§ 3.55 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Sir Alec Douglas-Home)
I beg to move,That the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 (Continuation) Order 1972, a draft of which was laid before this House on 17th October, in the last session of Parliament, be approved.My explanation of the content of the order can be brief. Its purpose is to continue in force Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act, 1965, which gives Her Majesty in Council power to take whatever measures are necessary to deal with the situation in Southern Rhodesia brought about by the declaration of independence.
After this order has been considered by the House we intend to move a further order, to be made under the Southern Rhodesia Act, to enable a particular aspect of sanctions relating to travel restrictions to continue after the entry into force of the new Immigration Act on 1st January, 1973. The general effect of both orders is to continue our powers as they are for another year. But in the main I think that the House will wish to use this occasion to review the situation relating to the search for a settlement which would enable Rhodesia to return to a legal relationship with Britain and thereby to gain independence.
It is central to our deliberation in this House to establish our goal at the start, and I hope that it is shared by the great majority of right hon. and hon. Members. It is not by sanctions to bring Rhodesia's people to their knees—that would be an inhuman and ignoble aim; it is by an act of legislation in this House to bring Rhodesia legally into the comity of nations. It is the only way by which it can legally be done. It is this which the great majority of people in this country wish. We hate to see people, European and African, with whom we have had such a close relationship, continue under the stigma of illegality and ostracism. It is to the solution of this problem that all our efforts in this House have been and should continue to be directed. There is no other way, except by an Act of Parliament in this country, to restore legality to Rhodesia in international affairs.
1206 In my view the previous Government—I never disguised this from them—ought never to have internationalised the problem by taking it to the United Nations and asking for mandatory sanctions. But mandatory sanctions are a fact of life which we have to face.
How then, with this complication added, can we in this Parliament arrive at a legal settlement on which can be based Rhodesian independence? We cannot accept the 1969 constitution. That is why we agreed the very basic modifications to it which were in the November, 1971, proposals which I put forward in agreement with Mr. Smith.
When I moved the continuation order last year, I explained that I was about to go to Salisbury in an attempt to reach an agreement with Mr. Smith for a settlement of the Rhodesia dispute which would give all the peoples of Rhodesia, both European and African, the chance to break out of the existing deadlock at which they had arrived.
Shortly, because it is highly relevant for the future, I will remind the House of some of the salient provisions of that proposal. First, however, it is right to recall why we go to all this trouble at all. It is because we should like, according to our historic tradition, before we leave behind us all responsibility in relation to Rhodesia, to try to lay the sure foundations for a multiracial society in that part of the African Continent. The consequences of that would be felt far and wide. To the south there is apartheid. To the north there are signs of growing racialism and intolerance. Therefore, the prize is great and we want to win it by the road of political evolution in which the majority would gradually qualify by increasing parliamentary representation and experience to manage their country's affairs while minority rights would be ensured.
That may seem to be an ideal almost beyond human attainment in Africa. I do not accept that yet in relation to Rhodesia. Rhodesia's history and present practice differentiate it very sharply from South Africa. There is much more contact in Rhodesia between the races on which the tolerant can build. That is the goal which, I suggest, is worth a lot of patience, so great for all Rhodesians would be the gain if a multiracial society could be established there.
1207 After prolonged negotiations it was possible to reach an agreement with Mr. Smith. However, as the House knows, the Pearce Commission reported that the settlement was not acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole. Nevertheless, as a result of the proposals of November, 1971, and of the findings of the Pearce Commission, I believe that there is a growing awareness in Rhodesia of the need for compromise. The Europeans endorsed it emphatically by accepting the November proposals. The African National Council has since declared in favour of compromise and of a negotiated settlement.
It was in the hope of this that we decided not to withdraw the proposal but to allow time for reflection within Rhodesia so that Africans and Europeans alike could face in a calm atmosphere the dilemma which they have to decide. Is it at the end of the day to be confrontation between the races, or do the Rhodesians settle for a compromise programme which takes them step by step by a multiracial and parliamentary road? That is the dilemma which all of them there, both European and African, must face. In order that there should be a minimum disruption during this period of reflection we continued with the existing sanctions.
In reporting to the House on 23rd May, I said:… plenty of time should be given in which the position can be clarified and … meanwhile no door should be closed. We feel that the best atmosphere for constructive discussion and advance will be provided if we maintain the situation as it is today, including sanctions, until we can judge whether or not an opportunity for a satisfactory settlement will occur. If there are to be processes of consultation inside Rhodesia they are likely to take some time, and meanwhile the status quo will remain."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd May, 1972; Vol. 837, c. 1226.]In the debate which followed on 15th June, I explained that… the time required for Rhodesians to judge and to adjust their minds again to a prospect of settlement will take us beyond November this year."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th June, 1972; Vol. 838, c. 1763.]That was my opinion then and I am sure that it was right.
It may be asked whether any progress in Rhodesia has occurred. There are certain signs, since Lord Pearce's Report, of a change of mood. The African 1208 National Council Executive, in its latest statement, concludes:We are ready to find a solution.Its leaders—particularly Bishop Muzorewa, who unhappily has been ill for some months—have been able to hold a number of public meetings and to explain their point of view to European audiences. Such meetings have been orderly and attentive. Three African National Council leaders were able to meet a Rhodesian Minister for a preliminary discussion, even though subsequent meetings—because of premature publicity—had to be called off.
Since the publication of the Pearce Report, both Europeans and Africans have acted with restraint. What is more, at his party conference Mr. Smith was able decisively to establish the position which he has taken in favour of a compromise settlement. There are various new groupings, too, of Africans and Europeans who are striving to build a bridge between the races in order to design and to reach a compromise solution.
Recollecting the far-reaching implications first of the November proposals and then of the Pearce Report, one could hardly have expected much more in the six months since the report was made. I believe that there must be adequate time—and I hope that the House will grant it—when the races inside Rhodesia have to do little less than reconsider their whole relationship to each other. After the history of the past six years, that cannot be done in a day. They have a lot to discuss and a lot to decide between them.
I would remind the House that there were many and important improvements for the Africans in the proposals agreed last November, including unimpeded progress to eventual majority rule, safeguards against retrogression, immediate improvement in the political status of the Africans, and progress towards ending racial discrimination. I am sure that these proposals can be used and, indeed, must form the basis for discussion and decision between Africans and Europeans in Rhodesia. There is in reality no other way forward to a harmonious society.
Of course there are strong reasons against sanctions—I can rehearse them as well as anybody in the House—and 1209 I am well aware of the double standards on African affairs to be found, for example, in the United Nations. I was not the last to raise that question in this country—I did so a good many years ago. No doubt others in the debate will contrast the United Nations attitude to General Amin with the United Nations attitude to Mr. Smith, and it is to some extent valid to note that I cannot, as Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, allow my indignation to be diverted and must consider the matter which I feel to be at the centre of British and Rhodesian true interests. That, I repeat, is to go to the limit and almost beyond patience to try by reconciliation to bring Rhodesia back into legal relations with the British Crown and on the international stage. That must be the goal which we must always keep in the forefront of our minds.
I may be compelled by events to come to the House and to go to the United Nations and to state the case plainly for a change of policy. In that event, I should have to mobilise a good case to the House and to the United Nations. In the event of failure, however, as I have said before, that would be the straightforward thing to do—to say straight that the policy had failed. But I think the House will see that if I were to do so now, any tender shoot of racial co-operation that may be just showing above the ground in Rhodesia would wither and die, and with it would go the last slender chance for the Rhodesian people to live in peace with each other, developing their resources free from artificial international restraints and moving towards a society in which colour played no rôle in determining status and/or opportunity.
It is true, as will be said in the debate, that other people break sanctions, that there is no evidence leading to the conclusion that sanctions will bring Mr. Smith's régime to an end and that the chief casualty of sanctions is African employment. All that is true; it must be conceded. But to drop the sanctions now when there is still just a hope that settlement will be achieved inside Rhodesia would be to throw away any chance there may be for Rhodesia to get legal independence—in other words, to throw away the prize before the race is finished. I believe that in these cir- 1210 cumstances the common sense of the House will dictate that, before conceding failure, we must probe the last crannies of compromise. Existing sanctions therefore should go on and be properly applied for another year. Sanctions were never meant to create real hardship for individuals in a way which could have no bearing on the position of the illegal régime.
During the last two years hon. Members from both sides of the House have raised with me a number of cases and I have had also much correspondence from various persons who consider themselves hurt by sanctions. I have examined all these cases. There are three areas in which I now propose to take action—financial and non-financial measures, and measures concerning certain marriages, divorces and adoptions where inhumanity certainly results.
First, financial measures. Some of our exchange controls in respect of Southern Rhodesia operate harshly in certain cases, as hon. Members have told me. They affect education, the elderly, those with serious personal hardship problems and organisations such as charities, many of which, incidentally, are working for the advancement of Africans in Southern Rhodesia. Many tragic cases of hardship are being referred to us and we believe that there is need for sympathetic treatment. All the changes which I propose, except one to which I shall come later, are in accordance with the exceptions provided for in the Security Council resolution.
Briefly, the changes involve a small increase in the value of cash gifts that may be sent to relatives; transfers for the elderly and those with hardship problems; travel allowances for elderly United Kingdom residents wishing to visit relatives in Southern Rhodesia—there are quite a number of cases in which relatives wish to go and see relations who may not live for many more years; increases in the amounts which residents of Southern Rhodesia visiting the United Kingdom may draw from restricted funds; transfers by United Kingdom residents for their wives and children resident in Southern Rhodesia; the amount that United Kingdom charities and similar bodies may send to Southern Rhodesia; and the transfer from the United Kingdom to Southern Rhodesia of the proceeds 1211 of life assurance policies. I will, with permission, circulate fuller details of these changes in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
Secondly, non-financial measures. On 17th June, 1968, the then Attorney-General announced that Her Majesty's Government would retain the power to issue, in place of invalidated Southern Rhodesian passports, United Kingdom passports where there were special reasons for so doing. We propose to extend the issue of these passports to any persons resident in Rhodesia who are genuinely seeking specialised medical treatment outside Rhodesia, and even if such treatment is available in South Africa. On humanitarian grounds it is wrong to limit the freedom of choice open to the sick.
We propose also to extend the validity of the concessionary United Kingdom passports which we issue to Rhodesians ordinarily resident outside Rhodesia from 6 months to 12 months. This proposal will reduce inconvenience and save work in our passport sections. All these things, asked for at one time or another by hon. Members, can be done by administrative means and are totally consistent with the United Nations resolution.
Lastly, marriages, divorces and adoptions, which will need an Order in Council. Following the illegal declaration of independence and later of a republic, certain Rhodesian marriages, divorces and adoptions were and are regarded by the British courts as invalid. There have been instances of persons of impeccable character who have believed themselves to be properly married and who have discovered, in some cases several years after their marriage, that the marriage itself was invalid and that any children of their marriage were illegitimate. This is totally wrong and must be put right.
In many cases the situation could be rectified by going through another ceremony of marriage in this country, but if one of the parties were to have died it would be difficult to make the children legitimate. Some people divorced in Rhodesia found that they could not marry again in the United Kingdom because their divorce was regarded here as invalid. We believe that that is wrong and that individuals innocent of political offence should not suffer in this way.
1212 We have therefore decided to put a stop to this unjust situation. An order in 1970 gave British courts jurisdiction to grant divorces to certain people whose Rhodesian divorces were invalid. That was only a partial relief, because it did not relate to marriages or adoptions. It still meant that people had to go through further expensive proceedings to get recognised divorces. We will, therefore, be submitting to the Privy Council an Order in Council under the Southern Rhodesia Constitutional Order which would exercise our constitutional powers to make divorces, marriages and adoptions in Rhodesia valid in Rhodesian law. That will automatically make them valid in United Kingdom law. I hope that hon. Members on both sides of the House will feel that these humanitarian actions are right.
I will summarise my views. We believe that our primary responsibility is to bring Rhodesia to legal independence and to do so through the only way which is open to us—the granting of an agreed constitution.
§ Mr. Andrew Faulds (Smethwick)
Will the right hon. Gentleman make it clear whether, when he is talking of Rhodesian law, he is talking about Rhodesian law pre- or post-"Beadle"?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I am talking of the law as we exercise the law in respect of Her Majesty's Government, and in certain cases, if we wish to do so, in relation to Rhodesian affairs.
We believe that to ensure a harmonious future the proposals for a settlement must now come—
§ Mr. Scholefield Allen (Crewe)
I do not think the right hon. Gentleman has answered the question. The question was: is the right hon. Gentleman validating the post-UDI law created by the illegal régime?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
We are using our legal powers to legislate in this case for a limited purpose so as to affect the law in Rhodesia. My right hon. Friend can explain that in greater detail when he winds up the debate.
We believe that to ensure a harmonious future the proposals for a settlement must now come from the Rhodesians. The proposals of last November were 1213 certainly on the right lines of evolutionary constitutional change. If they can be improved by agreement between Rhodesians, well and good.
I have always tried in the conduct of foreign policy to keep my eye on the main goal and not allow myself to be diverted from it by the gusty winds which are always ready to blow one off course. I trust that I shall never mind admitting failure. That is one of the hazards of politics, especially in a situation where very little influence and no power can be brought to bear.
§ Mr. Jeremy Thorpe (Devon, North)
I accept that the right hon. Gentleman is addressing his arguments as much to those behind him as to those opposite—in fact, probably more so. The right hon. Gentleman has constantly talked about the possibilities of failure and the reasons why he feels that sanctions perhaps may have to continue and so forth in almost apologetic terms.
Although sanctions have not restored Rhodesia to legality, which we all wish for, have not sanctions had the effect, in the shortage of foreign currency, of bringing to the conference table on three different occasions a man who declared a rebellion against the Crown on the basis that there was nothing further to discuss and that he had no intention of discussing further? To that extent, will not the right hon. Gentleman concede that sanctions have had an effect in bringing the races closer together?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
The original purpose was to bring Mr. Smith to the negotiating table. I do not honestly think that sanctions are the main influence which brings Mr. Smith to the negotiating table. I think that the main influence is the one which I have been describing, and not, I hope, in apologetic terms. The main reason Mr. Smith comes to the negotiating table is that he wants to see Rhodesia legally restored to a relationship with Britain and to the other countries overseas. That is what I would put as the main reason, although sanctions may have had some effect.
I was saying that I had tried always to face, as one does in politics, the possibility of failure, especially in a position in which there is no power. Although Rhodesia is only a very small marginal 1214 consideration in some ways in the wide sweep of British foreign policy—the political and security and economic problems of the Northern hemisphere, the European partnership, the Persian Gulf, the Indian sub-continent, relations with China, and so on—nevertheless there is a great prize to be won in Africa and for Africans. That prize is a genuinely multiracial system.
Therefore I am asking, not for us—because as I said, it is more of a marginal affair in the whole sweep of British foreign policy—but for the Rhodesians, all the Rhodesians, for another chance to try to achieve a compromise settlement and peace.
§ Mr. Speaker
This is the wide order. The second order is really within the context of the first, and I think that it would be agreeable to the House that both should be discussed together. Is that so? The second order is:That the Southern Rhodesia (Immigration Act 1971) Order 1972 (S.I., 1972, No. 1583), a copy of which was laid before this House on 31st October, be approved.
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)
The Opposition certainly take that view.
The Foreign Secretary is right to introduce this order again today. We shall support it, as my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said last week, and if it is challenged in the Lobby, then, however repugnant it may be to us, we shall march side by side with those who are willing to come in with the right hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The hon. Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) interrupts early in my speech to say that they are the Labour Party's sanctions. They are not; they are Britain's sanctions. They are sanctions imposed with the consent of both parties, because imposing them was a national duty. It is a pity that some hon. Members have never recognised that duty, as at least the Foreign Secretary has done.
To fail to continue sanctions at the present time would be a betrayal of British responsibility in the matter. Failure would have another impact, not mentioned by the Foreign Secretary, yet it must be very much in his mind. I am 1215 surprised that it is not more in the minds of those hon. Gentlemen opposite who oppose sanctions. I wish to approach the subject on their level. To fail to renew sanctions at the present time would undoubtedly have unwelcome consequences in our political and trading relationships with many other African countries.
If the moral argument does not appeal to hon. Gentlemen who oppose sanctions, surely the materialist argument should do so. There can be no doubt that whenever the Foreign Secretary thought he had a good enough case to ask to be released from the impact of sanctions, he would always have to weigh in his mind the consequences of such a request in respect of many other countries in the Continent of Africa and elsewhere. That should be mentioned at the outset, quite apart from the betrayal of our responsibilities.
Those who wish to give the Smith régime a free hand and to betray our responsibilities hide behind the argument that sanctions have failed. They do not openly argue that they want to give the Smith régime a free hand, but they say, "We can do no more; sanctions have failed, so why continue?" Superficially, there appears to be something in the argument. Looked at more deeply, it is certainly untrue.
I am sorry that in outlining the case that he said he could make against sanctions the right hon. Gentleman did not also, as he is introducing the order, outline the consequences that have arisen as a result of imposing sanctions. There is a balance to be struck, and the right hon. Gentleman should have mentioned it.
What those who say that sanctions have failed mean is that the hindrances on trade have not brought down the régime. They have not ended it within a period of "weeks, if not months", which was the phrase. That remark was clearly wrong, and because sanctions have not brought the régime to an end, the opposers of sanctions say, "Sanctions have failed and should be given up." That is not so. I consider that we should go the other way. We should now make proposals for tightening sanctions because of the impact which they have had.
Looking below the surface, it is clear that sanctions are having an impact on the development of the country. I say that 1216 in no malicious or gloating mood, because I agree with the Foreign Secretary about hardship to individuals, and some cases to which the right hon. Gentleman referred are not those to which one would wish to deny a measure of comfort. I shall come to some other examples that he forgot.
Sanctions have had what The Guardian leader referred to as a debilitating effect on the economy, and that is probably the mot juste. They have not interfered much with the supply of consumer goods. It is clear that import substitution has led to the setting up of a number of secondary industries and firms which would not have been necessary had sanctions not existed. To that extent, therefore, the white population has been able to secure a continuation of the consumer goods to which they have become accustomed, although even in that field, where sanctions have had an impact on the development of the Rhodesian economy, some trouble will arise, for obvious reasons.
Looking behind the consumer goods industry and the forcing of the secondary goods industries, there is little doubt that the debilitating effect to which The Guardian referred lies in the capital goods industries and the infrastructure. It is here that the impact is most clearly seen. Examples are frequently quoted about the effect on the rolling stock of the Rhodesian railways, on a number of internal transport matters, and in other areas where for years it is possible to run on the existing stock of capital equipment but where a time must come when that capital stock should be replaced. The impact is felt, not so much immediately and directly by the consumer, but to a much deeper and more profound degree which will have a debilitating effect upon Rhodesia's economy.
That position is not easy. Any country of that sort, with an African population increasing by a substantial number each year, must have a rapidly developing economy, not just in consumer goods, but in the capital industries necessary to acquire the material goods that the country needs to sustain itself.
Rhodesia, as all who have seen it recognise, is a country where there is a prize to be had, not only on multiracial development but also in relation to its 1217 economic development. The skill and ingenuity of the European, the nature of the African population, the immense supplies of raw materials, the mineral wealth, and the climate make Rhodesia one of the most desirable countries in the world, potentially, to live in.
Rhodesians are not progressing as they should; they will not secure this prize until they make a political settlement that will give the African a share in the government of his country that will appear to him to be significant at the moment, and that will give him an opportunity to take control of the country within a measurable distance of time. That is the dilemma Rhodesians must face. Let no one say that sanctions have not had an impact. They have. It is a submerged impact; it is not readily seen; but it is there, and it is recognised by all who study the situation.
Why does the Foreign Secretary think that Mr. Wrathall, the Finance Minister, is anxious to get access to the London capital market and other world money markets? It is because any developing country of that sort, with a year-by-year growth in population, must have an influx of development capital if it is to sustain itself and, in the long run, maintain its standard of life.
That is the issue that those who claim that sanctions have failed rarely, if ever, press. Sanctions have not failed. They are making an impact, an impact that none of us welcomes in one sense, as we should prefer that there were a settlement rather than the impact of the sanctions.
Nevertheless, that factor—and the Foreign Secretary would be wrong to deny it—forms part of the motivation of the Smith régime, and those who have to face the daily problems in the Rhodesian Cabinet. They know the situation. This pressure—the Foreign Secretary should study this factor more carefully—is as likely as anything to lead the régime back to the conference table and to allow the tender shoots to develop.
Rhodesia should realise that the continuation of sanctions by this country is not motivated by pique or pigheadedness on the part of the British Government, or on the part of the Opposition, or the Liberal Party. Nevertheless, sanctions—I am not sure whether the Foreign 1218 Secretary is wholly convinced of this—form the most effective means of exercising influence between now and a settlement, whenever that may be. The régime's unsatisfactory stewardship will not be overcome if we desert sanctions. Indeed, there is a need to tighten them.
If what I say is correct—and I believe that right hon. and hon. Members on both sides will agree with me about the underlying impact of sanctions—this is no time even to talk of abolishing sanctions. Rather, they should be made more effective, so that, if a pinch is to be felt, it will be felt in this sector. In my view, such a procedure holds out a greater prospect of bringing Rhodesia to the conference table.
The estimates of blockade breaking are substantial. I cite the well-known example of the United States Senate with regard to chrome. Our new partners in the EEC, particularly countries such as France and Belgium, are, I believe, guilty of breaking the United Nations resolution. Japan is another example. We all know of such examples. There is too much evidence that other countries are not taking the same view of this matter as ours; nor do they apply the same standards.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell), with his legal background, should have more regard for the law. Whether or not we wish to sustain the rule of law about trade unions or about external relations with Rhodesia, both arguments spring from the same root. The hon. and learned Member should not need reminding of that fact, and should not, with a superior smile, say that those countries have more sense. That tenet, if it applies to the Rhodesian Government, or to foreign Governments, could equally be applied to trade unionists in this country. I would tell the hon. and learned Gentleman that I deny the validity in either case.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The hon. and learned Gentleman did not say that. His comment was, "They have more sense." He is now trying to rationalise that comment, as are a number of his hon. Friends.
In addition, a handful of British companies have sailed close to the wind in this respect, too close in the opinion of some of us. I would refer any hon. Member opposite who may seek evidence of this action to a document produced by Mr. Guy Arnold and Mr. Alan Baldwin of the Africa Bureau on token sanctions, or token economic warfare. I do not know whether those who snigger have even opened its covers. It is one of the most dispassionate and objective. well-backed and substantiated views that I have seen. If right hon. and hon. Members opposite would forget their prejudices and examine the factors of the situation, they might not come to the House with such closed minds.
There is little doubt that the great majority of British companies have behaved in an exemplary manner. Nevertheless, a handful have not. One obvious gap in the sanctions situation is the position of Lourenço Marques. I understand that the Beira patrol is still operating, and is partially effective. If my original hypothesis is right and sanctions are having an impact and should continue to have an impact, far from pouring cold or tepid water on the sanctions the Foreign Secretary should be considering whether he could get assistance from some other countries to establish a patrol at Lourenço Marques.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)rose—
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)rose—
§ Mr. Callaghan
May I be allowed to develop the argument for a moment? Two hon. Gentlemen wish to interrupt: I do not call either of them hon. Friends this afternoon, although one of them may well be tomorrow. I feel that I should not get much out of either of them.
I understand that some of the African States are willing to help in a naval 1220 patrol of this sort. I entirely disagree with the Foreign Secretary's view that initially it was wrong to take this matter to the United Nations. I do not now wish us to shrug our responsibilities on to the United Nations for we must be in the lead in this matter, but I see every reason why we should try to involve more of the members of the United Nations in sharing the burden with us, including some of those who are now breaking the sanctions. They might be more involved if the poachers become gamekeepers. If my hon. and learned Friend wishes to interrupt with a helpful comment, I will gladly give way.
§ Mr. Paget
I do not know whether my right hon. Friend would regard it as helpful, but I find it odd that in the name of legality he should ask us to try to promote a totally illegal blockade of a neutral and allied port. I cannot imagine a procedure more flagrantly in defiance of all known international law.
§ Mr. Wall rose—
§ Mr. Callaghan
Perhaps I may knock down one skittle at a time. My hon. and learned Friend is a notable and skilled lawyer. I have always said that if I were guilty of a crime, I should not hesitate to have him defending me: if I were innocent, I would not touch him with a barge-pole. I do not accept what he has said on this subject, and we have discussed the matter before.
§ Mr. Wall
I am following the right hon. Gentleman's moderate speech with great attention. Would he bear in mind that one cannot blockade Lourenço Marques, because of the configuration of the coast, without infringing the three-mile limit; but Beira is open to the high seas? If one blockaded Lourenço Marques, it would be an act of war.
