HL Deb 10 June 1975 vol 361 cc270-99

10.29 p.m.

The Marquess of SALISBURY rose to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can further elaborate the proposals contained in the Final Communique of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Jamaica (Cmnd. 6066) with particular reference to paragraphs 17–18 and paragraph 30. The noble Marquess said: My Lords, I rise to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper. Before proceeding I should like to say that I have an interest in Rhodesia. It seemed to me that there were a number of points demanding clarification, and I should like to start with paragraph 17. May I first ask why, in the Government's view, the situation in South Africa is considered radically to have been altered by the independence of Mozambique and Angola? Is it purely because it is anticipated that it will now be possible to make sanctions more effective? If so, do the Government really think that by just closing the links with Mozambique they will achieve this?

Some of your Lordships may have seen the article in the Financial Times of 19th May which draws attention to certain fallacies in this argument. In view of the steps that have been taken to find other ways of moving goods in and out of Rhodesia, Her Majesty's Government may be a little optimistic concerning the effects that closing these ports will have. One thing that is certain if these steps are taken is that the tightening of sanctions will involve very heavy expenditure on the part of the British taxpayer. Paragraph 22 refers to proposals to pay subsidies to Mozambique for the loss of utilisation of rail and port facilities. I have seen various sums quoted of the cost, varying between £3 million and £13 million; but this would appear to be only the beginning of the expenditure that is proposed, because although no further mention is made in paragraph 22, it was reported in the 16th May edition of the periodical To The Point that in addition to financing support for Mozambique, the Conference agreed to provide aid to Botswana and Zambia in compensation for the losses that will be incurred during the intensified sanctions campaign against Rhodesia. Is this report correct, and how much money is likely to be involved? What is not clear, if financial aid is to be given to these countries, is how they are to carry on, because if one closes the rail links through Rhodesia I do not see how one is to get essential supplies, particularly of food, in and out of those countries.

The second question I wish to ask on the factors which affect this change is whether it is because the Communist influence is now moving South in Africa. I believe that FRELIMO is aiming to establish a Marxist State, and indeed it would appear to be supported throughout its operations by the Communist Powers. Do Her Majesty's Government consider this to be a suitable result of liberation? This is what paragraph 17 seems to imply. I also understand, arising out of the Communiqué, that from the visit by Mrs. Hart to Mr. Nachel earlier in May the British Government are proposing to give to Mozambique additional facilities, apart from aid for the loss of trade, to develop her agricultural and other resources.

Against this background, how is it intended that paragraph 18 should operate? This says that the aim is …majority rule … by peaceful means if possible. I wonder whether this really ties in with the Prime Minister's Statement of 29th April on the BBC when he said: Ten years ago we said we would never agree to any settlement that does not provide for the representation of the Africans on a majority basis in the ultimate, not necessarily today or tomorrow. Does this still remain the policy of Her Majesty's Government, or does paragraph 18 over-ride this? If no settlement can be reached—and I suppose we may be approaching a time in the very near future when a further attempt may be tried—what does "if possible" involve?

Does this mean that a FRELIMO-type operation with similar support will be mounted, with a further escalation of terrorism? If so, where do Her Majesty's Government stand on this issue? To quote the Prime Minister again, he said on the BBC in answer to a question on 6th May: We do not support violence in Rhodesia. We have made that clear. We are looking for a negotiated settlement, strengthened of course by the Mozambique sanctions. They have warned us of course that, if there is no approach towards a settlement, then they will resort to violence. It is not what we want. It seems to me that the Prime Minister is speaking with one voice here and another in Kingston.

With regard to the terrorist activities, we hear a certain amount about what happens when whites are attacked, but much less when Africans are attacked. Over all, it would appear to be a similar problem to that which Her Majesty's Government are themselves facing in Northern Ireland. That is hardly surprising because in both cases we are dealing with a nationalist organisation which has been infiltrated, helped in its training, financed and, in some cases, partly armed by the Communist countries. In both cases, the weapons used are acts of terrorism and intimidation. We all know only too well the very unpleasant things that happen in Northern Ireland. It seems to me that if terrorism is allowed to escalate in Rhodesia, its people will be facing similar conditions to those which people in Northern Ireland have to face.

So we have the curious situation that the Government are trying to deal with a nationalist organisation and to keep it in order while they do not seem to take the same view when similar proposals are made for escalating the same sort of activities in Rhodesia. Apart from the somewhat diluted statement by the Prime Minister which I have quoted, I have not so far seen any condemnation of terrorist activities in Rhodesia.

I said that the Africans were the principal sufferers. I have here a number of cases of terrorism—some 12 in all—which have occurred in the last few days since the beginning of May. They come from Mr. John Edlin of the Herald African News Service. I shall describe one case to illustrate what these Africans are facing. On the night of 15th May on a Chesa district farm, insurgents beat and then shot Mudadi Ruhodzi. They set fire to his hut and tossed him into the flames. They then beat up three women and seven children, destroyed six huts and shot 16 cattle.

The other cases are very similar. Sometimes the cattle are fortunate and are just shot. On other occasions, they are mutilated. I have heard of cases and have seen people who have seen the results where cattle have been hamstrung—which means they cannot move—and left to die of thirst under the sweltering African sun. Is this state of affairs what her Majesty's Government really want to see happening in Rhodesia?

I should like to say a word now about the other part of paragraph 18. With regard to the ANC movement, it is claimed in this paragraph that it is representative of a very large proportion of the Africans. I think that support does fluctuate, but I do not believe it is true that it is the leader of the majority of the Africans. It also assumes, as I read it, that ANC is a united body. It was originally an amalgamation of Zanu and Zapu, and there still seems to be the friction which has always existed between those parties, which was clearly demonstrated in the rioting which took place 10 days ago.

