§ 2.57 p.m.
§ Lord TREFGARNE
My Lords, I rise to move the first Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper; namely, that the Southern Rhodesia (Constitution of Zimbabwe) (Elections and Appointments) Order 1979 be approved. With your Lordships' permission, at the same time I shall speak to the second Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper and then move the latter only formally when we come to it. In my speech I shall deal with the orders in the reverse order to which they appear on the Order Paper because that was how I expected them to appear on the Order Paper. I hope that your Lordships will not be unduly confused by that.
The second order, the subject of this Motion—I speak now about the Southern Rhodesia (Legal Proceedings and Public Liabilities) Order 1979—is made under Section 3 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1979 and refers principally to the past. It deals with the consequences of the lapse on 15th November last year of Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 and of certain Orders in Council made under that section to deal with the situation created by UDI. The order is extremely technical and I shall not detain your Lordships with too lengthy an explanation, but essentially it has four purposes.
First, it safeguares the position of the London board and the governor and trustee of the Reserve Bank of Rhodesia appointed by the British Government in place of the illegal board in Salisbury. 380 Those who served as governor and trustee in London have carried out their duties over a long period with care, skill and dedication. The purpose of Article 2(1) of this order is to confirm the validity of their actions over that period and to protect them from any liability. I believe your Lordships will agree that such protection, for actions which were, of course, undertaken at the request of the British Government, is entirely right and proper.
Secondly, the order deals with the consequences of the failure of the Southern Rhodesia authorities to make any payments after November 1965 to United Kingdom stockholders in respect of its own stock or that of the former Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland for which Southern Rhodesia assumed responsibility. Both the sum involved—some £45 million—and the number of persons affected—over 15,000—are substantial. Article 3(1) of the order will make it possible for legal proceedings in respect of such stock to be instituted even though the usual limitation period for such proceedings has expired. A comparable provision is made in the case of other debts and liabilities. Accordingly, this article makes possible a legal action against the Government in right of Southern Rhodesia for a period of six months after the commencement of the order, even though the usual period of limitation has long since expired.
Thirdly, the order deals with the satisfaction of the claims of Rhodesia's creditors, and seeks to ensure that they are met in an orderly manner. The power to decide how to apply any monies received since the lapse of sanctions on account of the Government of Southern Rhodesia for the settlement of Rhodesia's existing debts is vested in the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and the responsibility will rest on him to see that claims are satisfied in an equitable manner. At the same time the liabilities of the Registrars and Trustees of the Sinking Fund of Southern Rhodesian stock are limited and they can be required to satisfy judgments for payment of interest and redemption only from the monies of the Government of Southern Rhodesia which they hold in respect of such stocks and not from any other funds held on Southern Rhodesia's behalf.
Fourthly, the order validates payments made in discharge of Rhodesia's liabilities 381 since UDI. Finally, the order does some more general tidying up. It provides that where there is any inconsistency between the registers of stock kept in the United Kingdom and Southern Rhodesia the registers in the United Kingdom are to prevail.
Perhaps I should mention briefly the more general subject of Rhodesian debt. The Ministry of Finance in Salisbury has stated quite clearly that they fully accept the importance of meeting debt service and arrears of capital redemption and interest. This is an encouraging and important step, and acknowledgement of the debt will be included in the transitional provisions made in connection with the introduction of the independence constitution. The timing, and distribution, of payments for pre-UDI liabilities will be the subject of official discussions with the Government of Zimbabwe after independence. I am sure that your Lordships would agree that it would not be right for the Governor to use his authority to take decisions which would prejudge issues which are properly the concern of the independence Government. Furthermore, as it would not be technically possible for all debts to be paid before independence, the acceptance by the independence Government of any arrangement arrived at will be necessary for its successful implementation.
I turn now to the Southern Rhodesia (Constitution of Zimbabwe) (Elections and Appointments) Order 1979, which is the first one on the Order Paper. This one looks forward to the future and to the elections and appointments which are the necessary steps towards the establishment of an independent Zimbabwe with its Government freely and fairly elected. It is made under Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1979 and authorises the Governor to take the steps necessary to conduct elections and appoint a Prime Minister and other Ministers who can assume office on independence. Different sections of the order will be brought into effect by the Secretary of State as they are required.
