HL Deb 09 December 1985 vol 469 cc69-91

7.25 p.m.

The Earl of Kimberley rose to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they consider that Soviet involvement in southern Africa poses a threat to British interests in the region.

The noble Earl said: My Lords, one of Her Majesty's Ministers of State in another place not all that long ago warned the people of this country about the signs that were showing that the Soviet Union is involved now in strengthening the bridgehead which it has established in Angola. I think those warnings should be taken seriously, because there is substantiated intelligence information that the Soviet Union, through its surrogate Cuban force of over 30,000 combat troops, has prevailed upon the government of that country—the totally unrepresentative MPLA regime—to launch and sustain a major offensive against the guerrilla forces of Dr. Jonas Savimbi, the leader of UNITA.

This conflict between the MPLA and UNITA is not just another remote conflict between competing ethnically-divided factions on a troubled continent. Both regional security in the sub-continent and western strategic interests are directly threatened by an escalation of super-power involvement in military activity in that part of the world.

I do not need to remind your Lordships that of the 11 African nations south of the Equator, eight are Commonwealth countries. Three of these countries border on the south-east of Angola: Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. The Soviet Union under Mr. Gorbachev's leadership, has, in a few months, asserted its influence and interest in the area to an alarming degree. Mr. Mugabe has, for example, just returned from Moscow with promises, so we are led to believe, of increased supplies of military equipment and expertise ringing in his ears.

The Soviet Union, as I think most of your Lordships know, is not concerned with helping solve regional conflicts or promoting regional peace. It perceives an opportunity to exploit and further destabilise the situation and it is aggressively advancing its objectives in the area. The region as a whole is of fundamental strategic importance to Great Britain. Besides our commercial and economic links with those countries, we are vitally dependent on a number of strategic materials which come not only from South Africa, but from other countries in the region. Zambia, Zaire and Zimbabwe are major suppliers of chrome and copper. To quote The Times of 2nd December, control of the Cape, remains a glittering prize for those who plan Soviet foreign policy". On the same theme, the Yorkshire Post warned that the Soviet presence in Angola is a dagger poised to strike at the West's vital lifelines round the Cape".

We should not be deceived. The Soviets promote their objectives not through the humanitarian and economic aid so desperately needed in Africa, but through the export of weapons. A battle took place on the banks of the Lomba river in southern Angola on 30th September and 1st October 1985. It was the culmination of an offensive by FAPLA, the defence force of the MPLA, against the stronghold of UNITA. FAPLA was dealt a convincing and bloody defeat. However, the difference between this offensive and previous offensives against UNITA was quite dramatic. Never before had Soviet-supplied helicopter gunships and Mig aircraft been deployed to provide air cover for motorised ground columns in that part of the world.

I have available statistics for the supply of military equipment to the MPLA by the Soviets over the past 18 months. The Institute for Strategic Studies in London has documented this build-up but it has not kept pace with supplies pouring in by virtue of the Ilyushin transport air bridge between the Soviet Union, Cuba and Angola at this moment. We are witnessing a resupply and deployment of offensive weaponry in Southern Angola of alarming proportions.

In 1985, some 79 fighter aircarft, including 28 highly sophisticated Mig 23s and 45 assault helicopters, were shipped to Angola, not to mention missile and motorised weapons systems. In fact, only yesterday a Soviet transport aircarft had trouble and made a forced landing in Zaire. There were 40 Cuban and Angolan soliders on it, and they subsequently burnt the aircraft because they wanted to destroy any documents or equipment that were on it.

Ostensibly, this awesome hardware is intended to bolster the MPLA regime in Angola and I think we have to question the legitimacy of that government. In 1975, the Alvor Agreement established a government of national unity between the MPLA, UNITA and FNLA movements until such time as elections should take place.

With the help of Cuban and other such surrogate forces and an increasing degree of direct Soviet involvement, national elections were prevented and the MPLA unsurped power. It thereby gained "international recognition" as the government of Angola.

While insisting on democratic processes in South West Africa, Namibia and South Africa, the OAU and UNO totally ignored UNITA's legitimate claims for national elections in Angola. UNITA, indeed, stands for recognition and the formation of a government of national unity. It stands for legitimacy based on democratic elections; the rule of law; fundamental principles of the rights, responsibilities, privileges and equality of all citizens, and the adherence to the universal declaration of human rights. It stands for freedom of religion, worship and the press; free education, private enterprise, political independence and freedom from foreign aggression. Those are principles with which we should—and with which most of us do—have some sympathy, which are totally denied by the regime which her Majesty's Government recognise in Luanda today.

A new offensive against UNITA could be launched at any moment. In fact, there are signs that the setbacks suffered by the MPLA at the hands of UNITA regulars in September, unlike on previous occasions, has not discouraged reinforcement and preparations for a new offensive.

Great Britain cannot stand idly by with the possible wholesale massacre of people who support our values, which could take place in southern Angola. I should ask seriously if Her Majesty's Ambassador in Luanda should be instructed forthwith to convey this message unambigously to President Dos Santos.

Further, we should demand that all foreign troops be withdrawn from Angola. The South Africans have withdrawn from southern Angola in terms of the Lusaka Accord of February 1984. Their withdrawal was verified by a joint monitoring group. For their pains in seeking a diplomatic and peaceful resolution of the conflict in the region, South Africa, the major regional power, has witnessed how the Soviets and Cubans have filled the vacuum by installing a military force of daunting proportions across the northern border of South West Africa/Namibia.

If Her Majesty's Government remain supine, an attitude unbecoming to our nation even in its diplomatic posture, we may witness the defeat in battle of a Western orientated freedom movement; although on past record I should agree that it is unlikely. However, the notion that such a turn of events could conceivably be in our interests escapes me. Surely, we do not believe that the Soviets, once installed in the region, could be induced to withdraw their surrogates, a prop on which the MPLA is increasingly dependent.

The Soviet Union has broader ambitions than merely controlling Angola. The MPLA and SWAPO are vanguard parties for future destabilising activities against South West Africa/Namibia, South Africa and other countries in the region.

Her Majesty's Government can no longer shield behind American diplomatic efforts to remove the Cubans from Angola and bring about a settlement in the South West Africa/Namibia negotitations process. It must now defend its own interests in the region by asserting itself diplomatically. We have far more influence on all the countries in the region than the United States, besides important commerical links. Concerted pressure on the MPLA regime to commence a process of reconciliation with UNITA should enjoy the highest priority.

