HL Deb 26 April 1978 vol 390 cc1808-921

3.4 p.m.


rose to call attention to the problems of Southern Africa; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have deliberately chosen for this debate the terms of my Motion to he the problems of Southern Africa as a whole, and not just Rhodesia, because although Rhodesia is a part of Southern Africa, there are more problems than Rhodesia. There is the South-West Africa—Namibia problem and the problems of South Africa itself. Obviously the problem of Rhodesia arises from the unilateral declaration of independence, and more immediately from the internal settlement and the response Oven to it. The difficulties of Namibia arise from a dispute between South Africa and the United Nations, the successors to the League of Nations, about the legality of the South African administration and now its independence. The problem of South Africa itself is the result of the apartheid policies of the South African Government and the consequences to the Free World of the increasing pressure which is being put upon that country, and the consequences of that pressure upon us.

We in Britain are interested in the area, in a greater or lesser degree, for reasons which go beyond our constitutional responsibility for the future of Rhodesia and our membership of the United Nations. It would not be sensible, for example, to ignore our economic interests, which Britain and the Free World generally have in the future of Southern Africa, not least in the shape of the minerals in that continent which constitute a very large part of the reserves of the Free World, and which in certain circumstances could be at risk. The view is held, I know—I have heard it in important quarters—that this is not so. The argument runs like this: that whatever the complexion of the Governments of Southern Africa, whether they be Marxist or not, the economic facts of life will make it necessary for them to sell to the West minerals which the West needs. If they did not, economic ruin would follow. Consequently, the argument goes on, it does not really matter what happens in those countries, and what are the political complexions of their Governments.

I do not accept that argument. Of course, in most cases it would be so. Trade goes on between the committed and the uncommitted, between East and West, as a natural course of events, but it does not follow that it would always be so, or that there might not be occasions when priorities other than economic self-interest are more important to the countries concerned. There is, I should have thought, a potential threat of blackmail involving materials essential to the Western economy. There are circumstances in which denial of access might be used to put pressure on the West. There would no doubt be some kind of compensation, if those Governments were Marxists, which would become available from the Soviet Union and its allies.

How would we feel, for example, if the oil-producing countries of the Middle East were in the hands of Marxist Governments? Would the argument that economic good sense must inevitably prevail make us sleep more securely in our beds? Here I must say unequivocally that the attitude of the Soviet Union has, to say the least, been less than helpful in Southern Africa. Under the guise of supporting freedom fighters they have sought to disrupt and have made much more difficult a peaceful solution both in Rhodesia and in Namibia. They have armed, financed and equipped the guerrilla movements. They have introduced Cubans to the African Continent and, as we have seen in the communiqué which was issued in Moscow earlier this week, they have every intention of continuing to do so. For my part, I do not see how, in the light of these avowed intentions, the West can leave unaltered its policy towards the Soviet Union.

We are interested in the area, for strategic reasons. Your Lordships know the vital importance of the Cape route. I was reading a book the other day in which I found that every year 24,000 ocean-going ships go round the Cape; that in 1957, 6,000 ships called in at South African ports, and in 1975, 16,000 ships called in at African ports. Of course that trade includes not just minerals but oil—and the significance of oil to Western Europe is much more than it is to the United States.

It may be argued—and I tend to agree with the argument—that as the Cape route is so vital to the West, if that route be singled out as a threat then inevitably an immediate escalation would take place since the West could not passively be starved to death of oil and vital materials without taking some action. But even if this is true, is it wise to make no effort to keep the Indian Ocean and the Cape route in friendly hands and so avoid what may be the cause of a third world war? In any case why rely on the threat of escalation to secure our vital interests? We are interested, too, in the fate of Southern Africa as believers in human rights. I do not refer just to apartheid and the situation in South Africa, but just as much to the right of the Rhodesians and the Namibians to decide their own destinies.

I do not criticise President Carter's approach on human rights. Indeed, I welcome it. It has, alas!, been true in these past years in Africa that the West has been unfairly associated with a materialism and a wish to maintain its economic interest while seeming, to African opinion, to lack any very attractive ideology, or even a proper concern for their interests.

The Soviet bloc has somehow managed to present itself in a different light, partly by sending money and equipment to the freedom fighters, who others would label guerrillas. And though it is difficult to understand why anybody should suppose that the Soviet system is attractive ideologically, or exciting, or an example of success in anything other than an increase in military potential, it has managed to do so.

However, the great difference between the West and the Soviet bloc is not that we are materially more successful—although of course we are—and certainly not that we are not prepared to fight for our beliefs. The important difference is the value we place upon human freedom and the rights of the ordinary man to have a say in his present and his future and, of course, the fact that we do not seek world domination and the elimination of societies other than our own. In the Soviet Union that is demonstrably not so, and it is very welcome that an American President should present that aspect of Western society to Africans in so direct a fashion.

However, with that policy also comes an obligation to avoid double standards. It is, of course, true that we in Britain do not approve of apartheid or separate development. Both Parties have made that plain on numerous occasions to the South Africans. However, we must not operate a double standard about human liberty and human rights. If apartheid is a denial of human liberty, so then are the policies of the Ethiopian Government and the Ugandan Government. If freedom of communication and a free Press are part of our human rights, then how many countries in Africa who condemn the South Africans have themselves freedom of communication and a free Press? If we condemn Chile, how much more should we condemn the massacres in Cambodia. To be selective in condemnation of evil because of one's political sympathy for the system of government is contemptible. I only wish that the vociferous opponents of South Africa were sometimes heard to be condemning other evils just as bad, and in many ways worse, in countries whose systems they seem to admire and whose political philosophies they seek to introduce here. These, then, it seems to me, are the interests of the West, and particularly of Britain, in Southern Africa: trade, strategic need, regional stability and human rights.

At any rate in the short term, it seems to me that the problems of Namibia may be the most immediately dangerous. If things go wrong, it may indeed trigger off a whole series of consequences of profound importance, particularly to Europe. The fact of the matter is that, as in Rhodesia, there are broadly speaking two sets of people competing for power. Predominantly outside the country there is the South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO), and inside the country the internal political Parties, the largest of which is the political alliance formed during the Turnhalle talks.

I do not know—I do not think that anyone does—how you make a judgment as to who would win in a a fair and free election, if such a thing were possible. Both sides have support and it is as well to remember that the Ovambo, who are the supporters of SWAPO, compose nearly half the population of Namibia. At the same time, until the brutal murder of Chief Kapuuo a murder which there can be little doubt was inspired by SWAPO—the Turnhalle Party was gaining ground under Chief Kapuuo, a leader trusted by a very great number of people outside his own tribe.

It is not for us to make up the minds of the Namibian people as to how they should vote. I know that some people fear that SWAPO would introduce a one-Party Marxist State, and some of the things that Mr. Nujoma has said have given grounds for that idea. However, I must say that the SWAPO leaders to whom I have talked, other than Mr. Nujoma to whom I have also talked, showed no evidence of that, and, indeed, have seemed genuinely to wish for a multiracial society.

I think, too, if I may say this to the Government, that the Western Powers discouraged far too much the settlement reached at the Turnhalle by the ethnic groups. It may be that what they proposed was not perfect, but to turn it down out of hand and to appear to be supporting SWAPO with a seeming disregard for the other Parties was, I think, very unwise. I am glad to think that that attitude at any rate has changed. SWAPO may be, in the view of the United Nations, the sole representative of the Namibian people, but in fact it is nothing of the kind.

There is also no doubt—I do not suppose that the Government would deny this—that the Western Powers have put very great pressure on South Africa to get them to agree to their proposals and interim arrangements leading to independence. Over these past months, successively South Africa has been asked by the West for more and more concessions. What seemed a final proposal became but another stage to further demands from SWAPO and further concessions from the South Africans. However, as I understand it, the Western Five have now put forward their final proposals—and I repeat "final proposals"—and these have been accepted by the South African Government. Let us be quite clear that Mr. Vorster has gone a very long way in agreeing to those proposals and we should warmly welcome his statement of yesterday.

So far SWAPO has not agreed and, indeed, in the Guardian today it is reported that Mr. Nujoma, though stopping short of any absolute rejection of the Western plan, said that he remained forever convinced that guerrilla war was the only path to real independence.

I would ask the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, to tell the House this afternoon firmly and categorically that, now the South Africans have accepted in two the Western proposals, the West will stick to its plan whatever may be the reactions of SWAPO and that it will, in the Security Council, seek to implement that plan. I should like to ask the noble Lord one further question. Will he tell the House whether me Soviet Union, which has the ability to frustrate these proposals by a veto in the Security Council, has accepted the validity of the Western plan? For it would be, to say the least of it, astonishing if, after months of negotiation with the South Africans we were to discover that the West had been negotiating without such an agreement from the Soviet Union.

I should like to mention one further matter. It seems to me that South African agreement puts the West under an obligation. The General Assembly is on record as advocating further mandatory economic sanctions against South Africa almost regardless of what that country does. A proposal to impose further sanctions upon South Africa because other countries and the Soviet Union are unwilling to accept the Western plan is something which the West must resist most strongly. Not just—may I say—because the consequences of sanctions would he catastrophic for everybody—for South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana, which depend almost entirely for their economic wellbeing on the economy of South Africa, and for the blacks in South Africa; they would also be catastrophic for us. with our large investments in South Africa and the £650 million worth of trade that we do annually with that country. Here I must, of course, declare an interest as a director of companies which trade in and with South Africa.

The world economic situation is difficult enough without adding gratuitously to it. Nor do I believe that sanctions are a proper way of bringing pressure to bear, nor, indeed, are they easy to enforce. I did not think so in regard to Rhodesia and I do not think so now. Nor do I think so in regard to South Africa. The West is on a very slippery slope indeed if it is prepared to use a weapon of that sort in this kind of situation. I do not believe that sanctions and isolation are the right way to influence people. In the case of South Africa, having regard to the Afrikaner character, it is a particularly foolish way of doing it.

That brings me to the internal problems of South Africa, which are very different from the problems of Rhodesia and Namibia. For example, it is not a colonial situation. The Afrikaners have been there much longer than the blacks who now live in the Republic, and they have nowhere else to go. Indeed, I think one could say without offence that the Afrikaner are just as much a tribe as the other tribes of Southern Africa. The problems are different, but they are still serious. As I have already said, there is no one in this House who would approve of separate development and the policies of the South African Government as they have been carried out over the years, nor do I believe that a society based on such a system can conceivably last. However, that is different from saying that certain far-ranging political reforms have to be made overnight, because that cannot be done and, speaking realistically, it will not be done.

There will have to be a change; not as gradual a change as is happening now, because that is too slow; but there must be a change. I believe that there is a sign—a very small sign—that there will be a change in South African policies. There is no need to approve of what happens in South Africa; indeed, we cannot. But it seems to me that there is every need that we should keep contact with them, express our views, urge them towards the solutions which would be their own ultimate salvation and which would enable us to help them towards that salvation.

Lastly—and this I know is in the mind of most of your Lordships—there is the problem of Rhodesia. I do not wish for one moment to underestimate the problems which face the Foreign Secretary. Quite clearly, he is right in seeking to associate the Patriotic Front with the internal leaders. Without that, international acceptance of the new country would be much more difficult to achieve and it would be immeasurably more difficult to organise an election which would be seen by the outside world to be free, fair and without intimidation.

But even so, it must be said that there has been a very inadequate recognition of the remarkable achievement of the internal settlement and too much support for its opponents. Not very long ago, Mr. Smith was saying, "No majority rule for 1,000 years"; not very long ago, Mr. Smith was saying that he would not have one man one vote at any price; not very long ago, Mr. Smith was saying that he had no intention whatever of having majority rule or a General Election. He has agreed to all this, and independence and majority rule by 31st December this year. Not only that—he has made this agreement with the three black leaders who, in the opinion of those who are best qualified to judge, have the backing of the majority of the Rhodesian people.

Of course it is right for the Government to try to associate the Patriotic Front with a solution, but was it really ever a practical proposition to ask the four internal leaders for a total renegotiation of what they had just done? After weeks of discussion they had agreed on all the principles and conditions which successive British Governments had asked for. They have specifically said that there was room for the inclusion of other African leaders in their agreement. On what grounds could they be asked to start again from scratch? To ask them to do so on the basis of an Anglo-United States agreement, which, itself was totally unacceptable to the Patriotic Front until the internal settlement came along, is clearly not practical politics.

I am not surprised that a conference based upon such a proposal has been turned down. But that does not mean that the proposition that the Patriotic Front must be brought in is any the less true. I very much hope that Dr. Owen will continue his efforts to that end. I must say that I find it very difficult to understand why Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Nkomo will not associate themselves with that settlement. As I say, a place is left open for them.

Of course, they may not like every aspect of the proposed Constitution. Very well -let them negotiate before the election takes place in order to change it. Perhaps they do not like the 28 white seats in a Parliament of 100, but that is a price that has to be paid for a white agreement and majority rule; and as there is an undertaking that the white Party will not enter into a coalition with a black Party, the majority African Party will be able to govern in as sovereign a way as in any other African State.

Perhaps Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe find it difficult to come to terms with the internal leaders because they themselves did not negotiate the agreement. Perhaps they are unwilling to face an election which they do not think they will win. Perhaps it is a combination of all these things. I do not know.

However, I think that the internal leaders would be wise to compromise in order to get Mr. Nkomo and the Patriotic Front in. I think, too, that the internal leaders would be wise to accelerate their progress. If they are to maintain the support of the people of Rhodesia, the interim Government must be seen to be different from its predecessor. It must he seen to remove racial discrimination and to start the reforms which will be necessary to set up a multi-racial State. If it is wise for the internal leaders to do that, the Patriotic Front would be wise to compromise and be prepared to join the internal settlement-for the only certainty, if they do not, is the continuation and escalation of the war and the ruin of the Rhodesian economy. Who could say for certain who would inherit the remains of a once peaceful and prosperous country?

I very much hope that the Foreign Secretary will negotiate with the interim government to get them to accept a senior diplomat in Salisbury during this period. Not to have our own man there means relying on the advice of those who, however well-meaning, are not trained in reporting and in judging political situations, or else are too remote from the scene. Of course, it is right that the Foreign Secretary should continue to negotiate. T know that he will go to the limits of what is right.

However, I want to say just a few final words. If in the end the Patriotic Front refuse to be associated with a settlement which is in accordance with the conditions laid down for independence by both Conservative and Labour Governments, and if Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe insist upon force as the only means of settling the issue, then there is only one honourable course for the British Government to take, and that is to support the internal settlement, however difficult that may be. My Lords, I beg to move for Papers.

3.27 p.m.


My Lords, I must say that it is with diffidence and considerable reluctance that I rise to address your Lordships' House this afternoon on this extraordinarily important subject, because I am in no way an expert on Southern Africa. I have never been there; I have not come back from an instructive tour of the whole area, as the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, has; I have not had that advantage. I can only speak to a certain extent from past diplomatic experience. But I am not an expert and 1 only wish that there were a greater expert on these Benches than myself who could address your Lordships. However, in the circumstances, I shall do what I can.

First, I should like to say a few words about Rhodesia. I remember that before the new Smith regime was installed I expressed a certain amount of pessimism about the future of Rhodesia. I said that I thought the future of the white community would be impossible to maintain; that perhaps in the long-run all we could consider was how best to get some of them out; that, generally speaking, we should accept the fact that, although some might remain, the black regime would come in and that the present white settlers could not maintain themselves there as a body for very much longer.

Then, of course, there was the very happy event of the formation of the new regime in Salisbury. Nobody welcomes this more than I. I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that that has been a great feature of hope in the whole present situation. I am very glad that it should have happened. Of course I think it has been said in an article in The Times recently that even now the settlers have not realised what the situation is and how they are bound in the fairly near future to abandon a great many of the privileges which they now enjoy. Indeed, I do not see how they can maintain all their privileges very much longer, especially after direct elections and, even if they have a certain proportion of votes in the Legislature. I do not think they have really seized that point yet. I hope that they shortly will.

Of course, the great thing now is to try and get some agreement between them and the Popular Front. Maybe, as the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, suggested, if the Smith regime would accept some kind of outside representation—I do not know who, perhaps the United Nations or even ourselves in Salisbury in the fairly near future that person might be able to influence them in the direction of making a real compromise and making it possible for one or two representatives of the Patriotic Front to come to Salisbury and associate themselves with the new regime, which of course is what all sensible people would want.

I think there is one real difficulty which I do not think the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, mentioned, and that is the tribal issue. If Mr. Nkomo came back would he be able to command the country as head, or one of the heads, of the Matabele tribe when the great majority would be Mashona, including Bishop Muzorewa? Equally would the Bishop Muzorewa agree to serve under a Matabele president or whatever it was? One cannot ignore the fact that there is a real division in Rhodesia on tribal lines and unless we get over that somehow it is going to be very difficult to get a compromise settlement with the Patriotic Front and the new regime in Salisbury. Whether it would be desirable for Mr. Smith to resign, as some suggest, in the fairly near future I do not know; it might help but not much. The great thing is somehow or other to overcome this inherent tribal difficulty and indeed induce the whites or the settlers or whatever you call them to face the fact that they will have to sacrifice a good many of their privileges in the reasonably near future.

As for sanctions, I suppose sanctions will go on because we cannot lift them. As I understand it, they were imposed by the United Nations with the Russians agreeing, or at least abstaining. Can they be lifted without Soviet agreement? I would ask the noble Lord who is going to reply if that is a fact. If they cannot be lifted without a legitimate decision of the Security Council involving a positive vote, or at least an abstention, by the Soviet Union is it not conceivable that the Soviet Union would insist on maintaining sanctions until such time as they think that there will be some kind of Soviet-type regime in Salisbury, which of course is the object of the exercise so far as they are concerned. I should like the noble Lord to reply to that specific inquiry because I have not yet found the answer myself.

I turn to Namibia, and here I entirely agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said. I think after the formation of the Smith regime in Salisbury

the most hopeful feature of the present situation in Southern Africa has been the action of Mr. Vorster in accepting the whole new five-nations plan, including what is after all a United Nations plan. I am not sure if there is some reserve on the part of the South African Government about Soviet access to Walvis Bay. I saw something about this in the paper. Is that a real stumbling block or is it a fact, as I think the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said, that they have entirely accepted the present plan? He shakes his head and so I am wrong. If that is so then I entirely agree we should do everything we can, if we cannot induce SWAPO—and I do not think we shall be able to do so—at least to say that we ourselves would not willingly accept any other solution. It is going to be a United Nations solution, it is our solution, and we must go on by all means in our power in saying that if it is the right solution we will stick to it. I cannot sec anything else that we can do at the moment. As I say, the fact that Mr. Vorster has made this move is I am sure, if not a sign of grace, at any rate to some extent a recognition of the realities and to that extent it is a very good thing.

On the subject of the Republic of South Africa, that is another problem. We go on repeating again and again that apartheid is a disastrous policy, as we used to say the fans et origo the real root of the evil, and I think that is true for apart from anything else it destroys all our efforts to get on to reasonably good terms with the great bulk of the developing countries in the African Continent. It is therefor a disastrous policy from our point of view. We must do everything we can, of course, to modify or indeed to alter it. I should have thought that the only hope of avoiding some day what I think must be a very bloody solution in South Africa lies in the gradual reform of apartheid. I do not think there is any other way. Perhaps, apart from the gesture about Namibia, there are slight signs in recent years that the South African Government are changing their attitude towards apartheid, though I think there are very few signs. We cannot be optimistic but the situation is changing and in the long run it will change, perhaps too late.

Would economic sanctions assist the process? Here I agree again with the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that that is very much open to doubt. If we impose economic sanctions it would have a deplorable effect on trade with the Republic; it might mean considerable unemployment in this country and I am informed—and I believe it is true—that it would have a very unfavourable effect on the black population of South Africa. Of course it might stimulate a revolutionary situation, but I do not see that that would be a very good thing in itself. It might be a solution in the long run, but is not necessarily a good thing to stimulate. Therefore I myself—and I think I speak for my colleagues—would not be in favour of imposing direct economic sanctions at the present time.

On the other hand, there is such a thing as encouraging disinvestment by British companies and indeed not effecting reinvestment in the Republic. I think that would be the path of wisdom. I think it would be a real if gradual pressure, if indulged in by most countries. Our allies could be asked to do the same thing. Therefore, I think that is what we ought to do at the moment. Also I should have thought it would be a good thing—and I do not know if the noble Lord who is going to reply would agree with this—to give more aid to the recently independent neighbouring countries such as Lesotho, Botswana and other countries that I could mention. In that way they would become more independent or at least less dependent than they now are on the Republic itself. I do not know about Transkei. That is a new phenomenon. They have broken with the Republic of South Africa. I do not think we can recognise Transkei at the moment. It is a non-democratic regime. But at least it is a sign that things are changing even in the Republic of South Africa.

So, my Lords, I come to the great problem of the Soviet and indeed Cuban intervention in Africa and I suppose it might even now be said Soviet intervention in Southern Africa. I do not think the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, referred to that, but when I last intervened on the subject I asked the noble Lord—was it the noble Lord who is going to reply?—whether it was a fact that there was now a Soviet General organising in a port North of Beira an invasion from Mozambique of Rhodesia with the aid of a good deal of Soviet equipment and possibly even some Cuban support. Is that a fact, or is it not? The noble Lord said he was going to reply to that in the debate today and I hope that he does.

Of course, the general phenomenon of Soviet expansion with Cuban support in Africa is extremely serious and dangerous. I am not sure whether the lines of communication argument is a very great one. Is it really essential to match any Soviet effort to establish themselves on the lines of communication by naval or other means? I am not sure that this is absolutely at the root of the problem. If there is going to be a conventional war it might be that our oil supplies would be cut off; but it is difficult to imagine that there will be a conventional world war. If there is going to be a world war it is only too likely that it will be a nuclear war; and if it is, we have probably "had it" anyway, whether we have our oil communications or not.

Anyhow, while I agree that there is something in the suggestion that we ought to have more naval representation to the Indian Ocean, that is not the essential thing. What is essential is that the Soviet Union should not be enabled to form in Africa as a whole Soviet type societies which are inimical and basically hostile to the West. Of course we cannot prevent that by physical means. Nobody suggests that we and America can do it by physical means. We have not got any Cuban or the equivalent of mercenaries. We have not got any means of doing so.

What could we do? I think, as the Government have made clear in another place, that we must constantly tell the Soviet Government that they are, by their actions in the Horn of Africa or elsewhere, endangering détente; and not just endangering détente, which is perhaps an odd conception anyhow, but that if they go on in this way we shall take action in the economic field and not give them all the credits we are giving them at the moment, which, after all, they have used not for financing their own industrial programme but largely for their armaments programme. We should also encourage with aid, and sometimes even with arms, any Government that comes out against Russian or Soviet domination. We should not hesitate to denounce the inhuman policies of certain African developing countries in the United Nations and elsewhere, and we should encourage by all means we can, resistance to them.

