§ 4.18 p.m.
§ Debate resumed.
§ LORD GARDINER rose to move, as an Amendment to the Motion, to leave out all the words after "House" and insert: "declines to approve Her Majesty's Government's proposals for the settlement of the Rhodesian dispute because they do not fully meet the requirements of the Five Principles."
§ The noble and learned Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move the Amendment standing in my name on the Order Paper. As your Lordships know, there are many views about Rhodesia. There are those who think that we ought to have used force; there are those who think that we ought to have recognised the Smith regime as the Government of Rhodesia; there are those who think we should never have imposed sanctions; there are those who think that, even now, there should be no independence before majority rule. That last view is very much the view of the Commonwealth and at the United Nations. None of these is the view of the present Government, nor 303 were they the views of the last Government. Therefore when we heard and were told that the Foreign Secretary was going to Salisbury, we naturally accepted that, because our view has always been that this is a problem which should be settled, if possible, by amicable negotiation on the basis of the Five Principles.
Accordingly, when the Statement was made on November 9 that the Foreign Secretary was going to Rhodesia, my noble friend Lord Shepherd said (column 258 of the OFFICIAL REPORT):
I would say at the outset that we on this side of the House support and welcome the decision made by the Foreign and Common wealth Secretary to visit Rhodesia to see whether a satisfactory settlement can be arrived at and whether Rhodesia can quickly return to legality.
At the end he said:
… I certainly recommend that we do not say anything tomorrow that would in any way make the task of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary more difficult.
On the following day I said, at column 384:
I agree with the Motion before the House, and I welcome the proposed visit by the right honourable gentleman the Foreign Secretary to Salisbury.
And, after further observations, I said:
…it has of course always been the view of the Opposition, as it was when they were in Government, that this difficult Rhodesian problem was to be settled, if at all, by negotiation on the basis of the Five Principles. I believe the Foreign Secretary to be a man of integrity. He has always maintained his adherence to the Five Principles since, I think, the end of 1963 or the beginning of 1964, and I, for one, am not prepared to believe that he does not mean exactly what he has said.
After some further observations, I ended:
…subject to those observations, this action, as I have said, accords with the policy of the Opposition, which was their policy in Government. As everyone knows, we made repeated attempts to do everything we could to secure a settlement on the basis of the Five Principles. This, I am sure, is the right course to take, and it is for those reasons that I support the Motion and welcome this proposed visit.
§ I hope the House will think that that was a proper attitude to take, and it is in that spirit that I wish to address some observations to your Lordships this afternoon.
We made one request. On Thursday last, my noble friend Lord Shepherd said, at col.1169 of the OFFICIAL REPORT:
I presume that this will be on a Motion to' take note of' the settlement proposals and not on a Motion for approval, because there are many questions that will have to be asked and answered, and I suspect that to obtain those answers will be very difficult in the course of a normal debate.
§ The noble Earl the Leader of the House was good enough to say that due con sideration would he given to that pro posal, but in fact it was publicly announced within an hour that there was to be no "take note" debate, but one for approval. That means, at least in my view, that this is one of the most important debates, and one of the most important decisions to be taken by this House which I have heard since I have been a Member of this House, because we, and we alone, are responsible for 5¼ million Africans and 240.000 Europeans in the Colony of Rhodesia; and what happens to them in the future will now depend, if the Motion is accepted and if the Royal Commission make an affirmative report, on the decision arrived at by Parliament on this Motion.
My Lords. I wonder whether I might interrupt. I apologise for breaking into the noble and learned Lord's speech at this early stage, but he referred to what I said last week, that I would take due note of the suggestion put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and then he referred to a public announcement. I am not aware of the public announcement the noble and learned Lord is referring to. All I would assure him of is that I did take due note of the suggestion put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd. No decision was taken, certainly within an hour, that we should ask your Lordships to approve this; it was taken much later, and after very careful consideration, and, if I may say so, in the light of the consideration that it was my own feeling and that of my colleagues that it was putting the Rhodesian people in an impossible situation if they were going to be asked, as it were, to submit themselves to the test of acceptability or at least to submit these proposals to the test of their acceptability, if they did not know that they were acceptable to the British Parliament.
§ LORD GARDINER
My Lords, I entirely accept that it was for the Government to decide; as for the rest, I accept what the noble Earl says, and I may perhaps return to it later.
305 The question alone to which I desire to address my observations is whether these proposals do in fact comply with the Five Principles. It will be my submission that they do not in fact comply with any of them. I shall leave to others the question, what, if that is so, is the course which we should take. The Five Principles, which were first enunciated I think in 1964 by the present Foreign Secretary, of course related entirely to the 1961 Constitution:1 The principle and intention of unimpeded progress to majority rule, already enshrined in the 1961 Constitution, would have to be maintained and guaranteed.No one questions for a moment that the 1961 Constitution was one leading to majority rule. The estimate of Sir Edgar Whitehead when he introduced it at the United Nations in 1962 was that it would mean majority rule in 1975.2 There would … have to be guarantees against retrogressive amendment of the Constitution.What Constitution? The 1961 Constitution, of course.3 There would have to be immediate improvement in the political status of the African population.Improvement in comparison with what? Improvement, of course, in comparison with their political status under the 1961 Constitution. And, my Lords, this is why, of course, throughout our negotiations the only basis of negotiation—and this covers those negotiations on the "Tiger" and those on "Fearless"—was what changes should be made in the 1961 Constitution to fit it for an independent Constitution and to embrace features which we felt to be essential, and hoped that the Salisbury regime would agree to.
In all our discussions there was only one time when we seemed to be making no headway, and we said to Mr. Smith (this is all recorded in the documents), "Shall we break away from the 1961 Constitution and try to think out a new Constitution? There are, after all, experts in Constitutions. We could get experienced statesmen from our old dominions who have different kinds of Constitutions. They could go to Rhodesia." We even offered to consider an Act of Union of United Kingdom and Rhodesia. But Mr. Smith said, No; he would not depart at all from the basic 1961 Constitution as the basis of the discussions. He said, "If we once 306 leave that it will take a couple of years before we arrive at anything else. "This was why, throughout, our discussions were all based on the 1961 Constitution.
The main feature and the whole basis of the proposals before the House—and this does not seem to me to be wholly appreciated even by some of the Press comments—is that the 1961 Constitution is to be thrown overboard entirely and that the Constitution on which there is to be a new and sovereign State of Rhodesia is to be the 1969 Constitution with certain amendments to be made to it. This therefore is the basic document. As your Lordships know—and this is perhaps partly coming back to what the noble Earl has just said; this is not a complaint—nobody, naturally, knew anything about the proposed terms of settlement until Thursday. We did not receive the White Paper until Friday. This meant that nobody who lived out of London and had not made special arrangements would receive it until Monday.
I should like here to record my gratitude to our officials of the Printed Paper Office who are always so helpful and able to provide almost any document at a moment's notice. I am quite sure it was not their fault that they were quite unable on Monday to supply me with a copy of the basic document, which is the 1969 Constitution. I should like to thank, too, the Librarian and his staff, who also of course can draw on all the resources of the House of Commons Library. At sometime on Monday evening they produced a document called Proposals for a New Constitution; but it turned out that this was a document that Mr. Smith had used for the purposes of a General Election and was not the 1969 Constitution, which was not in fact enacted until March 2,1970. Furthermore, I should like to thank, too, the combined staffs of the Lord Chancellor's Department and the Foreign Office, who late on Monday night did produce one copy of the basic document—the 1969 Constitution. But, unfortunately, it then transpired that the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor did not have a copy. I forebore to ask him how he arrived at the conclusion that this was the right Constitution to give Rhodesia, but naturally he had precedence, and it was not until yesterday at midday that I was able to obtain a copy of this basic document.
307 Now, my Lords, if I may come to the First Principle, under this Constitution the Senate has 10 Europeans, 10 paid Chiefs and three Members appointed by the President, and that is all. If—as with the 1961 Constitution—this Constitution is leading to majority rule, the question one then asks is, "When?" Of course it is quite impossible for anybody to name the year. We always refused to do so. Obviously, it depends upon a number of hypotheses and imponderables. At the same time, if it is to be meaningful at all we must be clear in our minds as to what is the sort of time scale. Here, the estimate of the times is, I think, between 30 and 50 years. I believe that the noble Lord, Lord Alport, who knows Rhodesia so well, has on the wireless estimated that it is improbable that there would ever be majority rule under these proposals. Professor Palley, herself a Rhodesian, and I think generally recognised as being quite familiar with these intricacies, has, as I dare say your Lord ships observed from her article in the Sunday Times, taken considerable trouble to take first all those hypotheses most favourable to early African rule. This depends, of course, upon there being a big sweep forward in African education and relatively small white immigration in the years to come; and then, taking the alternative hypotheses, the conclusion at which she has arrived is that on the view most favourable to African majority rule it would not come, under these proposals, for 64 years and possibly not for 100 years.
My first question is this: Do the Government think that Professor Palley has left out any material qualification, and if so, what; and do they quarrel with her conclusions, and if so, why? I know that there is to be no other Government speaker to-day. It is my submission that these proposals are extraordinarily complex, extremely difficult to under stand; they need a lot of elucidation. The noble Lord, Lord Goodman, is to speak quite early in the debate. As there is to be no other Government speaker to-day, and while recognising that he is not the Government (although I think he is more or less everything else!) I am sure it would be of great help to the House if he, with his great knowledge of every 308 detail of this matter, could answer to-day the few questions which I intend to raise.
If the time scale which Professor Palley has suggested is anything like right, how realistic is it to attempt to make a law or constitution under which there can be no African majority rule for 64 years? Is not one of the few certain things in life the fact that ever since the history of the world began the rate of change has continually increased, and never more so than in the last 50 years? When I ask those of my friends who know South Africa much better than I do how long they think apartheid will last, they reply, pretty generally in agreement, "It will last for at least 10 years; it will not last for 20 years". Does anybody suppose that in 64 years Nigeria will not have nuclear weapons? If that is the sort of time scale, are we not in fact being completely illogical in thinking that this is remotely like the unimpeded progress to majority rule which was already enshrined in the 1961 Constitution, being maintained or guaranteed?
As The Times put it in a leading article on November 26, speaking of the proposed voting qualifications:The 1969 Constitution makes provision for a built-in review of these qualifications in relation to price and income levels…This is a crucial point which needs investigation.I find that difficult to check. Perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, would like to say a word about it.
Something else that I have not followed is this: The proposals in the Constitution seem to me to be divisive, both between the directly elected Africans who are the educated African politicians and the relatively uneducated chiefs. But why is it also divisive as between—if I have understood it correctly—Mashona land and Matabeleland, each of which has the same number of representatives, although Mashonaland has 69 per cent. of the population of both tribes and Matabeleland has only 31 per cent.? Of course, the great difficulty is the old question of the Chiefs, and here again as The Times said:While the first two extra African seats might be representative in some sense, the second two, which would go to the Chiefs' and Councillors' Electoral College, a body of only about 1,500, would produce, in most people's view, stooges of the establishment.309 Then, if I may raise a simple point, would your Lordships be good enough to look at page 19 of the White Paper. The question I asked myself was: will African women be qualified to vote? I was interested merely because I remember that we raised this matter twice with Mr. Smith, and it is all in the documents. On the first occasion he said that he and his colleagues did not think it would be suitable for African women to vote, and on the second occasion he said that they had reconsidered it and it would not be a sticking point. So I looked at page 19, at the African lower roll qualifications, and I asked myself whether it included women. It does not say any thing about the nature of the people concerned under paragraphs (a) and (b), except as to their incomes and capital. Then paragraph (c) says: "Persons over 30 years of age…" I ask this question: Are women "persons"? One might say, Well, as you have the document there, however late you got it, you must be able to tell because surely there must be a definition section in the 1969 Constitution". The answer is that there is a definition section—I think it is Section 91. This is a long Act with several Schedules, but it contains no definition of the word "person".
It transpired on further inquiry that the present qualifications are not set out in the 1969 Constitution; they are set out in what is called the "Rhodesian Electoral Law" of 1969. Visits to the Printed Paper Office, the Library and the Lord Chancellor's Office did not pro duce any copy of that document; but the Foreign Office have again been kind and at 12.16 p.m. to-day I received a copy. It contains 194 sections and four Schedules, and although I am fairly used to reading Acts of Parliament the Opposition are of course in difficulty when the Government rely so much on their basic majority that they do not give Members of your Lordships' House access to the documents, without which it is quite impossible to understand these proposals. Having looked at this I rather think that women are eligible, but perhaps the noble Lord would confirm that.
There is a further point which has been raised in, I think, the Observer as to what really happens when parity is reached, and it is a matter I do not 310 quite follow myself. What they say is this. After pointing out that there will never be more than a majority of 10 Africans altogether, and that therefore about half will in perpetuity represent 5,250,000 Africans and the other half a quarter of a million Europeans, they say:Nor is this the only bad feature of what is proposed. At the point where parity is eventually—if ever—reached, the Government of the day will be allowed to appoint a Com mission to determine whether any alternative arrangement to majority rule may he accept able to the country as a whole. One of the alternatives the Commission is specifically authorised to consider is whether the general desire of the country is to remain permanently at parity—the present policy of the Rhodesian Front.If that is right, this is not a guarantee of majority rule in the sense in which the 1961 Constitution was.
Finally, if I may adopt the words of the leading article in the Guardian, I would agree with them that:The terms provide for a new electoral roll with higher income and educational qualifications to be open to African voters, but of every four M.Ps. to which their numbers entitle these higher African voters, two will in fact be in effect Government nominees. Only when parity is achieved…can all the African seats become directly elected. To claim that this is unimpeded progress towards majority rule is to alter the meaning of words. The Government nominees are by definition an impedance because they stand to lose their income if they vote against the Government.I must say that it seems to me that that is right, and that it is impossible to say that under these proposals the unimpeded progress to majority rule which was enshrined in the 1961 Constitution has been maintained or guaranteed.
The Second Principle is that there would also have to be guarantees against retrogressive amendment of the Constitution. May I remind your Lordships here of what the guarantees were under the 1961 Constitution? Apart from the special majority which had to be obtained, the entrenched clauses in the Constitution could not be changed except in two events: first, that a referendum was conducted among all and each of the four races—that is to say, the European community, the African community, the Asian community and the coloured community; and I suppose that in this sort of country the European men will always 311 feel some responsibility for the coloured community—and all four had to approve. The only alternative was if the British Government approved. Mr. Smith convinced us—at least I know he convinced me—that to carry out in practice these four community referenda would have been impracticable. For a new and improved Constitution that would have left only a prohibition by the British Government. Obviously, if we were going to alter the 1961 Constitution to be an independent one, we could not expect an independent Rhodesian Government to be subject to a prohibition by the United Kingdom. That was why through out, as the documents show, we pressed for some equivalent guarantee against retrogressive amendment.
All we have here on this matter is on page 14. Under head (5) we have an assurance:The Rhodesian Government have given an assurance to the British Government that they will not introduce or support in the Rhodesian Parliament any amendment of the specially entrenched provisions of the Constitution relating to the composition of the House of Assembly or of the specially en trenched provisions of the Electoral Act until the first two African higher roll seats have been created and filled or until three years have elapsed since the Constitutional changes provided for by these proposals have come into force, whichever is the sooner.I gather that there is no doubt that the two seats will come sooner, and that obviously covers only a very limited time. After that, it is said, this amendment can not be carried against the elected Africans if they all vote together. I quite appreciate that; but it means that a retrogressive amendment can be carried if the Government can persuade one elected African to vote with them, or, if my mathematics are right—and I am sure Lord Goodman's are better than mine—two are not voting, one because he has been put into restriction and the other because he was unfortunately knocked down when he was on his way to vote with the other Africans. That is too slender a guarantee of any kind to be acceptable. The Sunday Times on November 28 in a leading article said—I suggest rightly:The second principle—the guarantee against constitutional retrogression—is not met at all".I invite the House to say that that is right.
312 The Third Principle is that there would have to be immediate improvement in the political status of the African population. This simply is not there, and it shows how confusing the whole thing is—particularly, perhaps without the documents—that the Sunday Times, critical as to how far the other four Principles have been complied with, says of this Principle that it has been complied with because of the franchise provisions. This is a complete confusion of thought. This Principle deals with what the political status of the African population was under the 1961 Constitution, and it says that there would have to be immediate improvement in that political status. The reason why the Sunday Times says that that has been met is because they say that what is now being offered is not as bad as the 1969 Constitution.
What has happened about the voting qualifications for the lower roll is that the income tax provisions of the 1969 Constitution have been removed and we have gone back to exactly their position under the 1961 Constitution, subject, as the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, knows, to two or three very minor qualifications: first, that the income which the African must have is, I think, 20 per cent. higher—this may be quite fair because of the alteration in the value of money—and subject also to the fact that the figures which were in pounds sterling are now in Rhodesian dollars. Substantially it is the same—entirely, I think, with one qualification, and that is that whereas previously, apart from having to have a certain income or education, there were two groups each of whom qualified as voters, one, kraal heads, and the other, ministers of religion, ministers of religion have now lost all their votes, for reasons which the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, could no doubt explain to us. That is all that has happened. The present voting qualifications on the lower roll are pro posed to be exactly what they were under the 1961 Constitution. Therefore there is no improvement of the political status of the African population under that Constitution. The improvement simply is not there.
The Fourth Principle is that there would have to be progress towards ending racial discrimination. As your Lord ships know, this is a point on which a great many of my noble friends are particularly concerned. No progress at all 313 is now contemplated. There is to be a Review Commission, but that is not to come about, as I understand it, until after independence. The Review Commission is to make recommendations which Parliament may or may not accept. Of course, as your Lordships will remember, under the 1961 Constitution (though this has not come back) we had a Constitutional Commission to look at Bills to see whether they contravened the Declaration of Rights. I remember that that Commission, in 1961, thought that the Land Apportionment Act, for example, was infringing the provisions of the Declaration of Rights. The Commission said of the Act:Discrimination and prejudice is the very essence of the Act.The Government, however, did not pay any attention to that comment. So far as this Review Commission is concerned, all the Government say is that they will commend it to Parliament. Of course, they cannot say whether Parliament will pass it. Then there arc these words:subject only to considerations that any Government would…regard as…over riding…The question that I ought to address to the noble Marquess is: can the Government tell us what they think that that means?
Finally under this head I come to the Declaration of Rights. As I understand it, when the Foreign Secretary produced the Declaration of Rights in the other place there were what I think are called in Hansard "Cheers"; and everybody thought, "What a wonderful thing it is, when you look at this splendid looking Declaration of Rights, that the Foreign Secretary should have induced the regime to agree to insert into a Constitution such a magnificent new document, particularly as it is going to be enforceable by the courts!". But in fact the position is that this was in the 1961 Constitution, where it could be enforced by application to the courts. In the 1965 Constitution (I do not know that we need trouble about it to-day, because it did little more on independence than replace the Governor by one of their own people) they retained the Declaration of Rights, and the application to the courts. In the 1969 Con stitution—again this sort of thing: you cannot know unless you have the docu- 314 ments—the Declaration of Rights was retained, though it was written down; and instead of application to the courts the Legal Committee of the Senate was to consider whether any Bill appeared to infringe the Declaration of Rights. All that is to happen now is that the 1969 position is to be restored (still, I think, written down a bit), but there is again to be an application to the courts.
I am afraid that it is not of very much consequence to the citizens, because, though it reads frightfully well at first, when you get to paragraph 12, on page 37 of the White Paper, you find:Nothing contained in any law shall be held to be inconsistent with or in contravention of any of the following provisions of this Schedule, that is to say"—and then it sets out practically all the paragraphs—paragraph 2, 5, 6, 7, other than sub-paragraph (4) thereof,8, 9, 10 or 11 to the extent that the law in question makes provision with respect to the taking, during any period of public emergency, of action for the purpose of dealing with any situation arising during that period, and nothing done by any person under the authority of any such law shall be held to be in contravention of any of the said provisions unless it is shown that the action taken exceeded anything which, having due regard to the circumstances prevailing at the time, could reasonably have been thought to be required for the purpose of dealing with the situation in question.Apparently it does not apply to pass laws. Obviously, that is not likely to be very useful until the end of the period of emergency.
One looks then to see when is the period of emergency going to end. Be cause, as your Lordships know, Mr. Smith asked the Governor to sign the state of emergency declaration, and when he was asked by the Governor whether this was the prelude to a declaration of independence, Mr. Smith said, "No"; and from the day after that this emergency provision has applied in Rhodesia. So one wants to know when this state of emergency is going to end. And at page 17, at heading VII(3), you find:The Rhodesian Government wish to revoke the state of emergency at the earliest opportunity. In the absence of unforeseen circum stances they will do so after sanctions against Rhodesia have been lifted.So the next question is: when are sanctions going to be lifted? In the next paragraph the White Paper says that after 315 the Rhodesian Government have passed their legislation, the British Government,will introduce legislation to confer independence on Rhodesia as a republic and will commend this legislation to the British Parliament. They will also terminate their economic and other sanctions when this legislation takes effect.So we are to continue with this state of emergency at least until after independence, when we shall have no more control; and it will go then only if there are not circumstances which the Rhodesian Front have not foreseen. I cannot help feeling that with regard to this principle, too, it really cannot be said that this amounts to progress towards ending discrimination. Again I must agree with the Sunday Times, which said, in the article of the 28th:The fourth principle…has suffered the most obviously damaging treatment. With respect to the Land Tenure Act, which divides the country with absolute inequity between the races, a mere assurance to examine it has been accepted by Sir Alec Douglas-Home as progress towards the end of racial discrimination. Not content with this flimsy under taking, he has had to be willing explicitly to endorse the Rhodesian insistence that any action it contemplates against discrimination may be qualified by its discovery of other overriding' considerations.There is one other point with which I wish to deal. On page 16 of the White Paper, in the middle of Chapter V on Land, there is the statement:With the exception of certain forest and national park areas the development of which may involve the removal of a limited number of occupants without established rights, the only two cases in which the Rhodesian Government are considering the eviction of Africans from land in the European area are Epworth and Chishawasha Missions. The Rhodesian Government have given art assurance that they will not take steps to evict African tenants or other occupants from these two areas or from other areas in which they are living until such time as the Commission referred to in paragraph III above has reported and its recommendations have been fully considered.That is weak enough, but the point which I wish to raise, because I have no personal information about it, is that raised in an article in the Guardian, which quotes Mr. McGarry, a Catholic missionary, who says:The White Paper is completely wrong in saying there have only been two cases where eviction of Africans is being considered. Under the Act any land can be redesignated as Euro- 316 pean and this has been done and is being done in many cases, including the tribe of Chief Rekiyi Tangwena.The same threat now hangs over not just two missions but many. It is very worrying if the White Paper can be wrong in this way—it means that one has to question the whole basis of what has been agreed with the Smith regime about African land.I should like to ask the Government what they say is the position about that.
The last Principle is:The British Government would need to be satisfied that any basis proposed for independence was acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole.This is perhaps the most important of all five Principles. Rhodesia is a police State. I use that expression only be cause it was Mr. Heath's expression, and it has not changed. There is the ability to impose censorship; there are emergency powers; radio and television are in the control of the Government. and I understand that the Law and Order Maintenance Act 1960 is still in force. There are, I understand, about a thou sand Rhodesian African graduates who have left Rhodesia because they could not get work, not being employed as civil servants. Only two months ago the Government passed the Unlawful Organisations Amendment Act, the purpose of which is to provide for extra territorial jurisdiction so that anybody who goes back to Rhodesia who has done anything in any country in the world which would have been a criminal offence if he had committed it in Rhodesia can be prosecuted. So perhaps we cannot look for ward to many of them going back.
One vital question, of course, is the position of the two main Rhodesian African Parties—Mr. Nkomo's ZAPU and Mr. Sithole's ZANU. Will they, for example, have access to radio and television? If I may quote from Hansard of last Thurs day, when this point was raised, the Foreign Secretary said at column 1551, in answer to the right honourable gentle man Mr. Healey:Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman would not be so impetuous. He is becoming more and more gullible every day and makes the most extraordinary statements. If he had listened to what I said, and thereafter reads the White Paper, he would know that normal political facilities, including broadcasting, will be allowed to the political parties in Rhodesia.317 That of course is quite untrue. Of course I do not think for a moment that the Foreign Secretary realised it was untrue; he was merely unfamiliar with the terms of the document which he had signed. But it is quite clear from the White Paper that television and radio facilities will be available only to political Parties which are represented in Parliament, and neither of those two Parties are.
Having met Mr. Nkomo myself, I agree with the Guardian article of November 26, which stated:Mr. Nkomo remains the supreme African leader, as much as Kenyatta of Kenya or Kaunda of Zambia were during the struggles for independence in those countries.I should like to ask: what is Mr. Nkomo's position going to be? He has been living at that terrible place some 300 miles from Salisbury, in tin huts under the heat of the African sun, for over seven years without any charge being made against him. I asked when I spoke recently, without receiving any reply: is it Mr. Smith's intention to keep him there for the rest of his natural life? If he is not to be let out for the Royal Com mission's purposes, I do not suppose he ever will be.
I do not know whether somebody, perhaps more properly the noble Marquess, can give us any further information about this very important Royal Commission. So far as I am aware, the sole precedent for it is the Monckton Commission. On the Monckton Commission there were, I believe, 26, including 5 Africans,11 British,3 from Canada and Australia; and it took them nine months, three months of which they spent travelling. Can we be told any more? I think we have had three names. We discussed at one time whether a Royal Commission should try to think out the perfect Constitution. The only names that we put forward were the noble Viscount, Lord Amory, and the noble and learned Lord, Lord Simon of Glaisdale, a former Con servative Solicitor General. I do not know how far one is entitled to know what the Foreign Secretary told, not Parliament, but a meeting of Conservative Back-Benchers yesterday. According to the papers, he said that there were to be ten Commissioners. Can we perhaps hear something about this? Can the 318 Government also explain to me some thing for which there may be a precedent, but which is very new to me; that is, the provision that, however many there are, the Report is to be signed by only the Chairman and Deputy Chairmen? May I ask what happens if the other ten entirely disagree with them, and what facilities will they really have? I think there is really more public concern on this point, as to what chance the Royal Commission has of dealing with these very complicated and intricate proposals,
I think they were well summarised by a leading article in the Sunday Times which stated:The Pearce Commission should therefore he clear about its obligations. It cannot arrive at a credible verdict unless, in the first place, political life is permitted to flourish freely, as part of the process whereby the people form their judgment. The settlement document does not do enough to bring this about; African nationalist leaders are not assured of their political rights. Secondly, it will be the Commission's duty to explain with honest clarity what the settlement will or may mean. This is a difficult task given the complexity of the White Paper and the low degree of political sophistication in Rhodesia. No Rhodesian, white or black, can reach a verdict without much simpler and fuller elaboration of all the most carefully devised but singularly opaque proposals in the White Paper. Above all, it will surely be the basic right of every Rhodesian to have before him the range of official predictions about the date when parity and majority rule might be expected. The Commission will put itself in an impossible position if it pretends to render an account of public opinion on this document if the public is prevented from knowing what its central proposal means.We are not therefore, at present, satisfied that the Commission as now constituted, or the circumstances in which it is going to work, complies with the Firth Principle.
My Lords, I am sorry to have been so long, but these proposals are extremely complex. In conclusion, I want only to make three observations. First of all, I never like leaving a debate once I have spoken. but I am sitting judicially to morrow and I must apologise for the fact that I am afraid I shall miss the speeches until about four o'clock. Secondly, am I right in thinking—and this, I suppose, will have to be explained to them, too—that if these proposals are accepted and go through all these 5,250,000 will cease to be British citizens, with whatever disadvantages that may have? For example. the Commonwealth Institute and its aid 319 will go. This, I suppose, will have to be made plain to them. Thirdly, will the Royal Commission be free to report, "We are sorry, but in the conditions we have found there it is quite impossible for us to ascertain whether these proposals are acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole." That is a point which we pressed when we were discussing this condition, and I regard it as very important.
For those reasons, I ask the House to accept this Amendment. If there are noble Lords who are sufficiently interested to want to look at the basic document—because, after all, it is the 1969 Constitution, with some amendments, which we are being asked to approve as the future Constitution of this new independent sovereign State—that may be facilitated by copies of it being made available. My Lords, I beg to move.
Leave out all the words after ("House") and insert (-declines to approve Her Majesty's Government's proposals for the settlement of the Rhodesian dispute because they do not fully meet the requirements of the Five Principles.").—(Lord Gardiner.)
§ 5.10 p.m.
§ LORD WADE
My Lords, before I comment on the Motion and the Amendment, may I say that we look forward to hearing the maiden speeches of the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, and the noble Earl, Lord Onslow. I do so not only because I am sure it will be a privilege to hear them but also because my noble friend Lord Beaumont of Whitley has particularly asked me to say that he is sorry he cannot be here to-day to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont.
My Lords, when the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, repeated the Statement last Thursday I said that I thought it would be wrong to condemn the White Paper out of hand before having read it. I do not wish to go back on that, but we have now had time to study it and, alas!, the defects have become increasingly apparent. It may be that the Foreign Secretary has achieved the best he could achieve, but that is not necessarily a conclusive commendation for the proposals. May I make one brief comment on the Amendment moved by the noble and 320 learned Lord, Lord Gardiner? It says that the proposalsdo not fully meet the requirements of the Five Principles".It occurs to me to ask why the word "fully" should be inserted. It seems to me that it somewhat weakens the Amendment. I have happened to notice that the Opposition Amendment in another place is somewhat differently worded, in that it states that the proposals "fail to satisfy the Five Principles"—I think those are the actual words. I wonder whether there is any significance in that divergence.
§ LORD SHACKLETON
My Lords, may I answer the noble Lord right away? We were still hopeful that the proposals did go some way, but I doubt whether anyone can believe that after hearing my noble and learned friend's speech.
§ LORD WADE
I am much obliged to the noble Lord. There are such important issues at stake that I do not think it would be right to pursue that point further. I should say—and this will per haps satisfy the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton—that it is our present intention on the Liberal Benches to vote for the Amendment notwithstanding any doubts we may have had about the wording. May I make one comment on the Government Motion, in case any noble Lords are in doubt as to how they should vote? It appears to me that the House is being asked to approve the whole pack age deal before hearing whether the majority of Rhodesians want it or not—and that is a very great deal to ask.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD HAILSHAM OF ST. MARYLEBONE)
My Lords, with respect to the noble Lord, I think he has got that wrong. The Government Motion simply asks the House to endorse the putting to the Rhodesian people of the proposals, and that, of course, does not mean that the package deal is endorsed except for the purpose ad referendum under the Fifth Principle.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
With respect to the noble Lord, one of the proposals is that they should be so put.
§ LORD WADE
I may have taken a different view of the interpretation of this Motion, but as I read it we are asked to approve the whole package deal. One of the proposals is a suggestion that it should be put to the people of Rhodesia, but we are still being asked here and now to approve the whole package deal.
My Lords, I do not think it would be a useful operation to consider whether these proposals are honourable or dishonourable, but if the process of ascertaining the views of the people of Rhodesia were inadequate (perhaps through no fault of the Commission: per haps through lack of time or ability to get round, leading to a lack of adequate discussion) and yet the Commission came back and stated that the proposals were acceptable to the majority of the population of Rhodesia, and Parliament were asked to approve them, I think the Government and Parliament could be rightly condemned and it might be said that this action was dishonourable. For that reason, I think it is right to place considerable emphasis on the procedure for the test of acceptability. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, has made a very important speech on the constitutional position, and he referred in the concluding part of his speech to this subject of the test of acceptability. I would confine my remarks mainly to this particular aspect of the matter because in several respects the proposals appear to me to be unsatisfactory.