The key step is the holding of elections to the House of Assembly and the Senate. The Governor has already enacted detailed ordinances, modifying the electoral law and providing for the functions and duties of the Election Commissioner and the 382 Election Council. Copies of these have been placed in the Library. The Election Commissioner took up his duties in mid-December and is supervising the preparations for the elections. The Election Council began its meetings on 15th January. Ten parties have registered to take part in the elections and the nomination of candidates took place yesterday. Arrangements have been made for all 10 parties to have equal time on television and radio. Commonwealth observers will be going to Rhodesia to observe the elections later this week. The British Government will shortly be proposing, through the usual channels, arrangements for a small number of Members of all parties and both Houses to visit Rhodesia to observe the elections. Elections on the White Roll will be held on 14th February. These elections take place separately from those on the Common Roll, largely for administrative convenience, since they are held for constituencies with a register of voters. The Common Roll elections will be held on 27th to 29th February on a party list system in eight electoral districts. The schedule to the order provides for the elections to be held on a list rather than a constituency basis. The schedule also modifies the constitution to remove residence qualifications for elections to the Senate and the House of Assembly and to ensure that any person deprived of his citizenship by the former Administration of Rhodesia other than on grounds of fraudulent registration, should be entitled to vote.
Arrangements for elections to the Senate will be made immediately after the elections to the House of Assembly have been completed. Section 4 of the order requires the Governor to appoint a Prime Minister. In accordance with the provisions of the constitution, this will be the person whom the Governor judges is best able to command the support of a majority of Members of the House of Assembly. Section 5 requires the Governor to make provision for voting for the President-Elect, who will assume office on Independence Day. Finally, the order brings into force those parts of the independence constitution which will be required to give effect to the other provisions of this order.
Before concluding, I should like to make a few general comments about the remarkable achievements of the Govern- 383 or's Administration in the space of only five weeks. Rhodesia has been returned to legality and sanctions have been lifted. A cease-fire has been established, the monitoring force deployed and 21,000 members of the Patriotic Front forces have reported to assembly places. The Cease-fire Commission is meeting regularly and good co-operation has been established between the respective military commanders. The Governor has made full use of the Patriotic Front's military commanders in dealing with threatening incidents and they have had considerable success in settling these.
On the political front, the return of the Patriotic Front's political leaders is nearly complete and the massive task of bringing back refugees is getting under way. The barriers which lately stood between Rhodesia and the international community are disappearing. Relations with her neighbours are beginning to approach normality. Air links are being restored and many countries are sending representatives to Salisbury. The European Community has agreed to a special trade régime for Rhodesia with immediate effect. This will be of the greatest assistance in stimulating trade and employment.
Within Rhodesia, former restrictions have been very considerably relaxed. A general amnesty has been declared and the cases of all detainees are being reviewed. All those formerly detained on the basis of ministerial orders have been released. Martial law courts have been suspended and martial law itself will be lifted when the cease-fire is fully effective. But very difficult problems remain to be overcome. There is evidence of serious breaches of the cease-fire agreement by Mr. Mugabe's forces, in particular the extent of cross-border movement since the cease-fire came into effect. There is also the question of detainees still being held by Mr. Mugabe's party in Mozambique. There are some 70 former members of ZANU in detention, who have applied to us to secure their release as required by the Lancaster House agreements. Although we have pressed Mr. Mugabe on this matter, no action has been taken and in consequence the people concerned have been deprived of their right to stand in the elections. The 384 Government take the view that there is a heavy responsibility on Mr. Mugabe to release these detainees forthwith so that they too can benefit from the settlement. We hope that other Governments will join us in urging the importance of this on him.
My Lords, it is my duty to remind all the parties that they entered into a solemn undertaking at Lancaster House binding upon themselves and their colleagues and before the whole world. They cannot now impede Rhodesia's progress to independence and their prospects for high office in the Government of Zimbabwe depend absolutely on their securing the approbation of the Rhodesian electorate. They can achieve that only by demonstrating the merit of their policies and the strength of their respective teams, not by hijacking their political opponents and not by dragooning the voters into supporting them by threats and intimidation.
My Lords, the Government remain determined to hold under peaceful conditions elections in which all parties can take part in the confidence of an impartial Administration. These elections are now only five weeks away. I believe your Lordships will agree when I say that my noble friend Lord Soames has already made giant strides towards the creation of the necessary conditions for free and fair elections and deserves the congratulations of us all. There will be no respite for him over the next few weeks, but, if all the parties comply strictly with the agreement signed at Lancaster House, the prospects of bringing Rhodesia to independence honourably and in peace are promising.