Again, may I quote from two Africans who do not agree either with terrorism or necessarily that ANC is the representative body for Africans. First, there is Mr. Behane who, as long ago as August 1967, when he was one of the African Opposition Members of the Rhodesia Parliament, said: I have always stood firmly against terrorism and that I always do. I believe that what is being done by our Forces in that part of the country is worth all the praise that this House can give. More recently there was Senator Chief Chirau, who last week wrote a letter to this country, in which he said: I would like to ask, who do the African National Council represent? In my opinion they are not a representative body. I would also like to ask, can anyone point to any good which has been achieved by the African National Council? Have tribesmen benefited in any way by the African National Council? To the best of my knowledge the very reverse is the case. He goes on to say: I am absolutely astounded that in many parts of the world Bishop Muzorewa and other ANC leaders appear to be acclaimed as saviours of their people. Far from being praised it is my opinion that action should be taken against them for the vast amount of suffering they have caused to their fellow Africans. Surely it is obvious to any thinking person that these people are playing right into the hands of the Communists and are paving the way for a Communist takeover. I read in the paper a short while ago that Bishop Muzorewa inspected terrorist camps in Tanzania. I am most surprised, that a Bishop who should be responsible for the spiritual welfare of his people should be actively encouraging the use of force and violence. Those are two views from Africans which do not support the views expressed in paragraph 18.

Perhaps I might also ask at this stage: What is meant by "people of Zimbabwe", as set out in paragraph 19? Is this to be the new official term for the people of Rhodesia? Why is it "Zimbabwe"? If it refers to the ruins of that name, these were built long before the Shona people arrived in Rhodesia. It may be that it is a suitable symbol and reflects what will happen if immediate majority rule were granted. To me it is like calling the English the people of Stonehenge.

I also question whether, even at this late stage, we are right to consider the correctness of granting majority rule. Would it not take the same course in Rhodesia as it has done in other countries in Africa? And so far the experience there has not been a happy one. During the Kingston Conference the chairman invited Mr. Bashford from Rhodesia to speak. I presume he thought that as leader of the moderate Party he would give encouraging information to be used against the Government in Rhodesia. But what he said, among other things, was that Rhodesian Africans were not yet ready to take over the Government of Rhodesia, as they were not equipped for the task; and he stressed the need for pre- and post-independence training.

One might also think from paragraph 17 and what follows that all the representatives at Kingston were of one mind over Rhodesia. But, apparently speaking after the conference, the Prime Minister of Canada, Mr. Pierre Trudeau, said he had serious misgivings about the insistence upon NIBMAR—no independence before majority rule—in Rhodesia. This was a "rather academic" question, he said, since Britain had not sent troops when Rhodesia was in fact independent. No force could prevent the Rhodesian Government from acting as the Government of an independent sovereign State.

Whether Her Majesty's Government like it or not, or admit it or not, Mr. Smith's administration is the de facto Government of Rhodesia. Apart from terrorist incursions from outside, they would appear to be extremely successful in carrying out their duties in the administration and the maintenance of law and order.

That is all I want to say about paragraphs 17 and 18 and what follows. May I now turn to paragraph 30, the other part of my Question. This stems from what is set out in paragraph 27, and it would appear that it is largely directed to assisting the African parts of the Commonwealth. As I have already mentioned, these African countries are already in receipt of substantial subsidies from this country. In spite of this aid, none of them has really prospered since independence. Surely the truth is that cash alone is not enough. Competent people are required to ensure that proper use is made of the funds available. This has not been available since the departure of white advisors, and there is as yet no indication that the indigenous Government can manage on their own.

So I want to ask whether, under the programme envisaged in paragraph 30, this country is committed to subsidising other members of the Commonwealth in cash and kind, regardless of whether the aid is put to good use or efficiently administered; and also, if a majority of members of the Commonwealth endorse the recommendations of the Study Group that is to be set up under this paragraph, whether Her Majesty's Government regard this as binding and whether there would ensue an open-ended financial commitment.

As we all know, at this moment this country has her own economic difficulties, and I cannot see us being in a position to place substantial funds at the disposal of the Commonwealth countries to help their standards unless we in this country are prepared to accept a lower standard of living than we have at the present time. I wonder whether this is accepted by Her Majesty's Government, or whether without this they feel it is possible to achieve the aim set out in paragraph 30. To reduce the standard of living in this country would not be in line with either the Government's Election programme or that of the Opposition, nor would it tie in with the economic trends of the last 12 months, during which time wages have risen considerably more rapidly than the actual cost of living. It is clear that there is only so much cake to go round and I do not see any prospects in the near future of increasing the size of the cake. If some countries are to have more, it stands to reason that others will have to do with less. I also wonder whether Her Majesty's Government have consulted the trade unions on this difficult point, and whether there is any reaction from them. It is contrary to the current aims of achieving unrestrained wage increases.

That is what I wanted to ask, and I hope very much that it will be possible for the noble Lord who is to reply to deal with the points I have raised.

10.49 p.m.


My Lords, the penetrating analysis of the communiqué which we have just heard from the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, certainly establishes the necessity for its clarification, for which he has asked. For myself, I dislike the whole format of the communiqué. It makes no adequate reference to the status of the United Kingdom, even as primus inter pares. It pays no tribute to the hundreds of millions of pounds which the taxpayers of this country have provided for the emergent countries since independence was granted. In any case like the noble Marquess, find it needs much clarification. I ventured, in order to save time, to address some of my questions to the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, because I did not expect he could deal with them all tonight; and as always I received from him a courteous assurance that I should have a full reply in writing. I particularly want to refer to the Secretariat, and I wonder whether there is any purpose in its continuance. It might be thought by some to be a useless expense. What effort was made by Arnold Smith to repudiate or denounce the brutish, uncivilised actions of Uganda? What must other foreign countries think of a Commonwealth that permits such bestial behaviour unreproved and, I would add, without ejection?