As to the composition of the Commission, we do not yet know what it is. As I understand it, three names have so far been mentioned. The noble Earl mentioned three names last Thursday arising out of a question by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and myself. I understand there was some fluttering in the dovecotes as a result of the announcement of the three names, but I should like to say to the noble Earl that my question was asked in all innocence and because it seemed to me to be very important that the Commission should contain those with political as well as great judicial experience. As the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, has pointed 322 out, we have a precedent in the Monckton Commission, and one is inclined to ask why that precedent is not being followed, or why so far as we are aware that precedent is not being followed.
There is another disturbing feature to which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, has also referred. Radio and television is to be made available only to members of those political Parties represented in the House of Assembly. To an onlooker, that seems obviously unfair, because we know that there are so many who arc not represented, or are not adequately represented, in the House of Assembly. I recognise that this Commission will have an extremely difficult task. My own view is that it would have been wiser to appoint a Preparatory Committee—I will not call it a Commission, because we already have two Com missions. I should have liked to see a Preparatory Committee preparing the ground, ascertaining what was necessary to try to find out the views of the great majority of people—where they should go, how long it would take, and so on. That would have been very helpful. I think such a Committee would take about three months preparing the ground.
With regard to this particular test of acceptability, it has often been said that this country has no power in Rhodesia although it has responsibility, and it is sometimes said that we have not even responsibility; but here is one occasion on which the responsibility is clear. This is what the White Paper says:The British Government will therefore appoint a Commission to ascertain directly from all the sections of the population of Rhodesia whether or not these proposals are acceptable and to report accordingly to the British Government".It seems to me that, unless there is some secret deal (I am not suggesting that there is), it does rest with the British Government; so for once, at any rate, we have the responsibility. It is an exceptionally difficult task. The other Commission, the Monckton Commission, was set up under colonial rule. Here we have a Commission set up under a Government in a country with an illegal regime, but surely it is all the more important to make it clear that the Commission will not be influenced by the presence of this illegal régime.
323 As to the timetable, I recognise that if my views were accepted it might take longer than the Government anticipate. But surely that is a small matter when one considers the length of time that is going to elapse before these proposals are fully implemented. When one considers the timetable there is another valid criticism, and I think an important one. There is to be the independent Commission to review existing legislation, with particular regard to discrimination, and this Commission is to be set up as soon as possible after the test of acceptability has been completed. But why should it be after the test of acceptability has been completed? If I have it wrong I hope that this will be pointed out. In effect, that means that we are saying, "Agree to this and then we will consider setting up a Commission to look into discrimination". The least I would accept is that the Commission to consider discriminatory legislation should be set up and should publish preliminary findings before a final decision is made on the test of acceptability. I think this has an important bearing on acceptability, on the degree of political activity that is going to be possible, on whether or not detention without trial should continue.
I should like to quote briefly from the Yorkshire Post—and anyone who knows the Yorkshire Post would not regard it as a paper with strong Left Wing leanings. There was an article by Derek Ingram on November 25 this year referring to Mr. Nkomo, one passage of which read:The area is one of the hottest and most inhospitable areas in central Africa. It is burnt yellow and full of wild game, including lion. At this time of the year the temperature rises to well over 100 degrees Farenheit in the shade. By day the corrugated iron walls of Nkomo's hut are too hot to touch.I think we have to realise that for every one in detention there are many more not in detention who know the consequence of a frank expression of their political opinion.
Even if one takes a less pessimistic view of the whole matter than Mr. Enoch Powell. in his letter in The Times to-day, even if one regards these proposals as more than a scrap of paper, I think there are a number of imponderables that are not spelt out, and cannot be spelt out, in 324 the White Paper. For example, the aid for improved education may increase the number of voters, and it may bring about increased voting rights; but it will not necessarily increase the opportunities for promotion and the experience that comes with that opportunity.
My Lords, in July, 1967 (and I recognise that this is some years ago), I had a solitary journey. By solitary "I mean that I went on my own although I met many good people who were very kind to me. I started in Pretoria and went on to Johannesburg and to Salisbury, where I spent some little time, and then to Lusaka and Livingstone. I happened to stay at the same hotel as the noble Lord, Lord Alport, who was there on a more important mission than mine. I had a variety of experiences ranging from an evening in a Salisbury Club to an evening in less comfortable surroundings talking to a detainee. This is not an occasion for a travel talk, but I should like to recall two conversations. One was with a Minister in Mr. Smith's Government—he is not now a Minister—and I can summarise what he said, which was: "We can run this country. If anyone can do it better they are free to do so, but until then we will run it". What he implied, but did not actually say, was, "We have no intention of allowing the African population to gain the experience which would enable them to pass that test".
The other conversation was with a graduate of Salisbury University, and he was surprisingly philosophical because very often one finds graduates with chips on their shoulders—and understandably so. This was an African graduate. In this country, I imagine that he would be employed by the Minister of Agriculture on work on the development of food supplies. The qualifications he had were very valuable but he had been quite unable to get a job in Rhodesia because the kind of work he would carry out would involve living in a white area. Of course, I cannot prove that statement, but I made inquiries and it seemed to be true. In the end he said that he would have to find employment in another country. This illustrates the point that it is not just the problem of reducing the high rate of unemployment; it is also one of enabling the Africans, including the educated Africans, to gain experience 325 in readiness for the responsibility of Government. Unfortunately, I fear that this will be resisted; it will be a continual struggle against discrimination.
I do not want to be presumptuous, but I think the Churches in Rhodesia have a very important role to play, and I know they are doing so already. The other comment I would make—and it is perhaps more surprising—is that I think there is an important role for enlightened business. I had a conversation with Mr. Harper in Salisbury and he told me of his dislike for big business. It is not usual for me to commend big business, but I think the international corporations, with a world-wide outlook, have an opportunity to help in training, not only in skills but also in encouraging their employees, if they are allowed to do so, to take part in the political life of the country, although that may mean speaking against the Establishment. Britain, on her part, as I mentioned last Thursday, should provide educational facilities here, especially if the loss of opportunity from Commonwealth membership has an adverse effect on some African students.
My Lords, I think it is almost impossible to forecast the future, certainly sixty years ahead, but I am convinced that if there is not fairly rapid progress an explosive situation will arise. It is said that the Africans in Rhodesia arc docile and peace-loving. On the whole I think that is true, but nevertheless I think a breaking point will be reached if progress is not made. Therefore, coming back to the question of the Commission, the immediate task is to ensure that this test is carried out faithfully. It is an extremely difficult task, but we must try to ensure that the people as a whole in Rhodesia know what they are being asked to decide. At least let us carry out what remains of our British responsibility with a proper sense of responsibility.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ LORD GOODMAN
My Lords, I am slightly disconcerted by the identity of some of my supporters. I did not intend to delay your Lordships for long, but the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, has posed a number of questions to me to which it would be discourteous for me to decline to reply, though I shall not assume the Government mantle in reply- 326 ing; nor will the Government in the slightest degree be foisted with responsibility for the accuary or otherwise of my answers. But it will entail a slightly longer time in dealing with them. May I say that I am grateful for the opportunity afforded me to address your Lordships to-night?
For many weary months, I have been labouring in extremely distasteful negotiations—distasteful for a number of reasons: not because they were hostile, not because they were unfriendly, but because they involved such a difference of approach of principle and of social morality between the two sides as to make it necessary to shelve all such considerations in our discussions and to restrict them wholly to the technical issues. I believe, and I shall commend to your Lordships, that this settlement, being the best we were able to achieve—and, I am vain enough to believe, the best that most people would have been likely to achieve; and the responsibility for this is not personal to me it would be an act of consummate folly to reject it. That is the basis on which I shall present the matter to your Lordships.
I do not feel triumphant or enthusiastic about the terms of the settlement. Although I lack anything like his dialectic and legal skill. I could have done a better job of criticising these terms than was done by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner. But, if I may venture to say so, that operation is largely irrelevant, because the issue that must be decided is: what is the alternative? The noble and learned Lord posed that issue with remarkable clarity when he mentioned the case of the unfortunate Mr. Nkomo. Quite rightly, as a man of heart and principle, the noble and learned Lord abominates—as I do, and as I am sure every Member of your Lordships' House does—the notion that a human being should be under restraint for seven years, without trial and in these circum stances. But, without unkindness to the noble and learned Lord, I will put a question to him. Over those seven years he was the highest legal officer in this great country. He had available to him the whole resources of this country. How could he have contrived to secure the release of Mr. Nkomo during that period? And what single step to advance that release was he, with all his feelings in the 327 matter, which I respect, able to achieve? My Lords, his feelings in the matter achieved nothing. The fact that we earnestly urge another régime to release a man, but fail to do so is of no benefit to that man. To reject these proposals because we have been unable to secure his release, in the knowledge that by rejecting them, we leave him still languishing in incarceration is a moral gesture that is a purely personal self-indulgence. I believe that a great deal of the opposition to these proposals consists of moral gestures that are purely personal self-indulgence.
My Lords, to return to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Wade, it was an extremely moderate and impressive speech with which I was almost totally in agreement. One of the great comforts and consolations to those who are concerned in trying to achieve this result was the knowledge that at the end the matter would be submitted to the arbitrament of the people of Rhodesia, of all the people of Rhodesia. Much thought was given to the best way to do it. I believe that the best way to do it is the way selected: for a Commission of honourable and able men to go round the country inquiring, wherever they think it necessary, whether, on balance, the people of Rhodesia consider that these proposals are substantially better than the conditions now prevailing. That is the test that ought to be applied. But the other day I noticed that Her Majesty's Opposition contemplated sending an alternative team to make the same inquiries. If I were Her Majesty's Government, I should not discourage it. I believe that if these proposals are fairly explained to the people of Rhodesia, it is extremely unlikely that they will reject them.
On the question of the availability of political voices of all shades, I would refer the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, to the terms of the White Paper which make it quite clear that the Com mission would be enabled to decide for itself what ought to happen in these matters. The White Paper says on page 7:Before and during this test of acceptability normal political activites will be permitted to the satisfaction of the Commission…If the Commision finds that it is unable to secure that all political views are ven 328 tilated and that the people in Rhodesia are unable to hear all political views, then I think, knowing the quality of the Com mission that is likely to be appointed, it will not be very long before they return to say that they cannot fulfil their task. I shall be profoundly surprised if this matter presents difficulties.
Of course, we encountered problems where the people in detention were regarded as untouchable, as unspeakable villains by the persons with whom we were negotiating. The fact that they had political aspirations different from those of their Rhodesian masters was enough to stamp them as outside the pale of human intercourse. That we did not accept this, that we found these notions horrible, did not affect the fact that we were unable to make inroads on their way of thinking. It would be hypocrisy to say that we set out on a political mission to reform Mr. Smith and his friends in their way of political thought. If we did so set out, I regret to inform your Lordships that we re turned with a total lack of success. I do not think that we have persuaded Mr. Smith to a more liberal way of thought. What we have persuaded Mr. Smith and his friends to realise is that the world will no longer accept a regime that imposes a total and inhuman despotism by a quarter of a million people over something like 5 million others. This we have achieved. I believe that the results of our activities, if accepted in good faith, if we are prepared to take certain political risks, offer the only hope for the emancipation of Rhodesia from the certainty of horrible and violent insurrection.
That is the simple choice: if you believe that it is better that Rhodesia should be exposed to bloodshed, uprisings and massacre, I venture to say this. We have not removed from Salisbury in the aeroplanes in which we came and de parted any of the cutlery! The opportunities for slaughter and massacre are as available to the Africans to-day as they were before this agreement. My belief is that this agreement brings the greatest advantage to the white Rhodesians—not for the cynical reasons that may be suggested by certain Members of the Opposition, that they have contrived to remain in power for several lifetimes; but for the more important reason that they are to be enabled to 329 relinquish their control peacefully and without the danger of violence. This is what I believe to be the greatest value of this agreement if it be put into operation.
The three questions, I think, by which this agreement must be considered are these. First, should one do business with Mr. Smith and his friends at all? I had no hesitation in arriving at a conclusion that it was simply pious moralising to say, No. Who else was there to do business with? if one looked around and took the view that the Rhodesian African must look for his manumitting from either his own internal resources or from Africans outside Rhodesia, what are the realities? The present Rhodesian Government are able to marshal an army, staggeringly enough, of 70,000 men. That is the strength of the force that can be called to the Colours in Rhodesia. Rhodesia has, at least, the second best air force in Southern Africa. It has the total loyalty of the black policemen and the black soldiers who are enlisted in it.
In those circumstances, forgetting how long majority rule will take, how long will it be before the African, unarmed, peaceful, friendly and in no mood for insurrection, is able to revolt and procure his personal liberty? This is the question that I would invite those who consider these terms inadequate to ponder very carefully. What are the possibilities of assistance from outside to relieve the Rhodesian African? There again, there are no possibilities on the Portuguese frontier and none on the South African frontier. There are none on the Zambian frontier. That country is in deep financial difficulty; divided within itself; its own Opposition no more humanely treated than Mr. Smith treats his own political adversaries. Is it to be supposed that the Zambians are likely to rally forces to assist the Rhodesians? It is a fanciful—
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord? I think that on consideration he may wish to withdraw his remark that President Kaunda treats his Opposition as inhumanly as Mr. Smith does in Gonakudzingua.
§ LORD GOODMAN
My Lords, I will say to the noble Baroness that, on re- 330 flection, I may wish to withdraw it, but at this moment I do not.
§ LORD GOODMAN
My Lords, I have endeavoured to indicate my belief as to the possibility of relief to the Rhodesian African from either source, from within or from without. It is for you to judge, my Lords. If you believe I am wrong; if you think that the Rhodesian African could revolt to-morrow, and revolt successfully, I should be the last man to deter him. I may say that the notion of bloodshed and violence appalls me. I believe that if desperate men, for the first time in confrontation with a great political Power, have arrived at a solution of a desperate matter by negotiation, by the use of words in preference to the use of arms; if we have been able to redeem Rhodesia from the spectacle of small black children and small white children shattered by bullets and bombs, I think that we shall have achieved some thing which may be memorable within this century. I believe that this is some thing on which we should certainly take the risk. That is the first point. The first question is: should we do business with Mr. Smith? My answer is, previous Governments have done so and it would, in my view, be wrong and mere self-indulgence if we did not.
The second question we have to ask is: if we do business with Mr. Smith, are these terms appropriate on which to do it? Are they the best terms that we can get? Are they the best terms we can get if we wait or do it at some later stage? And if they are the best terms that we can get, are they good enough? To my first question I have already given an answer. I believe them to be the best terms that we can get. I do not think that waiting would make any appreciable difference. It is a difficult problem and it demands a very nice balance of assessment regarding sanctions. On the one side, for instance, there is breaching of sanctions by the American action; by the fact that the Zambians purchase corn and acquire their electricity from Rhodesia, and on the whole do not take sanctions as seriously as we do. There would seem to be any number of breaches of the sanction net if you go into Rhodesia 331 and see the supplies there and the purchases they are making. That on the one side. On the other side, there is the possibility that if sanctions are working, nevertheless the Rhodesians will progress further and further into the South African sphere of influence. I would say that that danger is so much greater than the other danger, that that possibility is so much greater than the other possibility, that it is unwise to wait.
My Lords, you will remember that it is nearly eleven years since the 1961 Constitution, it is six years since U. D. I., and nothing at all has happened in this period except endless debate and endless negotiation. Hence we have to ask ourselves, if nothing better can now be achieved, is this good enough? I do not believe it is very good. I do not believe that we ought to go dancing a jig through the Lobbies in support of these recommendations. But I believe that we should support them because they are good enough to give the African and the white Rhodesian (there are many white Rhodesians totally innocent of participation in this matter, totally innocent of a desire to dominate their African colleagues, to whom we should give the most careful consideration) the opportunity of majority rule overtaking massacre. That is my belief.
If that is so, my Lords, I do not think that humane persons, persons seized with considerations of humanity and decency, should reject them out of hand because there are legalistic difficulties. This, if I may say so, is my view of the matter. I believe it is the simple issue of whether there is anything better that could be done and whether, on the whole, providing an opportunity for Rhodesia to re deem itself from this hideous situation and advance democratically towards ultimate majority rule and the domination of the country by the great number of people who will then be in citizenship in the country, is the best thing to do in this difficult situation. That is my belief.
Now, my Lords, may I venture to make this observation? The noble and learned Lord. Lord Gardiner, drew attention with considerable force to the length of time that it was going to take for majority rule—as though nothing was going to happen until that time was achieved. May I 332 give him a few more comforting facts. First, the political control of Rhodesia will, on the whole, be with the new African higher roll, but there will be enfranchised—although in a most limited sense, and voting for a few seats only—an additional 250.000 Africans who will immediately go on the lower B roll, and who, if they so desire, will attain what I regard as very important, the status of a voter and an understanding of the democratic process. If a man once goes to a poll and casts a vote he is much more likely to regard that as the ordinary routine of government than some other more violent and disagreeable matter.
Apart from that, there will be a progressive progress towards majority rule. I am told that at the moment there may be as many as 15,000 Africans eligible for immediate registration on the higher roll. That was a much more comforting figure than when we first entered into our negotiations. This will provide, at the rate of 3,000 per seat, immediately another six seats, if I am not mistaken, or something approaching six seats. Assume that it is only four seats. The position that then will prevail will be this. There are 16 seats in the House already arising from the lower roll. With four more seats that is 20 seats. With the fact that in the solid majority of Europeans is included the Asian and the coloured, both of whom rank for all purposes in Rhodesia as Europeans and, thanks to this new Constitution, what ever views Mr. Smith and his friends may have, will continue to rank as Europeans, there is already a significant minority which, if for a moment we can get away from thinking on the basis of monolithic, racial politics, is one which certainly would not be regarded as derisory within our own democratic institutions, and certainly one which it would be considered necessary to woo. That minority will be increased at the rate of 3,000 voters as time progresses.
The noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, acquainted me with the predictions of the various wizards who have been undertaking statistical investigations in this matter. I would say only this to the noble and learned Lord. In the course of our many months of negotiation we had the benefit of the services of a number of statisticians of the most worthy character. I arrived at the conclusion very soon which, alas!, is slightly harsh 333 upon these gentry, that their conclusions were totally valueless. It would seem to me an absolute absurdity for anyone who is not in direct alliance with the Almighty to predict with precision that majority rule is coming in 64 years. If I may venture to say so, the very precision of that estimate discredits it totally from the outset. I do not know how long it will be. It is my firm and fervent belief that it will be much less than 64 years. But I can comfort the noble and learned Lord by telling him that only the other day the Rhodesian Front were estimating it at 10 years. I think that 10 years is equally fanciful; but whatever the period is, if there is an uninterrupted progress to majority rule, if the African sees with certainty that the additional seats are added and the time limit is not one which makes him despair of ever seeing it within a reasonable rate of progress, is that so awful? I venture to think not.
I venture to think that it would be better if we could have contrived to get it in 15 or 16 years or whatever it is. It is not beyond possibility that this could still happen. The nature of the boom which may descend on Rhodesia, of changes in its prosperity and the treatment of its industry—all these may bring the most revolutionary and dramatic changes in the progress in relation to these registers. But I will say to the noble and learned Lord that it would be most unfortunate to send a message out from this House to the Africans of Rhodesia that they are condemned never to have majority rule; that the whole of this plan is totally deceptive and that on the whole they have nothing to hope for.
May I venture to say a word about the noble and learned Lord's analysis? It was very unfortunate that he was not provided with the appropriate papers by the Government, because if he had been I do not think he would have made several of the points which lie did make and which totally lacked validity. It is very unfortunate that he should have made them so that the impression may become current in the world at large. For instance, the idea in relation to the blocking mechanism that you have only to have one African who has a cold or another who is knocked down and the blocking mechanism ceases to function is, 334 if I may say so, disposed of by the terms of the White Paper, which refers to the majority of the total number of Africans in the House. It is not a majority of the total number present at any moment but a majority of those eligible to have seats and to vote, and on that voting one need have no special apprehensions that if an African is deterred by a social engagement or kidnapped or is suborned so that he does not attend, that will enable the blocking mechanism to be defeated. We were not, if I may say so, so simple as that.
There are other matters which the noble and learned Lord has raised, suggesting doubts and confusion which have no validity. About the Commission before parity, I may say for my part that I predicted that unless the paragraph was read carefully, it would give rise to misunderstanding. I never thought that it would fail to be read carefully by an ex-Lord Chancellor of this country. The situation is perfectly simple. There is progress to unimpeded majority rule unless in fact the blocking mechanism is used to defeat it. All that happens is that in deference to Mr. Smith's view of the need to show his electorate that he is making the final and ultimate effort to prove to the Rhodesians that majority rule is not a good thing, the Commission will sit and sound what it believes to be Rhodesian opinion. But if the blocking mechanism actually works, so that it positively defeats the existing progress, this progress goes on and the Commission is totally irrelevant and may perhaps be regarded simply as a façade.
There is nothing in that proposal which prevents unimpeded progress towards majority rule. So far as the first proposal is concerned, if I may venture to say so, except on the rather factitious basis that it is not fast enough—and nobody really knows how fast it is—an honest effort has been made to give it reality and I would venture to say that it comes four square within Sir Alec's First Principle.
I do not intend to spend a great length of time in dealing with the other questions of what comes within the Principles. The Second Principle, which I believe to be the one of retrogression, is wholly satisfied. In order to achieve that there is a retrogression in the Constitution it is necessary to ensure that there is a 335 separate majority of both voting categories. This is of importance not only before but after majority rule. It then becomes of great importance to the Europeans to ensure that the Constitution cannot be altered to their disadvantage. Hence it requires a separate majority of Europeans as well as of Africans, but the majority of the Africans must be a genuine majority. The idea that you can write off as having no political significance, no allegiance and no loyalty to their race, the indirectly elected Africans would, I think, be rejected almost entirely by every citizen, whether black or white, except those who have manifest political interests for saying so.
As pointed out by the noble Earl in opening the debate, since the sixteen black Members of the House have sat they have voted solidly on every racial issue. They were quite indifferent, if I may say so, to the loss of their stipends. The other, slightly unfortunate, suggestion that these people are so corrupt that the suggestion that they would be deprived of public benefits would provoke them into a total betrayal of their race, has not been proved correct. That has not happened. They have not betrayed their race, what ever risks attach to their course of action. They have accepted those risks. I believe that this is a valid and effective blocking mechanism. It may well be that, in the end, some Africans will be persuaded to vote against their own interests. I would say that Africans should be urged to watch the situation with the greatest of care. Their lives and their futures, and their continued political prospects are in their own hands, but they have been given a fair chance. Incident ally, the noble Earl said something which ought to be corrected—that was the suggestion that the majority would be in creased when the additional seats were increased, because of course as each pair of additional voting Africans arrive so another pair of indirectly elected Africans arrive to rectify the situation. But in my view of the matter this is unimportant. What is important is that we have to secure an absolute majority of the Africans in the House in order to achieve this situation.
I have continued for too long, but there are one or two other things I think it necessary to say, and I want to be sure 336 that I deal with all the points made by the noble and learned Lord. Incidentally, I am gratified to tell him that women can vote. I am not quite sure of the situation. I believe they need to have independent educational qualifications, but they are entitled to adopt their husband's income qualification. But certainly they can vote. One of the conjectural elements in deciding how many Africans are eligible for registration at the moment on the higher role is the question whether or not most or many of the wives will have the necessary educational qualification. There is the rather charming complication that they are living in a polygamous society, and my belief is that one man can only have one wife registered for this purpose—which may be regarded as a gross injustice. However, to avoid the matrimonial discord that would inevitably arise, the rule is I think that, whatever the husband's consideration of the matter, it must be the first wife who is registered.
I do not know what else the noble Lord wanted me to deal with. I do not think it is appropriate for me to deal with the test of acceptability or the circum stances in which the Commissioners would be appointed. I may be prepared to say a word, and I hope rightly, on the question of the Commissioners. It was always the intention that the Commission should be a small one of three or four, assisted by a considerable number of assessors not in the full sense Commissioners, who in order to enable the inquiry to be made in a reasonable period of time were to go off in various directions to make the soundings required for the purpose of their masters. This, I think, is why there are as many as ten included as Commissioners and why the distinction has been drawn of calling the others chairman and deputy chairman. I understand that the chairman and deputy chairman were in fact to be the Commissioners, but in order to give them all the appropriate status they are all called Commissioners.
In the long months in which I have been travelling to and from Rhodesia, achieving miracles of anonymity of disguise which some of you might have regarded as nearly impossible, I arrived at certain conclusions in this matter. I arrived at the conclusion that an agreement, respectable in the sense that it maintained a valid and honourable 337 promise of the possibility of advance to majority rule, a respectable and honourable promise that there would be a honest look at racial discrimination and respectable and honest safeguards to ensure any possibility of retrogression, was an agreement that we should adopt with alacrity. When we set off on our negotiations I did not believe that we would achieve the agreement that in fact has been achieved. I do not believe it to be adequate. I do not believe that there has been a sell-out. I do not believe that we had anything to sell. We certainly did not have the African, who is in bondage to the Rhodesians to sell. But I believe there was a sell-out—not by this agreement or by this Government in negotiating the agreement, but in past years, which left us in the disagreeable position that we could negotiate no better agreement than this one. Over the years since 1921, and some people say back to the Jameson Raid, when the future of Southern Rhodesia and other parts of Africa was so hopelessly compromised, it was open to us to deal with this situation.
We must not talk of the Land Tenure Act as though it were an innovation. It first came into operation in the 1920s and was renewed in 1941. It has been there under the auspices of successive Governments of every colour, including a Liberal Government. We must not consider it as one of the novelties introduced by Mr. Smith. It is now embodied in the whole structure of Rhodesia. It would have been a near impossibility for us to deal with the Land Tenure Act in detail, unless we had stayed there for months and months and months. The only sensible thing to do was to set up an honourable Commission, including an African, and request them to look at it. If I may say so, one could read anything into the words which the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, invited the noble Earl to construe.
I think that no Government could have been expected, though we asked them, to accept in advance and en bloc the findings of a Commission which they had not seen and of whose findings they had no notion. I think they have inserted the minimum possible qualifications that skilful draftsmanship could devise. I believe that these proposals are the best that we can do. And if they are the best that we can do, we should seize with gratitude 338 the opportunity of redeeming the short comings of our previous colonial activities in this territory, and hope for the future, not that people will act with dishonesty, not that people will act with breach of faith and breach of integrity, but that the white Rhodesians will realise also that this is the last opportunity to avoid disaster.
It would be wrong, my Lords, if I sat down without saying one other word, and that is to pay tribute to the colleagues with whom I worked during this period, who naturally remained anonymous because they are members of Her Majesty's Government Service. I—it may be irregular and a disgrace—have the happy fortune not to be a member of any Government, and have not to conform to regulation and discretion. I should like particularly to thank Sir Philip Adams, Philip Mansfield and Mr. Gordon Smith, whose quite remarkable draftsmanship made this what I thought was a model of clarity. It was not until the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, rose that 1 found that my expectations were not fully realised. I thought it proper to give your Lordships some account of our stewardship. Rightly or wrong, we have done our best; and, rightly or wrongly, I believe that we should seize the opportunity.
§ 6.2 p.m.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
My Lords, I have often sat on the steps of the Throne in this Chamber and in the Robing Room during the darker days of the War, and I have noticed how kind and chivalrous your Lordships are towards your "maidens" when they make their speeches. I ask your Lordships to be good enough to give me that kindness to-day. I look upon this subject as one on which I can possibly contribute to the debate by drawing on my own experience when I served in Kenya at the time of my command of the King's African Rifles. I went out there in 1960, after the Mau-Mau rebellion had been put down, and I found when I took over command of the King's African Rifles a situation that was very similar to that obtaining in Rhodesia now. In consequence of the Mau-Mau rebellion there was complete white domination. There was practically no African representation. I had 150 seconded white officers; 339 there were no African officers. The African political leaders were all either in detention camps or had fled the country. Mr. Jomo Kenyatta was under arrest in that terrible place at Lodwar, where it is indeed hot. The African political Parties had been proscribed. There were glaring inequalities in the distribution of land. In short, I found that history seemed to have been interrupted in Kenya and the clock had stood still.
But I had not been there for more than about four months before the Government of the day (it is immaterial which Party it was, but in fact it was from this side of the House) decided that there should be a new initiative. They changed the Governor and sent out that remarkable man, Mr. Malcolm MacDonald. Within a few months he inspired a new feeling between the black and white races, and within two years there were great changes towards Kenya's advance. There were 100 black African officers whom I made up myself. Though many of them were not really worthy of being officers in some senses, because they had not had the training, they were better than the Communist alternative, who we knew might take over the country. A new emphasis was put on Africanising the district commissioners and the police, and although we had terrible times with the ugliness of mutinies and arson, and African sometimes murdering African, the fact is that this new impetus very quickly brought the country to a self-governing democracy and to independence. I cannot help seeing, as I have said, the parallel between that situation and the one in Rhodesia to-day, where during the last six years of U.D.I. there has been this retrogressive legislation, Nkomo and Sithole are detained, ZANU and ZAPU are proscribed, and Rhodesia is standing at the crossroads wondering where she should go. She can either turn down the blind alley of apartheid or, with this wonderful negotiation that has taken place, there is the chance that she can go towards majority rule in the right spirit.
There is possibly one major difference between Kenya and Rhodesia: that whereas in Kenya there are 40 Africans to one European, so that there was never any attempt made by the rather narrow 340 minded European, in Rhodesia there are only 20 Africans to one European, so that certain Europeans have, misguidedly, tried to hang on to their hegemony, and even, as we know, took U.D.I.
I will not detain your Lordships much longer. I would say that the vital ingredient of this White Paper is the restoration of confidence between the white and the black Rhodesian. Already I read of the gradual release of detainees. I can see, and hope for, plans for the resuscitation of the African parties and, let us hope, the release very shortly of the African leaders, particularly Nkomo. I would ask your Lordships to beware of one aspect, in particular. The United Nations, which so often is African-Communist dominated, may well voice loudly that this settlement does not go fast enough or far enough. I wonder whether that is not something that needs to be looked at again. I know that we want a settlement to be reached within ten years. But do not let us have one within three years: that will produce quite the wrong thing, because it will not have secured the confidence of the two races to grow together. I can remember so often saying to my black African officers, "What shall we do next?" And they used to quote to me the Swahili proverb:Haraka, Haraka, Haina, Baraka"—which your Lordships will know is the Latin, Festina lent.
I conclude, my Lords, by pursuing this point one stage further, believing that possibly the greatest assistance your Lordships can give to this settlement is to help Mr. Smith and the Rhodesian Front, who appear to have given in and turned towards a sensible future. They deserve your Lordships' support, and they need your confidence and trust. Picture the loneliness. I ask those of your Lordships who have not been to Africa, of white European communities living out there. I became very friendly with the white communities, even though I was loved by the black community—I was their hero. Those white communities are living in this vast country; and you get some idea of the size of Africa if you think that the United States, turned upside down, would fit into Africa South of the Equator. These white communities will need your encouragement, and 341 to feel that you intend to help them to give their authority quietly away to friendly Africans, and not be forced into making conditions that they do not want to give into.
I welcome this settlement. It is the result of brilliant negotiation by the Foreign Secretary. I hope to see the sun shine on a multi-racial Rhodesia, and perhaps it will lead its neighbours forward economically, even showing a viable alternative to apartheid on its Southern Border, and realise the aspirations of its founder, Cecil Rhodes—that is to say: "Equal rights for every civilised man South of the Zambesi."
§ 6.11 p.m.
§ LORD SOPER
My Lords, I have the pleasant lot of being the first to congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, on his maiden speech. It warmed the cockels of my heart because as a Methodist nothing is more agreeable to me than personal testimony, and that is the way the noble Lord began. If I heard the inverted commas clicking into place round the word "controversial" a little later in his speech that in no way impaired our sense of obligation to the noble Lord for the sincerity of what he had to say. It is no formality for me to add that we hope his Lordship will frequently give us the benefit of his experience, views and convictions in this House.
