§ 11.19 a.m.
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS rose to move. That the draft Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 (Continuation) Order 1976, laid before the House on 14th October, be approved. The noble Lord said: My Lords, the Order extends for a further 12 months Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965, which gives Her Majesty in Council power to take whatever measures are necessary to deal with the situation in Southern Rhodesia resulting from the unilateral declaration of independence in 1965. With your Lordships' 868 permission I will make a general statement of Her Majesty's Government's attitude to the developing situation in Rhodesia. I shall naturally not be able to cover the whole ground in this opening statement, but I propose to reply at the end of the debate and will hope to clarify any points that are raised.
§ This marks the 11th occasion on which successive Governments have asked the House to renew Section 2, but at last there is hope that the goal of a settlement may be in sight. Last year, when I introduced the same Motion, I was able to describe 1975 as an eventful year for Rhodesia, even if a disappointingly inconclusive one. This year we have seen the acknowledgement by Mr. Smith of the inevitability of an early transfer to majority rule and the consequent convening of the Conference now taking place in Geneva. This represents a development which few of us here, even in our most optimistic moments, could have imagined to be possible even three months ago, let alone at the time of this debate last year.
This House will know of the difficulties and frustrations which successive Governments have experienced in dealing with the Rhodesian authorities since 1965. On 22nd March, therefore, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister set out specific pre-conditions for a negotiated settlement and the terms on which the British Government would be prepared to take part in any further negotiations. He said:
… there must be prior agreement by all the principal parties to a number of preconditions. These are as follows: first, acceptance of the principle of majority rule; secondly, elections for majority rule to take place in IS months to 2 years; thirdly, agreement that there will be no independence before majority rule; fourthly, the negotiations must not be long drawn out. There would also need to be assurances that the transition to majority rule and to an independent Rhodesia would not he thwarted and would be orderly.
§ These principles, which remain the basis of British policy on Rhodesia, were welcomed by all Parties represented in this House and in another place and also by the Presidents of Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.
§ On 24th September, following Dr. Kissinger's valuable work during his visit to Southern Africa, Mr. Smith announced that his Government accepted that majority rule should come within 869 two years. Mr. Smith's speech met the pre-conditions laid down by the Prime Minister on 22nd March and therefore once more opened the way for a renewed effort by Her Majesty's Government to achieve a negotiated settlement.
§ After Mr. Smith's announcement we felt it was essential to move quickly before new rifts or obstacles could appear. Concern covet this was shared by the African Presidents most closely involved. Her Majesty's Government therefore decided to convene a Conference in Geneva under the chairmanship of Mr. Ivor Richard to discuss the formation of an interim Government in Rhodesia. The composition of the Conference is as representative as possible of the various strands of effective political power in Rhodesia. Its purpose is to secure agreement on the necessary transitional arrangements for achieving the agreed objective of independence under majority rule. We hope the Conference will lead to the establishment of an interim Government under which a permanent constitution can be worked out for an independent Rhodesia.
§ Lord COLERAINE
My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt, but there is one point of clarification which I should like to raise. The Prime Minister's statement in March, by which the Government are bound, indicated that there could be no independence before majority rule. Does that mean that sanctions must continue, even if the Geneva Conference is a success, until the 18-month or two-year procedures have been gone through, or that if the Conference reaches agreement sanctions can be lifted?
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS
My Lords, if the noble Lord will allow me, I will deal with the position of sanctions in relation to the success or otherwise of the Conference in a later part of my speech.
The Conference was formally opened on 28th October and is now veil under way. Some very useful groundwork has been done, and while the positions of the parties remain far apart, there is a genuine anxiety on all sides to make the Conference a success. Reconciling the widely differing approaches of the two sides must inevitably be a slow business. Mutual suspicions and basic mistrust are 870 not easily overcome. However, the mere fact that the Conference is taking place at all is symptomatic of the extent to which things have changed. Mr. Richard summed it up well in his opening address to the Conference on 28th October when he said, and I quote:Mr. Smith's acceptance of majority rule, and the response of the other delegations has meant that the impossible is now a matter for negotiation, and the unattainable is a matter for immediate discussion. We are not now concerned about whether there will be majority rule in Rhodesia; we arc concerned with when and how. We are not now discussing whether power will be transferred to the majority; we arc deciding the modalities of that transfer.We are trying to promote an agreed solution: it could not be otherwise. The House will know that the only alternative to this is an intensification of the fighting in Southern Africa, something which all of us deeply wish to avoid. Now I do urge that we should not this afternoon do the work of the Conference: I know that many noble Lords will have ideas on the points upon which the Conference should agree. But we must leave this to the Conference to work out. I am not saying that noble Lords should be inhibited from talking about it: but I know that they will understand if I, as a Government Minister, do not endorse this or that suggestion this afternoon. I have no doubt that those involved in the Conference, from all delegations, will take note of what is said in this debate.
Her Majesty's Government will, of course, continue to play a fundamental role in this Conference, and if, as we hope, the Conference succeeds in agreeing the form of an interim Government then in due course Parliament will have the responsibility to pass the necessary legislation to put our relations with Rhodesia back on a normal footing. We shall not and could not abdicate our responsibility towards Rhodesia: nor do we rule out the possibility of helping in other ways, but we must not anticipate what our role should be in the interim period. It is essential to see how the Conference goes first.
There are two aspects of any settlement which I know will particularly concern many Members of this House. The first concerns the position of the White minority—the white Africans—once majority rule is achieved. We, and it seems clear the nationalists, too, believe that it would not be in the interest of 871 Rhodesia that there should be a wholesale exodus of the White population. We hope that a large number of the Europeans in Rhodesia will be prepared to help build a strong and independent country and that the future Government of the country will encourage them to do so.
Secondly, there is the guerrilla war. I know that many noble Lords feel strongly, as I do, about this. I must say frankly that 1 think the continuation of guerrilla fighting after the opening of this Conference is a tragedy. If it could be stopped it would certainly immensely help progress in Geneva, just as I am bound to say, on the other side, that an end to political detention in Rhodesia would also help. But the best prospect for a cessation of the violence is a successful outcome to the Conference. The principle of early majority rule has now been conceded; once it is clear that majority rule can and will be achieved by peaceful means, it would make no sense whatever to continue the fighting. If the Conference succeeds and an interim Government is set up, there could be no justification for the war to continue and we would expect to see a cessation of guerrilla activity.
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS
My Lords, I have said that I am coming on to the question of sanctions later in my speech, and I would hope that my noble friend, like my other noble friend, would bear with me for a few minutes. We should have liked to see that already, but we can be more certain that it will in fact be achieved when the interim Government is established. Our views on this are well known to the African Presidents and to the nationalist leaders. If, as we hope, a successful outcome to the Conference is achieved, related questions of assistance towards the development of an independent Rhodesia will be important and, as the House knows, Tier Majesty's Government are studying these questions.
I now come to the Motion formally before this House: the renewal of Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965. There are two compelling reasons why, this year above all years, we ask the House to approve this Motion. The first is that the continued validity of the 872 Act may be of vital importance to the arrangements to be made for the legalisation of the interim Administration. As the House will be aware, the powers conferred by Section 2 of the Act are not confined to the institution of sanctions but also make it possible to make constitutional or other provisions in relation to Southern Rhodesia.
The second is the need, even though success and a settlement may be in sight, to maintain sanctions against Rhodesia until success is finally achieved. I know that there are those in this House who sincerely believe that sanctions are counterproductive and that if they had been removed earlier or were removed now, Mr. Smith's Government would be more inclined to work hard for a peaceful solution. As I have said, I respect that view, but I cannot share it: nor do Her Majesty's Government and nor, I believe, does the international community as a whole. However, I would ask those who believe this to consider very carefully what effect of removing sanctions unilaterally at this stage would be. The negotiations at Geneva are now at a delicate stage. I do not want to put it too highly, but there is a slight upturn in hope as of yesterday and today. Nevertheless, these negotiations are immensely difficult and very delicate. I will not try to give the exact state of play since the position is changing all the time. But, as I have said, we are hopeful. If we were now to abandon sanctions, it would appear to the Africans that we had also abandoned our efforts to bring the Rhodesian Government to a peaceful settlement. There would be an outcry throughout Africa, which would make it difficult, to say the least, for us to continue to chair the Conference in Geneva. Furthermore, we should be in clear breach of our international undertakings and could expect no help or support from any other Western country. We should be totally isolated. A move of this sort, leading as it would, probably, to serious complications for the Conference in Geneva, would tilt the balance in Southern Africa away from reason and progress and back towards racial confrontation. Therefore, I would earnestly ask those who oppose the renewal of this Order to weigh very carefully what I have said. I would ask them to be patient.
I shall be the first to say that, in renewing this order, in so far as it relates to 873 sanctions, I hope that we will he able to reconsider the position in the shortest possible period of time, since I naturally hope that an acceptable interim Government can be established very soon. But I do not think that anyone would urge the House to take a step now which might, directly or indirectly, bring closer a total armed confrontation in Southern Africa, and I hope that the noble Marquess who has tabled an Amendment, while making his views, as always, very clear to the House, will not, on this day and at this critical juncture for the future of Rhodesia, force a Division on this issue. My Lords, I beg to move.
§ 11.39 a.m.
§ The Marquess of SALISBURY rose to move as an Amendment to the above Motion to leave out all the words after ("That") and insert ("this House declines to approve the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 (Continuation) Order 1976 because guerrilla warfare, with declarations of intensification, continues while negotiations for independence are in progress at Geneva; and because Rhodesians of all races continue to be murdered by terrorist forces harboured and assisted by countries who are in receipt of economic aid provided by United Kingdom taxpayers.")
The noble Marquess said: My Lords, I rise to move the Amendment to the Motion, standing in my name on the Order Paper. Before going any further, I should, as usual, declare an interest in Rhodesia. I listened with great care to the very explicit statement made by the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts. I appreciate many of his fears, but I should like to give reasons, in the course of what I have to say, for disagreeing with some of the conclusions he derived from them. I should like to begin by reminding your Lordships of the reasons for which sanctions were originally imposed. The reason was set out in a statement by the then Lord Privy Seal, the noble Earl, Lord Longford, on 11th November, 1965. He said:
… whatever measures in our opinion are needed to restore Rhodesia to the rule of law and to allegiance to the Crown, these measures will be taken, with the support of Parliament."—[0fficial Report; col. 128.]
In other words, to bring Rhodesia back to legality, a sentence seemed to have been used for a very much more extended purpose for the last 11 years than the original reasons for which your Lordships were asked to impose it.
When sanctions were passed in the United Nations, they were passed under Chapter VII of the Charter, which deals with threats to peace. It was pointed out at the time that Rhodesia was no threat to peace in any sense of the word, and indeed it has not been a threat ever since sanctions were imposed. If this precedent were accepted, it would be perfectly possible to accuse any country of being a threat to peace, because an aggressive neighbour disapproved of her internal affairs. It seems to me grossly improper that an international body should seek to interfere in the government of countries, whether or not they are members. Indeed, we could find ourselves in an awkward position in this country with regard to Northern Ireland, where we know that Eire takes rather similar views to those of the Government of Mozambique in relation to Rhodesia. However, this point was clearly made at the time by Mr. Dean Acheson. Yet the Foreign Secretary again used this argument in another place on 20th October when he said, referring to the setting-up of an interim Government:
The situation in Rhodesia will then no longer constitute a threat to international peace and security which warrants the continuation of measures against the requirements under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.
§ May I now say a word about the return to legality which the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, has already mentioned. As I understand it, the return has to take place before any enabling legislation can be put into operation. I presume that the statement made by the then Lord Chancellor, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, on 15th November, still holds good, that there would be no interregnum, that law and order would continue and that then the enabling Act for bringing the agreement into operation would take place. Once that Act had come into operation, the authority of Her Majesty's Government for the affairs 875 of Rhodesia would cease. I take it that that is the position, but perhaps when he replies, the noble Lord could answer that.
§ It has always been agreed that any settlement should be based on the Five Principles, later the Six Principles. understand that that is still so, because Mr. Rowlands said so in another place the other day. I must ask your Lordships to consider whether, at the present time, Her Majesty's Government's requirements do not now go further. If I may give an example, in the Principles, the words "unimpeded progress to majority rule" were used. This has now become, as a basis for discussion, two years or, in the Africans' view, one year. I doubt whether one year would be practicable. There would not be time to put all of the necessary machinery into operation. Nor do I think that this is what many of the Africans in Rhodesia want. I have seen a number of people in the last few days who have returned from there, and they tell me that a number of Africans are very worried about the two-year period. If I may give one example of a farmer I know—a well-known anti-Rhodesian Front figure—he wrote that his Africans came to him and said, "Is it true that majority rule is to be given in two years?" He said that that was so. They said, "Two years, no; 12 or, even, perhaps 10 years is possible".
Therefore, I hope that Her Majesty's Government will accept that there are views among the Africans other than those being expressed by the leaders in Geneva. May I now say a word about majority rule. I shall not say much, because I raised this matter earlier this year. I did not think that the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, who replied on that occasion, threw very much light on the Government's view. I think we should ask Her Majesty's Government what form of Government they would regard as acceptable within the phrase, "majority rule". At the moment, it almost looks as if it is just that they would hand over power in Rhodesia to any African leader who appears strong enough to gain power. If it were Mr. Mugabe or Mr. Sithole, they would appear to want a Marxist State. Do Her Majesty's Government consider this a form of majority rule? Or is Mozambique to be the pattern with
the smaller number of representative groups to control Rhodesia by means of intimidation and murder? Also, I should like to ask what steps will be taken if an agreement is reached to ensure the implementation of the Six Principles. Last year, the noble Lord, Lord GoronwyRoberts, in reply to a Question as to whether her Majesty's Government still stood by the Five Principles, said "Yes, and the Sixth". May I remind your Lordships that this says:
Regardless of race, no repression of the majority by the minority, or of the minority by the majority.
§ It may be that the trust fund which noble Lords have mentioned will cater for the problems of the white minority, as he referred to them, but it certainly will not help the blacks. They cannot leave; they have nowhere to go. I think this is important, because the guerrilla leaders are reported to be drawing up lists of all Africans who have served either in the army or the police, with a view to liquidating them if they come to power. Therefore, I ask that before the granting of independence, Her Majesty's Government will insist in any agreement on safeguards in line with Principle Six to be incorporated.
May I now say a word about the guerrilla war. Surely this is to be deplored. I was very pleased to hear the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, once again deplore the guerrilla activity. But I should like to draw his attention to a remark made in another place on 20th October by the Foreign Secretary, in which he said,
Without the sanctions, the guerrilla war would not have imposed such a grave strain on the economy."—[Official Report; col. 1482.]
§ Surely that means that Her Majesty's Government not only condones the guerrilla activities but is actively encouraging them. Yet from 1965 onwards, successive British Governments have declined to use force. Why, then, do we now encourage others to do what we decline to do ourselves? Surely, by not taking active steps to deal with the guerrillas, we are giving support to Mozambique in harbouring and encouraging the guerrillas to attack Rhodesia, of which we ourselves claim to be in control. Quite apart from that, surely it is wrong that we should not take steps rather than condone the murder, torture and mutilation which are carried out 877 by guerrillas on innocent people, most of whom are Africans. I am bound to say that it seems to me that it can be only because of one of two reasons that something has not yet been done. First, it may be that Her Majesty's Government wish to bolster up the guerrilla leaders and to strengthen their hand so that they can secure the type of government for which they are asking. Alternatively, it may be that they wish to bring further pressure on the Rhodesian Government to accept more extreme terms than were agreed in what Mr. Smith referred to as the "package deal".
What is the truth about this package deal? Mr. Smith said that it was offered to him by Dr. Kissinger and that he accepted it. This morning the noble Lord said that it was a basis for discussion. I wonder, however, whether this has always been the view of Her Majesty's Government. I should like to quote from a Press release by Her Majesty's Government which starts:
Following Mr. Ian Smith's announcement in Salisbury earlier tonight, FCO spokesman is issuing the following statement approved by Prime Minister and Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary. 'Her Majesty's Government have noted with satisfaction Mr. Ian Smith's announcement in Salisbury tonight accepting the proposals put to him by Dr. Kissinger for a peaceful settlement in Rhodesia and majority rule within two years. These proposals represented an elaboration of the plan originally advanced by the Prime Minister in March of this year. They reflected the thoughts of the Presidents of the African Nations most directly concerned, who were consulted throughout by Dr. Kissinger and in the course of five special US/UK Missions to Africa in recent months'.
May I also quote what Mr. Vorster has recently said. In the Daily Telegraph of 8th November it was reported that in the course of an interview Mr. Vorster said:
On September 24 Mr. Smith put forward five points. These points are not Mr. Smith's points and people don't really appreciate that".
Then Mr. Vorster recalled that on 28th September Dr. Kissinger said:
It is not correct that Smith made these proposals. They are the result of a discussion between the United States, Great Britain and the African Presidents.
Then he made an important point:
If discussions at Geneva are within the framework of these proposals then they are going to succeed. But if you deviate unilaterally then it is going to be difficult.
It appears that there has been deviation and that the going is very difficult, but it seems clear from the quotations to which I have drawn your Lordships' attention that Mr. Smith's interpretation of the package deal is the correct one. It would therefore appear that when the deal was announced it was acceptable to the parties concerned. Now we have to ask ourselves why Her Majesty's Government say that the package deal is to be only the basis for discussion. Could it be that the African Presidents went back on the agreement and that Her Majesty's Government were willing to support them in this action so as to bring more pressure on the Rhodesian Government to reach a settlement, at whatever price?
§ As regards the package deal, it seems to me at least that of the Six Principles, the first four Principles have been met in the proposals that the sixth Principle is covered for at least two years and, if adequate steps arc taken, will be covered for a longer period than that. However, there is the problem of the fifth Principle which refers to the acceptability of the proposals to the majority. This is not the first time that the fifth Principle has proved to be a stumbling block and it appears that one of the objectives of calling the Geneva Conference was to hammer out this problem. Despite what the noble Lord has said about progress at Geneva, it seems that the fifth Principle once again is going to prove to be an exceptionally difficult point to get over. Therefore, may I suggest to your Lordships that the original—
§ Lord DAVIES of LEEK
My Lords, I apologise to the noble Marquess for intervening, but I do so in order to try to understand his point. In view of the fact that the noble Lord has read out exactly and accurately the fifth Principle and has said how difficult it is, may I point out that the Government and the Commonwealth asked Lord Pearce to look into this problem. The noble Marquess knows better than I do that an extensive opinion poll was taken throughout the black territory and that the majority of black people turned down completely any other approach than that of majority rule and the representation of the blacks. Am I not accurate in that statement, or would the noble Marquess like to correct me?
§ The Marquess of SALISBURY
My Lords, I think that the noble Lord is absolutely correct. The problem is that the African leaders seem to take the view that if they turn down these proposals and ask for more they are likely to get it. This seems to be precisely what is happening at the moment. Therefore they use what influence they have, which includes methods which we would not approve of in this country, to ensure that they obtain adequate support to get the settlement turned down. This is why I think that it is difficult and will continue to be difficult to obtain any agreement on the fifth Principle.
If, as the noble Lord has said, the Geneva talks succeed in achieving a settlement, the Government have given an undertaking that sanctions will come off'. I am sure that all noble Lords would approve of that sentiment. But if the talks fail, and I quote from what Mr. Rowlands said on 20th October in another place:I have said clearly there can be no question of our seeking to lift sanctions until a satisfactory interim government is installed in Rhodesia and is irrevocably on the path of majority rule".This is where my main difference lies with the noble Lord.
If the Africans, for reasons which I have partly dealt with in my reply to the interpolation of the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Leek, insist on terms which suit them and their demands better, they will be going outside the basis of the agreement approved in principle, at least—I think we are together on that—by Her Majesty's Government, and this seems to be utterly unreasonable. If the Conference breaks down through the making of these types of demands by the African leaders, the basis for the removal of sanctions is still there, because presumably it is inherent in the package deal that there will be a return to legality. I was going to say, although I believe I have already dealt with it in my reply to the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Leek, that the retention of sanctions must surely encourage the Africans to step up their demands or, if they are so inclined, to break up the Conference.
