be many more opportunities for that sort of dialogue and assistance between and black people. In different parts of the world we see a dangerous situation developing. when it will become increasingly difficult to have any understanding or cooperation between the peoples of the different races. There is not much time. Therefore I feel, with the strongest possible feelings, that our obligation in this Parliament at this time is to show that we honour the obligation which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, has preferred, and I should like to pay my respect to the noble and learned Lord and to the noble Lord, Lord Harlech, and those who worked with them, for having so signally restored the reputation of this country in Africa.
§ 5.24 p.m.
§ LORD GRIMSTON OF WESTBURY
My Lords, the noble Lord who has just spoken started his speech by saying that 493 he was going to be restrained, and I should like to congratulate him on being—after he had received a little assistance from my noble friend Lord Jellicoe—restrained. The noble Lord, Lord Caradon, referred to British leadership in the world at the present time, and the thing that troubles me at the moment is that Britain is clinging to a policy which is so riddled with hypocrisy; I refer to the policy of sanctions. I am one of those who believes that it is time sanctions were brought to an end, even for that reason only, and I will expand on that point briefly.
We have had sanctions for seven years, and during that time they have not succeeded in their original object of bringing the Smith régime to its knees. In fact the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, quite freely acknowledged that fact, and he went on to make suggestions for strengthening sanctions through the United Nations. I disagree with that proposal, but I will not follow the point at the moment. Sanctions have not succeeded in bringing the Smith régime to its knees, and they never will. What they probably have done is to strengthen the Smith régime. It is well known all over the world that sanctions are honoured more in the breach than in the observance, and even the United States of America, without which the United Nations would not get very far, financially or otherwise, have themselves passed special legislation to breach sanctions; and we all know that many other African States have also breached sanctions. It has been acknowledged by some that Zambia has to break sanctions in order to live.
§ LORD CARADON
My Lords, may I say that Zambia, at great cost and great disadvantage to its own economy, has made marked reductions in its imports from the South and from Rhodesia, and has indeed suffered in this respect more than any other single country.
§ LORD CARADON
Not at all, my Lords. Zambia has gone to the United Nations and pointed out that in certain respects, owing to communications difficulties, it is impossible to obtain its supplies from other sources and therefore it has received the understanding and the 494 approval and admiration of the United Nations in the action it has taken.
§ LORD GRIMSTON OF WESTBURY
My Lords, it may have got that, but in fact that is one of the absurdities and nonsenses which is a good illustration of what I was saying. It illustrates the humbug and hypocrisy—
§ LORD CARADON
My Lords, I will not interrupt again, but to say that it is humbug for a country, at a cost to its own economy and at considerable sacrifice, to reduce imports, with the full understanding and approval of those who passed the original resolution, is not right. It is not humbug; it is sacrifice.
§ LORD GRIMSTON OF WESTBURY
My Lords, it is humbug on the part of the United Nations anyway to operate these mandatory sanctions which are supposed to be in force and then to give a let-out to a country which says, "We must have a let-out, otherwise we cannot live." Of course this is hypocrisy.
As I was saying, the fact that Britain is clinging to this policy which is surrounded by hypocrisy and humbug is one of the worst things about it. Much has been said—and I would entirely agree—to the effect that black and white living in Rhodesia have to settle their own problems. We do not live there, and it is wrong for us to say that we can impose a settlement on South Africa, or anywhere South of the Zambesi, on the people who live there, many of whom were born there. They have to sort out their problems for themselves. But the noble Lord was saying that he approves of the policy of bringing intense pressure South of the Zambesi to force the white population to let the Africans participate. Of course it does not appear to them like that. It appears that they are being forced in the end to accept majority rule, and they know what that means; they have seen it happening in other parts of Africa and they will not accept majority rule. The pressures have always been brought South of the Zambesi. and similar things done North of the Zambesi are never condemned by the people who are bringing those pressures South of the Zambesi. Black and white living in Rhodesia must settle their own problems, and I believe that if the blacks were not continually looking over their shoulders at sanctions, 495 which hold out a false promise, there would be more likelihood of their participation.
§ THE EARL OF ONSLOW
My Lords, would the noble Lord explain why the Africans specifically requested that sanctions should continue, and that the Pearce Commission supported this?
§ LORD GRIMSTON OF WESTBURY
Probably, my Lords, because they are misled and they think that sanctions can have an effect, while we know they cannot. That is another thing which illustrates my point. As I was saying, I believe that if they were not encouraged to look to sanctions to produce for them something which we know sanctions cannot produce, there would be more likely to be what my noble friend called the growing spirit of compromise. That would be the effect of removing sanctions rather than doing the opposite. Many may not agree with me, but that is my view.
I promised to be brief, and I will not detain your Lordships. I hope I have made clear my feeling that it is particularly distasteful to find Britain maintaining a policy which is so much surrounded by false promise, false assumptions and hypocrisy. I find it humiliating that Britain should be clinging to a policy of that nature. For that reason alone I shall feel forced to vote against the Order.
§ 5.31 p.m.
§ LORD BOYLE OF HANDSWORTH
My Lords, I apologise sincerely for the fact that, owing to a conference, I was late for the beginning of this debate and therefore, to my great regret, missed the speech of my noble friend Lady Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie. She will know how much I regret missing her remarks. I also just missed what it is obvious, from what I have heard from all sides since arriving in the Chamber, was a quite outstanding contribution from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce.
I have been concerned to speak in this debate for a few minutes to give three reasons why, for my part, I regard the Government's decision to continue with sanctions for a further year not as evidence of hypocrisy but as the only wise and right course they could have taken. 496 First, I endorse what I understand was the clearly expressed view of the noble Lord, Lord Pearce: that for the Government not to have continued with sanctions for a further year, so soon after the appearance of the Report, would have been not only unjustified but dishonourable and would have amounted to the breaking of a promise.
§ LORD GRIMSTON OF WESTBURY
My Lords, did my noble friend hear the reply of the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale?
§ LORD BOYLE OF HANDSWORTH
I did, my Lords, and I intend later in my remarks to refer to it. I simply wish at this stage to add to what I have said about the noble Lord, Lord Pearce, that I believe this to have been one of the finest Reports I have read. However much we may regret the circumstances, it is in my view one of the finest pieces of work of its kind that has been presented to Parliament since the war. I entirely endorse what has been said about the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, my noble friend Lord Harlech and the others who served on that Commission, and I should be most unhappy for us to appear to breach the good faith which everybody accepted when that Report was published, and when the inevitable consequences followed.
Secondly, I ask your Lordships to consider this crucial question: what is this issue fundamentally about this afternoon? Frankly, I am not a supporter of "No independence before majority rule." I have never expected African majority rule to come to-morrow, or even in a year or two. Nevertheless, I strongly feel that African majority rule must come, at least in my lifetime, and in this context I would say something which touches on the essential point of the Pearce Report namely, that the Pearce Commission made it clear that the mistrust was not just of the precise proposals but was of the whole attitude of the Smith régime.
In this context I cannot help recalling what I believe to have been one of the wisest comments about politics made in recent years, when the distinguished Professor Sir Isiah Berlin said:Political wisdom must consist in always trying to narrow the gap between the value which men and women put on their own 497 personalities and the value put on their personalities by the society within which they live.Here we have the crucial point. With respect to my noble friend Lord Grimston, it is no good trying to dismiss this point by reference to Africans' being misled. I have no doubt that Africans in Rhodesia simply do not believe that the Smith régime is trying to narrow that gap, and this is something we have to take as an essential factor in the situation.
The noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, to whose speech I listened with close attention, felt we had to recognise that we had lost the battle. I am not absolutely convinced of that. I understand that the noble Baroness referred to this matter in her remarks. One heard that the Smith régime was a little more inclined to make further concessions, as it were, just past the twelfth hour when the negotiations were reaching a conclusion. I do not think we shall have continuous progress, but I do not believe it is impossible, even now, that we may find that there is something worth while to play for. But even if I am proved wrong about that, and even if I felt that it was overwhelmingly probable that we would lose this battle, I should still feel it right not to accept final defeat at this precise moment. There are times when it is right to carry on as it were a rearguard action rather longer and to say that final recognition of the loss of the battle has not come yet. I say that not only for the reasons I have given but for two others. First, I cannot help thinking in this debate of the generations of service given by British people in Central Africa. I cannot help thinking of the work of missionaries and of friends one has known personally who have given their lives to improving conditions in Central Africa. We should have them very much in mind this afternoon before we too easily accept the conclusion that the battle is finally lost.
Secondly, looking forward, we must bear in mind the future of the Commonwealth. I am one of those who fully accept that, whatever doubts one may have had about the E.E.C. decision, this is something now decided by Parliament as decisively as anything could be. I still hope that we shall not make the mistake of imagining that the Commonwealth is no longer an institution of significance. Many Colonial Secretaries 498 of the past (I include among them Mr. Macleod and Mr. Maudling) helped to save many parts of Africa for the Commonwealth, and we must look at this question in that context.
Thirdly, I make a brief reference to opinion at home because this, too, should not be disregarded altogether. Opinion in Britain to-day is genuinely divided on a number of issues and in rather an unfamiliar way. I agree with an article in the Economist last week which suggested that a number of members of the professional classes in this country, not all of them members of the Labour Party, are moving a little in a Left Wing direction, whilst, equally, there are many wage earners who are moving in a Right Wing direction. This situation needs to be handled, politically, with skill and wisdom and Governments must understand sympathetically both these points of view. Frankly, I believe that this would have been an extremely bad issue on which to affront many of those, including a number of younger Conservatives, who spoke up bravely for the present Government at the most recent Party Conference. I say deliberately "would have been" because I never dreamt for a moment that this would happen.
I have one constructive suggestion to make for the future—though I do not know whether other noble Lords have raised this point. I have always wondered whether even now there was not some possibility of exerting pressure for progress in Rhodesia in the sphere of education. I have always hoped that it might be possible to urge, as part of any settlement, for some increasing of opportunity in secondary and higher education, so that one automatically got more voters on to the A roll. This is a point which the Government ought surely to press, because there is no doubt that the necessary administrative strength is there, if only the political decision can be taken. I have spoken to visiting Rhodesian officials, responsible for education, about this. Furthermore, the Government in Britain have always made known their readiness to help on the financial side.
My Lords, all I would wish to say finally is that this is one of those occasions when the wise course coincides with the honourable course. I have absolutely no doubt that the right course for this 499 House to-night is to support the Foreign Secretary and support the Government, and I hope that the majority will be as large as possible, because I am certain that the policy of the Government is the only wise and honourable course for this nation to pursue.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF ONSLOW
My Lords, I, too, must apologise to the House for not being here for a short time this afternoon owing to another engagement. The Parliaments and the peoples of this Realm have certain standards. Those standards are the standards of liberty, of opportunity and of equality before the law. They have also a loyalty to the Crown as a repository of these liberties and freedoms. The Government of Rhodesia as presently constituted does not believe in any of those virtues. The supporters of the Rhodesian Government among my noble friends on this side of the House I am sure quite sincerely believe that the Rhodesian Government acts in the best interests of Rhodesia, even though it is a Government more in the tradition of the Romanovs than of the Windsors.
My Lords, let us examine this proposition. Rhodesia has a population of approximately 4½ million people, and 225,000 of these are white settler stock. They have contributed enormously to the development of that country: they provide most of the drive and most of the initiative; they have cleared the bush and created great enterprises. All this achievement, great as it is, must be preserved and expanded. Unfortunately, however, the mental process of these white settlers is cemented into an attitude of mind of the 1930s. The African outlook, on the contrary, has advanced and changed. To achieve the objective of peace in Rhodesia and its continuous prosperity, my noble friends in all parts of this side of the House—and perhaps I may be bold enough to speak for the people on the opposite side—all agree that there must be peace between all races. That means that the Europeans must come to terms with the Africans.
In Rhodesia a very responsible and liberal African National Congress has emerged, whose leader, Bishop Muzorewa, is well respected in Parliament, as well 500 as by a large section of the white community over there. I know that several noble Lords will start quoting Biafra and General Amin, and General Bokassa and the war in the Congo, as arguments for supporting Smith. That seems to me to be a totally illogical-thesis: because Bucharest City Council is dominated by Russian bayonets it does not follow that Edinburgh Castle is garrisoned by Cossacks. Lagos is as far from Salisbury as Bucharest is from Edinburgh. The fact that one over-promoted Askari sergeant pushes Asians around, either to England or into the countryside of Uganda, is not an excuse for an over-promoted flying officer in a state of rebellion to push the Tangwena Africans off their tribal lands.
Sanctions brought Ian Smith to the negotiating table last year. The threat of them in various degrees brought him to "Tiger" and "Fearless". The Africans rejected Pearce and the Goodman-Home proposals thereby exercising their undoubted right under the Fifth Principle, which is, in my view, far and away the most important of all the five principles laid down by separate Governments. Without an agreement there certainly will be a blood bath, and, as has been said of another river in another context, the Zambesi will run with blood. With an agreement there could still possibly be one, but there will at least be hope. This is not a happy prospect for Rhodesia, but sanctions are applying pressure to come to agreement, a slow and steady pressure, and therefore they must be, as the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, has suggested, hardened so that we may possibly reach a mutually acceptable agreement of some kind which will be of benefit to all Rhodesians. My Lords, I hope sincerely that we shall vote as the noble Lord, Lord Boyle of Handsworth, has said, massively for the reimposition of sanctions for the sake of Rhodesia and, perhaps even more importantly, for the sake of our own honour and our own traditions.
§ 5.46 p.m.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, over the past years we have had so many debates and speeches on this subject of Rhodesia and sanctions that I shall try to avoid from any repetition of merits and demerits. But it is very difficult not to refer to some of the previous speeches 501 even though one aims to restrain oneself by regarding the clock. Undoubtedly, to start with, this subject on which we are talking had come about through the ill-judgment of Mr. Wilson when he was Prime Minister in throwing it into the United Nations. Had it not been for the United Nations, surely our historical ability to deal with administrations of overseas countries would have produced a settlement long before now. If I refer to previous speeches, it would be natural that I should refer to my noble friend Lord Onslow who, I suspect, has a great dislike of U.D.I. I shall return to that later.
The noble Lord, Lord Caradon, on one of his infrequent appearances in this House, dealt at length with the United Nations aspect. I have already said that I have little respect for the United Nations being implicated, but the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, with his knowledge and long experience of the United Nations, gave us in rather extravagant language an idea of what may come from insufficient respect for the United Nations. Yet in spite of his great persuasiveness he has not succeeded in correcting arrears of some 40 countries nor the indebtedness which, so far as I can remember, at the last count was of the order of 70 million dollars.
May I refer now to the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Walston, to whom I always listen with attention? The noble Lord referred to Lord Goodman, who had such an important part in this affair. Surely his recommendation should have been followed that the Pearce exercise should have been to learn what was best for the country as a whole. On the Pearce Report, should we be convinced, on any subject in the world, by a 5 per cent. sample? Not myself. Lord Walston made three points. The first I have just referred to. Then, on lack of capital investment, that Rhodesia was feeling discomfort. Thirdly, that there was lack of foreign investment; but surely a number of developing countries feel this. Surely an inexperienced Government would be unlikely to convince the money markets of the world. The noble Lord referred to Russia. Surely, if we dislike some Governments in Africa we dislike the oppression of Russia still more.
502 An agreed settlement lies on the table. But for how long? Already seven years have elapsed. Are another seven years to pass? Had our forebears not had more sense than our present rulers the rebellious American colonies might have been in that condition into the following century. What are sanctions really supposed to bring about in the near run? Many speakers have referred to a change of Government. Any change of Government in Rhodesia will be more to the Right; everybody is agreed on that. Wreck the economy? For some that is what sanctions are intended to do. That would produce unemployment and a worse situation for the Africans we are aiming to help. Or a military solution? Britain has renounced that course. Rhodesia has the capability to resist it from any other source. Can we, of British stock, who survived the German pressure, who have seen the recent inhumanities of the ruthless Ugandan dictator, really believe that we would be willing to put ourselves under an untutored and unready black rule? Uganda has flouted the intention for Western constitutional rule on which independence was granted.
Surely this delay in putting into effect a settlement, for which we admire the Foreign Secretary's skill and patience, only delays giving to the Africans the too modest sum promised for education, though we were very grateful to hear from my noble friend Lady Tweedsmuir the prospect that additional sums are to be made available now for education. But surely the agreement offered that forthwith! The Africans now are being denied it. I say this particularly because the need is for African education, the raising of African agriculture from subsistence level to cash crops. And let us remember, two-thirds of the population of Rhodesia depend on rural pursuits. I myself have taken the trouble when there to learn what is being done at the present moment, with devoted service, by white and black officials, for the improvement of agricultural education of the Africans. I wonder how many noble Lords who perhaps intend to vote tonight for continuing sanctions have taken the trouble themselves to go and see how important it is to help an agricultural country like Rhodesia.
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Lord, may I point out that one half of all the agricultural land in Rhodesia is occupied by five million blacks and one half by 250.000 whites. This is done under the Land Tenure Act, and the land the blacks occupy is the worst kind of agricultural land.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, I respect the noble Baroness, but her observation is singularly strong support for my argument, to raise agriculture from subsistence level to cash crops.
My Lords, recently, at the time of the German visit, I passed Buckingham Palace, and I saw down the Mall that vista of the German flag and the Union Jack. I reflected on how many of my friends were killed in two world wars, and then I reflected on the five to six million civilians who were brutally exterminated. Compassionate forgiveness has its merits. But remember, under the Union Jack these Rhodesians served and died with our boys. To my noble friend Lord Onslow I would say that the declaration of independence does not merit absence of compassion towards the Rhodesians, if we were prepared to give it to the Germans after such hideous crimes. We are asked to continue economic warfare, to destroy the economy of Rhodesia. Economic warfare, subversive warfare, military warfare are all equally warfare, and that, it is suggested, should continue.
Theirs is an independence morally implied at the Victoria Conference and at many other conferences. Since 1923 there has been 50 years of orderly government; first, under the white Commonwealth with Great Britain at its head, and then under independence. It is one thing to make demands from 6.000 miles away in the comfortable tolerance of Westminster, but quite another thing to accept them under the immediate shadow of a Continent-wide holocaust of misrule. As has been said by previous speakers, the future of Rhodesia must, and will, be settled in Rhodesia by the Rhodesians themselves. The noble Baroness herself admitted yesterday that we have no authority to impose our will on Rhodesia except, perhaps, by adopting the cruelty of trying to destroy their economy. Many 504 people question whether that is a moral procedure.
As an orthodox Conservative I am confident that the majority of Conservative voters in this country would like to see sanctions dropped. Any Government can always find reasons for any policy that they advocate, but the Government are coming to the House to ask us to support a policy which is against the wishes and views of the majority of Conservatives. I appeal to my noble Leader when he comes to speak, in concentrated words, just to tell us what it is intended in the near-run shall be accomplished by sanctions; also how long must the period of reflection remain in being. In spite of all that has been said, I must on logic and common sense go into the "Not-Content" Lobby.
§ 6.4 p.m.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, I am glad to be following the noble Lord, Lord Barnby, in his speech. I think he is older than I am, but I envy the vigour, the clarity, and the depth of feeling with which he speaks. This debate has been repetitive, but it has had the value that it has been a debate. One does not have to begin one's speech by merely a courteous acknowledgement of what a previous speaker has said, but instead one can deal with his arguments in sequence.