I intend to try to speak as a Churchman. I shall not presume—it would be intolerable and impudent—to think that I can speak representatively of all Churchmen, and I shall leave any comments about the Establishment to my noble and ecclesiastical friend who will be speaking later, as he will no doubt deal competently with matters concerning the Church of England. I have a strong conviction that what I have to say, at least in the earlier part of this short speech, will be in accord with the general ideas and increasing convictions of most non-Conformists and, I venture to think, of the vast majority of Christian people. That enables me to begin with a reference to the powerful speech—in many cases a perverse one—of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. I found myself on a collision course with him on the basic principle as to whether a moral gesture is a form of self-indulgence, all the more particularly because he invoked principles 342 in the Five Principles—and they are after all moral—and commended the agreement to your Lordships in his penultimate words, on the proposition that it was honourable. He cannot have it both ways. I do not believe that there is anything short of arrogance in the assumption that this is the kind of world in which we can do what is wrong and get the best out of it because it is extremely hard to do what is right in the situation in which we cannot find a sufficient area of confidence in the future.
I am concerned this afternoon, and I invite your Lordships so to be, with the principle of the Amendment, which is in contradistinction to the welcome which is to be offered to the agreement. I believe that what is morally right can never be merely a matter of self-indulgence. I believe that it cannot finally be politically wrong. It is precisely because there is this contradistinction between morality and what is convenient or possible that I find myself completely at variance with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, in his advocacy. As a Churchman, and would-be Christian, I support the Amendment, on the simple proposition that it is consonant with a moral principle which should not be abrogated. I believe that the majority of Christian people will regard the close association between this agreement and the 1969 Constitution as an immoral act. They will be inconsistent if they do not so decide because not only the Churches within Rhodesia, but also the Churches outside, when that Constitution was first set forth in general terms, went on record as saying that it was a racist Constitution. I believe that is so, and there has been ample evidence from the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, this afternoon to substantiate that claim.
I am particularly interested as a Methodist in the Land Tenure Act in so far as it has affected, or tends to affect, the mission, Chishawasha. It is true that at the moment the eviction order has been halted, but there is no comfort for those who look forward to a time when this Commission will sit and will consider the overriding conditions which should apply to any decision they may make—overriding decisions which have to do with the Constitution and not the welfare of either Epworth or Chishawasha. I 343 believe that Christian people, and the Church generally, will regard this as an intolerable situation, in the same way that they will regard as intolerable the continued retention in conditions of extreme unpleasantness of honourable, sincere leaders, although, to be fair, there are some who are of a more violent disposition.
I am sure that, generally speaking, Church people, both here and in Rhodesia, will regard the prospect of uninhibited progress to majority rule as a miasma—a mirage. I should like to develop that as a theme for a few moments. I am grateful for this particular agreement, not because it is a good one, but because it has revealed two aspects of the situation which hitherto were partially hidden. The first has been freely admitted, although it was contradicted again and again when it was mooted by myself, and others; that the Rhodesian Government have been moving inexorably and certainly towards a principle of apartheid. The cat is now out of the bag—that is what they are after. That is the progress that they hope to make, not towards majority rule, but to a further implementation of the iniquitous principle of apartheid. I say this, so does the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and so does Sir Alec.
It is an acknowledged fact, and is part of the prop to the argument for this agreement, that unless we negotiate an agreement now on these terms, the conditions in Rhodesia will get progressively worse. If that is so, it links up very neatly with the other fact, which is not so much a hard fact as a hard assumption, but I commend it as being substantially true. Mr. Smith, for obvious reasons (who in a similar position would not do the same thing?) has been endeavouring to persuade us that the impact of sanctions has been minimal, that the economy in Rhodesia is buoyant and ever more hopeful. Another cat is now out of the bag—it is nothing of the sort. There is ample evidence now that sanctions have been biting much more vitally than had been assumed, and that they will go on progressively biting.
I hope that I am not a cynical man, but when I bring these two propositions together I find myself compelled to take 344 the view that the concessions which have been made have not been made in principle for the betterment of the society as a whole in Rhodesia; they have been made as concessions calculated to raise sanctions, and they have nothing of reformation and conversion about them. They are cold, calculated attempts to remove a dangerous economic situation. It seems to me that this can be verified and substantiated as we look—as we must—at the prospect that lies before the implementation of these Principles, should they be so agreed.
Nothing makes the heart so sick as hope deferred, and to think in terms of a future gives little comfort to those who suffer the most in the present. It is not a cynical comment to say that what appears to be happening is that Mr. Smith is not only buying time but using time. There is no outward and visible sign that he himself or the Rhodesian Front has enjoyed a change of heart. All the evidence points to the fact that here they have an economic situation which is uncomfortable; they are committed to a proposition which is apartheid in principle, and they are anxious to negotiate such terms as will enable them in the future to do the things they want to do by buying the present at the expense of this kind of deal.
I do not believe there is moral justification for the acceptance of these terms. They broach the Five Principles, but it is not good enough to say that they are the best that can be obtained. They may be the best that will be obtained, but they will betray the black people; they will arraign against themselves, and those who participate in them and seek to enforce them, a whole world of opinion ranging from the United Nations upwards or downwards, as one likes to think. They will be regarded as ignominious and dishonourable, and those in my judgment are categories much more important than merely to be described as moral gestures. My Lords, I hope that this Government will not proceed with this agreement. I hope we shall recognise that this particular agreement is vitiated at source, and until indeed it ceases to cumber the ground the true prospects of justice in Africa will be retarded and not advanced. For those reasons, I very much hope that this House will accept the Amendment.
§ 6.22 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF ONSLOW
My Lords, to follow the noble Lord, Lord Soper, is a foolhardy thing, as I do not have his experience either in the pulpit or on Tower Hill. There are two advantages of making a maiden speech early in a debate. The first is that one has had to listen to little of the debate before speaking, and consequently the frantic scribbling on one's knee during other noble Lords' speeches is cut to a minimum. The other is that all one wants to say has not yet been said by another Member of your Lordships' House. I am sure that in a debate of this calibre and importance this certainly would have happened. After all. Rhodesia is our last imperial responsibility—the list of distinguished speakers testifies to this. The debate is to decide whether we are prepared to give Her Majesty's Government our blessing for the way they are bringing down the final curtain of a long and glorious play which opened with the merchant adventurers of another Queen Elizabeth.
Had Rhodesia been in the geographical position of Kenya this last act would have been very difficult. No Mr. Smith would have been allowed to declare U.D.I. Mombasa is far too good a harbour for commando carriers. I do not think any of your Lordships or any Government after that of Campbell-Bannerman would have agreed to settlement terms of this kind if the writ of the British Government had been stronger in Rhodesia. This settlement does not stand up to Cecil Rhodes's idea of equal rights for all civilised men South of the Zambesi irrespective of colour, tribe or creed. Of course, if it can be shown that all the peoples of Rhodesia—and beyond all reasonable doubt, at that—accept this settlement, then the doubts expressed here and in another place will be superfluous. To make sure that the feelings of the Africans are known, and for it to be shown that they are unpressurised opinions fairly canvassed, could not the Government include in Lord Pearce's Commission either—or perhaps both—a senior Privy Counsellor from the Opposition (rather in the way that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, has been included in the Parker Commission, not only for his undoubted erudition but also to present political balance) or a judge from Canada or from India?
346 A further question that I hope the Government will answer is this. Will they consider giving to the peoples of Rhodesia the Commonwealth benefits in the form of scholarships and the like? After all, I understand clearly that even if Mr. Smith wanted Commonwealth membership, it would be vetoed by several of our Commonwealth colleagues, some of whose records of individual freedom are considerably less than impeccable. But as we want to increase the African voice in Rhodesia's affairs as quickly as possible, it would not seem sensible to deprive these Africans of any means of advancement. In the event of the almost certain devaluation of the dollar or the revaluation of sterling, or the possible long-term revaluation of the same dollar, will a situation arise of, Now I have the vote; now I don't have the vote"? Will the Commission explain to the Africans their rights and duties under this (as one newspaper called it) fiendishly complicated franchise system, which I am sure we would say is too complicated for Margate or Manchester, Bolton or Bodmin? Mr. Smith is reputed to have promised Sir Humphrey Gibbs on the day he signed the State of Emergency that U. D. I. was not about to be declared—on his honour, so the story goes. Even if this story is not true, it does not augur well for the long-term prospect of Mr. Smith or the Rhodesian Government carrying out his promise—if this story can even be noised abroad.
My Lords, in my view we have suffered a defeat. The defeat is not mortal but it leaves a nasty taste in our mouths because, in spite of Mr. Smith's cavorting with a liberty bell, the liberty bell does not ring in a great democracy with high ideals. The terms negotiated, as even the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, admitted, are not ideal. But what would we have achieved by continuing the present policy? Would the lot of the African have been advanced? At least here in these terms is a promise of something slightly better in the future. Earlier I said that we had suffered a defeat, and so we have, but the treaty that has been drawn up to end this quasi-war is in my humble opinion far better than we could have expected, given Mr. Smith's intransigence and, some would say, lack of foresight. After all, he slung out the "Fearless" agreement which differed from this one 347 in detail, not in spirit. Perhaps sanctions have worked in a small way. We can be grateful for the slight change in direction which these terms indicate. After all, the Europeans have created great things in Rhodesia and the best of these achievements must not be allowed to be squandered in a Nigerian or Congolese fashion. I hope that this slight change of direction will pull the whites away from an apartheid solution and its certain Armageddon, given the proportion of Africans and Europeans in Rhodesia. The alternatives to these terms, either if this Parliament rejects them or if the Rhodesian people as a whole reject them, offer even less hope than the flimsy hope that these proposals themselves hold out. Therefore, my Lords, in spite of the rather depressing tone of what I have had to say, I will be voting for the Government tomorrow because I think that, with a king high, they have managed with great skill to claim some of the pool from a man with a full house. I only wish that they had had four aces.
§ 6.30 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF DURHAM
My Lords, on the grounds both of custom and of truth I should like very warmly to congratulate the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, on his speech—witty and well argued, balanced and frank. Grateful I am for the historic sally at one point, as for his extremely useful suggestions, whether in regard to the Commission or to the matter of scholarships. I would also join in the congratulations expressed to the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont. I hope that both Lord Onslow and Lord Beaumont will be heard often in the future, and I am sure that none of us can wish for more than that their contributions should show the sincerity, weight and clarity that has marked their contributions this afternoon. Before turning to the Motion and the Amendment before us, may I apologise at once to noble Lords for having to leave early after the completion of my speech for an unavoidable engagement outside London, and indeed for having to be kept away until late to-morrow afternoon. I am sorry that that should be so; I did not think that we should be quite so long on heavy vehicles coming across the Channel.
348 Granted, for the sake of the argument (though in itself it is a controversial point), that this was the right time to embark on negotiations with Mr. Ian Smith, let me say at the outset that I do not think anyone could have negotiated better terms at present than those which have emerged from the hard work of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and the negotiations of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary; nor could any chief negotiator be held in greater honour and esteem by so many. Further, I think we all were pleased—I certainly was—with the sensitive and frank and reasonable introduction (if I may say so) of the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe. Against that background I find it all the more difficult to adopt the view to which I have been compelled to come. But I honestly look in vain for concrete evidence of a radical change of heart on the part of the Rhodesian Government. Yet, in my opinion, without that change of heart the proposals before us are bound to be stultified. Indeed, as I shall argue, they embody many vague phrases and qualifications which are as sinister as they are plausible, so that initial uncertainties and doubts which necessarily belong to a situation as unpromising as this was, and the recent history of which is so depressing, are deepened rather than removed.
Take, for instance, that phrase from the First Principle—unimpeded progress to majority rule, … be maintained and guaranteed.For that principle to be given practical effectiveness there must be guaranteed. recognisable, unimpeded African advance, economically, socially and educationally. What in fact do we find in relation to possible economic and educational development? First, a shift of emphasis between the report and the proposals. The paragraph on page 6 of the report, dealing with the Third Principle, speaks of there beingprovision for the British Government to allocate substantial sums of money for an aid programme for Rhodesia over the next ten years in order to improve educational facilities for Africans and to help with the economic development of the Tribal Trust Lands, thus increasing the job opportunities available to Africans. As a result of this aid the rate at which additional Africans will attain the 349 income and educational qualifications required for the franchise will be accelerated.All the stress is on the Africans. But when we come to page 16 of the proposals, as distinct from that page of the report, we find that what no doubt to Mr. Smith are first things come first. The greatest importance is attached to the expansion of the economy of Rhodesia—that is, for everybody's benefit—and it states that, in particular, economic growth will be stimulated in the Tribal Trust Lands.
We next read that whatever the British Government provide will be in addition to the annual expenditure currently planned by the Rhodesian Government for African education and housing, for development projects in the Tribal Trust Lands and the African purchase areas. It might seem as if the proposal to speed up progress towards integration was already being actively implemented, but the conclusion must be precisely the opposite. Indeed, seen in the present context the proposals before us encourage the suspicion that the capital aid promised will mostly be so channelled that the separate development ideology will be followed. African areas will be developed, the present—I repeat, the present—inadequate vocational education will be encouraged, as has already been planned by the Ministry of African Education and a start made there. My point is that this will not lead, and is not designed to lead, to competitive, educational and technical competence. There will be no proper progress towards majority rule until there is wider opportunity for Africans to be integrated into the whole life of the country, urban as well as rural, and this is certainly not something which the proposals guarantee or even suggest is vital.
I will take next the matter of education. May I say at the outset that if the proposals are accepted, and there is discussion between the two Governments, I very much hope that all the Rhodesian Churches—not just my own—will be associated with the planning and execution of the educational part of the programme. I say that for a practical, down-to-earth reason: they have a considerable commitment to it, and also a long and detailed experience of African education. But I am bound to say this. There has to be agreement between the two Governments. 350 Will they be allowed to be involved? Or, more generally, suppose the discussions between the two Governments do not lead to agreement, what happens then?
Those questions aside, and turning now to Section VII(1), on page 17, we find what, out of context, would be a most admirable sentence:As vacancies occur in the Rhodesian Public Service they will be filled according to the criteria of merit and suitability, regardless of race.What could be a more splendid sentiment than that? Splendid indeed!—until we remember that advancement on merit has always been in theory the official policy of the Rhodesian Government. But in practice, as distinct from theory, the colour of the applicant's face has always been a major factor in assessing suitability and merit. For instance, all candidates for commissioned rank in the police in Rhodesia have to undergo an aptitude test. European candidates with the most meagre qualifications pass without difficulty; no African candidate has yet done so. There are many young Africans with high qualifications, some of them graduates, who are having to conceal their graduate qualifications in order to obtain employment in the Public Service. As what? As messengers, because that is the only grade for which Africans are normally considered.
In addition, it is, and always has been, virtually impossible for an African to obtain an apprenticeship, owing this time to the attitude of the white trade unions. Therefore one is bound to be extremely suspicious of the wording of the last paragraph of Section VI, which speaks about "new job opportunities for Africans", and about Section VIII which I quoted and am equally suspicious about unless it is accompanied—and it has not so far been accompanied—by concrete evidence of a major change of heart. The question I ask is where, in the matter of unimpeded progress towards majority rule, is this concrete evidence? Where are the guarantees—and the word is used in the First Principle—which that First Principle declares are necessary? My point is that in view of the present practices in Rhodesia, on the one hand, and the actual phrasing of the proposals, on the other, guarantees are more than ever reclined; and we have not got them.
351 So to the Fourth Principle, racial discrimination. There must be progress towards ending racial discrimination, says the Fourth Principle. Now consider again, in the context of the actualities of the situation, the notorious Land Tenure Act. It may interest your Lordships to know that the Matabeleland Diocesan Synod in 1970 was only one of many Church Assemblies in Rhodesia which, along with many church leaders, roundly condemned this Act, as they condemned the 1969 Constitution, as violating—a word as strong as that—the teaching of the New Testament. Yet that very Act has been described to me—and here I quote a Rhodesian—as,the cornerstone of the policy of Mr. Smith's Party, the means whereby the creation of a non-racial society is frustrated.The Land Tenure Act, far from being firmly gripped by these proposals, is a huge nettle left with ample opportunities for continuing to thrive—indeed, to spread over the whole garden, if it is not there already.
It is, for instance, a little odd to discover in Annex B, Appendix IV, almost as though it were an afterthought, that the independent Commission in giving special attention to the Land Tenure Act, shall consider—and I am quoting the phrase which occurs at the end of paragraph 3(a):any other restrictions on occupation",as though this were some necessary triviality added for the sake of legal rounding off and completeness, whereas the fact is that the whole outlook of the Land Tenure Act is expressed in its fundamental definition of occupation on a racial basis. It is of course perfectly true that the Commission is required to "give special attention to", to "consider" the matter—fairly weak verbs in any event, as has been noticed by others. But my point is that the very position of that phrase at the end of paragraph 3(a) in Appendix IV gives me no great confidence that the depth and seriousness of this matter of the Land Tenure Act has been fully recognised and probed.
But my major difficulty here is that there have been reviews and considerations and examinations in Rhodesia before to-day. Under the 1961 Constitution, a Constitutional Council was 352 set up to inspect proposed legislation and to review existing legislation with a view to preventing or removing discrimination. What could sound more hopeful; what could sound better? But the Council's recommendations could be overridden by the issue of a certificate of urgency by the Government; and after December,1962, they unfailingly were. That is the context in which, therefore, I am bound to be suspicious of that notorious proviso in the second paragraph of Section III, mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Gardiner and others—namely,subject only to considerations that any Government would be obliged to regard as of an overriding character.The Rhodesian Government has already proved itself a past master at using such a clause to prevent progress. And, underlining a remark made by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, in my mind I set that phrase about "overriding character" alongside phrases like, "in tile absence of unforeseen circumstances", when the state of emergency would be lifted after the end of sanctions, and phrases like, "undertake to take steps", without saying what steps or how many will be taken, and by whom. It is phrases like those that, for me, set the tone of the proposals.
If I may take up a point mentioned by the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, the phrase, "any Government would be obliged to regard as of an overriding character", is quite plainly ambiguous. It was not, I presume, "any" in the sense in which "any" is suggested to be even the most liberal and enlightened; it was "any" in the sense of any single one, when of course it could be applied to the Rhodesian Government by itself, which might wish to be called civilised but could hardly expect to be called liberal and enlightened.
Further, in this context of racial discrimination, may I voice a deep unease, which others have also expressed, about evictions? The third paragraph of Section V says:With the exception of certain forest and national park areas the development of which may involve the removal of a limited number of occupants without established rights, the only two cases in which the Rhodesian Government are considering the eviction of Africans from land in the European area are Epworth and Chishawasha Missions. The Rhodesian Government have given an assurance that they will not take steps to evict 353 African tenants or other occupants from these two areas …This is highly misleading. Why? It makes no reference to recent evictions; for example, the most deplorable hunting and hounding of the Tangwena people, whose chief it was reported, was unable to secure an interview with the Foreign Secretary; nor to the fact that inquiries such as normally precede evictions have already been made, I am told, in other mission areas besides Epworth and Chishawasha. It is perfectly true, of course, that these inquiries may not lead to evictions, but do I take it that we have a guarantee that these inquiries which have now taken place in other mission areas will not lead to evictions? And have we a guarantee that the chief of the Tangwena people will be able to see the Pearce Commission when he could not see the Foreign Secretary?
Incidentally, the reference toremoval of a limited number of occupants without established rights",is not all that encouraging in view of the fact that the rights of the Tangwena people, not living in a forest or national park, were established by a decision of the Rhodesian High Court. And what happened? That decision was immediately set aside by an Order in Council issued by the Government. Now it might be said that I cannot fairly protest against a measure of diplomatic silence which shrouds this rather embarrassing matter of evictions, and I grant that there is no necessity to mention them. All I say is that the treatment of this matter of evictions does not encourage in me any hope for the future. It does not increase my confidence in what the Rhodesian Government have in their mind, and it makes the vagueness and the qualifications in the proposals not only suspicious but sinister.
Finally, the Fifth Principle, "acceptability to the people of Rhodesia as a whole". We recognise frankly that for good reasons Africans start from a position of no confidence in the Smith regime. Their experience of the policies of the Rhodesian Front, and indeed the European attitudes generally, can hardly be said to encourage them otherwise. It is against that kind of difficulty and other difficulties that I am bound to ask the question whether the task of the Pearce Commission has been recognised 354 for the appallingly difficult project it is?
Africans, as has been said to me, do not open their hearts immediately to a stranger, even if he is a Member of your Lordships' House. Moreover, the investigations will be fatally prejudiced from the start if there were any sign of influence whatever of Rhodesian Government Departments or officials and especially, in the rural areas, of District Commissioners. In that connection, would it be proper for me to suggest that, if the proposals are accepted, at least one of the members of the Commission should be, and be known to be, a churchman, and that more than one of them should have first-hand detailed knowledge and experience of conditions throughout Rhodesia? Let us recognise that this task of assessing opinion will obviously take months rather than weeks; will involve printing the proposals, for instance, in vernacular languages; may involve long hours for many people sitting under many trees; endless patience; explications; sensitivity to human wants, I find not even a hint in the proposals that this is recognised as a task of superhuman difficulty for any Commission. It sounds like a little committee of inquiry where you go and see what the water is like in the Cheviots, and a pleasant afternoon is spent by all, as it were. That is more the model, even if it is not exactly the pattern. It is far more the model than what will have to be set up if any good is to come of it.
What the proposals say on this matter of acceptability is, I think, plausible, because it puts into our minds commissions, about which we all think we know a great deal. It is as plausible as it is misleading, and it is against the sheer facts of the country. I have no evidence whatever of this Commission suggestion being thoroughly thought through. The Monckton Commission may be a parallel, but there has got to be much more thinking along these lines. What the Commission, if I may say so negatively, must not do and must not even be seen to do, is to tell the Africans what is good for them. I strongly suspect, unless a very thorough and long-term job is done, that that will be the appearance of it: "The great men are coming down; tell the Africans what to do", and that of course will be disastrous.
355 To reflect more broadly, though not for long, on this acceptability matter, there is the reference to normal political activities being permitted during this inquiry provided they are conducted, you remember, in a peaceful and democratic manner. That provision would be far more encouraging if, in the context of Rhodesian politics, words like "normal" and "democratic" had been avoided. When we hear that time will be available on radio and T. V. to political Parties represented in the House of Assembly, that phrase becomes badly tarnished, as the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, said, when we realise that what are, in the view of many responsible observers, the most truly representative African Parties have been banned by the Rhodesian Government, and there is no Party whatever in Parliament now which has considerable African support.
As I said at the start, I have made these critical comments with no pleasure or satisfaction, and no wish whatever to belittle the efforts—the uphill efforts—which these proposals represent: the efforts of people I hold in the highest regard. But proposals and plans never, of themselves, bring any settlement, any more than a treaty between two nations prevents a war. Only people, not proposals, effect a settlement. When it comes to people—and as the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, frankly admitted, he has not persuaded the Rhodesian Government to a more liberal way of thinking—I am not surprised to find in these proposals no evidence whatever of a radical change of heart expressed in the determination to implement the proposals under the vision of an integrated Rhodesia. I find not even a faint shadow of that vision here, and yet without that, these proposals might be only 10 printed sheets of folded paper. Indeed, looking for the guarantees which the Five Principles envisage, sadly I find, as I have tried to show, only evasiveness and ambiguity, sinister phrases and suspicious qualifications.
It might be said, "Let us leave it to the Rhodesian people themselves". That sounds so reasonable and so sensible, and so simple. Not so! For when we put proposals to anybody—and here may I dare to hope to mediate between the noble Lord, Lord Wade, and the noble 356 and learned Lord on the Woolsack—it is normally inferred that we are commending them. When we are not, special provision is made, and we have qualifying phrases like "without prejudice". The result is that when we are asked, without any qualification, to agree to putting these terms to the people of Rhodesia for their judgment, the implication is that we commend these proposals ex animo, and that we see them as embodying the guarantees of which the Five Principles spoke.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I hope that the right reverend Prelate is not suggesting that I made any other suggestion. Of course we are commending them, but one of the proposals is acceptability. That is all I ever said. We are commending them in exactly the same sense as the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. commended them to the House, on the grounds that it would be consummate folly to reject them.
THE LORD BISHOP OF DURHAM
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor for saying that. It entirely makes my point. I did discover a point of agreement between him and the noble Lord, Lord Wade, which is precisely the point the noble and learned Lord has expressed better than I could do.
Further, Mr. Smith remains the same. The Rhodesian Government are skilled in the exercise of avoiding tactics. All that may be different in the future is, as the noble Lord, Lord Wade, said, that we may be involved and be, in part, responsible for the oppression and the injustice which I dare be bound will continue. If, as I believe, that is the alternative to continuing, at least for the present, the present circumstances, then I am against it, and that is my answer to Lord Goodman's searching question as to what the alternative is. I say, rather, what is this possibility? I think it is even worse than the present conditions are.
My conclusion is that these proposals are so open-textured, to say nothing worse, that the hopes and aspirations of the African people slip through the meshes of their dialectic. For that reason, because I see little that is clear and nothing that is attractive about the state 357 of affairs which these proposals will bring about, and worse, because I do not want even in part to be responsible for what, in the framework of these proposals, may be done (and on past evidence will be done) by the Rhodesian Government, I feel bound to vote to-morrow for the Amendment.
§ 6.58 p.m.
§ LORD GARNER
My Lords, first I must offer your Lordships an apology. I have become completely deaf and am due for hospitalisation as soon as I finish making my speech this evening. I am afraid, therefore, I shall be precluded from staying for the rest of the discussion, and it is likely that I shall not be so agreeably employed to-morrow, as when sitting in your Lordships' House. I must also add, in case any noble Lord wishes to interrupt me, that I shall not hear him if he does.
I should like to pay my tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, and the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, for their maiden speeches. I was particularly interested in the noble Earl's reference to continuing scholarships from Rhodesia. As the chairman of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission, I can assure him that over the years we have had a regular series of outstanding Rhodesian candidates, both white and black, and I certainly hope that arrangements will be made for these scholarships to be continued. This is certainly no day for rejoicing and, as so many speakers have already pointed out, the proposals for a settlement presented to us are not ideal—the Lord Privy Seal himself so agreed—and not perfect, as the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, explained to us in very frank terms.
I have spent a number of years wrestling with all these problems, with A and B rolls and blocking thirds and blocking quarters, but I have no intention this evening of going through any matters of detail in the terms. However, I think it fair to point out that the impression emerges that there is certainly no absolute guarantee of any early majority rule. Few of the provisions in the proposals are really copper-bottomed, without a considerable let-out, and there is no effective machinery or external control to 358 prevent any breach. A second danger comes from one's assessment of the attitude of Mr. Smith. It may be that he was converted by the persuasiveness of Sir Alec Douglas-Home but, if so, it was a forced conversion, simply because he saw the necessity of a settlement. One can see no evidence—indeed, one would not expect it—of a genuine change of heart. I thought this was very much confirmed by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, himself.
I would not wish to credit Mr. Smith with the deliberate intention of wrecking the settlement once he has achieved independence. But, even so, one does not need to speculate very far on how events may not go too well, on what sort of pressures will be brought to bear on him and, particularly at an election time, on how lie might be driven into dangerous courses. But even if one can count on Mr. Smith, there is the more distant future to be thought about. Under our system, no Government are expected to bind their successors and it is extremely difficult to foresee exactly what sort of Government will be in control in, say, ten years—because parity is certainly going to take at least that number of years to be achieved—in Rhodesia, and what sort of actions might be taken during the 1980s. These are all very heavy questions.
But then, like the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, I asked myself the question: what arc the alternatives? Lord Goodman put the case so powerfully that there is very little that I need to add. But starkly, as I see it, there are three alternatives. The first is the use of armed force. I have always ruled that out, and I have not heard it even suggested to-day. The second alternative is to continue with the present policy of sanctions. Undoubtedly, sanctions have had an effect, perhaps a cumulative effect, and it is arguable that if they were continued for a further two years they might, by the end of that time, have a greater effect. But I should have thought it was equally arguable that, at the end of those two years, the bitterness in Rhodesia would have increased, the polarisation between the races would have gone on and further progress would have been made towards apartheid. In any case, as we know, it is clearly not going to be easy to secure a world-wide continuation of sanctions for a long period.
359 The third possible alternative is a negotiated settlement. When the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary left for Salisbury, I was very doubtful about whether he would be able to achieve tolerable terms. I thought—and I expressed this view in your Lordships' House—that it was more likely that he would feel bound to report that no settlement was possible, because there seemed to be no real meeting of minds between ourselves and Mr. Smith's regime. In that case, the only honourable course would have been to revert to the present policy. But something has happened in Salisbury in the last few weeks. It may not be very much, but, to my surprise, the settlement sets Rhodesia on a slightly different course from her present one, and offers at least a glimmer of hope for the future. Of course, it certainly does not go as far or as fast as the African Nationalists would wish; nor does it go as far and as fast as many of us would wish, as the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, was frank enough to admit. But if one is going to deal with reality and reach as practical a settlement as one can, and if one is going to have negotiations, then there must inevitably be compromise on both sides, as there clearly has been on this occasion.
Moreover, despite the absence of any external control, there are two factors which one hopes will deter the Rhodesian Government from breaking the agreement in the future. The first is a fear of the reimposition of sanctions. One must not forget that, if there were to be a real breach of the agreement, Rhodesia would by then be a fully independent republic on its own and Britain would have no control. Therefore, the back-up of the United Nations would be entirely out of British hands, and Rhodesia might face the wrath of the world. So that she would no doubt take fair account of that. The second factor—and it may not be a major one—is that one would hope that Rhodesia would not wish to incur the loss of the £50 million in aid which the British Government have undertaken to provide. Therefore, after very serious heart searching and on one understanding, I should be prepared to accept these proposals as, in effect, a working document. Obviously the one understanding is that the whole package 360 is subject to the Fifth Principle. That is of vital importance and, as has been said, an extremely heavy responsibility rests on the shoulders of Lord Pearce and his colleagues.
Incidentally, I have heard a number of references to the Monckton Commission's providing a precedent for this sort of inquiry. With great respect, those references were misconceived. The Monckton Commission was a major body sent out to review the whole working of the Federation, which comprised the three territories of Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland, and to make proposals for the future. It was a very different operation from what I understand is contemplated for this Commission, which will merely ascertain the views of the people on a proposition that is to be put before them. It does not seem to me that the parallel is very close. Nor do I think the Monckton Commission was ever specifically charged with ascertaining the precise views of the people concerned, other than any Commission obviously does.
As I see it, the Commission will be called upon to make a judgment on three aspects of the matter to make sure that the Africans first, understand; secondly, accept; and, thirdly, will work the proposals. Those are three different matters. Understanding is itself difficult enough, because the terms of the settlement are extremely complex and there are so many imponderables. Indeed, it is even hard enough to explain the highly complicated provisions in simple terms to a sophisticated questioner in this country; and one can imagine the difficulties that will arise when the Commission visits African kraals. Moreover, understanding involves some knowledge of what the alternatives are, and some appreciation of the fact that rejection of the proposals will mean a reversion to present repression, with no guarantee whatsoever of further improvement.
The second stage, as I see it, is acceptability, which places on the Commission the duty of ascertaining what the Africans really think, apart from the pressures and propaganda of the regime, on the one hand, and of African Nationalist Parties on the other.
But the third stage is almost the most important, because the proposals will 361 work only if the Africans co-operate, as of course they failed to do hitherto in connection with the 1961 Constitution. At the end of the day, the Commission will have to satisfy itself, and will have to satisfy Parliament, not only that the majority of Africans, on balance, understand and accept the proposals, but also that, in sufficient numbers, they will be willing to make them work—and that, indeed, my Lords, is a further formidable hurdle. I do not envy the Commission its task, but I certainly wish it well; and on this understanding, without rapture, quite frankly, but with a very deep concern for all that is at stake, I would be willing to give my support to the Motion.
