HL Deb 14 February 1978 vol 388 cc1244-5

2.44 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, on the present negotiations within Rhodesia for a satisfactory settlement, they will make it clear to the leaders of the Patriotic Front that they do not possess any inalienable right to veto any internal settlement achieved which may prove satisfactory to Her Majesty's Government.


My Lords, as we have made clear in the past, we shall judge any settlement by the yardstick of the Anglo/US proposals. Nobody has any right of veto in this respect.


My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his Answer, but might I ask him whether it would not be advantageous to make doubly clear that everybody understands what he has just said in reply to my Question and that no veto will be acceptable? The Patriotic Front takes no part in the present settlement being discussed in Rhodesia and, so far as I know, has made no request to do so, but the guerrilla war continues and there is no cease-fire. May we not assume from that situation that the Patriotic Front has no real interest, at present, in the settlement talks or in future peace in Rhodesia in that connection? Finally, if the present talks have been stalled—I do not know whether they have—have the Government any information from Rhodesia of any intimidation to cause any persons who are taking part in these talks to change their mind?


My Lords, I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, will not take it amiss from me if I suggest that we should not now anticipate the debate for which my noble friend Lord George-Brown has presciently provided an opportunity. However, I take on board what the noble Lord, Lord Gridley, has said and I assure him that, when I reply to the debate this evening, I shall pay attention to the points that he has raised this afternoon.