There have been three main reasons which the opponents of sanctions have put forward for their attitude. The first—though it has been less expressed today in this House than it was in the letter to The Times by the 83—has been that in fact sanctions harm the indigenous population of Africa more than they do the white minority. Over the past decade I think one of the extraordinary facts in our relationship with the peoples of Africa and Asia has been that they were prepared to accept economic suffering for the realisation of their human equality; and that is now being expressed in Rhodesia. It was expressed in the Commission over which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, presided. And how moved we were by the speech which he gave here to-day! That Commission reported that the indigenous Africans were prepared to pay in their own worse conditions for their right of equality. This has been reflected in the speech of 505 Bishop Muzorewa, chairman of the African National Council, at the United Nations Security Council in February, where he actually called for an intensification of sanctions.
The second ground for opposition which has been emphasised by the noble Lord, Lord Barnby, is that in other African territories—and particularly in Uganda—the consequences of African self-government have been, despite all their claims, repression, inequality and racial antagonism. I make two comments upon that. The first is that anyone who has studied history must recognise that in the similar period when Europe was passing from empires to nation-States there were greater outrages, greater persecutions, and greater violence than there has been in Africa when it has been passing through this stage. Secondly, I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Barnby, and his friends that when they condemn, as we must all condemn, the racialism in Uganda they must look in contrast to what has happened in Kenya, in Tanzania, and in Zambia. In the circumstances of those territories, their stand for racial equality is something that we should all admire.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord? Would he assert that true constitutional government, as was intended on granting independence, has continued in many African countries, including those which he himself named?
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, I do not propose to enter into that in detail, but I think it a great mistake if we assume that the Westminster model of democracy must necessarily be adopted in all African and Asian countries in different circumstances. Even in the one-Party States, particularly in Tanzania and Zambia, an amazing degree of democracy is allowed, with Opposition candidates standing in their elections. The last word on this matter has already been quoted by my noble friend Lady Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, who quoted from Mr. Dingle Foot in The Times of yesterday—this remarkable Foot family! He asked:…why should racialist persecution in Kampala be held to excuse racialist persecution in Salisbury?Nothing need be said after that.
506 The third argument that has been put forward by those who are urging the end of sanctions is that they have been ineffective. On the economic side, the expanding deficiency in the balance of payments in Rhodesia, the decimation of its tobacco industry, the severe restriction of its sugar industry, the shortage of heavy machinery not only affecting tractors for agriculture but making their railway service undependable, and, above all, the fact that they have been cut off from the world money market, thus creating a chronic shortage of foreign exchange, show that sanctions have been increasingly effective.
One can add to these economic facts two political facts: first, that sanctions have influenced the Smith régime on three separate occasions to enter into discussions with the British Government—and, indeed, if the leaks from Salisbury are now to be believed, similar pressures are now being exerted: and, secondly, that sanctions have modified the tendency in Rhodesia towards apartheid. If any evidence were needed of that, it is in the statement of Mr. Ian Smith at the Rhodesia Front Congress in September when he admitted to the Press that he had opposed demands at that Congress for the immediate introduction of segregationist measures, because of the shortage of foreign exchange and the lack of external investment.
I go on to say this at once. Despite the effectiveness of sanctions in these ways, we cannot be content with the fact that over seven years they have not succeeded in overthrowing the illegal administration in Rhodesia. But I say this to the House. The answer is not to withdraw sanctions; it is to make them globally effective. At this point I recognise that those of us who urge the continuance of sanctions have the duty to put forward methods to deal with their loopholes and with the evasions. I want here to acknowledge the research work which has been done by the African Bureau on this subject. I want to acknowledge what has been put forward in Alan Baldwin's pamphlet, published by the "Justice for Rhodesia" campaign. I want to acknowledge what has been done by the Anti-Apartheid Movement and by Liberation—formerly, the Movement for Colonial Freedom. Many of the proposals which I shall put forward are not of 507 my own initiative, but are because they have made those contributions.
I want to suggest something which may seem to be very drastic. The goods which are now imported into Rhodesia, except those for humanitarian purposes, are black market goods. They are a challenge to the law of this country. They are contravening the decisions of our own Parliament and of the Security Council of the United Nations. I suggest that our Government should establish in law her sovereignty over goods which are imported into Rhodesia and exported from Rhodesia in contravention of the decisions of our Parliament; and, having done that in law, they should take every opportunity to sue for their recovery.
The Security Council of the United Nations will be meeting in January, and I make a number of suggestions which I would urge Her Majesty's Government to press upon the Security Council. The first is endorsement of the proposal which was made by the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, of the appointment of a High Commissioner to supervise the effective operation of sanctions. If there is sincerity in the United Nations' decision, it must be followed not merely by someone who is responsible for supervision, but by a staff and a secretariat who are capable of carrying it out.
The greatest contraventions of sanctions are through South Africa and Portuguese-occupied Mozambique. For other reasons than Rhodesia, I should like to see sanctions exerted against those countries as well, but I recognise that that is politically impossible. But what is politically possible—and it should be put forward to the Security Council—is that the blockade of Beira should be extended from oil to all goods which are in contravention of the present sanction decisions, and that blockade should be carried out not by British forces alone but jointly with other nations authorised by the United Nations. In addition, I suggest that it is quite inadequate that we should have this partial blockade of Beira without a blockade of Lourenco Marques. which is also in Mozambique. I would suggest to the Government that to enable such a blockade to take place there should be discussions with the new Government in Malagasy, which I think would be sympathetic to co-operation.
508 The next suggestion which I ask should be submitted to the Security Council is that. by United Nations experts, there should be tests of goods from Rhodesia, through South Africa and Mozambique, at ports of arrival. This would be comparatively simple, because those goods are mostly minerals and tobacco, which are easy to detect. Next, my Lords, I suggest that sales contracts and insurance policies within the jurisdiction of member States should be required to include clauses forbidding the resale to Rhodesia or the re-export of Rhodesian goods. I follow that up with the suggestion that communications to Rhodesia should be cut—post, cables, telephone and air services—and I make an appeal to trade union organisations in this country to discourage their members from migrating to Rhodesia in present circumstances.
My Lords, I think African nations also have some responsibility. They should discriminate against known sanction-breaking countries and companies, as proposed by Julius Nyerere at the recent Rabat conference of the O.A.U.; and I should like to see all member States enacting legislation making sanction-breaking a criminal offence, as it is in Britain. This would affect shipping companies and agents as well as private companies. This is a whole series of quite practical proposals which could be put before the Security Council if this Government are sincere in making sanctions effective.
I conclude by saying this. I was a little disturbed by the report which appeared in the Press of the speech which Sir Alec Douglas-Home apparently delivered to the Bank-Benchers of his Party in the House of Commons. He indicated that, if they supported sanctions now, in July there might be some revision; and he also indicated that Britain could not maintain its sanctions if other member States of the United Nations broke them. That, as least, is the report which appeared in The Times and in other newspapers. Instead of that, I am urging that Her Majesty's Government should take the initiative in the Security Council to ensure that others do not break sanctions any more than we do.
In the speech which the noble Baroness delivered, and which I greatly appreciated, she indicated that a solution to this prob 509 lem must be found by agreement within Rhodesia itself; and her advocacy was supported by our Front Bench. Surely the way to achieve this is the proposal that a Constitutional Conference should be held in Rhodesia, representative of all peoples, of all Parties and of all points of view, to work out a future Constitution for that country. It would be necessary, if such a Conference were called, that those who are now detained and imprisoned, many of them having been detained for seven years (some of them my very close friends—men of integrity and human passion) should be released, so that the indigenous African leaders as well as European representatives would have the opportunity to decide the future of their country.
§ 6.25 p.m.
§ LORD MACLEOD OF FUINARY
My Lords, I have twice been in Southern Rhodesia, but as both occasions were before U.D.I. I do not intend to say much in that regard. These issues have been canvassed, rightly, on both sides by those with much more up-to-date authority to speak. Why, then, speak at all, when so many noble Lords are wishing to speak? Because, against the wider background, it seems to me essential that sanctions be retained. I therefore beg your Lordships' patience if at the outset I seem to be rather wide-ranging. For the sake of brevity I am bound to be telegraphic, which is always dangerous; and I am using quotations for the sake of accuracy. What, then, brings me to my feet? Primarily, it happens to be that for the last six months I have been addressing no fewer than 12 universities, not in a formal sense but speaking with them in a very colloquial sense, in casual comment, saying much more than I have said in discussion. These universities have been in Australia and in the United States, in England and in Scotland. Your Lordships may say that there is nothing significant about that, save that I suddenly became cumulatively aware that all were saying the same thing at one point in the conversation; namely, that they were all losing interest in democratic processes of any kind because the real power behind the throne, or the real power behind the presidencies, is not democratic legislatures any more but 510 international cartels and banking complexes.
For brevity, let these quotations stand. Napoleon said:When a Government is dependent for money on banking, the bankers and not the leaders of the Government control the situation. Money has no motherland. Financiers are without patriotism. Their sole object is gainOr, a little more up to date, Nathan Rothschild said:Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation and I care not who makes its laws ".Or, to come to 1970, there is Caboro Basa, about which we all know, at Mozambique, bordering on the edge of Rhodesia. The dam that is being erected there is to "make the desert blossom as the rose in order that tens of thousands of Portuguese whites can come out and further exacerbate the colour situation, where 24,000 Africans have been put off their ancestral lands and where 83,000 Africans have been put into large villages, fortified settlements such as you find in Vietnam. When it was discovered that Barclays Bank was putting up a good deal of the money for this purpose, on January 14, 1970, the students went to the annual meeting and protested to the chairman of D.C.O., and he replied to them, after the meeting:It is time people realised that the trade of this world is so entwined that if you were to cut yourself off for matters of principle there would be no world trade".In the original Gaelic, that simply means that where property is concerned, to hell with principle!
There are some political historians who will be saying to me, "But has that not always been so?" I personally believe that it always has been so, but what people do not realise is that it has now come from the schools down to the market place, and everybody now knows it in these terms. I think the most significant thing that happened in the recent Presidential Election in the United States was that 46 per cent. of the electorate did not go to the polls at all. I personally believe that that 46 per cent. included a vast number of young people, and it was for that very reason. Why, the very voluble taximan who brought me from King's Cross here this very morning started a conversation when he heard what my address was, why I was going 511 there and what was to be spoken about. Before I had opened my mouth on any side of the subject he was saying that Rhodesia was not a matter in the hands of democratic legislatures at all, it was in the hands of the bankers. That was the taximan speaking.
At a more serious level, up in that distant region which used to be called Scotland there is Hunstanton, where there have been vast hopes by innumerable people that something like 10,000 might be employed in steel production in that locality. What do we find? This is from South Africa:Britain's State-owned Steel Corporation and two West German firms are negotiating to make South Africa a major partner in West European steel production. Instead of improving and building new plants in the UK and West Germany, production will be expanded in South Africa. The British Steel stake may be as high as 125 billion dollars. This deal, if the negotiations are successful, will make Britain especially more economically dependent on South Africa. A leading Austrian steel concern has already concluded a major agreement, opening the way for establishing a powerful European-South African steel consortium.The paper goes on to say that this will be a great blow to Scotland, and it will be a blow to the Scottish people who will at once say: "This is because we are not controlled by the Legislature at all". Indeed, we were informed that Hunterston was not to be used—not by the Government but by those people responsible for dealing with that kind of inter-banking organisation. On these grounds, it is important in a democratic Legislature that we should not seem to be shilly-shallying on this question of sanctions.
Secondly, and much shorter, as also will be my third point, the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, spoke on the League of Nations issue in a way that no other speaker could. Let us remember that the good name of the United Nations would come into even further disrepute. We all remember what happened to the League of Nations: it just faded away. It was Romain Rolland who said that this world has become a unity and for this high destiny mankind is not yet fit. It is conceivable that the United Nations as a really important issue, other than creating ambulance corps, UNESCO and ancillary movements on the fringe, might lose its place when the world 512 becomes united in the way it was never united, even in the time of the League of Nations. It is most important, for the sake of the United Nations, that we should speak from a Legislature on this point.
Finally, these points have been made for the sake of Rhodesians and for the sake of Rhodesia. I merely mention them in a sentence. I am glad that comparatively few references have been made, in this House at least, comparing Amin and the possibility of a majority Government in Rhodesia. But let us not forget that Mr. Garfield Todd was a Prime Minister, was put in prison without trial and is now confined to his house without trial and without comment of any kind. Let us remember that Clinton Brock, a well-known pacifist for years, was at Cold Comfort Farm working with Didymus Mutasa, living together and giving a marvellous demonstration of power and effectiveness in peace and not in enmity. Mr. Brock is asked to leave the country and Mr. Didymus Mutasa, his close friend, his African counterpart for years in that great community, was put in prison and is still there. Let us remember that 72 per cent. of the national income goes to the European population and that 19 per cent. of it goes to the 15 million Africans. The municipal workers (and by that I mean those people who live in the towns, those whose shops sell at the same prices as the shops of other people, although they live in different districts, and who have to get up two hours before they are due at work, in order to stand in the various forms of transport—two hours every day to get to work and two hours back) are being paid £3.10 a week. This is little more than half the poverty datum line, which is £5. The least on which a family can live is £5. The average for the municipal worker is £3.10. For the sake of Rhodesians, for the sake of the United Nations, for the sake of the good name of Parliamentary democracy, I hope that we shall vote for the continuation of sanctions.
§ 6.35 p.m.
§ LORD NAPIER AND ETTRICK
My Lords, for a few more hours we shall be discussing one matter only, namely, whether or not in our judgment it is right to approve the Government request to renew yet again their Order for the maintenance of sanctions against 513 Rhodesia. I shall be as brief as possible. We all know that sanctions were imposed by the United Nations on the pretext that there was a threat to peace. We all know equally well that there has been no disturbance to peace, either externally or internally in Rhodesia. Neither do I think that there can be any doubt that sanctions have manifestly failed in their object. My information is that by 1971 exports from Rhodesia were almost back to their pre-sanctions level. Imports fell in 1966 but increased in 1967. In 1968 they had almost reached the 1964 level and by 1971 were well above it.
It seems to many of us that the enforcement of the embargo has almost reached the point of open abandonment. The Foreign Secretary is on record as having said that we are the only nation that is enforcing sanctions. He has told us that the writ of Her Majestys Government no longer runs effectively in Rhodesia, and only yesterday my noble friend Lady Tweedsmuir told me that there was now no legal Government of Rhodesia—which means that we are not. A few years ago two British economists suggested that Rhodesia's relatively diversified economy was sufficiently sophisticated and flexible to withstand sanctions. I believe this to be so. No one can deny that the hardest-hit group have been the tobacco farmers, but these people are still the staunchest supporters of U.D.I. Consequently, there is virtually no internal pressure upon the Smith Government to capitulate. Indeed, in the face of sanctions the régime has been able to invoke powers capable of stifling any meaningful opposition.
I accept that there is only one goal left for us; and that is that some means should be found whereby this country, through both Houses of the British Parliament, should be able to confer legal independence upon Rhodesia. This must surely be the object of us all. What I question seriously is whether by maintaining sanctions we are likely to achieve this object. As many of my noble friends and I stated recently in a letter to The Times—the letter about which the noble Baroness. Lady Llewelyn-Davies, was so disparaging. but it is the other side of the argument—the maintenance of sanctions does no more in our view than hold out a false promise to the black Africans, one that we know we cannot 514 fulfil, a promise of an imposed solution some day, somehow.
Furthermore we shall, I believe, have forfeited (I think for the lifetime of many of us) a most valuable market. Only yesterday during Question Time, in another context, the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, stressed that once a market is lost it is very difficult to get it back. Here I would agree with him entirely. Some would say, as Mr. Smith has already said, that when we look at the position between Uganda and Britain to-day and compare this with Rhodesia, British action against Rhodesia appears absolutely ludicrous. This is a matter of opinion; but may I remind your Lordships of what my noble friend Lady Tweedsmuir said not very long ago? She insisted that there was only one way to try to influence affairs in Southern Africa and that was to persevere with contact and discussion. She said that she believed that people's minds could best be changed by contact and discussion rather than by boycott and isolation. How very true! What I should like to know is why contact and discussion are not carried out now. There has been more than sufficient time for the dust to settle. Mr. Smith insists that the reason no effort has been made by the Rhodesian Government to start a dialogue is that successive messages from Britain have made it plain that the British Government will not be ready to deal with the Rhodesian problem until January or March. If this is so, the stumbling block to a settlement is not the situation in Rhodesia but the situation in Britain, and I should be most grateful if my noble friend the Leader of the House would comment on this point when he winds up the debate.
Furthermore, my Lords, I suggest that it is sanctions and the renewal of sanctions that are delaying a dialogue between the African and the white man. I profoundly believe this to be true. The settlement has been left lying on the table after the failure of the Pearce Commission. Rhodesia has publicly declared that if Britain will implement those terms she will do the same; and that, as I understand it, remains the position. Let me remind your Lordships of the present Prime Minister's words. He said:The purpose of sanctions is to bring about a negotiation and that can be the only justification for that policy.515 If those words mean anything at all, I put it to your Lordships, has not the time now come for us to take off sanctions? I know that my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary says, "No", and other noble Lords agree with him.
But, my Lords, with the greatest respect, I am bound to say that I profoundly disagree with Her Majesty's Government's present policy on this matter. I feel that it is negative and sterile. I suggest that it is high time an agreement was concluded on the basis of the proposals agreed last November, almost a year ago. Though the constitutional status of Rhodesia is of little interest to African Nationalists, it serves as a technical means by which racial politics can be introduced into almost everything. My sole objection to the renewal of this Order is that I believe that sanctions are now hindering a settlement. It is as simple as that. I have taken careful note of all that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, so effectively said earlier this afternoon. But, in my view, if we were to take off sanctions it would not be a defeat, it would merely be trying another course.
That Her Majesty's Government do not have the support of the majority of people in this country on this matter I have not the slightest doubt. I also believe that many Conservatives are gravely concerned about the Order which is before us this evening. If it was right for a Conservative majority in this House to reject the Order in 1968 I cannot for the life of me see why it should not be equally right to do so to-day. Surely it is more right when the Conservative Party happens to be in power instead of when it is in Opposition. I deeply regret that I find that I have no alternative, if I am to be true to my personal beliefs, but to oppose this renewal Order in the Division Lobby this evening, and I ask all other noble Lords, if they believe as I do that it would be right for our strong disapproval of this one aspect of Government policy to be placed upon the record, to do the same. I sincerely believe that this preposterous Order has now served its purpose, and if it were to be defeated this evening, as I believe it can be, then we should demon 516 strate not only to the country but also to the world that in your Lordships House sanity still prevails.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ LORD GIFFORD
My Lords, may apologise, particularly to the two noble Baronesses who spoke first, that my work commitments prevented me from being here at the start of the debate. I do not wish to labour points made on this subject by other speakers and in other debates. But over the years during which the debate about sanctions has continued, some of the fundamental facts of the situation have become more clearly revealed: so clearly revealed, in fact, that those who perhaps could be accused earlier of naïvete can no longer ignore them. One fact which has been mentioned often this evening is that the black people of Rhodesia are not content, have been shown not to be content, and will not be content, to be governed by a white minority régime. After the findings and the remarkable document of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, for noble Lords opposite to proclaim that the abandoning of sanctions is in the interests of the black majority of Rhodesia, when they have expressed their view on the matter loud and clear, is either grossly arrogant or grossly hypocritical.