§ Mr. Callaghan
Is the hon. Gentleman taking the view that if it were possible to do so, he would support it?
§ Mr. Callaghan
I had a feeling that the hon. Gentleman was once again rationalising his dislike of the situation, instead of making what I thought was an attempt to be helpful. The hon. Gentleman may be right—it is a long time since we were 1221 there—but I should like the matter investigated, because I should like to see a position in which the sanction-breakers are brought to book, in which those countries breaking sanctions are invited to help us to maintain sanctions, and in which we strengthen sanctions. That is my whole case. It may be that some of my proposals are not practicable but we have heard nothing from the Foreign Secretary to indicate that he has even studied them, certainly not whether he thinks that they are practicable.
Another proposition, which I would support, is that, in addition to having a United Nations committee on sanctions—and, whether the Foreign Secretary likes it or not, the United Nations intends to keep a close eye on the situation—there should be a United Nations commissioner who would be responsible. I cannot understand why any hon. Gentleman opposite should oppose this proposal. As long as we have sanctions, there may be a difference of view whether they are right, at any rate among a minority of the Conservative Party, but as long as we have sanctions, surely hon. Members want them to be effective. Surely as long as we have them they do not want other nations to be taking advantage of us, do they? Or has patriotism sunk so low that if they "have more sense" then they should get away with it—which is the view being put by the hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South. I suggest that there is every case for the Foreign Secretary, while sanctions persist, putting to the United Nations that we need the sanctions to be made as effective as possible. But from his attitude this afternoon I did not get the feeling that he would want to touch this in any sense.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I have said constantly in the House that while sanctions continue they should be enforced. I do not think that the Commissioner would help because we send all the complaints we have to the United Nations as it has all the machinery to deal with them. It is that end that has slightly failed.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I agree with the Foreign Secretary that he and his predecessors have sent a number of complaints to the United Nations, but there is a lot to be said for having a person 1222 on whom this work can be focused, instead of relying on a committee which may or may not meet. To have one person upon whom it can be focused and who would take action could lead to better results than we have had so far from the complaints which the Foreign Secretary has made.
I want to take up the right hon. Gentleman and the Conservative minority on another point—perhaps principally them rather than him. I thought it was extremely ill-advised and foolish to have a private meeting attended by over 100 back benchers at which they reached the ludicrous conclusion that if they go along with the Foreign Secretary now they can have another go at it next July. That surely is an absurdity, for this reason. They are giving a message to Mr. Ian Smith that if only he can hang on till next July perhaps they will be able to bully, cajole or persuade the Foreign Secretary into getting rid of sanctions.
If ever there were a case for settled policy in view of the impact of sanctions, the slow debilitating effect of sanctions, this was surely it. We should not be indicating every few months that in another few months we shall look at this and see what we can do. To get people to the conference table, hon. Members opposite should be saying to their Government, "We will support you as long as you think it necessary", not, "We will pull your coat tails every six months to see whether we can bully you into changing your mind." Assuming that the reports are correct, I think that a most ill-advised conclusion was reached by that meeting.
After all, hon. Members opposite are ready to soldier on in Ireland. There is, I should have thought, probably no more sign of a solution in Northern Ireland than there is in Rhodesia. If hon. Gentlemen's resolution has not failed them in Northern Ireland, why should they be ready to throw away the prospect of getting a settlement in Rhodesia? I simply do not understand the difference between the two. If this is the idea of the so-called rebels—if that is what the chocolate soldiers sitting behind the Foreign Secretary are—of how to help the Foreign Secretary, all I can say in his defence is, "Heaven help him from his friends." At any rate he will not have to look to them tonight for support, and 1223 I hope very much that there will be no suggestion of sanctions being enforced for a few more months and then they will be over.
I ask the Foreign Secretary to take a more positive attitude—
§ Mr. Evelyn King (Dorset, South)
The right hon. Gentleman's description of what took place at the Conservative Party meeting—and I was present and he was not—is wholly fanciful.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I am very glad to hear it. Perhaps I can ask the hon. Gentleman a question. I do not want him to betray the secrets of a party meeting because we all know that they are never published anywhere, but can he help me by saying that it is not the intention of Conservative back benchers, in so far as he can speak for them—he can certainly speak for himself—to press the Foreign Secretary to abandon sanctions within the next few months?
§ Mr. Callaghan
The hon. Gentleman is being extremely humble. I am afraid that his humility derives from the fact that he knows that he could not give me a truthful answer. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] He could not give me a truthful answer, because the hon. Gentleman will go on pressing for the abandonment of sanctions, will he not?
§ Mr. Callaghan
Exactly. What I could not get out of the hon. Gentleman when he rose to his feet I got out of him from a sedentary position.
§ Mr. King
The right hon. Gentleman must not ride off on that. I freely concede to him that in my poor judgment I have always disagreed with sanctions. I have never concealed that fact. However, he has tried to justify an account of a meeting which is false. The two things do not flow from each other.
§ Mr. Callaghan
The House will be able to judge from the exchanges what is likely to be the attitude of the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends over the next few months to whether they will give the Foreign Secretary the settled support that he needs in order to be able to carry through this policy successfully.
I ask the Foreign Secretary to take a more positive attitude to one or two matters which are of concern to the Opposition and to a far wider audience. The right hon. Gentleman referred to the financial easements that he intends to make. I take it that easements of exchange controls are all minor matters concerning small sums of money that will relieve hardship. Apparently, this is true also in respect of marriages, divorces and adoptions. I do not think that I speak for myself alone when I say that I do not think that the Opposition would want to see undue hardship visited on any individual as a result of the policy that we are trying to follow and that we believe to be right.
I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman's feelings in this matter are genuine, but I should like to ask him about Mr. Guy Clutton Brock. I have not looked this up, because I did not know that the right hon. Gentleman intended to raise the matter. However, my recollection from Miss Judith Todd's book is that when Cold Comfort Farm was sold, which had been in the possession of Mr. Guy Clutton Brock for many years and which the right hon. Gentleman and I went to see nearly 20 years ago, according to her £50,000 was the sale price and Guy Clutton Brock has never been allowed to have a halfpenny of that money.
Compassion is not limited to those who may have one political view. Would the Foreign Secretary give me an assurance that he will look into the case of Guy Cutton Brock? If I am wrong about it, I will, of course, readily withdraw, but I do not think that I am. The facts are fairly well known. These funds have never been remitted. Let us hear that the right hon. Gentleman will be willing to raise this case, too, because it would be an affront if he were to leave a matter of that sort untouched.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
Of course there are many instances of compensation 1225 of various kinds due to various individuals such as Mr. Guy Clutton Brock, but that is rather different from the matter with which I was dealing. I will certainly look into that case and put in a claim, if that is what the right hon. Gentleman is suggesting, but these are rather different matters. We control the money that we can give to people who are sick, elderly and so on, to make their lives a little easier.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I did understand the Foreign Secretary on that point. What I am saying is that one hardship is at least as strong as another, that one case for compassion is at least as strong as another. I come now to a rather broader political question—
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)
Before my right hon. Friend leaves that matter, and while he is dealing with individual cases—
§ Mr. Callaghan
I still am. I am coming to the cases of Mr. and Mrs. Chinamano and Mr. Garfield Todd. I refer to what the Pearce Commission said about these people. They were detained soon after the Pearce Commission arrived in February, 1972. In its report, the Pearce Commission stated:The Rhodesian authorities informed us that these were cases of preventive detention arising from the internal security situation which had developed in the Midlands area.That is in paragraph 147. It continues:Mr. and Mrs. Chinamano were detained under ministerial orders—that is, similar to the orders concerning the Todds—… Sir Glyn Jones and the Secretary-General went to see Mr. Todd and Mr. Chinamanos were of importance, we believe, to the to justify detention on security grounds. Sir Glyn Jones and Lord Harlech also went to see Miss Todd who gave them a similar denial.Miss Todd has now been released. She is now in this country, as is well known. The commission commented:So far as Mr. Todd is concerned we know of no reasons for his detention on law and order grounds save that he was a forceful person who, it might be thought, would disturb the political waters. … The Chinamanos were of importance, we believe, to the African National Council, but there were those who were ready and willing to take their place. We have no evidence that they were planning disorders.1226 In paragraph 147, the commission said that the Rhodesian Government said:they could not give us the detailed information which led to their detention but said that it was possible that criminal charges might be laid after investigations had been completed.That was last February.
Has not the time come for the Foreign Secretary to ask what is happening about that detention order? Mr. Todd is, of course, at home, but he is not allowed either to leave the grounds, which are extensive, or to communicate with anyone outside. Why? If no charge is to be brought against him, if the criminal investigations have fallen down to that extent, it is high time that the Rhodesian Government accounted for themselves in these matters.
If we are still to believe that we have a responsibility—and it is because we believe that we have a responsibility that we shall tonight agree on the extension of the sanctions order—I would have hoped that the Foreign Secretary would refer to this matter this afternoon. The conclusion of the Pearce Commission—and the members were all eminent people, whatever may be thought about them by hon. Members opposite—is that on those counts the case must go by default against the Rhodesian Government. We are compelled to infer that those detentions were an interference with normal political activities.
I ask the Minister of State for an assurance that the British Government are willing to put those matters to Mr. Smith and to ask for a firm assurance either that charges will be brought or that the detention orders against those people will be ended and that they will be released to go about their normal political activities. The names that I have quoted happen to have hit the headlines and are those about which people know most. Therefore, I also ask how many people are now in detention in Rhodesia. Are we to shrug off our responsibility for them? We cannot.
I do not know how many there are. I know that there are approximately 50 detainees in the camp which includes Joshua Nkomo. I know that there are at least 34 detainees in Salisbury remand prison. I am assured of that on reasonably reputable authority.
1227 How many more are there? It is the Government's responsibility, if we hold ourselves responsible for the African people in those territories, to ask the Rhodesian Government how many people are being detained without trial, why, and the intentions about them. That is the least that we can do to show that we take seriously our responsibilities in such matters.
I conclude by saying that I agree with the Foreign Secretary that sanctions are not an end in themselves: they are a means. I do not know how the tender young shoots are progressing. They seem to have withered on the vine, because according to the Daily Telegraph—and who could ever doubt the Daily Telegraph on any issue concerning Northern Ireland or Rhodesia—all the dialogue about the tender shoots… drew an impatient snort but no direct comment from Mr. Ian Smith".I do not know who was the spokesman, but the Daily Telegraph goes on'The Rhodesian people are becoming a little cynical of statements attributed to Sir Alec,' an official commented.One is obliged to conclude that he is attempting to mollify his back benchers.Not if I can help it. We ought to have the truth about this. Or, if I may use a phrase sanctified by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on Tuesday, "Who is telling the pack of lies?" What is the situation? Are there some tender shoots that are now growing to maturity? I hope that the Foreign Secretary is right.
§ Mr. Callaghan
I prefer the right hon. Gentleman to be right and the pack of lies to be told by Mr. Ian Smith to having it the other way round—where otherwise would the right hon. Gentleman's reputation for integrity be? I certainly prefer him to be right, not only for that reason but because I believe that this is the right way for Smith, if he is ever willing to do so, to get together with the Africans to see an end to this road. It is the only way it can be done.
The Opposition do not doubt that this issue can be settled only when the 1228 Africans themselves are allowed to play a full part in the discussions and to reach conclusions necessary to give them an assured future in their own country. The Foreign Secretary made a substantial mistake when he thought that he could sign an agreement—and did sign an agreement—with Mr. Smith over the head of the Africans. Those days have gone, and the Africans have shown him that they have gone.
If the Foreign Secretary is willing to press that they be brought in as full partners to conclude an agreement, an agreement may be obtained, and I fervently hope that it will be. The right hon. Gentleman referred to Bishop Muzorewa. Why does the Foreign Secretary not ask the Rhodesian régime why it takes away his passport? What is so wrong with a man who, according to the Foreign Secretary, is holding reasonable, well-attended meetings in Rhodesia that he is not allowed to leave Rhodesia in order to communicate his views outside, unless the régime is very frightened?
There is, of course, the subject of funds, and membership. The leaders of the African people are not making extravagant requests; they seem to me most moderate in their hopes for the future and in their hopes to secure a good share in the government of their country. Is it so wrong that 5 million Africans in their own country should ask for the major share in government against 227,000 Europeans, many of whom are recent immigrants? Cannot hon. Gentlemen understand why this should be so?
Unless they do show more understanding, if they do twitch the rug from under the Foreign Secretary, they will be responsible for the worsening of the ensuing relations. I trust to God that that will not be so.
§ 4.57 p.m.
§ Sir Gilbert Longden (Hertfordshire, South-West)
If the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) can mistrust the Daily Telegraph for its views on Northern Ireland and Southern Rhodesia, I mistrust his views. If he can seriously equate the situation in Northern Ireland with that in Southern Rhodesia, his argument is too ridiculous for words.
I have always deprecated sanctions, and for three reasons. First, I have always 1229 believed that it is our business and not the business of the United Nations, and it might as well have been left to us, as we are the only country implementing the sanctions. Secondly, there are so many other places in the world where human rights are being infringed far more than they are in Southern Rhodesia, and the United Nations do not lift a finger or a voice to complain. Thirdly, they have failed in their original objective, which was not, as the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Party said, to bring Mr. Smith to the conference table, but to topple his illegal régime within a matter of weeks rather than months: that was the original object of sanctions.
I have listened this afternoon to my right hon. Friend's exceedingly reasonable and persuasive speech and I will support him in the Lobby tonight, if necessary. He reminded us that the objective was a stable multiracial society in Africa and that it was an ideal almost beyond human attainment in Africa. I am afraid that is impossible to attain but it is well worth pursuing for a little longer, because if it can be attained, a great prize will have come to us all, as my right hon. Friend said, particularly to the Africans.
If my right hon. Friend wants another year in which to strive for that ideal, I am prepared to let him have it. I appeal to my hon. Friends not to divide the House. If they do so they will give Mr. Smith the wholly false idea that, if he hangs on for long enough, he will find a Government in this country who will allow him to get away with independence without the five principles. That he will never do, and he may as well know it, however many people go into the Lobby tonight against sanctions.
These are the facts as I see them, and I do not think that they can be controverted. UDI was an illegal act because in law only an Act of this Parliament can confer independence on a colonial territory. Successive Parliaments over the last 150 years have declared our intention to do that when a majority of a colony's inhabitants were capable of self-government.
My right hon. Friend and his colleagues in the then Conservative Government warned the Rhodesians of the steps that the British Government would have to take in the event of illegal secession, 1230 and when such secession took place, when the Labour Government were in power, the Conservative Opposition rightly supported the Labour Government in the steps which they originally took. They were the steps which we had said would have to be taken.
The honourable objective of those steps was to fulfil our unquestioned responsibility to our African fellow subjects in Rhodesia. Short of force, which no one—or hardly anyone—advocated, they were the only steps open to us.
It is interesting to remark that at this very moment the General Assembly of United Nations is debating a Soviet motion advocating the non-use of force in international relations. One wonders whether there will be any more Hungarys or Czechoslovakias, or whether the Brezhnev doctrine has now gone by the board—or whether, as I fear is more likely, there is one law for the Soviet Union and another for everyone else.
The Labour Government then took the matter to the United Nations and invoked mandatory sanctions against Rhodesia. As I said at the time, such measures could hope to be effective only if all members of the United Nations were prepared genuinely to support them, and to support a prolonged blockade of the whole of Southern Africa, which they would necessitate if they were to be effective. But who could believe that such a condition would be fulfilled? Of course it has not been, as all the world knows.
I read in The Times of 4th November a letter from a Dr. Musa Mazzawi, in which he writes:Britain's failure to carry out its obligations regarding the sanctions against Rhodesia renders it liable to be sued in the International Court of Justice at The Hague.I wonder in what sort of world Dr. Mazzawi is living? Does he not know that Britain is the only member of the United Nations which is honouring its commitment? Only a week ago, Mr. Ian Colvin, from Rhodesia, was able to write:Foreign exchange is acutely short, but Rhodesia is actively trading with every customer nation except Britain. Britain is 'going it alone'. A Junior Minister from a European country has just been here offering to buy the entire beef exports of Rhodesia on a Government bilateral deal. Some 15 foreign models are coming off car assembly lines that once produced British cars.1231 It was 4½ years ago that in the Daily Telegraph, of 25th March, 1968, I asked:Has not the time come for us to confess failure and let Rhodesia pursue her own path outside the Commonwealth? … we have done our best within the limits of the politically practicable and we have failed … were the Government now to shed further responsibility for Rhodesia, I feel they would be exercising only one of the most valuable foundations of policy—commonsense.Nevertheless, we plodded on. The weeks in which, according to the Leader of the Opposition, the sanctions were to have "toppled" the Smith régime became months, and the months years. Eventually, an agreement was reached which was described by my right hon. Friend as fair and honourable, and by Lord Goodman as one which it would be consummate folly to reject. However, it was in the end rejected by the African majority and could not, therefore, be proceeded with because it would have broken one of the five principles if it had been pursued.
I have always doubted whether the Rhodesia Front would honour any settlement which incorporated the five principles; and, even more, what, if it did dishonour it, we could do about it. When it was rejected by the Africans, I again urged, in The Times of 25th January, that we should shed any further pretension that we can affect what happens in Rhodesia for good or ill, for the history since UDI has amply furnished further proof of the fact that to assume responsibilities without the power to fulfil them is foolish.
That advice was again rejected. I contemplate compiling in retirement a list of those many occasions when successive Governments have failed to follow my advice—speculating in each case upon the subsequent catastrophic results if they had.
I appreciate that we cannot disengage overnight. Now that the United Nations is seized of the matter, which I think is unfortunate, we must explain to the world why, if no satisfactory solution can be found during the coming year—to the Africans as a whole—we must withdraw the whole question from the United Nations and divest ourselves of any further responsibility for the future of Rhodesia. Even if Mr. Smith thinks that might happen, he will not welcome it. 1232 He does not want us to divest ourselves of responsibility. He wants us to be in a position to award independence legally to that country. One such solution might be found in the suggestion of Sir John Fletcher-Cooke in a letter to The Times of 25th January. I shall read two or three paragraphs of Sir John's letter because they sum up exactly what I feel. Sir John says:The first fact, which flows from the perversity of human nature as it is and not as we like it to be, is that individuals who share the same culture and the same way of looking at the world, wish to govern themselves and are never willingly prepared to operate within a single political system in which they share power with those of a different culture. Surely this lesson should have been learnt …".Sir John then says that surely this lesson should have been learned from the innumerable examples we have seen, not just black versus white but brown versus yellow, black versus brown and so on.
Sir John then says:It is really to be expected that … the Rhodesian European minority, now a political majority, would willingly see power pass into the hands of Africans when the latter become the political majority; and even if this mythical situation were to come to pass, is there any reason to suppose that the African majority would then fully respect the rights of the European minority?That is fully to respect the rights of the European minority.
Sir John concludes:The Africans of Rhodesia have as much right to govern themselves now as have the Africans of the independent States in Africa; and the Europeans of Rhodesia have as much right to govern themselves now as have the Europeans in this country and those of European stock in Australia, Canada and New Zealand. But neither group has the right now, or in the future, to dominate the other. Since recent history contains no examples of successful multi-cultural Governments, surely this unpleasant fact should be faced and accepted.The inevitable conclusion is partition.I intend to support the Government in the Lobby tonight, if it be necessary to divide the House. I do this partly because my right hon. Friend asks me to—and what is the good of having leaders if, every now and then, one does not follow them?—and partly because I do not want my country to add to the many instances of sickening hypocrisy and double standards displayed almost daily by the dis-United Nations in New York. In The Times on 4th November I drew attention to the deafening silence with which the United Nations greeted 1233 the actions of General Amin. It is simply not true, as was claimed in another letter to The Times that day, thatthere has been widespread condemnation of General Amin's racialism in Uganda throughout Africa ".There has been no such thing.
When Sir Dingle Foot asks me, "Why should racial persecution in Kampala be held to excuse racial persecution in Salisbury?", my answer is that I have never suggested that it did excuse it. Of course not. Racial persecution anywhere is equally culpable—except in the view of the United Nations.
Nevertheless, I still regard the United Nations as one of the hopes for the peaceful future of mankind, and I want to give my right hon. Friend another chance of either achieving his policy, which would be the best of all worlds, or of extricating ourselves with honour from an undignified position.
§ 5.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Arthur Bottomley (Middlesbrough, East)
The hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Sir Gilbert Longden) is a highly respected member of his own party and of the House. I hope that his words pleading with some of his hon. Friends not to force a Division tonight will be heeded. If the message goes out with unanimity from the House tonight that the sanctions policy is to continue, it will, I believe, give heart to those Africans who are languishing in detention and suffering indignities of all kinds.
I ask the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary to remember those Africans when he makes suggestions about easing sanctions. I acknowledge the humane considerations which encourage him in so doing, but, equally, I hope that he will meet the wish expressed by my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) and see to it that some of those Africans, and Mr. Garfield Todd and others who are suffering, are given some encouragement by the strongest possible representations from the right hon. Gentleman that, unless something is done to ease their plight, little hope can ever be given of acting on such humane considerations and lifting even some of the sanctions.
The policy of applying economic sanctions was introduced by the Labour 1234 Government, and I had the privilege of putting it forward at that time. I talked to the Governor of Southern Rhodesia and to leading business men then, and they said, "We must have economic sanctions; it is the most effective way of bringing Smith and his crew to some kind of understanding of the problem caused by UDI."
Of course, their intention, and mine, was that sanctions should be applied effectively, efficiently and at once. As we know, however, the Opposition of the day would not support the Government on an all-embracing economic sanctions policy, and the Government were forced to introduce economic sanctions piecemeal. As a result of introducing them piecemeal, we never had the kind of effective results which we had good reason otherwise to expect.
The Africans at that time were unenthusiastic about applying economic sanctions. They wanted the use of force. I am sorry that they did not give enthusiastic support to the application of economic sanctions. As others have said, it is easy to suggest the use of force. I have little doubt that, if force had been used, Smith and his wild men would have blown up the Kariba Dam. After all, they had little to lose. They had the Wankie coal mines to give them power. But if the copper mines had no power in Zambia, the Africans, not just at once and for a short period but for a long time to come, would have been deprived of their economic standards, and, what is more, who knows what would have been the other repercussions if force had been used, repercussions such as those we have seen in other parts of the world? Once there is a trouble spot, the big Powers become involved, and I should never want to be party to a Vietnam situation in Africa.
I have constantly pleaded, therefore, with many of my African colleagues to do all they can to support the policy of economic sanctions and to put pressure on those countries which have breached the United Nations decision to apply them.
I believe that economic sanctions are working and are becoming increasingly effective. Rhodesia is predominantly a farming country. The farmers, particularly the tobacco farmers, are losing money. Not only are they losing income 1235 now but the situation will probably become far worse for them. At this time, with their tobacco crop not being sold, the markets of the world which need tobacco are looking elsewhere for purchases, and where better to look than Malawi? Some criticise Dr. Banda at times, but he knows how to look after his own country's interests, and he is seeking and getting the tobacco markets which the Rhodesians once had. If the Rhodesians are not sensible, they may well lose their tobacco markets for good. Meat, also, is an important product of Rhodesia. Botswana is taking the meat market, and will continue to do so.
Rhodesia, therefore, with economic sanctions applied, will find that its farming interests, which, as I say, are its predominant interests, will suffer, and it will be very difficult for that country to return to the standards which it knew before UDI
The Southern Rhodesian farmers are short of farming equipment. There is a shortage of tractors. They are not receiving the supplies necessary to keep their machinery intact and able to do the kind of job which can make farming much more efficient. The communications system is becoming far worse than ever it was—and it has been bad enough over the past 12 months. The Rhodesians cannot get the railway equipment, the railway wagons and the engines which they need, and this is all having a bad effect on their economy. Replacements for goods and equipment of this kind are becoming more difficult, and so on.
The health services are being depleted because they cannot obtain the goods necessary to keep standards up. As has often been said, the Africans are the ones who suffer most in that situation, but many Africans have said—they said to the Pearce Commission—"We are prepared to suffer these things in order that we may get justice and have an opportunity of playing a part in running our country."
Attempts have been made, as my right hon. Friend said, to build up secondary industries so as to avoid the importation of consumer goods. But these factories are not now obtaining the raw materials required. The goods being produced are shoddy. In due course, the Rhodesian 1236 Europeans will start complaining about their own standards. They want good quality goods, not inferior, and they want them so as to be up to the standard which people elsewhere in the world are able to enjoy.
It is said by some that if we do not come to some sort of settlement with Rhodesia, we shall drive the Rhodesians into the South African camp, that they will become apartheid-minded, and then we shall all regret what has been done. I believe that the South Africans are realistic people. I recall Mr. Smith telling me on one occasion that the South African Prime Minister had said to him, "If you can keep going for two years, you will have no further worries. Your UDI will be forgotten." It has not happened. No country has recognised Rhodesia, and UDI is far from forgotten. We are to renew the application of economic sanctions tonight to make sure that it is never forgotten.