§ 7.11 p.m.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, in view of the fact that I am but the tenth of 35 Members of your Lordships' House who have put their names down to speak in this debate, I will endeavour to curtail what I have to say, although I should like to say, with great respect to the "usual channels", that I think Lord Sandford's vehicles might have been kept for another day.
My Lords, I believe, as I think most Members of your Lordships' House must believe, that the agreement which is before us to-day is probably the best, give or take one or two details here or there, that could have been negotiated in present circumstances. Nevertheless, I am deeply sceptical as to the wisdom of proceeding with it, and I will endeavour in a few moments to explain to your Lordships why I take this view. Before I do so, I should like to deal with one or two matters of detail, the first being the political situation in Rhodesia. I was much interested in a very small news item in this morning's Press which indicated that in a by-election for the Salisbury Parliament which is due to take place later this month the nominations closed yesterday and there was one nominee only. In other words, the Right-Wing Party in Rhodesia—that is to say, to the Right of Mr. Smith's Rhodesia Front—has apparently been convinced that this agreement is sufficiently satisfactory for them not to wish to contest this by-election.
This seems to me to be a very significant political pointer; and I would refer your Lordships to the report this morning from a Daily Telegraph reporter on the spot in which he says: 362…the proposals are being 'sold' to wavering Rhodesians as a total capitulation by Britain, suitably garbed in deliberately confusing legal terminology.The report also says that they are being persuadedthat the terms are far more favourable to White Rhodesians than a first, second or even third reading would suggest".This situation in Rhodesian domestic policies seems to me to be one which should at least arouse one's suspicions, because, after all, the terms are being "sold" to people who are not ignorant of local conditions—far from it. They are people who know very well the provisions of the 1961 Constitution and of the 1969 Constitution, the A and B voters' rolls, blocking quarters, blocking thirds and so on. They are perfectly accustomed to these rather difficult constitutional matters; and I cannot believe that if they thought that the Africans were really going to have a very substantial advantage out of this agreement there would not have been a Right-Wing candidate in this by-elect ion.
My Lords, I will not attempt to analyse the White Paper proposals. They have already been analysed (quite brilliantly, I thought) by my noble and learned friend Lord Gardiner, and a number of your Lordships who have already spoken have carried that analysis further. All that I would plead is that we should ourselves not engage in any exercise of self-deception. I was very glad indeed that the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, did not do so—to the extent, at least, that he frankly admitted that this particular set of proposals, although they were the best that he and others were able to achieve, were not by any means ideal. Because if we did try to deceive ourselves, I do not believe that we should succeed in deceiving others, and we should only debase the whole currency of our political thought. To give one example of the sort of thing I have in mind, let us not become hypnotised, for instance, by the use of the word "parity", because this word does not mean at all what we in a Parliamentary democracy would understand it to mean. It means that a community of some 5½, million people will, on certain conditions and over a period which is calculated as being anything from 30 to 40 or 60 years, obtain an equivalent voice with a community of a quarter of a million people. 363 In other words, one is not equating individuals at all: one is equating one very large group with one relatively small group. Therefore, one should not comfort oneself with the word "parity" without at least being quite sure what it is that one is talking about.
But even on this concept of parity one has one's doubts as to how, or how soon, it is to be reached, because the qualifications are of education and of income. The qualification of education is four years' compulsory secondary education. I am speaking of the higher roll. Such an education is of course compulsory in Rhodesia for all white Rhodesians. I have not got the precise figure for the number of black Rhodesians who at present enjoy secondary education, but the figure given in The Times the other day by Professor Roland Oliver, who is very knowledgeable about Africa, was 2 per cent. That may be a slight underestimate, but the number is something of that order. So there is a very large gap. But one may say, "Of course, Her Majesty's Government are to spend £50 million over 10 years to improve African education, and this surely will make a great difference". Let us put that, too, into some perspective. It was in 1967 that a Rhodesian Minister said that it would take £154 million per annum and £250 million of capital expenditure to bring African education up to European standards. Of course, plainly any such desperate measure is not necessary to enable Africans to achieve voting qualifications; but I do not know that we ought really to deceive ourselves into supposing that £5 million a year, which is to be spent not only on education but also on physical development in the tribal lands. and so on, is really going to make a very significant difference to the numbers who are going to be able to qualify for the voters' roll.
Incidentally, if we are to hand over this sum of money to Rhodesia, is it necessary to hand it over to the Rhodesian Government? Is there not something to be said for establishing an education and development trust which would not be, one would hope, susceptible to the suspicion that it might be manipulating this money for electoral advantage?
§ LORD ALPORT
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Baroness for one moment? Perhaps she would bear in mind that the missions have carried out most of the education in Rhodesia for a very long time, and are very short of money, and would easily be able to use any Government money and administer it independently and, secondly, that there is an organisation in Rhodesia which would be quite capable of channelling the money which the British Government produced into the tribal trust areas and the native purchase areas, and do so in a way completely independent of the Government.
§ BARONESS WHITE
My Lords, that is surely a very strong argument why this method should be chosen by Her Majesty's Government, and I hope that they will give most serious consideration to this matter.
Another very important question which is relevant to the whole question of balance on the voters' roll, and as to whether and how soon parity may be reached, is, of course, the question of white immigration, because parity depends on both sides. We have heard how African seats may be increased, but, of course, if you have further immigration of people of European stock they, too, will have additional seats; and therefore, pari passu the Africans would need to have an even larger number of educated and well-paid members of their community in order to keep pace with European immigration. As I understand it, there have been statements of policy about this question in Salisbury, and I believe that the figure has been mooted of 10,000 new European immigrants.
What I am suggesting is that this is one of the very important factors which is not referred to in the White Paper but which may well affect the balance of political parity in the time to come. I cannot go into the discrepancy on the estimate about how many Africans in fact will be entitled to register. I was surprised at the figure of 15,000 given by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, which is higher than the latest official figure I had heard. As the noble Lord, Lord Garner, rightly said, it will depend very much on whether Africans can be persuaded that it is worth their while to 365 register. I very much hope that they will. Imperfect as I think all these proposals are, and imperfect as I believe the Constitution to be, nevertheless I very much hope that Africans will avail themselves of such rights as are open to them.
I think we are all very much troubled about the question of discrimination. The noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, pointed out some of the apparent safeguards. The Commission is to consider this matter, and the Government are pledged to recommend their proposals to Parliament. But if we had really wanted to convince African opinion that this was a genuine new deal, surely this process should have been gone through before they were asked to express their views as to the package as a whole. They would then have had some kind of touchstone as to the genuineness of some of the rest of the proposals. But this is not to be. All this will be carried out, as I understand it, after independence, not before. Again, if I were an African and looked at the Bill of Rights—I know it is not a new one—I should feel, as any lay person would, that the parity principle is whittled away by all the small print that comes below. In any case, existing laws are not to be touched. There is already a legal foundation for an apartheid State in Rhodesia, and if existing laws are exempt under the Bill of Rights it does not seem that one can repose very much confidence in this as a safeguard. In a State which does not intend to practise discrimination no Bill of Rights is required. Where discrimination is in fact the intention, then I think this Bill of Rights is but a flimsy safeguard. The only true safeguard of liberty is adequate political representation, for which, on any calculation, the Africans will have to wait many years.
Finally, I wish to say something about my attitude to the situation as a whole, not just to the details of this particular set of proposals. I think we should seriously ask ourselves: is it wise for us to implicate ourselves in the ways proposed under this agreement with a regime of which I think most of us, at heart, deeply disapprove and which I do not believe has changed? To do so is to put ourselves on the wrong side of the big divide in African affairs. I am looking now beyond Rhodesia itself. I admit that 366 within the Rhodesian context it is arguable that, in the short term at least, the Africans will be somewhat better off under these proposals than if they were not adopted. But if we look at the position of Britain in the whole African context, are we not seriously in danger of putting ourselves on what the Africans would consider the wrong side of the ideological confrontation that is developing in the Continent of Africa?
The black Africans are more and more tending to regard the Communist regimes, whether Russian or Chinese, as their best friends, and I have a most disquieting feeling that, after Salisbury, the places in which this agreement will be most warmly welcomed are Moscow and Peking. By entering into an agreement, which I do not think any one of your Lordships has wholeheartedly commended, and about which many of us have the deepest suspicions, we are surely appearing to the world to be giving moral endorsement to a régime which admittedly we are powerless to change but of which we cannot approve. Would it not possibly have been better to admit our impotence? As I remarked at the outset of my speech, in the conviction that the particular proposals which could have been negotiated by anyone at the present time, if I really believed in what the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, said, that this White Paper opens up a prospect of a non-racial society of the kind of which we should approve; if I really believed, with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, that the agreement opens a way to white Rhodesians to relinquish control without violence, then I should be disposed to vote to-morrow in favour of this agreement. But I do not believe either of these propositions. I wish I could. I hope that I may be proved wrong. But I believe that we should stand better in the world if we were frank and honest in our disbeliefs.
§ 7.27 p.m.
§ LORD HASTINGS
My Lords, I have great sympathy with the noble Baroness, Lady White, because I find myself in the same position, rather inconvenienced, shall we say, by the previous business which delayed the House.
My Lords, I am the first speaker on these Benches since we had the two maiden speeches. Therefore, even though 367 the two noble Lords are not here and are undoubtedly eating a well-deserved dinner—I am glad to see that one of them has returned—it is my very pleasant duty to welcome them to your Lordships' House and to congratulate them on their excellent speeches. The noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, interested us very much with his experiences of the King's African Rifles after the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya, and he drew a parallel between the Rhodesian situation to-day and Kenya then. Certainly we must learn the lessons which Africa has to teach, and this is very much in the minds of many of your Lordships, particularly those of us who are familiar with the African scene. Then he talked about confidence and trust. As so many speeches have revealed to-day, the whole of this debate is about confidence and trust and on those will depend which way individual Members of your Lordships' House will think.
The noble Earl, Lord Onslow, referred in felicitous phrases to the final curtain coming down on our glorious imperial history; but he did not much like the look of that curtain, and he was supported in that respect by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. But he said a very important thing, that if the Rhodesians accept then our doubts are superfluous. I think we have listened to two most interesting speeches which were very relevant to our debate to-day.
My Lords, I am also the first speaker in this debate who has personal interests in Rhodesia which are well known to many of your Lordships. But, of course, there are a number of noble Lords who have joined us since I spoke last on the subject of Rhodesia, and therefore I must remind your Lordships of those interests. I have had a farm for more than 20 years in Rhodesia—Southern Rhodesia as it was better known—and I lived there for the first six of those years. In case any noble Lord should make the mistake of believing that because of that interest, even unconsciously, I might be influenced by considerations of personal profit, I would inform them that it is a curious fact that as a direct result of sanctions my farm has doubled in value. That is because it happens to be in an extremely good farming area and other people less lucky than I wish to buy farms in that 368 area. Having explained that situation I hope I may be regarded as objective in that respect.
The last speech I made on this subject was on the occasion when the Labour Government decided to send the problem to the United Nations, in December 1966. I opposed that Motion, and I say for the benefit of the noble Lord, Lord Soper, that I opposed it on the grounds of Christian conscience. I have no intention of repeating that speech, but perhaps he may be interested to look it up. The reason why I have to oppose the Amendment to-day is a quite simple one—because, if passed, it would deprive the Rhodesian people of the possibility even of passing judgment on the proposed settlement. I am quite certain they must have that opportunity. There are other reasons, of course, and at the end of my speech noble Lords opposite will understand them more fully.
I have always wished that we could 'keep political controversy out of the subject of Rhodesia, but I regret to say that seldom are we able to do so. I complained about that as long ago as 1957 when, soon after returning from that country, I pointed out to noble Lords aid in the estimation of Rhodesian opinion in general the Conservative Party was linked with the European interests and against the African interests and the Labour Party was linked with the African interests and against the European interests. I have always wished that that myth could be exploded because basically I do not believe it to be true, except in the case of individual members of both Parties. But at critical moments I am afraid that we get ourselves involved in controversy. This has always bedevilled the situation in Rhodesia. I say, as I have always said, that I am 100 per cent. pro-Rhodesia as a whole—and I mean as a whole. I have always been impressed by the common sense and the essential decency of the great majority of Rhodesians, white, black, Asian and coloured. I stand by that, and this will colour my speech. It is from that point of view that I want to review the present situation, without emotion but coolly and dispassionately because I believe it is in the interests of all races in Rhodesia. That is what matters above all—not our interests, not even our honour, still less 369 our pride; not our lives but their lives. I have occasionally thought during one or two speeches that full recognition has not been given to that fact.
I do not wish to go into all the Five Principles. That has been done, and will be done ad nauseam. But I would make one or two brief comments in respect of majority rule and the calculations made as to the time factor. One could estimate it fairly accurately, back in 1961, based on that Constitution. With all the figures at my finger tips in those days, I thought, in spite of all that Sir Edgar Whitehead said, that the figure was over-optimistic and that it should have been 20 years. Ten years have now been lost. Ten years have been thrown away. Everybody is blameworthy. But do not let us go over that again. I believe that if the term of 20 or 25 years can be put into these proposals, we should be more than satisfied. I do not believe that it would, in fact, take longer than a generation.
This really brings me to the question of personal ambition. I know it must be very bitter and frustrating for the present African leaders to feel that by the time they get a majority rule they personally will no longer be leaders. But we cannot consider personalities. To-day, we must think of the long-term aspirations of the people as a whole. One of the calculations that I felt was quite extraordinary in the figures quoted by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, in referring to Professor Palley's calculation, was the estimate of the increase in the European population after a possible settlement. This is estimated at a rate completely unknown in the past. There has been a great expansion in Rhodesia from 1947 right up to 1965; and the figures given there I thought were hopelessly unrealistic. Of course, if they are wrong it would reduce the period of 64 years to a considerable extent. That is all I wish to say about that. As regards the safeguards against retrogressive amendment, the speech of the noble and learned Lord in that respect was dealt with admirably by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman.
Turning to the voting habits of the black Africans, why should the directly-elected and the indirectly-elected African Members differ? For such an assumption there is no justification at all. There has been none in the past; there will be 370 none in the future. This leads one to question also many of the other assumptions about leadership in Rhodesia. The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham stated that there were no representatives in Parliament of the Africans. Of course, there are! There are eight directly-elected Africans, seven of whom represent the Centre Party. They were voted into Parliament on the African roll. With respect, the statement of the right reverend Prelate was both ignorant and ridiculous.
Let us take the leadership of Mr. Nkomo who has many followers—as has Mr. Sithole—but who has been out of politics for a long time. When I was there last March I was informed by liberal Europeans who have contact with the younger Africans in the towns and in the tribal trust lands that they do not necessarily regard Mr. Nkomo as their leader. No doubt they will throw up new leaders—and soon. The idea that the Chiefs have no following and are just "stooges" is completely ridiculous. It is not true. They have a very large following in the tribal trust lands. I would not say they have the agreement of all their followers; but they are people of substantial position who truly represent large numbers of their people. The situation is far too complex to generalise about voting habits.
I think that the least satisfactory part of the proposals is that dealing with racial discrimination and this rather unfortunate phrase of exceptions being made for "considerations of an overriding character". I am glad to see that it says that any Government would consider such a course and not just the Rhodesian Government. But those sort of considerations, to our way of thinking, usually refer to public security and I would rather see words to that effect in the document. When that is compared with what is written elsewhere, it does not seem possible that after the Commission has been out and has made recommendations, the Rhodesian Government could or would go against those recommendations in the context of this paragraph dealing with racial discrimination.
This really brings one to the question of trust. I fully appreciate that there are good and sufficient reasons why the Governments of this country, past and present, should distrust or might distrust the 371 de facto Government of Rhodesia, considering what has happened since U.D.I. and the mere fact of U.D.I. itself. But there is a long history to this question, and it goes back to the early days of the Federation. The distrust originated in Rhodesia and was against the politicians and statesmen of this country of ail' Parties. I said before, that that distrust was justified, and I have no fear of repeating that now. Therefore the cap fits both sides, and it is this basic distrust which has to be overcome. I hope very much that this agreement will succeed in overcoming it. I know the Rhodesian people; I have already expressed the opinion that I have of them, and I will give them the benefit of the doubt. It remains to be seen whether, when the test of acceptance is put to them, all the Rhodesians will support my belief that the Rhodesian Government intend to keep the spirit as well as the letter of this agreement.
My Lords, one of the most important things about this agreement is the part which sets aside £50 million for the development of the Tribal Trust Lands. Again the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham should have known better. This is one of the most important features of the agreement and is absolutely necessary. The basic problem for any Government in Rhodesia over the next 10 to 15 years is economic. If it cannot be solved, no Government will remain long or indefinitely in power. A political solution will not be possible. European industry in the big towns will never provide jobs for all the Africans. The vast majority of them live in the Tribal Trust Lands, and at the present rate of increase there will be even more than those. There must be jobs for them in the Tribal Trust Lands. This is not a question of separate development, it is a question of their livelihood in their own Trust Lands. These must be developed. My only doubt is whether the money will be sufficient, but if the Rhodesians put in an equal amount I dare says that £10 million a year will take a lot of spending. It is not only in agricultural projects but in commercial and industrial ones as well, and some Africans will have to be trained. This is basic to the whole future of Rhodesia whatever Government there is, whether 372 white or black, democratic or authoritarian. Therefore, I welcome this aspect of the proposals.
Another result of the agreement which I do not think has been touched on at all to-day is the effect on the internal political situation. For some years there has been an external enemy, whether it be ourselves or the United Nations, and this has united the European people of Rhodesia as nothing else could. When that reason for unity is withdrawn, it will be the opportunity for many Europeans to whom the noble Lord. Lord Goodman, referred, to start—well, they have started, my Lords—to create effectively and to build up a strong Opposition on a multi-racial basis. Unless this settlement is reached, there will never be any opportunity for that at all. These people are waiting for a settlement in order to get going and they are desperate that we should reach a settlement. This needs a great deal of emphasis and it has not been regarded at all. It must necessarily affect the divisions of opinion which have always existed before; only before the majority was always two to one in favour of what we would call common sense and there is no reason why it ' should not be again. But without settlement that cannot possibly happen.
My Lords, I have dealt with the positive side, but there is a negative side which is of equal importance and is crucial in our debate and in the test of acceptability to be carried out in Rhodesia. It is, of course, the alternative solution. That was dealt with by the noble Lord. Lord Goodman, and the noble Lord. Lord Garner, but not by anyone else. The question of waiting and trying again and going on with sanctions was dealt with effectively by the noble Lord, Lord Garner. It will not wash, my Lords. Things will get worse. We shall not get an agreement any different from this, certainly not better. Policies of apartheid will be continued; sanctions will not bring down the Government. I do not believe that we can wait and see. Therefore we must look ahead for 10 or 15 years, and that is what 1 want to emphasise.
It has been suggested that the worst that could happen is a slide to South African apartheid, but that, my Lords, is not the main danger. It was touched on, 373 but not I believe in detail, or even sufficiently, by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. I have referred briefly to the economic problems in the Tribal Trust Lands. I was told authoritatively when I was there last March that the African population will double itself, perhaps in 10 years, certainly in 15 years. It there is no agreement and sanctions are still in force, what will those people do? Half of them will be young men. There will be no jobs for them. At that stage, with 10 million Africans or more, it will not be possible for the Europeans to maintain their law and order. There will be rioting, insurrection and bloodshed.
I realise that there are a few extremists among the Europeans in this country and among the Africans in Rhodesia who hope that this will happen—good riddance to the European population of Rhodesia! They think that then the Africans will take over and govern the country. But there will be no clearly defined African leaders if and when that insurrection takes place. There will be many small leaders but no one of stature; nobody trained and with experience of government. There will be a power struggle and then very soon a civil war between the Matabele and the Mashona. That has been so in the past, before Cecil Rhodes went there and even soon after. It will happen again. We have only to look at other parts of Africa to see what is happening there between the tribes. It will happen in Rhodesia in a state of insurrection and chaos.
It might be supposed that the Africans could settle their difficulties among themselves, but even that is not true. The Rhodesian Africans will be interfered with whether they are Matabele or Mashona. There will be interference from outside, by trained guerrillas from the North. They may not be much use now, as was pointed out, I think, by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. But if anything really broke out, they would certainly come in. They are being trained already by the Chinese in Tanzania, and the Chinese are now also infiltrating into Zambia. There will be trained and controlled bands of guerrillas with Chinese backing coming in from the North to sort out the mess. If that happens, or even if it does not, can we rely on the South African Government to sit still 374 and do nothing at all? Of course not, my Lords. They will be there, and the result will be a battleground in Rhodesia between not only the warring forces inside the country but also forces from outside, from the North and the South. The European Rhodesians will disappear completely but the poor Africans who are Rhodesian citizens will be the losers. They will not come out on top, or have control of their own country. That is the reality facing Rhodesia in the future. That is why I support this agreement, believing it to be in the interests of peace and prosperity and eventual multiracial democracy in Rhodesia.
§ 7.49 p.m.
§ LORD REAY
My Lords, there seems to be agreement, even among those who oppose the proposals that we are debating, that they are about the best we could have hoped to obtain in the present circumstances. While it has weaknesses, particularly perhaps with regard to land allocation, the document brought back by Sir Alec Douglas-Home is a stronger document than we might have expected. The Rhodesians have been obliged to accept, finally, the principle of majority rule. If honestly administered, if maintained as a policy, the eventual consequences of this agreement will be majority rule. Whether it will be allowed to unfold in the proposed manner, either by the white Rhodesians or by black forces in Africa, is a matter that will be outside our control.
It is of course a matter of regret that the right we claimed to determine the manner in which Rhodesia received her independence should not have been backed by a corresponding power to ensure the consequences that we desired. But our fault lay in claiming a responsibility we had therefore no right to claim. It was a trap we laid for ourselves. The recent history of our relationship with Rhodesia can be traced logically back to our refusal to give independence on the break-up of federation; beyond that to our whole post-war Commonwealth policy when we built up in ourselves the desire to do only what the new countries of the Commonwealth wanted us to do; and beyond that to the very origins of the modern State of Rhodesia, when, in 1923, for the sake of the glory of Empire, we annexed Rhodesia to the Crown under a system 375 which gave local autonomy, while reserving to the Imperial Parliament authority in foreign policy and in native affairs. As the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, suggested it can be traced even beyond that time. In the years after U.D.I. I, for one, accepted the continuity of our historical claims with regard to Rhodesia, and as a member of the Liberal Party I willingly co-operated with the policy of sanctions. In retrospect, I can see that I, as perhaps others did, overestimated the opportunities that we might acquire to determine the political outcome. The agreement that we are debating today reflects the maximum impression we are ever likely to make on Rhodesia's political direction. If it is correct to conclude from the long, powerful and destructive analysis of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, that we should have done better to give independence under the 1961 Constitution than on these terms, then I think we can only regret that we did not take that original opportunity.
From the point of view of our history as a nation, I therefore think that the most important aspect of this agreement is its deliberate failure to include any external safeguard for the agreement. I appreciate that for noble Lords on my right, who prefer that we should aim for the principle with less respect for reality, this crucial difference between the terms of this agreement and the "Fearless" terms is one to be deplored and not to be approved. But if the present Government had repeated the "Fearless" proposal for appeals to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, we should still remain in the situation of having our authority defied and yet being in no physical position to enforce it. It is precisely because this agreement finally breaks the pattern of claiming to control a situation which we did not control that I believe that these proposals deserve support.
It may then be asked: what will this agreement have achieved, apart from enabling us to break this unsatisfactory pattern within our own history? My Lords, I think the answer is twofold. In the first place, we shall have given Rhodesia the opportunity (and that was the word the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, used) to move in a new political direction. Having faced Rhodesia in another direc- 376 tion—for that is what we shall have done—we have no power to see that she sticks to it. But she takes the risk herself of not doing so. If she prefers to risk isolation, even catastrophe, then that must be her own solemn decision. It is in giving Rhodesia this last opportunity to compromise with the powerful but still immature forces of modern Africa that we perhaps make our best contribution in these proposals and the best we could make in any proposals.
But I also think that we should not underestimate the value of bringing a greater degree of realism to the consideration of an international problem. Our own fictitious claims to be able to control this problem have been an attractive diversion for the people in Africa, who expend enormous energy in blaming us for not solving a problem that only they will solve. For this is in truth an African problem. The demand for majority rule in Rhodesia originates in Africa. Other countries in Africa need to decide for themselves what priority to give, what combinations to make, what sacrifices to put up with, in order to achieve black rule in Southern Africa. It is of course imaginable that such a policy could one day be adopted and enforced under general international agreement. But just as our own imperial dominion had too far disintegrated for the solution to be within our power, so the world has not achieved sufficient political integration for the solution to lie within the power of world organisations or combinations to-day. For the present, the outcome will be determined by local forces in which we have no part to play.
There are two questions that I should like to ask Her Majesty's Government, perhaps for answer to-morrow by the noble Marquess or by the noble and learned Lord who sits on the Woolsack. The first one is to do with the question of our financial assistance to Rhodesia over the next ten years. The present proposals promise:…£5 million per year for a period of 10 years in capital aid and technical assistance to he applied to purposes and projects to be agreed with the Rhodesian Government…",with matching sums provided by the Rhodesian Government. This is more or less identical with the "Fearless" proposal.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, may I just point out that the "Fearless" proposal of £50 million was purely and solely for education; nothing else?
§ LORD REAY
My Lords, I accept the correction of the noble Lord, which is not material to my argument. But it is not clear from the wording which I have quoted whether we wish to be involved in agreeing on this programme only at the outset or whether we propose to be involved in it throughout its stages. I can understand that the terms of the agreement needed to avoid anything which night suggest that we did not trust Rhodesia to stick to the direction laid out for her in this agreement. At the same time, it would surely be intolerable for us to continue to make payments for purposes which had been abandoned or modified or even if, while specific programmes of education and in this case of social improvement were being continued, the main objective, African political advancement, was being frustrated in other ways. We should not only be free, therefore, to reduce or withdraw financial assistance if necessary, but also be in a position to scrutinise both particular programmes of expenditure on a running basis and also the total political drift of society. I should like to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can usefully add anything to the very little the White Paper says on this subject.
My second question concerns the implementation of the agreement. A difference between this agreement and the "Fearless" terms is that, whereas the "Fearless" terms set out that following the conclusion of the agreement, the British Government wouldtake all action in their power to bring about an immediate discontinuance of the economic and other sanctions at present in force",the present proposals state that the British Governmentwill terminate their economic and other sanctions when this legislation takes effect.I take this to mean that the British Government would ignore a mandatory United Nations resolution if one remained in force at the time. But do the Government intend first of all to approach the Security Council to invite them to drop sanctions, or do they intend to take the 378 view that the involvement of the Security Council in this matter was illegal, or at least improper, in the first place?
My Lords, I should like to conclude by saying that in order to welcome this possibility for a settlement it is not necessary for us to believe that the best future for the blacks in Rhodesia lies under the present Rhodesian Government. Within the last few years Rhodesia has shown a spontaneous tendency to move in the direction of apartheid. Apartheid is a cruel and dangerous system, which denies political life and human dignity to vast numbers of another race. But we must match our remedies to our capacity. We have created the opportunity for Rhodesia to have a new and better political future. We can do no more. Having done that, it is right that we should cooperate in the economic recovery of Rhodesia from which all races will benefit. For these reasons, I support the Motion that these proposals should be submitted to the test of acceptability to Rhodesia as a whole.
§ 8.1 p.m.
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
My Lords, although it is late and we have not made much progress, I am sure the House would wish me to convey our congratulations to our two maiden speakers. The noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, spoke with deep knowledge and great sympathy of Africa and Africans, and he was magnificently brief, which he will find will make him a popular speaker in your Lordships' House. The noble Earl, Lord Onslow, gave us a most thoughtful and sincere speech, and I strongly agree with the point he made about when the 5 million Africans of Rhodesia are no longer ill the Commonweath and how he hopes that they will still be entitled to the sort of educational benefits which were available to them before. I know that we shall want to listen to both our maiden speakers often in the future.
I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, is not in his place, because I feel that I must make some reference to what he said. When the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, opened our debate, I felt that he was perhaps less persuasive than be normally is. Indeed. I was mystified by his match boxes. We are used to the 379 Party opposite producing match boxes, but I have never heard of an agnostic match box and, indeed, would much prefer the slide rule to which he referred. Further, basing his argument for the Proposals on keeping Mr. Smith not isolated, because he would have regard to British and world opinion, did not seem to me. if I may say so, to be a very convincing argument when we think of the past.
So when the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, rose to his feet, I remembered at first the words which Lloyd-George once shouted across the Chamber in the other place to Winston Churchill when he was defending the Government in May,1940. He said:The right honourable Gentleman should not turn himself into an air raid shelter.I felt at first that the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, was doing that; but afterwards I felt that he turned himself much more into a Big Bertha. We know that these proposals are in a sense the noble Lord's baby, if I may so describe them, but I have never known the noble Lord so emotional, nor indeed have I ever before known him to be unfair. Of course we understand that he has to fight for his baby; but passion is no excuse for inaccuracy. To compare in the same breath Mr. Ian Smith and President Kaunda is little short of monstrous. There are over 1,000 people in restriction in Rhodesia. Both the leaders, Mr. Nkomo and the Reverend Ndabaninghi Sithole have been in restriction for six or seven years. There are some members of the Opposition in prison in Zambia; some have been set free, and the two Opposition leaders, Mr. Nkumbula and Mr. Kapepwe, are free and walking about the streets. The situation simply cannot be compared, and I was shocked that the noble Lord tried to do this.
My Lords, a cat may look at a king, and perhaps I can tell the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, that I found his defence of the position of the Chiefs most unconvincing. Apart from anything else, why does he think that the Rhodesian Government is so desperately anxious every time we have two directly elected Africans to have two indirectly elected Africans to, as the noble Lord himself said, "balance" them? I am afraid that these arguments do not hold water. The 380 noble Lord was not even accurate when he referred to the position of the coloured people and the Asians. He said that in every respect they ranked as Europeans. If they tried to live in the select suburbs of Salisbury they would find a very different picture.
The case has not been made out for these Proposals. I hope to show that they are a wrong approach to the whole question. They are formed on a wrong constitutional basis, and they are made at the wrong time. When last week the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, made his Statement about the Proposals, there was an atmosphere of bewilderment at the complexity of the electoral rolls and so on, and an atmosphere of astonishment that this kind of agreement could possibly be arrived at. Indeed, anything which makes my noble friend Lord Brockway refer to the present Foreign Secretary as a "saint" really is something not far short of a miracle. But I prefer to think of it as my noble friend Lord Soper described it; namely, as a mirage. Nevertheless, what caused this apparent miracle? I do not think there can be any doubt that one of the most important things which caused it was sanctions. For years we have been told, not only from Rhodesia, that sanctions were not succeeding: there has been a barrage of propaganda about them not succeeding. But this is simply not the case. The tobacco and asbestos industries there are suffering badly. There is a severe shortage of railway rolling stock, trucks, wagons and all those kind of things. Goods cannot be transported round within the country, and they cannot be exported without more stock. Last year, the balance of payments was £500,000, whereas in 1969 it was over £11 million—nearly £12 million. Their foreign exchange position is quite desperate. Indeed, I think the Guardian was right when it said that perhaps one could say that Mr. Wilson went to "Fearless" and "Tiger" too soon, and that it is sanctions which have brought Mr. Smith to this present point.
If that is true, why do the Government propose at this point to lift the sanctions? I believe, and I am sure all noble Lords on this side of the House believe, that sanctions should be lifted, if at all, very gradually; that we should have some proof that the regime really is carrying out its obligations under the proposals 381 before we try to lift any of them. The noble Lord, Lord Garner, dealt with the complicated question about how you can abandon sanctions when they are mandatory and the United Nations will have a strong voice in it. I am sorry that the United States behaved in the way that she did over lifting sanctions on Rhodesian chrome. I am bound to say that I thought the noble Marquess, when answering questions on this matter on Monday—I know that it was on behalf of his right honourable friend—was very disappointing when he appeared to dismiss this as unimportant; indeed, almost to justify it.