The hour is late, but Her Majesty's Government should review their policy of giving UNITA a cold shoulder. When a victory by UNITA over FAPLA seemed unlikely, to our shame, perhaps it made pragmatic sense to spurn contact with Dr. Savimbi. But the security situation has now taken a dramatic turn which calls for bold new policy directives.

The Soviets stand poised in Southern Angola to embark on a renewed offensive which will almost certainly have reverberations in the region and in the West. We should not stand mutely by as this drama unfolds.

7.36 p.m.

Lord Walston

My Lords, I am most grateful, as I am sure are other noble Lords, to the noble Earl for giving us this opportunity, despite a somewhat sparse attendance, to discuss what we both agree is one of the most important areas in the world, from our point of view in the West and also from the point of view of many other people.

I am very glad that the noble Earl phrased his Question in relation to Soviet involvement as opposed to Communist involvement, because I think that in discussions of this kind it is enormously important to have a clear distinction between Communism and Russian imperialism and potential aggression. I, for one, have no objection, if certain countries so wish, to their having what purports to be a Communist regime, although I personally should not choose to live under it. However, I have very strong objection where I find Soviet influence being extended in any area, indeed, but particularly in those areas which are, as the noble Earl has quite rightly said, of vital importance to this country.

The noble Earl has concentrated his remarks on Angola. I shall not follow him along that path, because, with the greatest respect to him, I think Angola is of relative unimportance and is no more than a excrescence arising from a central focus of infection which is far more serious. If we are to succeed in our desires—and I think his desire and mine in certain respects coincide, though not in all—we must detach the focus of infection rather than the outward symptoms of it.

One could spend a very long time arguing with him, as possibly with other speakers, about some of his remarks over Angola. One could point out injustices and dangers in Namibia (and I call it solely Namibia and not South West Africa/Namibia); in the aggression from South Africa across the border into Zimbabwe, and, even more important, across the borders into Mozambique and supports to the rebels there against the government. However, I shall not embark on that kind of argument.

To my mind, the focus of this infection lies very clearly in the Republic of South Africa itself. And it does pose a threat to us. The threat is not to my mind so much military although undoubtedly, if there ever developed anything approaching a hot war, the military threat, the presence of the Soviet navy in South Africa or southern African bases, overflying rights and so on, would be of very great disadvantage to us. And the denial to us and to our allies of such things would also be of very great disadvantage. But to my mind a far more serious threat than that—which I believe without undue optimism is a very remote one—lies in the economic and political disturbances which already exist in that area and which undoubtedly are growing.

What is the best way to counter such threats? Put another way, if one can place oneself in the position of the Russian commissar in the Kremlin—and I seriously ask the noble Earl to do this, although he might find it a rather difficult exercise—whose remit is to advance Soviet interests as much as possible in the whole of South Africa and southern Africa, what would he do and what would he hope that we might do? I am quite certain that he would say: "The greatest ally that we here sitting in the Kremlin have in promoting our interests in southern Africa is the existence of apartheid and all the evils and injustices that go with it; the repressions and the disadvantages which affect the black population and which spread to and are known so well in all the surrounding countries". Undoubtedly, from his point of view it would be of enormous advantage if he were able to represent to Africans in South Africa itself, in Namibia, in Angola and throughout Africa, the West as a whole, and particularly the United Kingdom, as supporters and allies of the present regime in South Africa and as the opponents and the enemies of those who are struggling for change. That would be his trump card.

It is the tragedy of Nassau that we, the British Government, played into the hands of that mystical, mythical, shrouded-in-fog character, the commissar from the Kremlin, by our attitude, by the attitude of our Prime Minister, in discussions at Nassau with the other Commonwealth countries. It is all very well for us to mouth these fine words, which have now become platitudes, expressing our abhorrence of apartheid. There can be no gainsaying the fact that to the world at large, to our friends as well as to our allies, Canada, Australia and every other part of the Commonwealth, we now appear to be the people who are holding back the sort of actions which, in the minds of so many and in the comprehensive and co-ordinated mind of the Commonwealth, are necessary in order to minimise this real threat to our own interests in southern Africa and to perpetuate the greatest ally to the Soviet Union.

We must not fall into the error of the United States some 25 years ago in Cuba; there, the United States, by appearing to support (and to a certain extent doing more than appearing to support) an unjust and oppressive regime, forced the revolutionary Fidel Castro, somewhat unwillingly, into the arms of the Soviet Union. That is an object lesson which we must never forget. Happily—and I give credit to Her Majesty's Government for this—this is something we have avoided in Zimbabwe. The noble Earl mentioned the fact that Robert Mugabe has just returned from a visit to Moscow. That is perfectly true. As he may have heard on the radio this evening, the United States Secretary of State for Commerce and 400 American businessmen have just arrived in Moscow. Does that mean that they are dangerous, potential enemies? Of course, it does not. Of course the heads of government and those responsible for trade, defence and so many other things and for relations in general must look on it as one of their responsibilities to have the best possible relations with all their neighbours and with all the great powers if they can do so.

If Mugabe had not won the election and if Her Majesty's Government had not behaved in the way they so wisely did; if Nkomo had won the election. I wonder what would have happened. Nkomo owed his support to the Soviet Union. He was very much in their debt. I am not imputing anything evil to him. But it does show that when these struggles are taking place the people who eventually win are awfully inclined to go closer to those who have supported them openly than to those who have dragged their feet. I am tempted to draw more analogies with Zimbabwe but the time is late and I shall not do so.

Now, what we must do is to undo the damage done at Nassau, to show ourselves wholeheartedly at one with the Commonwealth as supporters of all those who want change in South Africa itself—and that includes talking not only with Bishop Tutu but also with Oliver Tambo when he comes to this country—and by establishing close and friendly relations with those people who are fighting for justice and freedom for their people. This we must discuss far more actively than we have done in the past with the whole of the Commonwealth and with all those in southern Africa and elsewhere who can help bring the present regime to an end by peaceful means. If that entails, as it well may, economic sanctions; if it entails threats and the actual implementation of those threats of action if our bluff is called, and if that action is going seriously to harm the economy of South Africa, so be it. It is better to have that than to have the violence which we already see appearing there and which inevitably, unless there is a very rapid and very drastic change there, will escalate into something which sooner or later will have to be described as a bloody civil war.