My Lords, I wish to talk more about another factor in the situation which has become revealed, particularly over the last year, with much greater clarity. It is this. Armed resistance by the people of Southern Africa is now no longer a prospect for the future; it is a reality which is happening in the present. In Angola there is a massive confrontation on many fronts between the popular movement for the liberation of Angola and Portuguese armed forces. I have no doubt that the liberation movement is advancing. I would recognise that few journalists have penetrated so deeply into the country as to be able to chronicle and assess that advance. But, my Lords, in Mozambique, with which we are more particularly concerned to-night, a country which shares no fewer than 650 miles of common frontier with Rhodesia, it is becoming increasingly recognised, not only by the enemies of Portugal but also by the friends of Portugal, that the 517 Portuguese armed forces have been quite unable to hold hack the advance of the Mozambique Liberation Front.
It is also becoming clear that one of the reasons why the Smith régime is becoming more desperate for a settlement lies in that failure of the Portuguese forces. There was a remarkable article in the Guardian on October 27 of this year in which, after reviewing the whole situation, it was said:Mr. Smith is said to have told the congress of his ruling Rhodesian Front in secret session a few weeks ago that the situation in Mozambique was one of the main reasons for pushing ahead in an attempt to resolve the Anglo-Rhodesian independence dispute. Army chiefs expect the guerrilla war to intensify and Rhodesia needs money, equipment and men to keep pace.One has seen that Mr. Smith has been to visit Dr. Caetano in Portugal, and Mr. Botha, the South African Defence Minister, has been visiting his colleague in Salisbury. The matter of the war in Mozambique is becoming crucial to any debate on the future of Southern Africa and in particular on Rhodesia. Whatever one's political position, whether one is an admirer of Mr. Smith, whether one is a Government official wishing to get trade going again or whether one is a champion of the rights of the African people, like the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, and the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, one must ask oneself this question: What is the military situation around the borders of Rhodesia? And next: Who are the people who are conducting this struggle in Mozambique? What are their principles and what are their practices? And then, when you have come to a greater understanding and a greater awareness of what is happening in that little known part of the world, you can assess what your attitude should be.
As to the overall military position, I would not ask noble Lords to accept my assessment or my claims alone. I record as a fact that in August of this year I marched with a column of the Mozambique Liberation Front from the Zambian frontier 60 miles South towards Rhodesia, to an area called Fingoe, about half way from Zambia to Rhodesia. I record as a fact that I stayed a week in that area—
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord, Lord Gifford, whether 518 he represents Amnesty International? Is he a member of some terrorist organisation?
§ LORD GIFFORD
My Lords, I think that like most of your Lordships I represent myself. I was the guest, as I have been trying to explain, of the Mozambique Liberation Front, and proud to be so.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, I hate to interrupt the noble Lord again, but I was much distressed by the observation which I understood the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, to have made, in which I thought he suggested that Amnesty International was a terrorist organisation. Surely it is not. I am not a member of Amnesty International, but I should have thought that anybody who knew anything about it would not call it a terrorist organisation.
§ LORD GIFFORD
If the noble Lord wishes to withdraw that allegation, I should be glad to give way. I record again as fact—and I hope that noble Lords opposite will understand that this has a significance also for them—that I stayed in that area for over a week visiting villages, schools, medical posts and military bases, and that I was the guest of a people who quite plainly were in full military and political control of that district. Let us, however, not accept my assessment I was only in a small part of Mozambique.
In addition to the article that I have quoted, let us look at the assessment of a journalist who would dearly like to believe that what he was writing was not true. In the Johannesburg Star of July 1, 1972, Mr. Wilf Nussey, the editor of the Star's African News Service, having made a long visit to Mozambique, wrote this:The state of the war in Tete is serious and carries grave military and political dangers for all Southern Africa in the long term…Frelimo guerrillas are infiltrating across much of Tete's border of more than 400 km with Zambia and with disturbing rapidity have crossed the Zambezi River and penetrated several hundred kilometres southwards along both the Rhodesian and Malawi borders.That report was about Tete Province, lying to the North of Rhodesia, where the liberation front has had a military presence for merely four years. The process will certainly be repeated in another province, Manica and Sofala Province, 519 lying to the East of Rhodesia and containing the many crucial supply lines between Rhodesia and the port of Beira. I quote again from the Guardian article:Rhodesia is also afraid that guerrillas will begin mining and attacking the road and rail links to the Mozambique ports of Beira and Lourenco Marques.It would be ironic if the guerrilla fighters of Mozambique were to start to carry out the task which the international community has failed even to attempt; that is, to plug the sanctions leak for which the Portuguese Government are responsible.
§ LORD GISBOROUGH
My Lords, would the noble Lord suggest that there are not also these guerrillas attacking the black nations such as Uganda and Malawi?
§ LORD GIFFORD
I am talking about Mozambique, and I do not intend to be side-tracked by talking about other people who may or may not be attacking Uganda, which seems to me to be irrelevant.
Let us now ask ourselves how these successes have been achieved. They have not been achieved by massive military confrontation, with casualties on every side; not by attacking or intimidating the civilians, whether black or white. They have been achieved by co-operation with the ordinary people of the area; by explaining to them that there is an alternative to the indignities and the subjugation which has been their lot up to now: by pinning down Portuguese forces in their military bases and their towns, so that they move out only at great risk or by air; by saying to the people who are then left in the vast areas where the Portuguese dare not enter: "This is our country. Let us now work together to build a new society"; and then by building that society, slowly, with high principle, so that the people of that country for the first time for centuries have one chance, which we all have here, to participate in their own future.
THE EARL OF MAR
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Gifford. is talking about Mozambique. Surely he should be talking about Rhodesia.
§ LORD GIFFORD
My Lords, I tried to explain that because of the desire of the Rhodesian Government to participate 520 alongside Portugal against the Mozambique Liberation Front; because of her desire for arms and equipment for that purpose, and because of her desire therefore to have a lifting of sanctions, this is a matter which is of the greatest relevance to the debate this evening.
I now appeal to your Lordships to recognise what was my own experience as to what is the effect of that way of conducting a struggle. Through the faces of the villagers, hard though their lives may be, there shone the joy of living for the first time in freedom. As for the soldiers and the leaders of the movement, through all that they said and did there was revealed a sense of pride and determination, of purpose and of principle. In view of the many remarks which have been made on one side and the other about the possibilities or the actualities of black racialism, I think it is worth recording the enormous trouble that was taken by the movement to explain to their people that Frelimo was not fighting a racial war. Every time we arrived at a village or a detachment the Commander introduced us and explained that we were examples of the spirit of non-racialism; that Frelimo had friends who were white as well as enemies who were black. They would do everything possible to deter anyone from believing that because you are fighting against the Portuguese you. are therefore fighting against the whites. That was not their attitude, and it will never be so. The people of that area—and there are many areas like it in Mozambique—are not going to give up the freedom and the dignity which they have found. The ultimate victory, although it will be long, slow and hard, is I believe certain. When it happens, that movement will be revealed as an inspiration; not merely an inspiration to Africa, as I think it is, but also an inspiration to us all.
My Lords, there are no doubt many on the other side of the House who would wish, as does Mr. Smith, to [...]ush those aspirations and to crush that movement; to stamp out freedom with bombs and with artillery. There are many noble Lords who would be advocating the supply of arms, money and equipment to Mr. Smith in order for him to do just that; because that is not only what he intends to do, that is what in fact he is 521 trying to do already. I quote directly from notes taken from a talk with a Frelimo commander who is one of the leaders of the district close to Rhodesia:Many times we have been in contact with Rhodesian forces. They did not know any Portuguese. They said they were Rhodesian forces to our people. We saw helicopters and bombers coming straight from Rhodesia. Our batteries were right by the frontier. Infantry would come on foot from Rhodesia. They would capture our people who would run away and tell us they had been taken by Rhodesians.Your Lordships may say that that is still an unconfirmed report. I have no doubt that it will be confirmed in due time. Whether it is the present policy or the intention of the Smith Government, and indeed later the South African Government, to assist the Portuguese, it is one of the major reasons why they wish for a settlement and why they wish for the policies of noble Lords opposite to prevail.
My Lords, we have been reminded several times in this debate that the British are supposed to know what it means to fight for freedom. The British are also supposed to know what it means to live in a democratic society. In the confrontation which is already starting in South Africa—starting because of the defaults of the past. for which we must bear a large measure of responsibility—there are few who would call us honourable; there are few even who would call us sensible, if we were to take the side of the oppressor against those who—left with no alternative whatever—are fighting nobly for their dignity and for their freedom.
§ 7.0 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF WINCHESTER
My Lords, I should like to congratulate, if I may, the noble Baroness, Lady Tweedsmuir, on her interesting and encouraging speech tonight. I am sure your Lordships will agree that it is most encouraging that Her Majesty's Government are interested in having another look at the pettiness of sanctions, having a look at this business of passports and also the very unhappy question of Rhodesian divorces and marriages, together with the possible illegitimacy of Rhodesian children. At the same time, I would congratulate, though she is not here at the moment, the noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies, on her interesting speech in which she so ably conveyed 522 your Lordships' deep concern over this most unfortunate matter.
I make no apology for Rhodesia. I do not condone sanctions or U.D.I., nor do I condemn U.D.I.; but I am very worried. One of the questions which worries me deeply is that of the United Nations. I am deeply concerned as to whether they had the right to impose these sanctions in the first place. Let me hasten to say that I am well aware that there are in your Lordships' House a number of noble and learned Peers whose integrity I would not for a moment have the impertinence to question. I am not trying to do that. But I would put it to your Lordships that in 1922 Rhodesia became a self-governing Colony, and at that time she in fact purchased that right. Rhodesia paid the Imperial Government, as it was at that time, the sum of £2 million for the right to govern herself. I believe that is almost unique. I cannot say for a fact that it has not happened before, but I believe it to be unique.
When this matter was taken before the United Nations and the United Nations Security Council debated the imposition of sanctions, Rhodesia was not allowed to defend herself. At the same time, Ghana—who was not at that time a member of the United Nations—was allowed to appear as an observer and to speak. Ghana indeed demanded that sanctions be imposed under the terms of Article 7 of the Charter because Rhodesia was a threat to world peace, or to international peace, or possibly just a threat to the peace. In this day and age, my Lords, we live in a very troubled time, but I do not believe that Rhodesia has really proved herself to be a threat to anybody at all.
I am also deeply concerned at the result of sanctions so far. I know that some say they work and some say they do not. I am well aware that I cannot buy a bottle of Scotch whisky any more, and I am also aware of the shortage of foreign currency. I am well aware, too, of a rift—a widening rift—between the peoples of Rhodesia and the peoples of the United Kingdom. I know that this again may be questionable, but if must point out that there is this rift. There is a terrific distrust—and it is growing all the time—among the Rhodesian people. Here I am not talking about the white people but about people as a whole, the 523 people I know and the sort of people that I see. I have been very concerned at the distrust, on all levels, which exists to-day. Nobody trusts anybody. Nobody trusts the British Government and nobody trusts the Rhodesian Government. The Rhodesian Government do not trust the British Government, the British Government do not trust the Rhodesian Government, and the Africans do not trust anybody either. This rift is getting wider and wider: it is getting worse.
There is in Rhodesia, as in every country, a population explosion. I am extremely concerned at the fact that, as the population expands, so more and more people go to school. So the Rhodesian Government, whether we like it or not, put money into African education—if this is what the people want to know. They do put more money into African education. But there are school-leavers every year and also every year there are university graduates. But the economy, commerce and industry, where these people should be used, have not been able to expand in the same way. As a result we have discontented, out-of work graduates—intelligent people, both black and white. It is a matter of great concern and one which I believe we must look at seriously when we are considering the renewing of this Order tonight. We must consider these people. They had nothing to do with the events which led up to U.D.I. They must be considered. They were not responsible: they were not voters—and neither was I, for that matter. They cannot be blamed and they cannot be damned merely because somebody does not like what is happening in Rhodesia or what the present Government of Rhodesia are doing at the moment. After all, I do not like what goes on in Russia, for example; I do not like what goes on in Uganda or in Zambia, but I do not go running to the United Nations or anywhere else, screaming for sanctions.
I am also deeply concerned about the rural, tribal Africans. I work among these people very frequently. I know them for what they are, and I understand them. These are the ones who form the majority of the African people. They are not members of the A.N.C., or one of the other small splinter groups which are forming all over Rhodesia at 524 the moment, but they are the ones who will inevitably suffer from any decision which is made here in Westminster.
My Lords, there is, I believe, a distinct pattern emerging in Africa to-day. For example, there are—again, this is to the best of my knowledge—some 32 independent countries or States in Black Africa. Admittedly not all these are British Colonies or ex-British Colonies. Of these, 28 have become single-Party or military régimes. This is exactly what is happening all over Africa at the present time. We get a State becoming independent, with a Constitution laid on, and everybody thinks it is marvellous. It devolves into a one-Party State and then into a military régime, with various military coups happening in between. It is the tribal African, the rural African, who inevitably suffers every time. The power-hungry will always control, and the rural Africans will always remain serfs. I will not argue with those noble Lords who have visited other countries in Africa. I have no doubt they have met the Governments of these various States and have seen how they work, but do they really know what is happening to the rural African out in the reserves, who is trying to farm and earn his living? Is he any better off to-day than he was 20 years ago? That is the question we must ask ourselves. It is a question we must ask ourselves now. Will the rural African, the tribal African, who forms the majority in Rhodesia, be better off if these sanctions are held on him? Will he be better off in fact under a black Government?
When this matter was discussed a year ago, the Prime Minister said in another place that the object of sanctions was to bring the Rhodesian Government to the negotiating table. That phrase is nothing new; it was said as early as 1965. I found that Sir Robert Menzies, the Prime Minister of Australia at that time, said exactly the same words in November or December of 1965. We now have the interesting situation where the Rhodesians and the United Kingdom Government have met round the table and have signed an agreement, but Her Majesty's Government wish to impose these sanctions. The only conclusion I can come to on this matter is that it would seem that Westminster and the United Nations would like Rhodesia to take her place in 525 the tragic economic mess which is Africa to-day.
§ 7.12 p.m.
§ LORD HUNT
My Lords, I rise to speak with the authentic voice of white Rhodesia fresh in our minds and, like other Members of your Lordships' House, I have listened with the closest of attention to the noble Marquess, Lord Winchester. I start with the good intention to be brief because so much at this stage of the debate that needed to be said has inevitably been already said, tellingly and with sincerity. I should like to say to all those who are speaking against this Order to-night, and, perhaps because he was the first, to the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, that I respect entirely the sincerity with which they speak.
I cannot but recall, as did the noble Lord, Lord Napier and Ettrick, that there was a great debate four years ago in your Lordships' House, on June 17 and 18, 1968. In speaking in that debate I prefaced my speech by saying that I intended to be brief. I had the temerity immediately to go on to address myself to the greatly revered and much loved Marquess of Salisbury, who spoke immediately before me, and to chide him for having said exactly the same thing and for having spoken, in my opinion, much too long.
In that debate this Order was before Parliament for the first time following the Security Council's unanimous resolution on May 29, 1968 to impose sanctions against Rhodesia, on the initiative of the then British Government. It was, as all your Lordships who were present will know, a memorable—indeed, historical—occasion; it was also a very melancholy occasion. And it was for most of us melancholy whether or nor because of connections some of us may or may not have had with white friends in Rhodesia.
Surely we all recognise that sanctions are a blunt and negative weapon about which no one should feel quite happy. But there are better alternatives to war. I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Barnby, if he were present in the Chamber, that sanctions, whatever they may have been called in war time, are not war, and they are a far better alternative to a surrender of principle. Whether or not our debate will be as memorable this evening as that first one, as the 526 noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, has said, it will be seen to be historic—we are making history. I suggest that to-day it is no less a melancholy occasion, and this is so whether because of or despite the fact that the background against which we are now discussing this question is, in essence, unchanged, both in Rhodesia and in this Parliament, from the situation four years ago. It is unchanged because there is still no settlement. In this connection it is worth recalling what the Foreign Secretary said in another place on November 10 last, when he was speaking of the forthcoming Pearce Commission. Sir Alec said:If the Test of Acceptability … showed that the people of Rhodesia as a whole found the agreement acceptable, Parliament would be asked to approve an independence Act and legality would be restored.He went on,This would pave the way to the dropping of sanctions,…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 10/11/72; col. 1089.]It is quite clear that Sir Alec Douglas-Home was speaking in a positive, constructive and hopeful way, expressing his hopes about the outcome of the Pearce Commission's inquiry. The operative word in that statement is that little word "if". The people of Rhodesia as a whole did not find that the proposed settlement was acceptable and, in parenthesis, with the noble Lord, Lord Boyle, I would ask: who can blame the African leaders and people for not doing so, in view of Mr. Smith's expressions of opinion about that settlement at the time, and the actions of his Government since?
So long as we as a nation purport to subscribe to international agreements, and to support the United Nations to this end, the Security Council's resolution remains mandatory upon our Government. There is no legal basis for "ratting" on our obligations now. There is no getting away from this basic point; indeed, there is a case for urging the Government to use their influence with other nations to tighten up sanctions. I personally can well understand the Government's reluctance to do this at the present time because of their desire not to close the door on a further initiative with Mr. Smith, or to do anything to exacerbate him or his Government at this particular point in time.
527 To all those who argue that the situation in Rhodesia is now different: that sanctions have not worked; who point (as one noble Lord did) to the fact that the United States Government have officially breached the net; that businessmen in a number of countries whose Governments still pay lip service to the mandate are trading with Rhodesia and supplying them with the goods: that sanctions have Droved a sterile and useless exercise (which only embitters the white Rhodesians and causes hardships to the Africans); that sanctions are merely cutting off our own noses to spite our own faces; and, above all, to those who have made the perfectly valid point that Mr. Smith himself has accepted the principles, I would say that there is substance in all those points.
But this is not the whole truth. I prefer to attach more weight to other views which have been expressed: in particular the testimony that the cumulative effect of sanctions on the Rhodesian economy is very considerable; that it was precisely this effect that brought Mr. Smith to the point of avowed readiness to accept the basic conditions, and that he still needs recognition more than anything else for the future viability of his country. Under this pressure there has been informal contact, as we all know (whether or not Mr. Smith himself knows) between the Rhodesian Government and the African National Council. I have no doubt as to which way the scales are weighted; they are weighted towards legality and justice to the African people of Rhodesia.
To those who argue, on whatever grounds, that we should at least give notice to the United Nations of our intention to drop sanctions, not to renew sanctions after adequate notice, I would say that to give up sanctions now, or to give notice of our future intention to make such a proposition to the Security Council, would be to underwrite and perpetuate the current illegal, repressive and discriminatory Constitution under which Rhodesia is governed, the actions which already stern from that Constitution, and further actions which will no doubt follow in the future. It will remove the essential pressure and obligation required to induce Mr. Smith to attempt to nego 528 tiate, to open serious discussions directly with the African National Council on those four principles (the fifth being, of course, the acceptability principle) or on any improvement of them. Far from giving any comfort to the Africans, it would cause dismay and despair to responsible African political leadership. Indeed, I am persuaded, despite what one or two other noble Lords have said to the contrary—I am persuaded by what the noble Baroness the Minister of State has said, and indeed after reading Judith Todd in The Times of two days ago—that to give up now would be to set the scene for a violent backlash by the Africans later on. The day of reckoning is bound to come.