THE EARL OF GOWRIE
My Lords, if the noble Baroness will allow me to interrupt, the United States has not yet formally done anything about chrome.
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
It has been pushed through Congress, and the President has signed it. I should have thought that that was fairly complete. And it was not denied by the noble Marquess. On the other hand, we have had another rather odd feature about sanctions, which is that noble Lords on the Benches opposite have urged that they should be lifted because they are harming the Africans. We all know the Latin tag—it is probably the only one we do know—Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes. I cannot say it in Swahili, as did the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont. We know that when Governments try to urge on African peoples something which the African peoples do not want there is something funny about it; we do indeed, "fear the gifts that they bring". The African peoples of Rhodesia have never asked for sanctions to be lifted; their attitude to sanctions is, "We suffer now, let us suffer for freedom". It has only been asked for on their behalf.
What are the other reasons why Mr. Smith is trying to make this agreement at this time? I believe that great pressure has been put on him by South Africa, and to a lesser extent by Portugal. There are signs that the Portuguese are trying to adopt a rather different approach to their colonial problem, and there is no question that the South Africans are feeling the pinch economically far more than they did. They have a vast dissident black population of their own, and they 382 do not want to add another 5 million people. They do not want to have Rhodesia as an incubus clamped on them for ever. Their own economy is not as sound as it was. They do not need the more poorly educated Rhodesian whites to help them out in their search for skilled labour or for professionally skilled people. I am quite sure that the pressure has been from South Africa for Mr. Smith to settle. Much the most important reason of all is because in the end it will not make any difference to what he intended to do all the time.
Mr. Smith has hijacked Rhodesia. It is always notoriously difficult to deal with hijackers. You cannot negotiate with them because they blackmail you. Many noble Lords have referred to the evictions at the Epworth Mission, and so on. This is an example of the fact that the Government have been, I am sorry to say, taken in. They thought those were the only two places where evictions were taking place. In fact, evictions have been going on in hundreds of thousands over the past few years. I have one quotation from the Education Secretary of the Catholic Bishops' Conference in Rhodesia. He said:The implementation of the Government's discriminatory policies, particularly under the Land Tenure Act, has made it clear that their ideology is so incompatible with the Church's teaching that further negotiations would serve no useful purpose.That is the view of the Catholic Church.
Many noble Lords have referred to the Tangwena people. I should like to do so, too, because I know the area well. While discussing Epworth and Chishawasha, did the Government ask for any assurance that the Tangwena people's huts would be restored to them? Did they ask for an assurance that the grass on their own tribal lands, which was burnt so that they could not thatch the flimsy shelters which they put up when their own huts were burnt, should also be restored? It is beautiful country. It is rather like the Lake District, with hills, streams and burns. Also like the Lake District, it is extremely cold and wet at times. Women, children and old people, as well as the men, have been driven out of the lands which, as the right reverend Prelate said, they have been registered as occupying since 1905. They have been driven out to the deserted mountains of Mozambique as well as to the surrounding country.
383 The noble Lord, Lord Goodman, said that there had always been Land Tenure Acts ever since Rhodesia had existed as a country. But the Tangwena people were not touched under the previous Land Apportionment Act; it was only when the new Land Tenure Act was brought in that they were persecuted in this way, and with their schools closed down, and so forth. I have with me a newspaper which is written partly in the Shona language and gives us the latest news of that valiant man, Chief Rekayi, Chief of the Tangwena people. As your Lordships know, he has always had the greatest faith in the British people and in the British Queen. He managed to trek down to Salisbury a couple of weeks ago and tried to see Sir Alec. He saw the Attorney General and told him that two letters had been sent to the Government and the Queen, and the Chief wondered what the solution of his problem would be. The Attorney General said that he had no power. The Chief told him, "Either you have come to solve our problems, to stop what your children"—a reference to the Rhodesian Government—"are doing to us, or you have come to give your children licence to keep on what they are doing."
In a nutshell, my Lords, that is what this settlement is about. Here is this man of great courage, natural intelligence and profound wisdom, with powers of leadership beyond the ordinary; yet he can never qualify for a vote in Rhodesia. He is hostile to the regime, so he will not be considered as a Chief. He can never achieve money, property or a formal education. He will always, under the new proposals of the Government, be precluded from voting. Until now he has always looked to the British people and the British Queen for justice. There are hundreds of thousands more people like that. I believe that the Land Tenure Act is the absolute basis of the racial discrimination point. I do not believe there should be a settlement until the Land Tenure Act has been either abolished or substantially amended.
The noble Lord, Lord Wade, mentioned the racial discrimination Commission (that is the Rhodesian Commission) of three, and he was quite right when he said that it will be appointed only after 384 the British Pearce Commission had reported. That means probably after independence has been granted. If we have no sanctions against them now about racial discrimination, what sanctions shall we have against them after they have achieved legal independence and we have set the seal of respectability upon them? Nobody who has not been to Rhodesia can believe what the discrimination is like. I should like to tell you what the Chairman of the Rhodesian Front—Mr. Smith's Party—said last month at the Annual Party Conference. He said:The electorate will not much longer tolerate multi-racial swimming baths, mixed public facilities and amenities…and the non-appearance of legislation to prevent the infiltration into European areas of other races.It is a question of good faith, as so many noble Lords have said, and against that kind of background what are we to think of the good faith? We are basing the lives of 5 million people on that.
There is one other point: the noble Lord attacked—unfairly, I think—my noble and learned friend for what he said about Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Sithole. Something appeared in The Times yesterday which I find disquieting. I hope that it has been misreported. Sir Alec Douglas-Home is reported to have said that he had:…spoken to some Africans who had been detained, and most took the view that Britain should have used force to quell the rebellion, and should use force now. One of the reasons why these people were not being allowed to talk widely, or broadcast, was that they would preach violence.But those people had every right to hope that the British would come to their aid originally. We have put down more than one rebellion by force in the past. There has been too much from the Party opposite of considering people who fight for their independence and who rebel, as revolutionaries and men of violence. Think how President Kenyatta was considered. Now he is one of the most stabilising influences in the whole of Africa. I think of Archbishop Makarios, and can remember people in another place saying that they would not shake hands with murder. Only a few short months afterwards there were charming pictures of him talking to the Queen. This is not the attitude with which one can deal with a situation of this kind.
385 One last word about education. The noble Lord, Lord Reay, referred to this point and talked about the £50 million, and my noble friend Lord Shepherd quite rightly corrected him. Under the "Fearless" proposals the British Government were going to give £5 million a year and the Rhodesian Government were going to match that sum, and that was exclusively for African education and technical training. This new offer which is to be "matched appropriately", whatever that may mean, by the Rhodesian Government is for education and technical development. This is very interesting because they refer to capital aid and technical assistance and the sum is to be devoted to irrigation schemes, cultivation and industrial projects. Nobody denies that irrigation schemes are needed, but we must look at this matter rather cautiously. In the great drought in 1968 the Rhodesian Government gave nearly £3 million to irrigation schemes for the European farmers, and £30,000 to the Africans. I think we should need to keep a very sharp eye on these development schemes—and of course we shall not be able to.
However, we need the whole of that £50 million for the Africans and their education itself. If every single bit of it were spent on their education, it would give them £1 for one African for the whole of one year. These are the Africans who have to attain four years' secondary education before they are allowed to vote. My Lords, this is the kind of "double think" behind the whole of this proposed settlement.
My Lords, there is so much more one could say, but not at this hour. There is just one phrase in the White Paper which I should like the noble Marquess, when he replies, to explain to us. On page 4 it is said that theeconomic, social and political advance of the Africans could take place only after a return to economic normality.My Lords, why? And what is more, what do they mean by "economic normality"? We know what that means in Rhodesia. It means that every European earns ten times as much as every African. We also know, as my noble friend Lady White has said, that their economic plan is based on a blueprint by a South African economist called Professor Sadie, one of the main features of 386 which is an annual immigration of Europeans of 10,000. We can see what that is going to do to the 6 per cent. of the Africans. Every time they get a few more Africans on the roll, up goes the white immigration and they are back where they started.
One of the sad things about this Government for me has been the way they have lost enthusiasm for the Commonwealth. One of the saddest things about this whole Rhodesian proposal is that those 5 million Africans for whom we are responsible will lose the benefits of the Commonwealth—the security, appeals to the Privy Council and so on, and membership of the wider world which they have through the Commonwealth. But this does not appear to worry the Party opposite. The Sunday Times last Sunday described the settlement as "an ignoble end to an Empire". Mr. Peregrine Worsthorne, who is hardly a supporter of these Benches, said, there is no glory in it, and perhaps no honour". But, as usual, perhaps the last word goes to Sir Winston Churchill, who fifty years ago said:It will be an ill day for the native races when their fortunes are removed from the impartial and august administration of the Crown and are abandoned to the sea of self-interest of the small white population.My Lords, not even the passion, and brilliance, and intemperate advocacy of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, can present these proposals as anything but a tragedy.
§ 8.25 p.m.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
My Lords, I should like to begin by congratulating my noble friends Lord Beaumont and Lord Onslow on their; admirable maiden speeches. Then I should like to pay my tribute to my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary and to his team—particularly the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, who made a brilliant speech this afternoon—on the great work they have done in giving us the chance to consider this basis of agreement. I listened, of course, with close attention, to the interesting speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe; and I do not think it will be necessary for me to defend the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, even in his absence. I do not doubt that he will read the noble Baroness's words and be 387 quite capable of defending himself. But he certainly seems to have stung the noble Baroness to give him a good deal of attention. I should have thought his motives were not so much to take care of his "special baby" as that he was moved by his great spirit of public service and his patriotism to his country.
I should like to turn to one other major point which the noble Baroness made, and that is her attack on the general character of the Smith Government and her doubt about the good faith that they may show in fulfilling the agreement if it is finally settled. I entirely agree with her that, if this agreement is finally confirmed by our Government and by the Rhodesians, the fulfilment depends to a large extent on good faith. But then, my Lords, any agreement would have. The two attempts that the noble Baroness's right honourable friend Mr. Wilson made when he was Prime Minister also would have depended on good faith.
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord? Does it not give him any cause for anxiety that Mr. Smith has said that he does not believe in the Five Principles, and that they have majority rule now?
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
Yes, of course, my Lords. Almost the whole of the noble Baroness's speech was directed to emphasise anxieties. We are all familiar with the odious aspects of this regime. We are all familiar with the anxieties. We are trying to make a balanced judgment. But the point I am making to the noble Baroness is that when her Party formed the Government and her Leader went to negotiate, if he had been successful in reaching agreement that agreement also would have depended on the good faith of the Rhodesian Government. One thing all of us have to admit is that we have no physical control over what happens in Rhodesia. Does the noble Baroness wish to intervene again?
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
No; I do not think there is anything more to be said on this. I am just mak- 388 ing the point to noble Lords that any kind of agreement which is made depends on the good faith of the Rhodesian Government. That is a risk that the noble Baroness and her noble friends and right honourable friends thought was worth taking when they were in Government, and we thought it was worth taking now. That is inherent in the situation. Does the noble Baroness wish to intervene again? Please do.
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
A tiny interruption, my Lords. We did have more safeguards with the "Fearless" and "Tiger" proposals.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
My Lords, if the noble Baroness can tell me of one single effective, physical safeguard which she and her Government would have had over action in Rhodesia, if her right honourable friends had achieved a settlement, I am quite sure that every noble Lord here would be very interested to hear it.
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
My Lords, I did not say "physical safeguard". But in any case we then proposed to put sanctions on, and not to take them off.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
My Lords, the noble Baroness really must talk practical sense. The fact is that when we as a nation decided that it was beyond our physical capacity, and indeed probably beyond the wish of the nation, to take physical action by force against the Rhodesians, then immediately we had lost all chance of physical control there, and any agreement that is made depends on their good faith. So let us face that 'and be honest about it. The noble Baroness is asking us to be honest; I ask her to be, too.
I listened with great attention, of course, to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, analysing, with his great authority, the Five Principles, and I was naturally concerned that he concluded at the end of it that the terms of the agreement failed to conform. Naturally, I pay great attention to his view, but I am bound to say that I thought the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, dealing on legal grounds with at any rate part of this argument, made an effective reply. For myself, I 389 do not propose to deal with this point. I am sure that noble Lords would not wish me to at this time of night, nor do I have the authority. I see my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor sitting on the Woolsack and I do not doubt that he will deal with this aspect to-morrow. But I greatly sympathise with the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, that this is an agreement which, in the very nature of things, is far easier to attack than to support. I am sure that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, will agree with that point—and it certainly got heavily knocked about by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham.
For myself, I would concede that the weakest point is the first point. I think I dealt with the second two points in the interchange that I had with the noble Baroness, but on the first point we should all have wished that progress had been clearer and faster. But this was the best they could get, and I think the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, has certainly convinced us of that. As to how long it will take, I think it is worth remaking the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, that this is something that nobody can tell. The statistical experts who have made predictions of 30,50 or 60 years are really crystal-gazing. It is pure necromancy. Nobody knows. I believe that this really is a reversal of the present trend and that events could go much faster. There could be an opportunity not only for the growing strength of the African voice but also an opportunity for the liberal influences in the white community to raise their voices. There are a lot of them there, but for the present they are completely silent and they have never been very good at organising themselves.
I would join with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, in referring to the historical background of this in judging the Rhodesian mentality and particularly the Land Tenure Acts, which are particularly unattractive to us. As the noble Lord rightly said. they were started way back in the 1923 Constitution, and here, of course, is the basis of the general outlook of the average Rhodesian taking part in government to-day. They have felt that they were self-governing ever since 1922–23. This has made it extremely difficult for all those who have tried to deal with them.
390 I entirely agree with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, that the negotiators went there with very little ammunition in their hands and that they succeeded in convincing Mr. Smith and his colleagues that world opinion was in a position now to damage them irretrievably. This was, I think, a great achievement, and when the noble Baroness said that in her view they were beginning to become aware of it—well, I am only too delighted to think that they were because if they were not we should have got nothing out of them. The fact is that in the main—and I am sure the noble Baroness will confirm this from her own contacts with people out there—they are strangely unaware of world opinion. It does not really matter what you say to them, it just does not go into them and it makes it mighty difficult to make any progress with them at all. I think generally everybody agrees that the terms that have been secured are the best that could have been achieved. I am sure that a great many people think that Sir Alec and his team achieved terms which were a good deal better than they had expected.
There are respectable grounds, even if they are in conflict with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, for saying that the terms conform, at any rate in principle, with the terms of the Five Principles. Thus I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, that the practical issue, as I see it, that is before the British people to-day is either to settle for these terms or to continue in the present state, which I regard as being a state of stalemate, of the sanctions being applied. The sanctions have clearly embarrassed the Rhodesians, as the noble Baroness, Lady Llewellyn-Davies, said. I agree with her, and I am glad that they have—we should never have got the Rhodesians to the conference table at all otherwise. But, equally clearly, sanctions will never force them into submission. South Africa continues, I agree probably more reluctantly, to supply them with vital supplies, including oil, and an increasing amount of trade by-passes the sanctions, as the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, confirmed. We all hear about these things. I believe it would be realistic to assume that these trends would continue as the years go by, with the application of sanctions growing weaker and the tide in South Africa growing stronger. That would be 391 the inevitable prospect that lies before us.
Inside Rhodesia, the atmosphere of semi-siege would also continue, tending to strengthen the authority of a Right-Wing Government and to weaken the scope and influence of more liberal thinking. Worst of all, of course, it would give grounds for an authoritarian attitude to the Africans, on the justification for 'Protecting the safety of the State under conditions of a state of emergency. I notice particularly that my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary referred to the danger of the growing trend towards apartheid. I believe that is undoubtedly true, and is a very real danger.
We have all agreed that there can be no doubt at all that the chief sufferers at the present time, economically, socially and politically are the Africans. On the other hand, if we make this settlement on these terms the repressive trend will have been stopped and reversed and a relaxation of the oppressive and racialist policies will have started in the right direction; and, as others have said, large sums of money can be allocated to help the education and development of Africans and to improve their employment prospects. Perhaps equally important, British influence can be restored at political and commercial levels to help to strengthen the liberalising influences in the Government. The amended Constitution can begin to work to increase the Africans' part in government. There seemed to me to be substantial gains for the benefit of the African people, and I believe these are gains which we should not lightly turn down because they fall short of any personal assessment of exactly the right kind. I took particular note of the penetrating observation made by the noble Baroness, Lady White, about the liability which would attach to an agreement with the Smith regime vis-à-vis black Africa as a whole. I accept that, but I still believe that it would be worth taking that risk in order to get the benefits which I believe are there.
The real issue is this: do we accept these terms which will bring the prospect of substantial gains to the African people or do we continue with the present stalemate of sanctions and all the negative consequences flowing from that? The 392 Amendment put down by Her Majesty's Opposition indicates that they refuse to accept this chance of benefiting the Africans but stick to the present position. I shall apply to that, not the stringent comment made by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, but an attack which that very charitable creature, Oliver Goldsmith, once made on Burke, that they areToo fond of the right to pursue the expedient".
§ 8.40 p.m.
§ LORD BETHELL
My Lords, I have been struck this evening by the similarity between to-day's debate and those we have had in recent months on whether or not we should join the European Economic Community. Several times in recent months we have had the experts talking about the Common Market; we have had the economists quoting their figures and giving us the benefit of their expertise; bamboozling noble Lords, presenting powerful cases, both for and against, and in most cases these experts have been so well qualified, so full of expertise that they have been able to present very good cases both for and against proposals that have been put forward by Her Majesty's Government.
In the early part of this afternoon we had the lawyers, who both presented superb cases for and against these proposals. If I were a member of a jury, or a judge, I really do not know to whom I would give the verdict on this evidence. I think that I should, in the end, find myself thrown back on to principles, away from details and back on to principles; and the only principle I can detect is that we should support these proposals, for reasons which I will now outline. Of course it is far easier to present a case against; holes can be picked in any proposal, particularly one which, as the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, admitted, is far from being perfect. It is far easier to criticise than to build. But at the end of the argument I find myself again and again thrown back on the question: what is the alternative?—a question which the noble and learned Lord opposite deliberately told us he would not answer this afternoon.
I can see only one alternative to accepting these proposals, and that is force; and I must say that I should have a lot more understanding of the point of view 393 of noble Lords who object to the proposals if they believed that we should use force to get rid of Mr. Smith. But it seems that we have now, after six years of come to a state where there is a consensus that we are not going to use force. I have not heard anyone suggest to-day that we should use force. A few years ago it was bandied about, mostly in the other place; it was mooted, but not any longer. We now have a consensus. What do we do if we do not accept these proposals? Continue as we are? Well, I believe that there are some advantages in that; we should, for instance, avoid bringing down upon ourselves the odium of various countries whose Governments believe that it is our duty to bring about majority rule now, and who insist that we should do this by fair means or foul, violent means or peaceful. Clearly we shall annoy them less by staying in our present position than if we resume normal relations with Mr. Smith's Government. But this is an argument of expediency and not one that particularly commends itself to me, or, I should imagine, to most noble Lords.
There are those again who have cried, "Munich!" Here I think there is a very profound misunderstanding of history and of present realities, for in 1938 force was a real possibility; there was a school of thought that strongly advocated the use of force to further the aims of our country's policy in 1938; but there is not one now. Again, in 1938 the vital interests of the United Kingdom were threatened. But are they now? Certainly Rhodesia is an important matter in foreign and Commonwealth policy, but it is not one of vital security to this country, and surely not one in which we should consider mobilising the whole resources of the nation and our Armed Forces to get rid of Mr. Smith. We perhaps should have done so in 1938 to get rid of Hitler, but I can see very little in favour of doing so to get rid of Mr. Smith.
One thing I will say in favour of the policy of the previous Government is that I think these proposals to-day show how correct the previous Government were to impose sanctions on Mr. Smith and how correct this Government were to maintain them. Otherwise, should we have had any card to play at all? Should 394 we have got anywhere in our negotiations, which have just come to what I believe is a happy conclusion? It is true the previous Government overestimated the effect of sanctions; they thought they would brim!. Mr. Smith down. They were wrong. On the other hand, I do not think we should underestimate the effect of sanctions. It cannot he very pleasant to be a white Rhodesian with a passport which is not recognised outside the southern tip of Africa; unable to travel; unable to trade, or even communicate by post, with almost all the countries of the world; unable, for instance, to take part in sport, in the Olympic Games. These are considerations which count with the electorate of Rhodesia; and were we not in a position to restore to them these privileges as normal members of the international community I do not believe that the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary would have got anything like such satisfactory terms from the Rhodesian Government. The alternative was, of course, to keep them in Coventry; and this I can see very little point in maintaining.
These proposals, of course, imply no approval of the Smith regime. A number of noble Lords opposed to the proposals have based their argument on criticism of Mr. Smith's Government. This is surely preaching to the converted; there are very few Members of Parliament who have any good word to say for Mr. Smith or his Government. As the noble Lord, Lord Goodman said, we talk completely different languages. But this does not mean, surely, that we should not communicate, that we should remain not on speaking terms for an indefinite length of time, and that we should allow the citizens of Rhodesia to suffer as a result.
As to the proposals themselves, the details, I have one or two points to make which may be of interest as constructive suggestions. I imagine that the Government will not wish to have their hands tied on the decision on how they make up the body of Lord Pearce's Commission, but I suggest that it would have a great effect in this country and on world opinion, and in Rhodesia itself, if the Government could see fit to appoint as Commissioners one or two British subjects of African origin.
395 On another point—and here the Government cannot do anything—I would say to the Rhodesians (I do not know if they do read the reports of these debates) that I can think of no gesture that would give a more clear and convincing sign of Mr. Smith's good faith than that he should take an African into his Government. I have made inquiries about this idea, and I am told that it is not such an improbable suggestion as it may at first sight appear. There arc, for instance, African members of the Centre Party in the House of Assembly, members of a multi-racial Party, Members of Parliament who might perhaps agree to form part of a Government, dominated, it is true, by the Rhodesian Front. They might in this way advance their cause and get in a wedge, a toe in the door of multiracialism. Of course there are big gaps between the Rhodesian Front Party and the Centre Party, but I can think of no more hopeful sign than to see Mr. Smith invite a number of that Party in Parliament to join his Government.
The principle of the decision we have to make tomorrow, whether to accept the Amendment proposed by the noble and learned Lord, is surely this: are we going to help the African Rhodesians if we continue to have nothing to do with their Government, of which, rightly, almost all of us disapprove, if we continue to have nothing to do with their country, for which we have a certain responsibility, though, paradoxically, over which we have no power, and for which we are reaping the whirlwind of our Imperial past? There are those who cry "Sellout!", but have we very much to sell any more, after years of U.D.I.? Surely not. At the moment we are in the position of being able to punish the white Rhodesians—I believe to punish them seriously. I do not believe that this punishment does not hurt: it does. But it is not a mortal wound, and it is not nearly a serious enough wound to make them withdraw and give up power. As we punish the white Rhodesians we are like a bee that cannot sting without damaging itself. I am not speaking about trade—this is a minor concern in such an important matter—I am talking about damaging ourselves morally.
396 We cannot continue to go on like this, because the price of maintaining Rhodesian isolation—of not "selling out", as those who oppose these proposals would put it—is, I believe, a more real sell-out, and an abandonment of Rhodesia to absorption by her powerful southern neighbour. It would be a disaster; one much greater than the one we shall cause by re-establishing correct—not free but correct—relations with Mr. Smith. The alternative strikes me as something suspiciously akin to moral posturing; to self-indulgence in powerless condemnations. We should do much better, surely, to recognise the political reality: that we cannot resist the evil of apartheid by imposing it, and that our only chance of helping Rhodesia, white or black, is to accept these terms.
§ 8.52 p.m.
§ LORD ALPORT
My Lords, I am sure your Lordships will appreciate the argument put forward by my noble friend Lord Bethel!, and his attempt to bring to this debate a basis of principle to his arguments, and also a constructive proposal. I must confess that I could not accept many of the things that he said, but it is refreshing and proper that at any rate one or two of the speeches in this debate in favour of the Government's point of view should be based not on expediency, as was my noble friend Lord Nugent of Guildford's speech, but upon principle.
This has been a rather nostalgic day so far as I am concerned. I hope my noble friend Lord Hastings will not regard it as being in any way unkind if I say that, listening to his speech, I was reminded of the many conversations one has heard from time to time in the Salisbury Club—the arguments that are put forward in defence of the point of view of those who are in a responsible position in business, in particular, in Rhodesia, for the attitude which they have taken. I would remind my noble friend Lord Hastings that no one has been less effective politically during the whole of this long controversy than precisely those well-placed and affluent people of the Salisbury Club who have failed to influence the Rhodesian Front Government, or any other part of the politics of Rhodesia, during the whole of the period of the last 10 or 15 years 397 that I have had some small knowledge of that country.
So far as the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, is concerned, we had a very powerful speech from him. I must say that to me it was a sad fact that all the assumptions upon which he was basing his point of view, and basing the arguments in favour of this agreement, were those which we had all believed in and made before the 1961 Constitution was evolved, and upon which the 1961 Constitution was based, and all of them have subsequently proved wrong. I do not want to get into a debate with other noble Lords on this. I would only, as briefly as I can, try to give such evidence as I can of the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
It is quite true that over these last 20 years or so we have spent a disproportionate amount of our time in Parliament, and have expended a disproportionate amount of the resources of British statesmanship, upon trying to solve the problems of a quarter of a million Europeans and 4 to 5 million Africans who live between the two great rivers of Africa, the Zambesi and the Limpopo. It now looks as though we are pretty nearly at the end of that road. The Foreign Secretary's proposals represent a decision by the British Government to get out of Southern Africa on the best terms that are possible, and this was precisely the refrain running through the whole of Lord Goodman's speech. Mr. Smith's Government will remain in office; Mr. Smith's 1969 Constitution will be the future Constitution of Rhodesia; Rhodesia will be a republic outside the Commonwealth; and it will be dependent not on Britain as its principal influence or ally, but upon the Republic of South Africa. Let us make no mistake about this; we are not pulling Rhodesia back from the road towards the South African point of view and South African influence; Rhodesia has reached the end of that road already. There may be differences for the time being in the treatment of Africans and the relations between races in Rhodesia and South Africa, but Rhodesia is as much part of the South African system of things as, if I may say so, Wales is, with all its differences, psychologically part of the United Kingdom.
398 Further, the Land Tenure Act, which, as your Lordships have heard many times during this debate, divides the land of Rhodesia half-and-half between the Africans and Europeans, will remain the law of the land. What is more, Mr. Smith will be given £50 million, which will enable him to continue to devote a very large part of his Government's money to defence and to the maintenance of civilised standards for the European population, which, so Mr. Smith has made quite clear, will be increased by immigration—no doubt from South Africa, Portugal, Greece, and from Italy (as during these recent years)—so as to frustrate as much as possible the political and economic progress of the African.
This is all a very far cry from the sort of settlement for which we had all hoped in the years before 1969. It is not a settlement at all: I repeat, it is an act of state by the British Government signifying their withdrawal from Rhodesia, as I have said on the best terms that can be obtained. This does not mean that those terms are not better than I expected when Sir Alec and the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, went out such a short time ago to Salisbury to start their final negotiations: they are better. And there is no doubt, as a number of noble Lords and noble Baronesses have said in their speeches, that sanctions have had a very deep effect, albeit slow, upon the Rhodesian situation.
It is perhaps worth remarking—and I hope it is not with undue malice on my part—that all those European consumer goods that the Rhodesians have been importing during these last years, and about which we have heard so much from noble Lords who take their point of view in this House and from the Rhodesian propaganda as well—all those posh Mercedes French textiles, Scotch whisky, and the Japanese "nick-nacks"—have all helped to make sanctions really effective, because had that foreign exchange that has been spent on them been used to provide the rolling stock which the Rhodesian railways need so urgently, or the machinery for the mines, Mr. Smith might have had to give a good deal less ground during these negotiations than in fact he has had to give. But then perhaps, in those circumstances, Mr. Smith would no longer have been Prime Minister of Rhodesia, for anyone who fails to maintain civilised 399 standards for the Europeans does not have a very long political career in that part of the world. So, my Lords, Sir Alec has been able to complete a negotiation the results of which can be argued by honest men to be within the Five Principles.
Here, I entirely agree with Mr. Smith. The Five Principles are irrelevant, If the negotiation had been with a Government headed by the late Lord Malvern, by Mr. Todd, by the late Sir Edgar Whitehead or by Sir Roy Welensky himself, and had it been based upon the 1961 Constitution and gone from there to provide provision for slow but unimpeded progress towards majority rule under a regime of this sort, with guarantees against retrogressive amendment, with immediate improvement of the political status of the African and with progress towards the end of racial discrimination, then I—and, I think, a great many of your Lordships in this t'House—would have accepted that as having a reasonable chance of being carried into effect in the interests of Rhodesia as a whole, African and European alike, both in the spirit and in the letter of the agreement. As a result, I think that we should have had little objection to giving eventual independence.
If you are going to indulge in an act of faith as the culmination of a long negotiation, the first essential is to have faith and confidence in the motives of the other side; in their integrity and in their capacity to fulfil their side of the bargain. I was astonished that so many noble Lords who spoke earlier seemed to regard that aspect of the matter as being quite immaterial: so long as your own motives were good, so long as your own point of view was clean and decent and all the rest of it, then a negotiation could be carried through to a successful conclusion. Let us not forget, my Lords, that we are not considering only our own problems and convenience and political interests. We are considering also, as your Lordships know very well, the interests of Africans and Europeans in Rhodesia. But, far more than that, we are considering something which may well affect the whole of Africa, and certainly the whole of Southern Africa, for a very long time to come.
400 I must say to your Lordships—and I know that I am repeating something which you are no doubt wearied of hearing from me—that I have no faith, either in the ability of the ruling group in Rhodesia to carry out their side of the negotiation in the spirit which our negotiators had in mind or in their intention to do so. The process of twisting the complicated wording of the agreement has already begun. The noble Baroness, Lady White, read an extract from a despatch from Christopher Munnion in to-day's Daily Telegraph. On the whole, the Daily Telegraph has been a very keen supporter of a settlement in Rhodesia and of making good the breach between Mr. Smith and the Government. It has had distinguished correspondents over there, including Mr. Munnion, and, so far as I have been able to judge, Mr. Munnion has always been a very fair and accurate representative of that paper. He wrote this apropos of the by-election which did not take place because there was only one candidate—a Rhodesian Front candidate. Your Lordships will forgive me if this is rather a long extract, but it is an important one:Their sudden decision not to contest the seat is believed to be connected with a widespread campaign by the Rhodesia Front to explain in detail to all branches the full meaning of the settlement proposals.The essence of this explaining process has been that the terms are far more favourable to White Rhodesians than a first, second or third reading would suggest.For instance, the justiciable Declaration of Rights, which has been claimed by the British side as a major concession wrung from Mr. Smith, has a provision which, Party members are being told, will not affect any discriminatory legislation at present in force in Rhodesia.This is Provision Nine"—and your Lordships will find this in the White Paper—which states that Rhodesian Courts shall not declare any Act or Statutory Instrument to be inconsistent with the declaration if the provision has been in force for a period of at least ten years '.The paragraph makes it clear that this applied to Acts or Statutory Instruments 'repealed or amended and substituted' during that period. As most of the discriminatory powers and legislation in force in Rhodesia are based on laws which have been on the statute books for much longer than ten years, there will be little change in the status quo.This form of explanation to the rank-and-file of the ruling party has drawn the sting from the Right-wing attack.401 Mr. Munnion then went on with the extract which the noble Baroness quoted. Perhaps my noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor, who I think is to speak later, will say whether that is the interpretation which British representatives put on that provision. But my mind is quite clear: this campaign of putting across the agreement to the Rhodesia Front rank and file throughout the country is going to be in a form which is almost unrecognisable by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and Sir Alec Douglas-Home, and unrecognisable in terms of the agreement which they believe they signed.