That is not only for the sake of the oppressed people in South Africa. It is in order to counter the threat of Soviet penetration into this vital area of wealth and economic activity which we need in peacetime and which, in wartime, we shall need even more. Let us take the right steps now instead of waiting until it is too late.

7.49 p.m.

The Lord Archbishop of York

My Lords, I would not normally have had the temerity to speak twice in your Lordships' House on the same day and on two such different subjects as marriage and South Africa; but on Friday morning I returned from a meeting of Church leaders which had been held in Harare which I think has some relevance to the subject of this Question. Some of your Lordships will have seen in the press that a group of church leaders, mostly from Europe and North America, met some 40 or 50 leaders of South Africa and other representatives from some outside, neighbouring states of South Africa, together with representatives of the African National Congress and the Pan-African Congress. Our main concern in going there was to listen and learn at first hand from those most deeply involved in the present unrest in that area and to discover what kind of response to it was called for from the world-wide Church.

I will not repeat to your Lordships any of the moving stories which were told to us about the kinds of events which are now banned from our television screens. We are all well aware of what is going on there. Nor can I say anything specific about Soviet involvement, nor indeed about British interests, beyond noting in general that people find Marxists in all sorts of strange places these days. But I can say something about the opportunities which exist there for those who know how to exploit discontent and who have a vested interest in infiltration. Therefore, what I say follows on directly from what the noble Lord has just been saying so interestingly about the wider significance of the crisis in South Africa.

What I want to say relates directly to the crisis of leadership among the opposition groups in South Africa and the danger that that leadership will pass into more and more extremist hands. One of the most striking things at our two-day conference was the degree to which the representatives from South Africa were divided among themselves. These were all people who in one way or another were opposed to apartheid. But I suppose the divisions are understandable, partly because the situation is so very confused and partly because there are different pressures in the different regions of South Africa, but more particularly because a stable and coherent leadership is not allowed to develop.

We noticed that all the groups agreed on one thing; that is, that internal relationships within South Africa have moved into a new phase. As one white South African put it to me, for the first time in her experience blacks and coloureds in South Africa have the will to turn passive resistance and complaint into positive action.

A month or two ago a team from the British Council of Churches visited the region and produced the report to which they gave the title, Whose Rubicon? The reference was to a speech made by Mr. P. W. Botha in which he described the South African Government as having crossed the Rubicon. The report of this team made the point that basically there has not been very much change in the South African regime, but what has changed is that the people who have stepped across the Rubicon are the blacks—into quite a new attitude of positive revolt.

Also significant was that much of the leadership among the blacks has now passed into the hands of the young, who are not under the same sort of constraints as the older generation of leaders. One thing which was impressed upon us again and again was the significance of the school boycott now going on, not only as representing the involvement of the young, even to their own detriment, in the protests which are taking place but also as being full of danger for the future, in terms of that generation which has been educated at its most formative stage in the techniques of violence.

Among the Church leaders we met was a deep and growing split between those who advocate still some form of negotiated settlement; people such as Desmond Tutu, who is still a marvellously effective leader with a great charismatic personality. But I think he is conscious that his position is becoming weaker and weaker and that the initiative is passing into the hands of the more radical and violent elements.

At the other extreme there are those who see the destruction of the present regime as the only objective worth working for and their minds are only on how to bring this about, with little thought as to what would follow it or what would come into the vacuum thus created. To my mind, one of the most disturbing things was to question these good, dedicated and utterly self-sacrificial people about the steps that they saw if their wishes were to come true, and to find that in terms of thinking about reasonable political futures their minds were almost totally unformed.

As some of your Lordships may know, recently 150 South African theologians have banded together to produce what they call the Kairos document, subtitled A Challenge to the Church. This is an example of some very articulate and very prominent people who have now moved into the centre of the stage in sharpening the divisions which exist. In this document, which theologically is fairly simple, shall I say, they characterise three possible attitudes. There is what they call state theology—the theology which buttresses the apartheid regime; and that they reject as blasphemous. They then refer to what they call Church theology, which is the traditional Christian theology of reconciliation, of peace-making, of looking for ways forward through friendship, through self-sacrifice, suffering and so forth. They reject that as not having worked and now actively working against the interests of the black majority.

They advocate what they call a prophetic theology, which is a theology of action. They regard the present regime as irreformable and only right for destruction; and perhaps I may quote a single brief paragraph which will give your Lordships a flavour of this document. They say: This is our situation of civil war or revolution. One side is committed to maintaining the system at all costs and the other side is committed to changing it at all costs. There are two conflicting projects here, and no compromise is possible". That is strong stuff. It is not accepted by all the groupings that we met and certainly not by all the Christian leadership, but it does mean that the moderate leadership there is under very strong pressure to produce some results quickly. If it does not, it will be discredited, and the more extreme elements will move in and take over. I say this with no pleasure; I simply report what I have seen and heard.

Though we see here an obvious move towards a revolutionary stance by many in SouthAfrica, I do not believe it is Soviet inspired. However, I do believe it is terribly vulnerable to Soviet influence. Those engaged in it at present see it as an (some of them as the only) authentic Christian response. That is why it has to be taken seriously, and why what the Churches are doing there has to be taken seriously, because the Churches provide almost the only context in which those who are deprived of the normal rights of citizenship can express themselves.

I referred earlier to the crisis of leadership, and this, as we all know, is a crisis forced on the blacks in South Africa by the systematic removal of any leadership that arises. This is a recipe for the development of an underground and unaccountable style of leadership, and during my conversations out there I received some evidence that this is, in fact, what is happening. We were told over and over again by those looking for some negotiated settlement in South Africa that the only way of doing this would be by the restoration of those leaders now in detention. They were referring not just to Nelson Mandela, although he is obviously a key person in this, but to the need for an effective, broadly-based leadership that is actually in a position to negotiate with the Government.

I know all the objections to this. I know the objections to putting those who have been accused of terrorism into positions of responsibility. They are the same objections which have led to stalemate in the Middle East. I know, too, what our Government's hopes are in relation to the Commonwealth initiative in that part of the world. But I am bound to say that there was little enthusiasm for it among those whom we met and those whom it was designed to help. No negotiations are possible when one side is leaderless.

This is all very far from what the noble Earl was saying about arms movements in Angola and elsewhere, and the wider political questions. But I believe that if our Government are worried about Soviet policy in that part of the world the best preventive policy would be to press the South African Government for the restoration of an authentic black leadership.

8.2 p.m.