But South Africa is realistic enough to know that if she ever thought of taking Rhodesia into her orbit she would be adding over 5 million more Africans to her own majority African population. The Africans in Rhodesia are increasing at an annual rate nearly equivalent to the Rhodesian-European population. Certainly South Africa does not want to add those numbers to her already large population of Africans to cause even greater problems.
In addition, South African business men are beginning to complain. They realise that propping up Southern Rhodesia is harming their interests. I think we shall find that South Africa in due course, recognising that she wants to come to terms with Black Africa, will find a way of getting out of trying to support Rhodesia. We shall not make that easier if tonight we do not endorse very firmly the proposition to continue the economic sanctions policy.
Responsible Africans, Asians and Indian leaders acknowledge the debt that they owe to Britain, and specially the Civil Service, in laying the foundations of economic progress. I had an interesting experience not long ago. I was travelling in an aircraft with a Saudi-Arabian. He said to me, "The sad thing is that we were never a British Colony." I had never had that said to me before. I said "Why do you say that?" He 1237 said "If we had been a British Colony we would have had railways, roads, water and communications like Egypt."
There are many countries which were under our trust which have been wise enough to respond to the suggestions that we have made to them, that they can achieve their nationalistic aspirations by peaceful development, by our help and encouragement. It is because of this that we have brought to independence previous colonies in an atmosphere of mutual respect and friendship and without violence or bloodshed. We must not tarnish our record, or affront the rightful aspirations of newly-emergent States in Africa, by condoning or approving the acts of a white minority which threaten for ever to dominate a majority of their fellow citizens. I congratulate the Secretary of State on putting forward economic sanctions once more, and I hope that the House as a whole will unanimously support him.
§ 5.22 p.m.
§ Mr. Ronald Bell (Buckinghamshire, South)
The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley) has been making that sort of speech for seven years, and I have no doubt that he will be able to say that I have been making my sort of speech for seven years also. I am, however, a little worried by the persistent optimism of the right hon. Gentleman's remarks. He said that sanctions are working and that they are becoming more effective, not less. It reminded me of the attempt of a former Labour Government to grow groundnuts in East Africa and to run a giant chicken farm in the Gambia, when the Government used to come back each year after a disastrous experience and say that these projects, far from failing, were becoming more successful and the prognostication was that they would be even more profitable than in the past.
I am afraid that the Labour Party opposite know very little about Africa. They are constantly in touch with only the disaffected elements, and it is on the judgments of those elements that they form their own judgments. I feel that a good deal of this support of sanctions is due to not much better than pique because Mr. Smith has appeared to succeed, in spite of the actions that the party opposite took against him.
1238 The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) described the case of those who oppose sanctions as being the fact that sanctions do not work. I have never founded my opposition to sanctions on that ground. They do not work. But the fact is that sanctions are wrong because the case that they are intended to support is itself wrong. It is founded on five principles, so we are told, and one of those was consultation. I always thought that the consultation principle was nonsense. The operation, carried out very efficiently, I do not doubt, by Lord Pearce and his colleagues earlier this year, was an entirely fatuous exercise, the outcome of which could have been predicted the moment the Commissioners did not go out at once but only after a delay, during which time all kinds of things which one would expect had happened.
Apart from that, as my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Sir Gilbert Longden) said, on both sides it was said that the agreement was honourable and acceptable. Lord Goodman certainly was of that opinion. If it were an honourable and acceptable agreement, and if it were absurd to take this kind of sounding in a country where even the Leader of the Opposition never suggested there should be at once universal adult suffrage—he was never in favour of that—surely it was absurd, upon the verdict of people whom the Labour Party have always said were not ready for instant majority rule, to reject an agreement which was thought on both sides to be honourable and acceptable.
The other four principles are also nonsense, like the consultation principle. By their test there would be few independent countries in the world and Britain would not be among them. We have no safeguards against retrogressive legislation in this country. What other nation in the world has? More relevantly, what country to which we have given a constitution has such a safeguard against what is called retrogressive legislation? Does not this word "retrogressive" carry with it the implication that we know best what is progress in the conduct of affairs of an African country?
If the meaning of "progress" as we have envisaged it, and as seems to emerge in today's debate, is that there should 1239 be a parliamentary system on the Westminster model with universal suffrage, I must say that on that basis the whole coast of Africa should be ringed with warships applying sanctions against the countries inside Africa. If the idea is that the rôle of Parliament—here, for example—is to intervene to stop retrogressive proposals from the Executive or the Shadow Executive, which means that the Government or the Shadow Cabinet change their conception of progress by 180 degrees, that message ought to be flashed at once to Lincoln, and the Bill that we are to consider next week should be going through on a free vote, neither of which I suspect will happen.
§ Mr. Bell
It is not just that sanctions are ineffective, and expensive and damaging to Britain. It is what we are trying to force on Rhodesia that is in itself wrong. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, who has tried very hard, said that our responsibility was limited to, or consisted in, trying to lay sure foundations for a multiracial society by political evolution. I have used my right hon. Friend's own words. They seemed to obtain approval from the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East and others. I have two brief comments on them.
First, the implication, which has been borne out in practice, is that it does not matter what they do afterwards—let them sign on the dotted line at Marlborough House a constitution which has everything we think it should contain, then go home and tear it up within a matter of months or within a few years, as each of these African countries in effect or in form has done, and nothing will happen. The answer in such circumstances is, of course, that Her Majesty's Government have no responsibility for what these countries do once they have been given independence. Indeed, it has been said explicitly that we discharge our responsibility by seeing that they start life with that sort of constitution. What it really means is that anyone willing to come here tongue in cheek and sign on the dotted line gets our blessing and independence, but that those who are entirely honest, who have in- 1240 herited our concept of integrity and are not willing to sign a document with which they differ in some degree, have sanctions applied to them.
§ Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles) rose—
§ Mr. Steel rose—
§ Mr. Bell
As the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) has abused my giving way to him, I shall not make the mistake of giving way to him again. He might bear in mind that the 1966 constitution was not torn up. The last constitution which emanated from this country was the 1960 constitution. The unilateral declaration of independence was in 1965. The hon. Gentleman is slightly mixed up.
§ Mr. Bell
Obviously, a country which has produced its own constitution can change it. That is the short answer.
My right hon. Friend said that the Rhodesian practice sharply differs from that of South Africa, and that is true. But I disagreed with him when he went on to say that therefore we must keep on sanctions in order to give ourselves the best opportunity of ensuring that developments continued in that line. What is the truth of the matter? The truth is that Rhodesia did this itself without any coercion or prompting from us at a time when it had self-rule and had had it for 40 years or more. Never has Rhodesia been ruled by Britain in practice since the 1920s.
We ruled many countries of Africa, including the Union of South Africa, and countries in other parts of the world, but never in any one of them did we develop a multiracial society; never in any one of them did we leave behind a multiracial society. We ruled these countries well and efficiently and gave them roads, canals and a civil service, and so on, but it was not part of our 1241 genius ever to produce a multiracial society. The only British territory where a multiracial society ever emerged was one which we did not rule—Southern Rhodesia, which spontaneously and out of its own breast evolved that system.
If it is thought that we, by putting sanctions on Rhodesia, have in some way accelerated that progress and will continue to do so by maintaining them, how does one compare the 1969 constitution of Rhodesia with the 1960 constitution before sanctions? In the 1960 constitution, there was no consideration or mention of colour, race, or anything like that. There were qualifications for the vote on a common roll similar to those which we had had in this country during our long advance. Certainly we never had an education qualification, which was additional in Rhodesia, but economic qualifications were part of our long history leading up to the total suffrage of 1950.
§ Mr. Bell
There was a common roll in 1960. The hon. Gentleman does not know what he is talking about. On that constitution, we refused Rhodesia independence. We not only refused it to Mr. Smith, who had not then been heard of. We refused it to Mr. Garfield Todd, Sir Edgar Whitehead, Mr. Winston Field and Sir Roy Welensky. We refused it to each and all of them one after the other. So, when I am asked tonight to support sanctions because they will encourage these little shoots of development, I say in all sincerity to my right hon. Friend, "Here in this continent of intolerance, of dictatorship, of abandonment of democracy, you have one light, one country, which, uncoerced and out of its own breast, evolved this system which commends itself to so many people."
§ Mr. Cunningham
I thought I understood the hon. and learned Gentleman to say that until UDI Rhodesia had a common roll. Is he unaware that before UDI there were two rolls—the A and B rolls?
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
Is it not also the case that between responsible self-government and federation there was one roll?
§ Mr. Bell
That is so. I am obliged to my hon. Friend. To me, the Central African Federation was the most hopeful development which ever happened in Africa. It is tragic that it broke down. If it had succeeded, there would have been no need to lecture South Africa. All we would have needed to say was, "Look at the Federation." But once we started to clobber Southern Rhodesia, what position were we in to lecture South Africa? What do we point out to South Africa as the alternative?
I think we have been guilty of almost unimaginable folly in our handling of the Rhodesia question. It would have been so easy at the breakup of the Federation, sad as it was, to have given independence to all three territories—Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia and Southern Rhodesia. There would have been no trouble. Southern Rhodesia still had the 1960 constitution and we should have been in a very happy state today with Southern Rhodesia developing on its own as it has developed and showing the way to everybody else in Africa. Now where are we?
Supposing sanctions continue to fail. Is it going to be easier next year? Supposing sanctions were to succeed and Rhodesia were forced to agree to universal adult suffrage? We all know what would happen. There would be one man, one vote, one election—and then would come the familiar dismal slide into despotism either of an individual or of a group. There would be unrest maturing into civil war and disruption. With just a little bit of outside help it would end up as a Congo or as a Zanzibar or, at the very best, as a Uganda or Tanzania.
That is the dilemma we are facing ourselves with. I therefore make an appeal to my hon. Friends or anyone on either side of the House who thinks that responsibility lies upon the individual in Parliament and is not to be evaded by some argument about general support for particular administrations. By our votes tonight we cannot remove at once this stain of error from the House and our country, but at least we can bring nearer 1243 the day of honour, patriotism and quiet common sense in our handling of this African situation.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ Mr. David Steel (Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles)
We have listened to a most depressing speech from the hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell) and its low point was when he suggested in all seriousness that the Heads of other African States were people of no integrity while his friend Mr. Smith was the man of integrity whom we should all trust. We should remember Mr. Smith's record and how he "conned" the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) when he was the Commonwealth Secretary. We should remember also that it was he who declared UDI in 1965 and we should remember how when he introduced his constitution in 1969 it was, to use his own words, to sound the death knell of African political advancement.
There was no question of his trying to introduce a new constitution within his illegal framework in order to advance the African people—he was doing precisely the reverse. When the hon. and learned Member talks about hon. Members on the Opposition side listening to the disaffected elements, I suppose that he means we listen to the majority of the population. If he were one of the 4 million black population in Rhodesia today he, too, might be one of the disaffected elements.
The Minister of State will wind up the debate tonight and it will be appropriate to congratulate him on his new appointment to the Foreign Office. When he speaks I hope that he will say a little about how the Government see the operation of sanctions in the months to come. The document written by the Africa Bureau to which the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) referred is no doubt also in the hands of the Government, and it includes a number of concrete suggestions for making sanctions more effective. Whatever the case for or against sanctions, there is no case for ineffective sanctions. If we are to renew the order the Government might give us some idea of measures they might support at the United Nations for making sanctions more effective.
1244 We must recognise that sanctions might not have worked in the way which was intended but it might be more accurate to say not that they failed but that they have not yet succeeded. I believe that they are working not in months but in years and that the original estimate was wildly wrong. I give three examples to those hon. Members who are giggling. There is, first, the effect on agriculture, particularly on the tobacco farmers. We have recently seen political development inside Rhodesia in the formation of the Rhodesia Party which has the backing of many of these farmers and which is the consequence of sanctions. I am not suggesting that it is a liberal party in the sense in which we know the word, but it is opposed to the intransigence of Mr. Smith and the Rhodesia Front, and that is a new development which we should welcome.
The need for capital investment in the railways and the airways particularly is very obvious. I had one direct experience of this. When I was escorted, uninvited by me, to my aeroplane on leaving Salisbury, we boarded the aircraft, the engines started and then stopped again. I was walked back into the building which I had been prohibited to enter and the aircraft was towed away by a tractor because it was unfit to travel. That is an isolated example, but this year the airways are making a loss for the first time.
No doubt that experience could happen to the Minister of State or to anyone in this country but Rhodesia is operating a fleet of old aircraft. Rhodesia is also operating rolling stock on the railways which badly need new investment. Most serious is the problem created by the lack of access to international funds and the shortage of foreign exchange. Sanctions, therefore, have had that effect and the population of Rhodesia is well aware of the effect they have.
I believe that sanctions are partly, at any rate, responsible for the new feeling of political opposition to the Rhodesia Front among the European population in Rhodesia which we have seen since the Pearce Commission was in that country.
§ Mr. Paget rose—
§ Mr. Steel
I wish to be brief and, as the hon. and learned Member is seeking 1245 to speak later, he can reply then. The other development since the Pearce Commission is that African opinion has in a sense changed and is in a sense more solid now than it was before the settlement proposals were put. Since UDI we have always been told by the Smith régime that the Chiefs, who were spokesmen of the people, were greatly in favour of the kind of developments that the Smith Government was pursuing. Since the Pearce Commission made it quite clear that the African majority rejected the kind of terms that were being proposed to them, largely on the ground that they distrusted the Smith Government, the result has been that the Chiefs now support the people and say that, regardless of the financial encouragement that the Smith Government give them as Chiefs, they stick by the view of the majority. There is therefore a new situation in which the Chiefs are speaking with one voice on the need for what they call a just and honourable settlement.
I was in Salisbury in the same week and I regarded the moves by one of the Ministers in Mr. Smith's Government, Mr. Lance Smith, to have talks with the African National Council leaders as a hopeful sign. I spoke to those leaders in the few days following those conversations and I believe that they are taking a reasonable attitude when they say that although they reject the proposals they are perfectly willing for the Pearce Commission report to be used as a working document in any discussions that might take place inside Rhodesia. The British Government's attitude should be to tell the Smith régime that it should stop the harassment of the African National Council and should allow a distribution of membership cards and that they should stop preventing the flow of funds to the ANC and allow this very moderate and very sensible development of African political opinion to continue in its work.
The ANC itself put the issues very clearly. It says that there are two settlements here, not one. First, there is the settlement of the outstanding legal matters of dispute between Britain and the Rhodesia Front. The Rhodesia Front declared UDI, and the African population was not party to that dispute. The ANC is not particularly concerned about that settlement, which is a matter 1246 for us and the international community. It is interested in the second settlement, which is one between those who have traditionally ruled Rhodesia and the majority of the population. I believe that that settlement must come first before we go on to the settlement of the outstanding legal issues between ourselves and Rhodesia.
The one point on which I would diverge from the Foreign Secretary's speech this afternoon was when he tried to set the Rhodesia conflict in a world context. I do not know whether I quote him accurately, but he seemed to think that it was a relatively minor consideration in world affairs. I do not accept that view. As I visited various other countries in Africa, most of which I had visited before this year, I was particularly struck by the impression of good will towards this country which had been renewed partly as a result of the conduct of the Pearce Commission in Rhodesia and the clear stand that we have taken that the test of acceptability was the sticking principle for Britain. The other factor was the swift action taken in the Uganda crisis. These two things have helped restore a lot of our reputation in the rest of the continent. That is something we should not lightly throw away. We should not regard Britain's standing in the rest of the continent as a matter of minor importance, because it is of major importance.
When Conservative Members of Parliament write letters in The Times and say that sanctions should be dropped and negotiations should be pursued with Mr. Smith by other means, I do not know what they mean. We have not heard the "other means" put forward. There has been no suggestion that if we dropped sanctions we would achieve a better settlement or more favourable response from the Rhodesia Front. The Rhodesia Front in Rhodesia and those who support the South African Government in South Africa say that because of what has happened in Uganda they should not be prepared to advance African people in Rhodesia towards majority rule. I reject that argument. It is like saying that because of what happened in Germany under Hitler, we in Britain, because we are a similar people and live on the same continent, are not fit to rule ourselves.
1247 Although what has happened in Uganda is a tragedy, we should look to those countries in Africa which accepted the constitutions we gave them, which accepted the Westminster system and are still basically operating it. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where are they?"] They are in Tanzania and Zambia.
Some of those hon. Members shouting from below the gangway have not been there, and have not seen the different system of democracy that those countries use. The constituency of Macclesfield did not have a choice between two Conservative candidates, which the constituents might well have wished. People in Tanzania have that sort of choice. We should not try to impose a rigid Westminster pattern.—[Interruption]—Zambia is moving towards the same modification. The basic principle of universal franchise, open elections and majority rule is still maintained in those countries.
Rhodesia has about 2,000 African graduates, which is far more than any of those other territories had when they were granted independence. I believe that Zambia had about a hundred. Therefore, the possibility of moving towards a system of majority rule is very strong.
Bishop Muzorewa, the Chairman of the African National Council, is circulating to all those on the electoral roll, the European voters, a pamphlet containing two of his speeches. I placed a copy in the Library yesterday. I believe that when they are read by the European electorate those speeches may have at least a marginal impact. I do not wish to exaggerate their impact, but they are extremely well-reasoned speeches. Bishop Muzorewa makes the basic point that for Rhodesia to continue on its present course is like trying to build a house when the building inspector has already condemned the foundations.
What we in the House must face tonight is that by renewing sanctions, by maintaining the international ostracism of Rhodesia, we are reminding the Rhodesian people themselves, those who hold power now, that when we talk about a just and honourable settlement we are not talking about something which is just and honourable in the view of our Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, or of this House, but a settlement which 1248 is just and honourable in the view of the majority of the African people.
§ 5.52 p.m.
§ Sir Frederic Bennett (Torquay)
When the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) opened the debate for the Opposition, I found myself facing the familiar accusation that anyone who disagrees with the right hon. Gentleman about what is happening in Rhodesia must automatically be a pro-Rhodesian Front, pro-Smith stooge. It is time the right hon. Gentleman dropped this childish tactic. It is possible for one to differ about what is likely to achieve the best result without being called "stooge". I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman has left the Chamber, because I should like to know how he would feel if, every time he supported the point of view of a trade union that happened to have a certain number of Communists among its leadership, we on these Benches called him a Communist stooge. Over and over again the right hon. Gentleman has spoken of unpatriotic people on the Government side of the House and has made the usual charges. I hope that we shall conduct the debate in the same spirit as that in which I regard those who differ from me, which is that they honestly and sincerely believe that their way of trying to solve an intractable problem is the best for all concerned. It will be with that approach that I shall make my contribution to the debate.
I have no time for racialists of any colour or type. Ever since UDI I have had no contact with any member of the Rhodesian Front—with one exception only. Shortly after UDI I went to Rhodesia, when we were still diplomatically represented there, and saw Mr. Ian Smith. I tried my humble best to persuade him of the folly of the course he was pursuing. When I returned I went first to see the then Commonwealth Secretary, the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East (Mr. Bottomley), who complimented me not only in his room but in the House on the valuable albeit insignificant attempt I had made to straighten things out. Perhaps we can now approach the debate on the basis that we are all trying to do our best to solve a difficult problem.
I was very glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Sir Gilbert Longden) spoke earlier 1249 on the question of what sanctions are all about. It is in that narrow context that I want to make my contribution, not going too far back into history or looking too far into the future. I do not make any jeers about weeks or months in relation to the policy of sanctions, but it is pertinent to remember that the speeches of the present leaders of the Opposition made it clear that what they were trying to do when in Government was not to bring Mr. Smith and the Rhodesian Front to the negotiating table but to bring them down. I do not blame the Opposition leaders, but let us get away from the fallacy which they now propagate that sanctions are working because they have brought Mr. Smith to the negotiating table. In reply to a question from me about what I thought was the counterproductive effect of sanctions, the Leader of the Opposition, then Prime Minister, told me that a short, sharp, retribution was preferable to a long-drawn-out agony. Does that mean bringing someone to the negotiating table? Of course not. It meant bringing Mr. Smith down and replacing him with a more liberal-minded man. That has not happened. Perhaps we can now return to the facts, and not try to pretend that we were trying to accomplish something that we were not.
I believe that there are two reasons why Mr. Smith has come to the negotiating table, most recently on the draft agreement with my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary. I am not saying that sanctions played no part in his thinking, but there were two other factors. The one that I am talking about overwhelmingly is that even the most bigoted Rhodesian Front member cannot today ignore the fact that the African population continues to rise by a number equivalent to the whole white population every year. However foolish a person may be, however convinced of racial superiority, in the end numbers count. I believe that these men have been thinking much more about that than about sanctions, when they see the impossibility of maintaining a near-South African pattern without the force that South Africa has at its disposal.
The second reason why Mr. Smith has come to the negotiating table is an indirect effect of sanctions, but not of economic sanctions as such. It is an increasing feeling of discomforture, par- 1250 ticularly among the younger elements of the European population of Rhodesia, a feeling of unhappiness about being ostracised in the world outside, in sport, travel and all the other matters that count. On my last visit to South Africa I saw that that is what is happening there. The Afrikaner in his laager is ignoring the fact that his laager is being eroded at the roots by young people who are no longer content to be regarded as being within a fortress wall. We are not blockading South Africa, but that is happening there, too. The young white South African is beginning to prompt a sense of movement in that country which I have not seen even starting in the past 20 years.
The actual impact of sanctions is what counts with the ordinary electorate in Rhodesia. I am not talking about the Cabinet meetings or those who look at the figures, those who work out capital investment figures or who think about rolling stock. The white Rhodesian is living an extremely happy and pleasant life internally, as regards his personal prosperity, if he is prepared to put his head in the sand and not consider what is happening in the world outside. He can buy all the petrol he wants at 2p a gallon cheaper than the blockading British can. He can buy in the shops all that he wants of the rather inferior material made in his new secondary industries or—if he is sufficiently well-off, as many Rhodesians still are—all the consumer goods, drinks and luxury foods exported to Rhodesia by Germany, Japan, France and the rest of those countries which are breaking the sanctions rules by one method or another.
When my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth went to Rhodesia for his talks with Mr. Smith on the draft agreement, what car met him at the airport? It was not a dilapidated Rolls-Royce but a brand new Mercedes-Benz. Some of our newspapers said what a shameful thing it was that our Foreign Secretary should have had to drive in a Mercedes-Benz. Did none of them think of the implications of this and the actual effect of sanctions on the ordinary people living there? They are living too well, not suffering now, and not thinking of the day after tomorrow. They are thinking of today and how their life is going now.
1251 Much has been said about the loss of the tobacco crop. It has caused an appalling loss in foreign exchange earnings although there are methods, we have been told, by which a certain amount of tobacco is reaching the outside world and does not come out labelled as Rhodesian tobacco. They have gone over to planting grain with two results. First, they are able to feed their growing population; secondly, one of the off-shoots of sanctions has been that we have helped to cripple Zambia economically so that last year she had to buy almost the whole of the Rhodesian grain crop because it was slightly cheaper than that which she could get from South Africa. Can we never wake up to the facts of the situation? We are making gestures which do not help what is happening out there.
The right hon. Member for Middlesbrough, East, rightly said that it was extremely unlikely that Rhodesia would go into the South African orbit. She is already in that orbit economically but not politically, for the very good reason, from her point of view, that the South Africans, pursuing their apartheid policy, with which none of us would agree, do not want 250,000 Europeans in exchange for 4½ millions Africans to add to the 16 million which they are already trying to fit into bantustans and elsewhere.
I have never believed that this idea of Rhodesia going physically to South Africa is a real possibility, nor do I think that South Africa, with all the problems she has, would dream of taking such a step as territorial aggrandisement by using force against a neighbouring State. This is totally unreal. The white Rhodesians have a way out if in the last resort sanctions do work. They can go to South Africa, where there are many vacancies for European workers as the South African Government try to find an alternative to having to defeat their own apartheid policies by bringing in African workers from neighbouring African States. Every white Rhodesian knows that in the last resort he can go to the south and find a living there.
Sanctions have so far had little or no effect on the man in the street in Rhodesia. They have not led to a lowering in the standard of living but only to a restriction of what might have been reached. It is difficult to appreciate the 1252 loss of something which one did not know one would get anyway.
I want to say a word about the Beira blockade and one of the more fanciful remarks I heard today about extending it to Lourenço Marques. When the Labour Government first introduced the Beira blockade they sent out one of our last, if not our last, aircraft carriers, and a couple of accompanying frigates. We also managed to arrange in Malagasy for a small air base with which we could survey the Indian Ocean approaches to Beira. Today Malagasy has politely told us to take our aeroplanes away. Our last aircraft carrier had to be brought back to England or it would have sunk from the sheer weight of barnacles which were accruing while it pursued its fruitless task.