If the Five Principles were irrelevant to Mr. Smith a year ago, why are they binding on him and his followers to-day? The reason Mr. Smith was unwilling to sign an agreement at the time of the "Tiger" and "Fearless" negotiations, was simply that he was more frightened of the pressures of European opinion in Rhodesia than he was of sanctions. Now he is more worried by the effects of sanctions than he is by the powerful Right Wing of his Party. With the pressure of sanctions removed from him, what would prevent his driving a wagon and ox team through the whole settlement agreement and feeling that he was justified in doing so, because he would be able to claim that it was extracted from him under duress, under the pressure of the sanctions campaign? The answer to that, whatever the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, may say, is that there is nothing—and here, if I speak sharply, I do so intentionally—to prevent him from doing that, except a renegade Chief Justice, a discredited Bench of judges, and a small band of unrepresentative, though no doubt courageous, African Members of Parliament.
My Lords, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister has enjoined us to be realistic. I think that is being realistic. But we must be even more realistic than that. It may well be that the best thing a British Government can do—a Government which have no longer the will, the power or the interest in Africa to produce a solution to the Rhodesian problem along British lines—is to get out and leave black and white in Africa to solve their own problems. That, my Lords, is what Sir Roy Welensky thinks, and he is probably right. But, of course, they will not 402 solve their problems in the rather gentle and friendly way which my noble friend Lord Nugent of Guildford was indicating or, indeed, in the way of which the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, spoke; and they will certainly not do it without intervention from other quarters. When I suggested during our last debate that Chinese influence was a factor to be reckoned with in Africa, my noble friend Lord Jellicoe accused me jocularly of taking the argument to the Great Wall of China. That seemed to me, if I may say so—and I am sorry my noble friend is not here—to exemplify the light attitude to African affairs which Her Majesty's Government adopt.
On this particular occasion we are asked to endorse an act of faith in a group of people in Rhodesia in whom no one, if my noble friend Lord Bethel! is right, or very few, have any faith. We are asked to support by our vote to-morrow a settlement which may or may not be acceptable to the people of Rhodesia; which may—and will, in my view—have a profround effect for the worse upon British people and British interests throughout the rest of Africa. So far as I can make out, we are asked to commit ourselves to something which is not complete in so far as the financial provisions have not yet been formulated, and when we know nothing of the outcome of Lord Pearce's Commission or even its composition, or how it will carry out its work.
My Lords, I should like to make one small, constructive suggestion. An election campaign in Rhodesia conducted by Mr. Smith and his Government and Party while Lord Pearce is in Rhodesia would, I think, give that Commission a better insight into the mental attitudes and political mood of both Europeans and Africans than anything else; and perhaps one should not forget that that was one of the considerations which was foremost in our minds during the earlier negotiations on this subject. It is very significant, as I have said, that Mr. Munnion should report to-day the claim of the Rhodesia Front propaganda that this agreement represents a capitulation by Britain, and that it has enabled Mr. Smith to avoid an embarrassing by-election campaign in which he and his Ministers might have been forced by probing questions to go on record with their real interpretation of what the agreement 403 means. No wonder, my Lords, that there has been this insistence on secrecy during the whole of these negotiations! But I think it is time we realised that there is a very grave danger that we in this country are going to allow ourselves to be fooled. We here in this House—in both Houses, indeed—are being hustled this week to reach a binding and solemn decision on this matter. It seems to me as if the corpse of British policy in Central Africa, which has died in the most suspicious circumstances, is being hurried to the crematorium while we, the coroner's jury, are being required to bring in a verdict of death by natural causes and are being given no chance to inquire into the facts which might point to some other, more sinister cause.
My Lords, I do not intend to vote tomorrow in what I am told is a vote of confidence in this aspect of the policy of Her Majesty's Government. I do not flatter myself that this will have the slightest influence on my noble friends on this side of the House, or indeed on anyone anywhere else. It may well be that the time has arrived for Britain to get out of Southern Africa with such shreds of dignity and reputation as she can muster. It may be that in these days all the idealism, the hopes and the effort which have been bestowed by the people of this country on that splendid, dangerous and exciting part of the world should be reduced to ashes and poured into the little, insignificant urn which this agreement represents, and buried safely away in the valuts of history. That may be true. But I personally do not accept that it is right and inevitable that that solution should now be accepted by the Government or by this country. On the evidence which has been given to us, it is possible that I may change my mind during the subsequent course of this controversy; but at the moment if I had any influence with any of your Lordships I would say that to-morrow we should abstain from casting a vote.
§ 9.15 p.m.
THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
My Lords, I am aware that there are a considerable number of reasons why I should not intervene in to-day's debate. First of all, I must declare my interest in Rhodesia in that my family has property there and indeed it is only 404 right for me to say that should the proposals set forth in the White Paper be agreed to and Rhodesia achieve independence no doubt my family interests would benefit. But I hope what I have to say this evening will not be taken by your Lordships' House as speaking to my family's profit.
The second reason why I ought not speak to-night is that I very rarely, to the good fortune of this House, take part in its debates and it seems a little hard on those who attend regularly that, on an occasion when there are a great number of speakers, I should take the opportunity to weary your Lordships with my remarks. Finally, there is the very good reason that it is now seven years since I had any first-hand information about the very thorny problems concerning Rhodesia. However, for your misfortune I have decided to put away those excellent reasons and offer a few thoughts about the thorny nettle that the future of Rhodesia poses.
As for my noble friend Lord Alport, this is something of a nostalgic occasion for me, because the first time I spoke from the Front Bench was on the great debate here on the Monckton Commission Report. I remember being asked what would happen if the Government policy of maintaining the Federation failed, and having in some discomfort to dodge it as best I could by saying that we did not believe it would fail, and that the situation, if it did fail, would be too difficult and hideous to contemplate. Well, it did fail, and we are now debating one of the results of the failure of that Federation, the future of Rhodesia.
I, like other Members of your Lordships' House, have read and re-read the White Paper. I cannot pretend that I fully understand it yet, but I hope I have made a reasonable understanding of its salient points. To my mind there is a certain lack of realism in the whole manoeuvre. I disagree with my noble friend Lord Alport over one matter. I think it is a great mistake to doubt Mr. Smith's integrity at this stage of negotiations, but unless we have an external safeguard our position is really that of the House of Commons. I am aware that all Parties on both sides of the House, many of whom have had to bear the heat and burden of the responsibility for 405 our part in Rhodesian affairs, have ruled out the use of force. At the time of U.D.I. I took the view, I confess to my shame, in private, that the surgeon's knife, the quick intervention of force, was the right course. I was somewhat inhibited in saying it in public as I was then sitting on the Opposition Front Bench. I did not say it in public, but I wish that I had.
While I am in favour of the terms of the agreement, I now feel that in order to give strength and support to the terms offered we should negotiate with one of our Commonwealth partners who are neighbours of Rhodesia, an agreement to the effect that if at any time in the future, before African majority in Parliament in Rhodesia, a Rhodesian Government should renege on the terms of such an agreement, we should be entitled to station troops in that country neighbouring on Rhodesia, and face the fact that it might be necessary for us to intervene. I shall go no further than to say that we should have an agreement permitting us to do this; and it would be for the British Government to decide whether there was sufficiently clear evidence of a Rhodesian Government of the future going back on its word, and if in due course it does so then the agreement will come into effect. Does the noble Lord wish to intervene?
THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
My Lords I can think of Malawi and Zambia. I am aware that this is highly controversial and that I am skating on thin ice; but unless we back our proposals with some concrete external safeguards then the temptation for some future Government in Rhodesia to go back on their word could be very great. Here is the problem. Let us suppose that you own a house and also the plot of land next to it, and on that neighbouring plot there is a large leafy tree which gives you shade and comfort although it is not actually in the grounds of your house. You decide to sell this neighbouring plot to a friend and, so that you both may enjoy the benefit of its shade and comfort, you have a clear understanding with 406 him that he will not cut down the tree. This is fine, so long as your friend is your neighbour. But he has the freehold; it is his property. If for various reasons, perhaps change of employment, he decides to go and live elsewhere and, as he is entitled to do, he sells the freehold property and the person who buys it decides to cut down the tree, there is nothing that you can do to stop him. So you lose the shade and the comfort. So it is in Rhodesia without external safeguards; so it may be with some future Government there.
I am anxious not to doubt the integrity of Mr. Smith since the recent round of talks. As a result of these talks the slate in Rhodesia has been wiped clean. I disagree with my noble friend Lord Alport on this; for I believe it unwise to cast doubts on Mr. Smith's integrity. This is a new beginning. Let us be confident that he will do what he says in the way of providing opportunities for unimpeded African advancement. But we do not know that Mr. Smith will last until majority rule has been reached. A politician infinitely more distinguished than I once said that a week was a long time in politics. My Lords, we are not dealing with a week in politics but with a conservative estimate of more than a decade. A lot can happen in ten years, let alone in the 20 or 30 years which may elapse before Africans achieve majority in the House of Assembly. Without some kind of external safeguard, I am nervous that the whole edifice that we are building, of which these proposals are the foundation, may collapse.
In an ideal world there would be an international police force which could guarantee against any reneging over this agreement; but this is not an ideal world. We have no such thing and are not likely to have it. Without some outside safeguard we are not going to get the support of the world. Perhaps that does not greatly matter. One must do what one thinks is right in public and in private, and not be influenced by others. But also, as was pointed out by the noble Baroness, we should lose the support of our Commonwealth friends. I have to speak with great care here because on the last occasion when I mentioned the interests of the Commonwealth in your Lordships' Chamber I was promptly 407 sacked as President of the Royal Commonwealth Society. They cannot sack me again; but I am anxious that my many friends there should not take further action against me for what I say. Without some external safeguards we shall lose increasingly the confidence of our Commonwealth partners. I do not agree with the noble Baroness opposite that my noble friends on this side have lost their warmth of feeling and strong, belief in the Commonwealth as a world force. I am aware that I am arguing from a weak position and about something which people far more clever and able than I regard as impossible. But if that is impossible, then we must be in the forefront in making it absolutely clear that, should the Rhodesian Government, dominated by Europeans, go back on the terms of this agreement mandatory sanctions will once again be imposed and even more effectively than they have been up till now.
Like the rest of your Lordships, I have heard tales of our markets going to a few who refuse to accept the United Nations ruling. Should there be any going back by the European dominated Rhodesia on the terms of this agreement, we must make it our business to be the front runner in making things as difficult as possible for the then Rhodesian Government. If it is true, as noble Lords have said, that sanctions are beginning to bite seriously, there is that additional reason why we might have some chance of making clear to the Rhodesians that we mean business, and that we expect them to honour their word as we intend to honour ours.
My Lords, I have two other points to make which are, to my mind, of much less importance. The first is the position of the Chiefs in Rhodesia. All too often we hear them dismissed, particularly by noble Lords on the Opposition side of the House, as Government stooges. I have no first-hand evidence. I have talked to Chiefs but only on social occasions; I have never had the privilege of working with them. But I was encouraged by the fact that the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, went out of his way to pay a tribute to the integrity of the African members of the House of Assembly in Rhodesia. The noble Lord went out of his way to say that they were not stooges; that they have the interests of their fellow members very 408 much at heart, and that they were not bullied and pushed around by the European majority. I think that is equally true of the Chiefs, whom we should not regard as stooges. At any rate, my Lords, the slate is wiped clean regarding Rhodesia. Let us deal with these Chiefs in good faith. They have an enormous influence. Other noble Lords have said, with great truth, how difficult it is going to be to explain to the average African the very complicated proposals which are set out in the White Paper. The Commission has a hideously difficult task ahead of it and, like most of your Lordships, I wish it every possible success. I cannot pretend that I envy the members of the Commission their job of having to get the average African to understand and grasp what is at stake, but I think that that can best be done by working through their tribal Chiefs.
It is all very well to talk about the Westminster style of democracy which may work tolerably well in this country. But events in Africa and elsewhere show that our form of democracy is not ideal for every part of the world, or in countries which have existed and been governed by tribal systems since time immemorial. I am sure it is a good principle for us to use that system as much as we can, particularly in getting over these complicated proposals in the White Paper to the African rank and file. The people to do that are the tribal Chiefs.
My Lords, I am aware that so far I have been on thin ice, but in regard to my final point I feel that I am on very thick ice. I am unashamedly critical of my noble friends in the Government for the paucity of the aid they are giving to Rhodesia in the next ten years. It amounts to £50 million, £5 million a year for 10 years. What the application of sanctions has cost this country in the last six years is always shrouded in mystery. There have been various estimates, some as high as £100 million a year. I think that the lowest possible estimate, and possibly the most accurate one, is some £30 million. Sanctions have cost this country a vast sum of money, some £180 million, and if they are to cease, and we are saving ourselves a minimum of £30 million, surely we can afford to give more than £5 million a year to people who are our friends and who wish to advance. I was 409 distressed by what my noble friend Lord Alport said, that he thought a large part of that aid would go to Europeans. Perhaps I have not read the White Paper sufficiently closely.
§ LORD ALPORT
My Lords, perhaps I may explain that I did not say it would go directly to the Europeans, but that it would save the Rhodesian Government having to spend money on the tribal areas on development and African education and thereby give them more money from their own resources for development and maintenance of standards.
THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE
My Lords, I fully accept my noble friend's explanation. As I read the White Paper, the purpose of this £5 million a year is directly to advance the prospects of jobs and the education of Africans within the territory of Rhodesia. The more money we give them, the faster will the "A" roll go up and the sooner African majority will be achieved. I would ask my noble friends to consider whether they will not step up that figure, because by doing so the day we look forward to in Rhodesia will be advanced. Every pound more we give, the better prospect of education and material advancement for the African.
By and large over the years my forebears have stuck politically to their family motto, which apart from being a deplorable pun has not much merit. It reads in Latin, Cavendo tutus, which, freely translated, means "Safety first". I find that by and large that has been our political principle. But there is one glittering exception to this, which was created by my grandfather, when he made what is known throughout British Africa as the Devonshire Declaration—that the interests of the natives should be paramount. What he said in 1923 is what is or should be equally true for all right thinking politicians and citizens who think about these matters in this country to-day, and I am sure that it is the belief of my friends in the Government.
I can certainly vote with the Government to-morrow, possibly with some little misgiving and certainly wishing that material aid to the Africans in Rhodesia was to be greatly increased. But provided successive Rhodesian Governments, until African majority is achieved, stand by what is written in the White Paper, and provided we maintain our will to see 410 that these proposals are carried out, then I think it is fair to say that the interests of the natives really are paramount and, therefore, one is justified in voting for the Proposals to be adopted.
§ 9.33 p.m.
§ LORD GORE-BOOTH
My Lords, may I begin by welcoming the two very competent and thoughtful maiden speeches we have heard to-day and express the hope that we shall hear a great deal more from the speakers. May also say what a pleasure it is to follow the noble Duke, whose servant I was for a period when in India. I have much sympathy with the basic thought which animated his speech, to which I will come back later.
I am a little surprised at the tone or certitude which has crept into the speeches in this debate, because if there is one thing I felt from the beginning of the Rhodesian question it is the grinding incertitude about what is the right thing to do. There has been a lot of talk about morality versus expediency. I do not think about it in that way at all. I like to think of your Lordships' House as composed of people guided by considerations of morality, who are faced continually in this matter not with the good versus the expedient but with two alternatives which are a terrible mixture of the good and the bad; and we have to choose, at intervals, the one or the other. I think this is partly what makes our dilemma over what to do at the moment so agonising.
May I make one further general comment? I hope we shall not get into the habit of using words like "ignoble" and "inglorious". Looked at historically, an empire comes to an end either because it is crushed in military defeat or because, as in our case, we show the good sense and the compassion to yield to the inevitable, but are inevitably left with smallish yet desperately complicated and obstinate problems. We are left not with grand finales but with problems such as Anguilla, Aden and Rhodesia. While we cannot be nostalgic about these things, at least we can refrain from being masochistic.
Perhaps it would be a good thing at this moment to ask ourselves what in fact we are trying to do, and what we have failed to do. What we are trying to do is to assist in the development of a 411 country run by a small white minority into a multi-racial society, which means (and I use the expression not in a racialist sense) domination by the African majority community. If one states it like that, one sees what a desperately difficult task this is, and perhaps our failure to solve it is not surprising. It is possible, I suppose, to argue in the context of this evening that this may not have been the right time to try to do it—I do not know. I say that only because I think, and I suggest to your Lordships, that we have to discuss this matter not in the light of what we might have liked to happen, but in the light of what has happened; that is to say, the British Government of the day have committed themselves to a particular course, and that course exists.
Perhaps I may first allude, quite shortly, to the positive elements in what is proposed. If your Lordships look at Command 4065 of 1969, paragraph 9, you will see the report of a speech by Mr. Ian Smith which speaks of "The death knell of majority rule." One may think what one likes of Mr. Smith, but he has now been present at the Resurrection. This is a political fact, and it must, however much he can dominate his own opinion, have some importance, or at least an importance that we must take seriously. It may all go wrong, but it still has a certain importance.
The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham, with whom I have much sympathy, said that what we really need is a radical change of heart. Of course we do. But we are not going to get it, at one stroke, after one negotiation; and we may not get it at all. But I think, if I may quote back at the right reverend Prelate, that all we can say at the moment is, "One step enough for me." It is not enough, but it is one step.
This being so, I think also that I should not totally agree with the noble Lord, Lord Alport. who knows a great deal more about Rhodesia than I am afraid I ever shall, that there is a total unity of spirit, doctrine and procedure between Rhodesia and South Africa—in saying this I think I may have over-stated what the noble Lord said. But surely the geography of the situation is that since the breakdown of our previous efforts by the last Government, South Africa and Rhodesia have been moving on a con 412 vergent course, which would ultimately have led to a total convergence of some kind, both doctrinal and political. At least, what this operation has done is to jerk these two countries apart from their convergent course: because if there is one thing which explains the South African madness, it is that it is impossible to concede a millimetre of ground or the whole position collapses. Rhodesia is in a quite different state. Whatever Mr. Smith may mean, it is in that respect different; and that difference has now been initialled by Mr. Smith in person. That, surely, is a gain of some kind. I think the position was perhaps overstated by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, but none the less it is basically right. If the proposition is put the other way round, all right; if we do not do this, what happens is more of the same as before—sanctions hurting Rhodesia, but not fatally; deadlock between white and black and, ultimately, bloodshed. Possibly it is desirable to try an alternative which has no great appeal; but at least it is an alternative.
There is one point on which I should like to assure your Lordships, from my own experience of history and newly independent countries. If at the beginning of an independence movement you calculate statistically how long independence is going, to take, you will find ultimately that events accelerate beyond all expectation. India is an example. In the Congo the Belgians were saying in July of the year of independence that it would take twenty years for independence, but two months later the Congo was independent. This is what happens. If there is any real motion in what is proposed, it will undoubtedly accelerate. Granted the "if" is a very big one.
So, because there is this positive element in what has been done I should not find it possible to vote for the Amendment. However, there arc two points on which I have a worry and a great hestitation. The worry is the problem of the Commission. I should like to start by saying that anyone who has had any dealings with the noble Lord, Lord Pearce, can only be deeply impressed by his quiet fairness and wisdom in anything that he does. I am sure he will apply all that to this very difficult task. It was. I believe, the right reverend Prelate who emphasised what an immense 413 requirement is being put on this body of people: getting round a large country; discovering what people think and finding out whether they realise the significance of what they are thinking about. I have one suggestion to make on this. There have been some rather ill-chosen allusions—not so much in this House, but elsewhere—to the year 1938. However, there is one allusion which is apt. In that year a commission or committee went to Czechoslovakia to look at the situation there. It did nearly everything wrong. I suggest that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office should be asked to brief the noble Lord, Lord Pearce, on what that committee did, because it would be a good illustration of a number of things to avoid. Subject to those cautions, one wishes the Commission well. With those good wishes goes the wish that all the time the Commission may realise that it is not being set up to prove in some way or other that these terms are acceptable, but is set up to find out whether they are acceptable; and that is quite different.
My real concern—this is where once again I join with the noble Duke—is about the impression from Government speeches that if this whole process goes wrong, if the Rhodesian Government goes back on anything that is in the White Paper, we shall sit back and say, "Well, too bad". This may not be what the Government mean, but that is the impression I have derived. I know that there cannot be external guarantees, in the sense that the reinsertion of the Privy Council, for instance, would be both unreal and unacceptable; nor are we likely ever to think again in terms of applying national force. If we are to be credible at all, and if we are to have a genuine regard for the Second Principle, there must he something in the Government's policy which says that if the Rhodesians go back on this White Paper something will happen. This is not an attempt to reoccupy a position of national authority (which we cannot do), but it is the least that we can do as responsible members of the international community. I have not sufficient knowledge of international law to be able to say whether what has been initialled by the Foreign Secretary and Mr. Smith is an international agreement, but it is sufficiently near one to be such that there should be some kind 414 of strength, some kind of authority, behind it in the present state of international society.
I should therefore like to conclude these remarks by saying that, unless the Government can produce some assurance that in the event of the Rhodesian Government's going back in this they will take some action in the international community to make things unpleasant again for Rhodesia, I shall not find it possible to vote for the Motion, either. There arc things that can be done. There can be a declaration that Article 2(7) of the United Nations' Charter does not apply, and a number of things are within the Government's power. So, my Lords, I ask very seriously, in full realisation that my vote is neither qualitatively nor quantitatively in the least important, that some assurance of this kind be given, because I am sure that that will make a great difference to the many people who are as uncertain as I am about the merits of this case.
§ 9.46 p.m.
§ LORD ARDWICK
My Lords, the Government and their temporary ally, the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, have been so shrewdly modest in their claims to-day that I was almost disarmed. The claim of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, seemed to be that Sir Alec has made the best of a bad job and that something is better than nothing. Indeed, I was almost carried away by his overwhelming eloquence. I thought it was the most remarkable, the most powerful and persuasive speech I have heard in this Chamber in the past two years during which I have been a Member of your Lordships' House. But I think we have heard one more powerful speech to-night, and that was from the noble Lord, Lord Alport. He has emboldened me to go on with what I intended to say.
It is true that Sir Alec was negotiating without power, but surely not without very considerable influence. There was a passage—I hope I am not misinterpreting him—in the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, in which he seemed to say that he had nothing to sell. But Sir Alec did have some very important gifts to bestow upon Mr. Smith. The first was the end of sanctions: the second was the certificate of respectability, the willingness to bring back Rhodesia into formal relations with 415 Britain; and the third, arising out of that, was the prospect that capital and skilled labour would once more flow freely into Rhodesia and make their hopes of development, which have been frustrated over the past six years, at least possible of attainment. So Sir Alec did not go, as has been sugeested, into the debating chamber naked, or clad only in the armour of righteousness and the bracelets of sincerity.
Furthermore, lie had time on his side, too, because for Mr. Smith this was now, or perhaps never. The proposed agreement had to be reached at this moment in the lifetime of Mr. Heath's Government because it is going to take many months to complete, and it is doubtful, to say the least, whether the next Government would complete an agreement if they came to power when an agreement was still not in its final form. So I want to ask: Was this really, as Lord Goodman maintained, the best agreement that could have been obtained? Did Sir Alec push his advantages as far as he might have done?
A great deal of the Government's case depends on the assurances given by Mr. Smith, especially on subjects such as land tenure. I do not think it is so much a question of whether we can trust Mr. Smith. He is a creature of his Party, and behind the Party is Rhodesian white opinion—opinion determined to maintain a style of life they could not perhaps achieve elsewhere, and a style of life dependent upon cheap black labour, on social privilege and on the absence of competition for non-menial jobs. A very important question has been asked: what was the alternative? It reminds me that Signor Orlando, the Italian signatory, I believe, at Versailles, was asked by his nephew on his deathbed, "What is the most important political lesson in your life?" He replied: It is always to ask, in any critical situation, what is the alternative?" But when you are in a negotiating situation, you have to ask not only, "What is the alternative for me?" but, "What is the alternative for him?"—and what was the alternative for Mr. Smith? I think the alternative for us, faced with the kind of agreement which Mr Smith would accept, was to say: "This is not good enough. We will go away; you must think again, and you had better be 416 quick about it if you want an agreement because this Government is not going to last for ever".
Of course this agreement can be reached only if the Africans accept it. One would like to know more; perhaps to-morrow the Government can tell us more about the techniques that the Commission will use. Its task is unbelievably difficult if it is going to take more than a crude sample of the African opinion, and the names of the ten members of the Commission will be read with great interest. It is not enough to appoint men of high intellectual calibre and of undoubted integrity. There is also the question of temperament, of ability to enter sympathetically into the minds and the feelings of the black Rhodesians. So surely not all the members of this Commission should be men of conservative (with a small "c") psychology.
The section of the White Paper that I find particularly depressing is on educational and economic development. Sir Alec has always been most enlightened on this subject. I have heard him say time after time that he believes that a massive educational programme is one of the first needs of the black Rhodesians, and surely he is right. So we are to provide £50 million towards this goal. It sounds generous until we look at it a little more closely, as the noble Lord, Lord Reay, and my noble friend Lady White have done. To quote the White Paper, it is a sum of "up to" £5 million a year, and it is not exclusively for education. It is for—…capital aid and technical assistance to be applied to proposals and projects to be agreed with the Rhodesian Government…This will be matched, of course, by sums provided by the Rhodesian Government for African education, for housing, for development projects in the Tribal Trust Lands and the African purchase areas. So there will be new irrigation schemes, intensive cultivation projects, industrial projects and improvements in communications. All this is out of £10 million a year. There will be many competitors for their share of the £10 million, all of them good competitors, but it will be spread rather thinly.
My noble friend asked how much of this is to go to education. The White Paper does not tell us, but it does tell us 417 what the spread of the educational money is going to be. It is a wise spread. It will be used to improve and expand facilities for Africans in agricultural training, in technical and vocational training and teacher training, and primary, secondary and higher education. But is our gift not too small? This is, after all, something concrete, something real, that we can do for the black people of Rhodesia. We cannot give them a vote to-morrow, or for many a long year, but perhaps through education we can give them the keys to the vote: education coupled with economic development. The provision which the Government propose is not mean, but even if it was twice as much it would not be too big. I can well understand that Rhodesia, either for the reasons which the noble Lord, Lord Alport, has mentioned or because of the fact that it cannot have a very large tax base, is willing to give no more than £5 million a year. But must our generosity be restricted by their financial limitations?
Here I would applaud the maiden speech of the noble Earl, Lord Onslow. He suggested that the Rhodesian Africans might be given whatever educational privileges are enjoyed by Commonwealth citizens, and I warmly support that. Since it was not they who opted to leave the Commonwealth, this would be an act of justice as well as generosity. I should like, too, to see the gift-making philanthropic foundations, with which for a brief period I was associated, change their rules so that they can make gifts to non-Commonwealth students coming from Rhodesia as well as to Commonwealth students. One of the Commonwealth bodies with which I am associated had the good sense to change their rules before Rhodesia finally went out of the Commonwealth, because they saw that the people of Rhodesia in whom they were interested were going to have more need of the body once they left the Commonwealth, than before. So they altered their rules to provide that members of the Commonwealth were those who were members at a particular date, which preceded the secession of Rhodesia.
Education, my Lords, is the most useful gift we can make to the black people of Rhodesia. They are in a social and economic prison, and we should not begrudge them the price of the golden key by which they can escape.
§ 9.57 p.m.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, I re-entered the House during my noble friend Lord Alport's speech, and I sympathised deeply with him when he, as it seemed to me, expressed his sadness at the demise or the falling away of the British Empire and its power and influence in Africa. But that has not started to-day, or even in the time of this Government or of the last one. I was one of the few in the other place who spoke and voted against the recommendations of the Monckton Commission, when Lord Alport was himself, I think, a member of the Government—or possibly he was High Commissioner. I thought it was a pity. So there is no new problem to grieve about to-day. Nor can we now recover what I looked upon in my youth as our glory. I am going to ask, even at this very late hour and at this late period in this series of transactions and negotiations, whether sanctions cannot now be abandoned or, if it is not possible to abandon them at once, whether every step will be taken to hasten their abandonment. I shall come a little later to explain, very briefly, why.
But first I should like to praise Sir Alec, praise Mr. Smith, praise Lord Goodman and the civil servants whom Lord Goodman mentioned. It seems to me that all of them have done very well by their respective countries. Those who did me the honour, or suffered the penalty, of hearing me speak for a few minutes before my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary went to Rhodesia only a fortnight ago, will remember that I said that I did not attach as much importance as a great many other people did to the Five Principles. Nevertheless, it is a good thing, in my opinion, that the Rhodesians have given lip service perhaps, given recognition to those Principles and I earnestly hope some of them will be carried out. I am therefore glad of the opportunity which will arise to-morrow of voting for this package deal, and I earnestly hope that it will be carried through with the utmost celerity.
I would remind your Lordships that no Parliament can bind its successor. Even if you divide the Members of Parliament into blacks and whites, and give each of them a minimum number of votes below which this or that must not happen, 419 the Parliament as a whole rules the country; the majority in the Parliament at any time rules the policy, and no Parliament can bind its successor. It may well be that when the older ones among us, of whom I am one, have gone to yet another place, whichever way it may be, and when, with respect, even Sir Alec Douglas-Home has gone to another place, and possibly Mr. Smith as well, then will be the time when a great decision will be called for from the Parliament in Rhodesia. The time will come when the numbers of Members of Parliament, black and white, are equal; and then will operate some scheme which is difficult to fully understand—though it seemed to be very well understood by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and more or less by his predecesor the previous Lord Chancellor—and a very difficult decision will have to be taken.
What will that Parliament then do when we have all gone? It is the assumption of Members in this House, Members in the other place, newspapermen, and a great many people throughout the land, that they will then vote for majority rule. But I wonder why they should. All the evidence which I have seen in the last ten years makes me think that majority rule is not what the peoples in Africa, white or black, want. They do not have it in South Africa; they do not have it in Rhodesia; they do not have it in any other so-called black country in Southern Africa or Central Africa. Indeed, there is not one country, from the Cape to Cairo—except possibly to a limited extent in Swaziland—where there is majority rule.
Why is that? Most of them have been given it by Britain which, in a liberal tradition, offered independence to one nation after another, or to one tribe after another, throughout Africa; and with that independence went status, possibly membership of UNO (in many cases that was so), votes for all and a Parliament in which there was a Government side and an Opposition side fully recognised. My Lords, it has taken us in this country 600 years to understand, and to work as well as we do, our Parliamentary system. It is not surprising that people cannot work it in five or six years, or even ten years. They have not been used to having an Opposition. The only thing to do 420 with an Opposition is to crack it over the head with a knob-kierie. If you have been brought up with that idea since you were little, it is very hard to change your mind. In fact every one of these countries, except to a limited extent Swaziland, has rejected the bonus we gave them, the great gift we gave them, of majority rule; and has replaced it with an arbitrary oligarchic Government, or, more likely, a dictatorship or a near-dictatorship or a single-Party State. Who knows, when the Parliament in Rhodesia reaches equality between white and black, that they will not choose an oligarchicai form of government, or a dictatorship or semi-dictatorship, or a single-Party State? Who are we to say that majority rule is best for them? It may be best for us with our tradition, but why should it be best for other people with an entirely different history and an entirely different tradition?
I do not doubt that delay in acquiring majority rule for the blacks will be a grievous disappointment to educated political men—those who are in Parliament now, those who are lawyers, doctors, surgeons, priests and teachers. It must be a great disappointment to them, if they are over thirty, forty or perhaps fifty, but not too old to be hoping that they might be not merely Members of Parliament or professional men, but Ministers or even Prime Ministers, to know that it probably will not come in their lifetime. It is a great disappointment to them, because they might have thought that Britain still had power and influence and was going to bring about this great metamorphosis. I am sorry for them and I grieve for them, in South Africa as well as in Rhodesia, because many of them are such very able and charming men, and many of them are friends of mine.