But I also believe that willingness by the Rhodesian Government to negotiate a new Constitution directly with the African National Council could—it may be a slender hope but it could—change the whole sombre prospect. There could be a peaceful reckoning now. Mr. Smith has it in his grasp to dispel the prevailing African distrust by taking his own initiative in that direction. But, given the inside pressure of the Rhodesian National Front, only outside pressure provides a hope, a prop, for him to do so. Protracted delay, prevarication, prolongation of the status quo, could be fatal. Rhodesia, for all of whose citizens this country retains a legal responsibility, continues to be a test of Britain's integrity in the world.
I discount extraneous arguments, comparisons between Rhodesia and other African States, or comparisons between Rhodesia and other countries around the world which repress all or some of their citizens. These are extraneous, to say nothing of the total irrelevance of the red herring which the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale (if I may say so quite frankly to him in his absence), threw across our path in referring to industrial confrontation in this country. All these matters are equally irrelevant to this particular issue. But to those who speak of double standards, I would say, "Yes, I feel unhappy about this and there is something in that contention. But the difference is, surely, that Rhodesia is our legal responsibility whereas other countries are not". Let us first put our own house in order and, remembering the parable of the mote and the beam, we 529 may then see a little more clearly and have cleaner consciences in condemning other people's houses.
My Lords, I reject out of hand the argument of Britain's short-term commercial advantage and interest in resuming trade with Rhodesia now. I reject too, with real reluctance, the pull in kinship and friendship with white Rhodesians, whom I knew as comrades in arms and stout-hearted friends in war-time 26 years ago. In this respect I have the greatest sympathy for the moving appeal by the noble Lord, Lord Barnby, about that matter. But I reject it because those people, as I know, support the Smith régime. Neither of those two considerations, nor both of them together, should outweigh the force of legal and moral arguments for holding firm. I support and respect the Government's intention in that direction.
§ 7.24 p.m.
LORD ST. JUST
My Lords, the noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies, in opening for the Opposition, referred to those who signed the letter to The Times as "backwoodsmen". Well, I hope we are not all backwoodsmen, because if so I should like to know what the working Members of this House are. But I know that that was virtually a slip of the tongue. The noble Baroness then went on to say (I am not quoting her exact words) that those of us who have been Members of this House for some years had, by signing this letter, taken a retrograde step, and people like myself who sat here under the late Lord Salisbury must automatically be members of what was known as the Rhodesian Lobby. I can hurriedly say to her—. and I know that the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, will not mind my saying this—that I have never yet agreed with him on virtually anything he has said about Rhodesia. I agreed with the late Lord Salisbury at moments, but very seldom. My reasons for signing this letter have been stated by many noble Lords to-day. The fact is that I believe we have reached a moment in the history of Africa at which, so far as Rhodesia is concerned, sanctions are sterile. We are not going to advance any more or any further down this line.
If I could take the noble Baroness and various other Members back to January, 530 1972, we then had a very interesting debate, not very well attended, on violence in Southern Africa. She took part in that debate. We had the late right reverend Prelate the late Bishop of Durham very forcefully taking part in that debate; but what is so extraordinary is that the noble Lord who wound up for the Government was not the Secretary of State to the Foreign Office but the Minister for Scottish Affairs—the noble Baroness, Lady Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie. I do not know whether the Almighty in heaven had already destined her move—possibly this is so. But she probably had no idea what was involved in that debate in regard to what has happened since.
I agree with one point which the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, made, and that was when he said, "We are dealing with one of the greatest racial problems of all times." One must take the whole context of Africa in this matter. I am not going into the problems of the countries round Rhodesia; I shall not go into the problem of Uganda. This is not why I signed the letter—I can promise the noble Baroness that. But I feel that the whole context of this vast country must he taken together.
It is like the Far East in that I feel that probably when the Americans depart from the Far East it is going to produce a vacuum, and a terribly dangerous vacuum. Africa also is on the verge of being one of the great flashpoints of the world. All of us in this House, and any of us who are concerned as Parliamentarians or politicians, must keep this very much in mind.
I personally believe (as I am a humble Back-Bencher I suppose I should not say this, but I am saying it because I believe it) that if we continue the Orders for these sanctions they will work contrary to the hopes of the Government and the Foreign Secretary. First, I think they will annoy, irritate, the situation in Rhodesia. I have the greatest admiration for Sir Alec Douglas-Home. I served under him in this House when he first of all became Foreign Secretary in the Macmillan Government. He made one of the greatest speeches I have ever heard in his first deliberations as Foreign Secretary in this House. But I have the feeling that the mood of Rhodesia will 531 be irritated by the continuation of these Orders. I also believe that one of the things we are all striving to avoid may happen: that Rhodesia will turn towards South Africa more and more strongly. Then, as we have heard so often in this debate to-day. we shall have the parting of the ways of white Africa and so-called black Africa. The Limpopo, or rather the Zambesi, will be the half-way mark between the two sides. This will be a desperate tragedy.
I am going to say only one other word and it is an appeal to the noble Earl my Leader, the Lord Privy Seal. If he can possibly give us an undertaking this evening that this will be the last year that these Orders will be tabled, I personally shall be perfectly content with that statement and refrain from voting. But if that undertaking cannot be given, I shall go into the Lobby against renewing sanctions.
§ 7.30 p.m.
§ EARL DE LA WARR
My Lords, I have no intention of wearying your Lordships with arguments that have been repeatedly put before you already. There just is nothing new to say about Rhodesia, but as one who has visited that country at least once a year, and sometimes more, for the last 25 years I should like, as briefly as possible, to express a view. There is no question whatsoever in my mind that U.D.I. was a mistake: a great mistake from everyone's point of view—from the point of view of Rhodesia herself, who already had 95 per cent. of her independence, while for 25 years the sole remaining power that the United Kingdom held to safeguard African interests had never been used, or indeed seemed likely to be used.
Also we must remember the embarrassment to tour interests, both African and world-wide, caused to this country—a fact not always sufficiently realised in Rhodesia. The fantasy that a bare quarter of a million Europeans can permanently dominate a rapidly increasing and more educated population of 5 million Africans was just that—a fantasy. The fact that there were only about 100,000 Africans there in the 1890s and that these had increased 50-fold since the British took control after generations of stagnation is not something to be brushed aside or forgotten. But, alas!— 532 and I really mean alas!—it is quite irrelevant. It is facts, present-day facts, with which we now have to deal. On past occasions I have voted for sanctions with heavy doubts in my mind but in the hope that they might help to bring about a change of mind on the part of friends who have taken a wrong and foolish line. Well, my Lords, sanctions have not had that effect. What they have done is to cause unemployment, mainly among the, Africans, and above all to drive Rhodesian white opinion closer to South Africa and to the Right.
Other countries, most of them members of the United Nations and therefore pledged to enforce sanctions, are breaking them and, as a result, are steadily taking over markets which are traditionally British. The latest recruit, of course, is the United States of America with her purchases of chrome and. I rather think, asbestos as well. The United Nations Sanctions Committee itself has stated that between one-third and one-quarter of Rhodesian exports are to member countries committed to sanctions, and we have increasingly to ask ourselves for how long we can "carry the can", alone.
For these reasons I have watched the working of sanctions over seven years, and every year that I have watched my belief in them has steadily decreased. There can be little doubt that the state of Rhodesia is a great deal worse than appears on the surface or in the shops. Indeed, it must be assumed that this was largely the reason for the willingness of Ian Smith to make an effort for an agreement last spring. He signed that agreement and seemed to be prepared to stick to it. After trying to balance these and many other apparently contradictory factors, I had quite definitely made up my mind to speak and vote against the continuation of sanctions. However, a further factor has arisen during the last few days. There was a speech by Sir Alec Douglas-Home; there was the speech made by my noble friend Lady Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, and even to-day there was that most notable three-minute speech made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce. I think they are quite unanswerable.
Quite frankly, my Lords, I have changed my mind. I do not feel that I could take on myself the responsibility 533 of not taking their advice to give the present system a further chance. I do not do so very hopefully, but I cannot feel that any other course would be a responsible action. Having been told by our Foreign Secretary and by the representative of the Government speaking here, and also by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, that in their view there is a chance, during the next year or two, of coming to an agreement, I cannot bring myself to vote against the Government on this Order. As I think no one should abstain on a matter as important as this, I shall vote for the Order. I shall do so with great doubt and reluctance because I think perhaps the speakers I have referred to are a little optimistic; but the world is not any the worse for a little optimism. I cannot give the Government an assurance that I will support them again if they come before your Lordships with a similar proposition, but I feel that anyone with a sense of responsibility must respond to the request that has been made to us to-day for support and a further chance of bringing to an end this sad, this tragic, quarrel between our two countries.
§ 7.40 p.m.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, I apologise for having missed so much of the debate. I had a hard, long and unexpected meeting to attend, and this has meant my missing about one-third of the speeches made so far. Reference was made earlier to a letter in The Times signed by some 85 Peers. The signatures attached to this letter occupied so much space that there was very little room for the text. I will endeavour to interpret what that letter meant by looking not only at Uganda but also at Kenya, and I believe that the Rhodesians are looking at both.
In Kenya there has been the organised dispossession of an appreciable number of white farmers, helped by United Kingdom funds. Similarly, and part of the same pattern, there has been the resettlement of Africans, not so viably in many respects but nevertheless also heavily subsidised by the British taxpayer. There has been in Kenya the partial dispossession of Asians, and we formed them into a queue. At one time I tried to estimate its length, and I thought that it was not less than 50 years long. Nobody 534 on the Government Benches was prepared to say how long it was. I think that that has made a contribution to the explosion which has taken place next door. In other words, there is resentment against these communities and more rapidly the entire Asian and, I think, white community is in course of dispossession. The letter in The Times there for called attention to something which deeply moves the white Rhodesians and brings them to the inference, "We are the next to become homeless, destitute, refugees, jobless, and the United Kingdom has ensured that we shall be stateless when that occurs". Not only is that their fear. Is it not quite possible that it will happen? It is with that in mind that I understood that this letter to The Times was written.
The purpose of sanctions has been stated by the noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, whose charm, lucidity and logic are certainly no less than those of the noble Baroness whom she complimented, though I thought that her lucidity was superior. She gave very definite purpose to sanctions. They were designed, she said, to bring pressure upon Mr. Smith for a settlement. In other words, they are negotiations under duress, whether or not one approves of that term. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, seemed to indicate that we were under an obligation to fulfil a pledge conveyed through the simplification of his statement to Africans, "If you don't accept them, things will continue as at present." But things do not continue as they are, and nobody has suggested that they will—indeed, an increase in the intensity of sanctions has been suggested. In any event, nothing remains as it is, and surely it is Her Majesty's Government, and nobody else, who are accepting that sentence as meaning tying their hands behind their backs, so that they cannot vary—increase, reduce or suspend—sanctions in any way.
If I am to criticise anything in the excellent Report to which many noble Lords have referred, it is that its statement that the British Government will give up their claim to make laws for that country is a very incomplete statement. It would have been made complete had it said, "This is a claim which cannot in any case be imposed." As the noble Baroness, Lady Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, explained, we cannot impose our law.
535 That should have been said; and the fact that it has not been said is a very misleading factor. The noble Baroness did not give the purpose of this, and I will guess at the reason.
I have examined Security Council Resolution No. 217, paragraph 5 of which suggests that Her Majesty's Government and their predecessor have been acting ultra vires in conducting negotiations at all. Resolution No. 217 calledon the Government of the United Kingdom to take all other appropriate measures which will prove effective in eliminating the authority of the usurpers and in bringing the minority régime in Southern Rhodesia to an immediate end.Has anything happened as a result of other resolutions at the United Nations to modify that demand—because we have modified it? It seems, moreover, that the terms of that resolution make immediate independence—under Resolution No. 1514 of 1960 of the General Assembly, which was not mandatory at the time—mandatory, so that immediate independence and NIBMAR, no independence before majority rule, are equally mandatory, and we are not accepting that. Thus, in my view we are already departing from what the Government hold out to be so inviolate; namely, legality. We have departed from it by not considering immediate independence under an African majority.
The resolution moreover rests on the existence of a threat to international peace. Whatever one thought might happen at the beginning, after seven years I wonder whether anybody can now seriously hold to the view that Rhodesia presents a threat to its neighbours or anyone else, either a military threat or a threat to peace and good order. I cannot believe that it does. It is only on that that the whole of the Order rests, and it seems to me that the Order is therefore out of date.
The noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, suggested that we had carried out all our obligations to our colonies in the last 30 years, which is, roughly speaking, the period during which we have let them go, thereby nearly fulfilling Resolution No. 1514 of the General Assembly of 1960. I speak with some knowledge of administration in Africa in my earlier life and I question whether 536 70 years of alien rule, mainly paternal, preserving living tribes segregated one from another in a kind of living museum, was any help to enable a few detribalised Africans to rule groups of from 50 to 200 of these separate tribes with any hope of success in view of the small amount of preparation that they had for the task. Thus, anything I say about the deficiencies of African rule—and I feel obliged to call attention to them—must be considered in association with my belief that we never foresaw what would happen, did not prepare them for what would happen and gave them a virtually impossible task.
Resolution No. 217 imposes mandatory sanctions. What does the United Nations dislike the most? That resolution mentions the word "illegal" six times and "minority" three times. It is clear that the United Nations is infuriated over the illegal Smith and the minority Smith régime. But it does not really dislike illegality. Illegal coups succeed illegal coups and I suppose that at the present time among the illegal régimes—illegal when they arrived but recognised a few days later—are Algeria, Nigeria, Ghana. the Sudan, Somalia and Uganda. And that is nothing like the whole list. They are illegal; so the illegal régime, which everybody mouths with a kind of condemnation when it is the Smith régime, is a thing which, so long as the faces are black, we more or less recognise overnight, again and again and again.
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord and say that most of those nations to which he has been referring achieved their, as he calls it, "illegal régimes" long after we had ceased to have any responsibility for them, or when we had never had any responsibility for them at all, like Algiers.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
We have joined with the community of nations in sharing responsibility, not only for Rhodesia but for all. We recognise these illegal régimes. We need not recognise them, but it is our custom to recognise them and there is a very good reason for it. If you do not recognise supreme authority over a particular area when de facto it exists, you are on the side of the robber, the thief and the law breaker; and so far as Rhodesia goes we have been 537 on that side for seven years. That is what is deplorable. Over the rest of the continent there are, I think, ten military dictatorships—the number varies so often that I do not insist on it. There the rule is "one man, no vote at all"; elsewhere it is "one man, one vote, one candidate", modified in some places by "one man, one vote, two candidates, one Party All these are the kind of things we used to refer to as "swindle democracies"—which they are. Again, I am not condemning the Africans, I am merely referring to the facts. There have been great disorders and the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, asked us to agree that there had been similar disorders at an earlier time in the stage of transition in Europe. I must, with all respect to the noble Lord, with all his interest in Africa, cross swords with him on that point. We are not dealing with the dead past. You cannot raise the dead to life; hut, by taking appropriate action, we hope to reduce the number of dead in Rhodesia in the course of this transition. That is the purpose of the exercise, and not what happened a century or two ago. We hope we have learned a few lessons from the past.
My conclusion—I have been going for 13 minutes, which is too long—is to suggest that in trying to bring to heel a quarter of a million white people in Rhodesia we have invoked against them the entire world, including 200 million black people, and that, rather than sanctions, is the pressure upon them. We are driving them to a desperate situation where, for a time, they may agree to anything and then subsequently repudiate it. I would suggest that we give notice to the Security Council, thanking them for what they have done to support us and notifying them that in the next twelve months we shall not renew the sanctions because we are in the process of negotiation, a situation which was not envisaged when this resolution was passed in 1965. But in view of the fact that we cannot do that to-night and, as I understand, no associated resolution to that effect can possibly be accepted in this House, I must do what I feel is right and go into the Lobby, voting against this Order this evening on the ground that it is imprudent to continue sanctions and in the present circumstances it is also ultra vires.
§ 7.55 p.m.
§ LORD GARNER
My Lords, Rhodesia is an unhappy country, and one can understand the agony of conscience in which all noble Lords have been placed in trying to find the right solution, the basic problem being that the possibility of finding a solution acceptable to all parties in Rhodesia has completely eluded us over the years. I can understand to some extent, therefore, the frustrations which have been expressed by many noble Lords about sanctions generally. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, that the sanctions policy is not something to be specially proud of; nevertheless, sanctions have been working and are still working, and I should have thought that one of the strongest pieces of evidence that they are effective is the very vehemence which we have listened to from several noble Lords in this Chamber this evening, demanding their removal. Certainly, if there has been no victory from sanctions equally, I should have thought, there has been no defeat.
I myself cannot agree to the dismemberment of sanctions at this stage. It would seem to me, in effect, like removing the referee before the hell has rung. Of course, the reasons for that attitude have been expressed eloquently from a number of points of view. The most conclusive of all, I thought, was that of the noble Lord, Lord Pearce, who made it quite clear that the Government would be put in an impossible position if they were forced to go back on an undertaking, an essential part of the settlement, which was put to all the people of Rhodesia only this year. I agree very strongly also with the noble Lord, Lord Boyle of Handsworth who emphasised the Commonwealth angle to this question. There is one point I should like to make in that regard. I do not want to get involved in the arguments about Uganda, because frankly I regard them as totally irrelevant to the Rhodesian situation; but there is one relevant point and that is that the courageous action, as I regard it, which the British Government took when the Pearce Report was presented did an enormous amount to enhance the reputation and prestige of Britain throughout the world. It is not fanciful to think that a good deal of the co-operation that we have received from a number of other 539 countries, notably Commonwealth countries, in coping with the difficulty of British Asians from Uganda was in large part due to the reputation we had built up in our handling of the Rhodesian question earlier in the year.
There is a third aspect which appeals to me: if the Government were to be forced to give way on sanctions at this stage, it would be divisive in this country and it would be divisive between the various parties. If I may say so, speaking as a Cross-Bencher, I often think that there should be a good deal more bipartisanship on some of the big issues that face this country, and I should certainly deplore it if the bipartisanship that does exist on Rhodesia at the moment were to be broken.
Finally, I should like to leave aside all the moral arguments, although they do appeal to me personally very strongly indeed, and just put one final argument on the basis of pure realpolitik. The opponents of sanctions, in stressing their case this evening, have been saying, in effect, "Leave everything to the white régime. It has preserved law and order in Rhodesia; it can guarantee political stability. Recognise the minority régime and all will be well". I was very surprised to hear, in the remarks that fell from the noble Lord, Lord Napier and Ettrick, that in advocating the dropping of sanctions he was also advocating, as I understood it, the complete abandonment of the Fifth Principle and suggesting that we should recognise a minority régime on the basis of a settlement which the Pearce Commission has shown is not acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole. I find that an extraordinary proposition to advance.