We could no longer spare two frigates, so we now have one. As I said in another debate, we now have one frigate for the whole of the affected coastline, without any aerial survey, trying to carry out a blockade. I also mentioned on the last occasion I spoke the pathetic folly of all this. When one of our sailors developed acute appendicitis we had to cable the Portuguese authorities, whom we were blockading, to ask if we could fly him ashore for an emergency operation, which they kindly did for us. He was then flown back to resume the blockade. Can folly go much further than this farce?
If we cannot do it in Beira how the hell can we do it in Lourenço Marques where we cannot even get to the port which we are trying to blockade because we would be invading territorial waters? Let us assume that by marshalling every vessel that we could possibly creak out to that part of the world we could manage to do the blockade. What is there to stop vessels going to Durban or East London? Can anyone tell me how such vessels would operate; and if they do, where will we get the extra ships from? The party opposite has frequently criticised us for spending too much on defence. I find it difficult to maintain a serious face and continue discussing the real problems while we are trying to pretend that we are doing something which we are not doing and trying to salvage our consciences by doing so.
I want to explain my own attitude. I do not want to end on a hopeless 1253 note, because there are real prospects, even though they are slight, of a settlement in the only way that I, having lived in that country, thought would ever come about. That is not through something being dictated from this country; not, with great respect to the Foreign Secretary, by a meeting in secret in Salisbury or on a series of warships around the world, like the former Prime Minister, but by Rhodesians of both colours when they find out that there is no alternative to reaching a reasonable way of life, getting together and talking.
There are signs of that happening now. There were meetings between the more moderate members of the Rhodesian Front Cabinet and the leaders of the ANC. It is a great pity that some interfering ninny who went out there at the time happened to broadcast about these meetings, to try to get some credit for himself, and spoilt it just when some of us were trying to get things going. However, there is a fair chance of these talks coming to some kind of fruition.
If we can get away from the sterile approach of looking at this, from the idea of a draft constitution, if we could manage to get two sufficiently responsible Africans and two sufficiently responsible Europeans to form some kind of a constitutional council and work out what proposals they thought they could put on the one hand to the ANC and on the other to the Rhodesian Front, then we might have a chance of making it stick.
At the moment there is every prospect of this sort of initiative beginning to bear some fruit. On the one hand the ANC realises that for a long time ahead the power will remain in the hands of the European minority and on the other hand the European minority realises that the power is slipping from its hands over a period of time.
Under these circumstances what should we do? I have asked those who are my friends over there, who are in neither the Rhodesian Front nor the ANC—devoted people in the middle of the road trying to bring the sides together—what are the effects of sanctions now. It would be utterly wrong to mention names. I will just say that the conclusion I have reached, after discussing this with men 1254 actually facing up to this task, is that they believe sanctions to be irrelevant. They do not believe that they are forcing either side to do anything at all. Their point of view is that at this time it could be counter-productive, in that sanctions are still forcing a number of sensible Europeans, on the basis of "my country, right or wrong," to go along with the Rhodesian Front.
We all know that if our country was under threat people would, logically or illogically, behave in the same way. I may be wrong about the possibilities that lie ahead. It may be that the Foreign Secretary is right when he says that sanctions will help at this stage. Because I respect his view, I cannot bring myself to vote against a man who is much wiser and more experienced than I, but I can no longer go into the Lobby supporting a policy that I regard as fundamentally ineffective, if not actually counterproductive in the present state of affairs.
§ 6.9 p.m.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
The hon. Member for Torquay (Sir F. Bennett) has the advantage of knowing Rhodesia extremely well. He has made a sincere and responsible speech. Some other hon. Members, whose emotions are carried high on this issue, would do well if they read and re-read what the hon. Gentleman has said, because it came from experience.
I, too, know something of Rhodesia, and I have from the start been opposed to sanctions. During the first debate, I was a lonely voice. I said that sanctions would be easy to put on and difficult to take off, that they would hang round our neck like a dead chicken that we could not get rid of. The Beira patrol is just one unhappy and absurd example.
I believe that the Empress Catherine once put a sentry on the first snow drop that she saw: he was there 200 years later. I do not know whether we shall have some obsolete vessel wondering what it is doing in that sea 200 years hence because nobody has remembered to remove it.
There is one point on which I challenge a little what the Foreign Secretary said. It is not a question of making Rhodesia into a nation; she has done that herself. She is a nation. She fulfils in international law what are the conditions of 1255 nationhood; that is, effective authority within a defined frontier. She has, I think, the legal right to recognition.
The legality of a new nation does not depend on recognition by the ex-colonial Power. I do not know whether we have ever recognised the American colonies. I suppose that at some point we did so but not until years after they had become a nation. I do not think Spain has ever recognised the South American nations, but they are, none the less, nations.
It seems odd to pick on Rhodesia to try to injure it when we compare it with what is happening in, say, Uganda or Libya, where the Foreign Office had to advise our women to submit to rape rather than to risk their lives at the hands of the supporters of Colonel Gaddafi. In Burundi genocide is in active operation. Nearer home, should we mention Czechoslovakia?
Why, because we dislike an internal aspect of policy in a nation which has effectively established its nationhood, should we as busybodies seek to injure it? That is really all that there is left for sanctions to do. It was not their purpose. We said expressly when they were put on, "We did not want to injure. We want something short and sharp to topple Smith." But now the only justification is injury.
Of course there is injury. Nobody, least of all those who have opposed sanctions, as I have from the start, has ever denied that sanctions have an effect. Of course they have an effect. Unhappily, it is the wrong effect. They had a wrong effect before, and they still have. The first effect of sanctions was to consolidate the support of the Rhodesian Front. The Rhodesians made it probably the most stable régime in the world today. The régime's chances of survival are vastly superior to those of the Tory Government here. The Smith Government is firmly established. All the Rhodesian Europeans were brought into support of that régime, with minor and ineffective exceptions. African progress was stopped, and that progress, as has been pointed out, was at that time considerable.
When I was there, everyone was talking in terms of how long one should wait for an African majority government. It was considered that one was very much on the reactionary side if one thought that 1256 the period of waiting would be as long as 15 years. The general attitude now is that it must never happen. Again, sanctions have produced African unemployment, and probably a drop in African standards of living. Sanctions have not produced European unemployment. There is no drop in the European standard of living.
In a way, sanctions have stopped change. That developing country, that developing society, has been stopped in its tracks. I should have thought that was the object of every reactionary. In the process, a number of vested interests have been created—all the diversifications, all the new industries for import substitutes, which could not live if sanctions were removed.
Therefore, a considerable vested interest in favour of retaining the sanctions has been created. After all, there is no more effective protection for a nascent industry than sanctions, which completely forbid the arrival of competitive goods. Thus for large elements, particularly elements involved in the Rhodesian Front, there has been created this strong vested interest in favour of sanctions themselves. That situation makes it much more difficult to remove them.
We are told that we should retain sanctions so as to produce the hope of a multiracial society. I believe that to be a profound misunderstanding of the situation in Rhodesia. Rhodesia does not want to negotiate, primarily because of sanctions. The existence of sanctions is a minor factor in wanting to negotiate.
The Rhodesians are not the only people who want to negotiate. People all over the world who do not have sanctions want to negotiate on all the interests available to them. Whether or not there are sanctions, Rhodesia will want very much to negotiate; she will want to negotiate the more because at that point suddenly she will be open to the winds of world competition. Suddenly the market will be open, large-scale capital will be coming in and she will be faced with an investment boom, a kind of explosion, something for which she will desperately need co-operation.
Let us open those doors and reveal that Rhodesia has a need of the world from which we have excluded her. 1257 Immediate and tremendous plans will become apparent to her. I believe, and I have always believed, that in the expansion which is available to Rhodesia lies the hope of a multiracial society, because a quarter of a million Europeans cannot possibly stop that industrial revolution. The need for the educated African—the uneducated African is of no use in a booming society—
§ Mr. Paget
The South African situation differs enormously in that South Africa has a white working class and has to a tremendous extent avoided letting any of her key industries become dependent on an indigenous black population. For example, the mine workers and others are contract workers, coming in and going out. South Africa has seen the precise difficulty and has sought, inevitably unsuccessfully, to protect herself from it. This liberation is precisely the development from which South Africa has tried to protect herself and from which we, by our sanctions, are protecting Rhodesia.
Certainly in its early stages the industrial explosion which would occur in the event of the curtain being removed would be staffed for the most part by the East African Asians. Uganda is not the end of the story of the East African Asians. It is they who will be pushed out of the black societies. All the symptoms are there.
One must face the reason why this will occur, which was explained to me by the ex-head of an African university. He told me "You have to realise that no African State can afford multiracialism. Multiracialism means competition between the races; competition for jobs and for leadership. Within that competition the African will always lose, and he will go on losing. He will find a situation in which it is the Africans who are the hewers of wood and the drawers of water and that, whatever the conditions they seek to make, the Asians will rise above them. In those conditions an African society will be compelled to push out the other races which it cannot afford to live with."
That is the fundamental issue. It must then be asked where those East African Asians are to go. If they are to survive, 1258 they must go to a multiracial society somewhere, one which, at that level in its expansion, desperately needs their services.
In seeking to try to hold closed the place, the home, the obvious destiny of this group facing oppression, not pushing it here where racial prejudice will be aroused, but where it may be of tremendous use, Rhodesia can serve human destiny, provided that we have the courage to allow her to do so. Thus, rather than holding back temporarily, believing that there may be face-saving negotiations in which pressure will prove of assistance—I do not think that will be the case—the way to get those negotiations is to remove the pressures and the conflict, and the rest will follow.
We have been asked about voting. I will follow the advice of other hon. Members who have spoken and who believe that it is unwise to vote tonight. The two parties are in agreement. Unhappily, when the two great parties in the House are in agreement, it is nearly always a bad symptom. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] They nearly always can agree only in folly. It means that one of them has made a mess of it and the other side finds itself involved in that mess; the first one still feels that it is its own mess, and so it goes on.
That is the situation. It is sad; sad in Rhodesia; sad in Ulster. None the less I know that the Foreign Secretary wishes to clear up this mess before the East African Asian situation blows up any further. It is terribly important that he should.
§ 6.25 p.m.
§ Mr. Douglas Dodds-Parker (Cheltenham)
I am sorry that the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) said that when the House is in agreement it is a bad thing. During the years I have been here one of the strengths of our democracy has been how much we are agreed on and how much we do by voluntary agreement. Therefore, if we can reach agreement on these great issues we are more likely, particularly on overseas affairs, to reach a satisfactory conclusion for those for whom we still have some residual responsibility.
I agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman about sanctions. As he said, 1259 they had some effect but one contrary to that which was intended against investment. The substructure of a modern economic State has been affected, but not the consumer's consumption. If I may make a brief party point in riposte to what the hon. and learned Gentleman said, the effect has been rather like that achieved by the last Socialist Government. The underlying investment was curtailed, but not necessarily the consumer's consumption.
A month ago I broke my return journey from the Far East in East Africa, where I first went as a politician some 25 years ago. On that occasion I was lucky enough to make a fairly extensive visit. Many in those days believed in the creation of multiracial societies. Arthur Creech-Jones, who became Colonial Secretary, and Lord Boyd of Merton are the two outstanding names who stand out in my memory as Ministers in those days. If those two had remained in office for two or three years, perhaps we would not be facing the situation we are facing today. Relatively few people who were about in those days still remain, although I was glad to meet one or two of them and particularly Sir Michael Blundell, whom hon. Members on both sides know and respect.
This may have been a naïve and idealistic view, perhaps premature, but I believe that it was worth a try at that time. I believe that one day people will have to learn to live together, regardless of race, creed or ideology, although it may take longer to achieve than we thought all those years ago. I found it encouraging how much sentiment there is out there towards this end, although not so often among those in positions of power.
Central Africa is more troubled today than it was in 1947. I shall never regret the efforts to establish the Central African Federation. Again, had Arthur Creech-Jones not been defeated in 1950 the attempt might well have been more successful. We will never know. In the face of the imperative need for better economic and political co-operation in that part of the world, I deeply regret the need to renew the sanctions order for another year. I believe the aim of the House has always been the same—the legal conferment of independence by 1260 Parliament. It still remains the aim of the overwhelming majority.
I believe that the Pearce Report represented a compromise which could have allowed progress for all races, but the Africans thought otherwise. I pray that the best may not have defeated the good.
I support the order on two counts—first on the origins of the dispute; that is, between the Government here and the Government of Rhodesia, following the rejection of the Pearce Report by the Africans, which was only some six months ago. I understand that talks of a tentative nature are going on between African representatives and the Rhodesian Government authorities. I believe that the status quo should be maintained until the outcome of these talks is known.
Secondly, I always oppose reference by the Government to the United Nations and the imposition of sanctions. If the modern Commonwealth, for which many of us have worked hard, means anything, this dispute should have been treated as one for intra-mural settlement with the help of other members of the Commonwealth. Many of us said so at the time, and there was substantial support on the Labour benches. By this reference to the United Nations we are in a difficulty—unparalleled in my experience—at the United Nations.
There is, however, a growing understanding of the difficulties of this country, especially among African States and particularly after our acceptance of the Pearce Report. People realise, although it has taken some time for them to do so, our lack of effective power in Central Africa. They have become apprehensive again of the possibility of conflict between the Communist Powers—the Soviet Union and China—in and around the Indian Ocean. These are factors which are making them think again, as they did not years ago.
The other African Powers wish to see the continuation of sanctions for the present until the outcome of the talks which have been referred to is known. After that, with careful explanation and diplomacy, the Africans and others may realise that this country has done all it can and they may agree to try other methods of disentangling the difficulties in which we are enmeshed at present, to 1261 the satisfaction only at present of their and our enemies.
For this second reason—the United Nations—as well as the merits of the dispute itself, I believe that time is needed. On both these counts I will—regretfully, but firmly—support the order.
§ 6.32 p.m.
§ Mr. Eric Ogden (Liverpool, West Derby)
I take part in this debate for three reasons. The first is to mention a few brief facts. They are unpleasant to me, but too often enthusiasts on one side of the House or the other seem to ignore them, and I think they should be stated in the debate. The second reason is to pass on to the House some comments and impressions I gained in Salisbury, Rhodesia, on a very brief visit there in August. The third reason is to make my own brief comment.
The first unpleasant fact is about the basic Rhodesian situation, which we ignore from time to time—and we ignore it at our peril if we pretend to be stronger than we are. We all know that Governments are sovereign in theory, in principle and in law but are bound by the practical circumstances in which they have to operate. The Labour Government found that while they wanted to choose No. 1 the only alternatives they had were Nos. 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6. Had we explained that perhaps more often the Labour Government would have got into less trouble, and the Conservative Government might get into less trouble.
The basic fact about the Rhodesian situation is that, whilst Britain has legal, political and moral responsibility for all the people of Rhodesia, the effective power which she has is very limited. It does no good to the people of Rhodesia or this country to pretend that our power is greater than it is. It raises hopes which we cannot fulfil. I shall get the negative parts of my speech out of the way now and then I hope to have something more positive to say. We have in fact little effective power. Rhodesia was to all intents and purposes a self-governing part of Africa for a long time before UDI.
Apart from a few dedicated people and organisations outside, there is little support for the continuation of sanctions against Rhodesia. There has been much 1262 talk about a referendum in the Labour Party. If we had had a referendum in this country about a deal with the Smith Government brought back by the Foreign Secretary of a Conservative Government, it is more likely than not that it would have supported that settlement. The majority of British people would not have been the least bit interested in the settlement. Had I gone canvassing in West Derby on such a settlement, I know what the result would have been. This might be unfortunate, but it is a fact which we must recognise. At this date—1972 or indeed 1973—it will be impossible to get a long-term settlement—and I emphasise "long-term settlement"—which is agreeable to this side of the House, whether it be the Liberal Party or the Labour Party, to the Government side of the House, whether it be their left, their right or their centre, to the Smith Government, to the white Rhodesian Government or to the black Rhodesians, let alone the United Nations Governments.
I think that if sanctions are continued—let us forget putting a time limit on it if we can at this stage, though they have to be renewed each year—then in 1973 we could seek a settlement which would be the basis for evolutionary progress towards a multiracial society. It would still be a meritocracy, not a democracy as we understand it.
We also have to recognise that there is no guarantee that any agreement made between the British Government and the Government of Rhodesia will be honoured either in months or in weeks, just as I think President Nixon recognises that there is no guarantee that any settlement he makes about the future of South Vietnam or North Vietnam will be honoured in future. There is no guarantee unless there is a physical way of ensuring it. But the hope of a settlement being carried through at any time would be in the support that came from the British Government in the way of education, and the positive side of investment that would make it very unlikely that any Government in Rhodesia would want deliberately to break the settlement because they would then lose the advantages that would come from the settlement.
My hope was for that kind of support, and it was the hope of quite a number of people I met in Salisbury, 1263 Rhodesia, during my weekend stay. Some of my hon. Friends are very interested in how Labour Members of Parliament get to various parts of the world. Nobody ever asks how one gets to Moscow, but they are always interested to know how one gets to other parts of the world. In this case I paid my own fare, at least from Johannesburg to Salisbury. On another occasion perhaps I will explain how I got to Johannesburg—
§ Mr. Ogden
Any time my hon. Friend likes but not in this debate. I am not sure whether I followed or was just before the arrival of the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) in Rhodesia, but I must say that the immigration people I met were much more helpful than the immigration people at Heathrow. I sent enough smoke signals up from South Africa to let it be known very clearly who was going. My passport is marked "Ogden, MP" so there is no use trying to deny it.
I went perhaps under the umbrella of—
§ Mr. Ogden
That is not the kind of thing one hon. Friend says to another. Let us have a bit of Socialist brotherhood on this side. I went under the umbrella of a company which happens to be called Ogden's Tobacco Company, with which, as Mr. Speaker knows, I have, unfortunately, no financial relationship; I have no directorship with that company. I am trying to establish a link between my family in 1720 and the Ogden family in 1740. If we are relatives, I might yet be a director of the company. But I am not.
However, through that company and through Imperial Tobacco, I had letters of introduction. It might be that that 1264 was known and people were a little more helpful. I did not go there for any political purpose. During my four-day weekend stay I was unable to speak to any African politicians, nor did I speak to any white Rhodesian politicians. All I did was to walk round the streets taking photographs of exhibitions in windows showing British, Swiss, and Japanese goods of all kinds. I looked at Woolworths, Greatenoughs and Stuttafords.
Certainly on the consumer side, apart from the fact that the people I stayed with could not get Kleenex, the difficulties caused by the sanctions on the ordinary person were not that they could not get a Jaguar—XJ12s are easier to get there than here—or petrol, but awkward, small difficulties. Such difficulties, I am told, are mounting up. A certain amount of anti-British feeling is appearing.
Sanctions are having an impact on companies and organisations. Rhodesian Airways, whose aircraft have a tatty look, is unable to purchase the new aircraft it requires. For the railways there is difficulty in respect of major investment in rolling stock. British companies, I am told by the British companies there, are the hardest hit by sanctions and are mainly engaged in a holding operation. BOAC in Salisbury is doing a first-class holding operation, and so is Imperial Tobacco. They are working there and operating within the Smith régime, as they are required to do by the law. This applies to many other companies. There is no doubt that compared with companies based on foreign countries, whether in the EEC or elsewhere, British-linked firms are under greater difficulties than their competitors.
When I want to judge the prosperity of an area I tend to look at the number of tower blocks, office blocks and factories—I look for the tower cranes. A number of office blocks are appearing all along Jamieson Avenue. These are being put up not to meet any immediate demand but in the hope that when sanctions end and a settlement comes about they will prove a real investment. As those with money are unable to invest their capital abroad or, indeed to bring in capital, or capital goods, they find one way of using the money is to put it into these office blocks.
I have said that there is some anti-British feeling about but at the same 1265 time I found little sympathy or admiration or support for the Smith régime. Harsher things are said there about their Government than are ever said on this side about the Conservatives, but it looks as though the people will put up with the régime for the moment, and the hope of bringing it down is less than many on this side think.
I believe that the real hope of ending sanctions and reaching a settlement lies in investment and in persuasion. When the time comes to persuade the régime which is in effective control, the Africans must be involved in any negotiations that take place. We cannot have a deal between two parties and then ask a third party to do the approving. The Africans in Rhodesia are much better at organising than are the Africans in South Africa, and they made an impact on the régime at the time of the Pearce Commission. It was probably the first time that Africans throughout the whole country organised on that kind of endeavour.
I agree with the Foreign Secretary that we are aiming at a multiracial society with equal opportunity and with equality under the law, and an agreement whereby Rhodesia can return to the commonwealth of nations—though not necessarily to the British Commonwealth, because the people there are now Rhodesian, not British. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said, the opportunities in that country are probably greater than they are in any other part of the world, and it is the hope of being able to use those opportunities that makes us all wish for a settlement. Nevertheless, the Foreign Secretary spoke about what things might be like in 12 months' time. When time after time we ask the Government about what they will do in 12 months' time, they tell us that it is a hypothetical question, but today the Foreign Secretary seemed deliberately to speak of having to see what the situation was like in 12 months' time. I do not believe that this is the best way of using our bargaining strength.
The concessions of which the right hon. Gentleman spoke for the relief of hardship are admirable but may be thought by some people outside to be a way of persuading some of his awkward colleagues not to put the matter to the vote tonight. It would be useful if the right 1266 hon. Gentleman were to use his influence with the Smith régime to get equal concessions for Rhodesian citizens who are in difficulties. In 1973 there may be the possibility of the basis of a settlement but the real strength for the future is what we and Rhodesia together could do to get the bind of society we want.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Carol Mather (Esher)
The hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby (Mr. Ogden) has made a frank and very refreshing speech about his visit to Rhodesia. I, too, recently made a brief and fleeting visit there and can bear out much of what the hon. Member has reported to the House. My impression was that on the whole sanctions have been counter-productive over the years because they have had the effect of hardening European attitudes, while on the other hand they have raised African expectations of some outside intervention; and as those expectations are not likely to be realised African attitudes are hardening, too. The total effect is that a peaceful agricultural country in Africa has been turned into an embattled nation with its back to the wall. That is the political side.
On the economic side Salisbury gives the superficial impression of being very prosperous. There is plenty of building going on. The hon. Member suggests that this building represents investment for the future, but it does show some confidence in that future. There are plenty of goods in the shops. There are plenty of cars on the roads. There are plenty of good second-hand cars about. But they are all either German, French, Italian or Japanese cars. I did not see any British motor cars, but perhaps they are to be found if one looks for them.
City life for the Europeans is booming. There has been an increase in manufacturing capacity as a result of the Rhodesians manufacturing many of the goods which are at present embargoed by us. This to some extent has kept world inflationary effects at bay. There is a shortage of foreign capital, as there must be in such a situation. The tobacco industry has been hit hard, and the tragedy is that that has resulted in puting out of work the African population which depends so largely on it. African unemployment is a very great problem 1267 because of the rate at which the African population is increasing.
As to prospects, it was reported to me that Mr. Smith's inner cabinet has had a change of heart and is interested in talking to the African leaders of the ANC. There are those on each side who wish to communicate, and one group in particular is busily engaged at present in bridge-building between the two sides.
Of course this is a very delicate operation. Both sides must take their own people with them. However, I believe that there is a regret on the part of the ANC, on the African side, that the chance was missed to obtain a settlement and that that, to a large extent, was due to a misappreciation by the Africans. They were under the impression that whatever they said in the test of acceptability, the settlement would be implemented by Her Majesty's Government. Therefore, they felt that they could vote with a clear conscience but that implementation was bound to happen in any case. To some of them it was a surprise when that did not happen.
At the same time there was a misappreciation by the Rhodesia Front Government in that it then lacked communications with the African population. Therefore, it was led into a misassessment of what the African population would say in the test of acceptability. As a result, there is a move by the Rhodesian Front cabinet to put the matter right and open communications.
We must work on the basis of the existing settlement—that is the only avenue of approach. However, I do not believe that the test of acceptability which was carried out last year can be repeated in exactly the same form. It was too blunt an instrument to use effectively and the Africans in particular were too much a prey to emotional coercion. When it comes to that stage next time I think that a different formula must be used. Although the Government can do certain things, the immediate initiative is up to the Rhodesians.
I found an atmosphere of impending tragedy hanging over Rhodesia. The Rhodesians, of whatever race, black or white, were the helpless and totally unexpected victims of the wind of change 1268 which swept through Africa, for which they were quite unprepared.
One cannot look too closely or too far ahead into the future of Southern Africa. One finds that totally unexpected events are likely to upset one's forecasts. Many people say that the white man is doomed in Southern Africa and that his doom is only a question of time. I do not believe that one can look ahead as far as that. I prefer Dr. Banda's more hopeful approach—he is a leader of an African nation—that there is a place for all races in the countries of Southern Africa and that they must learn to live together.