But it will be Possible, when Lord Pearce goes with his men, to ask these black men whether this settlement is acceptable, because they are identifiable; many of them are in Parliament and they can be asked what is their opinion. It will be possible to ask the whites, because they are in Parties and can be identified. But I wonder how it is going to be possible to ask the 5 million blacks? When the experts are considering the results of an opinion poll, they will have so many "Ayes", so many "Noes" and so many "Don't knows"—10 or 15 per 421 cent. It is my guess that there will be 4,950,000 "Don't knows" in Rhodesia. And why not? It is incredible to expect that the man in the back veldt, the man working on the farm, the untutored, uneducated man on the land, could understand this complicated issue, which I doubt whether 1 per cent. of your Lordships understand. So the only possible way that I can see—and I know these countries well—is to go around to village meetings or indabas, as they arc called, and consult the Chiefs and a few Headmen.
We hear from one or two, particularly on the other side of the House and in another place, that one must not consult the Chiefs because they are only the paid servants of the Government. But what are our own Members of Parliament? I was one for thirty years or more. Were we not paid by the State? Were we deemed therefore to be men without sense or judgment? Look, my Lords, at the vote that we have just had on the entrance of Britain into the Common Market. Was that taken by men whose view was falsified by their Parliamentary pay? It might have been falsified by had judgment—different on one side of the House from the other, no doubt—but it certainly was not falsified by pay. I think that was a most unworthy statement about these Chiefs. I know many Chiefs, not particularly in Rhodesia but in Lesotho. They are persons known to me, and I have had business dealings, friendly dealings and family dealings with them. They are not men of straw; they are men respected by their people.
If any view is to be taken as to the feelings of the 5 million black people, it must be through the Chiefs and the Headmen; there can be no other way. Even then, I do not suppose for a moment that Lord Pearce will be able to report that this complicated matter is acceptable. The most that he will be able to report is that he did not find any very considerable interest or any very considerable opposition, and possibly, in some cases, not only that they did not know but that they did not care. Nevertheless, one thing I am certain about is that by carrying this settlement through now as quickly as possible, and especially by getting rid of sanctions at the earliest possible moment, we shall do the whole of 422 Rhodesia, and more particularly the black men, a powerful lot of good. We shall not only be taking them a stage further on the road towards status and political influence, and one day political power, but we shall be enriching them enormously, and very soon.
Majority rule will probably be as dead as a dodo by the time it comes to be considered by the Rhodesian Parliament. That brings me to the point of emphasising the futility of outside power or outside guarantees. My noble friend the Duke of Devonshire talked about outside guarantees based upon Malawi or Zambia. I have hardly ever heard of anything so extraordinary. The only thing I would regard as more extraordinary to-day would be to vest the power in the United Nations, because they are just as ineffective. What else can we do if the Rhodesians drag their feet, if they do not implement their side of the arrangements as quickly as some of us would wish? Do we invade Rhodesia—something we did not have the will or the power to do during the last six years? Do we refer the matter to New York? Both courses would be futile. And to call in aid Zambia is most incredible. We could not mount a sufficient force in Zambia, and I do not suppose for a moment that the Zambians would wish it. The truth is that Sir Alec did not have any power, though he had some influence. I have no doubt that, of the three sources of power and influence which were mentioned by the noble Lord who last spoke from the Opposition Benches, the only valid one really was the desire of Mr. Smith and his people for recognition by the world generally, and a desire to come back into the community of nations. I do not think that sanctions were really very important. But what can we do if Rhodesia drags its feet'? Do we reintroduce sanctions? It is incredible to think of that.
I am influenced by the words "Politics is the art of the possible". I do not know who first said those words, but a middle-of-the-road statesman of our own generation, a man whom I greatly admired, and admire, Lord Butler of Saffron Walden, I think guided most of his life as a Minister by the art of the possible. Not only that, but when he wrote a biography last year he called his book, The Art of the Possible. There 423 are some politicians who are as archaic as middle-aged priests, or even pre-history priests. They believe that anything writ upon their tablets must be the Word of God, or sanctified in some way or another. Hence, the Five Principles must be sanctified, and any departure from them, even the legalistic departure observed by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, in his able speech, must be a sufficient reason for voting against them. I do not take that view. I take the much more cheerful view that by voting for these proposals we shall be giving Rhodesia a way out of her diffi 424 culties and bringing her back into friendly relationship with us. And I would repeat something which I have said before—and perhaps it is none the worse for that: that the only possible way to make friends and influence people is to trade with them, to meet with them, to travel with them, to fish with them, to play bridge with them, to be friends. The sanction does not do what you want to do; and it failed this time. So, my Lords, I end, as I began, by asking Her Majesty's Government to get rid of sanctions now, or at any rate as quickly as possible, and thereby enrich the whole of the Rhodesian people.
§ 10.16 p.m.
§ LORD FERRIER
My Lords, it is my impression that there are millions of people in this country who are now bored and confused with the Rhodesian question. These people welcome the White Paper with open arms and are ready and happy, as I am, to congratulate Sir Alec and Mr. Smith and the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, on hammering out some sort of agreement. My Lords, I personally was thrilled by the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. He said what, quite frankly, I hardly dared to hope he would say. But I feel compelled to express the personal view, which I have reason to believe is widely shared, that the great bulk of the people in this country fervently desire that the breach with Rhodesia, which should never have occurred, will now be closed.
So strongly do these people feel this way that they have become impatient at the apparently endless and to them unreasonable and injudicious—and I quote a taxi driver—"Nark, nark, nark, "at every effort which has been made over the past few years to unravel this tangled skein. I cannot refrain from congratulating the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, on his monumental nark to which we listened with great attention today, but I have a feeling that it was de-narked by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and I have a mischievous feeling that if only I had been Bruce Bairnsfather I could have drawn the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, as "Old Bill", saying to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, "If you knows of a better 'ole, go to it !".
I feel that it is odd that so many people seem to be prepared—and today we have heard speech after speech on these lines, particularly from the other side of the House—to brush aside this opportunity for peace as something that we could get on without. Why should they scorn the claims of our late comrades in arms, many of whom are our own countrymen? In saying this, I am reminded of what was said by my noble friend Lord Hastings. We must remember those Rhodesians, not necessarily the followers of Mr. Smith, who perhaps at the moment are silently hoping and praying that Parliament will here and now approve the White Paper and, I think it is fair to add, accept the recommendation 426 of the noble Lord who has just sat down, that sanctions should be withdrawn now.
I think it a pity that so many people should scorn the claims of, shall we say? the silent white people in Rhodesia while at the same time failing to realise that the real interests of the backward people are not necessarily best served by putting power into the hands of a few political leaders, particularly when so many of the backward people are uneducated. I will not develop this point for it has been made so well by my noble friend Lord Fraser of Lonsdale. I think, too, that it is a pity that so much has been said to derogate from the trustworthiness of Mr. Smith and the Government of Rhodesia. Not only the right reverend Prelate but my noble friend Lord Alport and others have said things which I feel can do nothing but harm. Can it do any good to say that it is no good making an agreement with these people?
I sometimes think that some of the Churches are not without blame in this respect, and that too many Churchmen are often prepared to impute base motives to men of affairs. Too often, I think, they are unconsciously rattling sabres for others to draw and wield. I admit that we should be at a loss without the stars in the eyes of the noble Lord, Lord Soper; but, alas! much grief and disaster lie at the door of the starry-eyed? My noble friend Lord Alport complained of what I think he called the disproportionate amount of time which has been spent in Parliament on this subject over the years. This brings me back to the point I mentioned. I think he is right. It is a pity it has been so; for it has brought about this feeling among a vast number of people (in fact, among everybody who I have consulted outside my own family circle) of becoming sick and tired of this subject.
In regard to law and order, people are inclined to take the view that law and order in the lower echelons in such countries as Rhodesa mean much more than just law and order; that they mean, too, social security and a roof over the poor man's head. Claims have been made that sanctions have been successful. But what is meant by that? I thought that I detected almost a note of relish when the noble Baroness said in her speech that sanctions were biting; and similarly in 427 the case of my noble friend Lord Alport. But, as the noble Baroness said, the Africans may be accepting sanctions as one of the things they are prepared to suffer in the cause of freedom. My experience of the Rhodesians is that they would suffer in the same sort of gallant way. The shoe does pinch, but they would say, "This is what is happening and it is not going to shift me." One so-called success has been the restriction on the development of primary education in Rhodesia for six years. Another has been the production of great hardship among British subjects who have interests in Rhodesia. Of course, a proportion of our unemployment stems from the elimination of trade with Rhodesia. At this serious stage in our economic difficulties, I think that what was said by my noble friend Lord Fraser of Lonsdale would contribute to revitalising our own economy. I believe that nothing would be lost by showing our good will, accepting this White Paper and cancelling sanctions.
My noble friend Lord Hastings touched on the question of unemployment in Rhodesia. It must be remembered that this restriction on trade is pinching the Africans more seriously, possibly, than the white people. But his point was worth bearing in mind. As the years go on and the number of Africans in Rhodesia increases, there must be a development in trade and there must be improved conditions of capital supply in the rural areas.
My Lords, I have one other point to make, in conclusion. It sterns from what I said about what I believed to be the unwisdom of knocking, criticising and distrusting, and making it more difficult for the people in Rhodesia to accept the new arrangements. Destructive measures are being devised here in order to stir the brew anew. My heart goes out to the noble Lords on the Liberal Benches who find themselves associated with plans being voiced in another place to put a brake on the Common Market measures simply to torment those who are trying to solve the Rhodesian problem. I regard this as nothing more than a refinement of the obnoxious new style "demo" which has become a most undesirable feature of the political scene since the chairman of the Young Liberals was allowed to get 428 away with this anti-Springbok disturbances in 1969–70. I should like to ask the Government what is the position under the existing law regarding the promotion of demonstrations which we know. the promoters know and the police know perfectly well will lead to disorder and to violence; which, when it occurs, will interfere with the final smoothness of any settlement with Rhodesia.
My Lords, we have the Public Meeting Act 1908, the Public Order Act 1936 and the Race Relations Acts of 1965 and 1968. Are these Acts, and indeed the Common Law, adequate to give the Home Secretary power to choke off this kind of madness at its source? If so, I hope that such powers will be used early. With those remarks, I would conclude by saying that what is good enough for my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary and for the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, is good enough for me, and I shall vote against the Amendment to-morrow.
§ 10.30 p.m.
§ LORD HANKEY
My Lords, it has often been said that diplomacy is the art of the possible. After many years in diplomacy I think that we have to use utter realism in assessing what is possible in the present state of affairs. I sympathise deeply with the noble Lord, Lord Alport, who has rendered such great service to the countries of Central Africa. It must be extremely disappointing to him to see what has happened. But I do not believe it is any good now looking back to those past events. In my view, it was a real tragedy that the Central African Federation broke down. But there is one clear fact, and that is that Rhodesia (or Southern Rhodesia, as it was called) has governed itself in all internal matters for many years. For years we received instructions in the Diplomatic Service to tell everybody about the self-government in Rhodesia and about the inter-racial university, et cetera. I lectured in many parts of Scandinavia about it. There are great names—very distinguished names—littered about the past: Whitehead, Garfield Todd and Welensky. But I think it is time to recognise the bald fact that we cannot now, and have not for many years been able to, impose our will in this part of Africa. One noble Lord said that under this agreement we are now getting out of Africa. We got 429 out of Africa years ago. I think that it is a dangerous delusion to ignore this fact.
Then I come to sanctions. This matter is rather near to my heart, because I was closely associated with the sanctions against Italy in 1935, when I was private secretary to Mr. Anthony Eden (as he then was), now my noble friend Lord Avon. It was a heartbreaking disappointment that sanctions were not effective. But in the end we just had to be realists and face the fact. I believe that to-day we have to face the fact that sanctions have not been a great success in Rhodesia. They have probably been a nuisance; they have probably helped to create a situation in which Mr. Smith has been prepared to make this agreement with us. But I think that they will certainly not yield better results. I am reasonably sure that they have damaged our trade more than the trade of other nations, because everybody who goes to Rhodesia comes back saying they find Japanese landrovers and Mercedes cars, and equipment of all sorts from other countries being sold. There is no doubt that the United States want Rhodesian chrome and that they intend to have it. It is only fair to recognise that in the longer or shorter run—and I do not think it is the longer—sanctions are doomed.
I do not think that sanctions have in fact benefited the Africans very much. They have certainly caused a good deal of unemployment, and I imagine that the Africans have suffered more than the rest of the population. I do not think that sanctions are likely to help the Africans more than they have already done, unless we accept this agreement. So I venture to think that, on all these grounds, it is only plain realism to recognise the fact that there must be a political settlement—and now is the time for it.
My next point is that I firmly believe that the White Paper represents the best settlement we are likely to get. I was very impressed by the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. I do not think that anybody here is entitled to argue with his conclusion.
§ LORD HANKEY
Well, my Lords, I do not think I am convinced by that. The noble Lord has been on the spot, and 430 almost nobody else in your Lordships' House has. I do not think that we are going to get any better settlement than this. I frankly realise that it is a matter of opinion—I am giving mine, that is all. I believe that the agreement reflects great credit on the Secretary of State and on the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. Obviously it can be shot at in detail, as it has been shot at to-day; but I believe that on balance it represents a pretty fair compromise. I am personally convinced that it preserves enough of the Five Principles for it to be wise for us to approve it. One of the facts of the situation which I think we have to recognise is that the Rhodesian Africans are not yet so educated as to be able to assume responsibility for a complicated industrial economy, or to make an efficient, modern and honest administration. From that it follows that it is no good making a settlement, even if sanctions were more effective, which would bite on majority rule much more quickly. It would be much more likely to end in economic and administrative collapse and would not do anybody, either African or European. very much good. Therefore I think that the Settlement Proposals set up a system of probably steady progress at the sort of tempo which will allow further education to take effect.
I thought at the time—and I still think—that it was a great mistake to remove the British representatives from Salisbury when we did. In the end a dispute like this has to be settled politically, and you must have on the spot people who can keep you in touch with the situation and tell you what is happening, develop any opportunities that offer, and generally keep you informed. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, told us of the difficulty that he had in getting hold of the 1969 Constitution and other papers. I sympathise with him. But if our representatives had been in Salisbury there would not have been any trouble. Everybody in London would have known what these documents were, and they would perhaps have been distributed to Parliament. We did not need to have an ambassador there, but at least some sort of representative could have been kept there. I hope that we shall as soon as possible send British representatives back—perhaps a chargéďaffaires or something of that sort—to watch the situation.
431 I am sorry to say this, but I think there has been a rather academic quality about some of the speeches that we have heard to-day. I think that theoretical "one man, one vote" democracy is not everything. Law and order and the rule of justice arc extremely important. We have ignored this to our peril in Northern Ireland. I think that freedom of expression, in word and writing, is important. Education and freedom of opportunity are of primary importance, and I am glad that education is looked after in this agreement.
Economic and industrial progress, if it is to be extended to the people of the country, depends upon their being able to enjoy sufficient education to man the factories and administer the administration; and it is also essential if the educational system is to be paid for. When we ruin the industrial system of Rhodesia, we also make it much harder for the people to be educated. I am glad that this is being recognised in the proposals which are now before us. Frankly, an efficient and honest Administration is absolutely essential for any worthwhile modern State, and that is only possible when a large number of the people are educated.
Having studied the situation in many parts of Africa, I believe that it will require a number of years before any large proportion of the population can be made literate to the degree that they will be able to run a modern administration in a good way. In this connection, I do not think we ought to disregard the experience of other African countries. Frankly, many of them have not distinguished themselves in ensuring to their populations these advantages which I have mentioned. I am not just shooting at the ex-British territories; I am thinking of the ex-French and ex-Belgian territories, and right across Africa. As a matter of fact, I believe that the British have done better than the others; but I do not think the situation in Africa as a whole, if one looks at it objectively, is calculated to encourage people in the position of those who at present rule Rhodesia to take big risks. I personally think, with all objectivity, that looked at on this background, the Government of Rhodesia is not too bad at all. Of course 432 it is a Police State, but when you try to mobilise the whole of the civilised world against them through UNO and when you are conducting a political war against them, what else can one expect? Of course they have to have police measures. If we had had proper police measures, we would not be in the mess we are in in Northern Ireland.
The Chinese are infiltrating quite steadily into Tanzania, and are training guerrillas.
§ BARONESS LLEWELYN-DAVIES OF HASTOE
My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord? This is not the first time that this phrase about the Chinese infiltrating has been used about Tanzania and about Zambia. The Chinese have been invited there for a specific task: building a railway which the British Government would not put up the money to build. There is no question of infiltration. The Chinese are there doing a job. Maybe we would rather that we were there, in which case it is a pity that we did not offer the money and expertise in order to be there.
§ LORD HANKEY
My Lords, I agree with the noble Baroness about that. She will hardly suggest that there are no guerrillas being trained in Tanzania. Who is training them? I believe it is the Chinese. The fact that there are guerrillas must be of some concern to people in neighbouring parts of Africa.
If the settlement proposals are accepted, the administration will, with any luck, become better, and this will be to the advantage of the Africans. if these proposals are rejected, the alternatives are that, in the long run, there will be either chaos, which I earnestly hope no noble Lord expects the British Army to go in and sort out, or an inevitable drift to apartheid in the South African orbit. In either case, the Africans are going to suffer. I therefore agree with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, that it would be unwise and the height of folly to reject these proposals. There is no alternative means of pressure on the Government of Rhodesia so far as I can see and no noble Lord in this debate, so far as I have heard, has produced any good, alternative way forward. Therefore, I shall vote in favour of these proposals, and recommend other noble Lords to do likewise.
§ 10.44 p.m.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, I have listened with great interest to the speech which has just been delivered by the noble Lord, Lord Hankey. I hope he will forgive me if I do not begin to reply immediately to the points that he has raised. I respect his record, and during the course of my speech I shall be dealing with many points that he has brought before your Lordships.
This has been a remarkable debate. It is now 51 years since I first sat in the Press Gallery of another place and listened to debates in one House or the other. I am speaking truthfully when I say that I have never heard a series of more memorable speeches than have been delivered to-day. There was the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe. It was the most convincing speech that has yet been made for the proposals for a settlement. There was then the cool, devastating analysis by my noble and learned friend, Lord Gardiner. We pass to the impressive speech from the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, who has been so closely involved in these negotiations. I want to say a word to him later. We had the memorable speech from my noble friend Lady Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe. Then we had the almost terrific, overwhelming speech from the noble Lord, Lord Alport—a speech which I regret was delivered to a thin House, before even the leaders of the Government were present—
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR (LORD HAILSHAM OF ST. MARYLEBONE)
My Lords, I do not know what the noble Lord means. I shall be replying to the debate, and I heard every word of it.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor will forgive me if I did not think him on this occasion a leader for Her Majesty's Government.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, let the noble Lord disabuse himself. I am replying on behalf of the Government in this debate. I am therefore, for this purpose, "the" leader.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, I am impressed. But if the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor will forgive me, I was thinking of the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, who opened this discussion; and 434 I regret that the Front Bench of the Government, whoever sat on the Woolsack, were not present when that devastating speech was delivered.
I want to say one word, in his absence, to the noble Lord, Lord Goodman—and I hope that he will read it. I have a great respect for him. We have been associated in minority causes in this House. He made an extraordinary statement about the President of Zambia. He alleged in his speech that Mr. Kenneth Kaunda was guilty of the same (I put it moderately) harshness as Mr. Ian Smith. When my noble friend Lady Llewelyn-Davies interrupted him, he was at least prepared to say that he would consider that remark. My Lords, I hope he will. Those of us who know Kenneth Kaunda know that there is no more tolerant or kinder person who has any authority in any African State. Does my noble friend Lord Goodman really mean that Kenneth Kaunda has been responsible for detaining political opponents for seven years, without charge or trial? Of course not. At this moment he has certain political opponents in detention. That fact I regret. But to begin to suggest that there is any comparison whatsoever between Kenneth Kaunda, who is one of the hopes of a libertarian and tolerant Africa, and Mr. Ian Smith, with his record in Rhodesia, is something which I know my noble friend Lord Goodman will be prepared to withdraw when he has given it due consideration.
My Lords, I had prepared a detailed case against these proposals, but I do not propose to deliver that speech at this late hour. I want only to concentrate on two points in the Five Principles. The first is the unimpeded progress to majority rule. The word "unimpeded" is very indefinite. There could be drops of water into a bottomless pit which were unimpeded, but it would take a long time for that pit to fill. Therefore the factor of time is enormously important. I think it will be recognised that the realisation of majority rule depends on the new African higher roll. That higher roll is to be onthe same income, property and educational qualifications as the European roll".Parity in the legislature is to be reached whenthe number of voters on the African higher and the European rolls will be approximately equal.435 As I shall show, that will take a very long time, and it is only afterwards that a tedious and complicated procedure will provide is possibly in the far distance that Africans might be given, at the most, a majority in the Legislature of 10 in an assembly of 110. That is in a community where the Africans are over 5 million, and the Europeans less than a quarter of a million.
This will be a very long process, because the Europeans have appropriated the major incomes, property and education to themselves. I ask your Lordships to look at the facts. The qualifications for the new African higher and European rolls are:I am in some difficulty here, because I assume that those are Rhodesian dollars, and it is quite impossible in the present financial situation to equate those dollars with British pounds. But these conditions will undoubtedly cover all the Europeans in Rhodesia; their avarage income is £1,200 a year. They will, however, cover a mere fragment of the African population. The average wage of employed Africans in Rhodesia is £120 a year, and that figure covers only 350,000 Africans of their 5 million. A quarter of a million Europeans get nearly 30 times as much in income as 5 million Africans. My Lords, obviously it must be a very long time before equality in income and property is realised.
- (a) an income of 1,800 dollars per annum during two years before enrolment, or ownership of property valued at 3,600 dollars;
- (b)if four years' secondary education of a prescribed standard is fulfilled, the income can be reduced to 1,200 dollars per annum or property of 2,400 dollars.
I pass to the educational test, four years in a secondary school at a prescribed standard. Every European child goes to a secondary school; it is compulsory. Only 2 per cent. of African children go to a secondary school. It is argued that the Government grant of £5 million a year for ten years will speed up African education. Unlike the Constitution of 1961, this amount is not to be devoted entirely to education; it is for technical and economic advance as well. But not only that—and I put this very seriously for the consideration of the Minister—the child population growth of the Africans will be greater than the provision for secondary education given under the British grant.
436 There is a second reason why this advance even towards parity will not effectively occur. The increase of African representation in the legislature will take place not when entitled Africans reach an absolute number, but when they reach certain percentages of the Europeans. Mr. Ian Smith has already made his appeal for a large European immigration of Southern Rhodesia; undoubtedly there will be a response. For many years the proportion of European immigrants is likely to be greater than the proportion of Africans reaching the higher roll.
I do not propose to compete in estimates about the time before parity is reached—30 years,40 years,60 years,—but all these factors make it unlikely that even parity will be attained before the end of this century. And only after parity is the advance to majority rule to be considered. I am not going to detail all that process; it would be very tedious and very complicated, but I think it can definitely be said that majority rule in Southern Rhodesia will not be reached until well into the next century.
So much for majority rule. The other of the Five Principles that I want to consider is the advance towards ending racial discrimination. I say quite definitely that in these proposals there is no guarantee whatsoever to end racial discrimination. Two concessions have been made. The first is that the evictions under the Land Tenure Act will be suspended until the report of the Commission appointed by the Rhodesian administration has been considered. I was glad to hear the speech which was delivered from the Benches upon which the Bishops sit. Some concession is to be made to the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church for two of their lands. But these are not the only lands of the Churches that are involved. Much more than that, the concession which has been made to the Churches does not apply to thousands of other Africans who are being evicted from their farmlands.
It is unnecessary for me to repeat what my noble friend Lady Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe said about Chief Rangwena. I regard him as symbolising in his person the tragedy of Africans now turned out of their homelands for long ages by this Land Tenure Act: their huts burned down, their cattle confiscated, living in caves and grass shelters for twelve months 437 in the mountains. In his own words, "We live like hyenas in holes in the mountains". I recall those magnificent words of his: "I was offered money to become a recognised chief. I turned it down because I did not want money. I wanted my people to have their land". These proposals before the House give no guarantee whatsoever that those who are evicted in this way will be allowed to return to the homelands which they have occupied for centuries.
The second concession is that the Rhodesian administration will appoint a Commission which should be acceptable to the British Government. This Commission is to consider the Land Tenure Act and other forms of discrimination, and its recommendations will be accepted by the Rhodesian legislature. But this is rendered nugatory by the all-embracing qualification,subject only to considerations that any Government would be obliged to regard as of an overriding character.That reservation could cover a multitude of sins and would deny equal rights entirely. There is also to be included a Declaration of Rights. I think the Minister will recognise that I have been concerned about this issue over very many years. I have read this Declaration three times (it is 16 pages in length, almost as long as the Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations) and I do not pretend, as a layman, to understand the many reservations and qualifications that it makes. I welcome the fact that an African has the right to appeal to the courts, but I wonder how the ordinary African is going to be able to meet the costs of such an appeal.
My Lords, on Monday I read in The Times a letter written by Mr. Anthony Lester, a solicitor who over the years has made a study of human rights enactments—not merely the Declaration of the United Nations, but the conventions which have been adopted by the European Community and others and the schedules to the Constitutions of newly independent countries. As a layman, I am not prepared to endorse all that he says about this Declaration, but it is very disturbing. In some respects it endorses what the noble Lord, Lord Alport, has said in this debate. For example, Mr. Lester wrote: 438The Declaration will not affect any existing law—except for the benefits of earlier constitutional guarantees.I do not want to delay the House, but I think this matter is so important that it is worth quoting what Mr. Lester wrote:It"—the Declaration—enables the Government "—that is, the Government of Rhodesia—to make exceptions to the rights and freedoms guaranteed, on a racially discriminatory basis; to prohibit racially mixed marriages; or indeed to impose any racial disability which is ' reasonably justifiable …'"—he leaves out certain irrelevant words—in order to secure the protection in an equitable manner as between the various descriptions of persons affected of their respective interests'.It allows a Minister to authorise preventive detention for up to six weeks without judicial review. It permits police searches, seizures, and arrests without a warrant. It exempts inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment if it is authorised by an existing law. It fails to provide for legal aid for persons accused of serious crimes punishable by death or long imprisonment. In the guise of protection ', it contemplates sweeping encroachments on freedom of expression, conscience, assembly and association (including participation in trade unions)".My Lords, I acknowledge at once that I am not able to judge the validity of all those charges; but I have read the reply of Sir Lionel Heald in to-day's Times, and I am not impressed. He does not reply to any of the detailed points that Mr. Lester made. He says that the Declaration of Principles is similar to the 1961 Constitution. That Constitution was much better than the 1969 one, but it was ten years ago. No one suggests that it is adequate to-day. He says that it is similar to Independence Constitutions in Fiji, Guiyana and other ex-colonial territories. My Lords, I have not had time to refer to them, but I was concerned in all of them, and I have the impression that the Declarations included in these ex-colonial Constitutions were much shorter and without the reservations which are now included for Rhodesia.
There is the proposal that there shall be a Commission of three to look at existing laws; but, as I have said, the Commission's recommendations could be rendered nugatory by the reservation which I have always quoted. The only provision is against new discriminatory 439 legislation, and an independent Government could ignore that.
My Lords, I make two final points. I have a terrible fear for the future. As I have listened to this debate I have felt the unreality of the whole atmosphere of this House. During the next twenty years these proposals will be utterly irrelevant. You have, on the one hand, Mr. Ian Smith and his Government and the Rhodesian Front. Mr. Ian Smith only a few months ago dismissed all the Five Principles; he said that majority rule would never be reached in his lifetime. You have the Rhodesian Front, his party, which only a few weeks ago declared for a racial discrimination in every sphere of life hardly separable from apartheid in South Africa. Does anyone in this House believe that in the last few weeks Mr. Ian Smith, his Government and the Rhodesian Front have been converted from that view to believe in racial equality and racial tolerance? My Lords, what has been happening in Rhodesia since this settlement has indicated the opposite. Mr. Smith is still speaking of the continuance of civilised control within his lifetime. By "civilised control", he means either white control or the higher African roll to which I have referred. Six weeks ago the Rhodesian Front adopted resolutions for more serious segregation and discrimination than ever. Is there anyone who is so naïve as to believe that they have fundamentally changed to a different point of view? They accepted the settlement proposals almost with their tongues in their cheeks because of the difficulties of their present economic situation and of the effect of sanctions on their foreign exchange. That is one fact that we have overlooked in all our discussions in this debate. The other fact is the climate that exists among Africans with their two major Parties banned, their leaders in detention. Even if this British-appointed Commission, consisting only of Europeans to whom Africans will be reluctant to express their opinions, finds in favour of acceptance, is there any Member of this House—and this is my reply to the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and to the noble Lord, Lord Hankey, who preceded me—who will believe for a moment that for 20 years, 440 30 years or 60 years the African population is going to accept the tedious processes in these proposals?
We are asked for an alternative. I will state it. The alternative is for this Government, as it should have been for past Labour Governments, to insist on majority rule in Rhodesia before Independence is granted. That was the only possible condition under which stability could have been reached. It is argued that majority rule should not be accepted because it has not operated in neighbouring countries. In Zambia, in Tanzania, in Kenya, and even in Malawi, though I disagree with its policies, there has been a stability, a tolerance and a welcome to racial equality which there has not been in Southern Rhodesia. The United Nations demands independence for majority rule. The Commonwealth demands independence for Commonwealth rule. If we reject it then we are threatening the whole of Southern Africa with a racial conflict which we cannot contemplate. My Lords, the alternative to the Government's proposals is to stand firm for sanctions (in two years much more effective than now on the exchange position) and to stand firm for the principle that Rhodesia should not have independence before it has majority rule.
§ 11.26 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF LINDSEY AND ABINGDON
My Lords, it is always difficult for a novice like myself to follow the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, with his vast knowledge of African affairs and their leaders. I have listened with great sympathy to his speech but I must confess that I could not agree with some of his points. There is one that I should like to bring to the attention of the Government, and I am sure the noble Lord will agree with me about it. It is the question of education. I believe that this is the crux of the whole problem. I know that this has been mentioned by several noble Lords, including my noble friend Lord Onslow in an excellent maiden speech; but will the Government consider introducing, in conjunction with the Rhodesian authorities, some form of higher education for Africans, rather on the lines of the Rhodes Scholarship, which would bring them over here where they could obtain a scholarship; and this, on their return to Rhodesia, would 441 accelerate the question of parity? I dispute with the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, the timing of parity. I think that with advancement in education it would be reached before the turn of the century—at least, I hope so.
It is now almost exactly six years since I had the honour of speaking in your Lordships' House for the first time. We were then debating Rhodesia after Mr. Smith's unilateral declaration of independence. At that time I suggested that if and when the time arrived for an agreement on the dispute it would be Mr. Smith with whom Her Majesty's Government would have to negotiate. Well, my Lords, I believe that the time has now arrived, and we should call an end to this dispute once and for all. Though I have never agreed with the action of the Rhodesian Government in declaring U.D.I., I have always maintained that sanctions were not necessary. All they have done is to harden the resolve of the European population and put them into a determined frame of mind to see them through. The effect of passing sanctions over to the United Nations has been their imposition against the United Kingdom, to the advantage of our main trading competitors. I say this because about three years ago I was a member of an unofficial delegation, comprising members of both Houses of Parliament, which visited South Africa, mainly to study the effects of apartheid. I was also interested to see how sanctions were being violated by that country.
My Lords, through our meetings with politicians and businessmen it became abundantly clear that sanctions were being ignored not only by South Africa and Portugal, but also by our main European, American and Far Eastern competitors. It was interesting to note that this obnoxious system of apartheid classified a Japanese as a European and a Chinaman as a coloured. The only conclusion one could come to on this was that international trade was at work in Johannesburg, where I spent five days. To a large extent it consisted of newly formed foreign companies, set up solely to break sanctions and thus invade one of the United Kingdom's traditional trading areas.