Since it is not possible to amend the details of the order, if no agreement is reached at Geneva sanctions are likely to continue for another year. That is what Mr. Rowlands statement implies. This 880 is intolerable in view of the terms accepted by the Rhodesian Government, because they have met the basic demands set out by Her Majesty's Government. However, since the Rhodesian Government have accepted that they will not expect sanctions to be withdrawn until an interim Government has been established, I do not press for their withdrawal now.
I appreciate the points made by the noble Lord about the difficulties at Geneva and his anxiety not to do anything which could cause disruption of the Conference and I also appreciate the points he made about our obligations to the international community. But even so, I am concerned at what I am afraid I must refer to as the intransigent attitude of Her Majesty's Government. If it were possible even now for Her Majesty's Government to give some form of undertaking this evening in regard to three points I should feel very much happier.
The three points are these. First—and I am afraid I am repeating what I said before—that if the talks fail because the African demands fall outside the framework of the package deal, then sanctions will be lifted; secondly, that Her Majesty's Government will take steps to halt guerrilla activities, if necessary by withholding aid to Mozambique; thirdly, that Her Majesty's Government will ensure that guarantees are provided in any agreement in line with the Six Principles, to protect the rights of the Africans and Asians and to guarantee their safety. But if Her Majesty's Government are unable to give a form of undertaking on these points I feel it would be morally wrong, for the reasons I have already given, not to press my Amendment to a vote. I beg to move the Amendment.
§ 12.3 p.m.
§ Baroness ELLES
My Lords, my noble friends would wish me to thank the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, for the usual clear and courteous way in which he has introduced the Motion before your Lordships this morning. Debate on this Motion over the last II years has given an opportunity of expression of the very divided feelings on the wisdom of the initial imposition of sanctions and the continuing of sanctions on Rhodesia, and I am sure all noble Lords in this House will agree that my noble friend 881 Lord Salisbury has moved his Amendment in a most moderate and helpful way in order to get a peaceful solution of this problem and to hear the views of the Government on their future policies. At this stage I should also like to comment very briefly on the success of the attempts of all British Governments to reach a peaceful solution for Rhodesia. I am sure noble Lords would wish me to pay a tribute to my noble friend Lord Home of the Hirsel, because nobody has done more than he has to pave the way for the position which Rhodesia has now reached.
For the first time in these 11 years it appears to be at least a possibility that the extension for a full year of the provisions of Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 may not in fact be used, and I think this is the most welcome news we have had over these last 11 years. We on this side of the House all hope that the Conference in Geneva will have a successful outcome and that the objective of reaching a peaceful transfer to majority rule will be achieved within the coming months. It is for this reason that in the middle of what must undoubtedly be a difficult and delicate operation 1 know that noble Lords on this side of the House will not be pressing the Government too hard on certain aspects, in order riot in any way to be accused of jeopardising the successful outcome of the conference.
On this side of the House we welcome the statement of the noble Lord the Minister on the willingness on all sides to reach success. This is to be warmly welcomed. Also to be welcomed is the statement of the noble Lord the Minister referring to what he calls—and what we believe is—a tragedy: that the continuation of guerrilla warfare is before us. On this aspect, we hope that the Government will consider in these negotiations some kind of deal between these African nations and the Rhodesian Government as to not only the cessation of guerrilla warefare but, at the same time, the release from detention of political prisoners and the cessation of any forms of cruelty, be they in the form of torture camps or be they in the form of guerrilla activities on the border. Both are to be deplored and we hope these will be aspects of the Conference which will come to a successful termination.
882 However, I should like to turn to the package deals which were based on Mr. Callaghan's proposals in March and endorsed by the Foreign Office in a statement which was read to your Lordships by my noble friend Lord Salisbury, following the broadcast made by Mr. Smith on 24th September. I think that that broadcast of Mr. Smith has perhaps not been looked at as closely as it should be and there are three points which I think we should bear in mind when considering the advisability of my noble friend's Amendment to the Motion.
Mr. Smith himself made very clear in his broadcast that he accepts the proposal No. 5, that on the establishment of an interim Government sanctions will be lifted and all acts of war, including guerrilla warfare, will cease. As I read article No. 5 of the proposals it seems to me that Mr. Smith has accepted the fact that sanctions will continue until an interim Government is set up, and also that it is on that basis that the Government will exert every pressure that acts of guerrilla warfare shall cease. Another point raised by my noble friend Lord Salisbury is the question of the trust fund. According to the statement made by Mr. Smith, and as I understand it, the trust fund is to be set up outside Rhodesia but for the benefit of all Rhodesians, both black and white, and is to be used for the economic development and educational programmes and necessary training and facilities to provide for the growth of the economy in Rhodesia itself. Perhaps the noble Lord the Minister would care to comment on that when he replies to the debate.
It would appear that if Mr. Smith accepts these proposals it would not be advisable for us in this House to take any action for the time being, but to accept, as he does, that we should wait for the formation of an interim Government before sanctions are lifted. Also, as members of the United Nations we are bound to uphold the Charter and observe the resolutions of the Security Council. Having fulfilled our obligations under international law for the last 11 years in imposing these sanctions, it would surely not be advisable at this stage, when we seem to be at the end of the road, hoping to reach a solution, that we should change our policy and fail at the very last minute to fulfil our obligations, and be condemned 883 by all the nations of the world community. For these reasons I would earnestly ask my noble friend Lord Salisbury not to press his Amendment. I appreciate his feeling and of course his very wide knowledge. I admit that I do not share his wide knowledge of Rhodesia, but for the very cogent reasons I have outlined I would urge him not to press his Amendment.
However, by upholding the international law ourselves I feel that we must be able to look for support to other nations when we, at the proper stage, ask for sanctions to be raised in the Security Council. I think this must be made a condition of the way in which Britain is now behaving. I should like the Minister to comment on his statement (because I made a note of his words):until success is finally achieved".Are the Government saying in effect that if an interim Government is formed sanctions will immediately be lifted? And will the Government give an undertaking that if and when this interim Government is formed they will take all the necessary measures, both in Parliament and at the United Nations, for sanctions to be raised? Also, we should like an assurance from the Government that if there is failure to reach an agreement, not due to any action that Mr. Smith or his Government takes, the Government will again seriously consider the raising of sanctions and not condemn Rhodesia for having failed to reach a settlement which was not within their possibility, when failure to reach a settlement has been caused by other outside interests and possibly the interference of other nations.
My Lords, we realise that sanctions may not have had the economic effect expected. Indeed, as we know, Rhodesia has one of the highest GNP per capita figures of any Southern African State. We also believe that a satisfactory conclusion of the Conference will not be reached by aggression. Satisfactory agreements are not based on aggression. We very much hope that it will depend ultimately on the willingness of the peoples of Rhodesia, both black and white, to reach a peaceful settlement. We hope that all the communities can live together in a multi-racial society, and that they will be able to develop their economy, and remain in the Free World.
§ 12.11 p.m.
§ Lord WADE
My Lords, in view of the number of speakers in this debate today, I hope I shall be forgiven if I cut out all the preliminary courtesies. This is the 11th time we have been called upon to renew this order. I hope it will be the last. But it seems abundantly clear to me that it would be unwise and irresponsible for the British Government to withdraw sanctions at the present moment. Therefore, I believe that this order should continue in force. I recognise that the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, in speaking for the Government, has to do so very carefully and circumspectly, but if there is to be a debate in this House at all I think we must be frank. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, has been frank in the points he has made.
My Lords, first I would say that from my own point of view and that of my Liberal colleagues (although I am speaking for myself) that when I first heard the outcome of the Kissinger talks and the broadcast of Mr. Smith, my feeling was, "Alas! this has come 10 years too late". But I sincerely hope I shall be proved wrong and that the talks will succeed. It would not be profitable to go over all the old ground, but I would make a comment about the past. When UDI was declared three choices were before the Government. The first was to attempt to take over control immediately. That was not done. I would be very willing to debate the pros and cons, but that is past history. Secondly, there was the choice of imposing sanctions as evidence of our strong disapproval of the action of Mr. Smith, an act of treason. But, in doing so, many of us realised that sanctions could not be entirely effective. The third possible course was for Britain to wash her hands of the whole affair. I would regard that as a kind of Pontius Pilate policy. As we know now, the British Government chose the second course, and today the situation is different in that the principle of majority rule has been accepted. But in some respects those three choices still remain to be faced. They are at the back of my mind in the few remarks I wish to make.
As to the conference at Geneva, I certainly hope it will succeed, but the news changes from day to day. We do not know what is being said privately, 885 and I do not complain about that. But it would be unfortunate if all the time in these talks at Geneva was taken up by a discussion of dates, of legal points about a new Constitution, how the new Government should be elected, and what the new structure of the Government should be—although I realise that these matters are all very important and very necessary. However, what really matters to the people living in that part of Africa and elsewhere is that there should be peaceful transition, and that it should be as speedy as possible.
I should like to dwell for a few moments on that second point. There are a number of reasons for the need for plain speaking, and one reason in particular. I do not think it is fully appreciated what harm has been done to the future of the Southern part of the Continent of Africa by the existence of the Rhodesian Front Government. Over the years I have listened to many different points of view. I have tried to get a broad view. For example, a number of years ago I spent one afternoon in the Salisbury Club in Salisbury and the following morning I spent in a much less salubrious part of Salisbury talking to an ex-detainee who had just come out of five years detention. I am not suggesting that that is a fair cross-section of life in Rhodesia, but I have heard different points of view, I have met African leaders and I have had a long talk this summer with a white Rhodesian over here on holiday. I am aware of the point of view of the noble Marquess, and I am also aware of the point of view of those Africans, many of them young who genuinely hoped for a peaceful change, but in the end lost hope and went over to join the freedom fighters.
Again, among those who might be regarded or who regard themselves as supporters of Mr. Smith, one view emerges, a belief, sincerely held, that they are saving Christian civilisation from the spread of Russian Communism. My conclusion is that the precise opposite is the truth. From my own observations, 12 years ago the Russian influence was minimal in that part of the world. It has grown greatly, and I regret it. It has grown for three reasons: the first is the hatred of apartheid in South Africa; secondly, the fact that Portugal continued her colonial rule for far too long, and 886 thirdly, the effect of the actions and attitudes of the Smith regime in Rhodesia. I think it has done incalculable harm in that respect. That is why I say the sooner the change takes place, the better.
On the other hand, there is one problem which indicates that the change cannot take place overnight. I recognise that in trying to achieve a peaceful change, there must be some considerable change in personnel. There are some who just cannot adjust to new ideas, some who feel no real sense of loyalty to the new Zimbabwe. I think it is better that they should leave, and he assisted so to do, so far as that is practical. I do not know yet the full details of the concept of the trust fund, but I welcome the idea. On the other hand, it must be fair, and it must be seen to he fair. Therefore, I hope there will be some compensation for those who have suffered under the Smith regimé as well as those who may suffer from change. I hope that the United States of America will be able to help in that respect.
Lastly, as to the extent to which the British Government can help—and here I choose my words carefully, and I know it is very controversial—if some British presence during the interim period is agreed upon by the delegates to be desirable, Britain should not shirk that responsibility. I know there are risks, but there are risks in whatever we do. But if there is to be some presence, Britain on her part is entitled to point out the need for new personnel, not only at the top. I hope some thought will be given to this at Geneva; that some thought will be given to those, white and black, who have left Rhodesia because they could see no hopeful future under the Smith regimé. There is a very real need for recruitment, and I hope that an appeal will be made to those who have gone to find jobs elsewhere to come back and help. Subject to that, I believe that potentially there is a great future for Zimbabwe. We must not spoil it; we must not spoil that chance. Therefore, I return to my original point. To reject the Order would be widely misunderstood. It would be regarded as a pat on the back for Mr. Smith, which he does not deserve. It would shatter the efforts of Mr. Ivor Richard, and I think it would destroy the chance of peace for many years to come.
§ 12.22 p.m.
§ Lord BRIMELOW
My Lords, since this is my maiden speech I ask, in accordance with custom, for the indulgence of the House, and, also in accordance with custom, I shall be brief and shall try to avoid controversy. My remarks are addressed to only one point, made on 20th October in another place by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and repeated this morning at the beginning of this debate by my noble friend Lord Goronwy-Roberts. That point is the potential usefulness in the coming year of the comprehensive powers to act by Order in Council which are conferred by Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965. That section provides that Her Majesty may, by Order in Council, make such provision in relation to Rhodesia—and here I quote the words of the Act—…as appears to her to be necessary or expedient in consequence of any unconstitutional action taken therein.It follows, I think, from the generality of that wording that sanctions are only one form of the action envisaged in Section 2 of the Act. That point was explicitly made earlier by the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts.
Since sanctions have been and remain a subject of controversy, and since it is traditional in maiden speeches to avoid controversy, I shall make no further reference to them, though on that subject, as on many others, I can unreservedly join in the tribute paid by the noble Baroness Lady Elles, to the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, a man for whom I have feelings of deep respect and most cordial friendship.
The point which concerns me, and to which singularly little attention was paid in the debate in another place on 20th October, and from which this debate, too, has drifted away, is that in the coming year there may be a need for action other than sanction:, whatever the outcome of the present Geneva Conference may be. If Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act of 1965 does not continue in force, such action might require special legislation, with all the delay and possible difficulty that that might entail. In the recent debate in another place my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said that: 888the continued validity of the Act may be of vital importance to arrangements to be made for the legalisation of the interim administration.That point was made this morning by the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts. Mr. Crosland went on to say:Any honourable member who votes against this motion will be voting to deny us this facility." —[Official Report, Commons, 20/10/76; col. 1482.]That, I submit, is the central issue today before this House, though the debate has ranged, and will continue to range, much more widely.
I find it hard to believe that a favourable impression would be made on those throughout the world who are concerned with the future of Southern Rhodesia and Southern Africa if, during the course of the Geneva Conference, which was convened on our initiative and which is chaired by a representative of Her Majesty's Government, your Lordships were to deprive Her Majesty in Council of the power to give effect to any measures that may require action by Her Majesty's Government in the coming year. It seems to me that consistency in the execution of the policy which successive Governments have followed since 1965 and concern for the international standing of this country alike argue in favour of the continuation in force for a further year of Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965. I hope that the House will not divide, but, if it does, it is in that sense that I shall vote.
§ 12.28 p.m.
§ Lord GREENHILL of HARROW
My Lords, it gives me the greatest pleasure to congratulate Lord Brimelow on his maiden speech. He and I have been colleagues for 30 years and during those 30 years I have known him as a master of lucidity, and I think he has demonstrated that gift to the House this morning. I hope that he will intervene on future occasions, and particularly when matters concerning the Soviet Union are discussed, because there is no greater authority in the House than he, and indeed I think no greater authority in this country. I therefore congratulate him again and invite him to join often in our debates.
I am going to intervene, very briefly I hope, and my reasons for doing so are that with the exception of the "Tiger" talks and the present Conference I have been involved in a modest capacity in all the negotiations since UDI. In February 889 of this year the then Secretary of State invited me to go to Salisbury to talk to Mr. Smith. It is not for me to speak of the substance of those discussions, except to express the opinion that if Her Majesty's Government had at that time taken a vigorous initiative in conjunction with our allies we should have got Mr. Smith's welcome acceptance of majority rule that much earlier. But there is no point in going over the past, and I accept that the Government may have had their own reasons for holding back. We have now to consider the present situation.
Ministers have not been very communicative about what is going on in Geneva, and quite rightly so; this is not the time for open diplomacy, although I feel that we might have been given a somewhat clearer glimpse of the agreed Kissinger package, a knowledge of which might have reduced controversy and some misunderstanding. In the circumstances of the Conference there is bound to be a good deal of public posturing. I dare say that the public statements of the delegations that we have heard do not accurately reflect their confidential positions, and we should be happy to leave Mr. Ivor Richard at work. He has shown great energy and zeal to keep the Conference going and, as the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, has hinted this morning, the news seems to be slightly better.
But, as I see it, sooner or later there is a risk that we shall have the alternative of washing our hands of the whole affair or continuing to make a determined effort to solve it. In my view we should have no hesitation whatever in maintaining the latter course, and this is indeed what the Government seem to be doing. But I hope that the noble Lord, Lord GoronwyRoberts, will not misunderstand me if I express some slight scepticism about the Government's new-found enthusiasm for tackling this problem. I have had many conversations with members of the Government Party which suggest that they feel that it would be wiser for the Government to hold back, and I hope that this afternoon the noble Lord will give us an assurance that the determination of the Government to work at this problem and go on working at it is, indeed, a settled policy and that we shall not go back to a previous, if I may say so, slightly hesitant approach to the problem.
890 There are two principal reasons for keeping working hard at it. The first reason is that it is in the interests of the black population of Rhodesia for us to do so. As your Lordships know only too well, there has been a tremendous population explosion in Rhodesia and employment for Africans is very hard to get. In my opinion this employment can only be secured by substantial investment in the country and by the proper development of its land resources. Such development can only be secured if a settlement is reached which enables black majority rule to be reconciled with the continuance of white participation, less in future on a settler basis and more on the basis of expatriate activity.
The existing settlers are entitled to some measure of protection, and I hope that the Trust Fund which has been spoken of is designed to give this protection. I have made some suggestions in the past how I think this protection can best be given. But I do not believe that an African State on the Marxist model of Angola or Mozambique, established after a long guerrilla campaign, can be as beneficial to the long-term interests of African employment and wellbeing as continued investment and co-operation from the West.
The second reason for continuing to work at this problem is that failure to reach a peaceful settlement in Rhodesia in the early future will bring sharply forward the possible confrontation of black and white populations in the Republic of South Africa, with unforeseeable political and economic consequences, not just for this country but for all the industrial democracies, to say nothing of the independent African countries themselves. I think that the white population in South Africa are increasingly aware of the necessity for change, and the moral of recent events is clear to many of them. But progress in South Africa needs as much time as it can get to work itself out, and emotional calls for dramatic changes overnight are merely provocative and unrealistic.
Earlier this week there was talk of a possible breakdown in Geneva. This, indeed, seems less likely now, but should this breakdown come it is essential that we should not throw in the sponge. There is no need for us to tackle this problem 891 alone. Our allies in the EEC and Japan have a strong interest in a peaceful solution, and their help, and more active help, can, I believe, be secured. As for the future Administration of the United States, I found recently in the United States that some members of the Democratic Party seemed less ready to admit an American interest in the solution of these problems. I should not expect this attitude to continue, and more mature consideration will convince the future Administration that the United States has an essential role to play.
Nor do I believe that the African delegations would consider an early breakdown in the Geneva talks as final. I hope that the Rhodesian African leaders noted the very perceptive leading article in the Guardian on 2nd November. This made two very relevant points: first, that whatever the long-term prospects for the African guerrilla forces, their short-term fate is going to be hard; secondly, that those African leaders who are sparring with each other at Geneva will assuredly be swept from the scene if a settlement is long delayed. Those truths I think should also be noted by the so-called "Front Line Presidents" who, I often think, might perhaps more properly be called the "Touch-line Presidents".
I believe that the decision which we have to make on the Order today depends directly on what we believe the effect of our actions to be on the chance of the success of the Conference. I realise that many regard the observance of sanctions as of symbolic importance, a badge of honour so to speak, and maybe it can be so represented, but surely only to a dwindling band. Very few countries who have any possibility of trading relations with Southern Africa have a clean bill of health on sanction breaking. The black countries themselves have for years been buying grain and meat from Rhodesia—understandably so, and in some cases they would have starved without it.