In the remaining two minutes I shall say a few words on the general moral that we might draw from these distressing phenomena. The problems posed by Southern Arica must be seen as a whole. We should not despair of arriving finally at some ultimate solution in South Africa, even if in the future it should result in the formation of what might be called "Blancostans"; that is to say, areas where the whites would congregate. Or even one "Blancostan" would be conceivable. That is a not impossible idea.

In the rest of Africa it is not inevitable that Soviet type societies will emerge although they might well, I think, to some extent be totalitarian. A great many of the developing countries seem inevitably to become totalitarian and not democratic as we know it. So they might become totalitarian in the sense that Tanzania is to some extent totalitarian, but nevertheless not under the influence of the Soviet Union. And even if there were some Soviet type societies it does not mean that they will inevitably in the long run turn towards the Soviet Union for leadership.

We need not necessarily be frightened of that. Nevertheless, nationalism undoubtedly will be the main motive in the formation of all new nations in Africa, and I fear that by nationalism we must now to some extent include tribalism. We can well see what the effects of that might be. After all, we can, if we will, extend much needed aid to all the regions which may be moderately sympathetic to us, and I very much hope that we shall. I do not deny that the outlook, generally speaking, in Southern Africa is pretty depressing at the moment, but that should not induce us to take foolish or impetuous measures, but rather to take measures within our present policy to exert pressure, whether economic or political, with all concerned and contrive thereby to get them to behave moderately, reasonably, and in the general interest.

3.45 p.m.


My Lords, I must apologise if, before the end of what would seem to be a long debate, I have to leave the House to fulfil another engagement which cannot well be broken. I am sure that we are all grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, for drawing the attention of the House to some of the problems of South Africa which continue to give us concern. It is natural that we in Britain should have special care for South Africa because of our long association with its peoples and their development. But while we fasten our attention on these problems in South Africa we should not forget that the injustices which we deplore, and the violence which we hate, in South Africa are constantly being repeated in many other parts of the world. I think, for example, of parts of Latin America and Vietnam, where torture, intimidation, and Communist terror are the order of the day. I was grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, for touching on that in the earlier part of his speech. We need to see South Africa's problems in a worldwide context.

Turning, however, to the subject of today's debate and for a moment to Rhodesia in particular, I would express the hope, first, that we should welcome the internal agreement as a first step towards establishing a multi-racial, democratic Rhodesia. Secondly, that we should recognise the importance of the constitutional proposals for the interim Government being implemented as soon as possible; particularly in defining the roles of the four leaders and the composition of the new Cabinet. Thirdly, that we should welcome all efforts to encourage those who have stood apart from the present agreementto reconsider their participation: for example, Mr. Nkomo, Mr. Mugabe, and those white elements who do not accept Mr. Smith's leadership at present. Fourthly, that we should affirm our support for the introduction of a number of specialised personnel from outside the country to assist in the reorganisation of the armed forces and the police, and that we should support international machinery to supervise and monitor any testing of Rhodesian public opinion. To that I shall return briefly in a moment.

Recent letters from our Bishops of Mashonaland and Matabeleland underline their support for the executive council, which comprises Mr. Smith, Bishop Muzorewa, Chief Chirau, and the Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole. It must, I think, be recognised that no settlement is possible which will please all the contenders, and that terrorism will almost certainly continue under the new, present system, though one prays on a smaller and steadily diminishing scale. We may be thankful that this agreement represents a considerable change in the political complexion of the Government in Rhodesia, and we may hope for an imminent end to thirteen years of illegality.

I return to the point I made a moment ago. It is almost impossible to overstress the importance of a third-party presence in the transition period. The only chance of success of an internal settlement is that it should be validated and legitimised by observers from outside: Preferably a peace-keeping force provided by the United Nations, or possibly by the Commonwealth. The dread possibility is always before us of Cuban and Russian intervention or, at the least, of the provision of a Russian supply of arms.

I turn now from Rhodesia to the wider sphere of South Africa. The Church has very considerable opportunities of receiving accurate information about the conditions there through, for example, its bishops—I have mentioned two already—and its missionaries. The United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel has some 80 missionaries at work in South Africa; they are men and women who are in constant, close touch with the peoples of all races.

The information which comes to us causes us deep anxiety and forces us to ask questions to which often we do not get satisfactory answers, or even any answers at all. I mention some of these questions specifically because they highlight the problems which are at the core of this debate, and because I hope that the mentioning of them may keep us alert to the tragedy of the present situation and perhaps, as they undoubtedly will reach the authorities in South Africa, may say to them that we shall never rest until we see a realistic tackling of them on a constructive and long-term plan.

For example, in the realm of education, I would ask the authorities questions such as these: Is it, or is it not, true that the amount of money spent on the education of whites in South Africa in a recent year was 605 rand per head, and on that of blacks, 39 rand per head? Is it not for practical purposes true to say that for white children education is compulsory and free, while for blacks it is voluntary and expensive; also, that the teacher-pupil ratio is about three times as high for whites as it is for blacks? On basic living conditions, is it not true, as stated in a United Nations report, that there is one doctor for every 400 whites—I find that very hard to believe, but it is a United Nations report figure—and one for every 44,000 blacks? In Soweto—I strike a tragic note when I utter that place name—is it not true that a population of 1 1/2 million is served by one hospital designed to cater for a community of 600,000? Is it not true that while the average wage of blacks has been rising with inflation—we may grant that—the gap between it and the average white wage has been increasing?

I come now to the sphere of the banning of certain organisations and publications. Here again, there are questions which we must ask and keep on asking. Those of us who know men like Beyers Naude and Theo Kotze—I am proud to be among their number—simply do not believe that they have engaged in conspiracy or subversive activities. We ask, then, what was it that justified the banning of the Christian Institute? We understand that the State President has appointed a committee to review the action taken by the Government, but we await the publication of the document or the lifting of the banning.

In the autumn of last year I sent to the President of South Africa a telegram which, in the November Session of the General Synod, received that Synod's overwhelming endorsement. I cabled him: I have heard with deep distress and shock of the banning of the Christian Institute, the South African Students' Organisation and other similar bodies, and of the banning orders served on Dr. Beyers Naude, the Director of the Institute, and other leading officials. I urge your &.cellency to reconsider this action, which can only weaken the chance of a peaceful resolution of the racial problem of the South African Republic and strengthen the hands of those who regard the use of violence as the only means of bringing about change in South Africa. In what I say I am fully reflecting the views expressed on a number of occasions in both the General Synod of the Church of England and in the Assembly of the British Council of Churches.". I received this reply from the State President: I acknowledge receipt of your Grace's cablegram and have conveyed the contents thereof to my Ministers". A scarcely adequate reply, as I think your Lordships may agree.

In regard to human rights, the South African Government maintain that they support the preservation of such rights, but here again many questions pose themselves. For example, will the Government take any further steps to discover who was responsible for the death of Steve Biko? Will they accede to the request of the South African Law Society for the setting up of a court of inquiry? How do they reconcile the post-mortem findings, that Biko died from damage to his brain and kidneys, with the absolution of the police from all responsibility? What changes in future interrogation methods are planned by the Government of South Africa? Will the fundamental human right of habeas corpus be restored? We in the West cannot allow the death of Steve Biko to be forgotten, not, at least, until the facts are known and some reparation, however necessarily inadequate—how can you do reparation for a dead man? —is made by the introduction of legislation which would make the repetition of such a monstrous action impossible.

I note in The Times today a cutting—it comes about that remarkable Jewish gadfly of sleepy consciences, Mrs. Suzman—which tells us of the disclosure by Mr. Kruger, the Police Minister, that 128 non-security prisoners died in prison last year, 28 of them by suicide. How rightly does that noble woman act in drawing attention to such figures as those! Questions such as these cannot be dismissed as interference on the part of the West in the affairs of another nation quite capable of looking after its affairs itself. They must be asked and they must continue to be asked until, in the words of one of the great Old Testament prophets: Justice runs down as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream".

3.58 p.m.


My Lords, I must crave even more than the customary indulgence which I am assured your Lordships' House always extends to maiden speakers. I wish to be unprovocative, yet I am intervening in a debate on the problems of Southern Africa. Although I shall be brief, I shall nevertheless distract your Lordships' attention from direct concern with the great themes of peace and war and social stability which are at the heart of our present anxieties and which have been outlined by the noble Lords, Lord Carrington and Lord Gladwyn, and by the most reverend Primate, because I shall confine my speech to a narrow commentary on the one well-established multiracial institution in Rhodesia.

Whatever happens in the near future, a community will survive there beneath the surface of political and military conflicts and uncertainties, and the quality of its life and the maintenance or improvement of the standard of living of all its citizens will turn in important measure on the success with which knowledge can he disseminated and created. In Rhodesia, higher education has been provided by the University in Salisbury which was established not by local enactment but by Royal Charter, granted in 1955. Clause 4 of the Charter embodies the principle which has guided the university's development from the beginning. It requires that: No test of religious belief or profession, or of race, nationality or class shall he imposed upon, or required of, any person in order to entitle him to he admitted as a member, professor, teacher or student of the university, or to hold office therein, or any advantage or privilege thereof." In medicine, academic standards were secured by an association with the University of Birmingham. All other subjects used the scheme of special relationship which my own university, the University of London, devised at the request of the Asquith Commission on Higher Education in the Colonies, in 1944, as a means of supporting colleges in developing territories, while they were in the process of achieving full university status. Among other benefits, this scheme enabled their students to read for the degrees of the University of London, and eight colleges—seven of them in Africa—were helped to maturity in this way between 1946 and 1970, the year when the University of Rhodesia decided to become independent.

Since then, a large group of external examiners have gone out every year, and have helped to ensure that high academic standards are maintained. As one of them, I have been a regular visitor for the last 10 years, and I have come to hold in high respect the quiet, though stern, courage and resolution shown by the many teachers who stayed on after UDI, frequently to their personal disadvantage. They have demonstrated that intellectual freedom in Salisbury can best be preserved in Salisbury, and is not much advantaged by the rhetoric of liberty which issues from cosier academic havens in other countries. I know this university well, and I speak of its work and of its contribution to Rhodesia from first-hand knowledge.

In formal terms, the autonomy of the university is preserved by a procedure modelled on that of the University Grants Committee here. But the real question is: How a university which was largely dependant on Government money after UDI, could maintain its independence? British Government and UNESCO funds were cut off. The Rhodesian Government had powers, which were frequently used, to prohibit entry to the country of staff appointed by the university, and to detain and deport members of the university who earned their displeasure. Censorship laws were enacted, and the atmosphere could not have been more unfavourable to a university which had drawn its inspiration from the British tradition.

A quotation from a Rhodesian periodical shows how some sections of the population viewed the university in the aftermath of UDI: If ever … there was a political Trojan Horse in the midst of a country fighting for its existence as a White State, it is the University College of Rhodesia … The individual Rhodesian taxpayer is heavily subsidising art institution that, as at present constituted, represents a propaganda spearhead of the country's external enemies … The multiracial experiment that the University is supposed to be is doomed to the same failure that has accompanied all other such experiments". Happily, my Lords, that prediction has been falsified, and the university has been able to withstand such legal, financial and social pressures. Under the wise and steady leadership of the Principal and Vice-Chancellor, the Rev. Professor Robert Craig, it has retained autonomy and met these challenges without sacrificing its commitment either to freedom of inquiry or to multiracial principles.

Several circumstances have enabled the University Council to fend off the many attacks upon it. They include the crucial fact that the university possessed a monopoly of higher education in the country. It provides much of the skill and professional manpower, and is the major trainer of secondary school teachers. Moreover, a significant proportion of its staff are expatriates and, like most of their local colleagues, they would continue to serve in Rhodesia only in a multi-racial university.

Thus, the Government of Rhodesia have been constrained by the threat of ending the only university education in the country which could claim competence or international recognition. Further, the university enjoyed the prestige of a Royal Charter. It would have been hard for a Government affirming their independence from the British Parliament, but seeking legitimacy, and protesting their loyalty to the Queen, to abrogate that Charter. Most importantly, the university has been able to maintain its multi-racial character through the crucial provision of scholarship funds by such bodies as the Christian Council of Rhodesia and the World University Service.

The university admits students by academic criteria only, and insists upon proper A-levels. These funds have enabled most of the qualified African applicants to take university places on scholarships. In 1965, the year of UDI, there were 670 full-time students, of whom blacks constituted one quarter. Last year the total was rather more than 1,600, of whom more than half were blacks, though it is to be noted that the number of white students has fallen slightly as a result of conscription. The university also carries several hundred part-time students. In the last two decades it has trained 7,500 graduates. The growth in the black student population shown by the figures I have cited is not the result of any change in the university's admission policies over the period, but measures rather the enlarged output of African secondary schools. But this development was made possible entirely by the university's access to non-governmental scholarship funds.

At present, discussion of the future of this university, as of others in Southern Africa, centres upon the rival merits of the policies described in today's horrid jargon as "Africanisation" and "pragmatisation". "Africanisation" involves turning a university into the academic focus of national life, so that it reflects the social, economic, political and cultural aspirations of local people. Of course, this aim must include staffing the university so far as may be possible with Africans. Progress is being made in this direction in Rhodesia, where to the small number of African staff, 17 teachers and researchers, and two administrators, were added in the first nine months of last year.

"Pragmatisation" simply means that utilitarian considerations should determine the university's curt icula and research. Knowledge for its own sake should be spurned; knowledge for development should be promoted. This is no more, my Lords, than a very old fashioned and sterile argument conducted in a new setting. The objectives of the two policies must conflict because development is urgent and will often depend upon the immediate import of highly skilled people, while the benefits of Africanisation can come only over generations.

The University of Rhodesia has plans to assist the present transformation in government by expansion in the long run and by immediate short training programmes. For both it needs support and assistance from outside the country. For example, there must be assured and larger scholarship funds for black students, together with additional halls of residence where they can live. Facilities are needed for the training of administrators, technical people and university teachers in Rhodesia and in Britain. But it is no part of my intention to draw up a shopping list. I plead only, my Lords, that we should not forget the indispensable contribution which the University of Rhodesia has to make to the stability of the settlement which we all desire; and, when that settlement is achieved, may it permit a free university to survive and to develop within the principles of the present Royal Charter. How tragic it would be if an institution which Britain has helped to maturity should be compelled to turn for assistance elsewhere! My Lords, I thank your Lordships for your patience and courtesy.

4.12 p.m.

Lord HOME of the HIRSEL

My Lords, it has been an agreeable and instructive experience to hear the noble Lord, Lord McGregor of Durris. We knew, of course, of his interest in the freedom of the Press, in human rights and also in education but I am glad that today he had a lot to say about the University of Rhodesia, and he emphasised that, notwithstanding all the difficulties and pains through which that country has gone, this university has remained multiracial and, by great sacrifice, its staff has been able to maintain its intellectual freedom. I would only say, in adding to the plea that he has made, that I hope that when the Salisbury agreement becomes a reality this country will accept the obligation to help that university to survive and to expand. It is one of the first things that we should do. The House will wish to hear the noble Lord often again.

We have had the advantage, too, of hearing the most reverend Primate, and we are grateful for him for putting the situation in South Africa, as it concerns violence and unfairness, into the world perspective. There are double standards, and they do nobody any good. Also he has encouraged the beginnings of the Salisbury agreement, and in a moment I shall say that I think he and we have good reason to do so. On the statistics for which he asked in relation to South Africa and apartheid, the Minister will probably be able to answer. I think I would say only this, that it is these examples of discrepancy of treatment between the races which are so glaring, although they are changing. We in the West would like to see them change a good deal faster, because as long as they go on it is impossible for South Africa to be a harmonious nation, and also impossible, I am afraid, even for their best friends in the West to help them as we should like to do.

My noble friend Lord Carrington, with the benefit of a recent visit to Southern Africa behind him, has sought to disentangle for us the complexities presented by the prospect of constitutional change in Southern Africa, in Namibia, in Rhodesia and, to a lesser extent, in South Africa; and he has tried to assess for the House with cool objectivity how far, if at all, the British Parliament can assume an attitude or accept responsibility towards problems in that part of the African continent—-responsibilities which we may have as members of the United Nations or, more directly, the residual responsibilities of a colonial Power. He must have been acutely aware that objectivity is the last criterion adopted, either by the chief actors or by their partisans. One thing is clear: African politics do not conform to some tidy blueprint of democratic evolution. African politics are tribal. As the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, reminded us, they are tribal both in Namibia and in Rhodesia. African politics are even now strongly influenced by the era of colonialism, and the prejudices are still very much alive.

African politics are overlaid by the emotions aroused by race and colour, as the most reverend Primate has reminded us, and many African countries have received and accepted democratic constitutions only to exchange them, by revolution, into one-Party States or worse. All those factors are present when one discusses the questions which are raised by the problems of Southern Africa. Into this fermenting kettle of fish there comes the moralist, intent on human rights and understandably impatient, and the mischief-maker with power, intent to transform confusion into anarchy. Such a scenario is scarcely exaggerated; it would test the wisdom of Solomon to try to find a fair solution.

But if the goal is to soften the antagonisms of tribalism, to eliminate the prejudices of colour and to develop democratic institutions although on an African model, are there any clear principles on which the peace-maker can proceed? By "the peace-maker" I mean either the United Nations or our country, for example, with the residual responsibilities of our colonial rule. I know that this will not be accepted as a principle, and I doubt if it really is one, but I believe that the first rule (if I may call it that) in these modern times, in this twentieth century, must be the repudiation of the use of force to achieve a political aim. An African may ask, "Who are the Europeans to talk to us like that?"; but the reason why we must do so—we and the United States, and others—is that we have seen that modern war is totally destructive of order and, if it nearly destroyed order in Europe, it would certainly totally destroy order in this turbulent country of Africa. One is bound to add that, on the evidence of the contemporary scene, Africans could be condemning themselves to a state of civil war which could last for 50 or 100 years. Wherever you look on the continent, this seems to one almost a probability. Somehow the Africans must save themselves, with the help of those who want to see a peaceful continent. If there is another principle I suggest it is the rule of non-intervention from outside. It is not for nothing that the authors of the United Nations Charter put that in the forefront of peace-making.

These precepts arc the more pertinent and urgent when it is claimed that one great Power feels that it is entitled to intervene in Africa by force, and to take sides. The Soviet Union has no concern whatever for the well-being of the Africans. In Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Rhodesia we see that that is true; and with a horrible cynicism, the Soviet leaders have made the cold-blooded calculation that the Africans, still blinded by the slogan of colonialism, will receive the Cubans as liberators. There is nothing more cold-blooded and crude than that. Unless the Africans themselves draw the correct lesson—and draw it in time—from Soviet actions in Angola and Ethiopia, they will find themselves subjected to a new dominion in which human rights and freedom mean literally nothing at all.

Against that scenario which, again, can claim is not overpainted, what should be done by the outsiders who may want to help in relation to Namibia and Rhodesia—those outsiders who are concerned with peaceful change? I shall cut what I had intended to say about Namibia. My noble friend has said it all. When the South African Prime Minister has promised independence by the end of the year and has said that he will accept the proposals made by the five Western powers, SWAPO has no excuse to use force, none at all. Nor has it any excuse to maintain the pressures of force; and it is to be hoped that the leaders of SWAPO will co-operate. South Africa, in this way, has set one example and has made one offer showing the way to peaceful change. She deserves our support inside and outside the United Nations.

I come lastly to Rhodesia. No-one who has any experience of Rhodesia will underestimate the prejudices which have operated to prevent evolutionary constitutional change towards a truly multiracial society. But now we are faced with a new and rather unexpected prospect as a result of action by Mr. Smith which has dramatically reversed previous attitudes to African majority rule. My noble friend has recalled how, time and again, Mr. Smith said that he would not have this in his lifetime. He has changed, agreed to it, signed the document which makes it certain. We are faced, therefore, with a situation where there could be African majority rule within the year. What is more, Mr. Smith and his colleagues have framed their agreement in such a way that it is without question within the Six Principles upon which successive British Governments have said that Rhodesian legal relationships with Britain and independence must be based.

Why then are there hesitations and doubts? It is because two individual Rhodesians—and in a country of the size of Rhodesia it is impossible to talk about politics without talking about personalities. Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe have so far repudiated the idea of negotiations in favour of the use of force to impose their own political pattern on Rhodesia—the pattern being, if I may use Mr. Mugabe's words, "the Marxist State"; and the means to the Marxist State would be an army directed by Mr. Nkomo and paid by Russia. One cannot avoid the contrast between the two exercises; that of Salisbury and that of Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe.

Faced with the situation in Salisbury, what was the British Government's immediate reaction? Dr. Owen said, bleakly and bluntly, of the Salisbury agreement, "It won't work". That was a cold douche for those who had sought a peaceful settlement and it was made even more icy by Mr. Andrew Young's reception. I think—indeed, I am sure—I know the reason and it is very understandable that Dr. Owen and Mr. Young should want to bring Mr. Nkomo into the settlement; for that is undoubtedly the most likely way to end the war. But, in reacting as they did at the start to the agreement in Salisbury, they inevitably created the impression that, in their view, Salisbury should make the concessions to Mr. Nkomo and his army and the concessions to force and Communism. Even though their motives were the best, I am afraid that that put Dr. Owen and Mr. Young on the wrong side.

It is a sensible objective, as my noble friend has said, to try to bring Mr. Nkomo to accept evolutionary constitutional change; but the internal leaders of the Salisbury agreement left the door open. It is very difficult to see what else they can do. But I think that it is now right to speak plainly and in a friendly way to Mr. Nkomo and, in effect, to say this: "The return should be that of one who comes in peace to be elected to his share of Rhodesian leadership and not that of one who is under the direction of a foreign power seeking political domination by force; for such a programme the British Government could give no support at all". The door is open. It is for Mr. Nkomo to walk in on a constitutional basis and in a constitutional role. I hope that Mr. Nkomo will see where his future really lies.

Then there should be, I would suggest, a straight answer and a warning to the Soviet Union against intervention, the signs of which, I am sorry to say to the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, are present, at any rate in the introduction of arms. The Soviet Union should be told that no one in Rhodesia has invited them into Rhodesia to help any section of Rhodesian opinion and to try to help in the constitutional future of Rhodesia. One thing we must remember is this: that the United Nations put the responsibility for the future of Rhodesia in relation to the British Parliament on to the British Parliament. It is the responsibility of the British Parliament and nobody else's and Russia should be told so plainly and told that we will not tolerate intervention in a country for whose future responsibility largely remains with us.