After 14 years of illegality and seven years of bloody war, in which 20,000 or more have given their lives, the dark clouds over Rhodesia are beginning to move away. What she needs now more than ever in her history is our help, our encouragement and our prayers. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That the order laid before the House on 13th December 1979 be approved.—(Lord Trefgarne.)
§ 3.11 p.m.
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS
My Lords, I will confine myself at this stage to 385 a few remarks on the first of the two orders relating to elections and my noble and learned friend Lord Elwyn-Jones will no doubt have a few remarks to make about some aspects of the constitutional legality of the two orders. I come first to the first and last points made by the Minister; namely, that we all agree—certainly we on these Benches agree—that considerable progress has been made in Rhodesia since Lancaster House. It is with a sense of great relief and gratitude that we hail the restraint and the comparatively peaceful way in which the transitional stage seems to be developing.
That is not to say that certain incidents have not occurred which have gravely imperilled the peaceful development of this policy, not only the variations of activity, to which the Minister referred, on the part of Mr. Mugabe, but dreadful incidents like the slaughter of seven non-reporting guerrillas in the bush by Rhodesian forces. We must make the point that the Governor and his assistants must do everything in their power to prevent a repetition of incidents of that sort. However, it would be churlish not to join the Minister once more in expressing our satisfaction and encouragement to Lord Soames and his assistants in building up now the preconditions for really free and fair elections. They have achieved a great deal. We profoundly hope that their efforts will be crowned with final success in the next few weeks.
One of the pre-conditions, of course, is that the cease-fire should be effectively observed, and I agree with a remark made by the noble Lord the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, at the beginning of the negotiations at Lancaster House that a cease-fire, when agreed, might not proceed without incident. Nevertheless, the role of the Cease-fire Commission is vital in examining promptly and deciding without delay any complaints put to it about the actions or lack of actions by any one of the parties in coming forward to report to the assembly points.
One notices that Bishop Muzorewa in the last week or so has made specific complaints about the non-compliance in particular of the insurgents following the lead of Mr. Mugabe in this respect; that they have by no means all reported, he said, and that some new ones had been fed into the bush to replace insurgents follow 386 ing him who had reported. Have complaints similar to those, widely broadcast by the Bishop, been the subject of careful, prompt and decisive examination by the Cease-fire Commission? It is vital that any complaint, whoever makes it, is dealt with promptly because it is confidence in the movement forward of the cease-fire pre-conditions above all which will create confidence in the credibility of the elections when they are actually held. We would wish to have reassurance about the activity of the Cease-fire Commission.
Secondly, are Her Majesty's Government satisfied that there is in fact equal access to facilities—broadcasting, through the Press, public meetings—for all parties taking part in the election? I see that in another place one honourable Member referred to a trivial but dangerous little incident whereby Mr. Nkomo, returning I believe for the first time to Salisbury to address his followers, was denied the use of a loudspeaker. Such incidents may seem trivial to us here, but they can have an impact on the African mind beyond anything they would have on us in this country. Here again it is immensely important that the Governor and the British Government in Salisbury should watch these small but very dangerous incidents. I have given just one example, but there are others which may occur to noble Lords. That is the second point: are Her Majesty's Government satisfied that there continues to be full and equal access to public facilities for the purpose of the election?
Thirdly, the roll of voters must be as credible as the election, if the electoral roll is not put together with the maximum precision and comprehensivity, the elections themselves may suffer in their credibility. What about the 250,000 refugees—I believe that is the number—mostly in Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique, who have still to return to Rhodesia? What arrangements are there in train to restore them to their country and enable them to take part in the elections as fully qualified voters?
The question of detainees, of course, arises in this connection. I join with the Minister in expecting all parties concerned to release whoever they have under detention. It is indeed intolerable that while we are doing our best to meet demands for the fullest, freeest and fairest possible 387 elections, some of the very people who are making those demands and who were making them at Lancaster House are themselves exercising restraint on a number of detainees.
I do not know how many of these are involved. I think the Minister gave the figure of 70 and I believe that figure was given last Thursday in another place, but surely it is more than that. I shall have a quantitative relief, if not a qualitative one, if it is as low as 70, but I shall still retain a measure of disbelief about the figure, and perhaps the Minister can disabuse me on that point. We must consider not only refugees, but detainees, too. It is not enough to demand that we should facilitate the return of the refugees. That must be accompanied by the release of detainees who, for no possible reason except that of vengeance and repression, are kept in durance in the hands of irregular forces.