Lord Hatch of Lusby

My Lords, there are times when, speaking in debates on southern Africa, it seems to me as though we are moving in a fantasy, and this is one of those occasions. I do not know whether it is hypocrisy or ignorance, but the kind of terms that have been laid out by this Unstarred Question are totally unreal. How many noble Lords recognise that between 1976 and 1980 the Soviet Union sent five large consignments of arms and munitions to the South African Government via Bulgaria? Perhaps the noble Baroness who is to reply can bring us up to date on this. I admit that my figures are somewhat out of date. But during that five-year period, five large consignments were received by the South African regime from the Warsaw Pact countries, obviously with the consent of the Soviet Union, though actually provided through Bulgaria.

How many noble Lords recognise that the whole of the Soviet Union's diamond production is marketed by the South African Government through its diamond institutions—a regular trading co-operation between the two countries? How many noble Lords recognise that the Soviet Union and the South African Government meet regularly to discuss gold production and the gold price? Of course, in the case of the United States and Western Europe there is a thousand times more provision of both arms and trading agreements with the South African regime.

But what I want to draw to noble Lords' attention is that there is a great deal of cynicism about the action of the great powers so far as southern Africa is concerned, and that we are not living in a world in which the Soviet Union is supplying all the forces of evil and the West is supplying all the forces of good. This is just totally unreal. It is a fantasy. What I suggest from that is that it is in the interests of the British Government and the British people above all to keep the cold war out of southern Africa, and to refuse to be drawn into this cynical, short-term self-interest policy which both the Soviet Union and the United States have employed and are employing.

The United States, which has oil installations there, pretends to be supporting the MPLA government, and yet what does it do when Kabinda is bombed and mined? Bombed and mined by whom?—by the South Africans via UNITA. It utters words of protest. And now Congress has given the President power to give aid to UNITA against the officially recognised sovereign national government of Angola. That is not in the interest of Britain. The noble Earl talked about the Cuban troops in Angola. There is nobody in Africa who wants Cuban troops or any other foreign troops in that continent, but why did Cuban troops go there? They were sent in 1975 after the South Africans had invaded Angola, which is now admitted officially by the CIA—

Lord Walston

My Lords, may I interrupt for one moment and ask the noble Lord whether it is true that, from time to time, Cuban troops are used to protect American oil interests in Angola?

Lord Hatch of Lusby

My Lords, I am certain that they are, and they are also used to protect the southern boundary of Angola. But my point is that the Cuban troops and advisers went there first, not because the MPLA government wanted them there, but because the MPLA government was attacked by South African troops and Angola was invaded. They went as a response, in order to defend a nationally sovereign state.

The noble Earl has mentioned the visit of Robert Mugabe to Moscow. Yes, my Lords, Robert Mugabe went to Moscow. Why? It was partly because he wants to get arms and, after all, the arms trade throughout the world does not follow ideology. But the reason Robert Mugabe went to Moscow was not principally for arms; it was because there has been a battle between Moscow and Peking for influence in the Zimbabwe government.

I can tell your Lordships about a personal experience of this. Fifteen months ago the department respresented by the noble Baroness who is to wind-up, twisted my arm very severely, at a good deal of inconvenience to me, to go to Harare in order to represent the British Labour Party at Robert Mugabe's congress. Why? I did not know until I got there why the Foreign Office was so keen that I should go. The reason I found on the first morning. Only the French Socialist delegate and myself were there to represent the West. On the international platform there were representatives from all over the world, except from the West. The Foreign Office was quite right. It was quite right that I should be there. But I saw something else on that international platform. I saw the Russians trying to outbid the Chinese in the simple matter of presenting presents to Robert Mugabe. The Chinese very quickly came back. There was a battle there. There was a battle there all the way through the Rhodesian war, a battle between the influence of the Chinese with Mugabe and the influence of the Soviet Union with Nkomo.

There is another fantasy in this debate. It could have been taking place six or seven years ago on the subject of Rhodesia, and we could have heard the same speeches. Is there not a danger of Soviet influence in Rhodesia undermining British interests? What happened? We found that eventually the only way to settle the issue in Rhodesia was to recognise that those Africans who were fighting in Rhodesia were not fighting for the aims of the Soviet Union and were not fighting for the aims of the Chinese. They were fighting for the aims of the Africans in Zimbabwe. We found that our role was to mediate and to provide the opportunities for negotiations and for talks to set up a state in which the Africans would have an equal—but only an equal—power of participation in their new nation with the white Rhodesians.

I suggest to noble Lords that we reflect on our experience in Rhodesia when we look at the current situation in South Africa. Of course there are more Africans in South Africa and the proportion of the whites is smaller. There are more whites in South Africa, too, so that the problem is much more difficult. But with regard to British interests, let us look at the situation encapsulated in the past 10 years. Since the Portuguese revolution of 1975 the clear policy of the South African Government has been to replace those two pillars of defence in Mozambique and Angola which, so long as they were held by the Portuguese, were considered to be buffers against any external attack on South Africa. Then after the fall of the East and West pillars in 1980 came the fall of the centre pillar, that of Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.

What has happened since then? The South African Government have consistently attempted to undermine the strength of those governments and regimes on their borders. They have bombed and invaded Lesotho, a Commonwealth country; they have bombed and invaded Botswana, a Commonwealth country. What have our Government done as a member of the Commonwealth? They have talked and they have protested. The same South African Government have been supporting the MNR in Mozambique and Unita in Angola in order to weaken those regimes. And at the same time, against the whole weight of world opinion, the South Africans have held on to Namibia.

I should like to put this question to the noble Baroness who is to reply. A great deal of the economy of Namibia is being raped today as quickly as possible by South African interests before, they fear, they have to give it up; but we have a stake in Namibia. How is it that the Rossing uranium mine, owned by Rio Tinto Zinc, of which I am sorry to say some Members of this House have been directors, continues to export uranium to this country? Is that not against international law? Is it not directly breaking international law in order to support the illegal South African regime in Namibia? Is that not an interest of the British Government? Is it not the interest of the British Government to preserve international law and to follow the resolutions of the United Nations with which this Government and previous British Goverments have concurred.