I believe that it is possible for Dr. Owen and Mr. Vance to get on to the right foot. There is the problem—and they understand it very well; and 1, too, understand it very well and so does my noble friend—of how to stage elections to fulfil that one of the Six Principles which says that the agreement when it comes must be acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole. I fell over that hurdle once, and I do not want to see other people falling over it again. It is difficult. Can you organise elections when almost a condition of them is extensive policing in order to maintain order? I, still believe that we have enough diplomatic skill and resources of statesmanship to seize this opportunity for peaceful change now that, at long last, it has come.


My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, may I having listened to his very good speech just now, ask him a question? Does he really think that sweet words are now going to influence the Patriotic Front which has achieved the present position towards a multi-racial Rhodesia? Does he really think that that is the approach which will yield results in this situation?

Lord HOME of the HIRSEL

My Lords, perhaps I may respond to the noble Baroness by saying that I did not interpret my own words as sweet.

4.30 p.m.


My Lords, I am very happy indeed to be the first from these Benches to have the opportunity of congratulating my noble friend Lord McGregor on his very fine maiden speech. When I saw he had put down his name for this debate I was intrigued to know how he was going to be able to make a noncontroversial speech on a subject of this sort. He has shown us how to do it, and I hope that he will frequently make perhaps not so non-controversial but equally well-informed and well-delivered speeches. He may even be tempted to speak on a subject in which at one time he was engaged in various capacities, that of agriculture, upon which we would certainly welcome any contributions he could make.

I am also very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, for giving us this opportunity of discussing this enormously important, difficult, frightening and painful problem. With some of what he said I agreed; I agreed in particular with his statement that, to be selective in the condemnation of evil is contemptible". That is very true, and when he said that I was awaiting his condemnation of the evil of South Africa—because that is one of the countries we are talking about—and I was awaiting his well-known resounding oratory to make it clear where he stood and where I hope the majority of his colleagues also stand. But I waited in vain.


My Lords, I do not want to interrupt the noble Lord, but I really do beg him to read my speech tomorrow. What I said about South Africa was abundantly plain.


My Lords, I listened to the noble Lord's speech and I shall read it tomorrow. He certainly showed that there were things going on in South Africa that he disapproved of and disagreed with; there is no doubt about that. But we had to wait for the most reverend Primate to give the real condemnation of the evils going on there, and I am very glad that we were able to hear about it from his authoritative lips. But I do not want to talk about South Africa or Namibia, important though they are, because I must not detain your Lordships for too long. There are many speakers to come. I shall confine myself solely to the problem of Rhodesia and, in doing so, I would ask your Lordships not to fall into the error, as so many of us do on these occasions, of talking about "the Rhodesian problem" as if it were some abstract, far-removed and impersonal affair which could be dealt with by some intellectual process.

What we are dealing with when we talk about "the Rhodesian problem" is the lives, the happiness and the ability to lead a full life of millions of individuals like all of us. It is about them that we must be thinking rather than of the political, military and economic problems of a remote country. What the people of Rhodesia want—one does not have to know very much about it to be certain of this, because they do not want anything very different from what any other person wants—is peace. They want freedom from fear, freedom from hunger; they want to be able to cultivate their fields without the threat of being shot or bombed. They want their children to be able to go to school and to grow up without the threat of kidnapping or of warfare. That is what they want and that is what we must, in alas! the very feeble ways at our disposal, attempt to give them—because, after all, for them it is quite irrelevant whether they are shot by a guerrilla, a freedom fighter or a member of the Rhodesian Front armed forces: they are shot just as fatally and painfully, no matter who fired the bullet.

What is of some significance, and we must not close our eyes entirely to this, is that the reports that one has been able to find recently in this country—whether they come from churchmen, professional investigators or journalists, those that one is inclined to believe are as unbiased as possible in a situation as fraught and tense as this—give me the impression, and I put it no stronger than that, that the majority of rural Africans in fact would prefer to see the Patriotic Front gain control of the country rather than the men in Salisbury. There was "Panorama" the other night, an article in The Times on Monday, together with many other instances. It may be biased or ignorant reporting and I may have misinterpreted them, but I am giving your Lordships the impression that I have got from these reports.

There is no getting away from the fact that, whoever they may wish to see win, the lives of all of them today are bad and unhappy lives. There are now nearly three-quarters of a million Africans living in what are called "protected villages". They have been moved from their own areas and placed behind barbed wire. They have insufficient sanitary resources and insufficient medical and educational resources. They are subject to a rigidly enforced curfew. It may be for their own protection that this has been done, and it may be because the exigencies of war—for it is war—demand it. But those are the lives these people are leading. They want an end to that. What they want now is, I repeat once more, peace. They want freedom to lead their own lives. And they want more than that, my Lords; they want more than they have ever had before. They want no longer to be second-class citizens. They want a vote and they want a say in their own country's future.

I do not believe—and I am sorry to have to say this—as the noble Lord, Lord Home, undoubtedly believes, that the Salisbury Agreement is going to give them this, even if it works. The Salisbury Agreement has many very interesting and significant factors in it. For one thing, the quadrumvirate has no say in the day-to-day running of the war. That has been removed from the transitional Administration; in other words, it is left in the hands of the military who are there at the present time, and that embraces a whole variety of things, including protected villages, censorship and so on. What is more, none of the proposals of the transitional Government are effective unless the decision is unanimous. In other words, any one man—and that man may be Mr. Smith—has the right of veto over any change.

Turning now to elections, the elections that we have all said must be free and fair and must be "one man, one vote "—is it really possible for those elections to he free and fair when there is still censorship which, as I have said, is not under the control of the provisional Administration; when two of the major would-be Parties in the elections (ZAPU and ZANU) are banned and when many of the political leaders are outside the country and either refuse or fear to return to it? That is unlikely to lead to the election of a Government who represent the full wishes of the people.

Another point is that there are to be 28 white members and 72 black members. Of the population, 4 per cent. are white and 96 per cent. ate black. In other words, every white vote counts for between 9 and 10 times as much as every black vote. It is one man, one vote, but it is not the kind of vote which lends encouragement to the belief that this country of Rhodesia, Zimbabwe or whatever it will be called, will have at its head at the end of the 12-month period a fully representative Government.

So I do not think that it is very surprising that many good, sincere and thinking Africans are opposed to these proposals. What, to me, is surprising is that some have been found, and I give them great credit for this, who have even been prepared to sit down with Mr. Smith as they did—even Nkomo and Mugabe at Geneva—in view of the sufferings which they and their friends have experienced at his hands, and at his Government's hands; and that there are today two good men, Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Sithole, who are prepared, for the sake of their country, to collaborate with him and his colleagues in an attempt to bring their country to a more peaceful and happy way of life for the people in it. That is what surprises me; not that people will not do it but that there are any who will do it and who have attempted to do it. As I see it—


My Lords, will my noble friend permit me to intervene? Is there not a very simple explanation of that? The Bishop knows that he would win the election. Mr. Mugabe knows that he would lose it. Therefore, Mr. Mugabe chooses violence. It is as simple as that.


My Lords, particularly with his legal experience, my noble friend has far greater knowledge of the bargaining and motivation of certain types of people than I have. It may be that these people about whom we are talking:, and in whom many of us are putting our trust, are no better than place-seekers trying to get a place in the sun for themselves, and to hell with their friends. That may be so, but I do not believe it. Whichever side they are on, I believe that, essentially, they are all good men, patriotic men, anxious to see the good things, for which they have striven for their country, come to fruition.

But what shall we do now? What can we do? First, I believe that we must understand the individual and collective sufferings of all those Africans who have been prominent in politics over the past 20 years; some still in detention, some in exile, some fighting and some collaborating —and I do not use that word in any derogatory sense whatsoever. That is the first thing that we must do.

The second thing that we must do is to put what has been referred to as the Communist threat into proper proportion. I differ in my political views from most noble Lords on the other side of this Chamber. I believe in a march towards Socialism. But I believe in democracy and I think that, ideally, we should achieve our Socialist aims because of the will of the people, because they want Socialism. I abhor one-Party States, detention without trial, torture, intimidation and all the other things which go with authoritarian States, whether of the Left or of the Right.

But a Marxist society can mean so very many different things. A Marxist society in the Soviet Union bears no relationship to a Marxist society in Southern Africa, and very little to a Marxist society in Latin America or in Asia. They are all very different. We should not be afraid of what passes for a Marxist society in Africa. We are not afraid—and I think that the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, mentioned this—of what is a very highly-developed Marxist society, in a manner of speaking, in Tanzania. That presents no threats at all. But what we are rightly afraid of is the advance of Russian imperialism in Africa. That is a threat to our own economic survival, it is a military threat to us and it is a threat to the whole Western way of life. That we must combat.

I would remind your Lordships that the greatest allies that those who have been trying to promote Soviet influence in Africa have ever had are the combined efforts of Mr. Vorster, and his policy of apartheid, and Mr. Smith, and his unilateral declaraion of independence. If neither of those things had taken place, Russian could not have hoped to gain any influence whatsoever in any part of Africa. So let us remember that, when we are dealing with the threat, and distinguish in our minds between the genuine threat to us of Soviet penetration, and the theoretical doctrinaire threat of some form of Marxist society which other countries have, and which we may dislike.

Having cleared our minds on this, what we must now do is, I am afraid, very unspectacular and not very different from what the noble Lord, Lord Home, has advocated. We must do our best, as my right honourable friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary and the Secretary of State of the United States have been trying to do, and are still trying to do, to bring the sides together, to make them talk with each other and, eventually, to make them understand the very real threat to the lives and well-being of all their peoples if there can be no settlement, and to make use, as they have been doing, of the good offices of Mr. Vorster—who has played a significant part, for which I, for one, am most grateful President Kaunda, President Nyerere and the other front-line Presidents. That is what must be done. It has been done and, alas, it has failed.

I am pessimistic. I do not believe that the chances of success are good. But we must go on trying, and I suggest that the time has now come to turn our backs for the moment on what has come to be called open diplomacy"; to have no more well-publicised flights in aircraft by Foreign Secretaries and high dignitaries, with batteries of cameras, television interviews and so on. We must try a quieter approach and send out people, not necessarily diplomats, who know the Africans that they are dealing with, who understand their problems, who understand how they feel and how they think and who can talk with them man to man, as old friends. With the greatest respect to the noble Lord, Lord Home, when he talks about repudiation of the use of force to achieve a political aim, I would say that one cannot use words like that to Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe. How is it possible to achieve your political aim in Rhodesia? How would it have been possible without force? It is only because force has been used that Mr. Smith has made the concessions that he has.

Lord HOME of the HIRSEL

My Lords, the noble Lord gets into difficulties here, does he not? What about Northern Ireland?


My Lords, that is perfectly true. Force sometimes has to be used. I shall not discuss it now, but our record in Northern Ireland is open to attack. When I have spoken to both friends and others, including Mr. Vorster in South Africa, exactly the same point has frequently been made to me. All that I am saying is that if we are trying to bring about a political aim in Southern Africa today, it is not very realistic to believe that it can be achieved without the use of force and purely by political means.

If we use that kind of argument to those Africans whom we are trying to influence, they will dismiss us and will say, "These people don't know what the situation is". They will pay no attention to us. That is why it is necessary to have out there people who understand that mentality—people who may not agree with it themselves but who have a genuine understanding of the motivation of the people they are speaking to.

That, I believe, is the only hope. We must do the preparatory work in that way. It will take many months and in the meantime the war will, alas! escalate. However, that policy may succeed. If it looks as though the pressure on both the Patriotic Front and the people in Salisbury is likely to succeed, that will be the time for the deus ex niachina to decend from his flying machine, with the television cameras, to sign the agreement —not before.

I hope that nothing I have said will make your Lordships think that I am an advocate of force as a means of settling disputes.

Several noble Lords: Oh!


My Lords, I am not an advocate of force, but I accept that in certain areas there are many people who believe that they can achieve their end only by force. That is the distinction. I want this question to be settled without force. If I believed that we should allow them to go ahead and fight after obtaining Soviet munitions and weapons—we should not be able to send very much there, for we have nothing to spare—there would be a bloody civil war and eventually one side or the other would win. That is what those who believe in force do; they stand back and let the fighting go on. It is because I do not believe in force that I am making these suggestions. Nor am I an advocate of the Patriotic Front. I do not know whether Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Nkomo, the Bishop, or whoever it may be has more support. However, I am quite convinced that it is only if concessions are made on both sides that there can be any peaceful settlement. The necessary concessions are more likely to be made if we act in the way that I have outlined to your Lordships this afternoon.


My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, I wonder whether he can answer one question. The noble Lord objected to the whites having 28 seats in Parliament. Would he not agree upon reflection that the people who have made not two but 40 or 50 blades of grass grow where only one grew before deserve above-average representation in Parliament, at least for the first 10 years of an independent Zimbabwe?


My Lords, I have tried very hard not to take sides. T do not want to say who deserves more votes, who deserves more money, who deserve more education for their children who deserve more hospitals for their sick. What I am trying to demonstrate to noble Lords is that those who are asking for one man, one vote are not going to be fobbed off with a form of voting which gives the whites 10 times as many votes as the blacks. It may be that they deserve 20 times as many votes; it may be that they deserve twice as many; it may be that they deserve an equal amount. But what, ostensibly, is being offered to them is equality—one man, one vote. That is not what is happening, however.

The Marquess of TWEEDDALE

My Lords, is the noble Lord aware that, whatever country in Africa is being discussed, sooner or later it will be one tribe—the strongest tribe—that will take over a single-Party government? When the noble Lord speaks about the use of force, I believe that there is a much better and more applicable word which carries greater weight in Africa: it is the very short word "dash".


My Lords, I heard somebody murmur, "If you ask the noble Lord another question, it will start him off again". I shall not be started off again but will very happily speak quietly to the noble Lord about his question.

4.55 p.m.

The Earl of ONSLOW

My Lords, I think that it must be recognised that the noble Lord, Lord McGregor of Durris, has made an important contribution to the debate today in your Lordships' House. It must be hoped that he will give us more tutorials with the same authority on other matters as he has given us on the University of Salisbury—hopefully not controversial, perhaps, but even if he is controversial and even if one disagrees with what he has to say it will be well worth listening to.

I had on the Order Paper for debate a Motion on Rhodesia. I am delighted that it has now become a full dress debate introduced by my noble friend Lord Carrington on a proper day in the middle of the week, with his knowledge, with his authority and with his complete and utter condemnation of apartheid. That was absolute. My noble friend's knowledge of Namibia and his travels have made his contribution much better than that of most of us.

The most reverend Primate has set out the position of the Church of England. It was a heartening position to take. He came down four-square against the tyranny of the Boer, of the Russian, or of the Ovambo. It does not matter of what colour or creed the tyranny is made; it is tyranny, and tyranny is absolutely wrong. Britain's power in Africa has sadly diminished, but not her interests. Britain's power is now confined to a small influence on Rhodesia. If this were not the case, I think it would be reasonable to suggest that South Africa, Rhodesia and Namibia would not be in the same mess as they are in now, and almost certainly UDI in Rhodesia would not have happened. This fact must always be borne in mind.

It is perhaps worthremembering—indeed, my noble friend Lord Carrington mentioned it—that the Boers were in South Africa before the Bantu. They collided with them at the Battle of Blood River 150 years after they first settled there. Their attitude to outside influence and ideas has been horrifyingly negative; from the time of the Great Trek and before they have closed their minds to anybody else's ideas—to any form of liberalism in its best sense. They are incapable of seeing that the inquest on Steve Biko was exactly the same as one of Stalin's show trials. It was an horrendous, horrifying aberration of justice.

I now come to ask the question: What has produced Mr. Smith's Damascene highway conversion to majority rule? It has not been a sudden rush of belief in the equality of man. It has not been a sudden rush of belief that liberalism is the great moral crusade of our times. The successful missionary has been the guns of Mr. Mugabe and the collapse of the Portuguese empire and also, belatedly, sanctions. The economic consequences of the war and sanctions have changed Mr. Smith's mind for him, and we must give him credit for this. He has done a complete "U "turn, and he must be given the credit for it. It is difficult to eat every single word you have said up to now, and Mr. Smith has done it with credit.

What has changed Bishop Muzorewa's mind, the Reverend Ndabaninge Sithole's mind and Chief Chirau's mind? Funnily enough, the obverse of what has changed Mr. Smith's mind. They have not got the guns but they do have the influence. They have been outfought in the battle which the noble Lord, Lord Watson, so graphically described as being essential to the future of Southern Africa. So they have also got an interest in joining with Mr. Smith. So what has happened? A "cocktail "of self-interest has produced something which we can all look to for hope.

Liberalism has in fact been forced upon a large section of the Rhodesian population. For myself, I welcome this with open arms, although whether that will influence one Matabele, one Shona or one white suburbanite in Salisbury, I do not know. Unfortunately, the men with the guns are not imbued with this spirit. Understandably perhaps, after the bitterness caused by the privilege and patronising of the vast majority of the white settlers, it is asking a lot of Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Nkomo, after their years in Smith's prisons, but we must ask it of them.

I think what Her Majesty's Government should be trying to do is to find out whether the internal settlement really fits in with the Six Principles. The noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, has said that in his opinion it does, and certainly on prima facie evidence it seems that it does. How can one find out? A general election will be a reasonable time away and all the time the conditions for a general election are bad and getting worse. Bishop Muzorewa made his name and following by showing the Pearce Commission that the Home proposals were not acceptable to African opinion. This was done by an examinatory process and not an electoral one. Surely it would be possible to put together a new examinatory process now, to decide in detail whether or not the settlement is acceptable. If it is so shown I suggest that sanctions should he withdrawn as soon as possible, independence recognised and every single aid be given to this new and slightly unnatural plant of liberalism in Rhodesia.

We must not be bound by promises given, even if they were promises given to Mr. Nyerere 500 miles away from the front line in his one-Party State. We must not, in any circumstances, listen to lectures on freedom from the incompetent thugs who run Mozambique, propped up by Russian bayonets—if that is not a rather uncomfortable position to find them in. Let us remember that those Russians do not follow or admire the traditions of Voltaire, Pym, Locke or Cobden; they admire the traditions of Ivan the Terrible and Stalin, and to my mind there is a great and horrifying difference between them. The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, introduced an even more worrying note. He implied that the Russians had the right of veto over your Lordships' House in sanctions. I am sure it will not worry the Kremlin but I for one will not vote or think how Mr. Brezhnev or Mr. Kosygin tell me: Mrs. Thatcher's lapdog, possibly, but not Mr. Brezhnev's!

I think the positions of Seretse Khama and Doctor Kuanda who endeavour to run free and liberal States—multiracial States—under appalling difficulties must be different. In my view, the best way in which we can help those two people and give them aid for the special problems they have, is to use our influence in finding out whether the Six Principles do apply to the internal settlement and, if so, to back it. The worry is that perhaps it does not. As the noble Lord, Lord Walston, said, recently there have been articles in the Press implying that perhaps the really important principle of the settlement being acceptable to the Rhodesian people as a whole may not be so in the tribal Trust lands, as an article in The Times and the Panorama "programme, and I think an article in one of the Sunday papers indicated. One cannot know until some form of test has been carried out.

The internal settlement Ministers have turned down the Anglo-US Conference invitation, but they want Messrs. Mugabe and Nkomo to come and take part in the political process in Rhodesia with words, now that guns have won for the African what words failed to win. This is the paradox, that the guns, unfortunately, were necessary to cause the change, but now they are unnecessary. I will suggest a way which, if it were to succeed, would be a help. If it does not succeed, then the future is bad indeed. Guns are plentiful, are being given away and are easy to use; words and statesmanship are a rarer and more civilised commodity. But Dr. Owen must continue to talk and continue to try to persuade the factions to come together.

Incidentally, Andrew Young's silence would be a blessed relief as well. It is a great improvement to have Cyrus Vance taking a leading role, and perhaps Dr. Owen could point out that, just because Andrew Young is a black American, descended presumably from a West African coast tribe, he will not necessarily understand and get on with Southern African blacks. Just because I am white—or whitish—does not mean that I have an instinctive understanding of Ruthenes or Croats. That is as logical a corollary as, with respect, is the racist corollary that just because Mr. Young is black, he will understand the Matabele. His knowledge appears to be fragmentary, his position based on his ability to deliver the southern black vote for President Carter. This may be an admirable ability, but it is not necessarily a sound basis for a deep understanding of the problems of Southern Africa.

One day, and probably before too many months are out, a recognition decision must be made. Let us assume that there is an election and a blackish Government is in power in Rhodesia by next January. Are the sanctions still to remain? Is recognition still to be withheld? Soon we shall have to make up our minds. Let us make up our minds on evidence, not on prejudice or from false loyalty to the United Nations, some of whose members are far from fastidious as to how their Heads of State got to power and, even less, as to how they kept it.

If the internal settlement, with all its flaws—and that is why I said "blackish "—can be shown to be within the Six Principles (and the evidence so far is that it probably can) let us send a Commission. I come back now to Bishop Muzorewa and to Lord Pearce. Let us send a Commission under somebody as distinguished as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Pearce, with perhaps a Canadian or Indian or a distinguished African judge to go with him; with perhaps a crusading journalist and perhaps a liberal professor —a really high-powered independently-minded and well staffed Commission to investigate. I have reason to believe that if this was put to the Rhodesian authorities and to the present Rhodesian leaders, they would look favourably upon the idea.

If that mission were to report back that they were satisfied with the settlement, I would be content, and I hope that Her Majesty's Government would be content; I hope too that Messrs. Mugabe and Nkomo would be content, because (hey ought to be. If they were not they could change their name from the "Patriotic Front" to the "Treacherous Front", because their interests would show that they were solely wanting to get their Animal Farm snouts into the trough of power as opposed to serving their countries, which their abilities in fact enable them to do.

5.8 p.m.

The Earl of LYTTON

My Lords, I have the impression that we are on the brink of decisive changes in Africa, brought about by the intervention of the Soviet Union on a substantial scale, with the assurance that that scale will be augmented and pursued throughout the whole of the eastern seaboard of Africa leading us to suppose that they are intending to enclose the Indian Ocean and make it a Soviet sea. I think that is the chief significance of this debate and I wrote to the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, before taking part in it, indicating that while we are focussed, as the Soviet Union wishes us to focus, on white interests in Southern Africa, the Soviet Union and its Cuban allies will probably have acquired the Ports of Massawa, Assab, Djibouti, Berbera, Mogadishu and Kismayu, extending an enormous distance along the eastern seaboard. Some of this we could well have prevented and did not.

As this is an important occasion, I should like to confine myself to saying where I stand and with whom I agree. I agreed in almost all respects with the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington. With regard to his points on the Patriotic Front, I had a question I would like to have asked had he been here, but perhaps it can be answered. Naturally, I would support efforts to incorporate the support of the Patriotic Front in the existing internal arrangements, but not, and in no circumstances, at the expense of incorporating the terrorists as part of the Security Forces. If that is done, the terrorists will swallow up the rest like a boa constrictor. I wonder whether he has the same view, because I am very anxious that agreement should go forth.