Paragraph 8 stresses Southern Africa and makes much reference to Rhodesia. The communiqué itself suggests a naked, cruel, crude contribution by Great Britain to the support of terrorism, in association with Leftish countries and the World Council of Churches. In Mozambique, the Frelimo have had a remarkable achievement with the minimum of forces. They have taken over the administration of a whole country with a coastline of nearly 900 miles, little short of the size of California. This is no mean achievement; but they have been historically associated with the Chinese and it can naturally be assumed that the cost of these operations was borne by China and Russia. Indeed, the proof is in the arms captured; and it is well known that identified training camps in Tanzania and Zambia are under a unified command from Dar-es-Salaam, necessarily Chinese. This indicates clearly the danger of Communist penetration in Central and Southern Africa. Incidentally, one wonders how the Chinese are going to be paid for their Tanzam Railway. But if rumour in Africa has it right, because they did not properly impregnate the sleepers the termites have already rendered great sections of it useless.

My Lords, I refer to the so-called Lusaka Conference. There never was any agreement there, because the Rhodesian delegation were instructed only to attend and discuss, but to make no commitment of agreement. The conference eventually blew up because of a demand for total, immediate, unqualified African rule. After that, some detainees were released but violence did not cease. The claims of the ANC have been absolutely incorrect, and they have been making a continuous contribution to the Press which has been irresponsible, misleading and inaccurate. Briefly, the whole procedure smells of Communist reform. The ANC never have been representative of African opinion. Two-thirds of the African population live in the tribal trust lands; they are under the guidance of their chiefs. They are historically dependent or associated with tribalism and witchcraft. There has recently been an alleged incorporation of the previously banned movements ZANU and ZAPU, into the ANC. It has been in continuous disarray. It has been officially announced that ZANU have now withdrawn. The chiefs must be respected and consulted.

How could those delegates to Jamaica have been accepted? They ought never to have been listened to, and there should have been an appendix to the report. It smacks of the Palestinian's reception at the United Nations, which was contrary to the Charter. And who paid the expenses of that group to Jamaica? Obviously, they came from disruptive sources—assumedly Communist—who do not want a settlement in Southern Africa and in Rhodesia. The Rhodesian Government have continuously been invited to consultations, but there has been evasion and procrastination, and we all know the undependability of the Africans as regards confidences. Corruption and intimidation are ingrained.

Only recently, a prominent member of the South African Government speaking in Cape Town, reviewing the position of South Africa, said that the contest in Africa is not Blacks versus Whites, it is Communists versus non-Communists. How can an industrial complex be directed by an untutored, unready African people? Yet education in Rhodesia is of a higher standard than in any other part of Africa, save the Republic of South Africa. Particularly does this apply to agricultural education. Sanctions have been fully discussed during earlier debates in this House and there is no need to go over these points now; but surely, after Britain has done her part and others have not, is it not time, after nine years of failure, that the whole business was called off?

Turning now to Mozambique, which figured so prominently in what was said by my noble friend Lord Salisbury, they have no gold reserves—they were kept in Portugal—but they have three sources of revenue: tourism, the revenue from the ports and railways and the remittances of their miners in the Rand, which have to be in gold. It seems doubtful if the FRELIMO will forgo an assured revenue for suggestions, if not promises, from sources put forward at this Jamaica Conference. But there is greater disquiet for Malawi and Zambia than there is for Rhodesia. Of course, the delays in the ports are because of the departure of the white people: they were the technicians who kept things going. What a warning to the Blacks who suggest the immediate occupation of Rhodesia! When I say "occupation", I mean occupation of Government power.

My noble friend Lord Salisbury asked the Minister—and I hope the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, will be able to tell us—what is the size of the contribution it is proposed shall be made by this country. To what Vote is it to be attributed—Aid or Defence? Bishop Muzorewa has said that a sum of between 30 million and 40 million dollars will be needed.

Turning now to the Cabora Bassa, that brilliant concept which is going to do so much for the generation of energy and for the increase of food production by means of irrigation, and for the development of minerals, until recently the FRELIMO were trying to destroy it and trying to arrest its production. Now they are in power, they have turned round and are, rightly, protecting it because of the great contribution it can make to Southern Africa.

My Lords, I am glad to think that the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, is to take part in this debate. No doubt he will comment on some aspects of security. All these proposals in the Communiqué suggest further encouragement to Communism in Central Africa. Penetration is already large enough. It means danger to the Cape Route and to the security of the Western World. I hope that the noble Lord the Minister, when he comes to reply, will be able to relieve some of our anxieties which have been raised in this debate, so happily introduced by the noble Marquess.

11.5 p.m.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, for having raised this matter. I have read the Commonwealth Communiqué—I have read it, I may say, with distaste. It is a cowardly document. It condemns all forms of racialism without having the courage to refer to the persecution of the Asians in all East Africa or indeed to the persecution of minority tribes in the lands of almost all those members of the Commonwealth who attended. Its only really positive proposal is financial assistance to Mozambique in order to compensate her for hurting herself so that she may hurt Rhodesia. The noble Lord, Lord Barnby, referred to the great power station which is being built. What value will that power station be to anybody if it cannot sell its electricity to South Africa, into Rhodesia, that is its object? But still this injury to Rhodesia is the preferred objective, the preferred objective of a Continent suffering from starvation; the preferred objective of a Continent being steadily infested by the tsetse fly which was driven back by the colonialists, steadily being infected by the malaria which the colonialists expelled. It is not getting the tsetse fly back, it is not getting the malaria back, it is not controlling them—the preferred objective is to injure Rhodesia. It seems to me that the role of Her Majesty's Government at this Conference was that of the unpopular prefect who, having lost control, seeks to re-establish his popularity by taking the lead in bullying a weak and unpopular pupil.

My Lords, it seems time for a little plain speaking on this issue. Rhodesia was a savage country. Within it the Matabele, a runaway Impi from Chaka's Empire, used the Shona as game. For a generation the Shona had not been able to sleep within their huts; they preferred sleeping in the bush because they never knew when their huts would be fired in order that the Matabele warriors could wet their spears on their men who escaped from those huts. The white man, the settler, brought security to the hut. The white settlers made Rhodesia. They are a minority, but then all Africa is governed by small minorities; for only very, very small minorities in any of the black countries are capable of taking part in Government. The difference between the black minorities who rule and the white minorities who rule is that a very much larger proportion of the GNP of Rhodesia is devoted to African education, to African health, to African welfare, than is applied in any of the black ruled countries. The white man in Rhodesia requires a non-racialist Government under which it is possible to live a civilised life. Is there any reason to believe that the black man is capable of providing such a Government?