The Minister has referred to solemn undertakings accepted at Lancaster House. We all know what they were. One of them was that South African troops would be withdrawn from Zimbabwe. That was explicitly announced by Her Majesty's Government specifically on 5th December, and then again on 18th December as being part of the intention and the policy; and indeed, it could be strongly argued that the success of the Lancaster House Conference turned on the categorical assurance given about the future of the South African forces in Zimbabwe. They are still there. I know the rationale of this. It relates to the importance of the Beit Bridge as a means of communication to and from Zimbabwe. We are not quarrelling about that. Those from this House who have seen the bridge, even those who can read maps, would agree at once that to maintain and protect this vital artery of trade and intercourse must be the charge of the Government of the day in Rhodesia, not the charge of another Government from another country. Not only is it constitutionally anomalous to say the least, but it is seriously exacerbating to feelings in Rhodesia. It is one of those talking points that not only excites the Patriotic Front; elements outside Rhodesia, outside the Patriotic Front, are working up into a reinforcement of the old accusation that British and South African traditional 388 colonial policy still continues unabated. We know this to be wrong, to be untrue; and what possible objection can there be to instructing the Government of South Africa to remove their forces and to replacing them by possibly a mixed Rhodesian and Commonwealth force?
One has read the alleged objections to this: how can you guard one bridge with two forces? Well, now, this is ridiculous. Two forces become one for a common purpose. I see no reason at all why Commonwealth and Rhodesian elements, possibly drawn from the Patriotic Front and the Salisbury Government forces, might not form a composite force to guard this important bridge and so get rid of this constantly exacerbating element in what everybody feels is an otherwise improving Zimbabwe position. I very strongly urge the Government to look again at this question of South African involvement.
Then there is the question of the Parliamentary Commission, which the Minister has described; that is, a Commission from both Houses of this Parliament, and from all parties, to go out there, side by side with the Commonwealth observers and any other observers (individuals or groups), and, I expect, to report back to Parliament as to how they have seen the elections proceed. My noble and learned friend may have points to make on this question, but whether or not he has, I would myself put this very strongly to the Government.
We welcome very much the intention to create a Parliamentary Commission from this Parliament to go out to Zimbabwe. We urged this very early on in the negotiations, as the noble Viscount will remember. We would, however, expect, and certainly strongly urge, that such a Commission report not only to the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, as undoubtedly they would, but formally to both Houses of the British Parliament.
This changes the nature of the Commission from being an ad hoc aggregation of representative Members from both Houses into a kind of visiting Select Committee; and why not? This is an event of immense importance—the creation of a new State within the Commonwealth through free and fair elections. 389 It may be epoch-making. It may show the world how—against the background of seven years of bloody warfare and 14 or 15 years of bloody mindedness in Rhodesia—through the British initiative, based on our experience and our constant goodwill in countries like Rhodesia, when it comes to the question of independence it is possible to usher in independence based on free and fair elections.
Let us make much of this Parliamentary Commission. Let the usual selecting authorities choose the members with great care and give to the Commission something like the status and standing of a Select Committee so that they will bring back to both Houses of Parliament their report, which I confidently believe will, on balance, be very encouraging and favourable. We can discuss it, and in so doing can once more emphasise to our own people, to the people of Africa, and indeed to the whole world, that this procedure of peaceful democratic change from dependency to independent sovereignty can be carried out.
§ 3.27 p.m.
§ Lord GLADWYN
My Lords, we on these benches should like to associate ourselves, broadly speaking, with what the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, said, subject to this: generally speaking, we feel that the progress so far made in the implementation of the cease-fire and in preparation for the coming elections is remarkable. It might have been so very much worse. There have been incidents, but they have not been extremely grave, and there is good reason now to suppose that the elections will be held on the appointed date. However, I suppose we have certain criticisms—we always have—of Government action and, as I say, I do not dissociate myself from anything that the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, has said. More especially, I should like to back him up on the question of the Parliamentary Commission. We would unhesitatingly associate ourselves with that for the reasons which he gave.