After my last speech a representative of the chiefs in Rhodesia wrote indicating their pleasure at what I had said, and this morning I received from a white friend whom I last met 47 years ago, who is a rancher, the same pleasure. My pleasure is even greater now, because I looked forward to an internal agreement, and since the last occasion when we debated there is not only the germs of an internal agreement but an internal government which has taken separate decisions as such; and that, I feel, deserves our full support today. We have been hammering for an internal agreement, and here it is in as good a form as it could possibly be. I am aware that the Patriotic Front is not in it, and for my part I note that what the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said of the leader of SWAPO, that terrorism is the only path, is repeatedly uttered from Maputo by Mugabe's propaganda machine, monitored, as I get it, from the BBC. Therefore, I am not hopeful about that. And I myself, having had a taste of Soviet Marxism in Vienna, of which they controlled a part some time ago, of Marxism in Yugoslavia, of attempted Marxism in Greece, of Marxism in Bulgaria, know there is a certain common pattern. Slaughter is an essential ingredient; you must get rid of the class of people who have some education.

This brings me to the point of the speech made by our maiden speaker, the noble Lord, Lord McGregor of Durris, who spoke persuasively and well about the university in Salisbury. I also heard the speech of the most reverend Primate, and I feared lest something of what he said should be taken by President Carter, if he reads our debate, as representative of European colonialism as a whole. I served in various parts of Kenya, the highlands and the deserts, about halfway through our colonial period; that is, 50 years ago. At that time one could see very readily what had happened. We came to an Africa which had nothing, produced nothing but its subsistence, and barely that, which was riddled with diseases of beasts and men, with frequent waves of smallpox. We have raised the standard of living beyond belief in every kind of department, which would take me hours to recount; but perhaps I could merely take the cow, the teacup cow that became the 500 gallon cow. We have more than doubled the expectation of life of the average, and much more than doubled it for those we were actually able to come into contact with. Africa had nothing, no technicians, nobody who could read or write, and it is a great service that the Europeans have done; I may say that the Turks made a good contribution in the northern parts of Africa before us. This colonial era did serve a fine purpose, and of Rhodesia I think I might say: She seems to hang upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear", which was what Shakespeare's Romeo said when he caught the first glimpse of Juliet. That was what she was like until we knocked her about. One hopes to preserve the continuity of white and not regard it as a blemish and treat it with a sneer.

Sometimes I am asked whether any African has ever agreed with what I say. I say, Yes, most emphatically, two or three millions have listened to what I say on the subject and have agreed with me; in particular one man, a Prime Minister, who said, "The colonial era was a necessity. We are even grateful for it, and it must now, of course, end, and we welcome your continued participation and help". But, he said, "All colonialism must end, black colonialism as well as white". What have we done about this? We proclaim principles of self-determination; we have been proclaiming them from Alfred the Great to Winston the Great. We will not stand foreign bondage under people abroad. We have resisted it again and again, and twice in my own lifetime against the Germans. But we have exported bondage and imposed it upon Africans.

We have sustained the worst form of imperial bondage, that of the Abyssinians, year after, year the whole of my life. For the Abyssinian Empire we destroyed the League of Nations virtually. For the Abyssinian Empire we opposed the less important Mussolini and threw him into the arms of the most important enemy, Hitler. At the end of the war we handed back liberated peoples to this dreadful bondage of Abyssinia. Now we are paying for it, because the corrupt Empire is disintegrating, as it was bound to do, and we could have been on the other side. We fought a four year war, paying for it with our taxpayers' money, in order to preserve, at their request, a part of that fragmentation and bondage which exists in Northern Kenya. From Eritrea southwards we could have had friends and allies and we stand now in Africa almost with none.

Therefore, I endorse Lord Carrington's emphatic remarks about the necessity of not having two standards, and of recognising the rights of all peoples. But those rights must extend to blacks as well as whites, and it is wholly improper that we should subscribe to and impose bondage on Africans. We have complained recently. The noble Lord, Lord Home, was, incidentally, instrumental in imposing that bondage—and here I accuse nobody of dishonourable conduct; no man is more honourable than the noble Lord, Lord Home, but he did impose this bondage on the northern parts of Kenya. He complained the other day that the Russians were supplying commandos and machines of war in order to crush the Somalis in what is Somali territory, the Ogaden. However, Government after Government of ours have done the same for four years. All the field commanders in the four-year war in the north-east district of Kenya were British Regular officers lent for the purpose. We paid the bill. We cannot complain if the Russians do exactly what we did. The only difference is that we took four years to end this war, and they took four days. They are more efficient. There is no difference of principle.

The problem of South Africa and Rhodesia is associated with the Soviet drive throughout the whole length of Africa, particularly on the eastern seaboard. I am sorry that we do not seem to concentrate on anything except a solution for our white kith and kin, of whom I have some in Rhodesia and elsewhere. I never prepare a speech. When it comes to 13 minutes or so, enough is enough.

5.21 p.m.


My Lords, as I speak as one who has lived in Rhodesia for over 20 years, I am naturally pleased by the deep concern for the need to draw attention to the problems of Southern Africa and to look for a solution. It happens that I live in the eastern border mountains which, as some of your Lordships may know, lately have not been without their share of incidents. My brief remarks, therefore, will be confined to the situation in Rhodesia, as I see it, from the point of view of a Rhodesian.

When will this war end? This question is on everyone's lips, black and white. Time goes by, but there seems to be no let-up in the killing, the burning, the destruction and general disruption of life. As blacks have remarked to me recently, after a particularly stringent measure had been instituted to combat the incursions of the freedom fighters, "We have a new Government, but things have got worse". But have they? I personally do not think so. As one of the most sceptical of the intentions of Mr. Smith to hand over power, and as one who was not prepared to accept that he meant what he said to Dr. Kissinger, and subsequently to the world, until he was seen physically to be out of office, I am now quite certain that white minority rule is over.

Some of you—perhaps all of you—have accepted that this is so. But, in fact, I must warn you that there are Right-wing elements in Rhodesia that are trying to sabotage what has so far taken place. If they do, the result could be catastrophic. There cannot, and there will not, be any turning back. Maybe Mr. Smith's rejection of all that his Rhodesian Front stood for has not ended the war, and outwardly there may not appear to be much improvement in the situation. However, I feel that this concentration on ending the war, and giving this aspect of the problem absolute priority, is akin to not seeing the wood for the trees.

What is it that we are all seeking? Surely, a transfer of power from an unrepresentative minority to the majority without any breakdown in responsible administration or further deterioration in security. Any deal with elements outside Rhodesia, including the external nationalist leaders, that compromises this fundamental objective would be a betrayal of 20 years of endeavour on the part of the genuine black leaders and the stated intention of successive British Governments. This is not to say that both Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe are not genuine black leaders. They are. But they represent a minority, just as Mr. Smith does of whites, and as do the leaders of the multiracial Party, the National Unifying Force. Just as the whites are not in accord, no more do think are Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe. However, with the signing and implementation of the Salisbury agreement I believe the main purpose of the war is over. But it would be quite unrealistic to expect a dramatic cease-fire in what, after all, is really a confused guerrilla war—although "guerrilla campaign "would perhaps be a better way of describing it.

It seems to me that it is the apparent failure of the interim Government to de-escalate the war that is casting doubts in the minds of people outside Rhodesia. The members of the Executive Council, and in particular the three black members, are in real control of the situation. From discussions that I have had, I am convinced that the security forces are at their disposal. In saying this I would remind your Lordships that only a few days ago the chief of combined operations, General Walls, made a public statement when he called upon the interim Administration, or interim Executive Council, to point out who the enemy was. So, in fact, he is proposing to take his orders from them. At least one member of that Executive Council has the authority and the ability to control the "boys in the bush", as they call them. However, they cannot succeed unaided. What they require is not scepticism but backing in their efforts. Perhaps this is not to be the moment for official recognition.

I must admit that it would be unusual to recognise the most undemocratically unelected Government that Rhodesia has ever had. The three black leaders were, in fact, appointed to join Mr. Smith. The remainder of the Ministers, who were recently appointed, were also not in any way, as we say, democratically elected. But there they are.

My noble friend Lord Carrington drew attention to the establishment, possibly in Salisbury, of some sort of diplomatic authority and that I believe is essential. Surely it is possible to break the diplomatic ice by stationing in Salisbury a Commissioner? I do not think that that would in anyway establish the present Executive Committee as de jure. Nor do I think that the legal people should draw attention to that: after all, the administration that is there now is de facto and it is time that we said so.

At the risk of over-simplification, may I say that Rhodesia's present problems are the failure to get recognition of its interim government, the continuation of the war and last, but not least, sanctions. I assume that, were Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe to make their peace with the interim government, those problems would fall away. Perhaps we could be assured by Her Majesty's Government that they would recommend to the United Nations the lifting of sanctions and recognition of the interim government in such circumstances.

There is a further question. Let us suppose that they did make that recommendation and it was turned down. I should very much hope that, in those circumstances, this country and America would support the interim government and the measures that they are taking. If the interim government are not able, following a genuine attempt, to come to terms with the Patriotic Front, but there is a significant return of guerrillas, would Her Majesty's Government take the same action? I very much hope so.

The whole of Rhodesia—black and white—is sick and tired of the war. The guerrillas are tired of it; the refugees outside the country are tired of it, as are the host countries of the camps in which they and the guerrillas reside. They are tired of it not only because of the waste and folly of war, but because there seems no longer to be any point in it. In fact, the detainees are being released, and I hope that they will shortly all be out. The people in the protected villages in some areas are starting to be allowed to go back to their homes. Feeding and sheltering guerrillas is now becoming a penance to those who, in the past, rather welcomed it.

There are also the leaders who, rather than be detained, fled the country to become alien doctors, lawyers and professors. Many are back in Rhodesia and more are returning. Those are the people—I might even call them the intelligentsia—who think that the interim government could succeed, and they have come back to help it achieve the first majority rule government. They say, to echo the words of Bishop Muzorewa: "We do not wish Zimbabwe to become a banana republic ". T share that sentiment and I am sure that all your Lordships do too.

5.34 p.m.


My Lords, I am very glad that the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, has put it so clearly that those who would offend the policies and practices carried out in Southern Africa and appease those in power are motivated by two chief issues. The first concerns economics in the shape of huge profits through cheap labour, valuable raw materials and uranium; the second, the strategic importance of Southern Africa in an alleged Soviet build-up in the Indian Ocean. For those reasons Southern Africa is the heart of reaction in the Western World today, although openly the system of apartheid can find very few supporters. That is the dilemma under which the multinational firms and the militarists have to operate.

Apartheid and colonialism where practised create rebellion and liberation fighters who are quickly labelled as Russian tools and Communists, to be destroyed at all costs. This destruction of the forces of liberation has been the role of the Smith regime in Zimbabwe and Vorster's in Namibia and Southern Africa. However there are those in your Lordships' House who see them as knights rescuing Africa from the Communist dragon. To support that terrifying picture is the build up of Soviet naval forces in the Indian Ocean. If one travels throughout the world on business or pleasure which is one most likely to see —a Soviet warship or an American warship? In some of the most beautiful tranquil bays one sees huge American warships, moored submarines and groups of American sailors—a sight that one has seen ever since World War If. Rarely does one come across a Soviet ship. If one does show up there is immediately an outcry of Soviet expansion.

It seems likely and natural in the present world power situation that, if one great Power has bases, the other one will try to have them too. That is most unfortunate. However, to counter this alleged Soviet threat, Southern Africa has become of great strategic importance to NATO which has now been drawn into South African politics as an American pawn. To save the present valuable economic set up in Zimbabwe, Namibia and South Africa, tremendous Anglo-American pressure is being brought to bear on the so-called front line States. All agreements and discussions begin and end in Pretoria, the real "big brother Smith's main importance is now merely as a tool for white imperialist strategy which is to prevent liberation movements from achieving their true aim—a determination to win a completely new society free from any colonial domination. However, the imperialists are no longer in a position to maintain the old rule and are now forced to give concessions. Hence the international settlement plans in Rhodesia and the halfhearted condemnation of South Africa in Namibia. However, the whites are determined to maintain their grip on white domination and it is clearly shown in the details of the Smith internal settlemem.

Last Saturday I attended a conference called by Liberation, the Labour Party, the London Co-operative Society and trade unions. Joshua Nkomo, one of the leaders of the Patriotic Front, was to be present as chief speaker. The Press and mass media were telephoning all Friday night to ask whether he had arrived. They were informed that he had. At the conference on Saturday morning Reuters were present. Mr. Nkomo spoke for an hour and a half and then answered numerous questions from a lively audience anxious for information. There was not a word in any of the Sunday papers or on the media about that meeting, despite the fact that Nkomo, an absolute linchpin in today's politics, was present.

The following are some of the often hostile questions that were asked and Nkomo's replies. On the question of arms, Nkomo said: We have to get arms where we can. I flew openly from Heathrow to Moscow to ask for arms". Meanwhile, where does Smith get his arms and planes? On the accusation of violence by the liberation forces and the guerrilla fighters. Nkomo said: But the whole history of Africa being carved up by Europe was violent. Britain waged many open wars against African States and tribes. The Africans in South Africa are today held down by violence". Yet last week, in your Lordships' House, a factual history of Africa, written by that expert African historian, Basil Davidson, describing those wars of violence, was denounced as biased by a Minister of Her Majesty's Government.

On the question of Cubans, Nkomo said: The Cubans were invited to Angola after the Portuguese had been defeated by the Angolan forces. On the other hand, the South Africans and Americans were never invited. When asked what was implied by "black rule "he insisted that the Patriotic Front was not for the expulsion of whites; that it was not supporting any colour or shape of nose; that it did not support those vulgar, unscientific theories about colour which are often held by whites. He said that it was fighting for real, complete independence for everyone living in Rhodesia. He said that land and property must be justly resettled, cheap labour abolished and agriculture revitalised. He said that it had been ruined by the drift to the towns by industry's demand for cheap labour.

A neighbour of mine in the country, the son of a big landlord, went to Rhodesia to manage a very large agricultural estate. He was horrified by the conditions of the workers on the land; he returned to England and took up painting to try to put across the horrors that he had seen out there. He is a Tory but he asked me, a Communist, if I could help him put on an exhibition of his pictures. Unfortunately, the content was clear but the pictures were not very good.

On the question of the army during transition, Nkomo said: We want our army, which stands for change, to be the majority. Smith's army stands for the status quo. We would agree to a United Nations force if it just observed, but it must not intervene in negotiations.". When asked whether a one-Party Marxist State was the aim, he emphasised: After we have won true liberation for our people, democracy will be worked out through a thorough consensus.". That cannot be compared with the terms of the internal settlement. The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, made great scare of Russia pledging to support liberation movements. Britain used to play that role in history. We helped liberate Greece, and it is a pity that there is not more Byronic idealism in this House today.

The cruelties and horrors of South Africa are well known, even to its friends. But Britain is largely responsible for its continuation. She is the largest single investor with £3 billion—60 per cent.—of its total foreign investment. According to the Financial Times on 24th February this year, there were 400 British firms with 1,000 subsidiary branches. We can remember the exposure in The Guardian of the terribly low wages and poor conditions in these companies. Practically nothing has altered since. African trade unions are refusea official recognition and excluded from machinery for collective bargaining. What a paradise for the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, and Mrs. Thatcher! In 1976 banning orders were imposed on 23 organisers of unions, and two have died in security police detention.

Africans exist only as cheap labour. Employers are free to set the wages and conditions of African workers without consultation. These workers cannot vote; they cannot choose where to live or where to work and they have no freedom to travel. The whites, who comprise 16.5 per cent. of the population, receive 67 per cent. of the national cake.

Noble Lords are not simply listening to the one Communist Member of this House giving his views; I believe that I am expressing the feelings of millions of blacks in their own countries Rhodesia, Namibia and South Africa—who are struggling in every possible way known to them to own their own land and to be recognised as human beings. I have recently made friends with a young white South African who fell in love with an Indian girl while in South Africa. The deep love was mutual, but the law forbade them to appear together. They managed to leave and came to England. When I asked them what the first great difference was that they found in England, they said, "To be able to walk down the street hand in hand".

Thanks to the multinational economic empires and their racialist allies, the strength of the enemies of liberation is still great, but even greater is the loathing and discredit of world opinion. How much longer can they stand up against that?

5.49 p.m.

Viscount MILLS

My Lords, at the outset I must declare a deep-seated and long-standing interest in Africa. For nearly 20 years I worked in Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service in Kenya and I must say that I felt certain nostalgia when the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, spoke. I find it very difficult indeed to try to transfer a little of my relevant experience, gained in helping a country like Kenya to achieve independence and stability, to the complex problems of Southern Africa.

Before this debate I thought about two objectives which I felt any nation outside Southern Africa who genuinely wanted to help ought to consider. They are pretty simple and the first is very simple indeed and has been much spoken about. However, I still feel the necessity simply to repeat it. It is the attainment, or the maintenance in each country, of responsible government by peaceful means based on one man, one vote. It is what we have been talking about this afternoon. Where necessary, the attainment must continue and where, in certain countries, this objective is being lost countries like Angola we must do all in our power to try to retrieve it.

The second objective that I thought about was the need politically to help create a situation in Southern Africa where force, coercion and outside interference cannot impose a political decision on any country. The noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, particularly talked about repudiation of force. I shall talk about it in rather more detail. I am going to talk about the second objective, and may I say at the outset that I do not want your Lordships to feel that any remarks I may make could be construed in any way as supporting the present South African policy or apartheid, both of which I intensely dislike. But I do believe that we and the United States of America have to take a much more positive stance in Southern Africa. It may already be too late to prevent Communism, Marxism, or whatever you like to call it, from taking over the whole of Southern Africa, but I do stress with all the strength at my command that we must try.

A few days ago I was reading John Gunther's writing in 1955 about his fears, as an impartial observer, in those days about whether Africa would go the same way as most of Asia and become a Communist continent. What I am saying is not just a hollow reflection of what I know many South Africans say for their own particular reasons in order to bolster up their ideology, but I do believe that we and the USA need to build up an anti-Communist bloc with as many countries as possible.

So far as Rhodesia and this particular objective are concerned, I want to say one thing only, drawn from my colonial experience which I think is still valid today; and that is that tribalism is, and always has been, the key to any situation in any predominantly African country. Unless in the first place you take note of the leaders, or the people who say they are leaders, and relate it to their tribal grouping, their tribal power and responsibility, you are not going to get to a position where you will get a settlement that sticks. Whatever happens in the long run, or whatever tribe eventually gets predominance at the start, you must take this into account. That is why in Rhodesia it is most important that any leader who represents tribal groups must be considered and brought in together with those on the internal settlement.

Regarding South Africa, I think we must be clear about our responsibilities and we ought now to try to influence any partners who will join with us, such as the United States of America. I believe the time is here when we must do a tough and necessary deal with South Africa. By that I mean that we need to give to South Africa intensive and far-reaching economic and strategic and practical support on the one hand in exchange for real progress in reduction of racialist policies, many of which have been described today. I do not want to leave your Lordships with any doubts that that seems to be the issue that we ought to concentrate on in the wider field. If we can succeed in doing this we can, I believe, build up the bloc that I have spoken about.

I believe that the United States may well be tending to have cold feet about this sort of approach. It seems to show in their policies. I do not think it does any good to dismiss Southern Africa as unimportant. There is a tendency these days, with the spread of Communism, for people to say, "The latest acquisition is not our country"; but every country brings it one nearer to our own country. Perhaps the United States tends to over concentrate in this matter, probably because of its disastrous results in its view in Vietnam. I think therefore that we have to make this sort of approach in order to succeed. We need today to reassess the situation, to decide on correct priorities for keeping the remaining areas of Southern Africa free and not dominated by Communism. By that I do not mean that we are talking about force; we are talking about economic aid, about anything in our power to influence away from joining these people, giving support economically and strategically as a counter to Soviet and Cuban efforts. Only by doing this can we obtain a change in attitude in South Africa and the treatment of all people.

The question of free elections in Rhodesia will, I hope, influence the nearby States who find themselves in great difficulty, particularly Malawi, where their problem is that it is so easy to lean on Soviet and Cuban forces for support rather than to take heed of a really strong position in Southern Africa supported by ourselves and by the United States.

5.57 p.m.


My Lords, this is a fascinating debate but it looks like going on for a very long time and I will do my best to break the sound barrier by keeping within single figures of minutes. The debate has underlined very clearly that the problems of Southern Africa are complex, inter-connected but different, and that they derive from and closely concern Europe and Europeans. The Western nations have been involved from the beginning, above all perhaps Britain, sometimes for ill but mostly for good, as the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, was refreshingly reminding us just now. But we do bear our responsibility from which we cannot escape. Interwoven in the history are a whole series of factors such as the advance of the missionaries, the ambition of Cecil Rhodes, the scramble for Africa by the colonial Powers who very often imposed boundaries on tribal areas which bore little relation to reality, from which we suffer to this day, the importation of Asiatics which introduced another element into the problem, which has not been very much touched on today, and the settlement of the South African question in 1909, which at the time was thought to be such an act of broadminded and generous statesmanship but was brought about without any consultation with the wishes of the majority of the people in the country; namely, natives, as they were called at that time.

In due course under Afrikaner rule apartheid, which has concerned us considerably during the debate, has been increasing its grip. We all deplore that, no one more than I, but in all honesty and humility I think we should also face the fact that both in Africa and in Asia the British themselves have often shown a degree of racial arrogance and intolerance, certainly in the past, and some I suppose would claim that we even show it in our own country today.

I do not want to enter into detail on any of the main subjects that have been discussed. On Rhodesia all I need say is that I agree with I think every word that fell from the lips of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington—I nearly called him "my noble friend"; Perhaps I am allowed to do that. I particularly support his welcome for the internal settlement, which is a most remarkable development to anyone familiar with the previous history, as other speakers have pointed out. I strongly support his plea for hoping that the Government will give a slightly less tepid welcome to the settlement, but at the same time will try to expand and develop it so that it can become an umbrella to bring in others under its hold.

I also strongly support some of the suggestions that came from the most reverend Primate, and particularly for the need for an international or external presence in Rhodesia itself—whether this be in the form of a United Nations' force of some kind, or a military commander, or as I, certainly in the early stages, would like to see, in the form of a strong British diplomatic mission, and possibly later a British political personality, I do not know. However, I am quite sure that some form of outside force is necessary to grip the situation as a whole and carry it forward.

I want to add only two brief comments on what has been said. First, I think that the Patriotic Front have their importance; and this is perhaps a partial answer to some of the things that the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, said, because undoubtedly they enjoy a degree of support inside the territory. Nobody knows how much support it is, but it seems clear from recent publications, and perhaps the recent BBC review, that there is an element of support among certain of the younger generation of Rhodesian Africans for what are known as "the Boys".