We are in an age of "double-talk". We are in an age when we are back into the medieval distinction between the truth of revelation that must be preferred to the truth of observation. The only difference is that in medieval times the truth of revelation was the truth of the Church. Now it is the truth of liberalism. The truth of revelation is that all men are created equal. The truth of observation is that obviously they are not created equal. All men are created different and races are created different. The negro evolved within a different time-scale. The negro pre-human ancestor—Rhodesia man—is barely 30,000 years old. The Chinese and Aryan ancestors are over 300,000 years old. The oldest negro remains that we have are not 8,000 years old; ours are over 300,000 years old. This is a race which is very much younger than ours. It has evolved in conditions in which different qualities have favoured survival. The result is that it is different.

It would be absurd to say that one race is superior to another. But they are different, and not merely in skin. The skeleton is different, the bones are different, the glands are different, the brains are different and the achievement is different. To talk of superiority is absurd. To claim that but to deny differences is liberal. The two races are different. Aptitudes are different and they have different capacities. The Africans produce far more world champions in the ring than their numbers would justify; they produce far more Olympic medals than their numbers would justify. But they have yet to produce a Nobel prizewinner in science, in mathematics, in literature, in medicine, whereas another minority—a suppressed race, the Jews—have produced over 100. This illustrates the difference.

Among other things, the Africans have never produced a civilisation. Africa of the North, of Egypt, is Mediterranean—peopled by a Mediterranean population in which the negro is even rarer than he is here. Abyssinia is Semitic. Neither its culture nor its connections have ever been connected with negro Africa. Little more than 100 years ago negro Africa was terra incognita—a ring without a centre known only by the traders of the coast. When the explorers entered that area they found a population which was at least 10,000 years more primitive than the people that were found when we entered America. They were a people who had found no wheel either for traction, or for the potter or for raising water. They were a people who had never domesticated an animal of any kind. The cattle were Mediterranean; their goats were Asiatic; their fowls were Indian. The guinea fowl had been domesticated in Europe for 1,500 years but had never been domesticated in Africa. They were a people who had never invented the sundial and who had no words for time, no words for date and no calendar; a people whose language not only was unwritten but was quite incapable of expressing the thoughts necessary for the organisation of a modern society; a people with no buildings save one-storey huts.

The only major stone building in negro Africa was Zimbabwe. And what is Zimbabwe? It started somewhere about 1100; its main parts were built in the early fifteenth century; it ceased to exist at the end of the fifteenth century. It was an off-shoot of the Arab town of Kilwa on the border, but it was undoubtedly built by Africans, because nobody except Africans at that date could have built so badly. It does not contain a straight line; it does not contain a true curve. It is a pile of stones split like the peels of an onion by the heat on the round boulders and appearing to be hewn, but not hewn. It is a building which is not a temple, which never had a roof, which is not a fortress, which is not designed for keeping people out but for keeping people in. It was in fact a slave pen for the people of Zimbabwe, who supplied slaves to the Arabs on the coast, and it ceased to be used when the Portuguese took Kilwa and the slave trade stopped. It is that dismal slave compound that this report names for Rhodesia, rejecting the civilisation which we have created in favour of this sordid and horrible building.

Talk of the coast: we are told of African civilisations and African empires—the empires of Prester John, of Manitopa, the King of the Congo. When the explorers came in they had all disappeared. But there were new empires—the Zulu, the Buganda, the Bunyoro, the Ashanti, the Bulanda. The one we know most of is that of lzuru. It was probably the most typical. These African empires appeared to have had something in common. The first thing was their transience. They were created by the terror imposed by a single man, and when he went they dissolved and returned to tribalism. Their cement had never been anything except terror. Their religion was Animism. None of them had produced the kind of State religion that built the ancient States of Egypt, and of the two rivers and of Mesopotamia, and indeed of China. No religion was developed here. They shared an astonishing disregard of human life. Henry Fynn was at the court of Chaka and tells us a story. There was never a day when Chaka did not peremptorily order executions. The men were seized, dragged off and impaled upon the Golgotha which adjoined his camp and where the kites were never hungry. When his mother died he ordered the slaughter of those who were not weeping enough, and 7,000 people were killed.

When Speke brought a gun in presentation to the Emperor Banoro, Mutessa the Second said, "Shoot one of my courtiers and show us that it works". When Speke refused they laughed at his queasiness and the gun was handed to a boy who shot a courtier at random whereupon everybody praised the gun.


My Lords, may I stop the noble Lord in this threnody and may I ask a question? Did these people do anything worse than putting a bomb in a wreath or dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima? Will he slow down his threnody about these people for a moment? We are dealing with a Commonwealth report, not an analysis, which is completely wrong, about the evolution of the black man.


We are discussing the kind of régime to which we wish to submit the Rhodesian civilisation, and to which we are forcing, them to contribute, a régime not unlike Ireland, where our churches are supporting the IRA in a campaign of murder.

To resume what I was saying—we have the great missionary report of the Bulanda where the king regularly sent expeditions to villages within his régime, to seize everything saleable and to kill everybody else, so their spirits should not haunt him in vengeance for their village. This was the kind of régime which the explorers found when they entered Africa. Everyone was engaged in slaving. Their civilisation had not advanced enough to be able to use the slaves, but they captured slaves and they were sold.

