§ 52. Mr. A. Lewis
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has studied the letter from the hon. Member for West Ham, North, concerning the resolution passed by the Students' Union, New College, London University, regarding what positive action Her Majesty's Government have made in furtherance of their vote at the United Nations in connection with the trial of South African leaders; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
I have read this letter. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State explained when we voted for the General Assembly resolution on 11th October that some of the wording of the resolution gave us cause for concern, but said that we proposed to vote for it in view of its essentially humanitarian nature.
As my right hon. Friend explained to the House on 8th June, we did not think it appropriate to make any representations to the South African authorities about the Rivonia trial while the trial was going on. We did, however, tell the South African authorities last October why we had thought it appropriate to vote for the General Assembly resolution. We also told them of the strong feeling in this country about trials based on arbitrary laws.
I made Her Majesty's Government's position about the Rivonia trial clear to the House yesterday.