At the other end of the scale, I would say one word about the Europeans. I know the difficulties of Mr. Smith's position, but it seems to me important that he should be retained in the interim set-up. I can see that there are arguments against, but without the Europeans when the final settlement comes early next year, one hopes, supporting the whole machinery of government, there could well be chaos. It seems to me that Mr. Smith—and I thought that what the noble Lord, Lord Plunket, said on this subject was significant—still has an important part to play both in encouraging the Europeans to support the settlement, which is still necessary, and also in maintaining their morale in the early days of the new set-up, which are bound to be difficult for them. Here I agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, said: that the Europeans must be willing to make adjustments to what will be a very different way of life for them.

So long as a solution of the Rhodesian problem evades us, there will be agony not only for Rhodesia but also for many of its neighbours. I think, for example, of Zambia, whose situation has been one of considerable distress for some time, and is now made all the worse by the drastic fall in the price of copper and the serious shortage of foreign exchange from which she is suffering. I think also of Botswana, where the guerrilla war has proved particularly hard on a territory large in size but small in people, and with a long border almost certainly inadequately defended and across which come terrorists and anti-terrorist forces. I am sure we were all distressed by the tragedy of the young Love boy, and also by another tragedy which, so far as I can see, received considerably less publicity in this country; the 15 members of the Botswana Defence Force who were massacred by forces crossing the border. The long line has certainly become a nightmare.

No one who has grappled with the problems of Central Africa, as I used to do some years ago, would dare to be optimistic today. It has been right that I so sombre a note has been struck, but I should like to end on perhaps a somewhat happier note. When I said earlier that there had been no consultation with the African population at the time of the creation of the Union of South Africa there was in fact one exception. The South Africa Act provided for the transfer of the High Commission territories to South Africa, but at the time pledges were given in Parliament, and in the House of Lords, that the transfer would not be considered by the British Government without the approval of Parliament and without consultation with the African inhabitants.

That was a very remarkable pledge to have given as long ago as 1909, and it was honoured. I think it is to the credit of this Government and Parliament that that pledge was kept, and eventually, as one knows, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland emerged as fully independent territories. I visited Botswana last year, I had been there several times earlier. Apart from the shadow of Rhodesia, which of course casts a dark mark, it would be difficult to find a happier or more contented territory at this time. Thanks to mineral development its economy has prospered. The new capital in Gaborone is flourishing, and practically from scratch an efficient Civil Service, Parliament, and all the paraphernalia of business and commerce has been developed.

Above all, the atmosphere is quite remarkable. In shops, hotels, homes, sporting places, there is complete mixing of the races and no rigidity whatsoever. A sizeable number of people from this country live there. Many of them have taken out citizenship and are working either for the Government or in the community. This seems to me to be race relations at its best. It gives a model, and is an example that there is no reason should not be followed in due course by every territory in Southern Africa, the affairs of which we have been discussing this evening. It is an example of what can be done under enlightened leadership. The leadership has been under the President, Sir Seretse Khama, who will be visiting this country shortly. I am sure that many of his friends will want to take the opportunity to welcome him here and to congratulate him on the achievements of his country, and particularly to wish his country well in the successful efforts it is making to uphold the dignity of man without any distinction of race, colour, or creed.

6.9 p.m.


My Lords, like other noble Lords I shall confine my remarks to Rhodesia, although I shall touch on the subject of South Africa in so far as any settlement reached in Rhodesia may ultimately affect what happens in South Africa, because it seems to me obvious that any settlement that is achieved north of the Limpopo River is but a curtain-raiser for what in due course must take place south of it. That is an aspect to which I shall return later.

What should be our main aims at the present time? I believe that basically they are two. We should seek to hand over the administration to responsible majority rule after free elections in accordance with the best traditions of British colonial policy. Secondly, we must try to ensure that the transfer of power takes place with the minimum bloodshed and the minimum interference with the economic life of the community. Those should be our objectives and they should override any short-term interests, such as placating the so-called front-line Presidents who wish to place in power their own nominees, or currying favour with other African States on whom we or the Americans are to some extent economically dependent. Rhodesia is a British colony. We have the responsibility and we must do what we think is best for the people as a whole.

If one looks at the Anglo-American proposals in this light, they strike me as seriously defective. Indeed, I think they could be a recipe for civil way. First, they are unrealistic; they will not work because there is not the will or the desire on the part of the African leaders to make them work. They are at loggerheads today, just as they have been at loggerheads for the last 15 years. To weld into a new Power the disparate elements of the terrorist forces with those whom they have been fighting so recently is surely straining credulity to breaking point. And what would be the effect on the white population who staff the civil service and are the mainstay of the economy? There is little doubt that they would up sticks and go, and who could blame them? After all, as has been said, not only is Mr. Mugabe a self-confessed Marxist; he is hand in glove with the Russians and Cubans and he has publicly stated that the white Rhodesian leaders should be put on trial after majority rule.

It has of course been said that the Patriotic Front are largely responsible for bringing Mr. Smith to the negotiating table and it would therefore be unfair to exclude them from the fruits of their victory, but I do not think that argument stands up to close examination. What forced Mr. Smith to negotiate was not the victories of the Patriotic Front —indeed, there have been no victories—but the collapse of Portuguese rule in Mozambique and the impossibility of defending such a long frontier. I am convinced that if the Portuguese revolution had come 10 or 15 years earlier there would never have been UDI. In any case, the Patriotic Front are not being excluded. Under the terms of the internal settlement they are free to return and take part in the elections, and one must hope they will do so.

It is then said that if the Anglo-American plan is not adopted there will be a continuation of the war. I wonder. Provided there is genuine majority rule in Zimbabwe, with a wholly black Government formed after free elections, I believe it will not be long before it is accepted by the other African States, not least by President Machel of Mozambique. who has so much to lose by a continuation of the fighting and who, in any case, is 80 per cent. dependent on South Africa for his foreign exchange. Mr. Smith has at last accepted the Five or Six Principles which we have said all along are a prerequisite to the granting of independence, and he and his black colleagues are in the process of implementing a settlement which puts these principles into effect. Of course, it is a tragedy that he did not see the light earlier, but he has done so now and it would be churlish and shabby if the British Government were not to keep their side of the bargain.

Bishop Muzorewa, the Reverend Sithole and Chief Chirau, who between them must speak for a substantial part of the African population—it is idle to say whether they speak for more or less than the others because we do not know and we will not know until elections are held—have all stated that they want the whites to stay on in the country and that, subject to a rapid process of Africanisation in the civil service and armed forces, the existing efficient administration should remain. That to me is immensely encouraging as an attitude and one I should have thought would be welcomed by everyone.

I return to the effect on South Africa. We all know that big political changes in that country are long overdue. The system of apartheid is so odious and stifling that it will not long be tolerable to an African population which is among the most sophisticated on the continent. As the tide of African nationalism sweeps south, the external and internal pressures on the South African Government will increase. Changes are inevitable; the only question is how long they will take and whether they will come peacefully or as the result of a bloodbath, and we must all hope it will be the former. if the white South Africans see the creation of a Marxist State in Zimbabwe, supported by Soviet and Cuban arms, and if they watch the white Rhodesians driven out, persecuted and put on trial, there is no doubt what their reaction will be. They will fight it out to the bitter end, and they are a tough and resolute people.

If, on the other hand, they witness the evolution in Zimbabwe of responsible black government with the whites continuing to play a significant part in the economic life of the country, a very different reaction is poss;ble. It is only a chance, I admit that—apart from the other difficulties, it will require a change in racial attitudes on the part of white Rhodesians which may not be forthcoming—but it is a chance with enormous implications for peace in Southern Africa.

I therefore hope that in the days to come the Foreign Secretary and Mr. Vance will be less hypnotised by the views of certain African leaders, who so often have double standards where events in Africa are concerned, as my noble friend Lord Carrington said. Instead, I hope they will take another look at the internal settlement to see if they can build on it. If, for example, Mr. Nkomo, who undoubtedly has substantial support, at least in some parts of Rhodesia, could be persuaded to participate, the prospects for success would be greatly enhanced. I was struck by what by noble friend Lord Plunket said about the internal settlement. He has first-hand knowledge of what is going on there and, as he told us, he has been one of the most suspicious people as regards Mr. Smith's motives. But he thinks now that there has been a complete change and that white rule is over for ever.

So far as Mr. Smith is concerned, I think there is a tendency in Whitehall to be vindictive. We should forget the past and let bygones be bygones. Probably Mr. Smith and only Mr. Smith, as the noble Lord, Lord Garner, said, could have sold the internal settlement to the white Rhodesian electorate, and to that extent he has a necessary, if temporary, part to play during the transition period, a period during which, I suggest, sanctions should be progressively lifted. One must sympathise with the Foreign Secretary in the daunting task that he has undertaken. For reasons which are under standable he has so far remained sitting on the fence, but he cannot remain there very much longer, and when he does finally jump I hope it will be in the direction that I have indicated.

6.20 p.m.


My Lords, although the noble Lord, Lord McGregor of Durris, delivered his maiden speech two hours ago, I feel that my first words must be of appreciation. He spoke to us not only with great knowledge, but with the ability to convey that knowledge to us. As I listened I understood his influence among his own students, and I hope that there will be many occasions when we may be his students as he speaks to us again.

Listening to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, and indeed to others which followed, I was very tempted to discuss mainly fundamental principles, rather than immediate political issues. I want to make only two comments on the speech which the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, made. He has been courteous enough, characteristically, to send me a note expressing regret that he is not here while I am speaking.

The two points of principle upon which I wish to comment are as follows. First, the noble Lord denounced—and I appreciated it—the apartheid racial discrimination in Southern Africa, but he said that we must not have two standards, that we must denounce the repudiation of human rights wherever that takes place. I agree with him that human rights are indivisible, and that their repudiation must be denounced, as many of us have done, whether it takes place in Uganda, Ethiopia, Cambodia, or the Soviet Union. But there is this difference between the South African Government and every other Government. They are the only Government in the world who boast of apartheid and who acclaim it as their philosophy. Because of that, there must surely be concentration upon South Africa.

The other fundamental principle to which I wish to refer is the noble Lord's apprehension that countries in Southern Africa might become Marxist-Communist—an apprehension which has been repeated by other speakers. Quite frankly, I expect many of those countries to become Socialist. I do not believe the peoples will tolerate capitalism, as it is there, which makes the few rich with underpayment below subsistence level to thousands of African workers. But I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that when he expresses this fear of Marxist States in Africa he must recognise that the African people will develop their own forms of Socialism, and that these are already proving very different from the totalitarian regimes which he fears. I take Tanzania, I take Senegal, I take Algeria, I take Zambia, all of whose Governments have a Socialist objective. No one would think of denouncing any one of them as being a totalitarian State—

The Earl of ONSLOW

I should have thought that Algeria was certainly totalittarian, Colonel Boumedienne came to power not by election, but by tanks.


I have been to Algeria and I know its leaders. I also know that, while it is a one-Party State, in very many African countries there is more democracy within the one-Party system than there is in the electoral system of many so-called democratic countries.

Today there have been three pronouncements of tremendous significance from Africa. Two of them are encouraging, one discouraging. There is the announcement by Mr. Vorster in the Republic of South Africa that he accepts the proposals of the five Governments in the United Nations Security Council. I want to ask the Minister whether he can clarify one point. The Times, announcing this this morning, said that Mr. Vorster was still insisting on 20,000 South African troops remaining in Namibia. As I understand it, the proposal of the Western Governments was that the South African force should be reduced to 1,500. If Mr. Vorster has accepted that proposal, surely it is inconsistent with the suggestion of 20,000 troops remaining.

With regard to Namibia, I believe that the proposals which have now been accepted are such that SWAPO would be very well advised to co-operate with them. There would be free elections under the supervision of the United Nations. SWAPO would have the opportunity to function under that protection as much as any other section. They probably have a majority of voters in Namibia. Accordingly, I believe that SWAPO would be very well advised to participate in the elections, and to accept the opportunity which is theirs of gaining a majority decision.

The two other pronouncements which have come from Africa today are as follows. First—I think discouragingly—there is the decision of the interim Government in Rhodesia to decline to take part in the all-elements conference that has been proposed. I hope, as I shall indicate, that they will reconsider that decision later. The other statement which I regard as encouraging, which has come only this afternoon, is that the interim Government in Rhodesia has agreed to lift the bans on the political Parties of ZANU and ZAPU, which are the political Parties of the guerrilla forces. If this report is confirmed it is of very great significance and of some hope for the future. If, in his reply, it is possible for the Minister to say whether that report has been confirmed, I am sure it would be of value to all of us.

My Lords, I want to recognise at once what the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said and what the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, said: that there has been an almost unprecedented change in the attitude of Mr. Ian Smith. Three years ago, it was, "No majority rule in my lifetime; no one man, one vote '". I think that change has probably taken place because of the economic crisis in Rhodesia, and I would say that that economic crisis has been due, not so much to the inadequate sanctions which have been applied as to the guerrilla war which has been fought during these last few years. It is that which has brought the crisis and the near collapse. The necessary calling-up of men into service, the expenditure, the disruption of large parts of the territory—all these things have caused the crisis.

The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said that the interim Government was initiated by Mr. Ian Smith and three African leaders who represent the majority of the people of Rhodesia". I am very doubtful whether there is yet enough evidence to say that they represent the majority. The attitude in the Committee of Three which negotiated the steps taken is more important than their colour; and, if one looks at attitudes, it is not one to three, it is two to two. Chief Chirau was a member of the Smith Government until 1976. He resigned from that Government to form an organisation in the country to support what were called the moderate views in favour of the Smith Government. His activity in forming that organisation was financed by the Government. Chief Chirau, in that gathering of three, is much nearer Mr. Ian Smith than he is to his African colleagues.


My Lords, would the noble Lord give way for a moment on that issue? Has the noble Lord had the opportunity of speaking to Chief Chirau? Has the noble Lord had the opportunity of going to any of the meetings of his organisation, and of hearing the great sincerity with which Africans of all ages speak on this? I do not believe he has. I have. Does he know where the money comes from?


My Lords, I am not quite sure, because my hearing is not as good as it should be, whether I have gathered all that the noble Viscount said. If he is referring to the financing of Chief Chirau's organisation, it is not challenged. It was admitted. The salaries of the chiefs, in addition, are paid by the Government; and no one can suggest that his organisation is representative of any large number of the African people.

My second reason forverymuchdoubting whether there is a majority of Africans for the internal settlement is the opinion of the rural areas. I wonder whether your Lordships read in The Times this week the article from a correspondent living in Zimbabwe who had toured the rural areas. He said that the feeling was dominant in favour of Nkomo and Mugabe—that surprised me—and that the people felt that they were being more harassed by the security forces of the Government than by the guerrillas. A very large part of Zimbabwe is now controlled by the guerrillas. To assume that its large rural population would vote for the internal settlement is, I think, to misunderstand the situation.

Next there are the "Protected Villages". Africans have had their houses destroyed, their cattle killed or confiscated and their crops ruined by the security forces, and have been herded into these villages surrounded by wire netting. There were 209 such villages in mid-1976, with 580,000 population. One speaker in the debate said that the interim Government was now releasing them. I have no information to that effect, but I do know that a week before the interim Government was established seven new protected villages were formed with a population of 20,000. I find it very significant indeed that, despite the presence of Bishop Muzorewa as a Minister, his own organisation yesterday demanded that the "Protected Villages "should be abolished.

Thirdly, there are the refugees in Botswana. There is a camp for 1,000, but there are 4,000 there. The United Nations are now lifting 1,000 a day to Zambia. Those refugees, according to all the reports that I have seen, left Zimbabwe to go into Botswana because they said there were harassments from the security forces. Lastly, there are the thousands who are in the guerrilla forces. If you add up all those, it is very difficult indeed to suggest that it does not represent a majority.

I had intended to analyse the internal security measures. I must do so very briefly indeed. Mr. Smith has talked about "one man, one vote". Yes, every adult over 18 is to have a vote; but they are not equal votes. Parliament is to be 100 strong. My Lords, 28 seats are to be reserved for the whites—28 per cent., whilst the proportion of the white population in Rhodesia is less than 5 per cent. Of the 28, 20 are to be elected by whites only, and the eight who are to be elected on the common roll are to be nominated by Mr. Smith's Party. That is neither majority rule nor equal one man, one vote; nor democracy. I refrain because of the time from going into further details, but I want to say that it is utterly unrealistic to think that when the elections in Zimbabwe take place at the end of this year the guerrilla war will end. It will end only then if there is a preceding agreement between the interim Government in Zimbabwe, the leaders of the guerrilla forces, the Patriotic Front, the five group nations and Britain and America. I find it difficult to express the disaster which the continuation of the war would cause; it would become a civil war, a war between Africans and Africans. It would lead to a colossal economic collapse. The existence of Zimbabwe in those conditions would become almost impossible.

I turn, as I always try to turn at the end, to the possibilities of dealing with this problem. I believe that both sides must begin to think again. I think that the interim Government in Zimbabwe itself will be compelled by events to repudiate its decision of yesterday and to agree to negotiate with the Patriotic Front, the five Governments and Britain and America. On the other hand, I believe that the leaders of the Patriotic Front and the five Governments must agree that they will negotiate in a conference which represents them all. If that happens, as I believe it is likely to happen because of the circumstances in Zimbabwe, then there will be a real hope that a settlement may be secured which can he endorsed not only by the people of Zimbabwe, but by those States immediately outside it, by Britain and America, and by international opinion. I urge everyone to try to bring about that end.

6.44 p.m.


My Lords, first I must apologise to the House for the circumstances that I have been unable to hear most of the debate because, unfortunately, it coincides with the date of a charitable committee, the Motability Charity, which I had to rate as of greater importance than making my contribution to this debate. I thought it appropriate to make a contribution and I was asked to do so. On that account, I would ask for the forgiveness of the House that I am not wholly familiar with what has been said previously. This is a debate of great importance. I may say that, of the speeches that I have heard, I found myself in total agreement with the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Vernon, which seemed to say everything that I wanted to say.

So far as the speech which I have just heard is concerned, it is of such manifest sincerity and made with such deep belief and a sense of humanity that one feels it would be unkind to utter a critical word; but I think that I must do so. First, a preoccupation with whether the chief is a Smith-man or not seems to me to lack any sense of reality as to what really matters. It must be borne in mind that the position of the chief as a member of the Executive lasts for a few months only. At the end of that time there will be elections and whether Smith's men or Sithole's men or Bishop's men are elected will follow the event. It therefore seems to me not only an unnecessary preoccupation, but a rather unfair and tendentious criticism of what is happening to suggest that, because the chief might be a Smith-man and I think there are powerful reasons for thinking that this is by no means conclusively established—it is necessarily a fatal flaw in the arrangements.

The second question I would ask the noble Lord is this. What is the logical conclusion of his argument? Supposing it is the case that you will not be able to pacify Nkomo and the other gentlemen and that they will continue guerrilla warfare. Does he think that this country would give them support in any belief that peace can on that basis be achieved? Does he believe that Mr. Sithole, the chief, the Bishop or Smith and all white Rhodesians will capitulate and that peace will follow? I think that this is a pipe-dream. It seems to me that this is a situation where, whatever the difficulties may be—and I think it is not only dangerous but complacent and foolish to minimise the difficulties of supporting the internal settlement—there is no hope for Rhodesia unless the internal settlement is supported.

I invite your Lordships to consider what the situation was when, six years ago, I had the pleasure and privilege of accompanying the noble Lord, Lord Home, to Rhodesia when he contrived to secure an agreement from Mr. Smith. We all know what happened to that agreement. But that agreement reflects very well on Britain and the British Government. I do not think that the history of Rhodesia is discreditable to the British Government. It may be that they were not particularly efficient or particularly adept: but they have been entirely honourable. It will be remembered that that agreement was made subject to a provision that it existed and came into force only if the Africans approbated it.

Whether a Commission should have come out earlier, whether steps should have been taken to prevent propaganda against it, whether things of that sort should have been done, are now matters of water under the bridge. What is certain is that the British Government honourably accepted that the refusal by the Africans involved a repudiation of that agreement and there was no attempt to asert it. This is a creditable piece of history and one that we need not be in the least ashamed of. I thought it a sadness, for I worked very hard during five or six visits to try to achieve a settlement that I hoped would be acceptable. That it was not acceptable was something one had to recognise and it left the situation as it is today.

To expect that the present agreement will he modified by the people who have negotiated it at such pains and negotiated it in such detail, and that they arc going to accept major revisions and variations of it at this stage, is totally unrealistic. It will not happen. What can happen is that if adequate support is not given to it soon enough, it may well collapse. This, I think, would leave a state of total anarchy, a state really beyond hope. I think that one must ask that one should recognise the achievement of this agreement. Six years ago when my noble friend and others were negotiating. if we had been told that six years later Mr. Smith and his friends and the white residents of Rhodesia would accept an agreement of the character that we are now considering, I venture to think that we should have required sal volatole.

It is necessary to recognise that the white Rhodesians have made an historic gesture. History is full of people whose heads were in the sand, who failed to recognise an impending catastrophe and who waited too late. One has only to think of Czar Nicholas or Louis XVI or any number of others. Mr. Smith, for all his shortcomings—and I am no friend of Mr. Smith—has accepted the situation, I hope, in time. He should have done so years ago. If he had accepted it years ago, what a splendid situation would have arisen! But he has accepted it and I think the white Rhodesians should be given the credit for that.

As for the black Rhodesians, no credit can be given that is too much. They have accepted quietly and with tranquillity every kind of imposition which has descended upon them. They are a peaceful, quiet and kindly people.There has been no significant insurrection there. They have waited year after year for their emancipation. They owe it to us to give the most considered deliberation to the possibilities that exist for achieving peace. We owe it to them, if I may say so—and I say this to both sides of the House—totally to discard political considerations in arriving at a conclusion as to what ought to be done.

The present Foreign Minister, Dr. Owen, is a man who I feel deserves well of all of us at this moment. I do not associate myself in the slightest degree with the criticisms that suggest he is in some way at fault because he has not leapt to approbate this agreement before he has allowed the maximum elasticity to either side to enable such concessions as are possible to he made. If, at the end of the day, he comes down on the right side with a recognition that the internal settlement is the only possibility, then I think he will rank high in this regard among the Foreign Secretaries of this country. If he comes down on the wrong side, that is another matter; he may hear mild words of reproach in place of the words of approbation I am uttering at present. But I think it needs to he said that, in reserving his judgment in this matter—and the noble Lord, Lord Vernon, said exactly the same—he has behaved with a wisdom and understanding that is perhaps beyond his years. I think it is right that that should be said because a great deal of criticism has been uttered about him which seems to me to be based on the assumption that it is wise and sensible to agree to something before you know what position will ultimately emerge.