Such was the Africa when the colonialists came; it was tribal, with warlord kings, the best of the community; with slavers who destroyed the country. Any form of civilisaton in Africa is owed to colonialism—there was no other source. African civilisation is totally exotic; African civilisation was provided by the colonialists. The colonialists have now been succeeded by the nationalists—detribalised Africans, mission boys, who went to foreign universities. That is the record of every single one of the nationalist leaders. They there learned a foreign language; they learned to think in terms which only that foreign language could provide. They sought to adopt the colonial institutions; they sought to administer the same kind of government; they were as alien as the white colonialists they replaced. They could operate only through that small body of men who could speak in the colonial language which, without exception, they adopted as the language of the liberated State. They could think in those terms. It is these small black neocolonialists who rule Africa.

They were provided with democratic Constitutions. A democratic Constitution means rule by a Government which is elected, with an Opposition free to criticise, to organise and to replace the Government in free elections. Practically none of these constitutions survives. They have been replaced by rule by dictator, with one-Party States, with illegal Oppositions—in other words, Fascism has replaced democracy. Hitler called it National Socialism. Some of my friends of the Left who seem to adore Fascism in Africa, much as they hate it in Europe, call it African Socialism, but it comes to the same thing, a one-Party State. If you have been successful, the gap between the rulers is widened, the amount of the GNP provided by the salaries of Government is increased, and the expenditure on other things has decreased. Corruption has increased. Many have become intolerable and have been replaced by the Army, because no African Government has ever lost an election. Here is autocracy tempered by either assassination or military coups. The old kingdoms which explorers found in Africa disintegrated; the present ones are on the way to disintegration in the same way—the reversion to the tribal system, which is probably the only one available.

The last of the colonial Powers, the one which tried the longest and the hardest to maintain the trusteeship undertaken, was Portugal. She has gone now, and I think we are largely to blame. The policy of our decadence has been to appease our enemies by sacrificing our friends and Portugal was among these. I regret it greatly, because I believe the Portuguese system was probably that which was most suited to Africa. There was no racialism in the Portuguese territories. You find black men constantly commanding white men. There was no democracy there, and democracy in Africa means the elimination of opposition and a Fascist State. Finally, there was not much in the way of efficiency. The job which one man did in South Africa, probably one and a half men did in Rhodesia and five men did in Mozambique. But they did it much more happily. There was a relaxation. The African Hell would not be staffed by devils; it would be staffed by time and motion men. The African does not like being driven. It was a relaxed community. I believe it might have worked; it might have provided Africa with her first opportunity for a successful community working on broadly multi-racial lines. But, unfortunately, the Maeonde, a warlike very primitive tribe, was divided by the border; half were in other States trained by the Chinese. In Northern Ireland, Heaven knows, we have seen the opportunities a small trained guerrilla has to disrupt the civilisation.

So we have substituted for Portuguese rule civil war in Angola, broken out before liberation has actually happened, civil war in Mozambique, which will certainly break out when Frelimo, which is Maeondish, comes up against the Shona of the South. The Maeonde are matriarchal; the Shona are patriarchal. All things are relative. To the Shona, the Maeonde are savages, and they will never submit to Maeonde rule. You will have another battle there. Our solution for this divided State, depending for its chance of survival on its customers in Rhodesia, on its customers in South Africa, on the electricity which may be produced, on the transport which may be produced, is to add to the wreckage of an almost certain civil war the involvement in a lunatic and decadent policy in Rhodesia. My Lords, it is not a happy thing to live with the decadence of a great empire.

11.29 p.m.


My Lords, it is customary to make some comment on the previous speaker before one speaks oneself. Before I comment on the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Paget, I think your Lordships are grateful to the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, for introducing this Motion. I think it appropriate to say that his late father will always be remembered with respect and affection in your Lordships' House. It is appropriate that as the father is no longer able to be with us, his son should be presenting the situation in Rhodesia as he sees it today, and we are glad that he is here to do so. The noble Marquess asked questions of the Government arising out of the meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government in Jamaica. I do not wish to pursue the lines which were followed by the noble Marquess because the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, will be replying to his questions when he sums up at the end of this debate. But I do not believe that it can be the intention of Her Majesty's Government to condone any act which results in the increase of terrorism. I do not really think, whatever construction may be put upon the terms of that Communiqué, that the intention to do that was the intention of Her Majesty's Government. I would rather put some of my suggestions tonight in the hope that they might be of some assistance in seeking a solution to the Rhodesian problem which obviously now, in view of the increase in terrorism in that part of the world, has become rather more urgent.

May I, for a moment, refer to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Paget. I would merely say that I do not think it a constructive speech to be made in your Lordships' House which goes into the origins of the African. I am a believer in the way we have devolved our responsibilities to our Commonwealth over a number of years, and I think on the whole it has been a success story. I would not be here tonight if it had not been for the help of Asians, whom I in no way despise, and least of all do I despise Africans. It is our duty, and it is an obligation upon us, to realise that when nations come towards self-government they have problems which are peculiar to themselves, and therefore in that connection the attitude we ought to take is one of being constructive and sympathetic to the problems which face emergent nations. That is what Her Majesty's Government have consistently carried out in the post-War era, and I do not think that any country in the world could hold any accusations against us that we followed a policy which was not in the interests of the peoples themselves, and in the world in particular.

My interest in this matter arises out of my association with others as a former civil servant in the granting of independence to another country. By that I mean being a civil servant in that country concerned in, and being actively involved in, giving effect to the policies of Her Majesty's Government. As I have just said, on the whole Malaysia was a success story, reflecting credit on past British Governments. I know that at this time there are certain problems arising in Malaysia, but at the time we granted self-government to that country the emergent nation could not have succeeded to its responsibilities in a better and a more stable atmosphere. I refer to Malaysia because cannot we use the same hopes and imaginations in our consideration for Rhodesia? Of course you would hardly consider the granting of independence to Uganda as a success story, but if there was one problem that always worried me in connection with Rhodesia as distinct from other territories, with the exception of Kenya, it was the lack of a solution to the problem of the white Rhodesian settler in any scheme for independence.