But the case I want to make is that my judgment—and I agree that this is a matter of judgment—is the very reverse of that which has been presented by certain noble Lords. I believe the contrary. I believe that if one were to agree to recognise the régime on the basis of something like the present Constitution, that is a remedy of disaster. It may well be that there would be a degree of order and perhaps some progress over a very short, temporary period; but the day of retribution would certainly come, and some of the remarks we have heard from other noble Lords, Lord Gifford in parti 540 cular, show what the threats and the dangers are. I think that is an ultimate consequence that we should do everything possible to avoid. With some other noble Lords, I believe, and I certainly hope passionately, that we can still find a peaceful solution to the problem' of Rhodesia, but we shall succeed in doing that only if Britain retains at least some leverage in the situation, some leverage such as is already given by our legal authority—it is only the British Parliament that can confirm legal independence—and also, I suggest, the leverage given by sanctions.
I would end with a plea to the Government. I hope that in this period for reflection which they themselves have advocated and made available they will keep a very open mind on all possible solutions to the problem. When I had a good deal to do with some of the consitutional discussions over recent years I thought that so much of the argument that at one stage was called the "numbers game" was really barren—I refer to arguments about a blocking third or a blocking quarter, and how many on this roll or on that roll. I think it may well be the case—I am talking very briefly at the moment—that the right solution for Rhodesia is something quite different, something quite apart from the 1961 or 1967 or 1969 Constitutions. I am not advocating any particular course at all, but something in the way of devolution in certain areas. I am not here advocating apartheid, but it is possible that some degree of separation of areas might be found generally acceptable.
I am not sure one need think of Rhodesia essentially as the unitary State we have always accepted it to be. A whole variety of devices could be considered which might make an eventual settlement more acceptable to one side or the other and be tolerable to all. I am making the plea that the Government keep an open mind so that they are ready to feed in any new and fruitful ideas as they arise. I would add that my hope is that one can arrive at a peaceful solution. I think one will only do that with a judicious use of the stick and the carrot, and therefore I would certainly vote in favour of the continuance of sanctions, at least for a further year.
§ 8.3 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, in rising to make a small contribution to this debate, may I at once say that it will be a very brief intervention. Over the past few years of this unhappy story I have regularly taken part in our debates and have explained at some length my points of view, with which your Lordships are already familiar. I will not repeat them to-night. There has been a great deal of talk about legitimate and illegitimate States and that kind of thing; but we might remember, too, the origin of sanctions. Sanctions, let me say once more, are the illegitimate political bequest of a baffled British Prime Minister. Dean Acheson, the distinguished American lawyer, former Secretary of State of the United States of America, and one of those who originally drafted the United Nations Charter, in his speech to the American Bar Association in 1968 summed up the position in this way:It will surprise some of our fellow citizens, though hardly anyone here to-day, to be told that the United States is engaged in an international conspiracy instigated by Britain and blessed by the United Nations to overthrow the Government of a country that has done us no harm and threatens no one.He went on to say:This is barefaced aggression, unprovoked and unjustified by a single legal or moral principle.That is the judgment on sanctions of an American lawyer of international reputation. He concluded by saying, and it is very relevant to-day:If the rule of law means anything at all in international affairs, and unless the United Nations Charter is to be treated as so much wastepaper, sanctions are totally unlawful.My Lords, this action was "sold" to the United States by the astute approach of a baffled Prime Minister, whose personal attempt to subordinate Rhodesia to his own wishes was rejected by these people, who were accustomed to managing their own affairs. That is how it all began. Rhodesia had governed itself peacefully and progessively for three-quarters of a century, and had enjoyed self-government for nearly half a century. It had never been governed by Britain; nor had Britain provided any police force, army, administration, finance, for Rhodesia. Rhodesians hewed their country from a primitive wilderness and transformed it into a modern civilisation 542 by their own resources, their own initiative, their own enterprise and their own capital. Sanctions were designed to destroy the economy of Rhodesia and to promote internal revolution, to ensure the transfer of power to a section of the population manifestly unable and unsuitable at the moment to exercise it.
The Rhodesians appreciate the problems which they face. They are anxious to create stability by establishing conditions which will permit continued economic advance for all Rhodesians according to merit and ability; in other words, a fair deal for all. Sanctions are impeding progress in every direction, including that of African education. Rhodesia does not believe in enforced integration. She believes that people should be free to live their own lives and determine their own future, with freedom and opportunity for all within the preservation of a civilised Government. Rhodesians want Europeans and Africans to live in racial harmony according to the traditions which they each have built up for themselves. Their leader has declared that their task is to create soundly based institutions where tribalism is harnessed to and reconciled with government in the Westminster tradition, and racial competition for political power is and would be eliminated.
Obviously, the problem is a terribly difficult one, which can only be satisfactorily settled by Rhodesians in Rhodesia. They must be free, surely, to solve their own peculiar problems in their own way, so that their people—and this I emphasise—can continue to live in peace and harmony. Sanctions have pursued their destructive course and have proved utterly hostile to any acceptable solution of the Rhodesian problem. This can never be reached by force majeure. Sanctions have poisoned the atmosphere, and have been utterly hostile to the friendly and sympathetic solution of Rhodesian problems, which is the only attitude likely to effect a solution acceptable to all Rhodesians.
It is terribly true that these problems must be settled by Rhodesians themselves, with friendly advice and help from the British Government, but not by external dictation. If I may offer a personal comment from my own experience all over the world, the possession of power is fatal to success in human affairs if you ever 543 use it. It should never be used as such, because you thereby destroy the hope of a friendly and mutually acceptable solution. It may give you the right to be heard as a friend, but that is all. You cannot impose it successfully; you have to win attention by inspiring collaboration. I have had personal experience of how much can be achieved by those methods all over the world. That sentiment is precisely what sanctions seem specifically designed to kill, and if not withdrawn at once they will surely poison the whole future of Southern Africa and will turn vastly needed friends into hitter enemies. I hope that we shall express our complete disapproval of this evil and disastrously ineffective policy of sanctions, and I shall have great pleasure this evening in going into the Lobby against the decision to continue them.
§ 8.12 p.m.
§ LORD STAMP
My Lords, it is several years since I intervened in a debate on Rhodesia. I shall do so to-day, having been one of the signatories of the letter to The Times, though only for a few minutes as I know the lateness of the hour and we have a very long list of speakers. Once again we have to search our consciences in deciding what should be done about that country in the light of changing circumstances. Few subjects are more emotive and rouse more intense passions—largely due to the complexity of the factors involved on which everyone will lay different emphasis, and some of which many will seemingly completely ignore.
No one in a Christian country would deny the fundamental equality of man—of black or white—and few brought up on the principles of democracy disavow that of majority rule. Most, though, qualify this by insisting that the electorate must be educated, and therefore lay the greatest stress on the need for education of the Rhodesian peoples. All, or nearly all, continue to insist that majority rule is fundamental to any agreement over the future of Rhodesia. One cannot shut one's eyes, though, as many appear to do, to the state of affairs it has led to in other parts of Africa, all of which must surely colour our thinking to-day—black dictatorships leading to the repression of minorities, whether they be tribes or races; and now the iniquity of their expulsion from Uganda by President 544 Amin. This point has of course been made by several noble Lords, but I feel that I must emphasise it again.
If our policy over sanctions, backed by world opinion, were yet to be successful, and, following the eventual accession of the black majority to power, the recent events in Uganda were to be repeated there, what should we or the United Nations say or do? Wash our hands of it and say that it was an internal affair and no business of ours, or that there was nothing we could do about it? If, under the terms of the granting of legal independence to Rhodesia, United Kingdom passports were given to all who claimed the right to them, how should we then cope with the possible influx of 200,00 whites, with the high level of unemployment and housing shortages still probably major factors? Compared with this, the present problem With regard to the Uganda Asians would be insignificant. Many would say that this could not possibly happen. Could it not? How many thought that at the time Uganda was granted independence?
My Lords, in my view, in the light of these considerations the whole Rhodesian problem needs re-thinking. This has become incomparably more difficult as the years have passed, with all the passions that have been aroused, the bitterness and hate that has been caused. the reactionary policies and repression that have resulted, and the entrenched positions that have been taken up, not only in Rhodesia but in this country and the United Nations. It is easy to be wise after the event, but I believe that history will record that a fundamental mistake was made at the beginning. This was to assume that a form of government based on majority rule that has taken centuries to develop in this country and still works at best very imperfectly and at worst disastrously—as in Northern Ireland—could be successfully applied "at a stroke", or even in the foreseeable future to countries in an entirely different stage of development, many with a diversity of races, tribes and religious beliefs. It would seem that to some, majority rule is an article of faith so inviolable that even if it results in the negation of the democratic ideal of freedom and justice for all, it must still be accepted without question.
545 The position with regard to Rhodesia might have been very different to-day if in the early days when its Constitution following the granting of independence was being considered, more thought had been given to alternative forms of government involving less drastic changes and more safeguards. One such alternative has been nut forward by Mr. Holderness—a well-known Salisbury lawyer—the outlines of which were summarised in the Guardian of March 16, 1966. This was based on the principle of the "sharing of power". In addition to the equal sharing of the responsibility of government, the black and white peoples would have equal control over the armed forces and the police, so that both would be in a position to protect the Constitution.
Such a form of government which, if I may coin a phrase, might be referred to as "parity rule" would provide the conditions for confidence, trust and cooperation between the races, to be developed in a way that majority rule, with the dangers inherent in its "all or nothing" type of Constitution, never can do. If successful, it might even point the way eventually to a solution of the even more intractable problem of South Africa, however hopeless this may seem at present. Sooner or later justice must be done to the black people there, but I cannot ever see this being brought about through majority rule. The whites would never accept this.
The whole concept of parity rule may seem far too revolutionary and totally unrealistic to-day, but a revolution in thinking is essential if race relations in Rhodesia are not to go from bad to worse. This, in my view, is inevitable if sanctions are continued. If successful, they can lead only to continued economic hardship for the country, which in turn must inevitably lead to more discontent and more repression and more injustice. To me, there is only one hope—a fresh start, not based entirely on the approaches to a settlement of recent years, but taking into account fully the lessons that have been learnt. In this, all must play their part—the whites in the liberalisation of their Government and its policies and a great acceleration of their efforts on behalf of the black people in education, social services, and the provision of 546 opportunities for advancement—all of which would be greatly facilitated and encouraged by the lifting of sanctions. The black people must accept the fact that in the long run more can be gained by making haste slowly: by compromise, rather than by insisting on their full rights, and by doing their utmost to ensure that such a compromise would gain general acceptance among their people. It is also up to black leaders in other parts of Africa to demonstrate that a multi-racial society with justice for all is possible there. In this I think that Dr. Banda, of Malawi, is pointing the way.
My Lords, all this may seem quite impracticable in the present climate and after all that has happened. It may be said that even if our country was prepared to lift sanctions the United Nations would never do so. This seems to me to be no reason for not advocating such a course if one believes it to be right, as I do, for the reasons I have given. Whatever may be the result of this and future debates, in the end a fundamentally new approach to the problem of Rhodesia will have to be made, if prosperity for all is ever to be brought to that unhappy land.
§ 8.20 p.m.
§ LORD DULVERTON
My Lords, I am one of those who must apologise for having arrived late at this debate. I apologise, in particular, to the noble Baroness, Lady Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, for having missed her opening speech due to the lack of expeditious transport between Gloucestershire and this place. I, too, am most conscious at this stage of the debate of the need to be brief and not to take up your Lordships' time further than I can avoid doing. For that reason, I shall try to proceed without embellishment to the notes that I have before me this evening.
As I understand it, the position in Rhodesia is that the British Government are still willing to consider a settlement to normalise relations with Rhodesia. However, this settlement must be formally endorsed by African representatives who can convincingly claim to speak for the majority of African opinion. The initiative for negotiating such a settlement rests fairly and squarely with the Rhodesian Government. That, as I understand it, is the position which we have now reached. In Rhodesia, opposition to 547 the settlement comes in the main from four classes of people: on the Right, from well-to-do people, mostly with South African connections, who want to impose apartheid as a matter of principle almost amounting to a religious belief; also, from the white trade unions who are ruthlessly determined to prevent Africans competing for jobs with semi-skilled whites on anything like equal terms. On the Left, it conies from extremists of the ZANU and ZAPU Parties, led by Nkomo and Sithole, now interned, whose aim by all means, including intimidation, is to bring about the state of anarchy which is their best hope of achieving power; and also from African students encouraged, I am sorry to say, by certain American missionaries who insist on one man—one vote as a sine qua non for any settlement. On the other side, Rhodesians in favour of a settlement are, broadly speaking, some church leaders, individuals with social consciences of whom I happen to know many, and moderate Africans who do not regard one man—one vote as practicable at present, but who see a settlement as a step towards their recognition as at least an official opposition, with opportunities for advancement from there. There are also many farmers and businessmen who would like a settlement if only to enhance their own prosperity, but in many cases for other reasons as well.
Sanctions have certainly not had the effect of bringing about Rhodesia's collapse, predicted by Mr. Wilson, in days rather than weeks. Nevertheless, over the years they have undoubtedly had a cumulative effect. One small but visible sign of this is that Scotch whisky is now rationed to one bottle per month. But, perhaps more important than that, there are now, as we all know, serious difficulties in the sphere of foreign exchange. Thus sanctions are making those who have not hitherto been moved by principle increasingly aware of the material disadvantages of Rhodesia's present status. Those who oppose the continuance of sanctions on the grounds that they have proved of no effect are manifestly misinformed. There are also those who fear that the continuance of sanctions will make a clash between Right and Left out there inevitable. I personally do not subscribe to this view at the present 548 time. Moderate people, both white and black African, are in the majority in Rhodesia. The African National Congress can fairly be said to represent about 80 per cent. of African opinion. Therefore, it is perfectly possible for the Rhodesian Government to talk to Africans without having to recognise the ZANU and ZAPU subversives. Furthermore, in the Rhodesian Front itself there are a number of members, including Mr. Ian Smith himself, who are by no means so extreme in their inclinations as some people in the United Kingdom imagine. But without some material incentive they are disinclined to make any positive effort, vis-à-vis their more extreme colleagues, to overcome the inertia of the status quo.
As we all know, there has been an encouraging development in the communication which was recently established between the African National Congress and the Minister for Internal Affairs. It was unfortunate that a leakage of this seems to have led to its having been broken off, one hopes only temporarily. But there is little doubt that, on the Government side, the incentive to hold talks stems largely from the effect of sanctions. Therefore, the object of continuing sanctions is not to bring the nation of Rhodesia to its knees, but to bring the Rhodesian Government to its senses and, to use a phrase which my noble friend Lord Barnby would understand were he in his seat, to keep Mr. Smith up in his bridle. Sanctions are not just a negative form of reprisal for the encouragement of extremists and subversion: they are, rather, a positive form of inducement to moderates to assert their moderation and thereby bring pressure upon the Rhodesian Government to negotiate a settlement acceptable to the moderate majority of African opinion. Sanctions will, I believe, also keep Africans up in their bridle, and without them at this moment efforts to achieve an ultimate settlement would fade away. If they did fade away, the result would inevitably be a move by the whites further towards apartheid and in the end, however far ahead, bloody revolution.
I confess to a deep affection and a very strong admiration for Rhodesia. There is much to admire there to-day. When I was invited to sign the letter that some of my noble friends sent off to The Times, the heart dictated that I should do so but 549 the head said No, and I did not sign for reasons that I hope I have touched upon and explained. Yet I believe that there was good in the publishing of that letter, and of another letter which appears in The Times to-day subscribed to by a number of Members from another place. My reason for feeling that there was good in it is this. We cannot in this country absolve ourselves from having at times made blunders and mistakes in the sad course of the history which we all know so well.
There are those who ask why the Pearce Commission did not go out to Rhodesia until, I think it was, six weeks after Sir Alec Douglas-Home came back to this country. That is a point of contention to this day in Rhodesia, because men whose judgment I personally respect say that they could have predicted with virtual certainty that that space of six weeks would have given time, as it did, to the agitators and the extremists to stir up African opinion—and I think there is little doubt that that is what happened. My Lords, it may be extremely unpalatable for us in this House, particularly those who are at heart (as most of us are) friends of Rhodesia, to hear this, but there are those who say that the British Government caused the delay in sending out the Pearce Commission because they were really determined that a settlement should not be achieved. That is why I applaud and thank my noble friends who wrote that letter, although I did not feel able to sign it myself. I very much hope that, for reasons that I have made clear, they will not seek to-day to prevent Her Majesty's Government from renewing sanctions for yet another year. I myself feel that I must vote with the Government.
§ 8.32 p.m.
§ LORD HANKEY
My Lords, I should like to start by paying the warmest possible tribute to the Foreign Secretary, because I feel that he showed the greatest courage, persistence and ingenuity in negotiating the abortive agreement with Mr. Smith. I think the speech by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, in this House on that occasion last summer was wholly convincing. But the Foreign Secretary really had bad luck: he was hooked on the Fifth Principle of acceptability. I do not think he could help himself; I think 550 it was rotten luck. I do not think it was his fault at all, because that was undoubtedly a bull point for the people who wanted to wreck the agreement—and we have heard quite sufficient evidence in this House, if anybody doubted it, to know that that in fact is what happened. All sorts of people, from Africa, from Europe, from anywhere you like, got busy and helped to distort opinion.
My Lords, there are several points that I should like to make in this connection, and I believe they are important for the further settlement of this dispute—because there must be a settlement. First of all, it is ridiculous to get hooked on a principle. After 38 years as a diplomat I discovered that one always ran into trouble if one got hooked on a principle. You see, if you publish your principle and you then desert it, you immediately class yourself as a moral reprobate, and the people who do this have no flexibility of negotiation. The Russians do it. All right! What do we get? We get "Niet". The French do it. My Lords. they have been in a minority of one at every conference I have been to since 1920. So that is really, in my opinion, no way to conduct diplomacy; and I beseech the Foreign Office to see that we do not get caught that way again.
For instance, supposing the noble Baroness, whose diplomatic talents are really outstanding, is able to negotiate an agreement with Iceland on fish—as I earnestly hope she will do—are we going to say to the Icelander, "Ah! But we want to know whether every section of your opinion agrees with this agreement"? My Lords, it would be fatal. What about the recognition of the Soviet rape of the Baltic States? We have obviously had to recognise that. But did we say, "We want to know whether the Baltic States agree."? Of course we did not; it would have been absurd. To come nearer home, what about the Ostpolitik and the agreements with Eastern Germany? Do we think that anybody is going to say, "Ah! But we want a referendum in either part of Germany."? Of course there is going to be an election in Western Germany, and, God knows!, that is a big enough embarrassment. I hope that those agreements will go through, and I hope the Foreign Office shares that view.
551 Then, my Lords, there is another point. Most referenda say, "No"; and, therefore, it is very important to ask the right question. Personally, I think the Norwegians, in their referendum, asked their people the wrong question. They said: "Do you want to go into the Common Market?" Naturally, the answer was. "No". If they had said: "Do you want to separate yourself from the main course of European development?", the answer would have been "No", and in they would have come. It is quite simple: it is necessary to be subtle in these matters. After listening to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, for whom I have the greatest possible admiration, I am inclined to think that perhaps we also asked the wrong question in Rhodesia. Anyway, I think one needs to adopt a slightly different approach to this question next time.