Having said that, I think it is important also to say, as the noble Lord, Lord Vernon, said, that we must recognise how crucial this is not only to Rhodesia but to Southern Africa. ft is terrifying to think what situation will ensue in Southern Africa if violence emerges. I regard the present Government of South Africa—I have made my views known—as wholly despicable. I regard them as a Government beyond redemption, but the fact remains that they are the Government. I was there last year and I saw appalling, awful things. I saw things that really should cause reproach and shame to any Government. The fact remains that there are 4 million Europeans in South Africa; there are 2 million coloureds and a million Indians, who for practical purposes must be regarded as Europeans. One cannot envisage a situation in which seven million people are involved in war and catastrophe without recognising that the consequences of this to the whole world are incalculable and cannot be exaggerated.

Hence, what is happening in Rhodesia is of vital importance. I believe that, if a settlement is established in Rhodesia, so that the white South Africans, and particularly the Afrikaners, can see that it is possible for a government to be established where the black man lives in harmony with the white man and where the white man is in no danger, this could have an immeasurable effect on the situation in South Africa. In fact, it is the only remedial possibility that does exist. I can think of no possibility but that the South African Government should look north and see that something is happening which could change their whole philosophy. It may not change it: it may be that the so-called "laager" attitude will be maintained; but it does bring a hope—and it is one that should be cultivated as vigorously as we possibly can.

What ought we to do? The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, has criticised the agreement, I think on very legalistic grounds. I think the agreement responds totally to the Five Principles enunciated by the noble Lord. That is my view. I can think of no principle which it offends. I do not think that entrenching in a Constitution rights for the protection of a minority is a disparagement in any way of its democratic principles or of majority rule. Will the noble Lord bear in mind what this Constitution actually provides and how astonishing it is that it should have been achieved with a Government led by Mr. Smith? It provides, it is true, for a minimum number of white members. It provides for 28, 8 of whom are elected on a common roll; but that exists only for 10 years.

One of the most disturbing, disquieting and distressing features of these negotiations has been the absurdity of laying emphasis on minute periods of time. I do not know how long was spent arguing under the Kissinger arrangement about whether majority rule should be achieved in one year or two years. I think more than that time was expended on the arguments! If in fact these arrangements endure for 10 years, can anyone seriously criticise that or say that it is nothing for a people to relinquish their rights and expose themselves to risks which they regard as enormous? —and the white population in Rhodesia undoubtedly regard those risks as enormous. They do not accept that they are necessarily going to live in safety and security. We accept it and we hope for it, but they do not. All that is being given them is a period of security for 10 years, with a judicial commission at the end of that time which may perhaps renew it but which may not. Can anyone seriously complain about that or regard that as an excessive safeguard which diminishes the democratic character of the arrangements?

What are the other entrenched provisions? There is a justiciable Bill of Rights. I may say that that was most carefully and laboriously negotiated in the agreement in which I played a small part. It is abosutely right that it should be there. It is absolutely right that it should not be capable of being changed, except with a significant majority. The other points that are objected to appear to me to represent legalism of the highest degree. The judges' independence is maintained and one can only change the Constitution with 78 votes. None of that, in my view, is a departure from a genuinely democratic Constitution; and Constitutions can be found throughout the world which entrench the rights of minorities in precisely this fashion, in countries which are regarded as totally democratic. It is my belief that the criticisms which have been directed towards this Constitution are wholly misconceived.

If we accept that this Constitution does satisfy the requirements of the Five Principles, is it right that we should impose a Sixth Principle at this period of time? I cannot help thinking that it is unfair, unjust and dishonest. The Rhodesians have, whatever we may say, acceded to the requirements. They have acceded many years late, but they have acceded. Democracy is about to come if this agreement is implemented. The problem is: how do we achieve its implementation?

I would not wish to minimise in any way the dangers and the difficulties. I have not taken my current information about Rhodesia from that country because I have not spoken on this subject or visited Rhodesia during the six years to which I have referred. I have taken my current information from black Rhodesians in this country: men of astonishing intellectial distinction; men whom it is impossible to believe that Mr. Smith could have met and refused to admit them into his Government; men who, if I may say so, are a credit to any community and who demonstrate beyond any argument that it is possible to educate the Africans of Rhodesia to a level comparable with a European democracy. These are the men I have spoken to and what they have told me is of sufficient interest, I believe, to justify my taking up a little of your Lordships' time in telling you of their views.

Their first view is that there is a risk. One cannot say that the election which will come at the end of the year will necessarily demonstrate to the black people of Rhodesia that on the whole democracy has arrived. Much will depend on the circumstances of that election and, as the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, said, one has to recognise that the guerrilla forces are not only on the border but have in fact penetrated into the tribal areas. They are in contact with many Rhodesians in the tribal areas and have influenced those Rhodesians who believe that it is the guerrilla philosophy which is the one that will bring them freedom. But what those Africans also say is that, if these elections are fairly conducted and if they satisfy the six or seven million Africans in Rhodesia, the Bishop and his colleagues are capable of introducing a genuine democracy. They have no special allegiance to the guerrillas, and there is a fair hope—more than a fair hope—that the guerrillas will return to Rhodesia and accept a government of this character.

No one can say with certainty that this is the case, but one must say with the greatest possible emphasis that there is no other sensible alternative choice. It seems to me that no other hope exists. If this agreement is discarded, if it is not implemented and if the elections do not take place, what is one to hope for except for a continuing guerrilla war?—to which the Bishop and his triumvirate will certainly not submit without armed resistance over a very long period. The hope for peace in Rhodesia is a hope for this internal settlement. It requires a generous attitude on many areas.

I agree totally with the leader in The Times on the day the agreement was announced. I do not think we should raise sanctions at this moment. I think that would be a mistake and that it would be provocative. On the other hand, I would urge the Government to consider whether the petty restrictions, irritations and minor cruelties that are now inflicted on Rhodesians need be pursued. The Rhodesians have now satisfied everything we asked of them. They have done what we asked them to do. That we cannot lift the sanctions is unfortunately due to an international situation that has to be met. But why should it be impossible for a Rhodesian to come here to receive medical treatment and why should it be impossible for a Rhodesian to come and visit his relatives? This seems to me at this moment of time to be an unnecessary and gratuitous cruelty. I ask the Minister to take into consideration whether it would be a great encouragement to everybody to indicate, whatever the outcome may be, that, on the whole, these petty restrictions will no longer endure.

I had experience of one quite recently. A lady who works for me, who is British, has two brothers. One lives in America and the other lives in Rhodesia, where he farms. The Rhodesian brother applied to the American Consulate for a visa to visit his brother in America, and for his wife to do likewise. The wife received a visa, but the farmer did not receive one and was told that, on economic grounds, he could not have one. His wife could go, but he could not go. It seems to me that this is intolerable. What possible encouragement are we giving to anybody, if it is believed that these restrictions and irritations will continue? There should be a change, and encouragement should be given in the way of recognising that, at long last, white Rhodesians have met the conditions that we have imposed.

There are very serious and significant dangers. One thing that has been strongly recommended is that, when an election takes place, the widest possible Press corps should be urged to visit the country and he available to report it. That would bring a confidence that I do not think any number of commanders-in-chief from other countries would bring on their own account. If it is felt that the world is not only watching but is being told what is happening, that will be a move towards democracy.

At this hour of the night I have no more to say, except this. The people of Rhodesia, black and white, have suffered untold hardships and difficulties over the years. They deserve as good of us as we can give. I would not say a word about Mr. Ian Smith, because history will judge him. I would only say that he has demonstrated that he is a man who is capable of changing his mind, and I do not believe that there is at present another white Rhodesian leader who could have brought white Rhodesia into this agreement, or who can continue to lead it until the agreement is fully fulfilled. I believe that Mr. Smith has a role to play.

My experience of Mr. Smith may well have made me slightly less friendly towards him than my present remarks indicate. I suffered at his hands, while he resolutely refused to grant the slightest concession by way of a comma over weary weeks, months and years. But I still retain the feeling that, when history comes to be written, someone will have to concede that this was a very remarkable man, who stood his ground on a principle which is obnoxious and objectionable to all of us, but which, nevertheless, is innate in him. I believe that when the time comes history will record that possibly the period that has ensued has, on the whole, been to the benefit of Rhodesia.

If this agreement conies about, if the two guerrilla leaders can be persuaded to join in the elections—to which, as I understand it, they are invited most cordially—if sufficient concessions can be made to bring them to join in the matter, then there must be some hope that Rhodesia has a future. The whole of Southern Africa, and, I think, to a large extent, the peaceful future of great parts of the world, depend on the decisions that we shall make in this matter.

7.3 p.m.


My Lords, I greatly enjoyed the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and found myself in very general agreement with all that he said. One point on which I agree tremendously is this: Democracy is not the rule of the majority. The rule of the majority may be just as tyrannical as the rule of a minority. Democracy is about a tenderness for the rights of minorities. It is a system within which the rights and vital interests of minorities are respected by the conventions and arrangements of the States that have emerged, and it is that which is the significant difference between an authoritarian Government and a democratic Government.

One other point on which I was perhaps in less than total agreement was his assessment of the present performance of our Foreign Secretary. I cannot feel that this talk about having to avoid a war breaking out makes any sense at all. A war has broken out. It has been going on for quite a long time. It is being fought. As to that war, our Foreign Secretary's policy has done far more to promote it than to prevent it. Remember this, my Lords. For ten years Mr. Smith ruled Rhodesia under UDI and it was the most orderly and peaceful place in Africa. It was not democratic. The rights of majorities were not there. But it was ruled, orderly and the law ran.

Then the Portuguese territories collapsed. We ought to have been able—any statesman ought to have been able—to see the consequences were underlined by the arrival of Russian advisers and Cuban troops. The necessity at that point surely was at least to confine the chaos which had come by the breakdown; but at no point after this dangerous situation was developing—and I should have thought developing in a way which any statesman ought to have been able to see—did our Government do anything to discourage either Zambia or Mozambique from maintaining guerrilla bands to invade and murder in Rhodesia. Throughout this time we have been subsidising those two countries. We have been assisting. We have never remotely made it a condition that they should abide by the normal rules of a civilised society—and of all international law—to refrain from violating the borders of their neighbours by allowing guerrillas to operate from their countries. Surely the necessity of that law among nations has been underlined in recent years.

Look at what happened on the borders of Israel. Jordan had the sense after a time to get rid of this liability. Lebanon is now in a state of collapse because she failed to do so. Egypt has pulled around and is on the way to becoming a modern nation because she has got rid of this form of internicene war. Yet over this time we have done nothing at all to discourage Zambia and Mozambique from promoting this mischievous form of war.

Who are sanctions serving now? Are they serving us or are they serving the Russians? Here we have the Russians supplying and arming the invaders of Rhodesia, and we prevent the Rhodesians by our sanctions from obtaining arms to defend themselves against that. In this operation sanctions are being operated by us to injure our interests and to serve the Russian interest, and we are naive enough to imagine that the Russians might he persuaded to remove sanctions! Unless they are persuaded—and they and their clients control the majority of the United Nations—sanctions must go on. This seems to me a lamentable situation.

I believe in Party loyalties. I have only once in my life voted against my Party on a three-line Whip in a major Division. It was on precisely this issue twelve years ago when I thought that with the utmost folly the Wilson Government, as it was then, brought the United Nations into the sanctions question. I pointed out then exactly what would happen: we should lose control and find a situation in which sanctions would be operated against us. That is what is happening now.

It may perfectly well be that this situation arises through the collapse of the Portuguese economy and that this is the cause why Mr. Smith, faced with the new menace, took steps far more quickly than otherwise. I have no doubt that this is so, and out of this evil good may have come. Mr. Smith has now got his internal settlement. I think it is quite irrelevant to argue whether those involved represent a majority or a minority. That is what an election will be designed to find out. In Rhodesia now are African interests which are prepared to conduct all election and to maintain it. They have invited Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Nkomo to come and take part in those elections, but Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe have refused. They have probably refused because they are far better judges of the result of that election than my noble friend Lord Brockway. They will not come because they know that they will lose the election.

To Africans, elections are not things you go in for losing. No African Government has ever lost an election anywhere. This is a road to power which is closed to Mr. Mugabe and to Mr. Nkomo because they are the minority. Mr. Mugabe is a minority within his own tribe, and it is a very small tribe within an association. Mr. Nkomo's tribe is the old warrior tribe but it happens to be a minority tribe, the Matabele, and the Matabele at e not going to submit to the people who used to be their servants because of au election. That is not the way in which the African mind works. Since there would be losers in that election, the prospective losers take to arms and so a war is going on there. To my mind, we cannot stop that war; it has got to be won.

I may be saying something which is a little controversial when I say that I do not believe that nations, or peoples, or any groups unite willingly. It is not in nature for people to unite. They have to be held together by very strong bonds, bonds of very deep emotions which may be religious or nationalistic, and also by force and law. On the whole, men are united by their fears and by power. I do not for a moment believe that people can be given States. At the moment there is a State, an authority, in Rhodesia— black and white, multiracial. If one removed the threats that it is meeting, I do not believe that that State would hold together. If it holds together it will do so because it has to unite to meet a danger, to defend itself. It will join together in the most urgent need of every society: the need to defend itself. It is only while that need remains that it will hold together.

One hopes that it will have developed the habit of holding together by the time that the need ends. It is a grim thing to have to say, but war is the midwife of nations, and always has been. It is through war and through coming together to defend themselves that nations come into existence. I do not think we can make States for other people. We have been trying to do that in Africa for a long time. We set up a whole series of democracies based not on tribal but on old colonial frontiers. What do those democracies look like now? My noble friend—and he is a very dear friend—Lord Brockway cites Algeria, Tanzania and Zambia and says, "Do you call these totalitarian States?" I am afraid that the answer is emphatically, Yes. What power did Mussolini in Italy possess which the leaders of these three countries do not possess? These are totalitarian States.

I would say that a democratic State is, very roughly speaking, a State in which the Government is elected and the Opposition is free to organise, to conduct elections and to win power by the ballot. A Fascist or totalitarian State is one in which a dictator rules and oppositions are shot, if caught. That is the situation in every African State. Opposition is treason, and I do not believe that these States which have come together in this way have very much in the way of stability. For a time a personality may hold, but then the old tribal interests take over again. I am afraid that these States will disappear just as the old empires of Matoto, Leganda, Congo, Borotsi and Zulu have all disappeared. They came together with a personality and then they dissolved back into tribalism.

I believe that now we have a first chance in Africa for a genuine multiracial State to emerge from the struggle which alone makes a State, through working together in it, through sharing the risk and the danger and having to hang together lest they hang separately. That is the kind of need which counts, and such a State can hold so long as it is not starved by externally imposed sanctions or overrun by foreign intervention from Russia. Our job is to give this new chance of a multiracial State time to win its Statehood and to bring into Africa a genuine, working multiracial State.

7.19 p.m.


My Lords, hesitated to keep my name on the list of speakers this evening because so much wisdom has already been contributed to this important debate by far more experienced speakers than I. I agree with all that the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, said in his opening speech. Nevertheless, I hope that noble Lords will bear with me for a few minutes while I emphasise one or two points connected with the situation in South Africa and Rhodesia. I agree wholeheartedly with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, that there is a great connection between those two countries, for if we were able to find a successful solution in Rhodesia it could have a dramatic effect upon finding one in South Africa, albeit on a longer time-scale.

First, I must declare an interest in this debate. I have business interests in both South Africa and Rhodesia through the company for which I work. But that is not my principal interest in speaking tonight. My main concern, as it is for all noble Lords with all their different views, is to see that stable, popularly supported Governments are created in both South Africa and Rhodesia, for both countries still can become bastions in Africa of freedom, stability and justice, which are sorely needed.

Our objective, surely, is clear. In those two countries we want to help towards the creation of societies under the rule of law, where every citizen is equal before the law. I believe that is far more important than so much emphasis that seems to be given to one man, one vote. It took hundreds of years here to achieve one man, one vote, so why should we expect it to be done in the twinkling of an eye in Africa with all the tribal and other traditional problems?

Perhaps in Southern Africa we shall never find that our type of Westminster one man, one vote is a satisfactory solution, but we cannot know that for the moment. All we can observe is the virtual failure throughout Africa of attempts to introduce the one man, one vote system. As other speakers have pointed out, almost all such attempts have failed and have resulted in dictatorships of one kind or another.

Again I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, who pointed out to us that we are far too impatient, that time goes very quickly. It is over 12 years since UK when the then Prime Minister said that the question of dealing with Rhodesia was only a matter of months. The nine months up to the end of this year will go quickly, too, and there is no time to lose. I count myself a friend of South Africa but they do make it very difficult for their friends to support them, as other noble Lords have said. As the most reverend Primate indicated, there are some appalling goings-on there which make it difficult to support the more moderate elements in that country.

It is a fact that little or no progress has been made by that Government towards equality and justice before the law. But do not let us get too depressed. Even in South Africa there are encouraging signs of changing views. In the recent election many candidates for the Opposition fought the campaign on the basis of total abolition of apartheid in any form. It is true that not many were elected, but in previous elections I do not believe that many candidates stood on that ticket.

A Commission is at present sitting on labour relations, and I believe it is hoped to report later this year. It is expected to make major proposals for reducing industrial apartheid and in the companies in which I am interested I have seen very great changes in that connection in the past five or six years. We must seek to encourage those moves and to encourage public opinion in South Africa to move faster along that road.

But, of course, there is still the tragic obstinacy of the Afrikaner. That remains. There is his complete inability, apparently, to see that there is a longterm problem, let alone to do anything about it, or the need to make progress at any speed. I believe that sanctions and confrontation make no contribution to solving those problems. Indeed, they may actually be—and I believe they arecounter-productive in that they drive the moderates into the hands of the extremists. Instead, as in any task of changing attitudes, we need to keep the closest possible contact with those who feel the same way as we do in South Africa.

We need to keep the pressure up on the arguments. As the most reverend Primate said, we need to draw attention and continuously to press for information about the absurd goings-on, such as the trial and the post-mortem of Mr. Biko. We need to gather support among the verligtes in South Africa—those who see the light until the horrors of police State and partheid are swept away by their own public opinion, with our support. It may be a long job, but confrontation and sanctions will not help.

Turning to Rhodesia, I will not spend time on the history of what has brought us to the present situation. We are where we are and not where we would like to be, but the fact is that the internal agreement will provide a clear path within a few years for setting up a real multiracial State in Rhodesia, with respect for minorities and all that that means. Most important, if that Salisbury agreement is fully implemented it will give an opportunity for all citizens to be equal before the law. But of course it goes further: it sets a clear path for one man, one vote, if that is the way they want to go. But, as I said before, it is dangerous to hope for too much in the tribal conditions of Africa, with all the other traditions behind it.

It is a fact—and I do not think we need to be ashamed of this, as the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, seemed to suggest—that this agreement is supported by the chiefs. It is a Rhodesian agreement, made by Rhodesians in Rhodesia for progress towards an independent, free Zimbabwe. All sides, different parties, different races have made sacrifices to achieve it and we do not get agreements of this kind without sacrifices being made. And it really is ludicrous for the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, to suggest that agreement could have been achieved without the kind of give-and-take which led to the 28 per cent. white members in the initial Parliament, which could be changed after 10 years.

What, then, is the obstacle to success in the implementation of this agreement which has been reached in Salisbury? The clear fact is that it is the continued fighting, the guerrilla fighting, the intimidation and all that that means, against the conduct of free and fair elections. Ultimately it is the threat of taking over the country by force from outside, and I do not believe that we can deal with that kind of threat by running away from it, as some people seem to think we can. It should be clearly understood by everybody—and I do not think it is quite understood yet, although we are getting on—that in the absence of that threat there is no doubt that the internal agreement would have a very good chance of success and of being implemented.

So the time is rapidly approaching—perhaps it is here already—when we have to make up our minds what course we are going to support. I wholeheartedly support the view held by the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that we should give support to our Foreign Secretary in his efforts to persuade Mr. Nkomo and perhaps Mr. Mugabe, too, if that is not hoping for too much, to join the Salisbury agreement. But if that persuasion fails, then surely we should make our position clear as to what would happen if that persuasion were to fail. As the transitional Government shows that it is proceeding along the path it has said it will go along, moving towards a new and fairer society, getting rid of discrimination, releasing detainees, as it has already done, and in many other ways, surely we should show that our support is increasing, too. We should campaign and we should prepare the way for recognition of that Government and for the removal of sanctions. We do not need to wait until the last moment, until the result of what we hope will be a free and fair election is known.

It will be a long process to change people's minds all over the world, and we need to start now if we believe that that is the way to go. We need to look for ways of providing substantial financial support for the regime. It may be that it will not come, as the Anglo-American agreement suggested, easily from the United Nations. It may be that we shall have to find other ways of providing it—providing it not only for Rhodesia but perhaps also for Zambia, whose economy is in an appalling mess and could easily cause difficulties in Rhodesia if it were to collapse.

As I have already said, my Lords, the time will go very quickly and there are only nine months between now and the end of the year, which is not long to change people's minds and attitudes. We need to do our utmost to persuade the United Nations to deter external intervention which could easily wreck the election. Was that not one of the objectives for which the United Nations was set up—to deter external intervention in the affairs of other countries? If we do this, then within a year or two the worst may be over; but of course there is no certainty. As other noble Lords have made clear there are great risks, but at least if we fail in that kind of policy we shall have acted forcefully and, I believe, honourably; and in times of doubt and danger that is always a sound policy.

7.30 p.m.


My Lords, I prefer not to follow the noble Viscount, Lord Caldecote, into discussion of the internal settlement in Rhodesian Zimbabwe, which has been dealt with so extensively by so many speakers daring the course of this debate that there is hardly anything to add, except to say that I would recommend a slightly more cautious approach than he and some of the other contributors to this debate have suggested.

I think that to dismantle sanctions, to urge all the other nations of the world to press for the abolition of foreign intervention, to do all those various things which have been suggested by the noble Viscount and others, would be counterproductive at this stage. It would be much better to wait and see what the proof of the pudding is in the eating, whether free and fair elections take place as promised, and whether it is possible through persuasion to get the Patriotic Front to the conference table, as Dr. Owen is attempting.

I would say to the noble Viscount, Lord Caldecote, that, just as people may understand that, in tile absence of the external threat, the success of the internal settlement would be assured, similarly, if it had not been for the external threat, I doubt whether the internal settlement would ever have been on the cards. So I think that he and others may tend to underestimate the role of the Patriotic Front in this matter, and to dismiss the Front at such an early stage in the progress towards finality and majority rule that it would be extremely dangerous for the Foreign Secretary to accept some of their advice. I do not believe that he will do so, however.