We in this country have often made ourselves look ridiculous over sanctions, although i have little objection to that if it is in a good and effective cause. For example, we have reached the melancholy situation—and here I declare an interest—where the Leyland plant in Rhodesia assembles Japanese and French vehicles to usurp a market which has 892 been traditionally ours. I do not believe that sanctions are particularly relevant to the present Conference; I believe they are not likely to influence the outcome one way or another. My own view is that they are not a significant factor at the present. They do not strongly influence Mr. Smith at this stage, they depress African standards, and their continued observance is not really an encouragement to the African negotiators. I should have liked to see them lifted, initially on a selective basis. They should be lifted on goods and on activities which will be in the long-term interests of the development of Rhodesia, not on consumer goods and things like that.
But there is, I agree, as was clearly stated by Lord Brimelow, one overriding reason for the Order to be continued. It is that Section 2 of the Act is essential for the rapid constitutional arrangements which would have to follow a settlement, and failure to renew it would create practical difficulties which could be overcome, I understand, only by new legislation. Now is obviously not the time for that. I hope, however, that when the Order is renewed, the Government will see whether it is possible to relax some of the sanctions, and especially those whose relaxation would contribute to the long-term health of Rhodesia.
§ 12.41 p.m.
§ Lord PLUNKET
My Lords, I must declare an interest, as will shortly become apparent. I am sure the House will appreciate that it is not easy to say anything worth while about Rhodesia without referring to some aspect that is contentious, but I will do my best to avoid the obvious pitfalls and emulate the noble Lord, Lord Brimelow. However, having lived there for the last 20 years, I wanted to avail myself of the privilege of being able to address your Lordships from the point of view of a progressive and, I hope you will agree, a moderate, before returning to Rhodesia next week.
I wish to convey the feelings of people like myself who have consistently taken the view that there was no future for us under a white minority Government. The Eastern Highlands of Rhodesia. where I live, is the area in which the large softwood forests of the country are concentrated. and my own house is within 893 a few miles of the Mozambique border. The hazards of accidental fires and arson are very real in the dry season, which stretches from July and is at its height in November. They are anxious and worrying moments at the best of times, and it does not require much imagination to gauge what the tension has been like during this last dry season.
I am referring not only to the nerves of the Europeans; there are in fact comparatively few European foresters. The safety and protection of the plantations lies mainly in the hands of Africans. Every day and night in an emergency call out they are likely to face a hail of bullets or the risk of being in a vehicle running over a land mine. On lonely isolated hilltops fire look-outs are situated and these are manned probably by just a couple of African teenagers armed with nothing more lethal than a hurricane lamp. Just before I left a few weeks ago to come here my African forest ranger asked me for the details of our planting programme. He was enquiring not about what we were going to do in the forthcoming season: he was thinking about the next five years. Understandably, Europeans are tending to live from clay to day, but their staff are thinking in terms of conditions returning to normal.
To assume that the loyalty of African staff such as I have described implies that they are hostile or unsympathetic towards the guerrillas or terrorists, call them what you will, would be wholly misleading. Rightly or wrongly, they can see no way of establishing themselves as free citizens in their own country through peaceable means, and that is the sad truth. Despite the horrors, violence, bloodshed and brutality, the vast majority of Africans, and indeed some Europeans, are faced with a constant dilemma: but for the security forces there would be no protection of life or limb. On the other hand, joining the security forces, particularly as a volunteer, is helping to keep the Rhodesia Front in power. That is the dilemma, and it would fall away were it not for a rooted distrust of the Rhodesia Front, which has not been dispelled by the dignified and I believe genuine way in which Mr. Smith stated publicly that he had conceded the principle of majority rule.
894 I went to Geneva for the first few days of the Conference. I went, as did other Europeans and Africans, because we felt that even if the views of moderate men could not be heard in the conference hall, they could be expressed in private discussions I was not alone in gaining the impression that interest such as mine was welcome, particularly among Africans. I had the friendliest of talks with members of the African delegations. Most of those Africans were old friends and have remained so. Zimbabwians, which is what they call themselves, are mostly courteous and very patient people. Were it not so, I do not believe there would be even a glimmer of chance, II years after UDI, of achieving a settlement.
Since the principle of majority rule has been accepted by Mr. Smith and his Cabinet, it might seem that the time factor for its implementation should not have assumed the proportion that it has. But there is a fear and mistrust among the African delegations and I cannot say that the Independence Board in Salisbury or indeed the absence of Mr. Smith from the Conference has helped matters. Any change in the present circumstances governing sanctions would be introducing a new factor. I feel that it would be an unnecessary risk to take in the short-term and, in the long-term, would be unlikely to make any difference to Britain's ability to recover the markets she has lost to other countries which have perhaps not observed the sanctions rules so seriously, as was referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Greenhill of Harrow.
My Lords, one of the African delegation heads assured me that Zimbabwe would wish to remain within the Commonwealth. The British team at Geneva has in my opinion been both energetic and patient. However, I detect a lack of faith here in Britain in her ability to solve the Rhodesian issue. If the countries most concerned in Africa and the delegations in Geneva themselves have this faith in her, as I believe they have, then Britain must seize this opportunity more boldly if all races now in Rhodesia are to have a future in Zimbabwe.
§ 12.50 p.m.
§ Lord ALPORT
My Lords, if this debate had had no other value, it would have been more than worth while for having 895 given the noble Lord, Lord Plunket, an opportunity of speaking here in this House and your Lordships the opportunity of hearing him. I would repeat the normal formula that we hope to hear him many times, but, on this occasion at least, I shall change it slightly. We certainly hope to hear him many times in your Lordships' House but not yet, because the sort of outlook, advice and counsel that he can give in the Rhodesia of the present and in the Zimbabwe of the future would be of more value there than it would be here. I hope that when he returns to Rhodesia he will do so realising that we have derived great value from what he has said. Personally, and for many of your Lordships, his speech has recalled the very lovely part of Rhodesia where he lives and which we have known well in the past.
I should like also to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Brimelow, because he brings another of the line of very distinguished ex-members of the Foreign Service to your Lordships' House, all of whom make their contribution, as the noble Lord, Lord Greenhill, has just done, to the deliberations of this House on the subject on which they have spent a lifetime in public service. We hope that in this case we shall hear him again soon, and on many occasions.
If your Lordships will forgive me, I should like to range a little more widely than have other speakers so far. I believe that the greatest service that we can do in this debate to people of all races in Rhodesia is to try to disentangle in our own minds the realities of the present from the illusions which some of us have had in the past. Let me say this: I believe that Rhodesia ceased to be a colonial problem in 1923; it ceased to be a British problem in 1965; it ceased to be an African probem when the collapse of the Portuguese in Angola and Mozambique enabled Communist imperialism to supersede the old European hegemony in Southern Africa, with the help of Cuban mercenaries and Russian and Chinese arms. Rhodesia is now an international problem. It provides, as the noble Lord, Lord Greenhill, has said, the contemporary theatre of confrontation between the Marxist East and the Free West. It replaces the divided Europe of the Berlin airlift and the divided Asia of the Vietnam war.
896 In those circumstances, I submit that it is unrealistic for President Nyerere or Dr. Kissinger to imagine that Britain alone, employing the methods that have been successful in the past in bringing dependencies to nationhood, can stabilise and control the situation in Rhodesia so as to transform it peacefully into a Zimbabwe under majority rule—and, by that, I mean African rule. I know that the noble Lord, Lord Plunket, said in his speech that during his visit to Geneva he found great faith in the ability of Britain to do this, but I believe that it is to some extent unrealistic. It is based on the nostalgic belief that the position in which this country is today is the same as it was 10, 15, 20, 50 or 100 years ago. That is not true. We here know this. Others overseas do not realise it as clearly as we do. We have gained a great deal from the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Plunket this morning. Perhaps he, in his turn, may be able to take back to Rhodesia an assessment of the point of view that we have here with regard to our ability to deal alone with a situation such as exists in Rhodesia.
Your Lordships will realise that my general analysis fits very well with the thesis that Mr. Smith has propounded over a good many years. The difference is this: whereas Mr. Smith claims that a quarter of a million whites in Rhodesia are a bastion against the spread of Communist imperialism in Southern Africa, my view is that the continued existence in power of the Rhodesian Front provides a climate in which Communist influence will thrive and is certain eventually to succeed. Let me put it this way: if the Portuguese had surrendered colonial power to a democratically or an indigenously based regime in Angola and Mozambique 10 or 15 years ago, there might, like the one time British, French and even Belgium colonies, have been westward orientated regimes in power in those territories. They might not have been constitutional democracies on the Westminster model; that is perfectly true. Sometimes, regrettably and tragically, they might have had characteristics like the regimes of Uganda and Burundi, which derive from the sometimes brutal hinterland of African tribal history; but fundamentally they would not have been satellites of Soviet or Chinese Marxist imperialism.
897 By hanging on too long to their imperial power, the Portuguese made the build up of Marxist military and ideological influence sufficient to ensure that when the Portuguese were eventually forced out, the inheritors would not be Western orientated but would be Governments in Angola and Mozambique that owed their success to the Marxist Cuban mercenaries and to the Maoist Chinese-trained forces of Frelimo. Of course, this all presents a threat to Rhodesia and South Africa, as the noble Lord, Lord Greenhill, has said, but let us be very clear that it is also a threat to the whole of the Western orientated States south of the Sahara. It is a threat to Zambia, to Malawi, to Tanzania, to Kenya, to Botswana, to Swaziland, and in due course it will be a threat to the peripheral States like Zaire and, eventually, to the Republic of South Africa.
I believe that it is generally agreed that indigenous Africa is not a fertile breeding ground for the harsh disciplines and the materialist philosophy of Marxism. Africans are only inclined to accept its support if no other way can be found of giving to black men and women who aspire to enjoy their normal rights, opportunities and equal citizenship in the country in which their forefathers have dwelt from time immemorial. This is the point that the noble Lord, Lord Plunket, made so graphically. There is not, in the case of the three "Front Line Presidents, any desire to fight. I am quite sure that that is the case. However bellicose some of their statements may be, none of them is a military man by nature or training. I do not believe for a moment that Bishop Muzorewa or Mr. Mugabe, in spite of his Che Guevara image, or Joshua Nkomo, in spite of his Matabele inheritance, is a warrior in the old African sense or in the modern militarist one. They are being forced into roles from which none of them will draw advantage, and only because the policies of the Rhodesia Front in general and Mr. Smith in particular offer them no practical alternative to seeking to win their struggle at the muzzle of the gun. In that event, the beneficiaries will not be the men who are gathered in Geneva or the vast majority of Africans in Rhodesia, but the military junta that leads the guerrillas in Mozambique and elsewhere and the 898 Marxist Governments which have supplied them with arms and an ideology.
The longer the transition of Rhodesia into Zimbabwe is put off, the more certain is it that the whole of Southern Africa will be lost to the West. It is no good Mr. Smith arguing that the Africans are not ready for majority rule. There are today—mostly in exile—far greater resources of trained black Rhodesian manpower than were available to Zambia, Malawi or even Kenya when they became independent. The fact that very few of them are in responsible ranks in the civil service, industrial and business management or the professions in Rhodesia is simply because it has been the policy of white Rhodesia to keep them out. However, UM, paradoxically enough, has, by forcing abroad so many, helped to provide the trained cadres for the Zimbabwe of the future. One of our problems is, or will be, how we can bring them back to give them the opportunities in Rhodesia which they have, up to now, been denied, and, with them, to help to build the future for an independent, Western-orientated multiracial State.
My Lords, let us not forget that the exiles are important, it is true; but that there are in Rhodesia internal security forces consisting of black African Rhodesians whose numbers are not far short of the strength of the guerrilla forces outside it. Two battalions of the Rhodesian African Rifles, the present black component of the British South African Police, and the African Police Reserve, must number today something like 10,000 trained disciplined men. The time that is needed to organise the development of Rhodesian into Zimbabwe is the time it takes to get the exiles back home, to reorganise the Civil Service and the police, to integrate part of the guerrillas into the present Rhodesian army and to resolve the problem of a Constitution capable of preserving the rights of all those of different races and tribes who are to live in the newest of all African independent states. Twelve months—15 months—23 months? The time scale is not fundamentally important. The longer the transition takes, the greater the chance that the military junta of Zipa will gain control of the situation and supercede political leaders at present gathered round the Conference table in Geneva. It is simply not realistic to be 899 arguing at this present moment between 12 and 15 months. What can be done in 15 months can he done just as easily in 12 months.
One lesson I have learned in my political life is that if you want to manage men—and I have never been very good at it—you must assess accurately their motives. I believe that the motives which dominate all or most of the African leaders at Geneva is to achieve political power by peaceful negotiation. I believe that this is the motive of the three Front Line Presidents. I believe that the objective of the Presidents of Angola and Mozambique and of the Zipa high command is to achieve power by war. The motives of Mr. Smith I believe are these: he believes his own thesis that if he can convince the United States and Britain of his reasonableness and that he is the bastion against Communism in Southern Africa, he will get the relaxation of sanctions and he will get the Powers—Britain, America and others—to condone a form of majority rule which will enable the Rhodesian Front to retain control over the country or, at any rate, salvage something in terms of white control from the effort of the past years of independence.
I cannot believe that the term "majority rule" means in his mind what it does in ours, or in those of the Front Line Presidents, or the minds of the black leaders at Geneva. If it were the same as we believe it to be, he would never have taken Mr. Van der Byl to Geneva as his deputy. He would never have left him in charge of negotiations there in his absence. I regard Mr. Van der Byl, as I am sure the Africans do, as living evidence of Mr. Smith's insincerity in the negotiations in which his Government are at present engaged. The future, during the interim period and beyond, cannot rest in the hands of men who are committed by tradition, inheritance, outlook and psychology to something which is different to anything which is possible under an independent Zimbabwe.
If the present Conference breaks down, the solution will come as a result of a long process of attrition from guerrilla war, and it will be brought about more quickly by the progressive demoralisation of European security forces in the future. It will end, as we all know, in circumstances which will cause untold suffering 900 to black and white in Rhodesia. It will lay the whole of Africa North of the Limpopo open to takeover by Marxist forces. It will present a regime unnatural to the character and traditions of black and white in Rhodesia alike. The important point which I leave with your Lordships, and I know is already with you, is that it will place in jeopardy the security interests of the whole of the Western world, the whole of South Africa and the vital maritime routes around the Cape of Good Hope.
I said earlier that this is not a colonial or British responsibility any more. I do not share with noble Lords, like the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, the belief that the appointment of a British Governor General or a single representative supported by a small staff to act as a Governor General is a practical proposition at the present time. The old Colonial Office formulas are no longer relevant. If a division of British troops were air-lifted to Salisbury tomorrow, followed by 100 experienced civil servants who took over the administration, with a couple of dozen senior police inspectors and a team of financial experts, bankers and development advisers, that might do the trick. But that is something which could never happen, and certainly would not be acceptable out there. I can only say that, having some experience of responsibility without power in Rhodesia, I fully support the reluctance which Her Majesty's Government have shown in becoming involved in the Rhodesian situation on a purely unilateral basis.
Let me add that I believe that the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary has been absolutely right to resist the temptation of becoming personally involved in Geneva at this stage of the negotiations. Too many of his predecessors have fallen for the temptation of trying to bring off a great political coup by undertaking personal diplomacy before the ground has been properly prepared. The job of the Secretary of State in those circumstances is to reserve himself either to salvaging failure, if that is possible at the end, or, more happily, to put a seal upon success.
I am not one of those who believe that success in Geneva is impossible. But to achieve it certain things are essential. I 901 believe that the Kissinger shuttle diplomacy was a brilliant example of political opportunism. It was the catalyst which made the Geneva Conference possible. There are black men sitting round a table with white men, the latter of whom have used their power to consign their black colleagues across the table for 10 or more years of the limited span of human life to the indignities of prison, detention and physical and intellectual immobility. I should find it very hard in those circumstances to forgive. That the Africans, Joshua Nkomo, Sitole and Mugabe, and many others, can do so sufficiently to go to Geneva, is something greatly to their credit. I can understand that they are not prepared to accept the Kissinger formula to which they were never parties; but I am encouraged by the fact that they are, even now, prepared to accept it as a basis for negotiation.
I believe that we have to accept changes in it; and I should like to put very briefly one idea which seems to fit in, anyhow with my own thesis, with the circumstances in Southern Africa at the present time. In a recent leading article, the New York Times said:But it was on American initiative that the reluctant British agreed to call the Geneva Conference. It may need a further American effort merely to salvage it".The answer is, "Yes, it will". The Americans succeeded in the 'sixties in undermining British colonial policy which could—and here again I am speaking from personal experience—have prevented the tragic events which have created the present situation. It is in their interests and perhaps as some repayment for activities in the past, and it is certainly in the interests of the vast majority of Africans, that a great Power as well as Britain should be associated with the attempt to find a solution to this problem which affects us all. They should be prepared to become involved in it—to become involved in finding a solution and in all the consequences which attend that.
I suggest that instead of Dr. Kissinger's formula for a Council of State we should consider the possibility of a High Commission—not a High Commissioner—comprising a British representative who shall be chairman, a U.S. representative and one, possibly two, representatives of the Front Line Presidents, who would 902 take the role within the interim period of acting, so to speak, as a Governor Generalship in commission. There are many Africans—there are Africans in Geneva at the present time acting as observers for the Tanzanian and Zambian Governments like Mr. Choua of Zambia and Mr. Salim of Tanzania—who would be well qualified for such a role.
This High Commission would be supported by an internal security mission drawn from the four countries concerned. The High Commission would have the duty of appointing an interim Government, of negotiating a constitutional settlement for the future of Zimbabwe; for controlling security forces and integrating such guerrillas who are prepared to join them in it; for the defence of Rhodesia against incursions from Mozambique and elsewhere; and for preparing during that interim period, be it 12 or 15 months, shorter or longer, for the emergence of an independent Rhodesia. I doubt whether the present Government in Rhodesia—Mr. Smith and his colleagues—can play much part in that interim period. I think that they will be doing a service to their countrymen, black and white, if they find it possible to withdraw from the scene as quickly as possible. I believe that if it were a practical proposition, based not upon the resources of this country, but as an international operation from the West and from Africa, we could provide the security and stability during that interim period which would enable Zimbabwe to start off on a successful basis of peace in the interests of all the races who are going to live there in the future.
§ 1.13 p.m.
§ Lord PITT of HAMPSTEAD
My Lords, I am rather pleased that I undertook to take part in this debate today. In a sense, I am probably sorry that I am speaking so early because I find it difficult to believe that all the speeches that follow mine will be like the speeches that have preceded it. I must apologise to the Minister for having missed his speech and so the noble Marquess for being late for his. I am sorry about that, but I am very pleased, for example, at the tone in which the noble Marquess moved his Amendment and I am grateful to him for that. I am pleased at the way in which, from the two Front Benches opposite, the noble 903 Baroness, Lady Elles, and the noble Lord, Lord Wade, spoke on behalf of their colleagues. I am glad to join in the congratulations to the noble Lord, Lord Brimelow, on his maiden speech and also to thank him for elucidating the point about Clause 2 which I had intended to do in my speech.
I want to underline that point that if this clause is not passed, then in effect the only way the Government can give effect to any decision at Geneva is by a Bill through both Houses of Parliament. Therefore, I hope that every noble Lord making his or her decision as to what attitude should be adopted today will remember that fact. I am also grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Plunket, for his speech. I want to congratulate him on his maiden speech and to say, "Yes, maybe some time before the end of the year". But I hope that he will come here often to tell us about the situation in his part of the world. I understand and sympathise with him and his plight and the plight of the other people living in his area. But, let us face it, what happened is that there was a rebellion by certain people in Rhodesia, a rebellion against the Crown. It is as a consequence of that rebellion that people like the noble Lord, Lord Plunket, now have to suffer.