I do not see anything to be funny about in this. I have been through some terrible diplomatic traumas in my time. I was very much mixed up in the question of sanctions against Italy, and one of the most bitter experiences in my life was when we had to withdraw sanctions against Italy because they did not work. There was nothing else to do. You have to face these things. It requires guts. You have to do it. After the American action on chrome, which they have taken quite officially, with the approval of Congress, and after the really widespread evasion of sanctions by so many other nations—the Japanese, the Germans, the French; not officially, but their goods are everywhere in Rhodesia—I do not think it is fair to say, as a good many of your Lordships have implied, that sanctions represent any real pressure on Mr. Smith. I think we have to recognise this widespread evasion as inevitable. I do not believe that the United Nations or any other Power can, after these years, put Humpty-Dumpty together again. In my view, we must have the guts to recognise that this is not going to lead us anywhere. Especially, do not let us plunge into yet more blunders, to use the excellent phrase of the noble Lord, Lord Dulverton. I suggest, really, that the time has come to pack it up. It is traumatic. I do not like it. One does not like eating one's words, but occasionally it is safer to recognise the inevitable. 552 We saw in the last war that it was militarily dangerous to reinforce a failure. I recall the famous last words of the pilot, "I think I can fly up that valley." I recall something that one of your Lordships said about Rhodesia possibly becoming a flashpoint of Africa. I want to suggest to your Lordships that the continuation of sanctions is not really likely to keep pressure on Mr. Smith. What it is likely to do is to build up extremist opinion, and perhaps increase the nearness of the flashpoint. I say this with great responsibility, and having been connected with places where flashpoints did occasionally occur.
So where do we go from here? This is the important point that has to be considered. I was very interested in something said by my noble friend Lord Walston, for whose wisdom I have always had a great admiration. He suggested that what we need is an intermediary, or some means of communication with Salisbury. I believe that what we need—and I know this is a revolutionary suggestion—is to have a permanent representative there. It would mean their having a permanent representative in London, but I do not see how this problem can be settled without our having some means of discussing the matter. It is obvious that it cannot now be done by pressure; it is obvious that political warfare and economic warfare carry us no further. All right! If you cannot war, you have to "jaw". And how do you "jaw" without representatives? Of course, there are businessmen on both sides going to and fro; and you can occasionally find an absolute genius, like the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, who can do it for you. But I suggest that businessmen provide intelligence about what is happening at the other end of the line, and that it is important not to confuse intelligence with diplomacy. I see no alternative to diplomacy. I believe that to do this we have to have a top diplomat there, and to get him there we have to admit one of theirs here. That, of course, was contrary to what the United Nations said; but we have to recognise that the United Nations' gambit was "sanctions and all that". As that has failed we must try something new.
I would urge upon your Lordships that this revolutionary suggestion is perhaps one that ought to be carefully considered 553 and, if at all possible, adopted. We have exchanged representatives with nations which were acutely opposed to us. We had a representative in China all through the Korean war, I think, and during all the time that Reuters' correspondent was being knocked about in his house. We have put up with a great deal. We have always had a representative in Moscow although the Russians have often behaved in a way of which we have not approved. So I think that we must do this, and I would urge that the time has come when it is rather scandalous that we do not protect British interests better. The British interests in Rhodesia ought to be protected. They are rather under fire in Africa, and it is high time, I believe, that we had the normal means of diplomatic and consular representation there.
I was greatly attracted also by what my noble friend Lord Garner said: he, too, felt that we had to find a solution. It is true that he also said that we should maintain sanctions: and there I part with him. But I think we have to do our very best to find a solution and to establish machinery to do that. But we have to recognise that if we have a representative in Salisbury and if we are going to do business through him, then the continuation of sanctions makes his position impossible. It weakens Mr. Smith's ability to make sensible concessions if he is subject to political and economic pressure. It is time to drop the stick and to try the carrot. This is very disappointing advice for the adherents of sanctions but I recall what that wise old man Confucius said to his niece: "If rape be inevitable, then relax…"
§ LORD HANKEY
My Lords, I try to be.
I should like to conclude with an authority, more recent than Confucius, namely, Oliver Cromwell, who in his letter to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on August 3, 1650, said:I beseech you in the bowels of Christ to think it possible that you may be mistaken.
§ 8.45 p.m.
§ LORD STRANGE
My Lords, I think I am next on the programme. I should like to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Hankey, on a speech which I thought full of wisdom, knowledge and humour. I have listened to a great number of speeches in this House and it is quite impossible for me to compete with them. They were all very good speeches, particularly that of the noble Marquess. It was excellent. There were fine speeches on all sides. People seem to have gone out of their way to speak so well that I cannot possibly compete; so I shall hope to be in the 6½-minute bracket. I do not think I shall get carried away.
My Lords, everything has been said. I should like to go further back and look at the question from a distance. I confess that as a child I was surrounded by politicians, Tory politicians. Two of my aunts were married to distinguished politicians and I therefore took it all as rather a joke. I remember being asked by my family about the British Empire and I said that we taught them cricket and they taught us polo. We educated their children over here and their children went back from us and taught them English and told their friends about us and said, "Rule Britannia, Beechams pills, Queen Victoria, jolly good chap!" This made for good and important relations. Apart from that, I knew that the sun, obviously for geographical reasons, did not set on the British Empire.
I did not take much more interest than that until I found about twenty years ago that Empire was a dirty word; that people did not want the British Empire. They wanted to give it away as quickly as possible. They talked about our deceiving the natives and about our loss of power to rule. That was interesting to hear and I thought that everybody, everywhere was mad. And so we came to the stage where we could not get rid of the Empire fast enough. We wanted to give it away, to give the people in it lots of votes so that they could run their places as we run ours here—although they were of different races. For their voting, they were to have pictures of people; they were to vote for pictures. Who was to draw the pictures I did not know. I never asked; but that was how I took it to be.
555 My Lords, to come to a more serious point, I can remember an occasion some years ago when I was seated here in my place and the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, was speaking from his place quite near me. I have a note somewhere of this occasion. Lord Attlee made an interesting speech; I was very close to him. At the end of his speech he dropped his voice and he said something which I thought was a wonderful thing to say. I went to him afterwards in the writing room, where he had the habit of sitting and signing a lot of letters. I congratulated him on his speech and I asked him this question: "That last remark in your speech—was that by any chance your farewell to Parliament?" He said that it was, so I thought I would produce it to-day. So I got hold of the Hansard of the day—we are all greatly helped and looked after in this House—and I looked up that speech; but that closing remark was not in it. Now I know that I heard it. When I made inquiries—everything can be found in the House of Lords—I was told that he had spoken in so low a tone that his voice had dropped below the microphone level. I think the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, too, may have heard what he said. Earl Attlee was a great man. It is unfortunate that that remark was not on record, and I cannot record it now, obviously, because it is not in Hansard. The reason for this omission was that when it had been inquired of him what he had said, he had replied, "Don't worry about it. Forget it!" That, of course, has robbed my speech of something which would have been a compliment to the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, and which should be recorded in the history of this country. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, knows what was said and that he would agree that it cannot now be repeated.
I have some notes—I am not used to speaking from notes, but I have them somewhere—of what Lord Attlee actually said about Rhodesia. It is very interesting. He was a person worth listening to. I cannot find my note so I must quote from memory, which is obviously not as satisfactory; but there it is! I have lost it. I have a hole in one of my pockets—but, wait a second, my Lords, I have it! The date was November 15, 1965, and the debate was on sanctions, 556 and the noble Earl said:…sanctions…should be short, sharp…the sooner we are prepared to treat with these frightened people—Mr. Smith and his friends—generously, the better."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15/11/65 col. 282]That was said then, my Lords. Lord Attlee was a man of wisdom and he said that it must be "Snap, this, this, and that!" That was seven years ago. And we are going on to-day. Now, my Lords, I shall tell you something important.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, the fact is, as the noble Lord has said, that I remember those remarks, but I think Lord Attlee would also have agreed that sanctions would have to continue. They should be short and sharp to bring in results; but he would not have condoned any relinquishment of the present pressures.
§ LORD STRANGE
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, for that intervention. It will make my speech a little longer than six minutes, but I feel honoured that a Member of the Opposition Front Bench should recognise that I am speaking. The point I was going to make is one which I found out, and I give it to your Lordships as a tip. I am considered, and I am, an old man. By the standards of earlier days I should be a very old man, but by modern standards we do not admit to that. I have found that the greatest health exercise one can have in life is to go over one's life and count up all the times one was wrong and admit to oneself, "I was wrong." That is the first test that everyone should apply to himself. If you do that, you feel a healthier and better person. You cannot make a woman do it. I have tried, and I know that you cannot. But men can; they can face up to it and say, "I was wrong."
The second thing one can learn about is not to be a sheep. That is a very important point. You must be able to say to yourself (you can say it to yourself in private, in the bathroom; you do not have to tell everyone): "I am not a sheep." My sister—I talked to her last week—has the same sense of humour that I have which is odd, perhaps. I think one might describe it as that. She said, "I am thinking of standing outside No. 10 with a placard. After a time a number of people would join me and after a bit a policeman would conduct us and we 557 would go round the block shouting slogans. "I said to her," Would you write anything on your placard? "She said," I don't think that would be necessary; they would all have their placards. "Then she said," I might write something, as we are going into the Common Market. I might write, Protect our France from the French,' that would draw a crowd." We agreed that that was a good idea. Being a sheep one can be a religious sheep, I am afraid, and also a political sheep. Or one can be—we are dealing with this to-day—an ideological sheep. People have these wonderful ideas that I have never had, these marvellous ideological ideas which are difficult to understand. Many of them have been expressed to-day. Honour has come into the debate a good deal. I am not sure what "honour" is now: it was a girl's name in Victorian times.
I note, my Lords, that nine minutes have slipped by, but I am coming to the end of my speech. The end of my speech is this. I think that what Lord Attlee said in 1965 was right: sanctions have to be finished quickly. Yet they have gone on for seven years. Nobody has greater respect for Sir Alec Douglas-Home than I have; I think he is a jolly good chap. But I think he is gambling on this. I know all the members of the Conservative Front Bench, and I know how Conservatives think. I have been a Conservative myself. I know that we shall hear a wonderful speech from the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, at the end of the debate this evening. We shall all cry because it will be so marvellous and it will move us all. But seven years is a long time to gamble with. Why not take off sanctions and see what happens? After all, if there is anything funny that we do not like, we can always go to war against them. George III thought nothing of going to war against his own Colonies and hiring troops to fight. There is nothing wrong about that. And we could always put sanctions on again. But, my Lords, I come to the point of my speech. I have been touched. I know a great many people from South Africa: some even have relatives living out there. I am frightened that if we leave things as they are, Rhodesia will go and join with South Africa. I have a lot of "dope" on this, but I will not bore your Lordships with it. But I am frightened they will do 558 that, and then it will be too late. Therefore I ask all noble Lords to think very carefully whether they are sheep, or whether they are men who can say now, in the light of what has happened, "We were wrong".
§ 8.55 p.m.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, after the Machiaevellian advice from the noble Lord, Lord Hankey, and the extremely entertaining interlude from the noble Lord, Lord Strange, which I am sure we have all very much enjoyed, I think we must remind ourselves that we are now approaching the end of this very long debate. I assume that the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, will wind up, as it were, for The Times signatories and then we shall reach the Front Bench winding-up speeches. After that, my Lords, we have to reach a decision. I am assuming, from the remarks made by various noble Lords, that there are at any rate some who propose to divide the House. So I think that at this stage in our debate we must surely come right back to the essentials of what it is that we are being asked to decide on to-night.
With great respect to so many noble Lords who I think have made extremely interesting and in many cases very well-informed' speeches, I would say that many of those speeches are, in a sense, irrelevant to the decision which to-night we are being asked to take. I say this because anyone who heard the speech of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, will surely recognise that that is the essence of what we have to decide to-night. It is not really whether sanctions were advised or ill-advised; whether they have been effective or not effective; nor even, possibly, whether we think their continuance will lead to a settlement or make a settlement less likely. The stark fact of the matter is, as we were reminded so overwhelmingly convincingly to my mind by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, that it is less than twelve months since the Commission of which he was Chairman and of which another Member of your Lordships' House was a member, was sent to Rhodesia to set certain propositions before the people of Rhodesia. They went with the full authority of Her Majesty's Government, and it was with that authority that they told the people 559 of Rhodesia that if the proposals were accepted, sanctions would be abandoned, and that if the proposals were not accepted, sanctions would be maintained. That was something said with authority.
I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Napier and Ettrick, is not in the Chamber, because I thought that, from his point of view, he made, if I may say so, one of the most effective speeches in the debate. But I think the noble Lord was on extremely dangerous ground. I have not his precise words, but I have the sense of what he said. He was referring to a decision taken in this House in 1968 against the former Labour Government. He said that if this House was right to turn down sanctions then, it would be all the more right to turn down sanctions now, when the Conservative Party is in power. Surely this is a completely mistaken point of view. After all, the noble Lord is a supporter of a Government whose word was pledged. And as a supporter of that Government (this applies, if I may respectfully say so, to a number of other noble Lords) he must surely be concerned with the honour of the Government. This, I would plead with your Lordships, has very little to do at this moment of time with one's views about sanctions. Some are in favour and some are against. But the real point is that the Pearce Commission, on behalf of Her Majesty's Government, and less than 12 months ago, said this. And the situation in Rhodesia has not changed to a degree in which one has any justification, it seems to me, morally to abandon sanctions at this point in time. The time may come, but I submit that it is not to-night.
I would plead again with noble Lords to think carefully what they might be doing if they were to vote against their own Government in a situation of this kind. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, said, a reputation for straight dealing is not lightly to be thrown away. It could not be better put; it is so simple and so succinct. I do not think that anyone with knowledge of Africa would doubt for a moment that if here and now to-night your Lordships' House were to turn down the Motion of the Government, we should be able to escape the accusation that we were 560 not dealing straight, and that we never meant what was said by the Pearce Commission, with the authority of the British Government. This seems to me to be by far the most important aspect of the debate and of the decision which we are being asked to take.
My Lords, there were other things that I should have liked to say. I will add very little more because, as I say, this point seems to me to transcend any other, and everything else is so much less relevant that I think it hardly matters: everything else is a matter of opinion as to whether sanctions were wise or unwise, whether they have worked or have not worked. This is a matter of absolute basic principle and a matter of honour. Much of what I would otherwise have said—and I will touch on it only briefly—was said by the noble Lord, Lord Dulverton. I found his speech, if I may respectfully say so, one of the most enlightening of those to which we have listened, and I have listened to not quite all, but nearly all of the speeches that have been made in this debate.
The noble Lord, to my mind, put forward the pragmatic argument, as opposed to the matter of principle, for retaining sanctions at the present time. Again, I thought he put it so well that I cannot put it better myself. He said that a continuation of sanctions is an inducement to moderates in Rhodesia—and he was speaking of both white and black Rhodesians to exert their moderation. All my advice from Rhodesia is entirely in line with what the noble Lord, Lord Dulverton, said. I no longer have quite such close acquaintance as I had some years ago. Such contacts as I have are now exclusively with white Rhodesians, and it is from them that I have had advice very similar to that given by the noble Lord, Lord Dulverton: that if one discontinues sanctions at this time, one will stop the movement towards some rapproachment which I believe is just beginning in Rhodesia. This was another point made quite briefly by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce. There is movement; it is not a completely static situation. There is not simply a monolithic pro-Smith Party. Nor is the opposition to Mr. Smith exclusively from the extreme Right. As anyone who has read the reports this week about the formation of the new Rhodesia Party 561 under the leadership, among others, of Adam Savory, who left Mr. Smith's Party, will appreciate, there is movement. It is not a radical movement. It is not what we on this side of the House would consider a Left-Wing Party by any means. It is what one would regard as a Right-Wing Party, but what one might call a traditionalist Party: that is to say, it may be paternalistic in its attitude; it may be turning the clock back possibly; but it is not a Party which wishes the developments in Rhodesia which tend towards apartheid. I quote from a Guardian report of yesterday, in which it says:The new party seeks a return to the traditional white Rhodesian way of life, with an end to petty racialism and advancement on merit guaranteed to Africans.There is nothing revolutionary about that; but it is better than the proposals made by certain other people in Rhodesia. In particular, I think it is important that the Party wishes the reintroduction of a common voters' roll and constitutional safeguards for each race against domination by the other: and there was an echo of that in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Stamp, who went back again to the 1966 Holderness proposals.
My Lords, as I have said, at this late hour I do not wish to elaborate on this. I would only say that on the African side also, according to my information, there is a certain movement. It is not absolutely hard; it is not completely static. The leaders of the African National Council realise that they have to move also. I think that both sides are trying to find some way of not losing too much face with their own supporters, which one can quite understand, but equally to have some sort of dialogue. This is the information that I have received and, as I say, the noble Lord, Lord Dulverton, in his most interesting speech, and with his, I am sure, far greater knowledge than I possess, entirely supported this analysis of the situation. Therefore I agree with the noble Lord that, looking at it from the pragmatic point of view, apart from the overriding question of principle and honour, that also leads in the same direction. Whatever may ultimately be the opinion of your Lordships' House tonight, to my mind there is no doubt 562 whatever where our duty lies, and that is to support the Government.
§ 9.8 p.m.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, I suppose that each one of us, when we came to the House to-day and saw the long list of speakers, must have had a sinking feeling in the heart and must have wondered what on earth there could be left to say that is worth saying now about this unhappy problem. Yet I think we must all agree that we have had from both sides of your Lordships' House a series of most remarkable and penetrating speeches. I daresay that when we come to debate this Motion in 1980 or 1990 it may begin to wear a little thin, but I have a suggestion that might cover that. It is obviously too late for this year, but I am sure that with good will between the usual channels it could be made effective in subsequent years. It would give variety to the discussion and tend to lessen its monotony. My suggestion is that in alternate years, beginning with next year, instead of laying an Order renewing sanctions against Rhodesia we should lay an Order reimposing the tea duties on the North American Colonies. That would be just as effective and a great deal less dangerous.
The noble Baroness who has just spoken said that the question of the merits of sanctions and whether or not they were successful was a minor matter, and that the only thing which did matter was what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, said this afternoon. Well, views may differ about that, and I happen to hold a different view from that of the noble Baroness. I think the question of the practical effect of sanctions matters most enormously, and that what we have to get into our heads, and what noble Lords opposite, especially, have got to get into their heads, and what, if he will allow me to say so, my noble friend Lord Dulverton (who made a most moderate and persuasive speech) has got to realise, is that economic sanctions mean war.
We have declared war on Rhodesia. We have carried on that war for seven years. The United Nations declared war on Rhodesia a little later, and they have carried the war on for some four, five or six years—I forget the precise number. Now what is the effect of war? The effect of war is to make a nation draw in upon itself, to stand solidly behind its 563 Government. It makes it almost impossible for moderate opinion to express itself, and it produces the kind of thing that noble Lords opposite used to call "the police State". It is not so long since we were a police State. We were at war. We had censorship of the Press, internment without trial, and all the rest of it. And that is what we are forcing upon Rhodesia, with sanctions. We must get it into our heads that we are at war with Rhodesia. It was we who declared war, not they. It is they who are defending themselves, and we cannot expect them to do anything else.