If the procedure in another place is any guide, I believe that it is possible in this debate to raise any question connected with the forthcoming elections. My colleague, Mr. Russell Johnston, in another place the other day raised three questions, to two of which he received some sort of 390 answer, but to the other he received no answer at all, nor did anybody. I refer of course to the important question that the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, has just raised; namely, the continued presence of the South African troops in Rhodesia, north of the Beit Bridge. I understand that only about 250 of these troops are deployed, but it is a fact that their deployment in Rhodesia is not in accordance with the assurance which the Foreign Secretary gave us in this House on, I seem to remember, the actual day of the signing of the cease-fire, when, in answer to a supplementary question that I posed, he declared that when the Governor had arrived in Rhodesia and legality had therefore been imposed there would be no foreign troops on Rhodesian soil. That was a categorical assurance. I quite understand that there may be difficulties about this. I suppose it is possible that Lord Soames has done his best to get these foreign troops removed; but, if that is the case, he has not been very successful.
What I should like to ask the Government is this—and I more or less repeat, I think, the question which the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, put. Why is it that it has not been possible to remove these troops from north of the bridge, and to impose some kind of joint control of the bridge between the South African forces on one side and another force on the other? What could the other force be? I rather doubt whether we could at this moment do what the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, suggested, which is to get a combined force of Patriotic Front guerrillas and General Wall's forces organised in time to defend the bridge before the elections. I rather doubt that; but what I cannot see is why one should not send out a company of sappers of British Royal Engineers. What is to prevent us from sending them out? Why should they not guard the bridge perfectly adequately? They need have only rifles, I should think, to do that, and there is no reason why they should not do it. I really do not see why it cannot be done, or, at least, why it should not be suggested or put to the South African Government. If it were accepted then, of course, it would remove what is, I am afraid, a very considerable grievance and the allegation that we are not fulfilling our obligations, which one might feel is having a 391 rather deplorable effect on the general situation in Rhodesia as a whole. I hope the Government will explain to us why that sort of solution is not possible.
Subject to that, I must say that I feel reasonably optimistic. There are, of course, still considerable difficulties in relation to Mr. Mugabe's attitude. We understand that he will come back next Saturday, and we hope he will, but it remains to be seen. That is the main outstanding difficulty. If he does come back, then I believe that the other, comparatively minor difficulties will be solved, and that we shall then be able to look forward to congratulating Lord Soames and the Government most sincerely on what they have done. In the meantime, I congratulate them on what they have done so far, and I hope that the one remaining difficulty which I have mentioned will be satisfactorily solved.
§ 3.32 p.m.
§ Lord DUNCAN-SANDYS
My Lords, I should like to say just a few words on this subject. First, I think we all recognise the tremendous difficulties which confront the Governor, and that it is not possible to please everybody. I think we ought to congratulate him on the success he has had so far, although there are still difficulties which need to be resolved. I should like to support what both Lord Goronwy-Roberts and Lord Gladwyn have said about the presence of South African troops in Rhodesia. I think that if the Governor is going to be able, as I hope he will be, rigidly and strictly to enforce the arrangements which have been agreed at Lancaster House, then he must be in a position to say that, so far as he is concerned, all the conditions which it is in his power to implement have been implemented. I therefore hope that, in one way or another, it will be possible to ensure the security of the bridge without having to rely further upon South African troops.
Now I come to another point, to which I attach very great importance, which was raised both by the Minister and by Lord Goronwy-Roberts, and that is the question of the detainees. With all respect to the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, I do not think it is just a question of numbers, although numbers are important. 392 The people who are being detained are to a large extent people who have been especially selected because they are politically important, and they could therefore play a politically important part in the elections. We know what the effect would be on a British general election if the principal personalities were not to be allowed to take part. It might conceivably have some effect upon the election. I am very glad that the Minister referred specifically to the detainees who have not been released by Robert Mugabe, and I feel that, here, something must be done urgently and very strictly. This is a clear, unmistakable infringement of what was precisely agreed at the Lancaster House Conference.
My belief is that we have very little time in which to deal with this matter. I believe that an immediate ultimatum should be sent to Robert Mugabe saying that these people have got to be released. They are being held, not by the Mozambique Government, but in camps under the control of Mugabe and his people. He should be told that these people must be released immediately, and at any rate before he, Robert Mugabe, will be permitted to return to take part in the elections in Rhodesia. He is due to return on Sunday, and there is therefore not much time to be lost. I think it ought to be made a condition that he immediately releases these people. There is no difficulty in his releasing them; he can do it in a matter of hours. But it seems to me absolutely intolerable that he should be allowed to return to Rhodesia on Sunday and hold a mass meeting of supporters while there is still a large number of detainees being held, under restraint, in his camps outside the country. I should like to know what the Government feel about this, and what action they are going to take. I think it is in their power to secure the release of these people, because I do not believe Robert Mugabe would care not to be allowed back into Rhodesia. I ask for some word from the Government as to what action they are going to take apart from expressing criticism in Parliament.