As the noble Lord, Lord Wade, rightly put it, there were three courses open to the Government of the day. The Government chose to use the gentle pressure of sanctions. I do not know whether sanctions made the rebels change their position. I believe they played a part, but I believe the more important part, of course, has been the collapse of the Portuguese rule and the consequences to them of the sort of governments that have come into power in their Border areas. It is important for all those who care about the Rhodesians, be they white or black, to recognise this point—and I am grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Alport, for making it—that had the Portuguese situation been different and had a different type of government come to power in Mozambique and Angola, the threat to Southern Africa that is now posed would not have been so great.
The same holds good for Rhodesia. If, in fact, as a consequence, the only government that comes into power in Rhodesia, is a government that has been 904 imposed by force, a government that has followed the Frelimo way of conquering bits of the country and, then, establishing a government—because that is what they did—then there is only one type of government that can come to power there. The only people who provide them with arms are people from the Eastern bloc. Therefore, if it is only the Eastern bloc that supports them, when they come to power they will be tied to the Eastern bloc. It is rather sad that we have been taking so long to recognise that, in fact, the threat to Southern Africa comes from this deliberate attempt to impose minority rule on people in that area. You can only impose that minority rule by force and if you are imposing minority rule by force, then sooner or later the majority will take force against you. You have invited it. There is no way out. This is the situation in southern Africa and in Rhodesia.
I am very glad that at long last there is some sign of movement, some sign of recognition that one cannot go on with the minority using the force at its disposal to impose its will on the majority; but I think it worth recognising—and I was grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Alport, for this—that the majority have suffered a great deal from that minority. It is worth remembering that the leaders now sitting round the table are the same people who have been detained without trial by the people who now arc trying to negotiate with them and who are claiming to be the government of the country. Therefore, it is understandable that they are suspicious, it is understandable that they are demanding evidence of good faith and it is understandable that they take up positions aimed at exploring whether or not that good faith is there. Much of that is what is going on at the present time.
I was sorry to see the terms of the Amendment moved by the noble Marquess. When all is said and done, the British Government cannot stop the guerrilla war. There is no question of that. The guerrilla war will be stopped when the people on that side feel that they can afford to stop it. In other words, at this moment the five Front-Line Presidents, and in particular the Presidents of Mozambique and Tanzania, are in the best position to stop the guerrilla war. Therefore, their views on any settlement 905 are of paramount importance and negotiations have to be not only between the whites and the blacks in Rhodesia but between Governments like those of Britain and the United States, together with the five Front-Line Presidents. Referring to the United States, I feel that I should point out that the result of the recent Presidential election means that the black caucus will have more influence than they had before. It also means that the five Front-Line Presidents have an entrée to the influencing of the United States Government and its attitudes.
I hope that the British Government, despite being sensible about the extent of their power and influence, will not be too cautious and will endeavour to bring the other countries of the EEC, plus the United States, with them in endeavouring to produce a peaceful solution which will allow Rhodesia to become like Botswana. In fact, it is not necessary for countries in the area to be ruled either by white minorities only in their interests, or to have black majorities oppressing whatever white interests are there. It is still possible—although admittedly it is late because of what has happened in the last few years—to build a non-racial society in Zimbabwe. I think it is the duty not only of the British Government but of all people of influence and authority within this State to give their every endeavour and to use all the influence they possess to see that that is the outcome—because, my Lords, the alternative does not bear contemplation.
§ 1.23 p.m.
§ The Earl of LINDSEY and ABINGDON
My Lords, the only reason for my intervening in this debate was purely selfish, in that it is almost 11 years since I made my maiden speech in your Lordships' House. That occasion was the first debate we had following the Unilateral Declaration of Independence. Having said that, I should like to follow other noble Lords in congratulating the noble Lords, Lord Brimelow and Lord Plunket, on their excellent maiden speeches. I can assure your Lordships that I shall be very brief, in view of the number of speakers who are to follow, and especially after the long hours that have been worked by your Lordships recently.
906 I also had the opportunity of taking part in a debate in 1966, when Her Majesty's Government were seeking the introduction of mandatory sanctions, as laid down by the United Nations. The Resolution was rejected by your Lordships by 100 to 84 votes. I was one of the 100 who voted against the introduction of mandatory sanctions at that time, because I did not believe sanctions would work and also I thought that we were, at the same time, relinquishing our sole responsibility towards Rhodesia. Since then I have kept quiet on this subject; but here we are again, 10 years later, being asked to renew this annual ritual.
On the occasion of the 1965 debate, I supported one suggestion that was put forward by Her Majesty's Government and which was later echoed by the noble Lord, Lord Royle, by which it was proposed to set up a high frequency radio station in Bechuanaland—which is now Botswana—to inform both black and white Rhodesians of the facts as seen from the outside world. The idea, if it had been used in a more forceful way, could have broken the censorship which was imposed by the Smith regime and which has left many white people no wiser as to the real facts facing them at this time.
The only effect sanctions have had up to now has been to harden white Rhodesian resolve to see them through not only for weeks and months, as was suggested at the time, but for years, to the benefit of our main trading competitors. In my opinion, a final settlement will not reverse this situation: there will be yet another lost market in the name of political expediency.
How far have we come from that original document: Proposals for Settlement, 1966? There are two recent political facts that have changed the course of events; namely, an independent Mozambique and the attitude of South Africa. Until these two changes emerged, we did not hold the trump card. In addition, one other point has helped to harden moderate views against the Smith regime, and that was the introduction of the 1970 Land Tenure Act. By means of that Act, the country was virtually cut in half with one half of the land distributed among 5 per cent. of the population.
Having said all that, I regret that I cannot support the Amendment proposed 907 by my noble friend Lord Salisbury, because at last, from the information I have been given by white moderates in Rhodesia, it seems that sanctions are beginning to hurt. That is because of what is happening in South Africa and Mozambique. However, the latter country must not be taken as an ally of this country. On the contrary the attitude of that country's Government is extremely hostile to any form of negotiated settlement for Rhodesia. Therefore I certainly agree with my noble friend that all further aid to Mozambique should be withdrawn forthwith so that they, together with others, are not in a position of being able to dictate to Her Majesty's Government the date for independence for a country which they and their supporters will tear apart. They will make the Matabele wars of the past look like a tea-party.
Having said that, my Lords, I support the renewal of this order for the first time, because it is essential that Her Majesty's Government should have the opportunity to keep the upper hand in the current negotiations at Geneva.
§ 1.29 p.m.
§ Lord BROCKWAY
My Lords, I should like to associate myself with previous speakers in extending congratulations to the two Members of your Lordships' House who have just delivered maiden speeches. I found both speakers not merely confident and assured, but in addition they gave to this House ideas and proposals which are very important in this debate. I hope that both of them will be contributing to future debates in this House. I was very interested in the decision of the noble Earl, Lord Lindsey and Abingdon, who preceded me, that he would be voting for the maintenance of this order, despite his earlier opposition. If I- may say so, I think that that indicates in him an extraordinary tolerance and openness of mind, which I feel all of us must have when we are approaching this subject.
I am desperately anxious that the Geneva Conference shall succeed. Perhaps one of the greatest dangers in the world today is a racial war all over Southern Africa, which will net only include Rhodesia but extend to Namibia and the South. The success of the Geneva 908 Conference may end that fear in Rhodesia, but it will also give some promise of removing that fear from the rest of Southern Africa. I want today, if I can, to be helpful in bringing about the success of the Geneva Conference. I do not think any appeal that I made to Mr. Smith would have any effect, but I should like to make suggestions to Her Majesty's Government and also the African nationalist leaders, many of whom are my friends over long years, to try to overcome the difficulties that have arisen at Geneva.
Whatever views we may take of the sincerity of Mr. Ian Smith—and I am not going to repeat the doubts which have been expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Alport—we have to recognise that the main decision in the present discussions is that of Mr. Smith to accept majority rule within two years. It is an absolutely revolutionary decision by him. Only a few months ago, he was saying "No majority rule for the period of my life". It is that declaration, whatever the sincerity behind it, which has changed the whole situation in regard to Rhodesia.
I want, first, to make this appeal both to the Government and to my nationalist friends who are in Geneva. I hope that the Conference will not break down on the issue as to whether there is to be majority rule in 12 months, or 15 months or even 23 months as proposed by Mr. Smith. For 11 years, the illegal Government of Rhodesia has existed. From the beginning of this century Europeans have occupied Rhodesia, and in the background of that history what do three months matter for the achievement of majority rule? But I can understand the impatience of the Africans. I suggest to the Government that a solution of that problem might be found by saying that the target aimed at should be within 12 months, but with recognition of the fact that, in practice, as negotiations go on for majority rule in Rhodesia, some extra time may be necessary. I hope that both the Government and the nationalist leaders at Geneva will accept a compromise of that kind.
The second suggestion which I should like to make—and it is more to our Government than to the nationalist leaders—is that they realise how deep has been the disappointment that our Government 909 have not sent a Minister to Geneva. I am not critical of Mr. Richard. I have great faith in his ability and his attitude. But I think we have now to appreciate that the Conference at Geneva is as important for the future of the world, as a conference which might be held about any area. Its failure or success will determine whether there is to be civil racial war in Southern Africa. May I suggest this to the Government to consider? If there is any danger of a failure at Geneva, the Foreign Secretary or the Prime Minister should go there and should make a personal appeal for a settlement of the problem; and, certainly, if there is success then the Foreign Secretary or the Prime Minister should go there to sign the ultimate agreement which is reached. This psychological point is more important than many of us recognise.
I want to turn, thirdly, to the point which the noble Lord, Lord Alport, made, in that very remarkable speech which has so lifted this debate, of British responsibility. Eleven years ago, British responsibility in Rhodesia was absolute. I always took the view that if we had intervened actively at that point UDI would never have been maintained. But we are now in a new situation. Rhodesia is not only a British responsibility. There has been American intervention, there have been the decisions of the United Nations and, above all, there is the concern of the surrounding African countries. Zambia has probably suffered more from the conflict with the illegal regime in Rhodesia than any other territory. It is intimately concerned.
The five Front-Line African representatives are now deeply involved. Three of them are my very close personal friends. For 30 years, I have been associated with them in their struggle—Nyerere of Tanzania, Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia and Seretse Khania from the day he was wrongly exiled in this country. I make this appeal to them to co-operate in the fullest possible way by every kind of influence and pressure they can exert upon the nationalist leaders of the Geneva Conference to secure a settlement which will not mean the bloody war in Southern Africa which failure might bring. I know these three men. They are not men who want war. I believe that if they can exert their influence upon the nationalist leaders they will contribute greatly towards success.
910 I am not going to enter into other details of the difficulties at Geneva, except to say this. The noble Lord, Lord Alport, suggested that there might be a high commission rather than the state council which is proposed. That might be a good idea, except that the United Nations itself should be directly represented on it, rather than a particular Government. Whether it is a high commission or a council of state, the membership must give confidence to the African people. The present proposal of Mr. Kissinger, of a white chairman, a white Minister for defence and a white Minister for law and order, will never be accepted by the African representatives.
My Lords, I am going to make this suggestion. I can think of two members of this House, one on this side of the House and one on the other side of the House, who might quite easily be acceptable to the African nationalists as chairman of a high commission or of the proposed council. I can think of a distinguished figure who is not now either in another place or in this House who might serve in that way. When considering Ministers for defence and for law and order, I can think of a European in Rhodesia who would be acceptable to Africans for that post. Therefore, I hope that as we approach that problem we may be able to find a solution upon those lines.
I want to conclude by saying something which is fundamental and I believe to be behind the whole of our discussion. What is our priority? Is it racial equality in Southern Africa, or is our policy to be determined by the fear of communism? If we do not stand with the utmost firmness and resolution for racial equality in Southern Africa, for the right of the African people to govern themselves, we shall play straight into the hands of the communist countries. By our fear of communism, if it means any modification of our effort for racial equality, we shall be handing over Southern Africa to the communists. The other thing that should be said is that we have to face the fact, in the present development of the world, that the newly independent States of Southern Africa will not be capitalist States. They will reject capitalism and the control over their economy of the great multinational companies. They will establish their own form of socialism but it will be an African socialism. It 911 will not be a Soviet socialism: it may approximate more to Chinese communism.
§ Baroness ELLES
My Lords, will the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, allow me to intervene? While accepting his prognosis of what might happen in Africa, would he not admit that these countries will need European capital to enable them to remain socialist?
§ Lord BROCKWAY
I will tell your Lordships why. I regard Tanzania as the most hopeful development in the whole of Africa, and Tanzania is building a socialism from itself, in the villages, on its own wealth, rather than by depending on capitalist investment from abroad. I think that Tanzania may prove easily to be the guide for the future of independent African countries, rather than those which are dependent upon western finance.
My Lords, we must realise that if these African countries gain their independence, they will reject capitalism, but it will be a form of socialism which will be African. They are terribly sensitive to being unaligned, and not being dependent upon countries outside. When we are tempted to modify our advocacy of racial equality in South Africa because of the fear of communism, we should appreciate that our fear of communism may actually mean that communist countries have greater influence. My Lords, I hope very much that the Amendment proposed will be defeated.
§ 1.48 p.m.
§ Lord GRIDLEY
My Lords, it gives me pleasure to rise and follow the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. I was extremely impressed by his reference to the influence that he might have with the black nationalist leaders who are taking part in the Conference at Geneva at the moment. If the noble Lord is able to persuade them to deal in a statesmanlike way with the problems which face Rhodesia at the moment, it will be an effort which will be well worth while.
On the question of whether there should be a handover to an independent Govern- 912 ment within two years, all of my experience leads me to think that this is the minimum period in which it would be acceptable for a handover to take place, in which some form of sure peace would be established for the peoples of Rhodesia. On that, I can only base the experience of my life, which has been involved in the handover of the British administration to independent governments. This is always a crucial issue in any settlement which one may hope to get. I hope sincerely that the black nationalist leaders will realise that and perhaps President Kenneth Kaunda, who is a statesman in these problems, will use his influence to bear, because I think that the period for that handover is very short indeed.
The noble Lord made one further point. He felt that the Africans would never accept anybody but one of their own nationality to be responsible for law and order. Would the noble Lord, when he takes it up, use what influence he possesses with the nationalists at Geneva in impressing upon them that one of the great difficulties at this time in coming to some form of satisfactory solution of this problem is the fact that we have guerrilla war taking place on the borders of Rhodesia. Surely, therefore, as night follows day, when peace comes and an interim Government is established it will be vitally important to maintain law and order. If law and order are not maintained, old scores will be played off against both the blacks who have helped Mr. Smith's security forces and the whites. It distresses me that the negotiations should be taking place against the background of guerrilla activity which extends along the borders of Rhodesia. If the noble Lord can bring his influence to bear on the nationalist leaders and be helpful to the Conference in that way, I am sure he will do a great service to us all.
I hope sincerely that the noble Marquess will not divide the House on his Motion. While I sympathise with many of the points which he has raised, there are many others with which I disagree. 1 am reassured (if I quote him correctly) that the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, has said that should the opportunity present itself, Her Majesty's Government will use their best endeavours during these negotiations to try to persuade the black leaders to secure the cessation of guerrilla activity. It reinforces the point which I 913 made earlier in my speech. I should be grateful to the noble Lord if that could be done because we are faced with an extremely serious situation. All the speeches so far in this debate to which I have listened have been made in a very statesmanlike and constructive manner, and I hope that they will continue in that manner to the end.
The noble Lord, Lord GoronwyRoberts, referred to the fact that the black Nationalist leaders had expressed the wish that many of the white Europeans would stay on when majority rule was established and help to secure a peaceful transition to a successful and peaceful form of Government. This wish reinforces my argument about the cessation of guerrilla activity because if anything at this moment disturbs the people of Rhodesia, whites and blacks alike, it is the prospect of what they may face when peace comes to Rhodesia. They wonder whether they will be wiped out or whether they will be penalised for what they have done. They wonder what kind of a condition Rhodesia would be in if law and order were to break down while this guerrilla activity continues. All these aspects of the problem face us in our deliberations.
It is quite inevitable as lands and countries are brought ever nearer to each other by speedy transport and by every other conceivable manner in which we associate ourselves with one another, that there have to be independent Governments. People have to be responsible for the wellbeing of the countries in which they live. As the noble Lord, Lord Pitt of Hampstead, said—and I echo his words—it is impossible to keep down minorities. A minority imposing its will on a majority is impossible in the present circumstances. The world is becoming better educated and people must clearly be made responsible for their own affairs. I hope and pray that the transitional period will be peaceful and that the whites of Rhodesia will play their part, in association with the blacks, in establishing a peaceful form of Government. Therefore, I am sure that none of us will say anything today that will prejudice the Geneva negotiations.
§ 1.55 p.m.
§ Lord DAVIES of LEEK
My Lords, it is a pleasure to follow the noble Lord, 914 Lord Gridley, because I know the sincerity of his interest in the problem. However, I find that a first-class lesson on the value of a bicameral system of government and a first-class lesson to people who write uninformed articles in the Press is that, after strenuous weeks in this House, with all the differences of opinion, some of them legitimately political, it has been magnificent to listen to the constructive speeches that have been made today. There could not have been better information than that which we have had the privilege of listening to in this debate.
I will try not to take too long. I have changed my approach to the speeches. May I, with respect, say to the noble Marquess that, having looked at the semantics of his Amendment I feel I must pay a tribute to the constructive way in which the Amendment, although it is politically and diametrically opposed to my views, has been introduced. However, may I quote the speech of Mr. Ian Smith himself on the night of 24th/25th September from which the noble Baroness opposite has also quoted. I have at different times met Mr. Smith and spoken to him for a number of hours. The colloquial phrase that he used, which was shot through with reality, was that you cannot stop terrorism at the drop of a hat. He used that phrase in his broadcast speech in September. Mr. Smith knows that while these negotiations are going on neither we nor the United Nations have the power to prevent the guerrilla activity. Contrary to military opinion, if we want to stop the guerrilla activity it can be stopped only by demonstrating the 100 per cent. sincerity of our efforts to make a success of the Geneva Conference.
May I also thank my noble friend Lord Brimelow for the delightful, lucid speech which he devoted to Section 2 and pay tribute to the constructive and helpful manner in which it was made. I hope sincerely that we in this House will have the pleasure many times of listening to the noble Lord. I have to confess that before today "Plunket" was, to me, a set of letters on a sheet of paper; but having listened to somebody who made a special journey from this area of the world to make his speech I feel that I must say to him that it was one of the greatest contributions to all the debates that I have ever heard on the Rhodesian problem. I notice that the noble Lord, 915 Lord Plunket, is not in his place, but I am very grateful to him, and his speech will help me to make better analyses and assessments of the Rhodesian problem in the weeks which lie ahead. The speech of the noble Lord, Lord Alport, and of many others have also been of inestimable value.
With that introduction, may I speak of the unique position since 1889 when this area of land belonged to the South African Company. The position since then, with which the noble Lord's family throughout that period has had close contact, is that the British Government never at any period had power inside Rhodesia in the sense that we had power in other colonies. Looking at the time that has passed, I see that there are two principles now which stand out. First, no minority, whatever part of the world it is living in, is entitled to dictate to the majority. Do we accept that? Therefore I think Britain—or better still I should say the United Nations and Ivor Richard, to whom t should like to pay a tribute for getting the discussion off the ground—must endeavour all the time to maintain the debate upon these principles: first, that no minority is entitled to dictate to a majority and, secondly, the real challenge to Mr. Smith in black Africa is neither Cuba nor Russia nor China. The real immediate challenge is on the doorstep and it is the issue of the principle of race and the position of 4,080,000 black people to 240,000 white people. Probably 80 per cent.—it may be more—of the Rhodesian white people see this and want to find a modus operandi for working together in the transition period.