My noble friend Lady Tweedsmuir made a speech this afternoon which was, as usual, charming and appealing; but this time—and I do not want to hurt her feelings—it was not entirely convincing. She said—and we have heard the argument elsewhere—that there was a chance of a settlement. She said that there was a chance of getting the two sides together and that the way to do so was to continue sanctions. I wonder whether the noble Baroness, or indeed your Lordships' House in general, really thought about what she was saying; because in fact sanctions convey a different message to each side in the dispute that is going on in Rhodesia. To the militant Rhodesian Front, sanctions say, "We must fight". To the African Nationalist they say, "We must fight. If we keep on they are going to give way". I suggest that the only possible way in which the policy advocated by my noble friend this afternoon could succeed would be if sanctions were lifted. Then we should find the moderate coming out of his shell. We have heard about him for five years; he has never yet appeared. If the war situation ceased, the moderate would come out of his shell and there would then be the chance of a real rapprochement between the two sides.
I want to give the noble Baroness and the House two examples of what I have been trying to say. First, a word about the effect of sanctions on the Rhodesian Front. The other day the railway union introduced a new colour bar by which on main-line trains no coloured or black African was allowed to be a driver, or part of the train crew. That is the effect of sanctions on the Rhodesian Front. Now a word about the effect of sanctions on African national opinion. It will not 564 have escaped the notice of your Lordships that Miss Judith Todd has been appointed—God save the mark!—ambassadress of the African National Council to the United Nations; and when a moderate African, Mr. Sadomba was asked about this, and asked if it did not forebode ill for this rapprochement which my noble friend and the Foreign Secretary are working to get, he replied, "After all, we have to have our Miss Devlin, too". Does that sound very much like sanctions bringing the two sides together? I think not.
But to me there is a more important aspect of keeping on sanctions. I am glad that the noble Lord, Lord Garner, is here because he cast what was a somewhat unworthy imputation upon those of us who opposed sanctions. He said the violence of our opposition must mean that sanctions are beginning to bite. I do not think that was altogether worthy. We are opposed to sanctions for the reasons that I gave, and we are opposed to sanctions for another reason: I do not believe that time is on our side. A predecessor of mine in the representation in another place of the City of Kingston-upon-Hull wrote:Had we but world enough, and time, …Then, later on:But at my back I always hearTime's winged chariot hurrying near,And yonder all before us lieDeserts of vast Eternity.I would alter one word: for "Eternity", read "anarchy". The danger is that, unless we change our tactics, the whole of this, Southern Africa is going to be plunged into a holocaust of anarchy and bloodshed.
The noble Lord, Lord Gifford, made one of the most remarkable speeches in this debate, and I hope the effect of his speech on noble Lords on this side of the House will be to make them come into the Lobby against the continuation of sanctions. He described how he was an honoured guest of the Liberation Front in Mozambique. He did not, I note, describe that as "an illegal régime". He described how they were arming themselves; how the day of bloody reckoning was drawing nearer and nearer. I believe most firmly that unless we can get this question of sanctions out of the way, we are going to reap the whirlwind, having sown the wind of our own folly.
565 Perhaps I may now turn to the point raised by the noble Baroness about our moral obligation in this matter. The House was either deeply impressed or shocked by what the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, had to say. I must say that I doubted the wisdom of his taking part in the debate, he being Chairman of the Commission, but I had no intention, when I saw his name on the list of speakers, of debating it with him. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, I greatly respect and admire for what he tried to do in Rhodesia. As he knows, I thought he failed; but I deeply respect him. He was good enough to tell us that because he, Lord Pearce, had travelled up and down the country of Rhodesia saying that if the agreement was not settled, was not accepted, then sanctions would continue indefinitely, and that if we went back on that we were dishonouring ourselves as a Parliament and as a House—
§ LORD ALPORT
My Lords, would the noble Lord allow me to intervene for one moment? Was it not certain that the Pearce Commission were bound to tell the Africans what would be the situation if they said, "No"? The fact that they said, "No" in those circumstances makes their decision doubly convincing; and in those circumstances surely my noble and learned friend and his colleagues were entirely justified in the line they took.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, I am sorry to differ from my noble friend. I have differed from him before, but never more deeply than now. The Commission were given certain terms of reference—they are here on page 1 of the Report. There is not one word, not one syllable, in those terms of reference to suggest that the noble and learned Lord had authority to commit either House of Parliament or the Government to an indefinite continuation of sanctions. I would ask my noble friend whether he can assure the House that no advice, or no instruction, was given to the noble and learned Lord to take the line that he did on this point, to exceed his terms of reference—
§ LORD COLERAINE
May I finish, my Lords? If such instruction or advice was given, was Parliament informed? If Parliament was not informed, why not?
§ LORD BERNSTEIN
My Lords, is it not the fact that Her Majesty's Government implied that if the Pearce Report did not recommend certain actions they would continue their policy which they had started prior to the Labour Government coming into power? Therefore, ipso facto, I think the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, was quite right in saying that sanctions would continue.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, I am sorry to say that I said during the debate on the Report that I never thought it was a great success to have eminent lawyers dealing with an issue of this kind, and, with great respect to the noble and learned Lord, I still hold to that opinion. I think the noble and learned Lord would have done much better to have stuck to his brief.
We are told, and I am sure that my noble friend is going to tell us again, that, quite apart from the effect of lifting sanctions on Rhodesia, we have to consider the effect on the outside world, on our relations with the United Nations, and so forth. I wonder whether we do not give too much consideration to that aspect of the matter. I wonder whether we really do well by pussyfooting about and trying to be liked; because that is really what this policy means.
The noble Lord, Lord Strang, wrote a book some years ago called Britain in World Affairs, a survey of the fluctuations in British power and influence from Henry VIII to Elizabeth II, and in that book he reflected at large upon the sources of power, whether they were entirely military and economic or whether you could have influence without military and economic power, and I think he said that there were cases in which you could. But I would suggest to your Lordships that if you have not got military power and if you have not got economic power and you have to rely entirely upon influence, that influence must be backed by will and not just by good intentions. I think that on this side of the House we know that mandatory sanctions against Rhodesia were a violation of the United Nations Charter. We 567 know that the United Nations applies an entirely different standard to Rhodesia from the standard it applies to other countries whose sins are infinitely greater than those of Rhodesia and whose threat to the peace is far greater than anything that we could attribute to Rhodesia. Would it not be better for us now to do what the Foreign Secretary said that one day he would perhaps have to do, namely, go to the United Nations and say, "This policy has failed; this policy has become a sham, it has become a humbug; we are not going to enforce it any more"?
I would ask my noble friend to consider for a moment the relative positions of ourselves and France. We have gone pussy-footing about, trying to make ourselves agreeable to this or that black African State. France, on the other hand, has gone ahead in black Africa saying exactly what it means and doing exactly what it has said, and it has far more support in black Africa than we have. When M. Pompidou had to make a declaration about the supply of arms, submarines and aircraft by France to South Africa, he did not make it in Paris but in Dakar, and France has lost no trade through that. Indeed, France has lost the respect of nobody through that. I believe that we are losing respect as well as trade—and I do not minimise the importance of trade—by not having the will to fulfil our good intentions.
My Lords, I have really been speaking to noble Lords on this side of the House and to some on the Cross-Benches. I know that nothing I could say would influence members of the Labour or Liberal Parties. I ask noble Lords on this side to consider whether it is not their duty to vote against this Order to-night. We all have a deep respect for the Foreign Secretary and I do not think it shows any disrespect for the Prime Minister or any member of the Government to say that Sir Alec Douglas-Home holds a special position in our hearts and in the hearts of the people of this country. He is trusted as nobody else is. But we cannot shelter behind that. I respect Sir Alec, I admire him and I am well aware of his integrity, but that does not mean that I must unreservedly accept his judgment. After all, Rhodesia is only a trifle on his plate, so to speak. 568 Much bigger problems confront him. We can say, "This is our view, but Sir Alec has wider sources of information; he has the Rhodesian Department of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to inform him"—as it informed Mr. Wilson's Government in 1965 and 1966, when it was a "question of days and not months". All the information it has given has proved to be wrong and I do not see why we should accept it now. I ask your Lordships to consider whether it is not your duty, if in your good judgment you feel that sanctions are wrong, to vote against this Order.
My noble friend Lady Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie spoke of what might happen if the Order were rejected and said that the House might have to be summoned to-morrow. I think that some noble Lords took that as a threat, though I am sure that my noble friend did not intend it as one and I am sure, if it were intended as a threat, that your Lordships would not heed it. She made a further reference, which was rather more obscure, to some kind of conflict of opinion between the authorities in one House as against the authorities in another which might mean that the Order in fact could not be reintroduced, so that a vote against it would nullify Government policy. May I suggest to you, my Lords, that if that happened two miracles would be needed: the first miracle would be the hypothesis that my noble friend the Chief Whip and my noble friend the Leader of the House would not find some way of reintroducing the Order; and the second miracle would be that the Order is rejected to-night. I do not think it will be. I believe that it will be carried by Labour and Liberal votes. But if I am wrong, and if indeed these two miracles do come to pass, then surely we can see in that the hand of Providence, and it must mean that Providence intended that this nonsensical policy should cease.
§ 9.37 p.m.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, we in Parliament have a genuine tradition. We may not have affection, we may not have agreement, but we can have respect, and I am certain that in whatever quarter of the House we may sit we have respect for the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, because for some seven years he has been 569 consistent. He has been consistent in support of the Smith régime in Southern Rhodesia.
§ LORD COLERAINE
No, my Lords; if the noble Lord will allow me. I have been consistent against the policy of sanctions. I have not been consistent in support of the Smith régime. I would very much rather have had a more moderate one.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
I am glad the noble Lord has corrected that point, but certainly in my period of time on the Benches opposite the impression I had was that consistently the noble Lord gave support and comfort to the illegal régime in Rhodesia.
My Lords, we have had a good debate. It has been calm, although occasionally it became a little electric, and on one occasion the noble Earl the Leader of the House tempered, I thought very successfully—although I feel it was not required—the speech of my noble friend Lord Caradon. It was the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, who reminded me of June, 1968, when we were debating a similar but not identical Order. On that occasion there were present in your Lordships' House some 377 noble Lords. The noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, and the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, for reasons best known to themselves, led their own Party into the Division Lobby. To-night I speak in support of the noble Earl on a similar but not identical Order.
Why do we come together at this moment of time? My Lords, we come together because of a decision taken by a Conservative Government well before U.D.I. or I.D.I. A Conservative Government laid down Five Principles for the independence of Rhodesia. The Fifth Principle was perhaps the most important: it was that under which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, was required to go to Rhodesia to see whether the people of Rhodesia as a whole accepted the terms that had been agreed between the British Government and the Government of Rhodesia as a possible base for a settlement. In Government one has responsibility, and I think it is for that reason to-night that the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, will be asking your Lordships to support an Order that is similar to but not identical with that which they voted against in 1968.
570 In this debate I think there were, among a number of notable speeches, two that put the issue quite clearly. There was the speech of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce. The noble and learned Lord was sent out first of all to satisfy himself, and, of course, Parliament, that the people of Rhodesia understood what was the settlement and, having decided that, to ascertain whether the people of Rhodesia as a whole found it acceptable. The decision of that Commission we have already debated, and our debate was based upon one of the most brilliant and clear Reports that I think Parliament has ever been asked to consider. I am glad that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, spoke to-night. I think he had a duty to speak to-night, because we all receive a Writ of Summons, do we not? What did the noble and learned Lord say? He said that he would not have undertaken this particular mission unless he felt that Parliament, which in the end is the only means by which Rhodesia could achieve independence, would stand by not only the terms of a possible agreement but the verdict of the Commission which Parliament had set up and had authorised. And, of course, the noble Lord and his colleagues had to say to the people of Rhodesia; "If you accept these terms it means independence, which of course would pave the way to the lifting of sanctions. If you do not accept them, it would naturally follow that the status quo would remain and that the Constitution of Rhodesia would remain illegal and that sanctions would continue."
Those who question whether the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, was right to put the position in those terms to the people of Rhodesia need only look to the speech of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor winding up the debate in December. The House will remember that the Opposition moved an Amendment which was basically to take note; we did not wish to approve it, we wished to leave it to the people of Rhodesia themselves to decide, without the foreknowledge of what Parliament had decided. The noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor said that it would be wrong to send a Commission to Rhodesia to put this question to the people of Rhodesia unless there was a clear understanding by those people that 571 if they accepted these terms Parliament would pass it and independence be granted. I do not believe that those who took part in that debate could in any way have misunderstood the position of Her Majesty's Government as it was put forward by the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor. And, my Lords, the noble Lords who have criticised to-day went into the Division Lobby in support of the Government when a Division was called.
Should sanctions continue? I believe that there are three choices. The first is to condone an illegal act—and I do not believe that this Parliament, or the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, himself, would have condoned an illegal rebellion against the Crown. Secondly, one could use force. I do not believe that this Parliament would have entertained the use of force in Africa, with all the possible repercussions that would flow from it. Therefore what was left but a form of pressure through economic sanctions? It is true that they have not worked "at a stroke". They may not have had the impact that some of us had hoped. If they had been quicker, no doubt the unsatisfactory situation that we have to-day could have been avoided. But I do not believe—and I look at the words of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, in 1965—that in the view of the official Opposition there was any choice but to impose sanctions. I would hazard a guess that had there been a Conservative Government in 1965 they too would have imposed some form of economic sanctions upon Rhodesia, because what the régime in Rhodesia was doing was quite contrary to all the requirements that previous Conservative and Labour Governments had required for the granting of independence.
My Lords, if we were, as has been suggested to-day, to give up sanctions, is it really to be believed that those who support Mr. Smith, those who put pressure upon Mr. Smith, would change their course of action and belief? I have always believed that the basic problem in Southern Africa is not necessarily fear of one colour of another, but is, basically, economic. Therefore I do not believe that if we were to take off sanctions to-day we should see a sudden change of view 572 by those who are in authority in Rhodesia. But if we were to take off sanctions, we should be saying to citizens of the Queen, "We must leave you. We have no further responsibility to you"; and in practice we should also be saying to Rhodesia as a whole, "Whatever may be the events in Africa, you can never look to us for protection". This is a factor that was very much in the mind of the Labour Government in the very early days of the illegal declaration of independence. I think that we should be deceiving ourselves if we believed that there would be a change for the better if sanctions were to be lifted to-night, which would be the consequence if the Order was not passed to-night. Noble Lords opposite have repeatedly said that they have not only great affection but great confidence in the Foreign Secretary, Sir Alec Douglas-Home. Sir Alec has been consistent in this matter he has not deviated one iota on it, and I believe that he is right.
I doubt whether on the basic issue, I could persuade any noble Lord not to vote against this Order, but there may be some who believe that the opportunity which was available in 1968 is available to the House to-night. When the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, and the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, spoke against the Order then, they maintained that the House of Commons would have an opportunity for reflection, and that if that House still wished to proceed with the Order the Conservative Opposition in your Lordships' House would permit it to go through if it was relaid. I believe that that is very much the view of the noble Lord, Lord Napier and Ettrick. It is certainly the message of an unofficial Whip that I saw moving around the Benches opposite. May I say to the noble Lord who was responsible for the unofficial Whip, "For heaven's sake! don't leave it on the cyclostyle machine"? I kept it quiet until yesterday, but I do not believe that that option is now open.
If I may say so to the noble Baroness, who made a most admirable speech, I think she made one error and I must therefore criticise her in that respect. The noble Baroness said that if this Order is defeated to-night—and my respect for Scottish ladies is a little less to-night than at the beginning of the debate, because she was then prepared to admit defeat—it is the Government's intention 573 to re-lay it tomorrow. I was not quite certain whether that was a threat or an invitation. But I do not believe the present position is like that of 1968. I should like to refer your Lordships to Erskine May at page 362, and this is my only quotation. It states:Matters already decided during the same session—A motion or an amendment may not be brought forward which is the same, in substance, as a question which has been decided in the affirmative or negative during the current session. The rule must he fully stated as follows:No question or bill shall be offered in either House that is substantially the same as one on which its judgment has already been expressed in the current session.The noble Baroness said that an Order with a slight amendment could be introduced. It is certainly clear from Erskine May that the word "substantially" has a significant part to play in any decision about whether an Order or a Bill can be re-laid in your Lordships' House. There were some 18 paragraphs in the Order of 1968, and when there are 18 paragraphs it is relatively easy to change an Order substantially. But basically the Order before us to-night consists of only one paragraph, the sole purpose of which is to extend the life of the Southern Rhodesia Act. I have taken advice on this matter, and I certainly invite the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, to respond here, and I say with the utmost sincerity that I have the gravest doubts whether, if your Lordships' House voted against this Order and it was defeated, an Order could be re-laid. If that is so, then, my Lords, the Southern Rhodesia Act would come to an end, and all that flows from it.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord for giving way. If the only difficulty is that this Order is only one paragraph long and the previous Order to which he has referred was 18, I am quite positive that it would not be beyond the wit of Parliamentary draftsmen to add another 17.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, has a great respect for Parliamentary draftsmen. All I can say to the noble Lord and to the House—and I have taken the best advice that is available to a Member of your Lordships' House—is that there is very considerable doubt whether this Order 574 could be re-laid. Of course, there is the other place: but we know the position of Mr. Speaker. He is not in a position to give a judgment on a hypothetical question; and therefore Mr. Speaker could not give advice until your Lordships had decided to defeat this Order. I stress that, my Lords, not because I wish to hang our case, or the case of the Government, on a constitutional issue. I do so only because of the unofficial Whip and of a possible risk of misunderstanding by noble Lords that all they need to do is to vote against the Order to-night, perhaps defeat it, and everything can be put right by a new Order, as was done in 1968. I must say in all sincerity to the House that I do not believe that this is possible.
My Lords, we come back to the central issue. It is only this House, with the House of Commons, that can grant independence to the people of Rhodesia. It was the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, who said that there was no dishonour in acknowledging defeat in war. I do not accept that. There would be no dishonour, it is true, if one were defeated in war and if there were nothing else that one could do—if one had reached the end of one's ability to fight. There would be dishonour if, at this moment, because the time has been long and Parliament has perhaps become bored, we were to give up the one piece of pressure that we have upon an illegal régime, a régime that is in rebellion to the Crown. My Lords, we have one Colony to-day that is under sanction—Gibraltar. If we were to give up our support to Gibraltar, that would be dishonour. If we were to give up our support to the people of the Falklands against the Argentine, that would be dishonour. Closer to home, if we were to give up our struggle against those men of evil intent in Northern Ireland, that would be dishonour. I believe it would equally be dishonour if to-night, by this act, we were to remove the one pressure that we have on the régime in Rhodesia and cease to give continued hope to the majority of the citizens of the Crown in Rhodesia. I hope that this House will listen very much to the advice of the noble Earl, speaking with the responsibility of government, and will see that the honour of this country is in no way besmirched.
§ 10.0 p.m.
My Lords, we heard a very remarkable disclosure from the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd; that is, that he seems to be in receipt of an unofficial Whip which comes from this side of your Lordships' House. I congratulate the noble Lord on his versatility. When the noble Lord, Lord Strange, in a typical intervention in your Lordships' House, reminded us of the remark by the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, when we were debating this issue seven years ago that it was his belief that to be effective sanctions should be short and sharp, I could not but reflect that we have in fact gone round this sad and rather dreary treadmill for seven years. I could not help but reflect that when sanctions were first proposed I would not have believed it to be on the cards that this House would be in the position of again considering a renewal now, seven years later.