Tonight, if there is a vote, I understand that it will be a vote not on the principle of sanctions, the principle of which I am against, but on whether a change should be made tonight. My right hon. Friend put forward certain criteria for a change of policy—first, if sanctions have failed in their purpose, and, secondly, if the evasion of sanctions is so widespread that they have become intolerable. One can argue that we have already reached that point. However, I believe that there is a slim chance that the tender shoots about which my right hon. Friend spoke should be given a chance to develop.
At this moment I believe that it would be wrong to make a dramatic change of climate by ending the sanctions as of now. The situation is a delicate one. My assessment, having visited Rhodesia, and having been in general terms and in principle against sanctions, is that it would be wrong tactically and psychologically at this moment to make that specific change. Therefore, I give my right hon. Friend the benefit of the doubt—I hope for the last time—and I shall support him in the Lobby.
§ 6.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Gavin Strang (Edinburgh, East)
It seems to be the pattern in Central African affairs that Conservative Governments appoint commissions, such as the Monckton, Devlin and Pearce Commissions, which are welcomed by Right-wing members of the Conservative Party because they contain well respected members of the Establishment—for example, judges and retired civil servants. The commissions then come face to face with 1269 the realities. The same Right-wing Conservatives read the commissions' reports in the hope that they can find some justification for their views. They are unable to find it and they then proceed to ignore the reports. But the hon. Member for Esher (Mr. Mather) seems to go further and appears to criticise the findings of the Pearce Report.
Much of the interest in this debate seems to centre around how many of the Right-wing Conservatives will vote against the reimposition of sanctions. It is worth noting the extent to which many of the arguments which the Right-wingers have put forward in successive debates have been invalidated by the facts and the various developments.
One such argument has always been the cost to the United Kingdom economy of the application of sanctions. I have never had much time for that argument. It is hard to believe, even under the present Government, that the British economy is in such parlous straits that trade with a quarter of a million whites is crucial to its development.
A second argument, which has been more popular, is that it is not the whites who suffer from sanctions but the black Africans. The fact is that throughout the years the African leaders have been in favour of the maintenance of sanctions. They are in a better position than we are to know what is in the interests of the Africas.
If there were any doubt in the minds of hon. Members on the Government side about whether the leaders were speaking for the Africans, the findings of the Pearce Commission should have put an end to all such doubt. The fact is that the Africans want sanctions to continue. They want the British Government to continue to accept a responsibility for decision on this issue.
§ Mr. Wall
I understand the hon. Gentleman's argument, but how does he explain the fact that the majority of African elected Members of Parliament, the majority of educated Africans and the Africans in the upper income groups accepted the Pearce settlement terms and wanted to see them put into effect?
§ Mr. Strang
One will always find a group of people who will be in favour of a certain proposal. I should have thought that the Pearce Commission can 1270 be accepted as having a better chance of ascertaining the views of the Africans as a whole than those who happen to be Members of Parliament. In my opinion the true leaders of the Africans have been locked up. That is the truth of the situation as we see it on this side of the House.
Another argument advanced by hon. Members on the Government side in saying that sanctions should be dropped has been that they are ineffective. I believe—I note with interest that some hon. Members opposite share this belief—that sanctions have had some effect. Mr. Smith, who originally said when he announced UDI that he would have no more discussions or negotiations with the British Government, was brought back to have discussions with successive British Governments. It seems to me that the application of sanctions played an important part in that.
Mr. Smith has not gone as far down the road of separate development as had been feared, and I believe that this is partly a consequence of sanctions. The residential property owners protection Bill, which has been in draft form for a long time, has not been made law. One gathers that representatives of the Rhodesian Government are now talking to representatives of the African National Congress. I take all these events to be a reflection of the fact that sanctions are having some effect and there is a strong body of white opinion in Rhodesia which wants to see them lifted.
Nevertheless, although sanctions have had some effect, we ought to see how we can make them more effective. I hope that the Minister will tell us what machinery the British Government have to hand for making sure that British firms do not break sanctions. To what extent are they able to monitor the activities of Southern African subsidiaries of large United Kingdom firms which have in the past been conducting trade with Rhodesia?
I acknowledge that it is other countries which are the worst sanctions breakers, but I think that the British Government could themselves do more to shame these countries into upholding sanctions. When the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary was pressed on this matter last June, he said that there was not much point in making representations to countries like 1271 Portugal and South Africa which had opted out of sanctions, but he went on to say:There are many other countries, however, which are breaking sanctions"—countries which go to the United Nations Security Council and say that they are in favour of sanctions and will carry them out but which in fact are not doing so effectively. When the right hon. Gentleman was asked why one should not name those countries, and why one should not seek to bring pressure on them, he replied that he did not think it would be a good thing to do that,because sometimes it is a shipping company which has nothing to do with the country concerned, sometimes it is an industrial company over which its Government have no control, and sometimes, as in the case of American chrome, the Administration are trying to do one thing and their Parliament has rejected it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th June, 1972; Vol. c. 838, 970–1.]It does not seem to me that those three reasons are sufficient justification for the British Government not to expose more vigorously those countries which are not implementing sanctions.
My right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) suggested that a United Nations commissioner for sanctions be appointed. I should support that. I assume that his responsibility would be to try to make the United Nations Sanctions Committee more effective. He would be able to use the tool of publicity to expose those countries, to try to bring some pressure on them—be it Japan, France or others—in order to make sanctions more effective.
§ Mr. Strang
For a start, the thing could be spelled out publicly and drawn to the attention of international opinion. It could well be that, as a result, some African countries would be encouraged to take more effective action in respect of trade against these countries. There are some small countries, such as Portugal, involved and it seems to me that we could have some influence. However, I take the hon. Gentleman's point that Britain alone cannot suddenly change sanctions from being ineffective 1272 to being more effective. Nevertheless, we could do more.
I am deeply suspicious of the Government's intentions on this issue. I say that not so much because of their failure to do more in regard to sanctions but for a variety of other reasons. I say it partly because of their apparent reluctance to make more strenuous representations to the illegal régime about the political detainees and partly also because they apparently see the proposals for a settlement which were rejected as still being on the table. How can we possibly regard those proposals as the basis for a settlement?
I suspect the Government's intentions because they are not prepared to say clearly that all negotiations on this issue in future will be tripartite negotiations, negotiations with the illegal Smith régime certainly, but also with representatives of the Africans, representatives of the ANC. In passing, I must say that I think the chances of maintaining responsible policy on the issue were not enhanced by the recent appointment to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Above all, my suspicions have been greatly deepened by the Foreign Secretary's speech this afternoon. I find it surprising that he can talk in terms of "conceding failure" and in terms of "one more year before admitting failure". I am almost certain that that was his phrase. It seemed to me to amount in effect to "Let us put them on for one more year, let us carry on half-heartedly and then, lads, we will stop making you go through the Lobby in favour of sanctions". It seems to me that that is what he is saying.
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
The hon. Gentleman is being a little unfair. I have never said what, in my view, would happen; I have never given any indication of what would happen next year. We require an Order in Council to renew the sanctions year by year, and that is what we are doing—no more and no less.
§ Mr. Strang
I am glad to have that intervention, but will the right hon. Gentleman now give an assurance that sanctions will be maintained so long as there is no settlement which is acceptable to the Africans?
§ Sir Alec Douglas-Home
I have said that I thought the next initiative must come from the Rhodesians, both European and African. I think that is right. We shall have to judge what kind of initiative takes place in the coming months. I hope that what I call the tender shoots will gain a little strength.
§ Mr. Strang
I sincerely hope that it is the right hon. Gentleman's intention to maintain sanctions as long as they are necessary.
It is the Foreign Secretary's view, a view shared by many of my hon. Friends, that it will be possible to obtain a satisfactory agreement with the illegal regime, an agreement which will lead to the advancement of the Africans. I hold no such view. I regret to have to say that I do not think any agreement with Ian Smith will be worth the paper it is written on. He has made repeatedly clear over the years, in my view, that he is not a man who will stick to an agreement of that nature.
We must maintain sanctions partly, as I said, because they are having some effect, because they are ensuring that there is a body of white opinion which has a vested interest in bringing Mr. Smith back to the conference table, in putting a brake on any further excesses of the Rhodesia Front towards a policy of racial oppression and separate development.
It seems to me also—I should have thought this would be an argument acceptable to hon. Members on the Government side—that it is in Britain's overall interest to maintain good relations with the black African countries. It is not really possible for this country to pursue policies which support the régime in South Africa or the régime in Rhodesia while at the same time maintaining friendly and important trade relations with the black African countries. In view of the importance of these countries to Britain, I take it to be in our overall interest not to sell out the Africans on this issue.
Above all, it seems to me that we cannot isolate the Rhodesia issue from the whole problem of racial oppression in the Southern African context, that we cannot be neutral on this issue. We have a clear-cut situation where we have minority white régimes holding down the 1274 Africans, preventing them from advancing themselves and denying them some of the most basic and elementary human rights. We have a duty to support the Africans in their struggle to free themselves from these oppressions. We can do this only by maintaining sanctions.
§ 7.10 p.m.
§ Mr. Alan Haselhurst (Middleton and Prestwich
on>: I believe that an approach to this problem is the better for looking at this situation as it is rather than how we might like it to be. I often think that the emphasis that is sometimes put on words such as "rebellion", "disloyalty to the Crown", and "illegitimate" goes well beyond the technical description of the state of affairs in Rhodesia and makes up in passion for the fact that we cannot act in such a way as to affect the situation decisively.
The régime—we must face it—has lasted far longer than many people expected at the time of UDI. The signs are strong that it is likely to last for a good while longer yet. Sanctions are being widely evaded. Of this there is no doubt. Goods of many different origins are coming into Rhodesia through Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa.
I, in common with other Members who have spoken—it seems to be a well-worn trail—have been in Salisbury for a short time recently, and the shops in the city of Salisbury seem to be doing as well as shops anywhere might be doing. Salisbury seems very similar in appearance to any prosperous city. I think we have every right to be suspicious that some of our continental friends are not being as zealous in their approach to sanctions as we have been, but equally we ought to recognise, with a degree of self-criticism, that they find it rather difficult to understand why some well-known British names can be seen around in Rhodesia. They must be a little suspicious whether all the legalities have been fulfilled, whereas I am sure that the legalities are being observed. Nevertheless this must raise doubts in the minds of our continental friends.
Another fact to face is that, despite seven years of UDI, the atmosphere as far as race relations are concerned in Rhodesia is still very different from the state of race relations in South Africa. 1275 Rhodesia developed in an entirely different way, and that still shows today despite the posture of certain people in the Rhodesia Front Party. There is also a genuine astonishment by people of British descent in Rhodesia that Britain should be acting in this sort of way towards Rhodesia. We will, no doubt, form our own views whether they are right or wrong, but there is no doubt that this hurt is felt. They feel it the more because of what has been happening recently in Uganda, as the scale upon which sanctions are being broken is quite apparent to them.
We must face these realities in trying to determine policy. It is no good hoping that some miracle lies around the corner, that by a continuation of the present situation a radically different position will be reached. It may be that some people still believe that force should be used to alter the situation. I have never be able to support that idea, and I do not support it now because I believe this could lead to a situation which could get well out of control in comparison with the operation originally envisaged.
We should observe what the situation is today, even though we do not like all aspects of that situation, and then determine what seems to be the sensible course to take. I believe that it is no longer possible to talk with the glib confidence that we had in 1965 and 1966. Having taken all those facts into account, I do not think it is right to say that this is the moment to make any fundamental change in policy regarding sanctions.
First—this point has already been made—Mr. Smith is anxious to get rid of sanctions, and that very fact must be a pressure on him to come to the conference table. Secondly, there are signs—this again has been referred to in the debate—that in the post-Pearce situation there may be scope for some kind of bilateral understanding between the Africans in Rhodesia and the Smith régime. I certainly do not believe it is right to jeopardise any chance of some understanding being reached.
I believe that it is the continuation of sanctions rather than their removal which is more likely to maintain the pressure on both sides to come together and talk and try to find a way of living together on a multiracial basis in the future. 1276 There is an argument that by the threat to remove sanctions we might exert rather more pressure on the situation. This must be a matter of judgment, and my judgment is that it is the continuation of sanctions which is more likely to produce talk between the two sides.
A third element in the situation is what is happening in Mozambique at present. The freedom fighters there are now causing considerably more difficulties for the Portuguese than has ever been the case. It has certainly got to the situation where the Rhodesians are extremely concerned about it. At the present time the road between Blantyre and Salisbury is no longer as reliably safe as it was, and goods are having to be moved in convoy rather than taking the risk of mines and conveying them in vehicles singly. Also there is the interruption of the rail link between those two cities. There has been more attention by the Rhodesian security forces to the Mozambique border of late, and although I do not wish to make a value judgment on the situation in Mozambique—that will be for another occasion—I believe that what is happening there must be a pressure on the Smith regime to come nearer to a settlement.
I believe that the alternatives to continuing sanctions are extremely disagreeable. If we were suddenly to say "We shall stop this policy", consider what might conceivably happen to Rhodesia. It seems to me that if we were to abandon any responsibility that we have—and by abandoning sanctions we would be doing just that—we would virtually be saying to all the people in Rhodesia, "You are now left on your own to try to find some solution to your problems", and I should have thought that must mean that there would be a confrontation at some time in the future. We would be pushing them down that path.
In such a situation the white minority might decide to put up the shutters and cling on to power for as long as they could. That is one theory. Inevitably it seems to me that, the population balance being what it is, the Africans would eventually gain majority rule, and it would not be done by peaceable means.
The other alternative is that, perhaps to the distaste and reluctance of South Africa, there may be some moving together of Rhodesia and South Africa to 1277 be the last bastion of the white man in Southern Africa. I do not want to encourage a course of events which will surely visit upon the Africans in Rhodesia a system of government which is odious and which certainly is nothing like the system of government which they experience at the present time.
There is also a consequence for us which I would find extremely disagreeable if we changed our policy. This is the African reaction to this country in the rest of Africa. We may as well recognise that the world of the future, in which we will be trying to make our income as a nation and to exercise influence, is one in which the African and Asian countries will be of increasing importance. It seems to me crazy that we should be asked to take policy decisions likely to alienate from us for a considerable time other countries in Africa and Asia whose friendship we now appreciate and which we shall wish in future to hold to.
At the moment, our standing is rather high in the African countries because in relation to the Pearce Commission we have clearly shown that we have kept our word. We stated that if the proposals were found to be unsatisfactory to the Africans in Rhodesia we would not implement them, and we have been true to our words. Because we have also accepted the Ugandan Asians, we have again been shown to be true to our word. It thus happens that Britain is riding high in the estimation of many countries in Africa and Asia and it would he a great tragedy if that position were to be altered by a sudden volte face in our policy towards Rhodesia.
Having said that, I recognise that the British do not like nonsenses and that because sanctions were sold to them in the beginning as a possble quick remedy they have thought of them in these terms. But sanctions were not a quick remedy. We cannot even put a year as being a date when they might be a remedy. They are being widely broken by other people. The British people observe this and it is small wonder that they are inclined to say, "Call it a day". I did not entirely agree with the remarks made by the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby: However, I think that he was right in his estimation of much of the public reaction in this country to a settlement.
§ Mr. Frank Judd (Portsmouth, West)
A number of us are following the hon. Gentleman's remarks with a great deal of sympathy and interest, but does not he agree that one of the problems in evaluating present public opinion in Britain on the issue is that there has been no decisive leadership from the body politic—not just one particular party—in order to explain to the people the importance of the policy we are following?
§ Mr. Haselhurst
That is true. But another reason is that the British people do not keep matters of foreign affairs to the forefront of their minds, and other things have been more prominent in their attention than this issue. If it were a matter of holding a referendum, then of course leadership would be offered. But I was responding to remarks by the hon. Member for Liverpool. West Derby in relation to what he said the reaction was now. I think that he was accurate in that sense.
§ Mr. Haselhurst
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. No doubt this will be noted in the borough of Middleton. It would not be right for us to call it a day now on a sancions policy. Looking at the situation as soberly as I am able, trying to weigh the facts as they are and not as I would wish them to be, I think that it is possible to say that the situation is not without hope.
I think that we should cling to that hope, for it might yet be possible to solve this problem with our national honour intact and also with common sense prevailing.
§ 7.24 p.m.
§ Miss Joan Lestor (Eton and Slough)
I agree with much of what the hon. Member for Middleton and Prestwich (Mr. Haselhurst) said. In particular, I think that those of us who care about what happens in Southern Rhodesia should remind ourselves that we are debating this in the aftermath of the Pearce Report and in the circumstances surrounding any good will or ill will that was built up as a result of the terms which were presented.
I think that we must also remember certain things surrounding the present situation in relation to the Pearce Report and 1279 the settlement proposals. For example, certain conditions which were guaranteed would exist when the settlement was put forward were not upheld when the settlement was in fact put before the Africans. By this I mean the guarantee that normal political activity would continue to be allowed. That guarantee was not honoured. Intimidation and the rest undoubtedly took place.
What is important in this debate and in our consideration of what is to happen in the future is the finding of the Pearce Report that the settlement proposals were not acceptable to the Africans. This has built up a good deal of good will for the British House of Commons because many Africans believed that, irrespective of their views, the settlement would go through. We must be careful that we do not do anything in relation to sanctions that will undermine that good will.
I agree entirely with what the hon. Member for Middleton and Prestwich said: the fact that Britain has accepted the Ugandan Asians—although I do not think we could have done less—has enhanced our reputation in the eyes of many African States. If we are seen now to go back on our sanctions policy, much of that good will will be destroyed—and also we shall not be in a very strong position to condemn the racism of people like Amin in Uganda, for some of us want to go on record as condemning racism whether it comes from black people or white people or from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
Unfortunately, the hon. and learned Member for Buckinghamshire, South (Mr. Ronald Bell) is not in the Chamber, because I want to refer to what he said. He has the constituency next to mine and I well remember that when I made my maiden speech six years ago and spoke on the subject of racialism, he, in following me, said that his constituency embraced mine. He put a complete1y different point of view on the question of attitudes towards race and immigration.
I listened carefully to the hon. and learned Gentleman today. He has always opposed the policy of sanctions. He has always been in favour of doing a deal with the Smith régime, which, in the view of large numbers in this House, would sell the Africans out. He is a well-known 1280 critic of the immigration policy which operated in this country until fairly recently. He has never hidden his view that there are too many coloured immigrants and that if possible many of them should be repatriated or encouraged to go home, with immigration from the Commonwealth severely curtailed. He has never been backward in coming forward as a critic of immigration policy.
Having listened to the hon. and learned Gentleman and one or two others like him—not by any means a majority—and heard their criticisms of our immigration policy, I have often wondered why they are so anxious to hand over control of Southern Rhodesia to a tiny minority of people, most of whom are immigrants to Southern Rhodesia. I have always fought in my constituency for equal rights—no more, no less—for immigrants and the indigenous population, and I find it hard to take from the hon. and learned Gentleman and others who share his opinions that we should hand over governmental control of the destiny of the large majority African population in Southern Rhodesia to 250,000 whites, only about 140,000 of whom lived there before 1960. He and his friends oppose immigration to this country, yet are quite prepared to hand over the control of the African population of Southern Rhodesia to a small white population, very many of whom are immigrants. To me this has been one of the basic contradictions in the arguments of hon. Members on the Government side and of one of my hon. Friends.
We are presented with a racist situation in Rhodesia and with a racist régime, one which is moving closer to South Africa every day. In the present circumstances of race relations our views must be seen to adhere to and respect the wishes of the black majority in Rhodesia. One or two hon. Members have said, quite rightly, that sanctions must be regarded differently now from when they were first applied in 1965. Many hoped then that they would have a far greater effect on the Smith régime and would do far more to bring about its collapse. Since 1965 a great many things have changed and it is true that economic sanctions alone will not bring down the regime. Some of us have never argued that they would, but that is not a case for removing them.
1281 There is a much more subtle and important argument than that. I have always believed that the Africans in Rhodesia, as in South Africa, will take action themselves to ensure that they achieve equal rights. I also believe that we must consider what would be the effects of our removing sanctions on the good will that Britain has built up with the Africans. It would do a great deal of damage. It would be seen as the first step to a compromise with the Smith régime. After all that was said at the time of the Pearce Commission about involving the Africans in a settlement, after what was said by the Foreign Secretary about continuing sanctions after the commission reported, it would be seen by the Africans as going back on the guarantees and the undertakings then given.
We must also consider our own self-respect. Surely that would stop us wanting to do business with those who have shanghaied 5 million people who were entitled to, were promised and looked for our protection. Because we have been unable to break the Smith régime those 5 million have now been worked into an apartheid system within Southern Rhodesia. If we abandon sanctions therefore we abandon our moral support for them.
But apart from the question of our self-respect, I believe that the continued application of sanctions, which must be stepped up and strengthened, constitutes a campaign against a racist régime and shows a beacon for other countries which have been nothing like as vigilant in applying sanctions as they should have been. The argument that sanctions should be lifted because they are ineffective was destroyed when the Foreign Secretary and Mr. Smith produced settlement terms. It was the application of sanctions which drove Smith to the negotiating table, not a gesture of good will to the Africans, as was amply demonstrated by his proposals. He came to the negotiating table because the pressure of sanctions was damaging his economy.
The argument that sanctions must be lifted because they harm the Africans has been answered in two ways. It was answered by the Pearce Report which drew attention to and gave a great deal of prominence to many Africans who said 1282 that sanctions should not be lifted until their Government had demonstrated their determination to change their course. Bishop Muzorewa, who is in trouble for having said certain things and for having spoken for the Africans in Rhodesia, said:Africans accept sanctions as a price for their freedom and declare as our enemy any person who claims on our behalf that sanctions should be withdrawn".It is important to listen to the bishop's words and it is important to see what is being done to people like him who express such views which are regarded as contrary to the interests of the Smith régime. The Africans want sanctions to continue, yet people in this country want them removed because they say, falsely, that they do not want to harm the Africans. The African knows that once sanctions are lifted not only is his position in jeopardy but any chance of his freedom and his political rights in Rhodesia is completely destroyed.
I do not believe that sanctions have destroyed the Smith régime but they have damaged its economy and some of that damage will not be repaired for many years. We must intensify sanctions and examine ways and means of doing so. Our rôle in applying sanctions has been fairly thorough but so it should have been. I do not believe that Britain, having negotiated sanctions and having called upon the rest of the world for support, can claim a tremendous amount of credit for having applied its own policy better than others when it has not exercised anything like sufficient verbal force against those who have been lax in applying sanctions. We have not exerted anything like enough power, particularly over our trade partners and allies, to prevent them undermining the policy.
Our lack of condemnation of our future EEC partners for their sanction breaking policy must have made the world wonder whether we were serious about that policy at all. Some of my hon. Friends disagree about the policy for Europe. If the Government are serious about their sanctions policy one of the things they should have highlighted in the EEC negotiations is what Germany, France and Italy think about sanctions. I said so to my comrades in Socialist Internationale.
1283 I say to my Front Bench, which is not very well occupied at the moment—with the exception of my hon. Friend the Member for Mansfield (Mr. Concannon)—that if there is an election and a Labour Government are returned, and if the policy of renegotiation of the terms for entry is adopted, some of us will be arguing about how our EEC partners should be applying sanctions. There has been a strange silence from the Government about the attitude of EEC countries and I believe that something could still be done on this front because it is not too late.
I have one example of where we could be much more vigilant on sanctions. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said, a loophole has been established in the past year by America by the lifting of the embargo on imports of strategic materials, in particular of nickel and chrome. The embargo, I understand, was officially lifted at the beginning of this year. Since the arrival of the first shipments in March, 100,000 tons of minerals, 75 per cent. of which were chrome, have been imported from Southern Rhodesia. Among the ships carrying the cargo were some registered in Britain, the Netherlands and Italy. All, including the British registered ship, have been reported to the United Nations Security Council. Much more action and condemnation by the British Government are needed when that sort of thing takes place. We want much more information about who is breaking sanctions. We need a conference of people who really care about the sanctions policy to decide just how we can prevent those countries which are breaking sanctions from doing so.
To drop sanctions now would be to condone racialism and what happened when Smith declared UDI. Many of us have spent many years trying our best to bring about a situation in which the Smith régime would listen to what the majority of the Africans were saying to them. We have tried very hard over the years to bring about a situation in which we could grant independence to Southern Rhodesia on the same basis as we have granted it to all our other ex-colonies. If we now wash our hands of the five million Africans in Southern Rhodesia, all that we have tried to do in the past five years will be wasted, and 1284 we shall have abandoned our responsibilities for them. We shall be handing them over to a situation in which finally they will find themselves in the same position as that in which the black African in South Africa finds himself.