§ 3.36 p.m.
§ Lord WIGG
My Lords, I shall not keep the House for more than a moment, but I cannot remain silent while the problem of South African troops in 393 Rhodesia is discussed in a rather respectable way, in terms of a limited number of South Africans in and around Beit Bridge. That is not the problem. The truth is that over the last few months the forces of General Walls have carried out operations deep in the heart of Zambia and in Mozambique, and those operations were carried out through the agency of South African battle helicopters, as the Minister knows perfectly well—the Pumas. These Pumas were not piloted by Rhodesians; they were piloted by South African officers, certainly wearing Rhodesian uniforms. The situation is comparable to that which existed in Spain before the war, when German and Italian pilots were fighting Franco's aircraft. That is the situation. The successes deep in the heart of Zambia and Mozambique were as a result of the use of African equipment operated by African officers.
The Minister himself wrote to me in the Recess (quite politely, if I may say so) a fairly evasive answer, because he said that of course he knew nothing about the nationals who were serving in the Rhodesian forces. The truth is that they are South Africans, and the situation came about as a result of South African pressure, as I told him and as I told the House on a previous occasion. If this continues—and it will, because the Government are very tender on this operation—then, when the elections are over and the writers of the world's Press get to work, a pretty disgraceful story will come out, because the Foreign Office know the facts just as well as I do, probably from the same source. But the facts are that, today, there are South African pilots operating strike helicopters, battle helicopters, which make up the nub of Rhodesian forces.
§ 3.39 p.m.
§ Lord HALE
My Lords, I am very sorry to introduce an almost mundane aspect into the matter, but the course that the debate has taken apparently compels me to raise at this moment any point I have upon the second order, which will be voted on separately but which is being discussed now. I am sorry about this, because this has been an excellent discussion and I should like to congratulate both the noble Lord who introduced the first order and my noble friend Lord Goronwy-Roberts for his admirable and tempered criticisms.
394 Coming to money, which is becoming an increasingly important subject, can we resolve whether, under the second order, the British Government are being left with any residual or consequential responsibility in respect of outstanding issues of Southern Rhodesia stock?—which was the subject in another place of some proposals for possible guarantees during the period of emergency when we were discussing who were the Government. If this order is passed and a Government is formed, can we say that our liability in respect of any of these matters has not been reassumed and is being discharged?
§ Lord GRIDLEY
My Lords, I wish to intervene for a few brief observations only. I would not interpolate into any of the difficulties mentioned by other noble Lords which have arisen in Rhodesia since the Governor, Lord Soames, took office. May I pose this as a thought for some of us. I cannot conceive of any more difficult a position for anybody to take up than that of the noble Lord, Lord Soames. Over our many years of experience in these matters, when we were about to hand over independence to an independent Government, we always did so when we were satisfied of the situation of stability and that the moment was ripe to do so. I would pay tribute to all Members of your Lordships' House, both of the Opposition and of the Government, that over the years we appear to have succeeded in bringing two warring factions together to carry out elections in Rhodesia for a new Government in that country. I think that that is a most remarkable achievement and one that we shall do well to remember.
That is, basically, all that I would say of the present situation; but, having served, as I did, in Malaya, and having seen one Governor, Sir Henry Gurney, shot and murdered by the communist terrorists; and having served under another Governor, Sir Shenton Thomas, who died at the hands of the Japanese, I know well the difficulties and dangers which face people who are sent overseas to serve our country in that capacity.
In conclusion, may I mention one point on this trust that people have in Britain to see that such people get a square deal. When I was in Rhodesia, there was this question of pensions. I have been in consultation with my noble friend Lord Trefgarne on this subject and it would not 395 be right if I were to mention what we have discussed in these issues. But there is this worry with regard to pensions and I would hope that, possibly, when the noble Lord, Lord Soames, comes to the position (as we all hope he will) of handing over to an incoming independent Government, he might find it possible to bring up that issue and impress upon a new independent Government of Zimbabwe that there is this more binding obligation upon them to honour the conditions of service of former public servants in that country. Incidentally, with respect to other territories, Her Majesty's Government always have exhibited an interest to see that those conditions were observed. That is all I have to say.