In our granting of independence to other countries, or certainly to the majority of other countries, the settler problem was entirely absent. All we had to consider was the problem affecting expatriate officers, who almost universally in those cases returned to their countries of origin with business or Civil Service pensions. I emphasise that they were expatriate officers and not settlers, as is the situation in Rhodesia. I emphasise also that many expatriates have returned to this country on good pensions if they were of pensionable status, on good gratuities if they were contract officers, or on good business pensions if they served in those countries in industry. Financially, therefore, such people have never had very much to worry about.

I emphasise again that the majority of these whites, with the benefits I have outlined, now living in England or in other parts of the settled Commonwealth, did not, unlike the Rhodesians, have cause to worry about any of the problems that might arise in the countries in which they had served when independence was granted, as they were no longer in those countries. But for the settler in Rhodesia the situation is completely different. He is there, his livelihood is there, his children are being educated there, he knows no home other than Rhodesia and he is therefore deeply affected by what may happen to his livelihood and his future in the granting of independence to Rhodesia.

It is only too easy for us to sit here and pass judgment on the Rhodesian settler. I wonder how we would act if we were faced with similar dangers to our families, our homes and our livelihood in Britain. I feel that in the settlement that has been denied to us at the moment our main problem is the settler problem. If we can get around this problem with the agreement of the Africans, then we can have a settlement in Rhodesia; we can turn back Communism and halt the terrorism, and I am sure that such a solution awaits the statesmanship of this country British statesmanship is required to resolve the problem, and this has not been made any easier in the past by the political speeches made at one time by those in authority, even in this House and in another place, speeches including references in disparaging terms about these settlers, about their swimming pools and so on, and about how they would soon succumb to sanctions. We have had sanctions for nearly 10 years.

I do not seek to lay the blame on anybody nor to defend white against coloured. This is not the object of what I am saying. I merely seek to portray the truth as I see the problem. I do not believe that sufficient consideration has been given to the position of the white settler, nor to the strong character and independent nature of those who left our shores to seek a livelihood overseas. It has been manifestly unfair to disparage them. We were glad enough to have these people when we had an Empire and we cannot in justice, because of independence, consider them dispensable. If I am accused tonight of a lack of consideration for the coloured African in Rhodesia by what I have said, then I am completely misunderstood. This is not the point of my argument. If only these two poles could come together, a solution would be within our hands.

So I come to the end of what I have to say. I do not believe that independence for Rhodesia can be withheld indefinitely, but it must involve an understanding of the settler problem and must have the agreement of the Africans. I have a suggestion to make. The sort of consideration I have in mind is that a guarantee should be written into any new Constitution on a settlement in Rhodesia, respecting the rights of minorities, and that any settler remaining in Rhodesia should be required to take an oath of loyalty to the country before being allowed to vote in elections. If all that is possible and the settler elects to stay, he could remain in Rhodesia. Also, I do not believe that any consideration has been given to the following problem: if a settler elects to leave on the granting of independence and not to take such an oath, some sort of compensation should be considered. I believe that this was done in the case of the Kenyan white farmers.

That is my final point. I would ask Her Majesty's Government to consider my two suggestions. I cannot believe that there is any other way of settling the Rhodesian problem, and I hardly think it reasonable to believe that there will be a settlement other than in the way that I have suggested.

11.41 p.m.


My Lords, I should first like to thank the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, for introducing this Question, which I think is most timely, in spite of the lateness of the hour. The speeches have been short and I hope that we shall all have contributed usefully. It is very pleasant for me to follow the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, because he is one of the men about whom I heard two years ago in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when I saw the acting Prime Minister. The very first thing he did was to thank me—though I had seen him only once or twice before—for the efficient and friendly way in which the British Civil Service and Armed Forces in that part of the world had handed over to Malaya, as it then was. It was very pleasant for me to be able to receive what I did not expect.

Paragraphs 17, 18 and 19 of the Communiqué talk about independence on the basis of majority rule. In spite of the accurate description of past history which the noble Lord, Lord Paget, gave, I must admit I am still in favour of majority rule. I think that Rhodesia is perfectly capable of running it. Although they are like animals now, the fact remains that similar populations in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have managed it, though, of course, they have one-Party rule. They do not take much notice of the Constitution, but the fact remains that they are running their countries. So I am in favour of majority rule, in time.


My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Lord, with due respect always to his judgment and knowledge, would he not agree that the position of Rhodesia today, with its large industrial complexes which have been so stimulated by sanctions to produce what the country formerly imported, is entirely different from that of other countries? There is no other emerging country in Africa which has the same industrial complexes, and therefore the technical requirements and knowledge which exist in Rhodesia today, as against the other emerging countries.


My Lords, I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Barnby. But I added the words "in time".


I thought the noble Lord meant immediately.


No, I did not. The noble Lord, Lord Goodman, in his speech from these Cross-Benches a year and a half ago said that 15 or 16 years would have been better. But I must not get on to the argument of when majority rule is to take place, because I have a bone to pick with Her Majesty's Government; or at least there is a question I wish to ask. Paragraph 19 refers to achieving the objective which I have outlined, by peaceful means if possible and recognise the inevitability of intensified armed struggle should peaceful avenues be blocked by the racist and illegal régime". Admittedly, that is only a Communiqué, but the fact remains that it has been taken up. It has been taken up by no less a person than President Julius Nyerere. He said to the BBC about a month ago regarding the armed struggle, that it was not just a question of sending British troops to Rhodesia. He said that if peaceful means did not succeed, everybody agreed—including the British by the way—that the armed struggle, not by the British but by the Rhodesian Africans, will be inevitable.

That kind of thing does exactly the type of damage about which I am complaining. That is the situation. This renunciation of British force was made over 10 years ago by Prime Minister Wilson. But it is not just a case of a British Division and supporting Air Forces going across a North German plain. It is guerrilla warfare. That is particularly horrible. It means not only war, but jungle war and guerrilla war, and probably murders of lonely farmers, which we have heard described in horrible detail by the noble Marquess. This applies not only to black farmers; it is possible that white farmers are involved, and they are our cousins or brothers. It is too terrible for words. What about the moral responsibility for this guerrilla warfare invasion? If it is not corrected by the British Government, then we are morally supporting it, and the moral responsibility would lie with the invaders. To me that is quite clear. In other words, it would mean majority rule by force, and I cannot think of a worse start to majority rule. It is frightful. Far better to arrange a conference and an agreement if possible, trading guerrilla warfare for a date.