The Six Principles cannot be dropped because if we drop them the logic and the philosophy of them will be there. The first principle of majority rule is enshrined in the 1961 Constitution that we established and it must be maintained. We have to maintain, too, despite the speeches that have been made, any regressive amendments to the Constitution or to any Geneva agreements which are now established. If there is any regressive amendment of guarantees to the black people then there is no hope of the Geneva Conference succeeding. The immediate third principle that we established years ago was for the improvement immediately of the political status of the black Africans. 916 One cannot immediately improve black African economic status but one can improve the political status, as we have seen in this country in the struggle which has been going on for hundreds of years from pre-Chartist and Chartist days. You can improve the political status by—never mind pouring scorn on it—the magic of the vote and giving the opportunity to more people to have a say in their Government. That is the only way in which we can make progress towards ending racial discrimination.
Whatever we say we cannot hide the fact that sections of the Rhodesian Front have entirely different ideas from Dr. Kissinger and from the British Government. The Rhodesians see the expression"one man, one vote"as a qualified franchise, qualified by property, qualified by education, qualified by status and qualified by chieftainhood. I do not want to get into deep water over that. It may be that when we have found a formula the vote may need certain qualifications in its use. We must bear in mind that in this precious treasure of the vote it is very difficult to operate right away a formula in which we can give the sovereignty of Parliament to the people, because in the last analysis the sovereignty of Parliament means the sovereignty of the people.
When Mr. Smith was talking to Dr. Kissinger—and I quote his exact words—Smith saidMajority rule for us is well shod and one man, one vote".No matter how we talk we have to remember that that was at the back of Mr. Smith's mind on the day of the agreement on accepting the Kissinger formula. How do we get over that? Worse still was the Foreign Minister, who has already been quoted. Mr. P. K. van der Byl, who echoed Mr. Smith but more deeply when he said,I categorically appeal, one man, one vote".They said that but I think it may have been said in the heat of the moment, because we all say these things when we see that the facts of history and the logic of our existence changes some of our in-bred ideas. Consequently I must make allowances for those things because of the regime, because of the pressures of the world in which we live. The regime of the National Front is obviously coming to its end.
917 What kind of atmosphere do we hope to create at the Geneva Conference? I hope that the report of this debate will be read in Geneva and it will show the sincerity of the efforts of this House to give an honest and fair chance for the Geneva Conference to be a success. Consequently, while of course I have no power in this sense, I sincerely hope that the noble Marquess who moved this Amendment in such a constructive way—and I will use that phrase—will not press this House to yet another Division this week and will allow the Geneva Conference a chance for something to come out of it. It may be that we can have an emergency debate later, when the noble Marquess may look at the position from a different point of view.
I do not want to go into this in too great depth in case I create a prejudice. 1 had the privilege of being on the"Fearless"and I. know the work of the noble Lord, Lord Greenhill of Harrow, who has taken part in all these discussions and who went on a special mission. I will not quote that mission, although I have quite a lot of material about it. At that time I found that, despite our talks and despite the fact that we reached agreement at, say, 8 o'clock at night on the"Fearless"and then talked for a few hours, later in the morning there was a change of opinion. I put that change of opinion down to the fact that in the meantime there had been contact with the National Front back home in Rhodesia and Mr. Smith may not have been completely his own master in those negotiations. I believe him to be his own master now, because I believe he is stronger than he was before, despite sanctions, stronger, perhaps not in the material sense but stronger in the leadership that he gives to the National Front. Consequently, he has more power to help the Geneva Conference to be a success if he thinks we can get a transition that will come somewhere near a constructive approach to the Six Principles.
We must not forget the points of view put forward by the Prime Minister of Great Britain, Mr. Callaghan. Why did the Rhodesia National Front accept these proposals? Because already there are £60 million worth of exports in the pipeline and there is only—and I still maintain this —19 to 20 days supply of oil in Rhodesia at present, or at least when the talks began. 918 Contrary to what a good many people say, in the real things—not merely simple consumer goods—sanctions are having effect. We must remember that under Dr. Kissinger's agreement it appears that the Rhodesian Parliament would not be dissolved but would go into recess. I do not know whether that position can be held but it is certainly being discussed at Geneva.
I want to ask a question. There may be intensive recruitment for a National Front army, while this is going on. Of course I hope I am wrong, but if I am right then I think it will be a blot on the escutcheon of the Geneva Conference. Consequently I hope there will not be that intensification. I was interested to hear the noble Lord, Lord Alport, refer to the Portuguese Revolution.
Lord PAGET of NORTHAMPTON
My Lords, would the noble Lord permit me to interrupt him? Will he bear in mind what Mr. Mugabe said? He said,"I see no future in the Geneva Conference. The war will go on and, as it goes on, it assumes a definite basis of intensification. The enemy must be completely surrounded".
§ Lord DAVIES of LEEK
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Paget of Northampton, will have time to make his own particular speech with his own idiosyncrasy and colouring. I have already said—and it is no information to anyone—that the war will go on and we have no military power to stop it.
§ Lord DAVIES of LEEK
My Lords, will the noble Lord just contain himself? I will quote Peter Jenkins in the Guardian on 5th March, 1976. This is the answer. Mr. Jenkins recalled the agony of powerlessness in the face of tragic slaughter that is now facing Britain. Would the noble Lord withdraw 55,000 troops from Germany? Would he line up a military tactic? We are getting into deep water that we do not want to touch. We do not want to get ourselves involved in that kind of antediluvian troglodyte approach to international affairs in the days of nuclear bombs.
919 Finally, the noble Lord, Lord Greenhill of Harrow, made a point about sanctions. After his visit, the noble Lord brought back from Rhodesia basic information. The noble Lord was informed; he has been responsible for giving information, valuable directions and help to my Government when we were dealing with this problem. The noble Lord's report pointed out that while not suggesting that Mr. Smith was prepared to accept everything put forward at the time, he was on the verge of looking into the possibilities of some system of majority rule. The noble Lord will correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the noble Lord agreed that Mr. Smith is no longer gripped by the fantasy—and I think these were the exact words—that Rhodesia could go it alone and stand out alone. In other words, on all sides now there is a new approach. I hope that today we shall not destroy the possibilities of that approach. My Lords, I have taken far too long, and I know that 99 per cent. of most of what can he said on this matter has been said in the debate. I just want to say that I consider this debate as being of inestimable value and one which will contribute to the spirit of the Geneva Conference. Therefore I hope we can give more power to Mr. Ivor Richard and that, for this day at least, we shall have no Division. I hope we shall let time, chance and discussion have an opportunity at Geneva.
§ 2.14 p.m.
§ Lord BARNBY
My Lords, in following the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Leek, and in the pursuit of brevity which is urged upon us, I hope the noble Lord will he indulgent with me if I fail to follow some of his views. There are two main problems under discussion—sanctions and continuing warfare. In the interests of consistency, personally I have opposed sanctions from the first. Therefore, there is regret that in this turgid promenade of annual recurrence in the urging of a sordid and immoral order, we should be called upon now to repeat it. I opposed it in the first instance because of Government service in commercial warfare in part of both the First and Second World Wars. I never believed in sanctions. I never believed they would succeed.
The Foreign Office advised Mr. Wilson in the first place that sanctions would be successful in a few weeks. We are still 920 here today, urging their repetition. Therefore, I find myself in some difficulty, and in a conflict of conscience, whatever may be the fate of the Motion that we are discussing. On the first I have expressed myself about sanctions. On the second, on the grounds of reading history and of personal observation, I cannot but think that the attempt at negotiation of the settlement of a dispute should not carry with it an armistice in warfare, military and economic. I am puzzled.
My Lords, I think there is great perplexity and variance of opinion on the question of haste or delay in the aim of completion of that fundamental point which has been agreed to; that is, that there shall be majority rule in Rhodesia within two years. After all, what is majority rule but black rule? Regard all the other countries in Africa which have majority rule after independence. What is black rule?— a minority clique who have control of the whole organisation. It is for that reason that I have doubts about what haste would bring about. I am convinced that if there was a Marxist State in Rhodesia—Mr. Mugabe has said that he is in favour of it, and he is a negotiator — there would inevitably be violence between the Matabele and the Mashona. If it is for a long period, Rhodesia is a highly developed industrial State with a strong army, which differs from every other State in Southern Africa to which independence has been given. How long would it take to substitute industrial management from an untrained black source?
There is another feature, as many other-noble Lords who know Rhodesia well, like myself, will know. What is one of the dominant factors in life? It is intimidation. There is no getting away from it. What would be the face of the Army, the police, the Civil Service—Africans who have been loyal to the present Administration? We know what has happened. We can take Angola, Mozambique, Somalia and other places in Africa well known to your Lordships. This is not a situation of black versus white. This is Communism against non-Communism, and quite candidly I am among those who fear. The great anxiety is of Russian influence and effect. Look at the power of Russia, and the development of it. Throughout the world her presence is getting more continuous. Only the other 921 day in the Palace of Westminster we had an address from the head of NATO. What did he tell us?—devasting fear about the superiority of Russia's position, both in armaments and in general influence. So I feel that above all there is the danger of a Marxist State, and too hasty an attempt at change of Government.
I am among those who, going about in Africa, believe that Rhodesia has as good treatment for the African as elsewhere in Africa, particularly in agricultural development, as I have said before. Who has been paying for all this swanning about the world of African leaders? They certainly have not got an organised arrangement on a constitutional basis for raising money. The probability is that it is the Russians, paying both for travel and for armaments and warfare. When the piper calls the tune, who pays the cost? So it is that I have great fear about the danger now.
Much has been made of the danger, if we should fail to continue sanctions, of a rupture of international obligations. Look through our history. Have we never gone against what has been believed an international obligation? Why not go boldly with the conviction of the rightness of our line, say to the United Nations: "We have done our part; most others have not done theirs. We are going to call it off ". The Government admit that they have responsibility for Rhodesia as a colonial territory. Are they going to forget that? Surely that gives us authority. Having asked for sanctions in the first place, we can show our intention of bringing this about. The thought is that this may make for great danger in the Conference at Geneva. We all sit here today fully conscious of the delicacy of the situation, the responsibility to avoid doing anything that may imperil it. But I believe it is merely a question of emotion at Geneva. What is the haste? What is 18 months in the life of a nation, for goodness sake? That is not negotiation when the negotiators refuse to proceed with an agenda, insisting on decision about the first point on it. That is not commendable negotiation.
My Lords, there is great concern throughout Africa on the question of blacks versus whites. I conclude, with the indulgence of the House, by reading an extract from the address of Prime Minister 922 Mantazima of the Transkei at the October celebrations. Your Lordships may not have heard it, and with your indulgence I read it:Revolution is a concept relatively easy to sell to those who have nothing to lose. Because of this it has proved appealing to an alarming extent in the Third World. The vast disparity between the material welfare of the whites and the blacks all through Africa has afforded Marxists all the evidence they wanted to convince backward people that they have but to take up arms and kill the white man or drive him away to take over his prosperous farms, industries and established way of life. Then their troubles would be over".I interrupt to say that he referred to his own position:We Transkeians are not an ignorant people and have never fallen for this nonsense.
§ 2.25 p.m.
My Lords, it is impossible not to follow with deep attention the interventions of Lord Barnby in your Lordships' House, who is greatly loved by very many Members of this House on whatever side, and I hope he will forgive me if I take his excuse on grounds of brevity, even though I might have other reasons, for not following him closely in what he has just said to your Lordships.
My Lords, as Lord Gridley has suggested to us, we are today debating a very serious matter. The seriousness of this matter is evidenced by the long list of speakers and by the very high quality of the speeches to which we have been listening, and among them, like other speakers in your Lordships debate, I should like to pay great tribute to the two maiden speakers, to Lord Brimelow, with the strict, disciplined relevance of everything he had to say to your Lordships, and to Lord Plunket, with the great authority and the great sincerity of his speech, coming straight from the heart, possessing, as he does, a range and a depth of knowledge of his own country which I cannot claim to possess.
I think I share with the noble Lord, Lord Davies of Leek, a sense of some relief, despite the seriousness of the occasion, at being able today to be in a debate, even to the extent of making a speech, which enables us to depart, albeit briefly, from our deep domestic divisions, even if it is to consider our duty and our policy in another very 923 troubled part of the world. I recall speaking in your Lordships' House in that great two-day debate in mid-June 1968, when I had the honour to follow and the difficult task of following the father of the noble Marquess who has put down his Amendment to the principal Motion. That was the time when this Order first came before your Lordships' House. It was one of those historic occasions when, whatever the shortcomings of this House, the House of Lords was at its best. The voting was 193 Not-Contents and 184 Contents; that is to say, nine votes divided a very crowded House and showed how very narrowly we were divided and how deeply we were then concerned, with, I think I remember, quite a number of Conservatives, who were at that time also the Opposition, the Liberal Peers and a great many Cross-Benchers voting with the Government. The result on that occasion the Not-Contents had it—was that that Order was sent back to this House by the Commons and was only approved on that second occasion.
All that, of course, is history, and I mention it to your Lordships at this moment only to make the point that since that memorable occasion, on numerous subsequent occasions—is it seven, eight or nine?—this Order has been laid before your Lordships' House again and reaffirmed without a Division. The essential question today is whether on this occasion, as on that first occasion, we are again going to divide. I make no secret of my feeling, which many speakers have expressed before, that I hope we shall not divide today.
My Lords, we could say a great deal about sanctions. Reference has been made to the generality of sanctions. We could argue, as the noble Lord, Lord Barnby, has, about the morality of sanctions. We can point out the inconsistency and some would call it humbug of imposing sanctions on one State on the grounds of the social injustices in that State while not imposing them on other States whose social injustices are at least as great. We can argue about the effectiveness of sanctions. We can rightly point out, in respect of Rhodesia, that they have not prevented Rhodesia from becoming a threat to world peace, as we see at this moment. We can point to other countries 924 which voted for sanctions in the Security Council and other members of the United Nations which have failed to comply with the sanctions ordered by the United Nations. I agree with a good deal of what has been said in the contrary sense about the value and the propriety of sanctions, but all that, in my submission, is beside the point in this debate.
What we can do is to argue, and we should so argue, about the psychology of maintaining, or lifting, our own British sanctions against Rhodesia at this particular time. The psychology on the participating leaders in Geneva; the psychology on the leaders of Rhodesia's African neighbours; the psychology on opinion in Africa generally, and indeed on world opinion. This is a question that is relevant. It is not a question of what is morally or legally right, but on that plane it is highly relevant, and to lift them—and I agree with everyone else who has spoken in this sense—at this point of time would be disastrous. It would bring the Geneva Conference to an immediate halt. It would step up the intensity of the guerrilla war, and there would be wider repercussions in Africa.
The fundamental point remains today what it was in 1968: whether, on this, what 1 believe to be the ninth occasion, that this order has come before your Lordships' House, the British Parliament should deviate and depart from the consistency which it has maintained all through these years in abiding by a resolution made by the United Nations, by breaking faith and abandoning an international obligation now. Now, my Lords; not in a few weeks' or a few months' time when, hopefully, agreement may have been reached from the Geneva talks and an interim Government set up, but immediately now.
We are living in a world and living in a time when I, for one, am very uncertain about a number of things. Some of them which pose questions of what is prudent; others of what is relevant and what is expedient; and others again of what is morally right. I have never felt more sure about what is right on both counts than on this occasion about this issue. Unlike a number of domestic issues during the past few weeks when I have agreed to disagree with the Government, I totally agree with the principal Motion before your Lordships' House today.
§ 2.33 p.m.
My Lords, I think it is an honour to be able to take part in this debate, although I am rather nervous in view of there being so many experts speaking today. I was pleased to hear the noble Lord, Lord GoronwyRoberts, confirm what I heard on the radio this morning, that this Conference is making some progress. We wish Mr. Ivor Richard every success. He has an extremely difficult task. But I should like to suggest to the noble Lord that perhaps he might be able to go out there to have some informal talks, as we heard the noble Lord, Lord Plunket, suggest. The noble Lord is not here, but I should like to place on record my appreciation of his speech. There are many important and distinguished people out there, and, as Africans appreciate, being presidents themselves, meeting chiefs, to send a chief from this House, if I may put it that way, will show our interest and sympathy in what is going on and might be helpful.
My reason for taking part in this debate is that I was for many years chairman of the East and Central Africa Committee of the Conservative Party in the other House, and also as early as 1951 I went out to East and Central Africa to start work on behalf of the blind. Therefore, I have kept in contact with the States. I went to Rhodesia at that time, mostly to learn about it and not to start it because it was already started; but I had an opportunity to see people of all races when they were in England, to help with their training and also to have them stay with me many times.
May I pay tribute to Mr. Macmillan. I think that he was the first person to realise what was happening when he made his "wind of change" speech. If we had all paid slightly more attention to that speech things might not have been so difficult today. I should also like to pay tribute to Mr. Garfield Todd, to Lord Malvern, who, as Sir Godfrey Huggins, I suppose, when he was a doctor, brought more black and white babies into the world than any other Prime Minister, and also to Sir Roy Welensky, and finally I should like to mention Mr. Ian Smith. Whatever you may think of his political views, he has lived up to his traditions and kept his country peaceful over all these years.
926 I hope that the very many distinguished Africans at the Conference will consider —and this is very important—that Mr. Ian Smith was truthful and sincere in his contribution to the six points in his declaration of 24th September. This was approved, as I understand it, by Mr. Vorster and Dr. Kissinger, who both assured him, 1 understand, (and perhaps the noble Lord will tell me if I am wrong) that they were acceptable to the five Front-Line Presidents. I also believe that the present Government gave—and I think Mr. Smith believes this—Dr. Kissinger carte blanche and real authority to negotiate. As we all know, we have had the Presidential elections, and I do not know—and should like to be informed —whether Dr. Kissinger is going to be allowed to carry on, or who may be appointed in his place. I agree with the previous speaker that we still need outside influence and outside powers to help us, and of course America has been very helpful in the past.
I also recognise, as has been recognised by other noble Lords today, that since 1923 Rhodesia has been independent, and we have had no real jurisdiction over her since 1965. One of the unfortunate mistakes in the past has been that the black upper middle class—the group which could have been a force for progressive moderation—have in the past 11 years suffered from frustration, and have therefore become apathetic, suspicious and resentful. I should like to refer to a letter which was written by Lord Home when he was Foreign Secretary, and appears in his book. He said:Anyone can give a country independence without worrying about the result; but if the aim is to launch a nation in which there is law and order, tolerance and justice, a nation which is capable of surviving economically and conducting its foreign relations according to the code of the good neighbour, it all becomes much more complicated. I confess I am not satisfied that freedom is everything and the rest nothing. If, therefore, we are to fulfil our trust to these people, we must try to give them independence where they have a chance, at any rate, of making it work to their profit and credit.That is a very wise letter. I think that if the people I have mentioned just now, the Africans of the middle class and particularly the upper middle class—and some of them are quite wealthy in their own right—had supported Lord Home, the Pearce Commission might have been successful. But regrettably the 927 opportunity for giving a truly multiracial society was lost at that moment.
This is perhaps a final chance for Rhodesia, because I think it is also a marvellous opportunity for the future of Zimbabwe to lead the whole of Africa in regard to managing their own country, and to running in future a multiracial country which can flourish and provide a friendly atmosphere. I am saying this because, as some noble Lords may know, I was in Malaysia for many years, and in Malaysia they waited a number of years. They had a multiracial society and they also had guerrilla warfare. They were very patient and they waited a number of years until they found it was safe enough to be granted independence. They did it in a gradual way, making the 11 States independent within themselves first, before they had federation. I am suggesting that this might he a good subject to be studied by the Africans now.
I hope that all concerned will realise that this is likely to be the last chance of getting a peaceful settlement without interference. I do not believe that the people there want to exchange their present way of life for a different way of life and, in this connection, I quote from Karl Marx in the New York Tribune in 1853:Russia may seem deeply and obstinately attached to certain fixed ideas; but, as soon as the other powers resist in a determined and united way, they find that Russia accepts a modest retreat.I do not know whether that is quite so true in this day and age as it was in 1853, but I think there is substance in that remark which might be considered at the Conference; in other words, they should all get together and resist what I am sure none of them wants, and that is a different type of regime, or a Marxist type of regime, in their country.