It is not enough simply to maintain sanctions, because by doing that we are simply maintaining a stalemate. We need to intensify sanctions. In that way and by our very loud and outspoken condemnation of their policies, we must force the Smith régime to come to terms with the African demands, which are simply the demands of any reasonable people to be allowed to control their own destiny.
§ 7.43 p.m.
§ Mr. Harold Soref (Ormskirk)
Unlike the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) and the hon. Member for Liverpool. West Derby (Mr. Ogden), who made the debate worth while by their remarkable speeches showing great knowledge of Rhodesia and their sympathy for its future, the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor) has shown a greater familiarity with cloud-cuckoo-land than with Rhodesia.
I should like to take up three specific points that the hon. Lady made. She suggested that we in this country had enhanced our reputation with the African States by what we had done in taking the Asian refugees. But since we have been taking them it has been announced, as recently as in yesterday's Financial Times, that from Kenya and Tanzania, which was praised by another hon. Member, there will be increasing forced exoduses of Asians having been plundered. That is an odd way of showing their admiration for this country. Moreover, President Nyerere has publicly stated in an interview in The Times that it will not be long before the Europeans are thrown out of Tanzania. That is an extraordinary example of racial harmony. It is odd that it should be given as an example of how those countries show their admiration for the United Kingdom.
When an analogy was made between the position of Asian immigrants to this country and that of European immigrants entering Rhodesia, the hon. Lady overlooked a vast difference between them. Those who come to this country come to 1285 a welfare State, with a knowledge that they can receive every conceivable and inconceivable benefit without a hand's turn. But the European who goes to Rhodesia knows full well that it is not a welfare State and that it is only by his hard work and sheer ability that he will make a go of things. It has been through the efforts of immigrant Europeans during the three-quarters of a century that Rhodesia has existed that work has been provided for the Africans and that the country is prosperous. It is prosperous only because of the capital created by the Europeans and the enterprise shown by them during that period.
The hon. Lady's third point concerned the purchase of chrome by the United States from Rhodesia, chrome which America needs for strategic reasons. Would the hon. Lady consider it preferable that America should buy for strategic purposes from the Soviet Union, the only alternative, when it is freely believed, with considerable evidence, that Soviet Russia was herself buying the chrome from Rhodesia and reselling it to America? In the circumstances, there is much to be said for America's buying it direct for strategic purposes at a lower price.
I am greatly concerned that those keenest on East-West trade, particularly those promoting trade with Red China and East Germany, than which there are no more cruel tyrannies in the world, are the very people who are the most ardent supporters of sanctions against Rhodesia. If they want sanctions imposed against Rhodesia because they regard it as either a racial or a political tyranny, I would point out that it is absolute heaven in comparison with those countries with which they seek to promote trade and relations.
It is only to appease the Afro-Asians and the Communists that the absurd farce of sanctions continues at the United Nations. At the General Assembly only a fortnight ago in the annual debate on colonialism, China recommended the use ofrevolutionary violenceto frustratethe counter-revolutionary violence of the colonialists.Portugal, South Africa and Israel were described as 1286stained with the blood of millions of Arabs and Africansand Britain was portrayed asan enemy of the people of Zimbabwe".Libya claimed that London hadimplanted a racist minority régime in Zimbabwe as it had done in Palestine.The hon. and learned Member for Northampton referred to some of the credentials of Libya. Apart from her piracy, her hijacking and her incapacity to rule her own country in an orderly manner, she has at present 400 troops in Uganda. Why should there not be action and protests against Libya? Why out of the whole world do we pick out Rhodesia? There is no reason in the context of Africa. By any reasonable standard, Rhodesia is probably the best governed, most peaceful and harmonious country in that continent. The degree of racialism in every country to the north is far greater and is increasing at such a rate that I prophesy that we in this House will be increasingly concerned with the persecution that will continue and increase north of Rhodesia, to the east and to the west, in the African continent. We shall regret the day when we interfered with Rhodesia's integrity.
If it is suggested that there was cause for the action which we took, I reply that we made a great mistake. It was revealed in the Sunday Telegraph last Sunday in Mr. Cecil King's diary that the present Leader of the Opposition stated at a luncheon at the time that it was the Labour Government's intention to impose direct rule in Rhodesia for at least 10 years. It is not surprising in those circumstances that the Rhodesians found a better way of looking after their own country. I believe that they have done so.
When the Rhodesians see that we do nothing about the genocide in Zanzibar and nothing about the ruthless tyranny in Uganda and are oblivious to what is happening in other countries in the African continent such as Sierra Leone, is it surprising that they are stubbornly determined to pursue their own lives? An hon. Member on the Opposition side suggested that the Pearce Commission consulted the black population with the result that it had found that that population held certain views. But only 6 per cent. of the black African population was consulted. I am not suggesting that the commission could have consulted more, 1287 it may not have been practicable to do so, but let us not deduce the unproven facts from this tiny minority which was consulted.
Like other Members I, too, have been in Rhodesia, for perhaps rather longer than they have, this year. I met many Africans whom I know and I also met Mr. Chinamano before he went to another place. The general view I found among the Africans was that they were reasonably happy—[Laughter.] I did not meet Mr. Nkomo but I did meet other members of the ANC, those people who, we are told, are in gaol and should be released and are active in the ANC. We would do well to realise that the ANC is a coalition of the former ZANU and ZAPU. The leader of ZAPU, Mr. Joshua Nkomo, who is currently in gaol—
§ Mr. Soref
I would remind the House that in 1961 that innocent said publicly in Rhodesia "I will not rest until the rivers of Zimbabwe run red with the blood of every white man, woman and child and every African who supports them." I regard that statement in a continent like Africa to be good enough reason for putting a man away. I also remind hon. Members that Mr. Todd's comforts In his substantial ranch are infinitely greater than those of any Opposition leader in any country in the African continent—all of whom were put away not in ranches but in the most uncomfortable gaols inaccessible to the International Red Cross.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon
Since the hon. Gentleman is on such good terms with the Smith régime, may I ask him to intercede on behalf of the children of Mr. and Mrs. Chinamano, whom he says he has seen? These children are living in their own house in the township outside Salisbury and have no adult living with them; the eldest child is 15. They have lived in those conditions for a substantial period when their parents were in detention, before Pearce went there, and they have lived in those conditions since the Pearce Commission. Their nearest relative lives about two miles away, is not allowed to live on the premises and can come and see them only 1288 occasionally during the day. Does not the hon. Member feel, out of mere human sentiment, that with his privileged position he might ask Mr. Smith whether anything can be done about the Chinamanos?
§ Mr. Soref
I have no privileged position. I would agree that if there is some suffering by a certain family in Rhodesia it is most unfortunate. I am sure that Mr. Smith would take action if the hon. Member brought it to his attention. Furthermore, this is an isolated example and it does not compare with the suffering of millions of black Africans from Zanzibar to Sierra Leone. When we consider the millions of people who were killed in the Sudan, Biafra and Nigeria, it can be seen that these were greater enormities. I have not the slightest doubt that there are injustices in Rhodesia; I am sure that there are injustices in this country. I do believe that the degree of injustice in Rhodesia under the present Government in infinitely less than it would be if it were turned over to immature people, as has happened elsewhere.
It is my contention that because we have abdicated our authority and turned over other colonies in Africa, before they were ready to people who were not fit we have this appalling situation in Africa. Nothing has made the white Rhodesians more stubborn than the events which have taken place from the Congo to Uganda. No one, whether he agrees or disagrees with the Rhodesian Front, whether he is in that party or the new political evolution there, would favour majority rule when he also has children and is determined that those children should have a future and that he should have security for the work he has put in.
It is my genuine belief after 20 or 30 visits to Rhodesia that an enormous amount has been done for the black population. The schooling, hospital and welfare facilities in Rhodesia are infinitely better than in any country to the north in the African continent which I have visited. Had Rhodesia behaved as most of the Commonwealth African countries have done, we would have had demonstrations day and night at the United Nations. Suppose what has happened in Uganda or in Zanzibar had occurred in Rhodesia. It is an unthinkable proposition.
1289 The danger is that in no way should we make it possible for premature majority rule in Rhodesia because it could only lead to a scrapping of democracy, civil war and dictatorship by minority rule as happens in every other African Commonwealth country.
It is suggested that the ANC and the Rhodesian Front should get together to hammer out a policy. We find in this country that the CBI and the TUC are incapable of doing this under much more sophisticated circumstances. It is a great deal to expect of people who are oriented in an utterly different manner. It is suggested that the shops in Rhodesia are crammed with Japanese, South African, German and Italian goods. They are. Let us face the economic reality that last year Rhodesia's economy grew at a real rate of 10 per cent. Inflation was kept down to 3 per cent. and this year real growth is likely to be 6 per cent. with inflation around 4 per cent. We should drop this farce of sanctions. We should recommence our trade to Rhodesia which represented something like £36 million to £38 million worth of trade.
Are we to be told that this country is to be blackmailed? Are we to be told with whom we can trade? This is an affront to the African nations. The same people who do not wish us to trade with Rhodesia, who uphold sanctions, are the very lobby in favour of trade with every tyranny—East-West trade, trade with China and trade with every international gangster.
It is suggested that it is time we faced the reality. Dean Acheson, who after all was one of the founders of the United Nations, declared that the United Nations mandatory sanctions constituted "barefaced aggression". So they were. We are certain that no independent African country could be run on a Westminster model, and I doubt whether Rhodesia can be run on that basis.
However, if what has happened in Rhodesia had been perpetrated in that country—as has been the case elsewhere—by a black man, it would have been overlooked, forgiven and forgotten. It is merely because those who control Rhodesia happen to be white that there is this absurd self-guilt, which in my opinion is completely baseless. We should be 1290 doing a good service to this country, as well as to Rhodesia and to British interests, by scrapping sanctions forthwith.
§ 8.0 p.m.
§ Mr. George Cunningham (Islington, South-West)
One of the pleasures of following the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Soref) is that there are no serious points which might distract from one's own speech. The speech that he has just made could have been made by anyone during the 1930s in respect of Nazi Germany, and to suggest that many of us on this side are not critical of the beastly régimes in, for example, Zanzibar and Uganda is simply baseless. We are as severely critical of those régimes as of anything that has happened in Rhodesia.
§ Mr. Cunningham
People are inclined to listen to what they wish to hear.
There is something remote and pathetic about this annual ritual in which we take part. It is high time that it was recognised that it is a ritual that cannot go on for ever, unless we have something more to add to it than has been the case over the past few years. The original objective of sanctions was either to bring down the Smith régime, or to bring it to the conference table. Clearly, those were the alternatives, equally acceptable at the time of the introduction of sanctions in 1965.
Some of us said that it was a nonsensical policy at the time to rely upon sanctions that were unsupported by any credible threat of force. It always was nonsense. The Labour Government were responsible for the betrayal of the 5 million Africans in Rhodesia. In that, they were aided and abetted by the Conservative Opposition of the day.
If we are to get away from the self-deception that has marked all discussion of the Rhodesian issue over the last 10 years, it is as well for someone on the Labour side of the House to acknowledge that fact. We failed to do our duty in Rhodesia because of a lack of guts and clear thinking. It is high time we devoted some clear thinking to the problem.
As I have said, we have been bedevilled by self-deception. Let us now recognize 1291 that the original objective—to bring down Smith or get him to accept a new policy totally contrary to his party's ideas—was hopeless. It just will not happen now. If we argue, as I do, for a continuation of sanctions, we should do so with a different objective, a different motivation, in mind.
However, there is just such a different motivation and objective, principally that it is in our interests to avoid growing interdependence between the economy of this country and that of Rhodesia, an interdependence which, if it became reestablished, would operate only to the benefit of those persons in this country who have an economic interest in trading with Rhodesia. At present there is a deep interdependence with the Republic of South Africa in the spheres of trade and investment. Our tail is caught in a volcano. That volcano will some day blow up, and we shall suffer because so much of our economic life is tied in with that republic. At the moment we do not have, and we want to avoid reestablishing, an economic tie-in with Rhodesia.
A second reason for continuing the sanctions is that mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor) in her excellent speech namely, self-respect. The Conservative Party went to the country last time with a manifesto which talked about making Britain's voice heard in the world. The Foreign Secretary does not seem to be interested in using his voice on behalf of some people who are being badly treated in Rhodesia.
If we were to say "All right; you have done something illegal; you have torn up the constitution and done all the illegal things that are possible but, nevertheless, having gone through the gestures for some years, we are going to call off the sanctions and be good friends again" we should lose all self-respect, and we should deserve the world reputation that we now have as a decadent nation that does not know what it wants to achieve, and is certainly incapable of achieving it if it ever knew.
If we go ahead with sanctions, we need something else to strengthen them. What I propose is what might be called a conservative policy, which could be pursued by either party and might have 1292 to be, but which would be a policy which might bring a new element into the situation, a new ray of hope for people in Rhodesia. It is perfectly clear to people in this country and in Rhodesia that salvation from a racially oppressive regime is not going to be brought about by Britain. We have proved over the years that we have not the guts for it, and we will not do it.
Who else can do it? The Africans in Rhodesia can do it, but almost certainly they will require some outside assistance. In the end, whether we want it or not, whether messy or not, effective or not, the United Nations will take an increasingly practical rôle in Rhodesia.
Before this country cuts its links with Rhodesia, which, if we continue in the present way, will inevitably come, surely it will be proper for us to hand over the technical responsibility to the United Nations. It would have been entirely wrong of us to do that in 1965. Getting Rhodesia right was our job, and it still is, but it certainly was our job in 1965 and only we could do it. But we have not done it, and it would be easier for the United Nations to do something practical in Rhodesia if it had a legal right to interfere. It does not have a legal right to interfere at the moment.
I am pleading that when the Conservative Party reaches the state when it cannot bear to go on any longer with our present policies, rather than make Rhodesia independent, or simply recognising that it is independent, we should make Rhodesia legally a United Nations trust territory. There is nothing in the charter against that. It is specifically provided for in the charter that a non-self-governing territory may be made a UN trust territory. It does not have to be a trust that originated with the charter.
The practical effect would be to give the United Nations the legal right to back up interference, which it also possesses in the case of Namibia. I do not think that anyone doubts that the interest taken by the outside world in Namibia has been that bit more effective because the United Nations has a legal right to interfere. I do not say that the interference has been effective in any strong sense, but it has been more effective, and is likely in future to be more 1293 supported by other nations, because the United Nations has not only a desire to intervene in Namibia, but a legal right to do so.
Before Britain goes to the point where we simply cut the umbilical cord and give up, let us tie it to something else. Let us tie it to the United Nations in order to give the United Nations—which will be carrying the baby anyway—some legal right to do more than it will otherwise be able to do.
I realise—and I realised before saying so—that that idea does not come unsupported on my own side, far less by hon. Members opposite, but I fear that some who oppose it still think that there is a better solution possible. Because I do no think that there is, I suggest that before we finally say—if we can ever be honest enough with ourselves—to the people of Rhodesia that we are unable to do any more for them, we should leave behind us a legal right in the United Nations to do something. It is modest, but we have never done anything more for Rhodesia than the modest, and this suggestion would be rather more than we have managed to do till now.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon
My hon. Friend makes the contrast with Namibia and that in itself ought to put paid to this argument, because at least the British Government, perhaps reductantly, accept a legal obligation in relation to United Nations sanctions against Rhodesia. But the British Government will not accept the ruling of the International Court in relation to Namibia. They would take the same dispassionate, uninterested view in Rhodesia if it were allowed to become a trust territory of the United Nations.
§ Mr. Cunningham
I am suggesting that sanctions should continue. I am not suggesting that making Rhodesia trust territory is any way an alternative to that. I am suggesting this as an addition to tough sanctions, which should, of course, be applied, and in order to give the United Nations that legal right to use in trying to get everyone to toughen sanctions. Let us at least leave that behind us, because if we do not leave that, we shall be leaving absolutely nothing for the 5 million people of Rhodesia.
§ 8.11 p.m.
§ Mr. John Stokes (Oldbury and Halesowen)
I am very glad to have been 1294 called, having listened to the whole of the debate, and I have promised to be brief.
I will try to place the debate and our relations with Rhodesia in the wider context of our foreign policy. This is the third or fourth debate which I have attended on this subject in the last two and a half years and I feel that the air of unreality gets greater each year. If we are not careful, debates on Rhodesia will be like debates in this House in the last century on what was called the "interminable Eastern question", when no one could remember how or why it all started.
This year, however, there are at least two changes from last year. We have witnessed General Amin's actions and cruel régime in Uganda to show us what can happen if black nationalism gains the upper hand, apart from the continuing bloodshed and massacres in other parts of Africa to which my hon. Friend the hon. Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Soref) has already referred. In particular, I refer to the appalling slaughter and massacres in Burundi.
Secondly, continuing our examination of our foreign policy, we have seen a determined effort by the Government to become firm friends with a great many countries, the last and the most important, of these being China. Relations with Russia and the other Iron Curtain countries are improving.
Why, then, is Mr. Smith of Rhodesia the bogy man for Foreign Office? It is difficult to know now what are the logical, or even the illogical, reasons for maintaining sanctions. Are they still a card in the Government's hand for when we once more come to the table with Mr. Smith? Is it righteous indignation, which the Government do not appear to have for any other country or is it, rather, a feeble effort to keep in with the intellectuals and progressives of this country and also with the Afro-Asian bloc in the United Nations?
This leads me to wonder on what principles our foreign policy is conducted. It is difficult to think of any Foreign Minister in the past who would have behaved in this fashion. Are we protecting British interests or British trade, or are we trying to act like a nanny and force a constitution on to Rhodesia when almost all our other constitutions in Africa were 1295 torn up almost as soon as they were promulgated? Is it to satisfy the wishes of the great majority of people in Britain who we know are sick and tired of sanctions?
I am probably the only Member in the Chamber who was this morning in his constituency and addressed an extremely large meeting on this subject. I informed my audience of my views, stating that I could not possibly vote for sanctions and would have to vote against them. I received the unanimous support of the meeting. That is the feeling of the people of England, and I hope that the Foreign Office will pay some attention to them.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary, whom I greatly admire, is a realist in so many things that I wonder why he seems to have a blind spot over Rhodesia. I hope he is not being unduly influenced by any of his permanent officials. I often wonder whether any other country would behave in this manner.
So I make this late appeal to the Government. They have not been afraid to change their minds recently over economic affairs due to what I may call cruel necessity. Why should not cruel necessity cause a similar change in our policy towards Rhodesia? I know that saving face is involved. I know that the amour propre of the Government is concerned, but the Foreign Secretary is a big enough man to accept this and to swallow the Government's pride with good grace. He told us that he was prepared to do so. Why wait any longer? The unfortunate and regrettable involvement with the United Nations must be abrogated as soon as possible.
If a Labour Government had been in power, we might have expected wishy-washy action. But the man-in-the-steet—and I am constantly in touch with him—expects realism above all else from a Tory Government and a determination to stand by British interests. It is not pleasant to hear charges of double standards launched against one's own Government. I did not think that I should live to see the day when the General Amins of this world were allowed to go scot-free while Mr. Smith was still in the dock.
1296 If hon. Members on the Opposition side do not understand the realities of life in present-day Africa, the Foreign Office should. Some time ago, in a similar debate, I used some words of Castlereagh in which he spoke of the Holy Alliance, and which I applied to sanctions—"A piece of sublime mysticism and nonsense". I can find no historical parallels for the present absurd continuation of the situation in which we are concerning Rhodesia.
Unlike hon. Members opposite, I remember my country's past; I am proud of it, and it can still teach us many lessons. It is for this and for all the other reasons which I have mentioned that I shall have to vote against the orders today. In doing so I know that I am supported not only by the great majority of my constituents but also by the great mass of people in the country.
§ 8.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Phillip Whitehead (Derby, North)
Following the hon. Member for Oldbury and Halesowen (Mr. Stokes), or indeed his hon. Friend the Member for Ormskirk (Mr. Soref), is a pleasure, because one feels that one has strayed from a debate in the mid-twentieth century either into a debate at the time of Castlereagh, whose name was invoked by the hon. Member for Oldbury—unhappily, I thought—or perhaps into some strange late-night satire show in which things are not quite what they seem. Things quite clearly are not as they seem to be in the world of the hon. Members for Oldbury and Halesowen and Ormskirk.
The hon. Member for Ormskirk knows perfectly well that I and many of my hon. Friends are not backward in condemning African-controlled régimes in Africa that have strayed from the path that most of us would wish to see them follow in terms of the non-abuse of majority rule. He knows my reaction in the case of Sierra Leone in particular. It is a supreme irrelevance for Conservative Members to bring up the subject of what is happening in Uganda today in a debate on the re-imposition of sanctions on Rhodesia, because to condemn the action of the British Government in relation to the illegal régime in Rhodesia on the basis of the situation in many countries in Africa to which they have handed control when a majority in those countries assumed power is wholly wrong.
1297 We handed over power in Uganda, in Sierra Leone and in other African countries to the majority. I was in an African country at the time when power was handed over, and it was abundantly clear that the Government to which the then British Government conceded power represented the majority of the people at that time. Whatever may have happened since in some of those countries, however much that power may have been abused, however much we may regret the disgusting nature of the Amin régime and the way in which many of his opponents have been done to death and racial minorities have been expelled, all that appears to be totally irrelevant when we are considering the re-imposition of sanctions on Rhodesia.
Rhodesia is a British colony, taken some 80 years ago by force of arms and malpractice by British settlers, a small minority, who are still in a small minority—one in 22, as one hon. Member was honest enough to say. The African population increases every year by the number of the small white minority in Rhodesia.
Our responsibility is to all the people of Rhodesia. It is to the Africans whom we have not treated particularly well, in the time of either the previous or the present Government, in terms of the intensity with which we applied sanctions.
We should not need to have an extended debate on these orders. After the unequivocal response which the Pearce Commission brought back from Rhodesia, following the exhaustive test of opinion which it carried out, it is clear that there can be no going back to that settlement, that in honour we have no alternative but to continue with sanctions, and that their passing through Parliament today ought to be a mere formality for decent men. Instead of that we have had raised every conceivable argument, drawing parallels from elsewhere on the African continent.
In the debate on 10th November, I was pessimistic about the chances of a British Government honouring the fifth principle if a possible agreement were reached with the Smith régime in Rhodesia. It seems to me that the Pearce Report vindicates Lord Pearce's Commission and puts it quite plainly on the record that there can be no settlement 1298 of any sort with the Smith régime, considering what the Smith régime is doing.
The hon. Member for Ormskirk was somewhat frivolous about the plight of the Chinamano family and the many other people in detention in Rhodesia. He seemed to think that this was an isolated exception, that there was no one else in this position. Even since the Pearce Commission returned home, as he ought to know, the law in Rhodesia has been further stiffened and strengthened against precisely the expression of African majority opinion through the African National Council, which was manifested to the Pearce Commission.
In those circumstances, I think we were right—those of us on this side of the House—who said throughout that it was clear that if the fifth principle were honoured, there could be no question that a majority in Rhodesia—certainly not the twenty to one majority of Africans in that country—would welcome any settlement that could be arrived at with the Smith Government.
What have sanctions actually done? If we look at a couple of opinions from opposite sides of the political fence in this country, it is clear that there has been an effect, but that it has not been—as some hon. Members said—as dramatic and as effective in bringing the Smith régime to an awareness of the facts in southern Africa as we should have liked. The Daily Telegraph correspondent, Ian Colvin, in assessing the situation in Rhodesia the other day said that there had been short-term gains and that the morale of the white Rhodesians was still high; he also said that the picture wasone of long-term economic success with sanctions but failure in both the medium- and short-term".I would agree with that. Sanctions are a long-term matter; they are having a long-term effect on the Rhodesian economy. What they have not done is to achieve more than that which the Justice for Rhodesia Campaign recently called a stalemate. I want to spend just a couple of minutes examining why that should be—why this stalemate has now been reached.
It is clear that there have been influences on the various members of the Rhodesian Government, all of whom 1299 appear to be called Smith—I sometimes think that everybody except Mr. T. Dan Smith is now a member of the Rhodesian Cabinet. All of them have been beset: farmers, tobacco farmers, industrialists Rhodesian businessmen are worried about the long-term effects, about the shortage of capital and so on. It is a long-term matter.
What we ought to be concerned with is the effect which we could have on the position in Rhodesia itself. When my hon. Friend the Minister for Liverpool. West Derby (Mr. Ogden) tells us today that he has returned from his trip and brought snaps with him, telling us that the people are holding out pretty well and that sanctions have not had much effect, I should like him to express a little more shock that there is a BOAC office in Salisbury. I should like him to express a little more shock that Barclay's Bank is putting up a new block in Salisbury. I should like him to express a certain degree of resentment that the British Government have not taken far greater steps to see that these things, too, whatever the legal state of the sanctions, have been erased.