I cannot understand the United Kingdom agreeing to that in the Final Communiqué of the Conference. It would be far better to have it cleared up now. It is contrary to everything we have done over the 10 years of disagreement. The absolute foundation of everything we have done has been that we would not employ British force.

I wish to say something about sanctions, because they have been mentioned. Admittedly, they are part of both United Kingdom and United Nations policy. But the fact remains that in 10 years they have not succeeded. It was not long ago that a former Lord Chancellor, who sits on the Bench over there, said that sanctions were only slightly less than war. I entirely agree. Sanctions are war without casualties. Sanctions are pressure—economic pressure—which is usually a blockade which in itself is an act of war; although it is not quite an act of war.

Lastly, there is Simonstown. This is referred to in paragraph 25 of the same final communiqué which refers to terminating the Simonstown Agreement. That is part of the Labour Party Manifesto and of Government policy. The fact remains that they decided, against professional advice and against the words of the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery, sitting on the Benches opposite, to end the Simonstown Agreement. Field Marshal Montgomery said that we should never—and I emphasise the word never—give up the Simonstown Agreement. In other words, the Soviet Union has always had an entrance to the Indian Ocean from the Far East; now they have it through the Suez Canal as well, and, in peace time, will be turning the Indian Ocean into a Soviet lake. Observe, my Lords, how important it is to us; I think this decision is a great mistake. The question I should like to ask—and here I am supporting the noble Marquess—is this. I cannot help feeling that this communiqué was drafted without the knowledge of the United Kingdom Government. Is that the case because, it not, we are deliberately going back on our word with regard to force. If not—and I hope the answer is, "No"—we ought to disabuse the world now.

11.52 p.m.


My Lords, the House will be grateful to the noble Marquess for raising this important Question and for the manner in which he introduced the debate. It has been rather a remarkable debate for such a late hour, and it has produced some quite extraordinary contributions. I hesitate to lock horns with my noble friend Lord Paget of Northampton, who treated us to a lengthy tirade, reminiscent of the late Heinrich Himmler, in which he emphasised his own attachment to the fearsome doctrines of the Herrenvolk and the Untermenschen. I never thought I would hear a member of my own Party give tongue to these dark heresies, at least at this time in our evolution. However, he was more than adequately answered by my noble friend—if I may so call him—Lord Gridley, and in part by my noble friend Lord Bourne. If my noble friend wishes to intervene he may.


My Lords, I pointed out that African Governments were behaving precisely in the manner of Hitler, and said that I objected to Fascism in Africa as much as I objected to it and fought it in Europe. Fascism is not excusable either in Africa or in Europe, but it is being exercised in Africa and we are collaborating with it.


My Lords, I do not know what my noble friend is collaborating with, unless he prefers the repression of a race in Rhodesia although he condemns what he regards as repression of a Party in other African countries. Repression, like democracy, is indivisible. If he complains about one-Party States in parts of Africa, he must equally object to one-race domination in Rhodesia. He does not. That is the fatal dichotomy in what 1 regret to say was a misapplication of very considerable gifts.

The noble Marquess asked about the Government's policy on Rhodesia. I am afraid that my reply tonight must be, in part, conditioned by the fact that I cannot anticipate a substantive statement which my right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary expects to make in another place tomorrow. I know that the noble Marquess is aware that my right honourable friend is about to make such a statement. But I would wish to make one thing absolutely clear tonight; that is, that the Government remain firmly and unreservedly committed to the search for a negotiated settlement in Rhodesia. We will continue to use our best endeavours to help bring about a solution by peaceful means. We have not moved from this position and I am very glad to re-assert it in response to the very tempo rate and reasonable way in which my noble friend Lord Bourne put the question this evening.

We have not condoned, nor will we ever condone or support, the use of violence in Rhodesia or in any other part of Africa. In recognising the possibility, or even the inevitability, of intensified armed struggle if attempts at peaceful solution fail, the Heads of Governments in Kingston—and they included the Heads of the Governments of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom as well as the other members of the Commonwealth—were doing no more than take account of a reality, a reality of which political leaders of all shades of opinion in this country and in Southern Africa have already warned the Smith régime. Those who cannot get their political rights by negotiation may well be driven to seek them by force. This is not condonation; it is a matter of record and a warning. My noble friend Lord Davies of Leek reminded us that such desperate and detestable measures are not confined to Africa; they are happening now in a part of the United Kingdom by people who believe—wrongly, as everybody in this House will agree—that they have been forced into this position of using violence and cruelty to attain ends they cannot obtain by democratic representation.

It is precisely because we recognise the possibility, the dreaded possibility, of this so clearly that we must do everything in our power to avert an alternative which the Prime Minister of South Africa, Mr. Vorster, has called "too ghastly to contemplate". Considerations like this explain the emphasis which Heads of Government put on the strict enforcement of sanctions. I do not agree that sanctions are only one degree less serious than war. Sanctions are an invention of the world in the search for a substitute for war. It is an instrument which is still imperfect because those using it are imperfectly convinced of its utility or purpose. But it has an honourable origin in that a world torn to pieces by two Wars sought some other way of enforcing rational procedures and policies.

The emphasis on sanctions by the British Government continues. It may be that there will be developments—let us hope that there will be developments—which will make sanctions no longer necessary. Perhaps, as the noble Marquess said, there will be a new initiative soon to try to secure by negotiation what no one really wants to secure by force or by pressure. The enforcement of sanctions by Mozambique in particular will certainly make them substantially more effective towards this end, and in this context I should like to emphasise that the Government's aid to Mozambique is directed entirely to peaceful purposes—that is to say, the development of the internal economy of that country—and will in fact be carried on the Vote of the Ministry of Overseas Development.