We must remember that on the Borders are 7,000 to 10,000 Soviet-trained guerrillas and that of the 47 other Members of the OAU, very few have a real democracy. Since 1965 there have been 98 coup d'etat or attempts at coup d'etat in the various African countries and I suggest that the Rhodesians want to avoid that. Regrettably, there is a top expert in Lusaka of the Soviets, an ambassador whose name is Vasile Solodovni Kov, and one realises that he is not there just as an onlooker. 928 Although one does not want to make too much of this, it is essential that those at the Conference realise that this may be their last chance to have a united Rhodesia or Zimbabwe and that they have an opportunity to take part in achieving that.
I conclude, my Lords, with a little poem or saying that is to be found over the porch at the entrance to the Cathedral of St. Mary and All Saints in Salisbury:When I was a child I laughed and wept,Time crept;When I was a youth I dreamed and talked,Time walked;When I became a full grown man,Time ran;And later when I older grew,Time flew;Soon I shall find when travelling on,Time gone".Below it are the words:May Christ have saved my soul by then, Amen".There is today a chance for everybody in Rhodesia to save themselves if they get together and work for the future of their country. I hope that this debate will be of help to them by showing that we take a real interest in their welfare and that we are looking forward, perhaps in the New Year, to finding in Africa something really worth while that other States will wish to copy.
§ 2.44 p.m.
Lord PAGET of NORTHAMPTON
My Lords, this debate has been decorated by two notable maiden speeches and although, for reasons I shall give, I did not agree with them, I am sure that I speak for all noble Lords when I say that we admired not only the speeches but that we admired and liked the men.
I speak as an unrepentant Imperialist. I believe that the British Empire served mankind well and that its premature demise has been a human tragedy. I remember telling myself when this terrible rift with Rhodesia happened that Rhodesians had come across the world, with a unanimity which was as gallant as it was unselfish, to help us in times of trouble, and I wish to see that rift breached. When UDI was declared there seemed difficulty of communication and Sir Godfrey Nicolson and I went to Salisbury with the hope of being able to open communications and find some policy that could bring us together.
929 Certainly at that time nobody on any side was thinking of majority rule in terms of one man one vote, which, in Africa, means one man votes once and then there is a Fascist State. No African Government has ever lost an election. In Africa, we find as a result of this one man one vote system, racial States, one Party States or military dictatorships with opposition unlawful. That was certainly not the kind of fate which any of us wished to impose on Rhodesia. The idea was far more the original Rhodes idea—equality for all civilised men—and the question was how to get the education which would build up the African majority until it also became the majority of civilised man.
I put forward a proposal to Mr. Smith; it was that since the Rhodesians were devoting the second largest item of their budget to African education, we should devote a similar amount to secondary education to bring forward the Africans and that there should he an agreed qualification which would have the effect of leaving us with a majority of African voters within 10 or 12 years. That suggestion was approved by Mr. Smith and I brought it back and discussed it with Sir Harold, but at that time he took the view that UDI must be cancelled first—it was a matter of amour-propre—and the proposal came to nothing.
I was opposed to UDI at that time but, in retrospect, I think it has justified itself for a number of reasons. It has provided 12 years of what one might call Roman civilisation at a time when we in our decadence have not been of much help to anybody and I doubt whether we could have been of much help to them. It has lifted Rhodesia out of a one-crop economy into an economy of great diversity and success. It has created a sense of nationhood which certainly did not exist prior to it and, above everything, although the African advance has not been anything like as much as if we had been contributing instead of obstructing, it has nevertheless been very remarkable indeed.
When the noble Lord, Lord Alport, who I regret is not in his place, said that the majority of educated Rhodesian Africans had emigrated, 1 thought that he was talking terrible nonsense. The majority of educated Rhodesian Africans 930 are forming the majority of the Army, which is successfully defeating the guerrillas when they meet. The majority of the Civil Service, the men such as those to whom the noble Lord, Lord Plunket, referred, are running the estates; and as for men of business, it is probably an exaggeration to say that 1 per cent. of them have emigrated, and probably they are not the 1 per cent. who would contribute most to a healing Government.
That was the situation until the Portuguese collapsed and the Russians moved into Mozambique and Angola. That very much changed the situation because the Africans were no longer those whom the Rhodesian system, the education and the development of a civilised country, were bringing forward. They were the new Africans, the Africans whom the Communists had brought forward, armed and trained as guerrillas. These are the Africans or those who try to speak to them, who are now appearing at Geneva. I cannot myself share the optimism that has been expressed. The Geneva Conference very much reminds me of a description by Gibbon, which I give imprecisely. He was describing a session of the Senate at the end of the 4th century. He said:The opinions of the Senators were not weighed in accordance with their knowledge, their experience or their fame, but in accordance with their supposed claimed or pretended influence amongst the barbarian soldiers in the Praetorian camp.Surely, that is just what is happening at Geneva. The claims of these gentlemen there are directed to saying, "We do not speak for reason, we speak for the guerrillas who are going to settle this matter". Look what Mr. Mugabe has been saying almost day by day. On 13th October he said,I can see no future in the Geneva Conference at all. The war will go on and as it goes on it assumes definite phases of intensification. The enemy must surrender completely. When we control Rhodesia we will nationalise the land and mobilise the masses to control the economy.He went on to say that if the Kissinger proposals gained 100 per cent. black membership of Parliament, he would not accept them unless there was total destruction of the Rhodesian Army and replacement by ZAN U forces. On 20th October, he went on:In Zimbabwe none of the white exploiters will be allowed to keep an acre of land.931 Again, on 21st October, he said that he would stage a series of war crime trials and that those who had served the Smith regime would be brought before his courts.
Is this the kind of thing that we wish to support? Yet these are the things which have been said and are being said in Geneva by the African leaders in order to appeal to the power that comes out of the Russian guns across the Border. I must say that I can find very little hope in this. I cannot see that Geneva will be able to deliver the primary condition laid down by the Prime Minister, the condition that there shall be peace and security during a transition period. There just is not anybody there who can deliver the goods.
Surely this is the fatal error which we have met so often. It is the error of trying for a political solution before one has a military solution. We were able to provide the foundations for a successful and peaceful society in Kenya. We owed that above anything to General Urquhart and the troops who crushed the Mau Mau. If that had not happened there would have been nothing but tribal anarchy. Exactly the same is true of Malaysia. Malaysia is a pretty successful State but again it is founded on Templer's success, on the military solution, the destruction of the guerrillas. The opposite we have seen in Cyprus and Ulster, where we tried for political solutions without first gaining that military foundation. Today, nobody can give the Prime Minister's assurance that there will be reasonable peace and security during a transition period. Nobody can disarm the guerrillas for they hold the Russian guns. Rex Nhongo and ZIPA are not in Geneva and have no intention of going there.
It the guerrillas win, the civilised Africans will die. Do not let us deceive ourselves on this. African Communist tactics will be no different from European Communist tactics, I had to go through the execution orders of the Russian squads that went into the Baltic States. Every trade union official, every teacher, everybody with secondary level education was to be executed—and they were. The whole middle class was exterminated. In the same way, the officers of the Polish Army were exterminated. When Mugabe talks, he talks the straight Communist principle and practice. The people I have mentioned are the people who w ill suffer 932 if we run away or if we go on preventing the Rhodesians from defending themselves.
Dr. Kissinger forced terms on Southern Africa which probably went further than was wise but they were accepted. We should back those terms. The document which was put before Mr. Smith had been put before us. We saw the terms: we accepted them and we welcomed their acceptance. Either we must back them or we must recognise our impotence and go. Smith has accepted our terms. We have not the slightest evidence that he has gone back on them. We are the people who have gone back and so long as he stands on those terms I cannot see how we can honourably continue to impose sanctions against his regime. For my part I shall certainly find myself in the Lobby of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury.
§ 2.58 p.m.
§ Viscount MASSEREENE and FERRARD
My Lords, I should find it extremely easy to follow the noble Lord, Lord Paget, but I shall not do so because I should be repetitive. If the Amendment comes to a Division, I shall certainly vote for it. If I did not, it would be inconsistent of me; and, not being a professional politician, I have to he consistent. I have always voted against the sanctions order and I should like to tell your Lordships why. In the first place, I have always been convinced that sanctions were illegal under international law. If we study the United Nations Charter, Article 2(7) says,shall not interfere in matters of domestic jurisdiction.Clause 36 says,shall not interfere in the internal affairs of any country.I am please to see the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, opposite. I call him my noble friend socially, but I am afraid that I cannot call him my noble friend politically. The noble Lord at the time said that Rhodesia was a British colony and therefore Parliament was responsible for its people. But, as we have heard today, Rhodesia in fact never has been a British colony. It had internal self-government from 1923 and before that was administered by the British South Africa Company. There are many lawyers who agree with 933 this position. One of the most notable was the ex-American Secretary of State, Mr. Dean Acheson.
I said that I was not going to be repetitive of the noble Lord who has just sat down, but perhaps the House will forgive me if I am slightly repetitive here. Mr. Dean Acheson, addressing the American Bar Association in 1968, said:It will surprise some of my fellow citizens, although hardly anybody here, to be told that the USA is today engaged on 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. That is bare-faced aggression, unprovoked and unjustified by a single legal or moral principle.That is the chief reason why I have always voted against sanctions. The other reason was expressed by, among others, the late, much respected Lord Silkin, the well-known Socialist Minister of Town and Country Planning. He said that sanctions were a completely barren policy, as many others have said, because they will hurt the Africans more than they will hurt the European peoples. I agree with him there.
My Lords, may I refer for a moment to the so-called package deal? I, like other noble Lords, understood that Mr. Smith had accepted a package deal from Dr. Kissinger backed up by Dr. Vorster and also (if we can take the Foreign Office statement at that time that we have had quoted in this House) certainly backed up by the Foreign Office; and nobody at the time denied it. The main points of the package were that the Rhodesian Government was to accept majority rule in two years' time. That is a real breakthrough of some importance. In the meantime there would be an interim Government, with control of law and order and defence in white hands. I presume that meant in Rhodesian Government hands. The other point was the Council of State, which would be 50 per cent. black and 50 per cent. white. During that period of two years a Constitution was to be worked out. But that appears to me to be "THE" basis of negotiation, not "a" basis. It appears now to have become "a" basis; but surely, if we are to be honourable, it was "the" basis.
When we come to majority rule (and we have had quite a lot of debate about 934 majority rule) there may be some confusion here. I do not know whether Mr. Smith accepted majority rule or responsible majority rule; but I am quite sure that Her Majesty's Government would not want irresponsible majority rule. We must remember that the noble Lord, Lord Brimelow, said in his maiden speech, on which I congratulate him, that we have had a population explosion in Rhodesia. I understand that the present population of the Africans is about six million of which three-quarters are under twenty years old. What is majority rule going to mean? Who is going to have the vote? Will all over 18 or over 16 have the vote? There must be—and I sincerely hope there is—some satisfactory system worked out, anyway initially, to see that majority rule is responsible rule. 1 do not think that anyone would object—I am sure none would in this House or in the other place or in Rhodesia—if we had majority, responsible, black rule; but it must be responsible.
The noble Lord, Lord Paget, said that "One man, one vote" in Africa has always meant up to now—perhaps there is the exception of Botswana—"One vote only, for once." You do get a fascist Government. I am not saying there are not good African Governments. There are one or two good ones. There is one in Malawi, one in Botswana and one in Zambia; but not according to the principle that we always hoped for: one man one vote. I would not blame the Africans for this. After all, human life started in Africa long before it did in Europe. I would blame our post-war politicians, no doubt backed up by one or two of the permanent officials, who tried to foist on to the Africans a completely alien form of government and constitution which they find difficult to understand. I would not blame the Africans for that at all: I would blame ourselves.
My Lords, we must look at the consequences of this. If "one man one vote" in Rhodesia is to mean a completely unqualified vote, it would appear to me that Rhodesia will probably dissolve into anarchy, unless the British Government are to have a presence there—and 1 do not mean only a Governor or a representative. I think they will have to have a presence with troops. Where they will get the troops from I do not know; but presumably they will have to get them from our 935 commitment to NATO if we do not want to happen in Rhodesia what happened in Mozambique. In Mozambique, I am told agricultural production has gone to absolutely nothing. There is real famine and starvation there. Under the Portuguese they produced on the open market 30,000 tons of groundnuts. This has now gone down to 500 tons. They used to produce 15,000 tons of rice and it is now 1,000 tons. This state of affairs is deplorable. I ask the Government to try to play a stronger part in these negotiations. It would be disastrous if this extremely developed country Rhodesia was to become like Mozambique. It is also important that defence and law and order remains in white hands for the interim period.
We are inclined to forget that over half the police force and armed forces in Rhodesia are black. They are loyal Africans. When there is majority rule of the Africans, we should ensure that the Africans who have been loyal to the Rhodesian Government in the armed forces, the police and other spheres are not butchered or have to flee the country. If only Her Majesty's Government will play their cards in a stronger capacity, the day may be saved. In the case of Nigeria there has been a great disappointment in Africa. We hoped that would be all right, but what has happened there and in Uganda and other places has been most unsatisfactory. I beg the Government to try to recapture this will to govern which British Governments appear to have lost. Can we not try during this interim period to recapture for a short time the will to govern?
It seems extraordinary that there are negotiations with one of the parties who claim to head the terrorist organisations with whom the other party is fighting. I agree that you cannot call guerrilla warfare off in a day as easily as with a disciplined Regular Army. It seems extraordinary that the Government still give aid to countries harbouring guerrillas. We all wish for responsible African government in Rhodesia. There are plenty of moderate Africans in Rhodesia. Years ago I remember asking the Government why the BBC interviewed only the nationalist leaders, the firebrands. There are plenty of moderate Africans who want to appear on our news media but are rarely 936 allowed to do so. The Government gave us the usual answer that they have no control over the BBC. We ought to support the moderate Africans. My Lords, I have overstayed my time and I am sorry. However, I feel very strongly about this matter.
§ 3.14 p.m.
§ Lord GARDINER
My Lords, one of the few big disappointments of my life was when I failed with the then Commonwealth Secretary, Mr. Bottomley, to persuade Mr. Smith not to make a unilateral declaration of independence. There were a number of things in relation to today's debate that I wanted to say. However, we have had a long week. I sense that the House really wants to come to a conclusion. A great many of the things I should have said have been said already, and certainly better than I should have said them. When it came to the 17th speaker—I am the 19th—no-one except the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, had asked the House to support the Amendment. I quite decided that I should not say anything, but my noble friend Lord Paget of Northampton, who was the 17th speaker and who was the first to make that suggestion, wisely or not has stimulated me. I understand it is his view that there should be a military solution. I rather gathered that he would have favoured our sending either armaments or troops to overcome the guerrillas—
Lord PAGET of NORTHAMPTON
My Lords, if the noble and learned Lord will permit me—no: merely that we should let Smith do it without obstructing him.
§ Lord GARDINER
I wondered whether my noble friend had noticed that in The Times yesterday there was a report of what Senator Clark had said—he being the chairman of the Carter Committee, the Senate Committee on African countries. According to The Times, he pointed out that the new Government was free of commitments. He said:The new government should take a frank position in favour of armed struggle if all other negotiated settlements fail'.The report went on to say:If the Geneva Conference collapsed, the nationalists had 'no choice' but to continue fighting.
§ Lord COLERAINE
My Lords, if the noble and learned Lord will allow me to intervene, may 1 point out that he referred to the "Carter Chairman" of the Senate Committee. Of course, he is nothing of the kind. He is simply the chairman of the Democratic Foreign Affairs Committee in the Senate. Surely one can attach too much importance to the utterances of itinerant senators. Would it not be better to go straight to the horse's mouth? —because President-elect Carter himself is on record as having said that economic sanctions are counter-productive.
§ Lord GARDINER
My Lords, I do not go further than The Times report, which was headed:US urged to support guerrillas if talks fail".It begins:United States Senator Dick Clark said today the new Carter Administration should support guerrilla war in Rhodesia if all attempts to negotiate a settlement failed.Then he said what I have already reported. So I wondered whether my noble friend Lord Paget of Northampton really meant what he said, because, if so, it would probably be the first time since the War of Independence that British and American troops might be facing one another in a second Vietnam—
§ Lord GARDINER
Since 1812: I am much obliged, my Lords. But I am not going to break my own good resolution and, apart from congratulating our two maiden speakers, as I most warmly do, I hope that this House will soon be allowed to come to a decision.
§ 3.18 p.m.
§ Lord BALFOUR of INCHRYE
My Lords, when I entered the Chamber today I received a little note from the Chief Government Whip, requesting that all speeches should be limited to 10 minutes. I have looked at the times; I am the 20th speaker and there have been four transgressors, not from any one side, and it would ill-become me to be the fifth. Therefore, I assure your Lordships that I shall be brief. The noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, said in his opening remarks that we could not run the Geneva Conference from this House. That is true; but he was good enough to go on to 938 say that all that was said in your Lordships' House would be noted both by Her Majesty's Government and by Geneva. There are, of course, issues which have been touched on today which cannot be left to Geneva but for which Her Majesty's Government are, and must remain, responsible. For a very few moments, therefore, I want to speak on one of those and then have one word speaking for myself, on the question of dividing on the Amendment moved by my noble friend Lord Salisbury.
The point I wish to speak about concerns the result of the failure of the Smith Government in leaving Rhodesia unprepared and untrained as regards administrative responsibility for running an independent Rhodesia. There are no commissioned Africans in the police or in the armed forces. There are no Africans in the higher posts of the Civil Service or the Judiciary. If during the transitional period the whites elect to leave, partial chaos will result. The regimental sergeant major of today may be the GOC of the Forces tomorrow. And when independence conies, there is an acute danger of a leadership struggle and tribal conflicts—
§ Lord ALPORT
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord for just one moment? I do not want to prolong his speech, because I am one of those who spoke for longer than I should have done. But he will recognise that exactly the same position existed in the other British colonies when we gave them independence.
§ Lord BALFOUR of INCHRYE
Yes, my Lords, but I was dealing particularly with the issue which we are debating today. In the limited time available, I will not be led astray. Her Majesty's Government have a real responsibility to those Africans who are not politically active, and who have no voice to speak for their welfare and their interests, and they must not be betrayed by Her Majesty's Government's not assuming the full responsibilities which are theirs as regards those Africans. That is why my plea tonight is that Her Majesty's Government must stand by that part of the Kissinger package deal that provides for the Armed Forces, the police and internal security to be reserved, and not handed over unconditionally during the transitional period.
939 The other point on which I want to touch is the question of dividing. It is for the noble Marquess to decide whether or not he divides. But to me it is intolerable that we are asked to continue sanctions on the one hand, and that on the other there has been no clear, positive, definite denunciation, to the specific territories responsible, of guerrilla warfare and of promises of its intensification which have been made by those who are negotiating today in Geneva. We put sanctions on those whom we are allowing to be murdered by terrorist forces, encouraged by the same leaders with whom we are negotiating in Geneva. That contradiction would drive me into the Division Lobby against the Government.
I do not want to see a Division in your Lordships' House on this matter, but the responsibility of a Division will rest upon the Minister when he replies, and not upon individual Members. If the Minister will respond by saying, "Yes, individually, those countries are to be blamed and will be, if not reprimanded, at any rate admonished and requested to consider suspension during the period of Geneva ", then I sincerely hope that the noble Marquess will not divide. But if the Minister will not say something broadly on those lines, I am suggesting that if the noble Marquess considers a Division necessary I could not but follow him in the failure of the Minister to make that clear denunciation.
§ 3.24 p.m.