May I add my word of congratulations to those which have already been expressed to the noble Lord, Lord McGregor, who made such a notable contribution on the important question of multiracial education in Rhodesia, about which he knows so much. I had the great pleasure of collaborating with the noble Lord some years ago in a struggle against some of the reactionary elements in the Independent Broadcasting Authority on which we secured, I think, a partial victory. It was an enormous pleasure to hear him speaking with immense knowledge on a subject of such tremendous importance to the future of Zimbabwe, and I hope we shall hear from him many times again.

The most reverend Primate pointed out, in what I thought was probably the most important contribution so far in this debate, that violence and injustice prevail in many areas of the world apart from South Africa; he mentioned in particular South America and South East Asia. The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, also said he wished that the vociferous opponents of South Africa would have something to say about violations elsewhere. We must agree with the most reverend Primate and with the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that attention should be given to those violations elsewhere. But I also wish that those people who are vociferous in their condemnation of the Soviet Union and its satellites would spend a little more time in thinking about the problems of Southern Africa. This is a reciprocal business, and it is absolutely correct to emphasise the universality of the question of human rights. I am not altogether sure that those who accuse us on the Left—if I may classify myself in that category—of being selective are altogether fair, and I wonder whether perhaps this selectivity does not occur just as often on the Right.

It seems to me that Southern Africa is one area in the world in which the longterm self-interest of the United Kingdom coincides most clearly with the policies that are morally right. I think nobody can doubt, and certainly this debate has emphasised it, that in a few years' time black majorities will rule throughout the whole of Southern Africa, and therefore, if we are to earn the goodwill of those peoples in advance, we should be helping them now by every possible means at our disposal towards obtaining their freedom. Since at the same time we believe that all men are entitled to equality of opportunity irrespective of their race or colour or national or ethnic origins, we must, surely, be dedicated to the overthrow or replacement of states which are based on the denial of such a fundamental moral principle.

Other states may deny their citizens many of the freedoms which are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but nowhere else in the world, so far as I am aware, can we find a small racial minority entrenched in the privileges which it enjoys by laws which keep the mass of the people in a state of permanent inferiority simply because of the colour of their skin. And in order to maintain their position of supremacy the whites in South Africa itself have to resort to violations of human rights on a massive and ever-increasing scale.

Some people may think that a few extra unexplained deaths in police custody, the more widespread use of torture, the detention without trial of a few hundred men and women, pale into insignificance in comparison with the monstrous crime of apartheid, which, of course, indirectly causes the deaths of many thousands of people. Nevertheless r believe it would be wrong, because we utterly condemn the general assault on the life and liberty of the whole people, to overlook the atrocities which have been committed in South Africa against individuals. They have got to be seen, I suggest, as part of the whole apparatus of repression, and they are, after all, the means to convince the outside world that we are not dealing here with a normal Government amenable to reason, but with a vicious clique prepared to condone the most revolting barbarities. With respect to the noble Viscount, Lord Caldecote, we are not dealing here with a few moderates who are not in control of the affairs of South Africa; in fact many of those moderates with whom we would like to deal are suffering torture and imprisonment themselves.

I was recently in South Africa to attend the inquest on a young dentist, Dr. Hoosen Haffejee, who died in his cell in the Brighton Beach police station in Durban in the small hours of 3rd August last. He was found hanging from the bars in his cell, and the police hypothesis was that he killed himself because of the strength of the evidence which had been produced before him in the course of the interrogation the previous day, which showed, as they claimed, that he had been engaged in subversive activities. Dr. Haffejee was found to have on his body between 40 and 50 injuries of varying severity, which were never explained during the course of the inquest, extending from the top of his scalp down to his ankles. It seemed to me, at any rate, at least equally probable, on the evidence, that between 8 o'clock in the morning, when Dr. Haffejee had been arrested, and half past 12 early the following morning, when he was finally put into his cell, he had been subjected to such horrible tortures that he could not bear the thought of another day of the same treatment.

If anybody doubts that torture in South African prisons is endemic, then I suggest that they should read the Amnesty International report, Political Imprisonment in South Africa, which was published in January this year, and which is of course, banned in South Africa, or the report of the Christian Institute, of April 1977, Torture in South Africa, which is also banned there. When the most reverend Primate asked why was the Christian Institute banned and he got no answer to the cable which he sent to the President, perhaps we may think that one of the reasons is that the Christian Institute has been so assiduous in exposing the atrocities which have been taking place in the prisons there.

Dr. Haffejee was by no means the only person to have been found dead in mysterious circumstances while in police custody and to have sustained unexplained injuries when the body was examined post mortem. There was, for example, the case of Mr. Joseph Mdluli, for whose homicide four policemen of the security police were tried and, of course, acquitted. There was Mr. George Botha, who is alleged to have thrown himself from the sixth floor of the Port Elizabeth security police building, which is ironically called the Sanlan Life Insurance building, and whose body the pathologist found had several wounds inflicted between two and six hours before his death. And, of course, other prisoners have fallen out of other security police buildings, including the notorious headquarters in John Vorster Square. More prisoners have died from hanging in their cells, like Dr. Haffejee, including one Mr. Bayempin Mzizi who died in the Brighton Beach police station within a fortnight of Dr. Haffejee himself.

The case above all which excited horror and shock throughout the world was that of Steve Biko, the brilliant young black consciousness leader, whose life and tragic death has been described by Donald Woods, the distinguished former editor of the Daily Dispatch. After his arrest on 18th August last, Mr. Biko was kept naked and in leg irons for nearly three weeks. He was then literally battered out of his senses by the notorious Major Harold Sayman and his accomplices. This was the same officer, incidentally, who accompanied Mr. George Botha when he fell out of the window of the security police building. Mr. Biko was denied medical attention until it was too late to save his life. The murderers are still at liberty. The Minister of Police, Mr. Jimmy Kruger, made jokes about the death of Mr. Biko at a Nationalist Party rally and said, "It leaves me cold".

If anybody thinks that these deaths can be explained, let them examine the list which is printed in the front of Mr. Wood's book on Biko. It will be seen there that after the death of Ahmed Temol on 27th October, 1971—everybody will remember that this caused an enormous international stir—there were no further suspicious deaths in police custody until 19th March, 1976. A period of four and a half years elapsed following the death of Ahmed Temol before the police resumed the activities which led to the deaths of people in their charge. Similarly, after Mr. Biko died in Pretoria on 12th September last, there has been a moratorium on these unexplained deaths. The police have good reason to know what were the causes of these deaths; otherwise they would not be interrupted in such a way immediately after an international outcry.

There are other people still in custody. We are concerned about their fate. There is the companion who was arrested at the same time as Mr. Biko, Mr. Peter Jones, who is still detained without charge, although the Minister of Police gave the impression at the time of Mr. Biko's arrest that serious charges would be brought against both of them and other associates. I cannot help feeling the gravest anxiety about the future state of health of Mr. Jones, and indeed about that of other prisoners held incommunicado. I mention only one other case, that of Mr. Daniel Sechaba Montsisi, who is a 21-year-old Soweto high school student, and president of the Soweto Students' Representative Council at the time of his arrest with 21 other people on 10th June last. A former detainee, who claims to have seen him in John Vorster Square, says that he was severely beaten and tortured.

When I was in South Africa I asked Mr. Kruger if I could have permission to see some of these people who were detained under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act. He refused my request without giving any reason, but I suspect that the authorities hoped to conceal the extent of the vicious assaults which are committed against detainees by the security police. As long as the practice of keeping prisoners incommunicado for months at a time continues, it will be difficult to assess the validity of reports such as the one I have quoted about Mr. Montsisi. However, if the South African Government still had a shred of respect for world opinion they should allow independent foreign observers to have access to all political prisoners, and in particular to those held under Section 6. I hope that our Government will continue to press for that to be done by the International Red Cross or by any reputable organisation which the South African authorities care to name.

As I was not able to see people actually in detention, I met instead some who had recently been released. I shall give one example of the kind of testimony I received from a former detainee. This was a former reporter on The Daily News in Durban who was arrested twice, first, on 17th August 1976 and, then, on 22nd November 1977. He was taken to the Volksrust prison in Transvaal and there detained under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act. He was kept in solitary confinement and not allowed to leave the cell for any purpose—and I mean that literally—until 29th August, when he was interrogated by a Captain Els and a Warrant Officer Johnny Moore, who sat on either side of him and slapped his face during the questioning.

Then, on 13th September, he was fetched by Sergeant van Tensburg and Constable Khumalo to Newcastle security police office in Natal, where he was immediately assaulted by a Constable Koster. He was punched and slapped. He was told that the police had ways of torturing a person that a doctor could not detect. They placed two bricks edges uppermost on the floor, put gravel on top of the bricks, and Mr. Khuzwayo was made to stand on those bricks for between two and three hours. Then they said, "You can get down; put your shoes on". As he did so they poured gravel into his shoes. They made him put on his shoes with gravel inside them and to dance for a further two hours with the gravel in his shoes. He was forced to dance round the police station singing freedom songs, with a chair held at arm's length above his head.

I shall not go on to the rest of it. There is a sickening repetition of the most revolting barbarities that were inflicted on this young man who, I am pleased to say, is now at liberty. He escaped over the border into Maseru in Lesotho. I hope that very shortly he will be coming here as a refugee. He has applied for political asylum. That is under consideration at the moment. I considered carefully whether to mention this at all. I obviously hope that, like Donald Woods, he will find a ready welcome here. I expect that he will do so.

I had to bear in mind that to come out of Lesotho a refugee has to fly through South African air space and even, on occasions, to land at Johannesburg airport. However, I am assured by the UNHCR that arrangements have been made to bring refugees out under safe conduct. Obviously these refugees in Lesotho will have a greater feeling of vulnerability than those in Botswana. I should like to ask the Government whether they are satisfied that the arrangements for processing applications from Maseru are made as quickly as possible.

On the question of refugees from South Africa in general, I should also like to ask whether the time has not arrived when special permission should be made available for them in further and higher education such as we have already made so effectively in the case of persons who come from Chile and Zimbabwe. In doing so we should not exclude the total of these refugees from the quota of overseas students which was recently announced by the Secretary of State for Education and Science.

Donald Woods showed in the accounts of the conversations he had with Steve Biko that the Western democracies were in danger of losing out to Communism in Southern Africa because the Russians appear to be relatively more sympathetic to the liberation movements. That point was made by the noble Viscount, Lord Mills. Mr. Biko was astute enough to see that the Communists were simply playing power politics and were not necessarily at all interested in the advancement of the black people for their own sake. I think that unless we ourselves provide more material aid as well as disengage ourselves economically from the apartheid regime, the blacks may well continue to believe that our priorities are first and foremost the investments that we have in Southern Africa, rather than the attempt to secure for others the freedoms that we enjoy.

I should like to say one word, in conclusion, on the question of Namibia. The whole world must applaud the idea of the transition to independence in a peaceful manner, with the orderly withdrawal of the South African forces. Coincident with the announcement of the South African acceptance of the Five-Power proposals, it was also reported to me that 27 persons leading SWAPO in Namibia have been arrested, although the newspapers refer to three only. If that is true, it does not exactly inspire confidence in the good faith of the South African Government, because without the approval of SWAPO, or at least its acceptance of the package, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to implement it. Yet we find at this critical juncture the South Africans taking action which seems to me bound to jeopardise acceptance.

I should like to raise one question about the proposal. I know that the letter which was transmitted from the five Powers on 10th April and published as a United Nations document provided that before the elections are held all the political prisoners will be released from detention and the emergency legislation will be repealed. Does it not seem contradictory to the Government that South Africans, at the very moment when they are accepting that as part of the general package, should take all the leaders of SWAPO into detention and thus render impossible any of the political activities in which they would wish to engage in the period leading up to the elections? As there is no timetabe laid down in the five-Power proposal, how can we ensure that the Administrator General will not comply with the letter of it by releasing the prisoners at the very last moment making it impossible for any normal political campaign to be conducted?

Finally, the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury said in his cable to the President of South Africa that banning and detention could only strengthen the hands of those who regard violence as the only means of bringing about change. Of course, it had to be an Irishman who said: Violence is the only way of securing a hearing for moderatior". However, there are many people in Southern Africa who might agree with that sentiment. The rule of non-intervention which was mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, cannot be absolute, otherwise the nations which pay lip-service to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights would be allowed to be judges in their own cause.

However, if we do not intervene peacefully in every possible way others will intervene with the might of arms. By all means let us condemn the violations of human rights wherever they occur throughout the world, but in the case of South Africa, in particular, let us combine with all the other nations of the world to see what joint action we can take, because it is the one issue upon which everybody throughout the world can agree. For Heaven's sake, let us do that before it is too late!

7.53 p.m.


My Lords, the most prominent landmark on the political scene in Southern Africa is the settlement recently reached by Ian Smith and the internal black leaders of Rhodesia. It is a landmark from which hope for the region radiates for the first time since South Africa left the Commonwealth. As such, it is a turning point. Whites and blacks, instead of being opposed, now stand freely shoulder to shoulder to face a common enemy, that of Marxism paraded as patriotism by ruthless power mongers. The apparently impossible has been achieved. There is now no need for a massive white exodus, as there was from Angola and Mozambique. Namibia, where there are 100,000 whites, can take heart. More moderate internal policies can be considered by the South African Government.

Much of the credit for this change belongs to Dr. Henry Kissinger, who succeeded in altering attitudes in Salisbury and so helped to free the log-jam into which Rhodesian politics had become stuck. The attempts of Mr. Andrew Young and Dr. David Owen to find a footing on the liberated timber can scarcely be said to be contributing to stability. Let loose on Africa by a President whom he helped bring to office by harnessing the black American vote, Mr. Young appears to regard the continent as a stage on which, in the spotlight trained on Rhodesia, he can cut a figure for home political consumption and domestic political ambition. The only role that Mr. Young can play that is of value to Africa is to use his influence in the United Nations, to which he is accredited by his country, to obtain international recognition of the Rhodesian internal settlement.

Dr. Owen has an even more positive role to play, but manages to fall between all stools in sight. Our Foreign Secretary should be giving unequivocal support to the settlement reached in Rhodesia, with a view to its recognition as soon as possible by Westminster and the lifting ofsanctions. Instead, he damns it with faint praise. A need to "widen the agreement is preached; in other words, the guerrillas bent on wrecking the agreement must be appeased.

The human suffering among the blacks in Rhodesia is immense. Town-dwellers are scared to return to their own tribal Trust land for fear of reprisals. Families have been broken up by abduction by the Patriotic Front—for instance, young children of between eight and 10 are literally dragged off and in cases have never been seen again since they have found their way to Zambia and been educated to the wishes of the Patriotic Front. The source of this information was brought up in Rhodesia by a Rhodesian who has never supported the Smith regime but who has never doubted Rhodesia's potential as a trading and self-governing country. He is substantially representative of the whites in Rhodesia and is utterly shattered that the United States and the United Kingdom are not prepared to put their all into an internal settlement. Without any doubt at all, I am informed that the majority internal thinking is that the United States and the United Kingdom should support an internal settlement, lift sanctions, assist the settlement internally by creating a development fund, offering assistance through the United Nations to return the country to peace and otherwise remain uninvolved except to ensure that the promises made by the Rhodesian Front are carried to their logical conclusion.

In the debate in this House on Rhodesia on 14th February, I drew on the analogy with Czechoslovakia in 1938—the year Dr. Owen first saw the light of day. Without wishing to go as far as the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, in rehearsing an analysis of the situation offered by Mr. Colin Legum in The Observer, may I say that I was interested to see that Mr. Peregrine Worsthorne in the Sunday Telegraph last week compared President Carter's attitude to Rhodesia to that of Mr. Neville Chamberlain at the time of Munich. Mr. Worsthorne also saw a parallel with Mr. Brezhnev over Eastern Europe in President Carter's evident determination to impose an external settlement. Perhaps Dr. Owen is not appeasing Messrs. Mugabe and Nkomo after all so much as an American President whose policy threatens to disrupt the whole Western Alliance. Certainly, never before has an internationally proclaimed plan failed so completely to represent the interests of those whose names it bears as the Anglo-American one for Rhodesia. Indeed, whenever the term "Anglo-American Plan "is used in connection with Rhodesia a sense of unreality descends.

One measure of the confusion that has overtaken values is that an uninstructed visitor to the region could be forgiven for supposing that it is not a vigorous Rhodesia, with its economy intact and strong, though under acute strain, which has suffered the tourniquet of sanctions all these years, but Angola and Mozambique whose once prosperous economies have been laid waste in a comparatively brief spell of Marxist rule, without any help from trade embargoes.

With the United Nations now in special session on Namibia, let it be known that this House considers the settlement achieved in Rhodesia by Ian Smith and his black colleagues not only an honourable and viable one, but the keystone to civilisation and Western interests in Southern Africa. To frustrate or fail to support what has been achieved by the new Government in Salisbury is to play even further into the hands of Moscow and Havana.

7.59 p.m.


My Lords, first I should like to convey my appreciation to my noble friend Lord Carrington for initiating this debate on the broader problems confronting Southern Africa as a whole and not simply on the Rhodesian problem, as has seemed to be the custom in this House since UDI. I had the honour of making my maiden speech in your Lordships' House during the first debate we had on Rhodesia following the signing of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Smith Government in 1965. I have never hidden my dislike of Mr. Smith's action then, but at the same time, without trying to sound too conceited, I also expressed my dislike of the imposition of sanctions as a means of bringing that regime down within weeks or months. Here we are, more than 12 years on, still trying to resolve the Rhodesian problem, with an internal settlement agreed but not knowing how to involve the outside forces of the Patriotic Front.

From listening to the most excellent speeches made by noble Lords this afternoon, I have come to the conclusion that it would be wrong for me to elaborate on individual experiences and comments on the failings of the South African Government. I, for one, would be the first to condemn any infringements of human rights and dignity. I say that with a certain amount of sentimentality because I was born in South Africa and lived there, as well as in Rhodesia, for the first 13 years of my life.

In 1959 I visited South Africa with an unofficial Conservative Parliamentary delegation and at times we had very heated arguments with South African Government officials about their policy of apartheid. Since then I have visited South Africa on two occasions and have noticed a marked improvement in their attitudes. Admittedly, I have not had access to Government officials, as I did in 1959, but from talking to individual South Africans—both businessmen and farmers —I came to the conclusion that their attitude towards apartheid was weakening and that they, and even the Afrikaners, realised that their salvation eventually lay in some compromise with other ethnic groups.

When considering South Africa we must bear in mind that it is not simply a question of black and white. In that country there are other minority groups such as Indians, the so-called "coloured "people of half-white and half-black descent, Malays and many other minority groups which quite often are never mentioned. These people are equally deprived of their rights under the present South African Government.

When listening to certain noble Lords giving details of grants for educational purposes and comparing the grant given to a white child with that given to a black child, it is most important to bear in mind that although there is this appalling disparity between the two groups, grants given to Africans in South Africa are, on the whole, a good bit higher than those given to Africans in many other parts of that continent.

To sum up, I should like to put three direct questions to the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, which I hope he will be able to answer when he winds up for the Government, because I think that this debate has revolved around these three questions. First, are Her Majesty's Government prepared to consider lifting mandatory sanctions on Rhodesia as a result of the internal agreement? —whether or not the Patriotic Front agrees to partake in the future elections for the government of a new State of Zimbabwe. Secondly, will Her Majesty's Government categorically deny that they are entertaining any suggestion of imposing sanctions on South Africa in order to bring pressure to bear on that country to change its internal policies? In that I also include a restriction on future investment, because I believe that this will affect the African population through unemployment, far more than it would the white population.

Thirdly, will Her Majesty's Government give every encouragement to the Prime Minister of South Africa, following his statement yesterday to the South African Parliament in Cape Town on initiating elections in Namibia that will lead to that country's independence before the end of the year? When I was in South Africa last year I put this question to a South African who said that he could never foresee South Africa relinquishing its mandate over that territory. There has been much criticism about how long it takes for decisions to be taken in relation to Southern Africa. I think that this is a supreme example of how such a country can be encouraged to change its mind.

8.6 p.m.


My Lords, like other noble Lords, I must declare an interest in Rhodesia, though, fortuitously, it meant that I was out there at the conclusion of the internal agreement. Like other noble Lords, I feel that by far the most helpful and constructive step towards settling the Namibian and South African problem would be the setting up of a successful multi-racial State in Zimbabwean example which they would both wish to follow. Therefore, I shall confine my remarks to the immediate problems in Zimbabwe.

When Dr. Owen was asked last week whether the Government would defend the internal settlement come hell and high water if it were confirmed in free and fair elections, his short answer was: "Yes". From that answer I deduce that he must accept that the internal settlement includes all the Principles for majority rule laid down by successive Governments, excluding the fifth Principle. If that is indeed the Government's view, then I wish it could be repeated more strongly.

I had personally hoped that the internal agreement would receive immediate recognition by Her Majesty's Government, with possibly a qualified acceptance, subject to free and fair elections, and permission for the Patriotic Front to return unarmed for that election. It appears to me that the longer we sit on the fence and even tacitly accept the Patriotic Front, the more we encourage the Patriotic Front to attack Rhodesia. I should like to refer here to the disappointing news yesterday that, as the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, mentioned, the internal four have turned down the invitation to a wider conference. It was the three African members of the Executive Committee who decided this, largely against Mr. Smith's advice. The three felt that nothing was to be gained but delay. They have a cohesive, integrated entity at the moment—a kernel—from which they do not wish to hand over what they have and find themselves in a vacuum, as indeed Nkomo did when he reneged on his signature to the 1961 Constitution.

The Foreign Secretary also said last week that he did not think that the Patriotic Front had been given an opportunity to return to its country and fight free and fair elections with honour and dignity. My noble friend Lord Home of the Hirsel and other noble Lords have confirmed that the door is open. I would point out that Mr. Nkomo's return to Rhodesia is fairly simple. The ANC(Z) led by Mr. Chinamo, which is the internal wing of Mr. Nkomo's party, is already operating within Rhodesia. His office and his base are awaiting him. I must agree with my noble friend Lord Carrington and other noble Lords that the Patriotic Front should be given every opportunity to return; indeed I very much hope that they do. I am assured that all the African politicians in Rhodesia actively want the Patriotic leaders to return and join their kernel, as I have called it, with honour and dignity: but I fear that Her Majesty's Government must apply some pressure to achieve this end, and if they have no success they may have to put a time limit on the Patriotic Front's decision.

There has been considerable talk in this House about Marxism and the Cubans. The aim of the Soviet Union is to seize power and keep it. if force can be applied without involving Russia herself, so much the better; hence the Cuban troops. Better still, the mere fear of war may cause weaker nations to give in to Communist demands, so the Kremlin encourages the rest of the world to disarm believing that weakness is a compelling incentive to patriotism. Belloc apparently would have advised this also when he wrote— Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight but roaring Bill (who killed him) thought it right". I would not like to think that we as a nation were akin to pale Ebenezer.