§ Mr. Ogden
I could give a long lecture about the whole subject. I tried to compact my views. I mentioned BOAC and others because that was a fact. I brought some photographs—and made no secret of my four-day visit—to be able to say "Look, that's a picture; what cannot speak cannot lie" though I can cook photographs with the best of them. I was reporting in that sense. I am not writing books; I am not an expert on Rhodesia. I am giving a firsthand impression and everyone must take it for what they think it is worth.
§ Mr. Whitehead
I accept it for what it is worth.
I hope that the House will now apply its mind when approving the orders, as I am sure it will, to the various ways in which sanctions can be strengthened. Much has been made of the Byrd Amendment and the import of chrome by the United States Government and of the kind of pressures that we know to exist in the gigantic capitalist cartels of the United States to get Rhodesian chrome by all possible means, in order not to have to buy Russian chrome, as was 1300 pointed out by the hon. Member for Ormskirk.
Union Carbide and Foote Minerals and other concerns which have had this influence on a Right-wing Congress and on a Right-wing President are not the only enormous extractive cartels with which the British Government have to deal. After all, we have recently been handing out concessions in the North Sea like smarties to other large American firms which wish to explore our United Kingdom mineral preserves. If we so wish, there are pressures which we can exert on the United States Government to reverse the Byrd Amendment.
I was saddened to hear from people who have been in touch with our representatives in New York that there has apparently been very little pressure by the Foreign Office on the United States Government since the passing of the Byrd Amendment. That is a shocking state of affairs. I hope that the Foreign Secretary will shortly make representations to the newly-strengthened Nixon régime.
§ Mr. Whitehead
Absolutely. I make no distinction between countries which are breaking the sanctions. Those paying lip service to them while breaking them behind the scenes should be even more deeply condemned because of the hypocrisy involved in that action.
However, that is totally irrelevant to any discussion of what the British Government may do to bring pressure to bear on those countries which have been mentioned in this debate as having breached the sanctions policy which our supposed allies claim to support. For example, Germany—and I regret this fact, since I am generally an admirer of the Social Democratic Government of Western Germany—has been breaching the sanctions policy.
The West Germans will shortly be applying for membership of the United Nations. They will find that a large body 1301 of opinion in the United Nations, certainly among the African members, will not be willing to admit them as being sanction-breakers in Rhodesia. The British Government should not therefore be behindhand in making that point to Herr Brandt and his Government.
As for Portugal, a number of references have been made today to the impossibility of extending the Beira patrol to cover Lourenço Marques. Hon. Members have asked what would be the situation with regard to putting people off and getting in touch with the Portuguese shore authorities. It is true that at that kind of distance and in that part of the world our military forces are over-stretched, owing to the lines of communication, and are not totally independent, as they would need to be in order to bear wholly effective pressures in time of war. That was also true of the air force presence that we maintained for a period in Zambia, which I think was always under the control of Ground Control, Salisbury.
Nevertheless, right hon. and hon. Members opposite are never heard to mention this point concerning the difficulty of maintaining a naval patrol in respect of Iceland. We are sending our gunboats off the coast of Iceland in order to protect the fishery fleet. Right hon. and hon. Members opposite approve that action. They would like those gunboats to be strengthened. That argument is never raised when discussing the possibility of obtaining a better agreement with the new Government of the Malagasy Republic and strengthening the Beira Patrol.
Many hon. Members have spoken as though events since 1965 made the condition of the Rhodesian people of supreme irrelevance to Britain, since there is no enormous pressure of public opinion in this country for the strengthening of sanctions. It is said that here is this little group of plucky settlers, who have made their own way in the world, and who can now run Rhodesia, at least for a period, without worrying overmuch about the long-term effects of sanctions wearing down the Rhodesian economy. I believe that we have a duty to those people which goes back to the time when we came to what was then Matabeleland and Mashonaland
1302 We have a responsibility to the African majority which was always denied by the British South Africa Company, by Rhodes and his clique and by those who founded Rhodesia. The African people of those countries have always looked to Britain because there was nowhere else to look. They have been exploited for 80 years. It is not just a matter of going back to a Garfield Todd golden age, for they have been exploited for 80 years. Beyond the trust they have in Britain, they have nowhere to look, apart from the rather nebulous presence of the United Nations.
I think of that, and of the alternative to what is being proposed in the House tonight, which is not an alternative of sitting back and watching the one in 21 Rhodesians who happen to be white and who now have power in their hands continuing to control that country into the indefinite future. The alternative, if we do not attempt to bring the white and the black people of Rhodesia to the conference table, is a bloody civil war, bringing into Rhodesia very slowly what we are now seeing along the Mozambique frontier; the pressures which have already been mentioned by some of my hon. Friends. Those pressures for everybody in Rhodesia are darker and more terrible and will reflect far greater dishonour on this country than any continuation and strengthening of sanctions possibly could.
§ 8.36 p.m.
§ Mr. Christopher Woodhouse (Oxford)
I have been impressed by the realism with which this debate has been conducted on both sides. By "on both sides" in a debate of this kind I mean on both sides of the debate and not necessarily on both sides of the House, because it is clear that there are dissident opinions on each side. On both sides of the House a great deal of emphasis has been placed on the facts of power within the national boundaries of Rhodesia, and this Is a fact which we cannot afford to overlook.
On both sides of the House also some emphasis, perhaps not as much as is felt in our hearts, has been put on sensitivity to the feelings of our own constituents on this matter. Some Members have drawn attention to the fact that they 1303 believe that a majority of their constituents would wish them to support a view with which perhaps they do not necessarily agree.
I represent a constituency which manufactures motor cars, and I have been very aware during the debate that the British motor industry has been almost entirely eliminated from Rhodesia in the last few years—apparently with the exception of Jaguars, though they are not manufactured in my constituency.
Those of us who support the continuation of sanctions, particularly those who represent industrial constituencies, must recognise that we are asking many of our constituents who work in factories to exercise the same kind of self-sacrificing patience as the cotton workers of Lancashire exercised during the American Civil War. I do not believe they would refuse to do so if they fully understood the implications, but the implications must not be concealed either from ourselves or from our constituents.
I have no doubt that it is right to pass these orders if only because to reject them would put us in breach of our international obligations, which were incurred in the first instance on the initiative of the British Government—and it makes no difference from which party the members of that Government were drawn. If we wish to terminate sanctions, rejecting these orders is not the proper way to do it. The Government would first have to go to the United Nations and only then come to Parliament to terminate the sanctions.
Nevertheless, the present situation is profoundly unsatisfactory, as I think has been recognised by practically every speaker in this debate, though in many cases for different reasons. It grows more unsatisfactory from year to year. It is unsatisfactory that we are virtually the only major trading nation which is seriously respecting the United Nations resolution. It is unsatisfactory that, whereas we in this Parliament have to renew these orders year by year knowing that failure to do so would breach our international obligations, the United Nations never has to renew its resolution or to reconsider the matter at all.
1304 It would surely be desirable in the next 12 months to find some way of initiating a fresh public debate in the United Nations in order, first, to assess whether sanctions are achieving anything useful in order to publicise the infringement of sanctions. It seems to me quite inadequate merely to draw the attention of the United Nations secretariat to them, and to give those countries which are plainly condoning infringement a chance of explaining why they think sanctions should continue if they have no intention of enforcing them. Undoubtedly that would be a sterile debate, though I think it would be a necessary one to clear the air.
Also, the Government should take a more radical look at the matter to decide what can be done within their own competence without infringing United Nations resolutions. The Foreign Secretary has made a few marginal adjustments today which I welcome. But there is one major issue that is within the sole competence of Her Majesty's Government, and that is the claim to exercise continuing sovereignty over Rhodesia. The questions of sovereignty and sanctions are inevitably linked because sanctions were invoked in the first place to help us assert our claim to sovereignty. But the link is paradoxical because normally sanctions under the ægis of an international organisation would be invoked only against a sovereign State. Never before have they been invoked against a rebellious dependency or colony.
It might well be argued, as a matter of political fact, though no doubt this would be challenged by international lawyers, that to impose sanctions is, in effect, by itself to recognise independence. Even without going so far as that, it seems worth serious consideration—I ask for no more than consideration—whether there is any sense in continuing to claim sovereignty when one has no means whatever of making the claim effective.
We simply have not the power to reimpose our sovereignty on Rhodesia and to that extent, whether we like it or not, the unilateral declaration of independence has succeeded. We have had examples illustrating this point in this debate. My right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary listed a number of mitigations of the full onus of 1305 sanctions which he was introducing for the benefit of individuals who might innocently suffer from them. The right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) asked him whether he would take similar action in respect of a number of oppressed citizens, both European and African, in Rhodesia.
I have every sympathy with the point that the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East made. I think that what is going on in respect of human rights in Rhodesia is deplorable. But it is totally outside the power—not the jurisdiction—of Her Majesty's Government to do anything about it. They are, therefore, not cognate with the small mitigations of the impact of sanctions which the Foreign Secretary announced.
That may be a humiliating admission, but is it not an admission that will simply have to be made sooner or later? Would it not be the lesser evil—I will not put it the other way round—to admit that now, simply as an acknowledgment of fact? The pretence that we are still the sovereign Power in Rhodesia is harmful, because it leads opponents of the Smith Government, especially the Africans, to believe that it is in our power, if we choose to exercise it, to do things for their benefit which we know perfectly well we cannot do. To that extent, we are inevitably deceiving them by continuing to make the claim of sovereignty.
The pretence has the doubly unfortunate effect of making us deceitful towards those who still trust us, and ridiculous to our opponents and the rest of the world. It would be more honest to abandon this pretence by a sort of unilateral disclaimer of sovereignty.
I could not go the whole way with what was said by the hon. Member for Islington, South-West (Mr. George Cunningham). Some of his hon. Friends did not support him either. My reason for not supporting the hon. Gentleman is that his proposal would simply renew false hopes, which would be bound to be disappointing. All I am suggesting for consideration is simply an acknowledgment of fact. It would not be a diplomatic recognition of the illegal Government. It would not confer approval on the illegal constitution. It would not, by itself, affect the policy of sanctions one way or the other. It could, indeed, be accompanied by a declaration that we 1306 would neither confer diplomatic recognition on the Rhodesian Government nor terminate sanctions until the requisite majorities at the United Nations were ready to agree. It would, quite simply, be an acceptance of what is already a fact which we have no power to alter.
I do not ask for a definitive answer tonight, but I hope that the Government will seriously consider this course before tabling similar orders in 12 months' time.
§ 8.47 p.m.
§ Mr. Frank Judd (Portsmouth, West)
I listened to the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Woodhouse) with great interest, as I am sure all of us did, because we know the wisdom and experience which he brings to these debates and the sincerity with which he advances his case. However, I am afraid that I find his view unnecessarily defeatist on this score, and I hope to be able to show why.
Several hon. Members have referred to the extremely interesting Africa Bureau report, with some detailed analysis, which is indispensable in the context of considering how we should move forward on this critical issue. One point that that report spelt out which interested me was that we had to decide whether we were basically involved in a policy of punitive sanctions or of economic warfare.
If one was simply concerned with punishing the Rhodesian régime for having had the insolence to rebel against the Crown, it would be possible to continue with a niggling range of sanctions which would produce no results but would continue to make the people of that country uncomfortable. If, on the other hand, one wanted to see a change in the situation to defeat the current political objectives of the régime, it would be necessary to accept that we were engaged in economic warfare. Logically, therefore, one must devise the best means possible for pursuing our political activity in that economic war.
There is a negative argument which is not altogether disreputable. That argument suggests that, if we achieve nothing else by sanctions, the prevention of still greater British economic involvement in southern Africa, based as it is on a social system of white supremacy, would he advantageous. The danger in Southern Africa, so far as it concerns this country—we are looking to our own enlightened 1307 long-term self-interest—is that as confrontation and polarisation develop we shall find ourselves still further entrenched on the wrong side, and we shall be compelled ultimately to take still more militant steps to defend our position of economic interest on the losing and wrong side. What is sad about debates on southern Africa in the House is that too often they are dominated by a very short-term outlook on the situation in that part of the world.
Those of us who speak for the case which I shall advance care for the white population in Rhodesia and in South Africa as much as any right hon. and hon. Gentleman opposite who claims to do so. It is we who are spelling out to the white minority in that part of the African continent the only basic on which they can have a secure future, which is to come to terms with the reality that they are a minority, and that the majority will in one way or another find its rightful place in the ordering of society in southern Africa.
I briefly take up one matter advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South-West (Mr. George Cunningham). I hope he has not already gone to the United Nations to advocate his case. I am sorry that he is not in his place, because he and I normally work closely together. However, I wish to dissociate myself from his argument about putting the case to the United Nations because, whether we put the responsibility for Rhodesia with the United Nations or retain it ourselves, the effectiveness of policies which are advocated and adopted depends upon this country's commitment. If we are not prepared to commit ourselves sufficiently while we retain responsibility, there is no reason to believe that the United Nations will somehow, in a vacuum, develop a sense of commitment and purpose which was previously lacking. We are seen historically, constitutionally and in every other way to be the Power primarily involved in Rhodesia, and the United Nations will continue to look to us to set the pace if it is given responsibility.
What I fear is that, while my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South-West is clearly absolutely sincere in his approach, there are others who would 1308 do it as the ultimate cynical act in the whole operation. Having failed to develop the will and the purpose ourselves, we should want to pass the blame historically to the United Nations for having failed to act as it should. Unless we are prepared to set the pace, I fear that, however honourable my hon. Friend's approach may be, collectively it could prove a most dishonourable and cynical approach to the handling of the situation.
I want to put some brief, specific questions to the Government. We know that it was the effect of sanctions, however incomplete that action may have been, that brought Mr. Smith to the negotiating table. We know that other more militant pressures are developing in southern Africa—they have been referred to in the debate; Mozambique is an example—which must be worrying the Smith régime. Therefore, in the interests of all the people in Rhodesia we desperately want to bring the Rhodesian Government to the table to reach a sensible solution in the interests of the population as a whole. We therefore need to intensify the pressure.
As I understand it, the case of the Government is that we cannot intensify the pressure. because we are not in control of the situation on the ground. What specific steps have the Government taken to strengthen the effectiveness of the Beira patrol? Which fellow members of the Commonwealth, let alone the United Nations, have we approached for support in manning the Beira patrol? Have we, since the change of Government in Malagasy, reapproached the new Government of that country and asked them to make RAF bases available in order to make air operations more effective in the context of that patrol?
What steps have we taken, within the United Nations, to devise a method whereby greater world-wide public attention can be focused on sanction-breaking, wherever it occurs, so that we can mobilise world public opinion? What specific representations in all the long chain of negotiations and discussions that have been going on about the European Economic Community and its future have been made to the existing and potential new members about how they could step up their degree of commitment and involvement in enforcing sanctions? Was 1309 this subject discussed at the Summit, and if not, why not?
Recognising that Portugal, for a host of reasons, finds her involvement in NATO of great political importance, what specific pressures have been put by the British Government to ram home to Portugal that we are not prepared to go on seeing a country which is a member of an alliance that theoretically exists to defend freedom and democracy deliberately and openly flouting sanctions policy and undermining what we are trying to do? What specific approaches have been made to South Africa at this juncture, because South Africa is anxious about the British membership of the European Community and the loss of Commonwealth Preference which she is at present enjoying? What steps are being taken to use this as a lever in bringing pressure to bear on South Africa?
As my hon. Friend the Member for Derby, North (Mr. Whitehead) put it, what are we saying to West Germany, not only in the European Economic Community context, but as a friendly Power, about her anxiety to become a member of the United Nations and the need to see her taking a more honourable and forceful line on sanctions? Japan is falling over backwards to establish warmer relationships with Britain. What specific representations did the Prime Minister make during his visit to Japan about the flagrant breach of sanctions by Japanese economic interests? Similarly, not in a generalised sense, because we have heard this repeated so often in debate, could the Government give us chapter and verse of the representations to the United States on its breaking of sanctions, the import of chrome and of the representations to France and to Switzerland, for example?
In answer to quite valid points by hon. Members opposite about those of us who appear sometimes to spend a good deal of effort trying to interpret what is happening in black Africa, we ought to spell out clearly a challenge to black Africa and we ought to say—all of us in the House—that we do not accept double standards by black African Powers in their evaluation of events in Africa. I, for one, would be willing to advocate that black African members of the Commonwealth should join with us in considering 1310 the expulsion of Uganda from the Commonwealth and the cutting off of aid. We ought to suggest to the Africans that they are in a position to take specific and effective action themselves to assist in strengthening sanctions.
The OAU could prepare a list of firms and economic interests dealing with Rhodesia and could ensure that member Governments of the OAU ceased dealings with such firms. They could also take positive steps, as the African Bureau suggested, to see how they could replace—for a country like Switzerland, for example—the exports now going from Rhodesia—meat and tobacco are examples—and fill that gap and thereby ensure that Switzerland did not have to suffer too badly.
As some of us have said since the beginning of this crisis, what we are debating basically over and over again when we face the Rhodesian issue is a matter of will. What totally fails to convince the world community is the argument that we could not do more when we have not tried to do more. Basically, no one could ever pretend that this country had ever mobilised the degree of priority necessary to make a sanctions policy completely effective.
In a debate like this it is fair to introduce one further argument. Have we seriously considered the simply frightening lesson for us and for the whole world community if the sanctions policy in Rhodesia does in the end peter out or fail? The lesson is that, short of resorting to force, the international community—and here our degree of commitment is critical—is incapable of mobilising sufficient pressure, of taking sufficiently strong action to deal with a very real challenge to international order when it occurs, and that we can therefore only in future either give in or resort to violence.
It is absolutely ludicrous to believe that with all the sophistication and all the technology at our disposal we can accept a situation in which a minority of one in 21 which happens to have political control at the moment—a section little more numerous than that of the population of the city part of which I have the honour to represent in the House, some 250,000—can challenge our authority, the authority of the EEC, of the Commonwealth and of the United Nations. If we 1311 do not watch it, we shall go down in history as the most feeble and ineffective bunch of British politicians the world has seen for generations.
§ 9.2 p.m.
§ Mr. Roger White (Gravesend)
It is sad that we should be having this debate. I believe that in the fullness of time men will look back to this generation and say what a tragedy it was that educated people in London and in Salisbury could not have reached a sensible solution to one of the most serious incidents in modern times.
I say at once that I have always been a very stern opponent of sanctions against Rhodesia, not because I agreed with UDI but for just the opposite reason. I believed passionately that sanctions would drive Southern Rhodesia into South Africa, into apartheid, and all that that meant. I believed that it was wrong to punish Rhodesians, whether black or white, for the sake of a few politicians. I believed that in the long term sanctions would fail.
Seven years have passed since the imposition of sanctions. Two years ago, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) returned to the Foreign Office and started what I consider to be the most sensible negotiations we have so far had. He brought back a certain respectability to the negotiations. The clash of personalities which unfortunately had hindered progress in those years was over, and we set the Pearce Commission to work. It was a great tragedy that that commission failed. I warned my right hon. Friend that in the event of our renewing sanctions this year following the failure of the Pearce Commission I would have to vote against my own Government.
That was the view I held until six weeks ago. Since then I have visited Rhodesia, and I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Middleton and Prestwich (Mr. Haselhurst) that the situation in Rhodesia is such that one can see the outward signs of affluence among the Europeans. There is no doubt that sanctions are being flouted. Every conceivable form of consumer goods is obtainable in the shops, and every type of continental motorcar is to be seen in the streets of Salisbury. The only cars from this country that I saw were a few 1312 clapped-out old horrors. That, of course, is the surface but unhappily, in my judgment, there is an underlying sinister feeling in Salisbury which I find disturbing.
A new generation has grown up. I was speaking to a 19-year-old student who said, "Of course, we have our President." He said that because a president was created in his time, and only a president created under the present Government of Rhodesia is understood by him and his colleagues. On the other side of the balance sheet, there is undoubtedly, as hon. Members have mentioned, the very considerable breakdown in the tobacco industry, the breakdown of the infrastructure and the consequent currency difficulties.
In the circumstances following the Pearce Commission, I gather from people to whom I have spoken in Rhodesia that there is a dialogue taking place between sensible people on both sides, both the European Rhodesians and representatives of the ANC. One of the points which has been made to me is that these talks are now very finely balanced and that if this country were suddenly to end sanctions—which I do not think it could—it would upset the negotiations which men of common sense are trying to conduct behind the scenes, and they might be wrecked, possibly for ever. In the minds of these people is not merely the question whether one is for or against sanctions but whether one is for or against a solution.
The solution, in the minds of people in Rhodesia, has to be found in Salisbury. It is felt that a dialogue has to start and has to continue in Salisbury. I am hopeful that my right hon. Friend will be able to come to the House before the next 12 months have elapsed and indicate that there has been a sign from Salisbury, from men of good will, whether they be white Rhodesians or black Rhodesians, that a sensible solution can be found.
I believe that the Government have the right to ask the House for support in continuing the sanctions. Much as it goes against the grain at times to retract one's words, I find myself in that position, tonight, having seen and spoken to people for whom I have a great regard. For those reasons I shall be in the Government Lobby tonight.
§ 9.8 p.m.
§ Mr. Alexander W. Lyon (York)
My hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd) has said much that I should have said. In any event, all of us who are regular attenders at these debates feel a little ennui in repeating what we have said before on these issues.
I have tried on several occasions to persuade the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary to be more positive in his approach to sanctions. I have not yet succeeded, and I doubt that I shall tonight. Therefore, I intend to concentrate on an area in which the right hon. Gentleman might see some room for manoeuvre—that is, in the individual cases, some of which have been mentioned by my right hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan).
I listened to the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Woodhouse), as I always do, with a good deal of interest. But I thought he was wrong in saying that there was no relationship between the new measures which the right hon. Gentleman announced today and the relief for people like the Chinamanos. It has long been the cry from hon. Members of the Government side that we may have responsibility for Southern Rhodesia but we have no power there. That is not quite correct. The régime wants to do a deal with us, and to do so it would be prepared to pay a price. It is, therefore, still within our capability to influence some of the things that go on in Rhodesia. One recognises the limitations, but there is still that influence open to us.
The Foreign Secretary has made certain amendments to the present scheme of sanctions in order to help a number of individuals—British citizens—who were affected by sanctions in a disadvantageous and possibly hurtful way. All of us feel a certain human sympathy for people caught up in these political affairs for no reason save that they happen to live on one side or other of the fence. But surely the Foreign Secretary could have used these concessions as a lever to humanise some of the actions which the Rhodesian Government have taken.
For example, the right hon. Gentleman could have made it the price of allowing a greater contribution to the elderly who are living in Rhodesia that Mr. Smith would allow the Chinamanos to come out of detention. If Mr. Smith and his régime 1314 still felt that the Chinamanos were a danger—no one who knows them really believes that—it could have been the price of these small concessions that they were allowed to come to this country. I know many people here who would be only too willing to welcome them and their children.
I remind the House of the position of Chinamanos. They were in detention for a considerable time—about five years, I think—before the Pearce Commission went out. They were released just before the Pearce Commission went out; Mrs. Chinamano in particular was heavily involved in the work of the ANC and Mr. Chinamano was on the executive. They were then put back into detention, and they have been in detention ever since. But the really inhuman feature of it is that the régime did absolutely nothing about the children of the Chinamanos, who were left in their home in one of the African townships outside Salisbury.
None of those children is over the age of 15. They are looked after by the eldest daughter, a 15-year-old girl. Inevitably their conduct while they have been in that position has gravely deteriorated, and all who know the family are grievously concerned about the effect upon those children of the prolonged separation from their parents. The régime now allows the youngest girl to go and stay with her parents in the compound—a prison compound—in which they are detained, and she may spend her school holidays there. Could anyone conceive of anything more inhuman than that?
When I was in Salisbury in February, I made representations not only about the Todds but about the Chinamanos to the Minister of Law and Order, but I fear that Mr. Lardner-Burke was not so sensitive on human matters as I hoped he might be, and he did not seem to think that it was any grave matter. The Foreign Secretary could have put some pressure upon him and his régime through the concessions which he has now freely and voluntarily given.
Abel Muzorewa is seriously ill. He wants to come out of Rhodesia in order to have attention which he cannot get inside Rhodesia. He wanted to go to the United States. If we are to give concessions for people to come out of Rhodesia to get medical attention here 1315 which they otherwise would have to get in South Africa, why cannot we say to the régime "First on the list will be Abel Muzorewa; he can come and have medical attention here"? After all, he is the man whom several hon. Members opposite have spoken of today as the responsible ANC leader who has entered into discussions with Lance Smith at the mysterious meetings arranged by Mr. Hutter. This seems to indicate that he has a particular cachet of responsibility which ought to be acknowledged in this country.