§ The Earl of ONSLOW
My Lords, I am in total agreement with the just compliments paid to the noble Lord, Lord Brimelow, and the noble Lord, Lord Plunket, on their maiden speeches, and for the sake of brevity I shall say no more. The Greek kingdom of Oxiana lasted for 200 years, the treaties which ended the Napoleonic wars helped to keep Europe generally at peace for 100 years, and the peace at Versailles in 1919 ensured that Europe blazed up 20 years later. What had an Alexandrine General and Castlereagh in common? What did Clemenceau and Ian Smith have in common? Alexander and Castlereagh understood that it was imperative for a victor to make a generous peace and to allow the defeated their pride. Clemenceau and Smith, when in positions of absolute power, failed to do this. It is only too 940 clear, my Lords, that the noble Lord, Lord Plunket, is far nearer in his views to Alexander the Great than to those of Clemenceau.
The settlers' persistent drift to the hard, unforgiving right has increased the bitterness of the African Rhodesians. They have been humiliated: they have consequently moved to take up more extreme positions, and now the task of Mr. Richard is made infinitely more difficult. It is never easy to make hard, bigoted and bitter men compromise. The Europeans in Rhodesia have made Mr. Mugabe bitter and bigoted. Lord Paget has illustrated that. They have made Bishop Muzorewa bitter; they have made Messrs. Sithole and Nkomo hard. So would we, if we had been subjected to humiliation heaped upon us by an arrogant settler population.
It is essential to separate in our minds the political neanderthalism of the Europeans in Rhodesia from the very real economic and technical achievements. Somehow that achievement has to be preserved and accessible to all, and somehow the neanderthalism must become as extinct as Neanderthal man. Sanctions have brought Mr. Smith to the negotiating table—not our sanctions, but those applied by the South African Government. Would it not look extraordinarily odd if this House were to remove sanctions from Rhodesia when South Africa is applying some? Would it not look even odder, when this House has spent the last six weeks or so sending back to another place Amendments to Bills which we think enhance the rights of individuals and help to preserve people's liberties? I mention but two, the Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries Bill clauses on industrial democracy and the mutilation of the Docks Bill, so as to stop the exploitation by the strongest part of a strong union of the weaker part of that union and other unions. How can we then take any pressure off Mr. Smith who, as all of us know, is as stubborn in the defence of his privileges as dockers are of theirs? I hope the noble Marquess will not force me to vote for the Government this afternoon.
§ 3.28 p.m.
§ Lord CARADON
My Lords, it is much too late to indulge in personal reminiscence, but three recollections come 941 to me as we listen to this debate today. It is a very remarkable debate. First, it was in 1962 that I was an Ambassador at the United Nations, and I recommended to the Government at that time that African leaders should participate in a constitutional conference. I pressed the case for their participation on the Ministers at that time. It was rejected and I resigned. I did not feel that I could speak in the United Nations for my country if we were not to give an opportunity for African leaders to participate in the planning of the future.
That was nearly 15 years ago. Had it been adopted at that time, we would have had a very different situation from the situation we have now, when we have the illegal regime negotiating with the people whom they have exiled or interned.
The second recollection that comes to my mind is when I had the privilege of proposing the resolution in the Security Council imposing sanctions against the illegal regime, and I worked then to get unanimity. It was not easy to obtain. There was African opinion and Asian opinion, American opinion and Russian opinion; we worked together to get a unanimous decision. I believe that we were right to attempt to get it. The alternative of military intervention has been spoken of today. I have never been in favour of violence on one side or the other. We believed that agreement could be obtained by other methods, and I still think so. We did then work for agreement and I hope it is recognised by everybody in the House—the noble Baroness has made this clear to us—that when we participate in a mandatory decision of the Security Council we are bound by that decision. The specific obligation which we undertake when we go to the United Nations is that we shall carry out the mandatory decisions, particularly when they are unanimous, of the Security Council. It is not for us, at the whim of Members of either this House or the other, to say that we will or we will not remove or continue to impose sanctions. If we wish to remove them we shall have to persuade our colleagues—not only the Africans but also the Europeans, the Americans, the Canadians and everybody who voted originally for the Resolution; and they are not likely to go back upon it. It is worth remembering our international 942 obligation. My noble friend is proposing that we should show contempt for the principal international obligation that we have accepted in the modern world.
My third recollection would be that I have spoken in such debates on either this side of the House or the other for a matter of 10 years or so. I do not remember any more important debate than this. I cannot think of any time over those years when it was so important that we should not give support to the illegal regime, that we should not cause a breakdown in the possibility of agreement and that we should not wrongly start what I believe would be started if this vote took place today; namely, a racial war in Southern Africa which would destroy Southern Africa and involve the whole world. I go back to those recollections.
I wish also to say a word about majority rule, which has become the catch-phrase. I have never liked it. "Majority rule" suggests that it is the majority who are wishing to rule over the minority. I do not believe in it. I believe in a system, much abused in this House, of one man, one vote. I have had some experience of these matters. The restricted franchise is a delusion. To say that a man becomes capable of participating in the affairs of his country if he earns £300 a year but that if he earns £280 he should take no part in them is insulting and ridiculous. My experience is that the illiterate Jamaican or Nigerian villager is just as capable as I am or any Member of this House of deciding whom he wants to speak for him. He has a right to decide whether this or that man shall speak for him.
I hope that we are now moving to the time when there will be free elections throughout Rhodesia on the basis of one man, one vote, without distinction. It is the only sensible and tolerable system. To speak about the restricted franchise is to seek to destroy the genuine will of people who are perfectly entitled to participate in the running of their own countries.
Reference has been made in our debate to the British obligation. Some Members of this House do not feel any sense of British obligation. I certainly do, whether it is in Cyprus, or in the Middle East or in Southern Africa. There we have a clear obligation and responsibility and I hope that we shall not run away from it. 943 I am quite prepared, as we all are, to think about proposals on how this might take place, as put forward to us by the noble Lord, Lord Alport. There are all kinds of ways in which it could be done, but it is nonsense to imagine that on the great issues that are still to be decided in Geneva easy accommodations can be made, however good the chairman may be. I should like to pay my special tribute to Mr. Ivor Richard who, in tackling an almost impossible task, has shown great skill and persistence. His experience at the United Nations, where he is very highly regarded, has made him the right man for the post, and it was wrong to suggest that anybody else should take over from him the chairmanship of the Conference.
We must proceed, thereafter, to take our full share, and, when we look at the range, I also have some experience of the range of the things which have to be dealt with in the year before independence—economic, political and military. To suggest that the Smith regime can ever hand over to the rebel leaders in the interim is ridiculous. To suggest that the rebel leaders could continue to accept the rule of those against whom they have been fighting is ridiculous. These things cannot be resolved unless there is some independent authority who will step in. It is difficult, of course. Of course there is risk, and it might even break down.
I think the final point in the minds of every Member of this House today is that if it does break down in Geneva and if it breaks down subsequently in the year or more that is required in Rhodesia itself, the prospect for Rhodesia is appalling. The other day I flew from Lusaka to Salisbury and saw the beauty of the countryside and all the work that has been done in Salisbury itself. I thought to myself, surely this is not an obstacle to be destroyed; it is a prize to be won. We have a chance to win it now and we are going to throw it away because at the last moment a proposal is put to us which will destroy the Rhodesia Conference immediately and, worse still, will plunge Rhodesia into the worst state it has yet known, with no foreseeable prospect of coming out successfully.
Of course we should be prepared to take risks and of course we should be prepared to face the dangers. We with others— 944 anyone who is prepared to help—but it needs an independent initiative. When we look back in future years at a race war in Africa, involving the whole world and playing into the hands of those who politically we may object to, we may look back and remember today and remember that we were asked to destroy the Conference, to destroy Rhodesia and to destroy the good name of this country.
§ 3.37 p.m.
§ Lord TRANMIRE
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, said that we had no free will in this matter; that we were bound by mandatory sanctions. I do not share that view. I always believe that sanctions are an ineffective, uncivilised international weapon and in particular, in the country where we are all hoping to establish a multiracial community, they are a very unsatisfactory preliminary in endeavouring to develop that community. They distort the economy: the wealthy can evade them the poor are denied the opportunity of progress.
At this moment I am very concerned about the future of the hundreds of thousands—indeed the millions—of non-tribal Africans. Up to date 1,500 men, women and children have been murdered by terrorists in Rhodesia. All but a tiny few have been tribal Africans.
When Dr. Kissinger put forward his six proposals he gave a categorical assurance:As soon as the necessary preliminaries have been carried out sanctions will be lifted and there will be a cessation of terrorism.Those who represent the terrorists have said that they will not pay attention to that but they will intensify the campaign of terrorism, and in the last few days that campaign has been intensified. Opening the debate the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, said that the continuance of guerrilla warfare after the opening of the Conference is a tragedy. But what are we going to do about it? I know we are powerless; we are poverty-stricken. What are we going to do about this? This is how I address myself to this debate.
If we cannot get terrorism suspended, then we must use the argument for suspension of sanctions. I ask the noble Lord when he replies to address himself 945 to this. It is no good saying it is a tragedy. What are the British Government with their weak power going to do about this?—because the lives and future of these tribal Africans depend on it. It is not merely the murder, but also the rape and the torture that is going on.
May I just emphasise one other side of the sanctions? I am concerned that 11 years of sanctions have made fewer tribal Africans, fewer black Africans, ready to take the responsibilities of Government. Ten years ago nearly to the day, in the other place I advocated a crash programme of secondary education, with Britain and Rhodesia spending matching contributions in order to prepare the Africans for their responsibilities. Unfortunately that suggestion was not adopted. If it had been, the problems would have been very much easier today. Let us beware when we are dealing with differing points of view that we do not aid those who want to see this Conference fail, and who want to see Rhodesia following in the wake of Angola, with a disrupted economy and large massacres in tribal warfare. That is our responsibility. We are powerless in money at present, but we still have some influence. I beg Her Majesty's Government to use that influence in the interests of the tribal Africans and against the terrorists.
§ 3.43 p.m.
§ Lord WALSTON
My Lords, may I begin by apologising for not being here at the beginning of the debate. This was not due to any discourtesy or lack of willingness to be here, but there were circumstances beyond my control. Therefore, I missed the opening speech of the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and several other speakers, but I think I know fairly well what has been said, and the general line that has been taken in the debate.
My Lords, of course nobody can possibly suggest that the noble Marquess and those who support him in this Amendment are motivated by anything other than the most loyal, devoted and highest motives. But, with the greatest respect to the noble Marquess and to his friends, I would say that what they are attempting to do today can only show a complete blindness to the real state of affairs existing today, and which has existed 946 for many years, in the whole of Southern Africa. They are not alone in their blindness; it has been shared by many others in this country and elsewhere, alas! It was shared in particular by Mr. Vorster and his friends in South Africa for far too many years. It was always within their power to bring the Smith regime to an end years ago, simply by cutting off petrol supplies. Yet they would not do it, because they felt as the noble Marquess and his frends feel. It required the joint efforts of those two rather curious allies—or bedfellows shall I call them?— in the last few months to open the eyes of Mr. Vorster, the two doctors, Dr. Kissinger and Dr. Castro; and of the two, I believe that Dr. Castro has been the strongest influence, because it was not until Cuban troops appeared in Angola that South Africa really understood what the eventual implications of the campaign, if one can call it that, in Southern Africa meant.
In spite of détente—and we all wish détente success—we must not close our eyes to the fact that there are three ideologies in this world today and they can never agree with each other. There is the Chinese ideology, the Soviet Union's ideology and the ideology of the Western World; and there is an inevitable conflict between those three, a conflict which we hope will not become an armed conflict but which none the less is a very real conflict. And Africa is one of those areas where this conflict is being fought out.
What do we want in Africa? I am deliberately not mentioning any of the moral aspects, the reasons of responsibility of this country towards a former colony, territory, call it what you like. They are strong aspects, but I am not mentioning those. I am looking at it purely from the materialistic point of view of how best to preserve Western values in a world which is threatened in the way that it is. How can we best preserve those in Southern Africa? Is it better for us to rely upon a fortress South Africa, with a salient sticking out like a sore thumb, of Rhodesia, armed conflict, armed assistance from the Western World, if it can be arranged, fighting off the hoards of black Africa? Or is it better for us to attempt to create in Southern Africa as a whole, and the whole of the African Continent, countries which at least are not ill-disposed to the Western World, which at least do 947 not offer a haven, any more than they do at the present time, to the technicians, the advisers, the capital, the military assistance, the tanks and all the rest of it, of the Soviet Union and possibly of China, too? It must be that we will serve our interests best by being on friendly terms with the whole of Southern Africa, not only because of its economic resources but also because of its military potential.
How can we achieve this? We can only achieve it now—and we have only in the past been able to achieve it, but we have failed—by the success of the Geneva Conference. In the past, that success has been denied us because of the intransigence of Mr. Smith. Had it been possible, as it was, and had people been willing to apply upon Mr. Smith the pressure they are now applying, a settlement would have been possible five years ago, because the African leaders would not have been so intransigent, the guerrilla activity would not have built up so much, the factions would not have appeared among the Africans about which we have heard today, and our task would have been infinitely easier. But that is not the case. We must accept things as they are today. The lesson we must learn from the past surely must be this, that the longer a settlement is delayed, the more intransigent, the more violent and the more powerful will become the leaders of the African movement. Therefore, we must strain every effort to make sure that Geneva today succeeds.
My Lords, by passing this Amendment, what arc we doing? We are siding with Mr. Smith and his small band of Europeans. Let me remind your Lordships that of the European population—if this indeed be relevant; it is with some of those who put forward the argument of kith and kin—something under half actually come from this country. The rest come from Malta, Greece, Italy and many admirable countries, but not kith and kin. We must not give support to further intransigence on their part, and we must not give further support to the violence and the antagonism of the Africans themselves.
If I were the man in the Kremlin who was responsible for Africa today, I should be looking with interest at this debate and doing all that was in my power—very 948 little, I am glad to say, if anything—to ensure that this Amendment was carried, because for me in the Kremlin that would be one of the greatest helps I could possibly have in spreading my influence among the people of black Africa. I would be disappointed if this Amendment were not pressed, and disappointed if this Amendment, being pressed, was defeated by an overwhelming majority. Therefore, I hope that all those who sincerely wish, as the noble Marquess and his friends and all of us do, to see the influence of the Western World in black Africa extended, will unite in continuing the sanctions.
There is one more thing we must do—there are many things, but there is only one I will mention. We must, and here I find myself happily and surprisingly in agreement with the noble Viscount, Lord Massereene and Ferrard, take a more positive line in Geneva. The Africans themselves have asked that we shall appoint a governor, somebody in charge of Rhodesia during this intervening period, whether it be for 12, 15, 18 or 20 months, and I do not really believe that that will be the cause of failure. They want us to do that. Mr. Smith has said, and I see the force of his arguments, that there must be white control of defence and law and order. A British governor, assisted by a Council of State representative of all the different factions, but the responsibility lying with him, would fulfil both those requirements; those of the Africans, and those of Mr. Smith and the white Rhodesians. That is what the British Government should do, and I hope are doing now, in Geneva. We have for too long in this country lived as though we were still one of the richest countries in the world. We have ignored economic reality, but in our foreign policy for too long we have lived as though we had no influence whatsoever. We still have influence; we still have good will; we still have experience; and now is the time for us to exert it.
§ 3.53 p.m.
§ Lord COLERAINE
My Lords, I should like to compliment the noble Lord, Lord Brimelow, and the noble Lord, Lord Plunket, on two maiden speeches each of which in its own way was distinctive. If my compliments seem to be perfunctory now, they are not in fact. It is only that 949 I do not wish to take up the time of the House for longer than is necessary. The noble Lord, Lord Walston, was good enough to tell me and others why we were supporting the Amendment of my noble friend Lord Salisbury. I think he has got it wrong. I think he misinterprets our motives.
This, I suppose, is the twelfth debate to which I have listened on the question of sanctions. I suppose that in all the others it would be fair to say that my intention was to support a gradual transition from white Government to black Government in Rhodesia, and in effect to keep at bay, not forever but to restrain, the advance of nationalist forces. That is no longer my own position. I realise today, and I accept it, that Rhodesia is dying; I realise that Zimbabwe is being born. My only hope now is that Zimbabwe, when it comes to birth, will be a countryߞI cannot say that I hope that it will be a democratic country because I do not believe that fits into the African picture—of stability, security, increasing prosperity, and peace for its inhabitants, black and white.
If I support the noble Marquess, as I do, it is because I believe the continuance of sanctions now would be more likely to advance a Marxist solution than the mild paternalistic solution which most of us would like to see. So long as we maintain sanctions, it seems to me that we are giving the green light to those elements on the African scene which are Marxist and which are influenced, if not dominated, by Russia. We are telling them, "Do what you will. We will give no support to the new Zimbabwe or the transitory State to resist you".
I do not think we sufficiently realise the unrelenting determination of the Soviet Union to make peace in Southern Africa impossible. If the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, is able to give a categorical assurance that Her Majesty's Government will approach (I will not say the five Front-Line Presidents because obviously two of them at least are beyond argument and do not want a peaceful settlement) Dr. Kaunda, President Nyerere and Seretse Khama and get from them an undertaking that they will no longer harbour and encourage terrorists within their territories, then perhaps my 950 noble friend—I cannot speak for him—would be willing to withdraw his Amendment.
There is the other point in his Amendment which is of immense importance and to which he has drawn particular attention, and that is that we really must have a guarantee that the black African who has been loyal to the Smith Government will be secure. If Lord Goronwy-Roberts can give an assurance on those two points—first, that Her Majesty's Government will approach those Front Line Presidents who are amenable and who may be as anxious as we are to have a peaceful settlement and obtain an assurance from them that they will not continue to harbour and encourage terrorism within their territories during this transitory period and, secondly, get some guarantee that the black African who has been loyal to the Smith Government will be secure —I would not be willing to press the Amendment to a Division.
The noble Baroness, Lady Vickers, who made a most impressive speech, indicated that there was not much point in pointing the finger of scorn at the Smith regime and condemning it. I think she believes, as I do, that they did their best; and I feel I may fairly say that if the people of this country had in the last 10 years shown half the resource, half the dedication, and half the sense of patriotism that the white Rhodesians have shown towards their country, we should not be in the mess we are in today.
§ 4.1 p.m.
§ Lord BANKS
My Lords, like my noble friend Lord Wade, I should like, in the course of the few remarks with which I intend to detain your Lordships, to oppose the Amendment moved by the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury. I shall support the Motion to approve the order proposed by the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts. We have had a very thorough debate on this issue and not the least significant part of it has been the maiden speeches of the two noble Lords, Lord Brimelow and Lord Plunket. These were contributions of particular value and I should like to join in the congratulations that have been offered to them.
I have no doubt that sanctions together with the collapse of Portuguese colonialism and the expansion of guerrilla warfare 951 which came about as a result of it and pressure from the United States and South Africa, have contributed towards securing Mr. Smith's acceptance of the Kissinger plan. That, in itself, was a very considerable advance. It is not clear—and this has come out in the course of our debate—what kind of majority rule Mr. Smith has accepted. The noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, spoke of difficulties and frustrations in the past in dealing with Mr. Smith and it does seem that, in the remarks which he has made, he has spoken of some form of qualified franchise and that, when he speaks of majority rule, he does not necessarily mean black majority rule. Such an interpretation would of course be quite unacceptable to the African leaders and, I am sure, to the British Government.
However, if the reports in the Press are correct, the Rhodesian Foreign Minister, speaking in Geneva in the course of the last two days, has spoken of black majority rule in two years. But he said that the Rhodesian Government had made all the concessions it intended to make before it came to Geneva and when it accepted the Kissinger package. Mr. Smith may have thought that all was agreed and all was cut and dried and it may be that he has some complaint in this matter. On the other hand, the Front-Line Presidents may also have grounds for complaint and it may be that they were made to appear to agree to a package that they had not accepted in every detail.
In any event, the Kissinger plan, welcome and useful though it was, is not Holy Writ and, as the noble Lord, Lord Alport, said, we shall have to accept changes. The African Rhodesian leaders were not a party to it in any case, and acceptance of the Kissinger package does not legitimise the Smith régime as would appear to have been suggested during the course of our debate. I hope very much that there will be agreement at Geneva, but failure would not legitimise the regime, either. It would not be sufficient that Mr. Smith had accepted a particular package of proposals. What is important is whether the British Government approve of the régime which is established in Salisbury.