It seems to me that the basic British interests in southern Africa are, first of all, to refuse to line up with either of the great powers and thus to try to prevent the cold war from spreading into southern Africa; and, secondly, and much more difficult but still a role for Britain to play, to associate with our friends in the Commonwealth and in the EC in the desperately difficult attempt to help white South Africans and black South Africans to work out a new system of government, a new system of social and economic life in their country, so that we can avoid the violent revolution, so that we can help to bring to an end the present violence—for remember, my Lords, that the African national movement in all its branches, right from 1912 down to the present day, has attempted to use peaceful means in order to change the oppression under which it has been labouring. Remember that right from 1968 with the Lusaka declaration, it has been stated categorically that white South Africans are entitled to continue to live in South Africa, that they are considered to be white Africans. Remember that it was only when all the efforts, in which I personally participated—in the freedom charter, in the days of protest and in the stay at homes—failed because of the force of the South African state used unsparingly against those who were working for reform, only when the methods of peace failed, that the Africans were forced to turn to violence.

I suggest to your Lordships that it is in the interests of Britain to forget about the United States, which is totally cynical so far as southern Africa is concerned; to forget about the Soviet Union, which is equally cynical so far as its aims in southern Africa are concerned; and to take our place along with those of our friends in the Commonwealth and in Europe who genuinely recognise that their interests are best served by a peaceful resolution of the deep and bitter disputes going back for a century or so that have thrown southern Africa into chaos. I hope that the noble Baroness who is to reply will not again repeat that the British Government believe in dialogue and influence. Dialogue and influence has characterised the policy of the British Government since the beginning of this century. It has helped to produce apartheid. It has helped to take away from Africans rights that they had earlier on. It has deepened the conflict between white and black and it has brought no hope whatever of a peaceful resolution to this issue. It is time that the British Government took a peaceful but specific and definite role in the attempt to bring South Africa into a state in which all the people of South Africa will be able to work together.

8.19 p.m.

Viscount Massereene and Ferrard

My Lords, I should like first to thank my noble friend Lord Kimberley for initiating this debate. I heard about it only a short time ago, and so perhaps I should not have put down my name; but, anyway, I have.

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Hatch, when he uses the word "fantasy". The noble Lord, Lord Walston, also mentioned oppression. I would point out that South Africa has by far the highest standard of living for Africans in the whole continent. At the same time, there are thousands of Africans from outside South Africa who are trying to get into South Africa. So the situation does seem to be something of a fantasy. The Africans in South Africa, as I have just said, enjoy by far the highest standard of living of all the republics in Africa. The urban population have seen a very great improvement in their housing. So the whole situation does sound like something of a fantasy to me.

It is not often that I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Hatch of Lusby, but I do so when he differentiates between what I believe he called Soviet imperialism, which I think is the correct description, and communism. The two are not exactly the same; the noble Lord has a point there. However, there is no doubt (and nobody can argue against this) that the Soviet has been in Africa for a long time now and has been rather stirring the pot—but it does that through-out large areas of the world.

The noble Lord, Lord Hatch, mentioned that South African troops raided Mozambique some time ago. He also mentioned the use of bombs, but I do not believe that they were dropped from aircraft. They undertook that attack because Mozambique was sending raiding parties into South Africa. But again we come up against fantasy. At the same time, Mozambique was sending a great many workers into South Africa. So to my way of thinking the whole situation there is one of fantasy.

I will not mention, as another noble Lord has done, the question of Angola, because that subject has been fully covered. What does concern me is that everything should be done to stop revolution in Africa. The world repercussions of revolution in Africa would be appalling. I have met many black Africans and have been to many parts of Africa, and in South Africa there are tens or even hundreds of thousands of black people who feel that the last thing they want is one man one vote now. They know that if they had that there would be anarchy, chaos and perhaps starvation. The whole fabric would break down. It is the duty of the West, whatever happens, to do everything it can to prevent that happening.

There is an old saying that time cures everything. I have no doubt that eventually it does. I have never agreed with apartheid. If there is a public place then everyone, regardless of the colour of his skin, must be allowed into it. I am all for equal rights provided that people know how to use those rights properly. I am now talking about the vote. One cannot really describe restrictions on the vote as being part of apartheid. I always regard apartheid as meaning that a person is debarred from certain public buildings and parks because of the colour of his skin. Perhaps I am wrong about that.

Nevertheless, to have one man one vote now would destroy the Africans. If there was anarchy and chaos, it would result in a white dictatorship—in a military dictatorship. One would not see a black dictatorship. The South Africans have an ordered country and a very good army. They are a very efficient people. Therefore, a white dictatorship would be the only answer if the country entered into chaos. Certainly there would not be a black dictatorship. The noble Lord might agree with me, but I do not know.

The most reverend Primate said that any gaoled leaders ought to be released immediately. I understand that the South African Government are prepared to release them provided they will renounce violence. Surely that is fair enough. Indeed, Bishop Tutu himself has renounced violence and says that he will not have anything to do with it. There has been the appalling killing of Asians, and incidents of Africans fighting Asians. I agree with Bishop Tutu in what he says regarding violence.

The other point that concerns me is the possible effect that anarchy in South Africa might have upon the West. Take our own country, and consider the question of unemployment. For example, in Southampton, half our export trade goes to South Africa. We have a very favourable balance of trade with South Africa. There is also the question of minerals. South Africa's minerals are absolutely essential for the industry of the West, and especially for heavy industry. If the West lost those minerals then unemployment would be far greater than it is now. Southampton Docks would probably lose a great deal of trade. That is a very worrying aspect of the situation.

Apartheid is not nearly so bad as it used to be. The West ought to concentrate on doing everything it can, even if it offends the third world and the Assembly of the United Nations, to prevent any risk of anarchy and revolution in South Africa. For example, the ANC is supplied with arms by some countries of the West. By all means have an embargo on the exporting of arms to South Africa, but at the same time one must also place an embargo on the supply of arms to the ANC.

The mineral position is extremely important. I understand that in South Africa there are 12,000 million tonnes of manganese. Our imports of metals from South Africa, and those of the whole of Europe, are very great indeed. I could quote the types of minerals and the quantities, but they can be easily ascertained. I have often wondered whether the Soviet's real purpose is to obtain control of these minerals. By controlling the market Russia can increase prices. Although Russia might allow the West to have some of them, it will have control of the market.

Some time ago, when I was a boy, Russia cornered the flax trade. To a certain extent the flax trade was in Northern Ireland, but the majority of the trade was in the Low Countries. Russia cornered the market, using direct labour—some people would call it slave labour. Russia can undercut any commodity. Having cornered the market, if anyone wanted flax they had to pay two to three times the normal price for it. Russia might well have that in mind as regards minerals.