The noble Marquess asked about Government support for the African National Council. Her Majesty's Government give no financial support to the ANC, nor to any other Rhodesian political organisation. We do, however, recognise the ANC as a representative of a large body of Rhodesian African opinion—not the only representative of African opinion. Here I agree that the voice of the chiefs should and will be heard. It is not clear to us that ZANU has withdrawn from membership of the Council; our impression is it has not taken that step. Even if that were so, ANC is two things: it is very largely representative of Rhodesian African opinion, and, secondly, it is a comparatively moderating influence; at least Mr. Smith seems to recognise that the new united ANC is the most important African political group, and has demonstrated his willingness to negotiate with them.

The noble Marquess sought at one point in his speech to suggest that, as majority rule had been a failure elsewhere in Africa, it was wrong to work for a settlement on this basis in Rhodesia. No one can claim that the passage to independence on the basis of majority rule has been easy everywhere in the former colonial empires in Africa and elsewhere. There are outstanding and hopeful examples of the success of the transfer from (shall we say?) well meaning colonialism to the more modern concept of independent States. The outstanding example is India—the vast subcontinent which so easily could have broken up into myriad totalitarian States of one kind or another—which is still attached to democratic forms and procedures.

But elsewhere, I freely agree, experiment in regard to democratic procedures has so far not succeeded. But that is no argument against conferring independence on peoples who manifestly and substantially desire it. It is the only solution that makes moral and political sense, and the issue in Rhodesia now is not whether majority rule is right—it is right—but, as my noble friend Lord Bourne put it, how and when? My right honourable friend the Prime Minister has himself said that it cannot be achieved overnight. It will take time. There are varying estimates of the length of the transition, but that it should and must come is, I think, only marginally arguable. It is how and when.

Here I join with the noble Lord, Lord Gridley—I wish the conventions would permit me to call him "my noble friend", because I found his speech so illuminating and constructive that I must pay my mead of tribute for the spirit and content of that contribution coming, as they did, from Benches opposite to mine. I join with him in saying that how it comes is important, and that justice and security for all elements among the Rhodesian people must be assured by all possible means. That includes the quarter of a million white settlers who have made that country their home and have contributed much to its development, even though they have so misguidedly, in our view, stood against the inevitable development of self-rule for the majority in that country.

The noble Lord asked what was the meaning of the term "the people of Zimbabwe". The name itself, despite what my noble friend Lord Paget had to say about it, is the preferred African term for Rhodesia. "Rhodesia" to them is connotative of Colonialism. It is formed out of the name of the principal colonist. They have their feelings about this and prefer the term "Zimbabwe". Very well. The people of Zimbabwe—who are they? They are those who have made it their home. It is in that spirit that we hope that if there are discussions likely to take place in the near future—and we all hope there can be—they will not only be discussions between a few selected people but among all the elements of Rhodesia, or Zimbabwe, and will go as far as possible to ensure that all the peoples of Rhodesia, or Zimbabwe, can face an independent future on a basis of justice and co-operation.

There is a good deal in what the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, had to say about the future of the Europeans who have chosen to make Rhodesia their home. I am sure that the great majority of the British people share the hopes of Her Majesty's Government for a settlement which combines justice for the African population with a secure future for all the people of Rhodesia. We must look to the co-operation of all men and women of good will, here and in Africa, in the difficult months of negotiation which lie ahead.

I do not wish to detain the House unduly at this hour, but the noble Marquess asked what effect Section 30 of the Communiqué will have on the people of this country, and whether any consultations have taken place with interested parties in this country about the implications of Section 30. We are confident that the effects of the Kingston proposals—I refer now to the economic consequences—will be to the general benefit of the United Kingdom and its standard of life, as well as of all other members of the Commonwealth. The Whitehall Departments concerned are in constant touch with trade union and other industrial interests in this country and their views have been, and are being, taken fully into account.

The Commonwealth Heads of Government agreed at their meeting in Kingston that a group of experts should be appointed to consider various economic issues, including our own Prime Minister's proposals on commodities. They are to prepare an interim report for an August meeting of Commonwealth Ministers, so that Commonwealth Governments may take their report into account before the Seventh Special Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. In this sense this Communiqué is the basis for a concerted Commonwealth approach in the United Nations aimed at getting a start on the task of remedying the vast disparity between the developed and the developing nations and to set the world on a course of co-operation which will be beneficial not only to the developing but to the developed, not only to the producer but to the consumer nations.

This group of experts is meeting for the first time today—or, rather, it met yesterday. Its terms of reference are spelt out in the Communiqué and they are wide-ranging. But the essential feature of their task is to draw up a programme of practical measures directed at reducing the gap between rich and poor countries. We hope and believe they will pay considerable attention to the practical proposals which our own Prime Minister put to the Conference and which received a very wide welcome indeed. We shall, of course, be continuing to discuss our ideas with the industrialised countries in OECD and in particular with our partners in EEC. We hope to be able to elaborate proposals in agreement with them which will command a wide measure of support from developed and developing countries alike. As the Prime Minister said in Kingston, the British Government fully accept that the relationship, the balance, between rich and poor countries of the world is wrong and must be remedied, not overnight but gradually, giving a sense of confidence of movement of advance towards the goal of greater equity and security for all the peoples of the world.

Apart from commodities, the group of experts will consider industrial co-operation, the role of invisible trade, access to markets, the flow of long-term development funds, the transfer of technology, the mechanisms of international trade and finance, and the possibility of increased participation by the developing countries in the decision-making process of the larger international financial institutions. The agenda, my Lords, is comprehensive; the problems are complex. There can be no instant or final solutions. What is possible is practical action leading to a general advance in remedying the disparity between developed and developing nations, in reconciling the interests of producer and consumer, and in creating new economic opportunities and more wealth which can be shared more equitably among all. These are the necessary conditions, not only of shared prosperity but also of assured peace.