I urge that for Abel Muzorewa, for the Chinamanos and for the Garfield Todds we ought to be using the limited influence that we have in order to try to ameliorate their conditions in Rhodesia, and if their conditions cannot be ameliorated there they ought to be allowed to come to this country.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Mr. John Biggs-Davison (Chigwell)
I heard with sympathy, as I am sure did my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what the hon. Member for York (Mr. Alexander W. Lyon) has just said. But when the hon. Gentleman said rhetorically "Could one imagine anything more inhuman?" I wish that that were so and that there were no more inhuman things in Africa than that—but, alas, there are.
I opposed sanctions—so did a number of my hon. Friends—even before they were imposed. I thought we would have learned our lesson at the time of the first great UDI in 1776. I believe that Rhodesia—we have the learned opinion of the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget)—satisfies the international law and criteria for recognition as a State. I have persistently voted against sanctions and, having heard virtually every word of this debate, I see no reason to start voting for sanctions tonight.
I regret that my first speech in this new Session should be against the renewal of an order commended to the House by the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, but it was my right hon. Friend who said last year, on 10th November:… sanctions remain in force while we see whether agreement is possible.1316 We were asked to support my right hon. Friend in order that be couldgo to Salisbury with the best hope of reaching an honourable settlement"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 10th November, 1971; Vol. 825, c. 1090–1.]My hon. Friends and I with some misgivings responded to that appeal. My right hon. Friend, to his great credit and also to the credit of Mr. Ian Smith, reached that honourable settlement.
Then belatedly was sent out the Pearce Commission, and its report registered the success of ignorance and intimidation. I was in Rhodesia almost immediately after that fiasco. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Esher (Mr. Mather) who was there more recently, I detected among thoughtful African nationalists an uneasy feeling that by working as they did against the settlement they might have repeated the mistake made by ZAPU and ZANU in 1962 when Rhodesia received and the white electorate endorsed in a referendum the sort of constitution of which the Foreign Secretary spoke and to which the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) also referred when he used the expression "African control of the country within a reasonable time." I think my hon, Friend the Member for Esher found, as I found, more widespread than this feeling the illusion that Her Majesty's Government could intervene and even impose their will in Rhodesia and that if the settlement was refused the British would produce yet another constitution more attractive to African nationalist opinion.
My right hon. Friend rightly said that we have little influence and no power. He spoke of the tender shoots. There may or may not be grounds for hoping that there will be a movement or a manifestation of black African opinion in favour of some such terms as those already agreed between Mr. Smith and my right hon. Friend—a movement and a manifestation of opinion which might be said to satisfy the famous fifth principle. But I feel strongly that a continuance of sanctions is more likely to increase intransigence than to reduce it and it is more likely to delay than to bring about that understanding about the future of Rhodesia which must and can only be reached between Rhodesians.
1317 We hear much about bishops and from bishops, whether a Skelton or Muzorewa. We hear less in this House from clergy who are not found in bishops' palaces or in the committee rooms of political movements but who have spent most of their working lives among the Africans, out in mission fields where few Europeans are ever seen and the police State very seldom sends a policeman.
Father Arthur Lewis, the British-born Rector of Rusape and Chairman of the Rhodesia Christian Group, was recently in this country. The media of opinion did not take a great deal of interest in him but he met some members of the Press and told them:I tried to show that persecution is not Christian. I told meetings that the settlement which matters in Rhodesia is that between the black and white people.If the rest of the world would let us get on with it, I am sure that we can reach this kind of settlement.I have with me a letter from another missionary, Canon Boatwright, of St. James's Mission. He gave his view on the failure of the Pearce Commission. He said that the intimidation was such that if he had been among those who were being questioned collectively he would have shouted "No" with the rest. He went on to say:In the district of Nyamandhlovu the Commissioners did better; in spite of the time it consumed, each African was allowed to file in and say yes or no privately, and the result was that Nyamandhlova was one of the few places where there was a definite Yes response. That some Chiefs shouted No is a real indication of the intensity of the intimidation, so lightly passed over by the Commissioners.Then he spoke, as some hon. Members have spoken, of the undoubted effect of sanctions upon African advancement. He went on:Here at St. James' the failure to reach agreement leaves me soured. Our work here is chiefly educational—a Secondary school for African girls our main job—and I cannot raise funds for urgent and essential building development. For one thing we need a Laboratory for Physics and really urgently; but all appeals for the necessary £6,000 now fall on deaf ears. The country needs African women graduates and we cannot train them. A settlement would have made the money available, people would have responded.I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, if he does not mind my congratulating him, on the measures he has 1318 announced to alleviate the lot of innocent victims of the economic war against Rhodesia. They are belated but nevertheless welcome. I liked what he said about double standards—a phrase very much his own.
There is a Motion on the Order Paper to the effect that there should be no sanctions against Rhodesia whilst there are no sanctions against Uganda. I sympathise but do not agree. I do not want sanctions at all. Sanctions are always a failure. I want to ask my right hon. Friend a question. Is Uganda in the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee? Do we allow Uganda to sit in the Commonwealth Sanctions Committee and thus to consider these measures for the prosecution of the economic war against Rhodesia? If so, I think that would be going a little far.
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
I was asking for an answer from the Government, who might be more authoritative. The double standards are not just reprehensible but they have accounted for a change of opinion in this country. Of course there is a change of opinion in Africa as well. The double standards, whether it be in the Commonwealth or in the United Nations, in the face of one million dead in the Congo—President Kasavubu's own figure—the bestialities in Zanzibar and Burundi, the personal sadism of President Bokassa, who is a friend of General Amin, the Ugandan pogroms themselves, the welcome to the Ugandan team and the exclusion of the Rhodesian team from the Olympics—all these have had a profound effect upon public opinion about the sanctions against Rhodesia.
It is sometimes forgotten that there is an Asian community in Rhodesia, that it is prosperous and at peace. I well remember that in 1968, when we experienced the first stirring of what is likely to be the total exclusion in the long run of Asians from East African territories, an Indian leader in this country wrote to the Daily Telegraph and asked whether it would not be possible for Asians from East Africa to go to Rhodesia where their kith and kin—if I may be pardoned that expression—are well treated.
Sanctions have little or no support in our constituencies today. People do not 1319 understand the point of forfeiting what had been virtually a captive market. The trade with black Africa, which might suffer if we do not continue sanctions, was mentioned. It is about equal in money terms to our trade with Southern Africa. But in Southern Africa they are old-fashioned enough to buy our goods with their own money and that makes a difference. I was speaking only yesterday to a well-informed friend who had arrived from Kenya. I asked him what would happen in that country if we did not renew the order. He said there would be a little shouting but it would all be over with the shouting. Let us not be afraid of world opinion and abstractions like that which usually boil down to anti-British, anti-European and anti-Western feeling. Fear is a bad counsellor for Her Majesty's Ministers. The Government's fears are figments and I ask them to bring down the curtain on this tedious and futile farce.
§ 9.27 p.m.
§ Mr. Ivor Richard (Barons Court) rose—
§ Mr. Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
On a point of order. I understood, Mr. Speaker, that we were to be allowed to go on debating until 11.30 p.m. according to the rules. Now that the Opposition Front Bench has been called to begin its speech, does that mean that the Question will not be put until the end of the allotted time, or will it be put after the Front Benches have finished?
§ Mr. Richard
It seemed appropriate, in view of the length of the debate on the orders so far that at this time the too Front Benches should say something. This is the longest debate on any renewal of sanctions order that we have had since 1965. At one stage the length of the debate was less than an hour and the longest debate until today was four hours and 23 minutes. Those who sat through most of the debate today, therefore, would agree that it has been a much better debate than the usual one on the renewal of the order.
For two reasons it has also been much more important. There seems to have 1320 been a general feeling in the House that this is perhaps an important year in which to try to reassess the whole purpose of sanctions policy and of our Rhodesian policy. I was struck in that respect—although, if he will forgive me for saying so, I did not agree with it—by the somewhat schizophrenic speech of the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Sir Gilbert Longden). He struck me at one and the same time as saying that he did not like sanctions and did not believe in the Government's policy, but because he was asked to do so by the Foreign Secretary he would vote with the rest of his party in accordance with the Whips. That was political schizophrenia of a high order delivered with the elegance of manner we have come to associate with the hon. Member and I look forward to his next exercise in this fine art of political balancing.
I want to try to look coldly and objectively at the whole subject of sanctions, particularly at whether they are succeeding, where we want to go and whether we are going there fast enough or whether we are going in the wrong direction, as various hon. Members opposite have sought to suggest. We have two new Ministers in the Foreign Office, and if it is not thought presumptuous, on behalf of the Opposition I welcome them to their new offices. The Minister of State who is to reply is obviously the more appropriate Minister to do so. The right hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery), also now a Minister of State, made speeches on Rhodesia that I remember well. I took the trouble this afternoon to look up what he said in 1965 at the time of UDI, when his enthusiasm for the policy of sanctions was less than obvious. He saidI gravely doubt that economic sanctions would achieve the result which the Government have in mind. … I am convinced that there is no principle at stake. But I agree that there are great interests involved and that the Government have a right to take powers to try to defend these interests."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 15th November, 1965; Vol. 720, c. 716–18.]I trust that the Foreign Secretary will keep the right hon. Gentleman a very long way away from southern African affairs. To do otherwise, in view of his record and what he has said about Rhodesia, would be a gratuitous and unwarranted insult to the House and, much 1321 more important, to the millions of Africans who are still basically in our trust in Rhodesia.
§ Mr. Richard
Perhaps. My hon. Friend has much more immediate experience than I have of the right hon. Gentleman. On the face of it, for him to have anything to do with Rhodesia now would be like appointing one of the train robbers while he was serving his 30-year sentence for robbery to advise British Rail on the measures it should take to ensure the security of its high-value packages.
The Foreign Secretary's speech this afternoon could hardly be classed as robust or forthright. He was extraordinarily apologetic, both for the objectives of his policy and for the sanctions which he was telling the House, particularly hon. Members on his own side, it was necessary to pass into law again to put that policy into effect. It is really a policy of "have faith in me", and judging by the speech of the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West it seems to have convinced that hon. Gentleman. It may convince some Conservative back benchers, but it is hardly a precise policy and certainly in our view it is neither inspiring nor one in which we have a great deal of confidence.
What is the objective of our policy of sanctions? What is it all about? After some seven years in which the order has been renewed successively, and sanctions have been strengthened, what are we still trying to achieve? It can be put very shortly: by our policy of sanctions we are trying to bring about, by a series of economic pressures comprehensively applied, a return to legality in Rhodesia.
It is important that we should be clear what we are trying to achieve by the policy. It follows from what I have said that as all parties in the House are agreed on the six principles as a prerequisite of independence or a return to legality, the objective of our policy of sanctions must be either to help establish a Rhodesian Government which is independent and in accordance with those six principles or to help re-establish a non-independent Rhodesia, one in which Britain's authority 1322 has, even if only for a short time, been reasserted, but one to which the United Kingdom would be prepared to grant independence in a measureable, short time. In other words, the objective of sanctions is to produce a negotiating position.
If I required support for that proposition it would be found in the speech of the noble Lord the Marquess of Lothian, then Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, in another place on 2nd December, 1971. I ask the House to note these words, because I understand that they were meant to be, and were certainly taken to be, a definitive statement of Government policy. Talking then of the pre-Pearce Commission, he said:If the test of acceptability shows that the Rhodesian people as a whole approve the proposals, if the Rhodesians accept the requisite changes to the Constitution and Parliament then approves the granting of independence,"—in other words those are the three prerequisites spelt out and categorised by the noble Lord—a new situation will have been created, paving the way"—I ask the House to note that, particularly hon. Members opposite who are critical of Government policy, for this is what Government policy is—to the termination of sanctions. It will be at that point, but not until then—and we have certainly not got to that point at the moment—that a new situation will have arisen."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 2nd December, 1971; Vol. 326, c. 492–3.]If words mean anything, even to the present Government, what the noble Lord is there saying is that sanctions are to be maintained until reaching that new situation which he has spelled out as meaning one in which a test of acceptability has been approved by the Rhodesian people as a whole, with the Rhodesian Government accepting the changes to the constitution and Parliament approving it. Not until then are sanctions to be lifted.
The only question for us to answer is whether sanctions are being helpful or unhelpful in producing a climate in which such negotiations can take place and in which they might be successful. To put it the other way, it is whether the lifting of sanctions now would be more or less likely to produce that climate. We have 1323 openly to ask ourselves two questions which flow from that proposition. Are they being effective? If they are, can they be improved? The House should remind itself in political terms of how effective sanctions have so far been.
It is worth repeating what the main, positive effects have been. First, they have forced the Rhodesian régime to negotiate with Great Britain. Secondly, they have denied an outright political victory to that régime. Thirdly, they have kept Rhodesia in a state of diplomatice isolation and they have thereby maintained the international unacceptability of the present Rhodesian Government and have strengthened internal black and white opposition to the régime. Fourthly, they have forced Rhodesia to struggle for economic survival at an ever-increasing cost. Fifthly, and I detect, as did the Foreign Secretary, some signs of this in the present situation in Rhodesia, they have now begun to force the régime into a greater degree of direct contact with the African National Council.
Those five political effects are substantial on any view of the matter. I do not believe that, had sanctions not been imposed in 1965, or, to put it more crudely, had the policy of the right hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion been followed, the present Rhodesian Government would in any meaningful sense still be in negotiation with the United Kingdom Government. They would have taken their independence, stolen it and kept it. Any efforts we made to try to bring about a return to legality would have been that much more difficult. If those are the political effects of sanctions, what have been the economic effects?
We heard a great deal today from various hon. Members on both sides who have recently been in Rhodesia about how the shops are full, how Salisbury looks contented, how there are certain consumer goods difficulties, but nothing of any major substance. Where we are considering renewal of an order of this sort, we should look a little below the surface and see what is the true position.
What do we know about the economic effectiveness of sanctions? We know that in 1965 the Rhodesian economy was beginning to come out of a prolonged recession which had marked the last years of the Central African Federation. The 1324 year 1965 saw an upturn in agriculture. The Rhodesians were still resting on two primary products, namely, mining and cash crops. There is no doubt that the imposition of sanctions has helped to diversify the economic base in Rhodesia with more secondary and tertiary industries.
Where can we see the effects of the sanctions which we have been imposing in the last seven years? First, they are to be seen in foreign exchange—the inability of the present Rhodesian Government to raise money openly in world markets. This has put not only their current account but their capital account under great strain. The most important effect at the moment has been to deny Rhodesia the chance to replace obsolete machinery. I believe that no less than 70 per cent. of the tractors now being used in Rhodesia are more than seven years old. Before UDI they were being replaced at the rate of 13 per cent. per annum. They are now being replaced at the rate of 4 per cent. per annum.
In 1969, 30,000 working hours were lost through tractors breaking down. Air Rhodesia cannot replace its obsolete Viscounts with Boeing 737s, while Rhodesia Railways are experiencing great difficulty replacing stock. Imports and exports, seven years after UDI, are at about the same level as before—in fact, exports have fallen. Tobacco production has declined by about 50 per cent., and the price of tobacco has gone down by no less than a third since UDI; 300 million lbs of tobacco have been stockpiled, and are begining to deteriorate. A large proportion of Rhodesian exports are accounted for by minerals.
Agriculture has not even yet regained its 1965 peak position. According to the National Farmers' Union Survey of Rhodesia, published in 1971, no less than 60 per cent. of all farmers in Rhodesia in 1970 either suffered an overall loss, or were unable to cover their combined operational and fixed costs. When I hear, against a background of that type of economic debility, the cry go up from right hon. and hon. Members opposite that sanctions are ineffective, I am bound to observe that they have not bothered to study the figures.
Can sanctions be made more effective? It is important that the House should be 1325 blunt and open on this issue. Sanctions are clearly being evaded. The House is indebted to the hon. Member for South Angus (Mr. Bruce-Gardyne) for the interesting answers that he extracted from the Foreign Secretary in June. For example, it was revealed that the EEC countries imported more tobacco from Mozambique than that country in fact grows, and that Japan imported 710,000 tons of chrome ore from South Africa, although South Africa exported only 275,000 tons to Japan.
We also discovered that West Germany imported 55,000 kilograms of chrome from South Africa, although that country exported only 39,000 kilograms to West Germany. France apparently exported 25 million dollars-worth of cars to South Africa, although South Africa imported only 9 million dollars-worth from France. It is clear from a mere glance at those figures that sanctions evasion has taken place, sanctions evasion, it is sad to report, by those countries which are supposed to be our major allies in world politics.
§ Mr. Peter Tapsell (Horncastle)
Another interpretation of those figures is that the import and export figures of other countries are as inefficient and inaccurate as our own.
§ Mr. Richard
Indeed. However, I think that it is the same country in each case which is making the same mistake in relation to two different countries. Thus, statistically, the hon. Gentleman's point is not as valid as it may seem.
Nevertheless, it is clear that sanctions evasions have been and are taking place. Given that background, it must now be asked whether that is something which must be accepted or whether it is something about which a great deal may be done.
I was disappointed this afternoon about that part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech which dealt with sanctions evasions. The African Bureau report set out no fewer than 58 different proposals whereby sanctions could be strengthened. I cite only two. One was that we should consider legislation whereby all goods produced in Rhodesia prima facie belonged to Great Britain, so that if goods were exported from Rhodesia in violation of a United Nations sanction policy, as 1326 a nation we would be able to follow them and take civil action against the individual, or the country, or company into whose hands they eventually came. It is perfectly feasible to set up a system of international inspection of goods which it is thought might have originated from Rhodesia. It would have to be done at an international level and it could not be done by us alone.
Another course is to set up a properly staffed and financed international secretariat to look at sanctions-breaking within the United Nations itself. All these are suggestions which are not original on our part. They are all set out in great detail in the American Bureau report, and while I should not have thought that the Foreign Secretary, or the noble Lord, could say that he accepted any of these proposals, at least I would have looked for a greater willingness on the Government's part, when faced with known examples of sanctions-breaking, to stop those loopholes. I would have expected leverage to have been used and to have been used to much greater effect on our proposed EEC partners. I would have expected much greater pressure not only covertly, but openly, on the United States Government to deal with the Byrd Amendment and the importation of chrome.
Therefore, the Opposition do not accept that sanctions have not been effective in the past, or that they would not be effective in the future; nor do we accept that they could not be made more effective.
Once again we find ourselves in November passing the sanctions order. I have a suspicion that next November yet again the sanctions order will be brought before the House by whichever party is in power. I have no doubt that if the Foreign Secretary is the Foreign Secretary then, he will be saying as he said last November and the November before, "Trust me: I am going to talk to Mr. Smith". Those hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who sit behind him have been trusting him for three years, and each year we pass sanctions orders.
§ 9.47 p.m.
§ The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Lord Balniel)
The hon. and learned Member for Barons 1327 Court (Mr. Richard) said that this has been the longest debate on sanctions which he remembers. Certainly those who have attended it will say that it has been one of the most interesting. I have listened with great interest to the contributions made by almost every Member from both sides of the House.
Most of the contributions have been constructive and knowledgeable, but sometimes I have not been able to agree with all the arguments. For instance, the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Sir Gilbert Longden) deployed extremely effectively his argument differing from that of the Government. He appealed most persuasively to the House against the possibility of a Division taking place tonight. The same is true of the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Torquay (Sir F. Bennett). who said that if there were to be a Division he would abstain. He made a most sincere, knowledgeable and responsible speech, emphasising a point which I shall be making. about the possibility of internal initiatives between the African National Council and the Rhodesian Front bearing fruit.
I shall try to answer the questions which have been raised in the debate, but I should like to make a general point by reiterating what has been said by my light hon. Friend the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary about our overall objective. It is to achieve a settlement and by legislation in this House to bring Rhodesia legally into the comity of nations. The goal of a legal, recognised, independent stature, sought after and achieved by so many nations in recent decades, is the goal which has been echoed, I believe, by every speaker in the debate, however strongly he might have disagreed on the issue of sanctions.
It is possible that this goal is beyond our reach. But every lesson of history, certainly the history of this country, teaches us that if our objective is honourable, if there is even a flicker of hope, we should be resolute and should go on with patience and a driving persistence to reach the goal. So much might seem distasteful and wearisome but our objective of a settlement is honourable and the prize is enormously worthwhile, which is that life for all races in Rhodesia should be worth living in terms 1328 of political freedom and opportunity and legality, and in terms of economic wellbeing. Also, it is a prize which we are trying to win not for ourselves but for the Rhodesians.
What is needed at the moment is not the making of bombastic gestures such as the extending of sanctions which could not be effectively implemented. Nor is it, as was reiterated so often in the debate, at present a change of policy—dropping sanctions—which would almost certainly cause turmoil and almost inevitably put an end to the discussions on racial co-operation which, for the first time in recent years, are just beginning.
What is needed here in this country is a recognition of a climate of opinion inside Rhodesia. What is needed there is a period of calm reflection and discussion about the future of the Rhodesian communities and their economic and political well-being, following on the decision of the Pearce Commission. The importance of a calm discussion in Rhodesia at this time is very great indeed.
After the Pearce Commission had decided that, in its opinion, the people of Rhodesia as a whole did not regard the proposals for a settlement as acceptable, Her Majesty's Government rightly left the proposals on the table, just as the previous Government had left on the table the proposals made during the "Tiger" and "Fearless" talks. Her Majesty's Government asked for a period of reflection and discussion and undertook to maintain the status quo. The Government explained at that time that there was a grave danger of losing a decisive opportunity of improving the prospects of Rhodesia as a whole. The judgment which was expressed by my right hon. Friend was sound then and it is completely valid today.
My right hon. Friend explained that as a country we have done almost everything we can to assist and that now the efforts of compromise, discussion and understanding must come from within Rhodesia itself. What was needed after the Pearce Commission and what is needed now is a period of internal reflection by the communities in Rhodesia itself, a period of internal discussion which not long ago seemed to be almost beyond reach but which is now just beginning.
1329 After the Pearce Commission had reported there was a widespread belief, I think, throughout the House that Europeans would move sharply towards a society based on a greater segregation of the races. indeed some steps—for instance, the new liquor laws which restrict the rights of Africans to drink at certain hours in the European areas—are pointers to the way in which matters could develop.
§ Lord Balniel
Have developed; but they are pointers also to the way in which matters could develop.
There is still, I believe, a recognition amongst the majority of Europeans that only a settlement can solve the problems which flow from Rhodesia's present isolation and economic situation. That was made clear at the Rhodesian Front conference in September. Mr. Smith argued for continuing the search for a settlement on economic and security grounds, and he received general support. Among those in power at present in Rhodesia there is still a will to find a settlement, but the dangers of a more extreme view, of a greater segregation, are very real.
On the African side also there are signs that the need for a settlement is widely felt. There has been no prolonged rejoicing amongst the Africans at the verdict of the Pearce Commission. The African National Council has tried to diminish European fears about its objectives. The policy statements of the African National Council have emphasised its desire to end the political deadlock. As the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel) said, the African National Council is perpared to take the proposals as a working document, and he also said that both it and the Chiefs are speaking of seeking a just and honourable settlement.
Some people in this country often under-estimate the remarkable degree of racial good will which exists in Rhodesia, a good will which we should like to see gradually developing into multiracial co-operation leading to a settlement. For instance, the hon. Member for Roxburgh, 1330 Selkirk and Peebles, who has just returned from Rhodesia, and who, I think, is now a prohibited immigrant, said:I expected much more racial tension and bitterness than exists. There is still abundant goodwill between the races and the situation is definitely rescuable".He might be over-optimistic, but in our considerations of sanctions we must be extremely careful not to take any action tonight which will make it more difficult for the moderates in Rhodesia to continue to wield influence.
We must take into account what is going on in Rhodesia today. It would not, I think, be right to drop sanctions now. If that was done, unaccompanied by any alternative proposals for the solution of the present deadlock in Rhodesia, it would mean abandoning our hopes at the moment when there were the first real signs of a dialogue between the races in Rhodesia developing in the right direction. My hon. Friend the Member for Middleton and Prestwich (Mr. Haselhurst), who has also just returned from Rhodesia, rightly placed great emphasis on new bilateral discussions taking place between the Africans and representatives of Mr. Smith.
I want to comment on the speech made by the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). He referred to the intensification of sanctions and adding new sanctions. As to adding and intensifying sanctions, I see no advantage in that. Let other countries implement existing sanctions properly, as we do. Let us not add further measures to be flouted. I should like the right hon. Gentleman to consider the words of Lord Caradon. I believe that they will carry weight with him. Lord Caradon said:Each measure we decide should and must be capable of effective implementation. We must resist the temptation to take decisions which can easily be flouted or circumvented. Where we have not adopted proposals put to us, some of them superficially attractive, it was because they did not stand up to the test of effectiveness … I believe we owe it to them—he was talking about the Africans in Rhodesia—not to raise hopes …"—
§ It being Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.