But, more seriously, Karl Marx himself, as correspondent of the New York Tribune, wrote 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". This appears to be historically correct. In the 1940s and 1950s the Kremlin did indeed accept a modest retreat, but now American humiliations in the Far East, the economic recession and the Communist upsurge in Western Europe, have all encouraged Soviet leaders to exploit the present reluctance of the other Powers to resist in a determined and united way. What I do not understand, and the point which I should be most grateful if the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, would clarify, is that if the West is too frightened of the East to be able to accept what is clearly a sensible agreement now, why should it suddenly lose its fear and be prepared to stand up to the East the day after elections?

Finally, the Foreign Secretary said last week that, there was more understanding in Salisbury that the United Nations role would give an assurance that sanctions could be lifted before Independence". Certainly the main issue before us today is the holding of free and fair elections and the control of law and order during those elections. I have no doubt that the Zimbabwe security forces will control the war and will control law and order during the elections, but it would be difficult for them to do it in such a way that they would not be accused of affecting the outcome of the elections. For this reason the United Nations' role and the acceptance of the internal settlement by England and America prior to, though no doubt subject to, the elections is of paramount importance.

Mr. Smith said in his speech on 12th March—and I would, with your Lordships' indulgence, quote from it:— One of the major functions of the transitional Government will be to supervise the arrangements for the registration of voters and delimitation of constituencies. This is a mammoth task, but there is complete agreement amongst us that it must be carried out thoroughly and that the whole electoral process must be seen to be scrupulously fair and free from any possibility of malpractice. This is of vital importance in relation to the acceptability of the settlement by the outside world. We have nothing to hide and observers will be welcome". Surely the Foreign Secretary and Mr. Smith are very close in those two statements. With goodwill, they should be able to reach agreement. But we must understand the Rhodesian objections to the totally different suggestion in the Anglo-American proposals that a United Nations Force should hold the arena. It is unfair to ask the Zimbabwe Executive to accept an English resident commissioner with dictatorial powers, when he is unknown in that country, although let me state quite clearly that I personally admire the gallant and noble Lord to whom I refer.

Furthermore, to accept a United Nations Force of X battalions of Nigerian troops who would be unable to speak the language, and whose loyalties appear to favour the Patriotic Front, is asking too much. I should be grateful to hear from the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, what the position really is. If we can reach agreement with the transitional Government on a United Nations presence which monitors and watches the actions of the Zimbabwe security forces, safeguarding fair and impartial elections, and if this agreement would lead to acceptance of the internal settlement, we have certainly passed another milestone.

8.17 p.m.


My Lords, I think the debate has proceeded at a very high level, and consistently so. The House has been deeply interested to hear some notable speeches and particularly interested I think to hear the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury who spoke so trenchantly on the subject of apartheid. We also had a notable maiden speech from my noble friend Lord McGregor of Durris, a speech which should encourage him to repeat his performance as soon and as frequently as possible. However, the debate owed its quality 1. think to the tone which the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, gave to it in an extremely thoughtful and constructive speech. If I may say so, it was a speech which will help to make peaceful settlements in Southern Africa more possible; certainly there was nothing in it to make the achievement of such settlements more difficult. I feel personally—and I am sure I speak on behalf of my right honourable friends, greatly obliged to the noble Lord for the way in which he opened this important debate.

As the House knows, our policy in Southern Africa rests on firm and, I think, widely shared principles. Chief among them is the fact that we seek peaceful resolutions of the problems of the regions. We do not accept—I certainly do not—that anybody who turns to violence in order to assert his case should somehow have an entitlement to a major part in a settlement. That is to put a premium on violence in regard to any situation of difficulty—and there are many in the world; some such situations outside Rhodesia were quoted here this afternoon—and it would be a dangerous thing indeed to lead the world, and certain elements in the world, to assume that the thing to do is to use violence in order to achieve one's objective. Once that is accepted as a kind of inevitable basis of action, or a tolerated one, the ends of it are not easy to define.

Secondly, we recognise and support African independence and the search for African solutions of African problems. My right honourable friend has made it absolutely clear to the Governments of the Soviet Union and of Cuba how we regard the later manifestations of their presence and activity in Africa. It is no part of our policy to deny to any other country a legitimate attempt to extend their influence, commercial and cultural, in any part of the world. We do it ourselves: why should not others? But it is the motive and the method of intervention in Africa that concern us at the present moment.

The statement which my right honourable friend made was crystal clear, and I believe that it has attracted wide support not only in this country and in the West but in the international community, and not least in Africa. So, although we recognise and support African independence and the search for African solutions to African problems, this country has a role to play. That role springs from the history of the continent, in which we have shared. This is recognised and welcomed by very many African countries, and I would say by the majority of Africans. They combine an appreciation of what we were able to do in the past with an understanding of our complete sincerity in looking to the future not as a dominant power but as a partner with independent African governments throughout the continent in the development of that continent.

We seek to play that role in consultation and in co-operation with others. First, we naturally co-operate very closely with the United States. Not for the first time in fairly recent history, co-operation between our two countries has been the means of great benefits to the world and to humanity. It is an excellent thing that the United States and the United Kingdom should have come together to try to solve this difficult problem in Rhodesia and cognate problems in Africa.

In both countries, we continue to believe—and the view is shared in many parts of Africa itself—that the Anglo-American proposals are a joint constructive basis for a solution. I have said, and my right honourable friend has said, that those proposals are, as we see them, the best framework, the best basis for the implementation of the Five and, indeed, of the Six Principles. They have been put forward in various ways, including in the White Paper. I personally —and I am sure that this is a widely shared view—have still to see a better basis for the implementation of the Principles that we all, with various emphasis, accept. The recent visit of our own Foreign Secretary and the American Secretary of State to Southern Africa is a proof of the urgency with which we together regard these problems.

Secondly, we co-operate with our partners in the Nine, and I would suggest to the House that whatever we do in the next few weeks or months in regard to recognition, or sanctions, which everybody hopes can be done as soon as possible, must have regard for the fact that we act in concert with others: with our friends and partners, and allies in Europe, in North America, and in the Commonwealth. We cannot take a kind of UDI of our own in this matter. We are acting with, and often on behalf of, a wide and powerful conscience on this matter. It is not confined to this country, not confined to Europe, not confined to the Atlantic area; it also embraces the Commonwealth. Both the old and the new Commonwealth want to see Britain handling this in a way which brings the consensus of purpose that we share to a fruition. Particularly on Namibia, we have acted with our Western colleagues in the Security Council within the meaning and purpose of the appropriate Resolution, and to good effect.

I turn now to Namibia to state that it seems that the Western proposals which we put forward towards the end of March are attracting effective support. The attitude of the South African Government has been quoted, and I can give the assurance at once to my noble friend that his interpretation of the position of the South African forces in the working out of the transition state is right. I can confirm what he has said. Indeed, the statement made by Foreign Minister Botha, I think yesterday, both to the Western Ambassadors and I believe to the South African Parliament, is quite clear. South Africa has accepted the Western proposals for Namibia. There are points of detail. The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, raised the question of Walvis Bay and one or two other things. I do not think that those points of detail need impede the programme.of implementation which now seems to be within our grasp in Namibia.

As to the attitude of SWAPO, once more I refer to my noble friend whose influence in Africa is immense, and to thank him for the message which he has sent in this case to SWAPO urging them to accept the Western proposals. They have said that they are not yet ready to decide. Like him, I greatly hope that SWAPO will join the South African Government in welcoming these proposals and working to see them implemented in the next few months. There is nothing of any substance between Namibia and the peoples of Namibia and independence and a status of international recognition with prospects of considerable development in future; and our country has a legitimate interest in the future prosperity and development of Namibia.

We are not the only Western country to have a proper interest in the resources and possibilities of South West Africa, as we used to call it, and there is certainly no need to apologise for that. We look forward, do we not, to co-operating with the successor state, which we hope will be set up as soon as possible, on a basis of exchange, assistance and mutual benefit which will help their people and ours. I say no more about Namibia except to indicate that I am reasonably happy that we are on the right track there.


My Lords, does the Minister intend to say anything about the timing of that part of the agreement which provides for the release of detainees, the repeal of security legislation prior to elections, and how that can be reconciled with the arrest of persons on the list I sent him, among whom were 27 officials of SWAPO?


My Lords, I should like to be a little more precise in my answer to the noble Lord on that point. Certainly, releases of political detainees must form part of the arrangements leading up to free elections. That is clear. As to the timing, that must surely depend—and here perhaps the noble Lord may be able to exercise a certain influence—on the alacrity and comprehensiveness with which SWAPO, like the South African Government, accedes to the Western proposals. The sooner the South Africans and SWAPO agree to these proposals the sooner the releases should begin, the scaling down of the South African military presence can proceed and arrangements for any overlap by agreement with the new Parliament can be put together. I cannot give a precise timetable but I am clear about the intention; perhaps the noble Lord and others will help to get the timing of the elections as early as possible.

We have also been working with the so-called front-line states, with Nigeria and with other friends and colleagues in Africa, and this must not be underestimated. Sometimes I feel that too much emphasis is placed on one aspect of the African attitude today. It is not all Marxist. One wonders sometimes whether it is at all Marxist.


My Lords, has the noble Lord left Namibia for good? I posed two specific questions on the subject of which I gave him private notice.


Indeed, my Lords, and I was hoping to deal with those when I came to specific points, if the noble Lord will allow me to do so. r have not left Namibia for good, except in the literal sense of the phrase.

I come now to South Africa. Apartheid is, I think, repugnant to every Member of this House, to the overwhelming majority of our people here and in the Commonwealth, and indeed to the international community. There is no doubt about the readiness of the United Kingdom to continue with the measures which have been internationally agreed, and there would be no doubt about our acceding, in order to influence the position in South Africa, to any other measures which were internationally agreed. Having said that, I do not agree that there has been no movement in the Republic of South Africa. Looking back over the past three years, I would say that there had been perceptible and in some cases substantial movement. Surely it is good policy and good sense to pause before taking strong nd drastic action and consider whether economic and other connections with South Africa may not be used to promote and accelerate a movement which some of us believe—I think, with reason—has been going on and can be further promoted.

In the meantime, of course, incidents of appalling repression and cruelty, which the noble Lord and others quoted, continue. However, for those who are anxious to see a revolution of mind—the only revolution that really counts; a change of mind, of spirit—in South Africa, I leave this thought with noble Lords who I know are as concerned as I am about what has been happening there: perhaps it is by the pressure of connection rather than of disconnection that we can hope to influence the situation in areas like South Africa.

It is tempting to go into the South African situation at some length. I shall restrain myself, except to say that, throughout the debate, noble Lords have said, one after the other, "I hope it is not too late". That is the history of colonialism, I suppose; too little, too late. The noble Lord, Lord Garner, reminded us of the waste of time and spirit that had been represented by the 12 years of UDI. If measures had been taken—I think I quote him rightly—even five years ago, what a promising and hopeful situation we should he in today. Bearing that phrase, "Too little, too late", in mind, I join noble Lords on both sides in saying to the South Africans: let it not be too little, too late there because the implications of an explosion there are perhaps even more frightening than in other parts of Africa.

Before dealing with Rhodesia and the specific points of which I have been reminded, I come to the question of intervention. I repeat my right honourable friend's statement that there is no intention arbitrarily to shut out anybody from proper influence and activity in any part of the world. There is every intention to resist improper intervention whose motivation is not the proper exchange of goods and services but the creation of a new dominance beside which old-fashioned imperialism would pale into insignificance.

On Rhodesia, everything I have said about Namibia and South Africa applies, but I think that the House would like me to address myself to one or two specific points on Rhodesia, and indeed Namibia. The outstanding point that emerged from the debate about Rhodesia is this. Here is an internal arrangement—the Salisbury arrangement. It is a multiracial set-up, whichever way one slices it. Surely this is what we have been asking for for the past 12 years. Therefore, if it is there, why not settle for it? I would ask the House to bear this in mind, because it is what those with whom we are constantly working (and whom I have mentioned) constantly put to us in Africa and outside. I am far from agreeing that the Salisbury arrangement is quite what it has been made out to be. Nevertheless, it is a very big step forward, and I have said so from this Box more than once. But putting the matter at its highest, there remains the very important question: Is it durable on the basis only of the present participants? It might be. But I do not think any Government, any Foreign Secretary, would be justified in these circumstances in taking that chance, because if that did not come off the only alternative would be the worst kind of civil war, one that for a very long time no amount of negotiation or discussion could arrest.

So I was very glad to hear from the Front Opposition Bench—not for the first time—the very responsible statement that we must go on trying to involve the Rhodesians outside this arrangement to get them into a more comprehensive, participative, and therefore more durable, peaceful settlement. The Patriotic Front have said, "Yes, we will attend a round table meeting at which everybody is present". The Salisbury regime have said in the last day or so that they see no point in that. This is a pity. They have asked us to reconsider our policy. I ask them to reconsider their decision not to attend a round table meeting. If their regime, and the way that they have gone about it, and what they are doing is firmly based, and is potentially so attractive, really the place to make the point is at a round table meeting to which we have invited them. I do not think that they have slammed the door on the proposal, and I hope that the tone of the debate, and the way in which we have all talked about it, will perhaps encourage them to look at the invitation once more. We believe—and I think that there is agreement on this between us—that it is not only well worth while, but essential, that we should persist in our efforts to convene a fully participative meeting of everybody involved in the Rhodesian problem.

I come now to specific points. The most reverend Primate put the point about a United Nations or Commonwealth presence to monitor any international test of opinion, and a number of noble Lords echoed this suggestion. My answer to that is: Why not? But it is unlikely, indeed unlikely in the extreme, that either the United Nations or the Commonwealth would be ready to monitor a test of opinion in circumstances where that test was not one in which all parties are given a genuine opportunity to participate.

The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, gave me notice of two questions which he put during his speech, and I am most grateful to him for this. He wished me to tell the House that now that the South Africans have accepted in toto the Western proposals—he was referring to Namibia—the West will stick to its plan, whatever may be the reactions of SWAPO, and that it will seek to implement that plan in the Security Council. I believe that the noble Lord knows the answer to that. It is the answer that I should think he would give if and when he speaks from this Dispatch Box. Certainly we will press the Western proposals in the Security Council, and as they are within the Security Council resolution, we expect that the Security Council will approve of them as proposals that all sides can accept.

As to the point that the noble Lord made about the reaction of SWAPO, I have to say that we do not know exactly what it will be. We hope very much that it will be favourable. I am not without hope that it will be. Certainly, putting myself in their place, I would say that this was almost exactly what I wanted. We will persist with the plan, even in the face of a rejection by one or other of the parties, because it is truly the answer to the question. But the noble Lord must not expect me to tie the hands of the representatives of our country and other countries. We must remember that we are one of five in this. It may be that certain aspects of this question not impinging on the essence of the proposals —and the noble Lord knows what those are—may need to be modified or adjusted. Within those terms I think that the answer to the noble Lord's question is, Yes; it is affirmative.

The noble Lord also asked me to tell the House whether the Soviet Union have accepted the validity of these proposals, which, he said, they have the ability to frustrate by veto in the Security Council. He said that it would be surprising if, after months of negotiation with the South Africans and others, we were to discover that the West had been negotiating without such an agreement from the Soviet Union. We have been negotiating within the terms of the Security Council resolution; indeed we comprise five members of the Security Council. We have been very careful to put together a package which is firmly within the terms of the resolution, and therefore by definition acceptable to any other member of the Security Council. What would be surprising would be for any member of the Security Council to veto what is seen to be completely in line with the intentions of the United Nations. I am making no hint, or threat, or warning. It is simply a matter of fact. The five have, I repeat, worked within the United Nations resolution. This is the result. The result is discernibly within the terms of the resolution. Therefore we have a right to expect—do we not?—that no one in the Security Council will veto the child of the resolution on which they were themselves so keen.

The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, and, I think, the noble Lord, Lord Plunket, raised the question of the possibility of placing what was described as a senior diplomat in Salisbury. We are prepared to consider positively sending a senior officer to Salisbury. There is no decision on this as yet, but this is certainly a possibility, and one that is constantly being considered (and I mean that literally; it is being considered continuously) by my right honourable friend. I am glad that, when it was put forward, I think by the noble Lord, Lord Plunket, and also, I think, by the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, it was said that such a step would not be deemed to entail recognition. It is perfectly possible that we might decide to proceed in this way.

The noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, asked, in relation to the proposals of the Five about Namibia, whether South Africa had indicated any conditions attaching to its acceptance. I have just been looking once more at the statement made by Foreign Minister Botha, and I do not see any reservations of substance. There is an assertion of emphasis, which is usual in these cases. I think the fair answer is: No, I do not see that there are any substantial conditions attached. There are mode; there are points of means and methods which would normally be brought up in such a statement. Perhaps, if I make a copy of the statement available to the noble Lord, he will like to look at it.

The noble Lord also raised the question: Is there a Soviet general established in Mozambique? For the second time, I said I would look into this. My Lords, I have. I have been conducting my own indefatigable inquiry. I am afraid the quarry is somewhat elusive, because I have no evidence that there is such a presence, as of now, in Mozambique. No doubt the noble Lord will chase me so that I have to chase this point further, but that is my information at the moment.

Referring to Mozambique, may I say how helpful Angola has proved to be in helping forward the negotiations in Namibia. Here is the example of a State which is developing politically, perhaps not in quite the way we would like, but which nevertheless has shown evidence of wishing to see a peaceful settlement in that part of Africa.


My Lords, I do not want to interrupt unduly, but I did put a third question which I thought of some importance. It was: Do we recognise that the Soviet Union has a valid veto, if it cares to exercise it, upon the lifting of sanctions against Rhodesia?


Yes, my Lords, I have a note of that third question, and I think the only possible answer is this. Like every other member of the Council, the Soviet Union can exercise a veto, and has been known to do so. Others have, too, including ourselves, though very sparingly. I think we must look a little beyond the entitlement to the veto. If it is proposed to lift sanctions on a basis which is clearly seen to be within the intentions of the United Nations—that is, a movement irreversibly, peacefully, into independence—then anybody who would exercise a veto against that would be vetoing the very purpose in which, originally, they themselves had joined. No one, as yet, can abolish the veto, even selectively. The veto remains for everybody and is used by everybody when it suits them. I do not think it will suit the Soviet Union to exercise it if the process and the programme of independence is seen to be within the intentions of the international community.

The noble Lord, Lord Goodman, made a fascinating speech. I have his apology that he was not able to remain, and this absolves me from the need to answer a number of points that he raised, except that he raised the question of petty restrictions on Rhodesians coming into this country. He knows—I am sure he does—that within the Thomson rules of, I think, 1968 there is enablement for people in situations such as he described to come here for treatment and to visit relatives. If he has the details of a case—and perhaps somebody will pass this on to Lord Goodman—in which a petty restriction has caused unreasonable difficult}, or hazard, perhaps he will let me know about it.

That leads me to the points made by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury. He made so many points about how we should deal with people in difficulty and, indeed, danger coming here from areas of hazard that I should like to go through his speech and look at each point he made; and perhaps we might have a word about the last two points he made. His points about training and education, in particular, I should be interested to discuss with him.

No, my Lords; I will not clarify The Times report. The Times can do that very well on its own. It is a matter of interpretation. I saw the report. I thought The Times, quite reasonably, was trying to interpret the way the South African Government looked at this matter of the troops; and I think the interpretation I have given is the right one.

The noble Earl, Lord Lindsey and Abingdon, put three questions. He asked whether the Government were prepared to consider lifting sanctions whether or not the Patriotic Front agreed to participate. On 18th April, in another place, my right honourable friend put the position very fairly, I think, when he said: We shall consider that in the light of the settlement as it emerges", and he named most of the conditions and most of the principles which would make such a settlement acceptable. He ended by saying that we would have seriously to consider the position both (as I think he meant) in regard to recognition and in regard to sanctions. But not before then. As to whether we are contemplating further sanctions in South Africa, it is for the international community to consider and decide on that. We have co-operated in the past and we would co-operate in the future in any international action which was adopted by the United Nations.

The noble Earl next asked whether we would encourage the South African Prime Minister in his suggested plan to initiate elections in Namibia. I do not know precisely what suggested plan was meant here, but if the noble Earl is referring to the whole attitude of the South African Government to the Western proposals then I think we have encouraged them, and we feel encouraged by their acceptance of the Western proposals.

A noble Lord asked whether the interim government in Salisbury had agreed to lift the ban on ZANU and ZAPU. We have a nationalist source which announces that the bans on these two political movements will be lifted, but there has as yet been no official confirmation. Let us hope that these things develop in the right way as soon as possible. The more political detainees who are released and enabled to take part in the run-up to free elections in Namibia, in Rhodesia and, I would add, in South Africa, the better.


My Lords, I do not want to compromise anyone else. I think that question was put by me and not by the noble Lord who was mentioned.


My Lords, I had not named a noble Lord as having put that question. I guessed that it was my noble friend Lord Brockway because he knows his way round these acronyms—ZANU and ZAPU—better than anyone else in the House.

My Lords, the source is partial but let us hope that it is confirmed. I have indicated my view and that of the Government about the release of political detainees. The House has listened with great patience to my attempt to set out once more the broad basis of the Government policy in Southern Africa and to answer as many as possible of the specific points that were raised. It is a region of immense importance, and not only to Africa: because what happens in the solution or the non-solution of the problems in Southern Africa might well have repercussions throughout the continent and beyond it. I have often said from this Box that a solution of the Namibia question might very well help a solution of the Rhodesian and South African question.

I feel cautiously optimistic because of the favourable acceptance so far of the Western proposals about Namibia. These things are catching; at least, we hope so. I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, well emphasised the importance, not only to the peace of Africa but also possibly to the wider interests of peace, of a sensible settlement of these problems. Also, he was right to emphasise our proper interest as a country, and as a member of the Western democratic community, in the stability and prosperity of Southern Africa.

9.3 p.m.


My Lords, your Lordships will be immensely relieved but not, I hope, surprised when I tell you that I do not intend to make another speech. I rise only to say three things. I should like to join with other noble Lords in saying how much we enjoyed the speech of the noble Lord, Lord McGregor of Durris, and to confirm, if I may, from my amateur standpoint, exactly what he said. I have visited that university on two occasions. I rise, secondly, to thank the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, for the usual careful and courteous speech, the trouble he has taken in making it to your Lordships and for the answers he gave me to my two questions, on which I will not press him tonight; but it could be that in the future I will come back to them. Thirdly, I hope that noble Lords who have taken part in this debate—from the noble and hereditary Communist who sits in our ranks to those who are more royal1 blue in their approach—have thought that this debate was worthwhile and that those who had enough stamina to stay will have thought that it was a good debate. My Lords, I beg leave to withdraw my Motion for Papers.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.