I have spoken for long enough, but my last words are that, for heaven's sake, we must do everything we can not to allow anarchy to spread through southern Africa. If it does, it will go right through the continent.

8.32 p.m.

Lord Oram

My Lords, it is understandable that the noble Earl, Lord Kimberley, should wish to call attention to the situation in southern Africa because obviously it is among the most dangerous, if not the most dangerous, region in the dangerous world in which we live.

There are many elements in the world's current instability, the most basic of which is the arms race and the confrontation between East and West. I suggest that on the basis of the noble Earl's Question we need to ask ourselves, as my noble friend Lord Hatch asked: to what extent is the situation in southern Africa one part of that overall confrontation between the major powers? I felt that my noble friend's speech, speaking as he does with a great deal of first-hand knowledge of the African scene, was very relevant to that question of East-West confrontation.

Racial conflict is another main cause of world instability. There can be no doubt that, in the form of apartheid, that is one of the basic causes of the troubles in southern Africa. Then again, mass poverty and economic exploitation are potential causes of violent eruptions; as is the absence of basic human rights.

In southern Africa all these elements come together in combination in a vast complex of highly combustible material which threatens at any moment to burst into a regional conflagration with unpredictable global repercussions. The difficulty, as I found it when I looked at the noble Earl's Unstarred Question, is that he invites us to select two of the elements of this highly complex situation. He seeks to isolate for examination British interests in the region and Soviet involvement in the region and to examine those apart from the many other basic elements of the southern Africa situation. I suggest to him that it is not easy to isolate two factors from the rest without falling into the trap of either exaggeration or distorting the whole picture. I suggest that in his speech he fell into that trap, as the noble Lord, Lord Walston, so clearly pointed out with his reference to the dominating element in the noble Earl's speech of Angola and the military situation there.

I shall deal first, in seeking to follow the shape of the noble Earl's Question, with the question of Soviet involvement. Soviet arms supplies to the region have hitherto been seen mainly in relation to the struggle in Angola with UNITA and also, on the other side of the continent, to the struggle between the Government of Mozambique and South African-backed rebel forces. Within the past week, as one or two speakers have pointed out, the canvas has become wider because Mr. Robert Mugabe has been to Moscow. I have little doubt that high on the agenda of the talks in which he took part was the question of arms supplies. I have no doubt, either, that the Soviet representatives who talked to him listened sympathetically to his description of the threats to his country which are coming from South Africa.

I was particularly struck by a leading article in The Times concerning Mr. Mugabe's visit. It dealt with the likely Soviet response to his visit. It asked the question: Are fears justified that the Russians are about to forge stronger links with the front-line states to bring down the South African government? Probably not, in the short term, was the answer in that editorial. The editorial went on to point to the growing list of countries in Africa in which the Russians have already burnt their fingers. They are in no hurry, was the editorial's conclusion, to get further involved. I believe that to be the true situation. I do not often agree with leading articles in The Times but I believe it is right in that conclusion.

The Soviet Union will help the front line states resist armed incursions from South Africa, but I believe that it will try not to get further involved. When we are weighing up the whole military situation as between South Africa and its northern neighbours, a major factor must be the South African attempts, by military means, to destabilise the regimes of those countries and to increase their dependence on South Africa's economy; particularly in respect of transport. My noble friend Lord Hatch gave some examples in Namibia and elsewhere of these incursions from South Africa.

I should like to quote just briefly from the Economist Intelligence Unit's report on the Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference. I quote from page 91: Transport links became a major target as South Africa tried to prevent traffic from being switched away from South African ports. It made it clear that SADCC was the target by stepping up raids on transport and fuel targets just before the annual donors' conferences in Blantyre in … 1981 and Mazaru in … 1983. In October 1981 South African commandos hit the bridges carrying the railway, road and oil pipeline between Beira and Zimbabwe and also hit marker buoys in the harbour to disrupt Malawi traffic. In December 1982 they hit fuel tanks in Beira and made a raid into the heart of Maseru. I have no doubt that since those dates there have been many similar incursions.

Faced with that threat and those military activities from the south, is it any wonder that the front line states need arms to protect themselves, and that the Soviet Union, if asked, is willing to supply them?

Recently I had the opportunity of a talk with Mr. Makone, the executive secretary of the South African Development Co-ordination Conference, and I received from him a very clear picture of the devastation that has been caused by these incursions from South Africa and also of the brave struggle of the front line states to achieve economic development in the face of those difficulties that have been caused in their countries. I was therefore glad to note that in another place the Minister for Overseas Development has declared his support for the organisation and that he plans to go to Zimbabwe for the next donors' meeting in January. He also announced the totally inadequate amount of funds that he was able to take with him on offer—£12 million—which, compared with the devastation that South Africa has wrought in that region, is all too small. Nevertheless, one welcomes the fact that he is giving the conference his support. Indeed, anything that we can do to help the economic development in the region is not only good in itself but it can help to counter the Soviet military involvement which lies at the heart of the noble Earl's Question this evening. I think we are unlikely to find the Soviet Union rivalling us in the provision of economic aid.

I should now like to turn from the question of Soviet involvement and from my brief look at the problems of economic development to the question of British interests, which is the other part of the noble Earl's Unstarred Question. It is possible to have two very different views of how British interests are to be best served in South Africa. One view is that British commercial interests are our major concern and that our relationship with the South African Government must be such as not to place our industrial and financial investments in jeopardy. That means perhaps using words of disapproval of apartheid but refraining from taking any real action likely to bring apartheid to an end. It means in effect turning a blind eye to the fact that our investments bolster up an immoral and evil regime which is dependent on the cheap labour of an oppressed majority of the population. It means—and the noble Lord, Lord Walston, drew attention to this point in his reference to the Nassau conference—going to the brink of isolating ourselves within the counsels of the Commonwealth.

That is one view of British interests and how they can be served, and I believe it to be a narrow and mistaken one. All the evidence—and the right reverend Prelate brought evidence to our debate this evening—shows that the black majority of the South African population is determined to bring apartheid to an end. Demonstrations, strikes and riots are increasing in intensity and the brutality of the government forces is evident day by day, though there are limits now on the reporting of such incidents. Surely that is not the kind of situation in which British business interests can continue to thrive. If society in South Africa breaks down, if civil war breaks out (and the words "civil war" have come from the right reverend Prelate and the noble Lord, Lord Walston, this evening) then our business interests will indeed suffer grievously. But I believe that such a breakdown, if it comes, will not come through Soviet aggression. It will come through the internal forces of revolt against the apartheid regime.