That being so, I can well understand the reservations, the severe reservations, which certain of my noble friends have expressed in this long debate to-day. If I may say so without, I hope, sounding in the slightest way patronising towards my noble friends, they put their case both fairly and squarely. My noble friend Lord Coleraine made a speech of very great power. There were other distinguished speeches from those particular Benches, if I may so term them—from my noble friend Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, from the noble Marquess. Lord Winchester, in a speech of great personal feeling and humanity, and I also have in mind the speech of my noble friend Lord Napier and Ettrick. I am glad that those speeches were balanced by other speeches of great distinction from my noble friends.
It is perhaps right that in this long debate to-day we should take stock of our position and he quite certain in our minds, as we reach a decision to-night, that sanctions are relevant to the position in which we now find ourselves. That position has of course changed greatly over the last seven years, and the question which I feel your Lordships have to consider and must decide to-night is whether a renewal of sanctions for a further year is or is not now, in November, 1972, in the interests of Rhodesia—of all the communities in Rhodesia—and in the 576 interests of this country. It is right that we should take stock of that because nothing is more futile in foreign affairs than to cling, through habit, laziness or the sheer difficulty of breaking out of a given situation, to unattainable goals.
As for our aim, I believe that virtually all your Lordships are at one in agreeing that our purpose must be to bring Rhodesia, if we possibly can, back into the community of nations by granting her legal independence; and that legal independence can be granted only on terms acceptable to the British Parliament. Any solution short of that legal independence is bound to leave Rhodesia, in the international sense, high and dry, devoid of international status. Certainly that was the object of all the negotiations undertaken by this and the previous Government. And this aim was, and is, shared by Mr. Smith. That is the reason why he negotiated with us and why he still wants a settlement, as I understand it, with us.
Sanctions were, or should have been, always ancillary to this objective. Sanctions were, or should have been never an end in themselves. They were never conceived, at least by those of us on this side of the House (and here I entirely agree with what was said by my noble friend, Lord Dulverton) to bring Mr. Smith to his knees. We have always looked on them, and we still look on them, as giving us leverage towards a negotiated settlement. Sanctions should therefore be seen in relation to, and not separate from, the chances we have of granting legal independence to Rhodesia. I wish to underline this in asking your Lordships' House for the renewal of sanctions for another year, and I wish to underline that there is nothing mean or vindictive in our approach here. I think that this has been illustrated by the various easements in the application of sanctions to individuals which, in her notable speech in opening this debate, my noble friend Lady Tweedsmuir explained we propose now to make on grounds of common humanity and common sense.
Be that as it may, I am convinced that there could be no question of a settlement being found on terms acceptable to the British Parliament which implied that we were going to grant Rhodesia legal 577 independence on the present 1969 Constitution. It was in order to negotiate basic changes in the 1969 Constitution, the changes which would enable us fairly to ask Parliament to grant independence to Rhodesia, that the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, laboured so hard and selflessly last year; and that was why my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has himself laboured so hard and selflessly in order to achieve an honourable settlement for Rhodesia, and that was why he went to Salisbury last year.
As your Lordships know, the proposals laboriously negotiated were agreed, subject to confirmation by the people of Rhodesia as a whole. The Government have never budged, have never deviated, on the need for that confirmation. Very sadly, in my view, that confirmation was not forthcoming. And may I say this to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce; that, despite what some of my noble friends have felt, I personally admired the testimony which he gave this afternoon. I found his speech one of the most telling four-minute speeches ever delivered in your Lordships' House.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, my noble friend has been so kind and patient that I hesitate to interrupt him. But would he tell us by what authority the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, gave these undertakings in Rhodesia?
Well, my Lords, I should just like to say this. I really felt that in his remarks about the speech of the noble and learned Lord, my noble friend, who is a fair man, was being unfair to the noble and learned Lord. I am sure that he did not wish to do him an injustice, but I would remind my noble friend that, speaking in another place on November 25 last year, my right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary said this—and his words have already been quoted in this debate:If the test of acceptability proves that the Rhodesians do not want this arrangement and this Constitution, we revert to the position we were in before."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 25/11/71; col. 1150.]That position included sanctions as an integral part. That statement by my right honourable friend was made before the noble and learned Lord left on his mission to Rhodesia. It was part of 578 the whole umbrella, as it were, under which he was operating. In my judgment, at least—and I can only give my noble friend my personal judgment—Lord Pearce and his Commission were entitled to draw from the words of my right honourable friend the conclusions which they apparently did draw. But I should also like, since my noble friend put a categorical question to me in his speech, to say that no special or categorical instructions were given, either way, to the noble and learned Lord on this particular matter.
Since Pearce we have, as the Government see it, been faced with two basic alternatives. One was to wash our hands of this whole affair and to give up the attempt to bring Rhodesia back to the community of nations; the other was to persist. The Government, rightly or wrongly, have chosen the latter course. I ask my noble friends to reflect that this was a decision of a Foreign Secretary with a unique first-hand knowledge of the Commonwealth, of African and of Rhodesian developments. My noble friend Lord Coleraine implied that Rhodesia was perhaps only a trifle in my right honourable friend's in-tray. I think he was under estimating the deep personal and continuing concern which the Foreign Secretary has for this problem. In any event, the Government have taken the view that the Rhodesians, both black and white, should be given yet one further chance of resolving their differences. That is why we did not withdraw the proposals, which remained, and remain, as a basis for further discussions.
If some form of contact is to be reached between the communities in Rhodesia constructive dialogue must somehow develop. Your Lordships have heard my noble friend Lady Tweedsmuir, in a speech of great distinction, describe some of the incipient signs that a dialogue may be beginning. I would agree with the noble Baroness, Lady White, that there are signs of movement. This is not a static situation, as some might suppose. I suggest that in that situation it would be quite wrong for this House or for Parliament to rush its fences. The Pearce Report has created a totally different and new situation. A great many ideas and attitudes have had to be re-thought. I do not believe that in the six months since the Report was pub- 579 lished we could have expected much more movement than we are now witnessing within Rhodesia. Let us give the status quo more time. Of course, as my right honourable friend has made clear, it could be that nothing will emerge; it could be that the races in Rhodesia will decide that their future lies in confrontation—in all probability in bloody confrontation.
§ LORD NAPIER AND ETTRICK
My Lords, I apologise for interrupting my noble friend, but will he just say how much more time, in his judgment, may he required?
My Lords, I do not think I can possibly say that. My noble friend has put a perfectly clear question, and he put it in his speech in the context of an assurance which he said he would like to receive from the Government: that we should not be coming back in a year's time for a renewal of this Order. I should like to tempt my noble friend into the Lobby with me—I like having him in the Lobby with me—but I think it would be quite wrong for me to give that sort of assurance, and irresponsible of me to give it at this moment, much as I should like to secure the vote of my noble friend and of his noble friends this evening.
Of course, there are signs of movement, but we really do not know at the present time how the chips are going to fall. In any event, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has made it clear that in certain circumstances—and I am very glad to repeat this assurance to my noble friend—we may well be compelled to reconsider our whole stance in this matter. But there is one thing we do know in all this uncertainty: at least, I think we do. I cannot claim to be an expert on African or Rhodesian affairs, but I am pretty certain that if we drop sanctions now the result will be not increasing dialogue but increasing discord. Europeans would have no incentive to compromise, and Africans would have no alternative but despair. I know this is a matter of judgment. My noble friends have queried whether the result would be turmoil. In my judgment and in the judgment of my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary, the result would be turmoil—turmoil in Africa out- 580 side Rhodesia would reinforce turmoil in Rhodesia, and the goal of legal independence would then have gone for ever. So my conclusion on the substantive argument is this. In the Government's view, it would be wrong deliberately to throw away the remaining chance of legal independence for Rhodesia honourably to be granted by the British Parliament, however slender that chance may be. It would be wrong to throw away that chance in a gesture of impatient and frustrated desperation before we are quite certain that there is no hope at all—and we are not so certain at the present time, my Lords.
May I in conclusion—I see that I have been speaking for sixteen minutes: these clocks are very frightening—refer to the Parliamentary and constitutional implications of the position which we are in. I believe that I have been invited to do so by a number of noble Lords, including the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd. One thing is indisputable: it is indisputable that this House has the ultimate right to reject this Order. There is no constitutional question of whether we have a right to reject it. Of course we have. It is rather a question of whether it is right for us, in all the circumstances in a particular case, to exercise that right. My advice, and the advice of successive spokesmen from this Bench and from the Front Bench opposite, has been that this is an area, the area of subordinate legislation, in which your Lordships should tread very warily indeed.
There are those who consider the unqualified ability of your Lordships' House to throw out subordinate legislation to be anomalous. Be that as it may, the rejection of an Order approved by another place means the rejection of an Order approved by the elected Chamber. Clearly, this raises constitutional issues of considerable importance, and clearly your Lordships would wish to reflect carefully before embarking on this course. Why then, my Lords, did my noble friend Lord Carrington and I advise your Lordships to reject the Order laid by the then Government in 1968; and do different circumstances apply now? The fundamental reason why we advised rejection at the first round in 1968 was to give the Government of the day time to reflect. Rightly or wrongly, we felt that a pause for reflection was required since the 1968 Order embodied a massive extension of 581 the application of mandatory sanctions to Rhodesia, and we believed that that course which we were then invited to embark upon was a mistaken one. Noble Lords opposite may not agree with me, but I think that events have proved this to be so.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Earl, I rather regret his attempt to justify the disastrous action of the Conservatives in 1968.
My Lords, those were the reasons behind the advice given by my noble friend and myself to your Lordships on that occasion, whether it was right or wrong—and it was as difficult a decision as I have ever been involved in in my political life. I was explaining the reasons; I was not trying to justify them and, if I may say so, it was unnecessary for the noble Lord to make that point.
I suggest that in three material respects the positon we are faced with to-day is different from the position we were faced with four years ago. First, this Order, unlike the 1968 Order, involves no extension of the range of sanctions; I would be opposed to it if it did. It simply involves the extension of existing sanctions for a further year. Secondly, the time-scales now in 1972 are quite different from those with which we were faced in 1968. We were then faced with a 28-day Resolution which had been tabled for seven days. When the 1968 Order was rejected, the Government had 21 days to reflect and decide whether or not to lay a further Order. But the existing Order expires at midnight on November 15, next week. There is therefore not three weeks for reflection; there is a bare weekend. Thirdly, it would be wrong and disingenuous of me to leave your Lordships in any doubt that a pause for reflection, be it three weeks or a weekend, would in the circumstances in which we are confronted now in November, 1972, cause the Government to change its mind. Frankly it would not, and I think it is better that I should frankly state that to your Lordships' House. But should your Lordships, against my earnest advice, decide to reject this Order this evening, the Government would, as the noble Lord, Lord 582 Shepherd, has surmised, seek to lay a further Order.
That brings me to the difficulty mentioned by my noble friend Lady Tweedsmuir: and when the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, comes to read her remarks he will see that she did not inaccurately state the position. The noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, quite correctly quoted the relevant extract from Erskine May. He asked me for confirmation that the situation, as sketched by him, was accurate. The position, as I understand it—these are difficult areas, and I am trying to put this as fairly as I can because I do not wish either to confuse your Lordships or exaggerate the difficulties here—is that the present Order is a very simple and straightforward one, unlike the massive Order before your Lordships in 1968, which was therefore easy to amend. The doubt which I share with the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and which I must put frankly to your Lordships, is whether the relevant Order could be substantially altered, and thus whether the second Order, if your Lordships decided to reject this Order, would pass the Erskine May test.
I cannot anticipate what the ruling of Mr. Speaker in another place would be on what is still a hypothetical issue. In this House it would be for your Lordships yourselves to decide whether the second Order could properly meet the Parliamentary test. My personal view (and here I differ from the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd) is that it would be unlikely that your Lordships would decide to reject on procedural grounds an amended Order which another place had approved—that is, if it was accepted by Mr. Speaker—but there is certainly an element of doubt here which I have tried to put as fairly as possible, and those noble Lords who have indicated that they intend to vote against this Order as a sort of demonstration but to let a second Order through should hear in mind that they would be taking a risk here, albeit a calculated one.
In any event, I would suggest that my noble friends should ponder the other possible effects of a successful demonstration, if they succeeded in the Lobby in securing the rejection of this Order, even though that demonstration proved in the last analysis to be a Platonic one—if we then got a second Order and approved it. 583 Platonic though the gesture might be, the rejection of this Order to-night by your Lordships' House would undoubtedly have a very considerable impact abroad. It would, in the view of Her Majesty's Government—and I am choosing my words carefully here—gravely undermine the authority of the Government in working for that honourable settlement of this perplexing problem which I believe we all desire.
My Lords, may I say this in conclusion. I recognise that there are double standards at work in Africa and the United Nations, and many noble Lords have referred to them in this discussion. Of course, comparisons can be drawn which are only too odious. But we should not allow ourselves to be diverted from our primary objective. Historians may well regard the Rhodesian affair as only an episode, a painful and distracting episode, in the whole sweep of British foreign policy in this century. But it is a significant episode, a sort of litmus test. Were we now to give up, to abdicate—because that is what the dropping of sanctions at
§ this moment would in the Government's view mean—our action would be seen as that of a nation which, a little weary of its post-Imperial burden, threw away a chance to help to create a responsible and just society in an area of Africa which has meant so much to so many of our fellow citizens for the best part of a century. I do not know—I think none of us knows—what the future holds here, but I would urge as strenuously as I can that it would be quite wrong for us to change course now; to change course until it is clear beyond the slightest sliver of doubt that the path of co-operation and compromise in Rhodesia has finally been blocked. My Lords, that is not clear to-night, on November 9, 1972; and that is why I ask your Lordships to-night, however heavy your hearts may be on this issue, to approve the Motion, the Order, before your Lordships' House.
§ 10.28 p.m.
§ On Question, Whether the said Motion shall be agreed to?
§ Their Lordships divided: Contents, 159; Not-Contents, 43.585
|Aberdare, L.||Chichester, L. Bp.||Gowrie, E.|
|Ailwyn, L.||Clwyd, L.||Greenwood of Rossendale, L.|
|Airedale, L.||Colville of Culross, V.||Grenfell, L.|
|Alexander of Tunis, E.||Colwyn, L.||Grimthorpe, L.|
|Alport, L.||Courtown, E.||Guildford, L.Bp.|
|Amherst, E.||Cowley, E.||Hacking, L.|
|Amherst of Hackney, L.||Cranbrook, E.||Hailes, L.|
|Amory, V.||Crathorne, L.||Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. (L. Chancellor.)|
|Amulree, L.||Davies of Leek, L.|
|Archibald, L.||de Clifford, L.||Hale, L.|
|Ardwick, L.||De La Warr, E.||Helsby, L.|
|Arwyn, L.||De Ramsey, L.||Henderson, L.|
|Auckland, L.||Denham, L. [Teller.]||Henley, L|
|Avebury, L.||Diamond, L.||Hereford, L.Bp.|
|Balogh, L.||Digby, L.||Hertford, M.|
|Barrington, V.||Donaldson of Kingsbridge, L.||Hirshfield, L.|
|Bath and Wells, L.Bp.||Drumalbyn, L.||Hood, V.|
|Beaumont of Whitley, L.||Dudley, E.||Hughes, L.|
|Belstead, L.||Dulverton, L.||Hunt, L.|
|Bernstein, L.||Eccles, V.||Hurcomb, L.|
|Beswick, L||Elliot of Harwood, B.||Hylton, L.|
|Blackett, L.||Emmet of Amberley, B.||Jacques, L.|
|Boyd of Merton, V.||Falkland, V.||Jellicoe, E. (L. Privy Seal.)|
|Boyle of Handsworth, L.||Falmouth, V.||Kemsley, V.|
|Bristol, L.Bp.||Ferrers, E.||Kinnoull, E.|
|Brockway, L.||Foot, L.||Lee of Asheridge, B.|
|Brooke of Cumnor, L.||Fortescue, E.||Leicester, L.Bp.|
|Brooke of Ystradfellte, B.||Furness, V.||Limerick, E.|
|Brown, L.||Gainford, L.||Listowel, E.|
|Caccia, L.||Gaitskell, B.||Liverpool, L.Bp.|
|Canterbury, L.Abp.||Gardiner, L.||Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B.|
|Caradon, L.||Garner, L.||London, L.Bp.|
|Carnock, L.||Gamsworthy, L.||Long, V.|
|Carrington, L.||Clifford, L.||Lothian, M.|
|Chelmer, L.||Glendevon, L.||MacLeod of Fuinary, L.|
|Chester, L.Bp.||Goschen, V.||Mancroft, L|
|Molson, L.||Saint Edmundsbury and Ipswich, L.Bp.||Tanlaw, L.|
|Morris of Grasmere, L.||Taylor of Gryfe, L.|
|Mowbray and Stourton, L.||St. Aldwyn, E. [Teller.]||Thorneycroft, L.|
|Newall, L.||Sandford, L.||Thurso, V.|
|Northchurch, B.||Savile, L.||Tresfgarne, L.|
|Nugent of Guildford, L.||Seear, B.||Trevelyan, L.|
|Onslow, E.||Selkirk, E.||Tweedsmuir, L.|
|Pearce, L.||Selsdon, L.||Tweedsmuir of Belhelvie, B.|
|Platt, L.||Shackleton, L.||Vernon, L.|
|Polwarth, L.||Shepherd, L.||Wakefield, L.Bp.|
|Rathcreedan, L.||Simon, V.||Wade, L.|
|Rea, L.||Southwark, L.Bp.||Walston, L.|
|Redcliffe-Maud, L.||Stocks, B.||White, B.|
|Redesdale, L.||Strabolgi, L.||Windlesham, L.|
|Rochdale, V.||Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.||Wolverton, L.|
|Rochester, L.Bp.||Wynne-Jones, L.|
|Ruthven of Freeland, Ly.||Suffield, L.||York, L.Abp.|
|Sainsbury, L.||Swaythling, L.||Young, B.|
|Baldwin of Bewdley, E.||Fraser of Lonsdale, L.||Milverton, L.|
|Barnby, L.||Gisborough, L.||Napier and Ettrick, L. [Teller.]|
|Belhaven and Stenton, L.||Greenway, L.||Poltimore, L.|
|Bledisloe, V.||Gridley, L.||Rowallan, L.|
|Bolton, L.||Grimston of Westbury, L.||St. Just, L.|
|Boothby, L.||Hankey, L.||Salisbury, M.|
|Brabazon of Tara, L.||Hatherton, L.||Saltoun, L.|
|Brougham and Vaux, L.||Headfort, M.||Searsdale, V.|
|Clancarty, E.||Lauderdale, E.||Stamp, L.|
|Cole, L.||Lindsey and Abingdon, E.||Strange, L,|
|Coleraine, L. [Teller.]||Loudoun, C.||Sudeley, L.|
|Cottesloe, L.||Lyell, L.||Vivian, L.|
|Effingham, E.||Lytton, E.||Winchester, M.|
|Ellenborough, L.||Mar, E.||Yarborough, E.|
On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ Resolved in the affirmative, and Motion agreed to accordingly.