There is no argument for saying that because Mr. Smith has accepted at this 952 stage a particular package of proposals sanctions should be withdrawn. Indeed, the noble Baroness, Lady Elles, pointed out at the beginning of the debate that Mr. Smith himself appeared to accept that sanctions would continue until an interim Government was appointed and in being. We cannot, of course, turn sanctions on and off like a tap. If we once take them off, they are off for good and all. Since failure at the Conference would still leave an illegal régime in possession in Salisbury we cannot, at this stage, abandon sanctions. Only a successful Conference now or later could enable us to do that.
My Lords, I think we must bear in mind that the Smith régime is a repressive regime. During the course of our debates we have heard about political detainees; there has been published in the course of the past weeks a bulletin from the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace which speaks of brutality, torture and killings by the Rhodesian security forces. That same bulletin admits that similar atrocities have been committed on the other side. I certainly hold no brief for the guerrillas and deplore the bloodshed which has taken place; but I must point out that when the Rhodesian Government rebelled in the first place, it was in order to avoid black majority rule. That is what they rebelled for; and guerrilla warfare became inevitable, however much we regret and deplore its existence. I support fully the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, when he said that the continuation of guerrilla warfare during the course of the Conference was a tragedy. I very much hope that guerrilla warfare will cease during the remainder of the Conference. But whether it does or not has, in my view, nothing to do with sanctions but much to do with the continued existence of the Smith régime.
I hope that the Conference may yet succeed in spite of the formidable obstacles. I hope, too, that the noble Lord and the Government will give consideration to what my noble friend Lord Wade and others have said during the course of the debate about the possibility, although there are risks and difficulties, of the British Government playing perhaps a more positive role with respect to the interim Government in Rhodesia than they seem at the moment to be prepared to play. 953 If they did enter into any kind of commitment in that respect it would not be an open-ended commitment because there would be a definite independence date. It would not be similar to the open-ended commitment that the Government entered into (rightly, in that case, as I believe) in Northern Ireland.
I hope the Conference will be able to secure a transition to black majority rule which will at the same time give a satisfactory assurance to the white population about their future. I remain convinced that sanctions can only be withdrawn when there is agreement on the time-table to independence and on the composition and function of the interim Government and when that interim Government is in being.
§ 4.4 p.m.
§ Lord CARRINGTON
My Lords, like everybody else, I should like to congratulate the two maiden speakers. The noble Lord, Lord Brimelow, was a notable head of the Foreign Office and he made a speech which one would expect of somebody of his distinction and attainments. I have an idea that I might like this speech better than some he may make in a Party political way; but whenever he does it he will be listened to with interest by the House. My noble friend Lord Plunket made, I thought, a most moving speech. I cannot help thinking that if there are people like him in Rhodesia the sort of State that my noble friend Lord Coleraine referred to, and hoped for, is attainable even at this late stage.
We have had a good debate. The tone was set by my noble friend Lord Salisbury who made a most responsible and moderate speech. There cannot be anybody in this House who does not wish the negotiations now taking place at Geneva to succeed. The consequences of failure are awful to contemplate. It is to everybody's advantage, black and white, inhabitant of Rhodesia or neighbour, colonial power or American friend, to do everything they can to prevent the breakdown of these talks. It is difficult when one is not concerned in negotiations to assess accurately the way things are going. It certainly does not—in spite of a small improvement in the past day or two—sound very hopeful. Often attitudes taken up by people in public are not the same as those 954 they may take up in private. Let us hope that that is so in this case; and we can certainly take comfort in one thought: it cannot be in anybody's interest to be responsible for the breakdown of that Conference.
Who it was who was responsible for bringing it about, I cannot judge. It was certainly Dr. Kissinger's initiative. I have a suspicion that Dr. Vorster had more to do with its actual realisation than anyone else. One thing stands out very clearly. Mr. Smith has moved a very long way indeed in accepting the proposition—and I am sure that it was a proposition—put to him by the British and American Governments. To accept majority rule in two years is a vast advance on any position that he has hitherto held and is of great significance. I do not think that we ought to underestimate the difficulties that that must bring for Mr. Smith, nor the undoubted fact that he cannot be pressed too far to go much further without losing the confidence of a large number of his supporters who are a very vital factor in any satisfactory and fair settlement.
I suppose that it is natural that black African leaders should take the agreement and the concessions made by Mr. Smith for granted and use them as a base from which further demands are made. But they would in my judgment be unwise to press too hard in the belief that Mr. Smith has much more to give. I do not believe that he has the political sea room. It seems that there is little doubt that Mr. Smith genuinely believed that a proposition had been made to him and accepted not only by the American and British Governments, but by the black African leaders as well.
There is surely no one in this House who—as my noble friend who sits behind me has said—would wish to condone the continued and increasing guerrilla activity operating from Mozambique at a time when apparently genuine efforts are being made to reach an understanding. The noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, in his speech condemned that forthrightly; though I am critical—and I must tell him so—of the way that the Government did not earlier on make some conditions about guerrilla activity before the Conference started. If we put ourselves in the same position, we would not think it 955 conducive to a good atmosphere, or the likelihood of a successful Conference, if our friends and relations were being murdered and unmercifully harried by those in the employment of fellow delegates at that Conference. Nor can we be happy, whatever the safeguards, at money channelled from the British taxpayer to a country which is encouraging and taking part in this activity.
In all this I sympathise with my noble friend. I share with him his anxieties about terrorism. I am sad, too, that the most inaptly named Heads of State, the Front-Line Presidents, who one would have hoped would have exerted moderation for nationalists, reaffirmed on 6th November their belief in war as the only way to achieve majority rule. I feel that for a time we shall have to live with the uncertainties about the American President-elect, though one could perhaps make a guess that his sympathies are not likely to be wholly with Mr. Smith. Nor do we know what Mr. Vorster's latest position is. Though he has stated his support for Mr. Smith, it is difficult to judge how much pressure he will show or feel able or be willing to exert.
All this leads me to think that the going will be very rough, and of course there is a real possibility of the failure of the Conference. We should do everything in our power to see that it does not fail, and do nothing to make its failure more likely, or to be made the excuse for its failure. That is where I do have doubts, not about what my noble friend Lord Salisbury said but about the wisdom of pressing this matter to a Division and, conceivably, winning it. Whether or not he likes it, the effect of the Amendment, if it were agreed to, would mean that this country would no longer be operating sanctions. That would be done unilaterally against the votes that we have cast in the United Nations—I think most mistakenly given. The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, reminded us earlier of the debate in this House 11 years ago: I was one of those who voted against sanctions. Nevertheless, at this moment it would mean that we were breaking international obligations unilaterally and without consultation.
But, perhaps even more important than that, one wonders what effect it would have on the Conference at Geneva. One cannot expect everybody to under 956 stand the intricacies of the British Constitution: we hardly do so ourselves! Probably the delegates at Geneva would take the view that the British, for reasons which would be very obscure to them, had decided in the middle of the Conference of which they (the British) were in the chair, to make a gesture in support of Mr. Smith—a gesture, incidentally, which Mr. Smith himself does not expect. He has made it clear that he is prepared for sanctions to be lifted only after the interim Government is set up. I must say I think that would have a deplorable effect on the Conference, on the British position and on the attitude of the Africans towards Britain. We should be misinterpreted and, I think, misrepresented at the United Nations and elsewhere.
I am no friend of sanctions, my Lords, and I have said so on a number of occasions. It is a foolish weapon; but at this moment it does not seem to me right to change it. If an interim Government emerges, sanctions should come off straight away. If the talks fail and it is clearly not the fault of Mr. Smith but because of the intransigence of others, then I think we should take a very radical look at this subject and perhaps adopt a very different view. But at this time I hope that my noble friend will not press this matter to a Division, because I believe it might well be harmful to the future of talks on which such a very great deal depends.
§ 4.19 p.m.
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS
My Lords, this has been a debate of very high quality on a matter of quite extraordinary importance. It has been marked by a high level of speaking, particularly in the case of two maiden speakers, the noble Lords, Lord Brimelow and Lord Plunket. It has been particularly interesting to have the views of people who, in quite different ways, have been personally involved in the Rhodesian problem for many years. The noble Lord, Lord Brimelow, brought out with classic clarity the implications of rejecting this order today. It is not only a matter of sanctions: it places this country and this Government in an almost impossible position to take advantage of any success that may accrue to the Geneva Conference. The noble Lord, Lord Plunket, in what has been aptly described as a moving speech, gave us advice from 957 Rhodesia itself by one who has lived and worked there; and I should like to echo what the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, has said in this connection, that the more people like him stay on in Rhodesia when it becomes Zimbabwe, the better for the future of that country and of Africa.
I have particular appreciation, also, for the two speeches from the Front Benches opposite by the noble Baroness, Lady Elles, and the noble Lord, Lord Wade. The noble Baroness, the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, and others all asked about the timing of the lifting of sanctions. I think I made it clear in my opening speech that the Government intend to lift sanctions once an interim Government is established, and expect and believe that they can count on the support of other countries in doing so; and, as several noble Lords have pointed out, Mr. Smith has accepted that position.
The noble Baroness, and a number of other speakers, also referred to the possibility of a trust fund, and this links with the points made most cogently by a number of speakers about the future of Rhodesians, of all colours and backgrounds, on independence. As the noble Baroness knows, it is early yet to be definitive about this proposal, but I can give her an assurance on the specific question which she put to me. She asked whether any trust fund would be used for the benefit of all Rhodesians, both black and white—and there are other elements in the population which could not properly be described as black or white. I can give her this assurance that any such fund would indeed be for the benefit of all Rhodesians—black, white or whatever colour they may be. I should like to confirm to the House that we have been discussing, and are discussing, with our friends the Americans the possibilities of such a fund, and it is quite possible that other countries from within the Commonwealth, and perhaps outside the Commonwealth, might be able to join in any engagement of this kind. At the moment, it would be not only premature but misleading for me to try to give any further details.
This takes me to the point made by my noble friend Lord Greenhill of Harrow and others, who stressed that if the Conference were to fail—and it is by no means certain of succeeding—the British 958 Government should not in any way abandon their efforts, but should continue to work as hard as they can for a solution in Rhodesia. I can, of course, give that assurance. Whatever happens we shall continue to do all in our power, in co-operation with our friends, and indeed in co-operation with the United Nations, to work towards a just and durable solution in Rhodesia.
This leads me to the trenchant speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Alport, speaking from very considerable experience and service to the Commonwealth and to Africa, who made a number of extremely interesting proposals. It is not for me this afternoon to return an affirmative or a negative answer to the kind of proposals he made, or others made by my noble friend, Lord Caradon, but to emphasise once more that suggestions, especially of that constructive kind, will most certainly he considered in the proper quarters. I have no doubt that all those involved will be looking at many of the things said by the two noble Lords I have mentioned and others with very great care and interest.
I now come to the Amendments. I have moved the order and the noble Marquess has said that he may force a Division on his Amendment. I could say a great deal or very little on this point. Indeed, I think that the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, has put the argument most appropriately this afternoon. Whatever our views may be, about either sanctions or the constitutional position of Rhodesia in the future, he has put the argument why this House—which in my short experience of it is capable of rising to the level of events—should not at this juncture divide within itself on this question. I do not think that the Amendment would be carried, but even if it were not carried the implications of a Division in a Chamber of British Parliament would be interpreted—indeed, misinterpreted, as we have heard—in more than one quarter. Our position as a country which has always done its uttermost to live up to its international obligations would give rise to shattering doubt. I believe we would be isolated among our own friends if we were to adopt this Amendment unilaterally or showed that any considerable number of us was prepared to take it to the point of Division.
959 I am certain that it would have a devastating impact on the great mass of moderate, constructive African opinion, those who are not as articulate as the extremists, and the various variecoloured fringes in this argument, not always black—the people whom the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, has asked the Government to approach—and upon the extremists of every kind. It is not difficult to assess the effect. It would be an invitation to go along the path of violence, bloodshed and misery indefinitely because on the course we are pursuing now, I think as a united nation we had been seen to be faltering.
May I say that the tone and temper of the speech of the noble Marquess could not have been bettered, both from my point of view and, I am sure, that of the Government and this House. He put to me very fairly three points on which he wanted reassurance. A number of other noble Lords, including Lord Balfour of Inchrye and Lord Coleraine, put similar points to me. They come under three headings. If the talks fail because the Africans wreck them, will Her Majesty's Government lift sanctions? I cannot lay down now the action that Her Majesty's Government would take if the Conference failed, for whatever reason or because of action coming from whatever quarter. The question then would be whether we should lift sanctions because the Conference had been wrecked by one element or whether we should redouble sanctions because the Conference had been wrecked by another element. It is difficult to give a partisan assurance. What I can say is that the shortest path to the wrecking of this Conference is to force this Amendment to a Division in the House this afternoon.
To return to the points made by the noble Marquess, if any Minister gave an hypothetical assurance based upon an hypothetical situation as described by the noble Marquess, it would immediately be interpreted variously by various interests. It would not add to the sense of security that the noble Marquess quite rightly is seeking. It would add to the general uncertainty among all those engaged in the work of the Conference. Therefore the assurance that I can give is this. Her Majesty's Government will lift sanctions and give a lead in so doing—except that 960 we must, of course, remember that it is an international operation—immediately an interim Administration is seen to be established. That is the positive answer. Equally, the positive thing to do is to work to avoid the wrecking of the Conference by anybody.
As for the second point on guerrilla warfare, much as I appreciated the tone of the speech made by the noble Marquess, I must say to him frankly that I refute and rather resent the suggestion that Her Majesty's Government condone guerrilla warfare and terrorism. It is not true, and if the noble Marquess had been present rather more frequently in this House he might have heard me saying this repeatedly. Her Majesty's Government condemn and deplore terrorism from whatever quarter it emanates. That includes activity of this kind in this or any other part of Africa.
§ The Marquess of SALISBURY
My Lords, I thought I said in my opening remarks that I knew that the noble Lord had condemned terrorism, and I was very glad to hear him say again today that he condemns it.
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS
My Lords, I very much appreciate the response of the noble Marquess to what I have said. I understood him more than to suggest that Her Majesty's Government condone terrorism and I am sure that he knows this is not so.
§ The Marquess of SALISBURY
My Lords, I suggested that the noble Lord's colleague, the Foreign Secretary, was condoning terrorism, but I went out of my way to suggest that the noble Lord had said something quite different.
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS
My Lords, that is almost worse than saying that I condone terrorism. As I know the Foreign Secretary rather well, I can assure the noble Marquess that that suggestion is quite groundless. Knowing also the rest of my colleagues and the British people, I am sure that nobody here condones terrorism anywhere, certainly not in Rhodesia.
§ The LORD PRIVY SEAL (Lord Peart)
No, my Lords; let my noble friend continue. He should not give way.
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS
For exactly the same reason, my Lords, as Members of the House felt that they had to obey the noble Lord when he was the Leader of the House. I regard the interjections of my noble friend Lord Paget with a mixture of affection and alarm—mostly alarm on these occasions. But seriously, on this point about guerrilla warfare, to which a number of other speakers have referred, the noble Lord, Lord Tranmire, asked what we were doing about it. I wish that we could do much more, but he added that he realised that we had not the power we used to have —one kind of power. I agree with him that Britain still has great influence and I can assure him that we are duly bringing our influence and our arguments forward in favour of the cessation of terrorism.
With regard to our friends in Africa—and they are our friends—and the three Presidents in particular whom the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, suggested we should approach, we are in fact constantly talking to them. We shall continue to talk and to exert every ounce of influence we have, and indeed to call in our friends. I think it was my noble friend Lord Caradon who referred to the fact that we have been sustained and supported in what we have been doing by the rest of the Nine. Indeed, we have had powerful support from the Member States of the Community and of course, as usual, widespread support from our friends in the Commonwealth. We shall not only ourselves approach our friends in Africa to see what can be done to reduce and to end terrorism; we shall avail ourselves 962 increasingly of the resources and persuasion of our other friends in Europe and the Commonwealth. Further than that it would not be right for me to go because I cannot give guarantees. Nobody can.
On the third point, the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, asked me for guarantees in relation to the 6th Principle, and that was echoed by the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine. I have said that this and other matters will be part of the work of the Conference, but certainly Her Majesty's Government will be promoting a settlement as far as they possibly can which will include, of course, the absence of discrimination against minorities and of discrimination against people who, for sincere and proper reasons, have served the illegal regime. We shall do our utmost on that third point.
I close by making a final appeal to the noble Marquess. He has made his point and, if I may say so without presumption, he has put forward his own and his friends' views with great clarity and sincerity. I hope he will rest on that and will not, by an action this afternoon, create a situation in which the world tomorrow might say that the first pebble in the avalanche which will wreck the Conference was loosened in the British House of Lords. We have now a real chance. I know that the noble Marquess and his friends are as keen as I am to see Rhodesia emerge from its present troubles as a strong, prosperous, independent nation in the comity of countries and, we hope, as one noble Lord said, a member of the Commonwealth.
§ 4.40 p.m.
§ The Marquess of SALISBURY
My Lords, we have had a long and interesting debate. If I may be allowed to say so from my own point of view, I am grateful for the way that noble Lords who did not agree with my views have taken my remarks, and I welcome this opportunity of saying how grateful I am. I hope your Lordships will not expect me to reply to all the points raised. There is a number of them to which I should like to reply, but we have had a long session, and I had a long innings at the beginning, so if your Lordships will allow me not to reply in detail, I shall be grateful.
963 As so many others have done, I should like to refer briefly to the two exceptional maiden speeches to which we have listened today. The two noble Lords concerned provided a great deal of weight to our discussions in their respective spheres, one from a highly technical point of view, and one from knowledge on the ground. I am particularly glad that we had the advantage of hearing the speech of my noble friend Lord Plunket on this occasion.
May I also say how much I appreciate the way the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, has responded to my enquiries. As I might have expected, he has treated them with great courteousness and sympathy. I should like to respond in a similar way. Obviously, there is a great deal of common ground between us. We all want to see the end of sanctions as quickly as possible. We are all anxious to secure a settlement in Rhodesia as it is now, at this stage, since the package deal was announced the question of method and timing that stands between us. My Lords, I raised three issues. On the first, there is a very considerable difference of opinion. It is the only issue where there is a major difference, because it is my belief that the African representatives will take the continuance of sanctions as what I might call a blank cheque to ask for more and more concessions. I know that many noble Lords do not take that view, but I must make it clear that that is my view. This leaves me in some difficulty. I have said already that I do not wish to do anything that will impede progress or disrupt the Conference. My worry is that by accepting the order today, we shall have a continuance of sanctions, if the Conference breaks down, for another 12 months. If I do not pursue it today, it may be possible to bring this up in some form if there were a breakdown in the Conference before a year is up. I do not know whether the noble Lord the Leader of the House would go along with that.
§ Lord PEART
My Lords, may I just say that the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, has made a very constructive suggestion. I think this should be considered through the usual channels, and we will do this.
§ The Marquess of SALISBURY
My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble 964 Lord the Leader of the House because this gets over the difficulty which I see at the present time. On the other two points, I realise that the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, has a problem. He is not in a position to give a positive promise on either. At the same time, I should have liked to see him go a little further on the point dealing with guerrillas, because here we are supporting a country which is harbouring guerrillas. It seems to me that the noble Lord might have been able to go a little further than he has, although I appreciate that in spirit we are not very far apart.
§ Lord PEART
My Lords, I hope the noble Marquess will not press my noble friend. I have given an assurance. I mean it in the best sense, because we all wish to do what is best.
§ The Marquess of SALISBURY
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord the Leader of the House for saying that. Although I am bound to say I am not entirely happy with the position, and specifically in view of the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that we must do nothing which would lead us to be accused of wrecking the Conference, under the circumstances I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.