Surely it is in Britain's interests to ensure that a breakdown does not come about. That means bringing all possible pressure to bear to ensure an end to apartheid, including economic sanctions if the forthcoming visit of a group of eminent persons fails to have the necessary impact on the South African Government. A few weeks ago we saw that some South African businessmen went to Lusaka to talk to the leaders of the ANC. By that visit, they showed that they were willing to seek an alternative relationship with black Africans. I believe that they do that in the interests of their business undertakings because they understand that the present policies will lead to ruin for their businesses and that to avoid that situation they must seek a partnership with South Africa's black majority. I believe that our influence should be brought to bear in this kind of direction, because in the long run that is the only true way in which the British interests to which the noble Earl calls our attention can properly be served.

Viscount Massereene and Ferrard

My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, I should just like to say that 99 per cent. of the black Africans employed by British firms are paid above the lower level of earnings as actually laid down by the European code. The noble Lord spoke of starvation wages or something like that being paid by British firms there.

Lord Oram

My Lords, it may be that many firms conform with that code but the code is pretty miserable anyway and there are plenty of firms that do not conform with it. I do not think the noble Lord would suggest that the general lot of the black population in South Africa is a happy one or is as it should be.

Viscount Massereene and Ferrard

My Lords, it is a far happier one than the black populations enjoy in the other republics—and I have been to most of them.

8.48 p.m.

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Young)

My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend Lord Kimberley for tabling this Question at a time when Southern Africa and the Republic of South Africa in particular are so much a focus of world attention. Not surprisingly, in the course of this debate this evening the issue has been widened from the precise terms of the Unstarred Question. But the Soviet Union's involvement in this region, which is of considerable importance for Britain, reflects strategic, political and economic motives.

In strategic terms the Soviet Union is of course well aware of the enormous mineral wealth of southern Africa and of the shipping routes around the Cape—both of major importance to the Western economies. It has sought to establish client states in the region and it seeks to maintain and extend its influence by means of military aid, economic ties, such as fishing agreements, and propaganda.

Politically, the Soviet Union takes every opportunity to demonstrate solidarity with South African blacks and with other African countries in their opposition to apartheid and support for mandatory economic sanctions. It consistently misrepresents Western attitudes towards this problem. Perhaps ironically, as the two major producers of gold and diamonds, the Soviet Union and South Africa have a common interest in the maintenance of orderly markets in those commodities.

But what is the nature and extent of Soviet involvement in southern Africa? Taking South Africa itself first, Soviet links with the South African Communist Party and the African National Congress are well known. Moreover, the network of Soviet-controlled international front organisations led by the World Peace Council has long orchestrated its own campaign against white rule in South Africa. The World Federation of Trade Unions, for example, is committed to participate in any measures to eliminate apartheid". Your Lordships will note the omission of the words "non-violent". This is not to say that the Soviet Union is itself engaged in fomenting unrest on the spot. Rather, it cheers from the sidelines hoping eventually to capitalise on the results of the violent insurrection which it is encouraging.

Where a government ignore the legitimate grievances and the political aspirations of the majority of their people, Communist revolutionary slogans can have a greater appeal to those who are deprived of an effective constitutional voice. Soviet opportunities for mischief-making in South Africa could best be reduced by a clear programme of reform, leading to a system which has the support of all the South African people. Peaceful change and a strong, stable South Africa are in our best interests.

Some people have argued that the only way to avoid violent revolution in South Africa is to introduce mandatory economic sanctions which, they say, would force the South African Government to agree to reform. We believe that such a move would precipitate, rather than eliminate, violence in South Africa. Far from leading to faster reform, it would stifle the tentative process already embarked on and alienate those elements in the South African business community and in the government who are now pressing for much more ambitious moves towards political dialogue and reform.

Under an economic boycott the white community would unite in the perceived common interest of ensuring its own survival. The South African economy would go onto a war footing; liberalism would give way to militarism. The losers in any such economic siege would be the black community, who would lose their jobs and face considerable hardships, probably for many years. On a siege basis the South African Government could ensure their own survival for a considerable length of time, certainly for longer than the 14 years which the Smith regime was able to hold out in Rhodesia. This would produce ideal conditions for fostering the very extremism and violence that we have been seeking to avoid.

We wish to encourage and accelerate the process of fundamental but peaceful change in South Africa. The question for British policy is how best this is to be achieved. Let me say right at the outset how interesting I found the speech of the right reverend Prelate the Archbishop of York. If I do not comment on it this evening, I shall certainly re-read the speech in Hansard and should like to think on it in the days to come. In the Government's view, dialogue and economic involvement in South Africa are more likely to help the black community than is isolation.

The noble Lord, Lord Walston, asked me why we did not speak to Mr. Tambo. The answer is that the Government will speak to all those who are not committed to violence for political objectives. There has been a call by the Commonwealth to the South African Government to lift the ban on the ANC, but that should be seen in conjunction with their call also for a dialogue to be accompanied by a suspension of violence on all sides. But at the same time we need to make very clear to the South African Government our disapproval of acts of repression and our view of the urgency of reform. We must also avoid causing further destabilisation of the South African economy which we believe would harm those whom we are seeking to help.

A realisation is dawning in South Africa that apartheid is both undesirable and unworkable. That growing realisation lies behind the limited but significant reforms so far undertaken by the South African Government. It is also the basis of the laudable efforts of the South African business community to secure reform; a point referred to by the noble Lord, Lord Oram. However, one would hardly strengthen the hand of the business community by attempting to wreck the economy through sanctions. The fact remains that apartheid presents artificial barriers to efficient economic progress. This is recognised by the business community and this is why the aims of economic expansion and the abolition of apartheid are compatible. We are working to secure change through the clear political signals we have sent to Pretoria in the Commonwealth Accord and through our continuing involvement in South Africa. In this we view the role of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group as extremely important in helping to identify a way for South Africans to start that process of dialogue leading to fundamental reform which is so necessary for that country.

Perhaps I may add to the noble Lord, Lord Walston, who with other noble Lords urged the case for economic sanctions, that the Commonwealth Accord was supported by all members of the Commonwealth and has resulted in a positive step; namely, the appointment of an eminent persons group. The South African Government have indicated that they are prepared to examine ways and means of assisting the eminent persons group to acquaint themselves with the issues within that country. I think that we should give that initiative a chance to bear fruit.

The noble Lord, Lord Hatch, mentioned not only the Commonwealth Accord but also the Luxembourg Agreement. Let me say that on both those measures agreement has been reached with our partners in the Commonwealth and with our partners in the European Community on our approach to the whole question of South Africa. I confirm to my noble friend Lord Massereene and Ferrard that both the Commonwealth Accord and the Luxembourg measures include a strict enforcement of a mandatory arms embargo to South Africa.

The Soviet Union seeks, as I have mentioned, to extend its influence in other areas of southern Africa too. In Namibia it has armed SWAPO and was reluctant to endorse free elections, encouraging SWAPO to engage in a long-running and futile war. Britain, on the contrary, has sought to bring about Namibia's independence by peaceful means—by drawing up and negotiating with our Contact Group partners a United Nations plan providing for free and fair elections. The USSR abstained on the resolution endorsing this plan. We were able to secure the formal agreement of all parties, including South Africa and SWAPO, to this plan, which remains the only agreed basis for Namibian independence.

That was in 1978, and we can understand the impatience of the Namibian people at the fact that a date has still to be fixed for implementation of the United Nations plan. But, despite the obstacles which South Africa has placed in the way of the implementation of that plan, we remain convinced that the South African Government will come to realise that it is in their own best interests, as well as in the best interests of the southern African region and of the West, that Namibia should be brought to genuine independence on the fair basis which Security Council Resolution 435 provides. We shall continue to put our best efforts into pressing home that point and to supporting those who seek the path of negotiation.

The noble Lord, Lord Hatch, asked me whether it was true that the United States was supporting UNITA. I can confirm to him that the United States has taken no decision about aid to UNITA. On the question of whether the United Kingdom might press the United States not to aid UNITA, our view is that that would be a matter for the United States to decide, but it is aware of our view that Western interests would be best served by peaceful negotiation of a regional settlement leading to the withdrawal of all foreign troops.

As for those who say that only force will make South Africans give up Namibia, we can point out only that the armed struggle has been going on since 1966, 12 years longer than the negotiating process, and has so far made no visible progress despite the misery and loss of life that it has caused.

The noble Lord, Lord Hatch, also asked me about imports of uranium. I take it that he is referring to the Central Electricity Generating Board uranium contract. That contract for the import of uranium from the Rossing mine in Namibia has terminated and imports of uranium from that source have ceased.

The large-scale presence of Soviet military advisers and Cuban troops in Angola has made the present government there dependent upon the Soviet bloc's military aid that has within recent years exceeded its economic aid by a ratio of 70 to one, one of the points that my noble friend Lord Kimberley made. We wish to see these foreign forces withdrawn from Angola as well as an end to South African acts of aggression. For these reasons, we support continuing United States diplomatic efforts aimed at reaching a negotiated settlement between the Angolan and South African Governments leading to the implementation of Security Council resolution 435 and the staged removal of Cuban forces from Angola. Such an agreement would increase the chance of peace and reconciliation in Angola and would open the way to the development of Angola's considerable natural resources.

My noble friend Lord Kimberley asked at the conclusion of his remarks two questions. The first was whether our ambassador in Angola would press harder for the removal of Cuban troops. I can confirm to him that we have said publicly and privately that we should like to see all foreign troops removed from Angola. We therefore support the United States-led negotiations aimed at securing the withdrawal of Cuban and South African forces from Angola in the context of a lasting agreement ratified by all the parties—that is to say, South Africa, Angola and the United States.

As to my noble friend's second point about the Government's diplomatic relations with the Angolan Government, can I say that any Western aid to UNITA would immediately be matched by further Soviet and Cuban military assistance. It would therefore only lead to an escalation of super power confrontation in southern Africa; hence our support for the United States-led negotiations which would lead to the removal of foreign troops and to a reduction in the Angolan Government's dependence on Russian and Cuban military assistance. It is important to remember that these negotiations are still alive. A meeting between the United States and Angola in Lusaka was held on 28th and 29th November, and a further meeting is likely to take place soon.

The noble Lord, Lord Hatch, asked for up-to-date information on Soviet arms sales to South Africa. I am afraid that I have no information on the particular point that he raised. The noble Lord, Lord Walston, asked about South African cross-border action. I should like to say again to the noble Lord and to other noble Lords who raised the point, including the noble Lord, Lord Oram, that we have strongly condemned the South African incursion into Angola. We made our views known direct to the South African Government.

A number of your Lordships this evening have touched on the question of Mozambique. Mozambique has suffered very serious economic and security problems since independence in 1975 which the assistance provided by the Soviet Union and its allies was unable to solve. President Machel and his Government therefore realise that Western countries could make a real contribution to Mozambique's development, and they have now moved to a more non-aligned position.

In conclusion, while Soviet involvement in southern Africa is inimical to British and Western interests, its extent should not be exaggerated. With the exception of Angola, their role has largely been limited to trouble-making at long range. We consider that the right way to counter this is to encourage just and equitable government and the peaceful resolution of the region's problems through negotiated settlement.

Lord Hatch of Lusby

My Lords, before the noble Baroness sits down, may I ask whether she can clarify the Government's attitude on two points? First, do the Government believe that without any further pressure from outside or violence from inside, the principle of white supremacy will be voluntarily surrendered by the present regime or by a white regime in the foreseeable future? Secondly, in the Government's policy towards trying to help to find a solution in South Africa, why do they take the attitude that the ANC must renounce all violence when, at the same time, the Government are prepared to speak to representatives of other organisations like UNITA and SWAPO which, like the ANC, have had to adopt violence when their peaceful means have brought only further subjugation?

Baroness Young

My Lords, the two questions that the noble Lord has put to me this evening are ones that he has put to me on many occasions in your Lordships' House. I think that the Government's position on apartheid has been made very clear. We do not support the policy of apartheid. The question before your Lordships is how to change the policy of apartheid. In our view, it is important to keep open the political and economic dialogue with South Africa in conjunction with the arrangements that we have reached with our friends in the Commonwealth and our partners in the Community towards the South African Government. We believe that economic sanctions, for the reasons I have given at considerable length in my speech, would not be the way to achieve a change in the South African Government.

On the second question that the noble Lord raised, I have already given in answer to an earlier question the reason why we have said that we will not speak to the ANC as it has not renounced violence. In the case of SWAPO, we talk to SWAPO as it is a party to the negotiations in Namibia. But we have never condoned SWAPO's use of violence.