Finally, turning to the Five Principles, which have been comprehensively discussed to-night, I would say that there is 442 one of them that I have always thought might be a fatal stumbling block—namely, unimpeded progress towards majority rule. This has been adequately covered by my noble friend the Leader of the House and by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. If what they say is true, then I am quite prepared to accept their judgment. I honestly believe that matchsticks, as opposed to the slide-rule, are the answer on this point. I cannot see how we can judge on a mathematical calculation human errors and predicaments. With these reservations, my Lords, I shall support the Government to-morrow.
§ 11.31 p.m.
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
My Lords, I have listened to about 25 speeches. It would be cruel to keep the House too long, but as one who was on the "Fearless" and went through all the negotiations with Mr. Ian Smith—I have with me the final Heads of the Agreement we made on that famous Friday night before we left the ship—and having talked day in and out to these gentlemen who were representing Rhodesia, Messrs. Ross, W. H. Nicholle, Howman, Clark, I.D. Smith, Lardner-Burke, E.A.T. Smith, L.G. Smith, Claypole, Oliver and Stall-wood, all I can say is that Harold Wilson, the then Prime Minister, had gone further than the British Labour Movement and many people throughout the Commonwealth and certainly the United Nations would have liked him to go, because we had abandoned NIBMAR. But we had made what we thought was progress. The amazing thing was that we would agree something at 9 or 11 o'clock and then go to the wardroom and have a noggin—then next morning apparently we had no agreement whatever. There was nothing more slippery than trying to get agreement with this group of people.
I had a great deal of faith in the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. But I object to this arrogant intellectuality which floods this Chamber in its moments of radiance. I remember the great psychological moment when Mr. Smith made the Unilateral Declaration of Independence on November 11, 1965. These were his actual words:We have struck a blow for the preservation of justice, civilisation and Christianity and in the spirit of this belief we have to-day assumed our soveregin independence.443 There is only one other man in the world who shook me more rigidly than that; that was Mr. Enoch Powell, when he said:When I see a rich man, I give thanks to God.And listen to the sanctimonious, irreverent irrelevancy of this:Often when I am kneeling down in church"—I can see the tears running down his cheeks—I think to myself how much we should thank God and the Holy Ghost for the gift of capitalism.How daft can you get! I listened to-day to a man whom I respect, but his speech was Machiœvellian.
I have here the Heads of Agreement that we made with Mr. Smith, and it is marked "H.M.S. Fearless. October 13." I believe that there is nothing in this present document that we had not more or less got then, except that this document has gone further than my right honourable friend Mr. Harold Wilson was prepared to go. The fact is as my noble friend Lord Brockway has said. We are told that in the 1969 Declaration the proposals were repeated. First, they provide that all human rights will be subject to the need of public order and public security, as determined by the Government of the day. Secondly, they will be subject to the operation of all existing laws. For example, the Law and Order Maintenance Act 1960 still remains in effect, despite this White Paper. Sir Robert Tredgold, Rhodesia's most eminent jurist, resigned his office as a result of this law, saying that it had turned Rhodesia into a police State. I challenge the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, to tell this House whether that is changed in this agreement. It is not. Thirdly, the Declaration does net in fact provide for equality before the law as between the races. African Tribal Courts will continue in operation. The law under which they were created says that the courts will not he considered to be dependent or partial simply on the grounds that the judges have an interest in the case they are trying.
The major change as between the 1969 Declaration and the regime's proposal is this: that the Declaration is made justiciable in the courts. But this only means that they have to apply the law as it 444 stands. Let me say categorically, without any possibility of getting mixed up in semantics or law, that nothing in this White Paper and our agreement or in the Declaration of Rights would have protected the multiracial Cold Comfort Farm Society, partly because the Land Tenure Act is to remain in force, which makes it impossible for multiracial organisations to operate. I am cutting my speech by 90 per cent., otherwise I could develop that point further. We are therefore left in this honourable House with accepting a half-baked proposal that is worse than the Declaration of Human Rights.
Then there was this. Jocular, and, like Horatius at the bridge, the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, enjoyed himself. But he did not answer the case. He said: "Alt! we will have an extension in the lower roll". In the name of the heavens above! you could have another 1 million people on the lower roll and you would still get only eight members. Why did not the noble Lord make that clear to noble Lords in this House, who are experienced in all kinds of things? I have enjoyed this debate. It has been excellent, despite the speeches with which I may disagree. But whichever way I approach it, I think that 99 .9 per cent. of the speeches are a sincere attempt to try to solve one of the most difficult problems facing us. But the noble Lord was too flippant. He should not have dealt so flippantly with the House as he did. I should have loved to have had the opportunity of taking him up when he was here.
Here is the question that we ask—and it is the 64,000 dollar question: is the Rhodesian situation better now than it would be without this White Paper and this agreement? Secondly, this House and the other place are in the illogical position of being asked to approve of it before the people back there have had a chance of considering it; and 99 per cent. of them will not understand it. That is correct. We arc rushing headlong into this agreement before we know their reactions. When Mr. Ian Smith had his referendum the vote was nearly fifty-fifty: 42,000 for, and 22,000 against. They were mostly Europeans. Do not get weak-hearted; some people are growing a little weak in the knees, saying that Smith and the hard and most ruthless of the white people have everything 445 in their hands. But they have not. The only reason an agreement has been reached is because sanctions were beginning to bite.
I am surprised at a person who talks about law (it was rather oxymoronic as a matter of fact) saying that this business is just a moral gesture. What is the matter with the world? They do not talk like that when they singing at the Cenotaph, or making pontifical speeches in dimly lit cathedrals, because it suits the mood. Put it suits the mood of a flippant House today to say, "Oh! this is only a moral gesture". On the beaches of Dunkirk—
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords will forgive me, the noble Lord, Lord Goodman (I am speaking in his absence), never used the phrase, "moral gesture". He said that it was a form of moral self-indulgence.
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
That is a typical example of oozing intellectuality and lack of wisdom on the part of the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, if I may interrupt my noble friend, I wrote down the words as the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, was saying them. He said that it was a moral gesture of pure, personal self-indulgence.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I do not feel that I have to withdraw. I apologise for saying that the noble Lord never used the word, "gesture", but my recollection of his sense was exact.
§ LORD DAVIES OF LEEK
Mine happened to be more exact. We listened to a brilliant piece of window-dressing, plausible but on the wrong hypothesis. It was a crack-pot approach; it is crackpot realism. People like myself are told that we are not realistic. Some of us saw the Chinese revolution; some of us have seen Vietnam. I do not want to sound pompous, for others, much more capable than myself, saw it too; they were not just Socialists, they were Conservatives, people who had a moral outlook and could see what was happening. They could see the bloodshed in Vietnam. Does anybody think—does my 446 noble friend Lord Brockway think—that this crack-pot kind of White Paper is going to last one generation in modern Africa? Of course not. I was challenged to-day as to what alternatives there are. There are plenty of alternatives. The House seemed to be blinded by the oratorical arpeggios of the lawyer. One of the alternatives—sanctions—was working. If we arc beginning to believe in the rule of international law, now that we have made an ignoble end to the Empire, now that we have opted out and thrown in our lot with the Common Market, there is only one other place to go to—the comity of Nations. In this tiny spaceship that we call the world we should try to build up the United Nations.
I promised to he brief, and I have been brief. What is more I have tried to be pungent and not irrelevant. And I do not want any comments from the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor at this moment. My hearing is good, too, thank God! All I want to say is that this was a mistake. I do not think that the right honourable gentleman, Sir Alec Douglas-Home, or the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, are rogues or vagabonds or that they did this at all wickedly. Of course not. They are gentlemen of honour—but I think they have been taken for a ride.
§ 11.46 p.m.
§ LORD MACPHERSON OF DRUMOCHTER
My Lords, like my noble friend Lord Lindsey and Abingdon, I made my maiden speech on November 15,1965, in the first Rhodesian debate after U.D.I., and I have taken part in most of the discussions on this subject during the intervening six years. I do not wish to go back over the past, but I cannot help reminding your Lordships that in my maiden speech I suggested, in col.298 of the OFFICIAL REPORT, that a non-Party political mission under Sir Alec Douglas-Home should go immediately to Rhodesia to try to settle the problem before it became too late. I still believe that if my suggestion had been accepted then, the situation could have been contained. Since 1965 I have visited Rhodesia four times and on each occasion had talks with Mr. Smith. In 1967 I brought back tentative proposals for a settlement, but was advised by the 447 then Prime Minister that he could not consider a settlement until there was African majority rule. I last met Mr. Smith in May,1970, and it was obvious from our talks that the chance of a settlement based on the Five Principles was even further away. I considered that when my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary left for Rhodesia he had little chance of success. Therefore, last week's news that an agreement under the Five Principles had been signed with Mr. Smith came as a complete surprise. To me it is a triumph for Sir Alec and his team—particularly that most competent of negotiators the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, who I thought made such a brilliant speech today.
Those of your Lordships who have not had the opportunity of knowing Rhodesia and Rhodesians personally cannot fully appreciate how strong were the views held by Mr. Smith and his colleagues, and the tremendously difficult task that has been achieved. Even if your Lordships do not agree that the settlement is under the Five Principles, I hope you will be gracious enough to acknowledge Sir Alec's success in obtaining what I consider to be virtually the impossible. I realise that settlement depends on the suggested terms being accepted by the people of Rhodesia as a whole. The terms may not please all white Rhodesians, or a large number of African politicians, but if on balance the majority accepts this settlement I think we should do everything possible to end this unhappy affair and see the necessary legislation through our Parliament with the least possible delay and recrimination. I know that each of your Lordships in his own way wishes to see freedom and peace and prosperity for all races return to this part of Southern Africa, but that can be achieved only by a settlement. I, for my part, most humbly salute my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary and wish him further success in the finalisation of these proposals.
§ 11.50 p.m.
THE EARL OF LYTTON
My Lords, I listened with special pleasure to the two maiden speeches, in particular because both maiden speakers spoke of Kenya which was my stamping ground in my 448 experience in Africa, and I was charmed by the quotation in Swahili, which indicated that the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, spoke a superior dialect of that language to the dialect I speak. I must start by saying that the facts of life as I see them are that we are not in Rhodesia at all; we were thrown out in 1965. That, I think, is the answer to the noble Lord, Lord Alport. It is not a question of pulling out: we were thrown out six years ago and we are going back, with all the risks attendant upon it—the risks of offending the black Commonwealth. Rhodesia is independent—an independent sovereign, alien State, and it is with that, that we are negotiating. In connection with it we have no doubt responsibilities, but not the slightest possibility of exercising them under the present arrangements. That I see as the facts of life, and the choices before us seem to be three, not two. First, to preserve sanctions with no recognition. We were told in this House when we were asked to agree to sanctions that they were for a brief period, to topple a man of straw, and the brief period was specified as being very brief indeed. But it has gone on and on, and for my part I would never have agreed to vote for sanctions had it been clear to any one of us that the Smith regime were not men of straw. They were there to stay, however much we might dislike them. The preservation of this situation. I agree, is a gift to apartheid. I know that there are differences of opinion and I think that is inescapably so, and we should be happy that we are arresting it.
The second alternative is to recognise without a settlement; and that I think we must do if the settlement does not come. We must recognise the authority—the civil authority—and not to do so is morally wrong, because if you do not recognise the authority you are on the side of the law-breaker, the malefactor and the robber. A man must render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, even if Caesar is rather an objectionable bird. That is inexorable. Therefore if we do not settle in one way we must settle in another. We cannot go on not recognising it; it is very foreign to our habit. The third possibility is one we are discussing tonight, some sort of settlement; and that I think has been agreed in principle nem. con. throughout these long negotiations. We have all agreed that we should try to settle, and associate recognition 449 with the settlement. We are now faced with that settlement.
I thought the two outstanding speeches which I have heard—and I have not the stamina to hear everybody, although I have heard about half—were those of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, and of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. The noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, I thought, looking at 1961 and seeing the picture worse now than it was then, indicated that in his opinion this settlement does not fall within the Five Principles. I thought he was persuasive. I agree that I do not see it falling within the Five Principles as they were seen in the year 1960, particularly by Africa, and I will indicate presently how they saw them. However, that does not deter me from agreeing with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, that this is the best available solution and that it is better than I, and I suppose anyone else, would have expected.
I think now that one ought to try to see what was the cause of the U. D. I. To me it is because the Rhodesians suffered from a nightmare, which I label and give a number, 1514. It is the resolution of the United Nations General Assembly in 1960—a recipe for immediate independence without preparation of any kind. Preparation was specifically debarred. Lack of preparation was to be regarded as no obstacle whatever. The Rhodesians have had a vision of African life since then. There are 41 independent States, and in 28 of these there have been illegal coups; in some of them several coups and counter-coups—two or three—all illegal and all promptly recognised by the O.A.U., the United Nations and ourselves. Once we see an effective Government in power it is our prudent habit to recognise it. We can do nothing else except march in and overthrow it. Of the 41 States,26 go in for what used to be called in Europe—I think the great Winston was responsible for the title—"swindle democracy": one man, one vote, and one Party to vote for. I agree it is not the swindle it looks, but it is not a Government enjoying the support and acceptability of the majority of its subjects, and if you could put the test of acceptability throughout black Africa you would find, particularly in the larger States, that more than two-thirds were not content. There are ten military dic 450 tatorships. There have been eight civil wars. Nobody can estimate the carnage and damage to life and limb, but I would suggest that there may be 3 to 10 million people who are not alive to-day who would have been alive but for these grave disturbances.
I do not wish to decry the effort of independent Africa. I personally, knowing something of it and having had to administer at a low level in Africa years ago, was horrified at the speed of the wind of change. I thought it was terrifyingly imprudent. In addition to this spectacle, the Rhodesians have had in Kenya the evidence of white farmers dispossessed, with United Kingdom subsidies, and serious discrimination against their Asian populations. These things cannot but have had the gravest effect, and to my mind they were the things which precipitated the U.D.I. The Rhodesians thought that majority rule was going to be forced upon them within about five years.
Let us turn to the present situation. The nightmare is reversed. Sixty-four years has been mentioned. That is a nightmare for the O. A. U., and it may cause savage reactions if that impression is allowed to last. May I, with all respect, question the wisdom of the two leading negotiators in the matter of keeping time? They have been such diffident timekeepers. I saw and heard Mr. Wilson on television addressing the United Nations General Assembly and saying that the independence time factor neither clock nor calendar can measure; I think I heard him say that. Sir Alec was reported in a speech in the Provinces in this country as saying it is politically impossible to name a date. The result is that first of all we get the idea of five years among white Rhodesians and now 64 years amongst black Africans, both of which are impossible. I repeat, after an interval of five or six years the suggestion that this country should work towards 25 years as being something to aim at and insist upon, with our money and help and know-how.
I earnestly support the recommendation of the noble Duke, the Duke of Devonshire. I had on my list £150 million instead of £50 million; that is, £15 million a year. I would propose that that is a reasonable figure for us to supply, even if it is not matched pound for pound 451 by the Rhodesians, in order that we may hasten African development. The noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies, referred to £1 per man, one African per annum, as what £50 million for education would mean in Rhodesia if it was all spent on education. I have a second recommendation in connection with that, and it is that this money should be devoted not on egalitarian principles but to produce reasonably quickly, an African elite to match the Europeans at an earlier date than would otherwise be possible. That is the process that is always gone through when people are rising from penury to prosperity. You cannot do it all at once; you have to raise the most promising and be content with that for the time being.
I would suggest that the Rhodesians watch Portugal. Portugal has a tradition in the colonial sphere almost unique among Europeans, in that they have no objection to miscegenation—they never have had. There is no prejudice in Brazil; there are a great many colours and shades, but there is no prejudice on that account. They are unique, and they work to a different principle. They raise the subject peoples to a certain level, and during the interval nobody. I think, neither Portuguese nor anybody else, has a vote of any kind. They are all part of Portugal, and after a time they give them the choice of either remaining in Portugal or breaking off. That will come, I am sure. That is the tradition of Portugal, and the Rhodesians would be wise to note that, because if Mozambique becomes independent they will be a greater threat to anything in the nature of apartheid than anything else, and they can cut Rhodesia off from the sea.
I do not like to say disparaging things about Africa, but I honestly believe we gave the African States a task which was impossible. We could not have done it ourselves in that way. It is a pity that the Colonial era did not foresee independence. In my time nobody dreamt of independence. Years ago when I talked about giving chiefs of people more authority than I was deputed to give, there was not the smallest interest in it at any level, official or otherwise. It is a last-minute affair, and it is the great misfortune that, having prepared so little, we gave independence so quickly. I am 452 reminded of Mahatma Gandhi, who devoted his life to Indian independence. On the very threshold of independence in 1947 he said to a great friend of mine, "It has come too soon after all", and that was true. I am sorry that it has. It has produced great disasters. It is a pity that we delayed so long in our preparations and then went so hurriedly in carrying out independence. I shall support the Government in this settlement. I think that the settlement that they have achieved is achieved against a background of a diminishing nightmare in Rhodesia, because the time is greater. The danger now is that that time may be so vague that it will offend everybody else in Africa. I trust that somebody will give at any rate an unofficial date, and stick to it.
§ 12.2 a.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, it is difficult at what one can just call "an early hour", and after so many and such very good speeches, to add much to this debate. There is always the temptation to repeat the points which one was going to make and which have been made by others—in their opinion better, in one's own opinion not quite so forcefully as one would have done it oneself. I shall try, and I hope I shall succeed, in resisting those temptations.
On the general point there are one or two questions I should like to address to the Government. They are genuine questions, and I hope that I get an answer to them. We have heard from many speakers, particularly those with personal knowledge of Africa, of the overriding importance of land ownership to the Africans. That is abundantly true. We have also heard of the Land Apportionment Act, and the way that Africans feel about that. What I cannot understand is why the Africans are being asked whether they approve of this settlement before they know what is going to happen to their land. Why is it put that way round? Why cannot the first Commission become the second one? Why cannot the Commission which is going to inquire into racial discrimination in all its phases—and above all as it affects land—make its report first, and then (even though it may mean a delay of 18 months or two years, which is not too long to wait in a matter of this importance) put the test of acceptability to the 453 Africans? As it is, you are asking them to pass judgment not only, as we have heard, on a highly complicated matter which it is virtually impossible for many of them (as it is for many people in this country) really to understand, but before they have the glimmering of an answer to the overridingly important question. So I hope there may be some good explanation for that. I cannot figure one out for myself, but I hope that at the end of this debate, when one of the Government spokesmen answers, we shall have some explanation. As an alternative, I suggest that there should be an immediate undertaking to repeal the Land Apportionment Act, and all restrictive and discriminatory Acts of that kind, with the clear understanding that after the Commission has reported there may be need to re-enact certain aspects of them. That would be the logical and correct way to do it, if the intention of abolishing discrimination in all its phases is a really sincere one.
The second question that I am going to put to the Government may sound a frivolous one, but I do not mean it at all frivolously. What is the point of the Pearce Commission? What is it supposed to do? What is written here in the White Paper is that it is to ascertain African opinion. What is the best way of ascertaining opinion? If one is setting out to make a new product, to develop a new style of motor-car or television, one wants to ascertain the opinion of one's future public. One does not employ for such a purpose a distinguished Member of this House, a judge. One does not employ other distinguished statesmen or professors. One employs experts in this matter. One employs Dr. Gallup or Marplan. If the job is only to find out what Africans want, surely the best way to do it is to have a public opinion poll, or a sounding of public opinion by experts who really know how to set about this. Not that they are always right. After all, it is not so very many months ago that public opinion polls were foretelling a Labour victory, and they were not right in that. So even if you get experts on this job you cannot always get the right answer. But I suggest, in all seriousness, that if the real object is to find out what it is that the African wants, the type of Commission which is being suggested today is entirely laugh 454 able, and is loading honourable, kind, decent and public-spirited people with a job which they cannot possibly perform.
TILE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, in all fairness, the noble Lord will have to concede that Mr. Harold Wilson's last proposals—I always mix up which was "Fearless" and which was "Tiger"—certainly included a Commission of this kind for this very purpose. I think it would have been fair to concede that before the criticism was delivered.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I absolutely concede what the noble and learned Lord has said, and I was one of the not inconsiderable number of persons who consistently opposed very many of the suggestions put forward, and the plans entered into, by the late Government. That is my second question.
I now turn to the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. It is unfortunate, but entirely understandable after his strenuous weeks, that he is not here at the end of the halfway point of this debate. There are many things that he said, on which noble Lords and the noble Baroness who have already spoken, have taken issue, and I shall not go over them. But it seems to me that the noble Lord approached this problem from the point of view of a negotiator. In fact, he has been described as a negotiator, and as a negotiator he did an admirable job. I am quite certain that nobody could have done a better one. But this is not a job for a negotiator. This is a job for a politician, a statesman—and that is in no way derogatory of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. As I understand it, the job of a negotiator is to come between two opposing factions and bring them as close together as he can, so that eventually there is a possibility of agreement between them. You may have employers and employees, trade unions, on opposing sides: one wants a 15 per cent. rise in wages, the other offers a 5 per cent. rise in wages. After painstaking negotiation, you get them to come together and agree on a 9¾, per cent. rise. Or you may have a large business which wants to acquire land on which to put up a factory. It is prepared to pay £10 million, but the people who are going to sell it want f15 million. After long negotiation, you get them to agree to £l2½ million.
455 That is what a negotiator does; and when he has done that he is of course absolutely right to say, in Lord Good-man's own words, "It is an act of consummate folly to reject a settlement of this sort, because I could not get you a better one." He would also be perfectly right, if I may once again quote the words which have been in dispute, to say that a member of a trade union or a member of the employers who rejected it was doing no more than "indulging in a moral gesture of pure personal self-indulgence". Those terms are absolutely justified in such circumstances. He would further be right—and again I quote the noble Lord's words—to say, "You must ask yourself the question, "Are these conditions substantially better than those which now obtain?" All those are absolutely right questions if you are negotiating as a negotiator, but not if you are negotiating as a politician and, above all, not if you are negotiating as a statesman. You have then to ask yourself entirely different questions. You have to say, not only, "Are these circumstances better than those at the present time?" but, "Are they better than they are likely to be in the future?" You must say to yourself, not only, "Will this avoid bloodshed in Rhodesia during the next few years?" hut, "Will it bring peace to the whole of Southern Africa in the decades ahead?"
You must ask yourself, further—and this is a question which the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, never touched upon at all—"What is the position, throughout the whole of Southern Africa and, above all, in Rhodesia, of those liberal-minded, peace-loving people of all races who want a settlement? What is their position, having looked upon us as their friends and their champions in their struggle for peaceful freedom and justice, as they see us now give up this fight and compromise with a Government which, by its actions as well as by its words, is manifestly a racialist one?". Those are the questions which have to be asked when one is deciding whether these negotiations are good and should be accepted, or, whether, although the best that can be obtained, they are still in the long run bad; bad for the Rhodesians—white, because it will lead to eventual strife; 456 black, because it will mean a continuance of their present serf position and an eventual conflagration which will engulf them—and bad for the whole of Southern Africa because you cannot have a struggle of this kind confined to just one country.
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord this question? If in fact there had been no negotiations in Rhodesia, how should we have been in a position to consider acceptability to Africans today—the very matter which we are debating in this House? We should have been faced with the continuance of sanctions for ever, it seems to me.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I am not saying that there should have been no negotiations. I do not know whether the noble Lord was here when we originally discussed the visit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary; but all of us, including myself, welcomed that visit, and all of us, including myself, welcomed the opening of negotiations. The decision we have to make now is not whether the negotiations should ever have taken place—of course they should have—but whether the terms which have been brought home to us are those which are not only in the short-term interests of the Africans of Rhodesia, even if they were that, but also in the longer-term interests of the whole of Southern Africa and of this country, too. Because, my Lords, let us not forget that although we are no longer the great world Power that we were in the days of Cecil Rhodes, we are still a country of influence, an influence which far exceeds our actual physical or economic or military strength, and that influence is based upon generations of public servants like the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, and others who in different ways have gone out into the colonies, into what is now the Commonwealth, and have shown to those people, and through them the rest of the world, that Britain is a country of honour and that we do not always give way to force but that we stick up for what we think is right. What is going to be the effect on those people of this action? That is a question we have to ask ourselves.
I echo what my noble friend Lady White said: we are being faced now (and we say this from time to time) with 457 a challenge in black Africa, a challenge which comes to some extent from Moscow but to a larger extent from Peking. What a gift we are giving them! I have had conversations in the past in Pretoria with Mr. Vorster, and on one occasion I remember saying to him, "The prayers I would offer every night if I were the Commissar responsible for Africa in the Kremlin, or his opposite number in Peking, to whatever gods these people pray to, are for the persistence of apartheid in South Africa and the abandonment by Great Britain of Rhodesia to the Smith régime". Possibly he prays better than we do; possibly his gods are stronger than ours—those two prayers are on the way to being answered.
But, my Lords, it is not fair to base my attack upon the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. He had a job to do and he did it brilliantly. The attack should be, and is, directed towards Her Majesty's Government, because this whole business, from its inception, alas! is redolent of the attitude of Her Majesty's Government of flouting the Commonwealth, of flouting world opinion, of considering Rhodesia solely as a problem' which exists between the colonial Power and the recalcitrant Colony.
On more than one occasion I have asked noble Lords on the Front Bench opposite at the beginning and during the course of these negotiations to be at pains to make sure that the leaders, the heads of Government in neighbouring African countries, were kept informed of what was going on in these negotiations; whether the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary himself could stop, preferably on his way out but otherwise on his way back, to explain to Presidents Kaunda and Kenyatta and others just what has happened but in the meantime, so that they could be brought into this as a Commonwealth exercise, there should be continual contact. I have seen nothing in any newspapers, heard nothing on any radio, which has told me of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary stopping off at any of these places or of his sending any of his junior Ministers. I happened to read from a tape that the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, as soon as the Secretary of State came back, went off to Washington and Canada to inform the Canadian Government and the United 458 States Government of this agreement—but not a Minister to so inform the African Governments.
That surely, my Lords, is an indication of the feeling, or lack of feeling, of the present Government of this country for Commonwealth and world opinion. This idea of mine is backed up by the fact that the Commission which is to inquire into these matters of vital importance has no member from the Commonwealth.
I do not mind what is his colour. There are distinguished jurists in the West Indies, in India and in other parts of the Commonwealth as well as in Africa. There are men of high distinction and integrity. Had we had any thought for making this a Commonwealth issue, for trying to bring them in to support what Her Majesty's Government consider to be the right solution? Surely it is only common sense to do that. If one does not want to do that, then let us go back to Marplan and Dr. Gallup and forget any form of Commission.
I now turn to the question raised by Lord Reay, a very important question, about sanctions, mandatory sanctions, and the United Nations. He asked what Her Majesty's Government proposed to do about that matter in the event of this agreement being implemented. It is completely clear what Her Majesty's Government are going to do on that—unless I read this document wrongly, in which case I hope that the noble and learned Lord will tell me so. On page 17 in paragraph 8 under the heading "Implementation", it is written that the British Governmentwill…terminate their economic and other sanctions when this legislation takes effect.They do not even consult Parliament to do that; they make no mention of Parliament—and no mention of the United Nations! They will do it! A member of the Security Council of the United Nations will take this unilateral action in defiance of mandatory resolutions of the United Nations simply by printing the words of this one sentence.
Do Her Majesty's Government realise the full implications of what they are saying here? They must realise it—yet they cannot realise it; for I do not believe Her Majesty's Government and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs would 459 in this way flaunt their contempt for the United Nations and their resolutions.
But this whole affair, these whole negotiations, the way in which they have been managed and brought to their present stage, and the way it is proposed that they should go ahead, all bear out this overriding feeling that the rest of the world has nothing to do with it: that we shall do what we like and what we consider to be best in the short-term interests of our once former Colony. Our reputation, our influence and obligations, our good standing in the rest of the world, all count for nothing. I wish only that the grandfather of the noble Duke were here in charge of these affairs at this moment and that he would say once more, as the noble Duke reminded us, that the interests of the native are paramount.
§ 12.23 a.m.
§ LORD VERNON
My Lords, I am about the thirtieth speaker tonight and I shall therefore concentrate on a few issues which I regard as significant. First, much of the debate this evening has taken place on whether the spirit of the settlement will be respected by Mr. Smith; but that really poses the question with which any Government negotiating with a Rhodesian Government is faced: that is, that the only way to enforce the spirit as well as the letter of the agreement is to have a military presence in that country. The previous Administration were faced with exactly the same problem and they still thought that it was worth negotiating with Mr. Smith. Much has also been said by noble Lords opposite about how ghastly are the conditions in Rhodesia. I yield to no one, my Lords, in my horror at the way of life that prevails in Rhodesia, and even more in South Africa. To me, the crux of the matter appears to be that under the settlement as proposed the lot of the Africans will in the immediate future be significantly improved, both educationally and politically, compared with what it would have been with the status quo maintained.
I think that noble Lords who vote for the Amendment have to be very clear about what is the alternative that they advocate. As I understand it, they advocate the continuation of sanctions and no 460 recognition of the regime. This would mean more harassment for the African at all levels, less land, less education, less political advancement and less justice. It has been argued by African nationalists and also, I think, by noble Lords opposite, that the Africans are only too willing to put up with all this. But, my Lords, why should they put up with it, especially when there is nothing to show that by their sacrifice they would bring majority rule any closer than the time in which they would get it under the settlement? That is where I disagree fundamentally with the noble Baroness, Lady Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, whose opinions I very much respect. I have always thought, and I still think, that so long as Rhodesia is supported by South Africa sanctions are bound to fail. I have made that point in a previous debate in your Lordships' House. I think Rhodesia always will be so supported. The ties between them arc not just English ties; there is a very strong Afrikaner link between the two countries and in the last resort I am sure that South Africa will never let the white Rhodesians down. Of course sanctions are a considerable irritant, but I do not think they will ever bring the Rhodesian Government to their knees.
That brings me to my next point. In a sense, I think the whole of this exercise, with the elaborate paraphernalia by which Africans first reach parity and then ultimate majority rule, is academic, because I do not think it will work out like that. The future of Rhodesia is essentially bound up with that of South Africa. To me it is inconceivable, as I think it was to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, that there will not be major political changes in the Republic before the turn of the century. When those changes come they will have their effect on Rhodesia. History, my Lords, does not stand still, and you cannot keep 50 million proud people, African and coloured, in a Republic in a permanent state of subjection. That is why I believe that what happens in Rhodesia during the next ten years is so important. I also believe that under this settlement, whatever its weaknesses—there are weaknesses; I particularly dislike what has been agreed under the Fourth Principle regarding progress towards ending racial discrimination—the African people will 461 have better opportunities during what I regard as an interim period than they would have if sanctions were continued.
When we can dispose of the Rhodesian issue, on which we have spent so much time in the last few years in your Lordships House, I hope that we shall be able to give more attention to what is happening in South Africa. We may have no legal responsibility for the Republic, but in view of our history we have a large moral responsibility, and that is where the root of the cancer lies. Until we have eradicated that, I do not feel that we are getting very far in eradicating it in Rhodesia.
In conclusion, I wish to support what was said earlier by the noble Lord, Lord Gore-Booth. In Rhodesia we are dealing with a people who have stated publicly that they do not believe in the Five Principles or in majority rule. I accept what the noble Earl the Leader of the House said earlier, that Mr. Smith personally could he reasonably expected to fulfil at least the letter of the obligation that he had entered into under the settlement. But what happens if Mr. Smith is replaced by a more Right-Winn,. Government, which repudiates the settlement? There have already been indications that this is possible, perhaps in the middle of next year. This was referred to at the week-end by the former Federal Chief Justice. We are entitled to know what is the attitude of Her Majesty's Government in that event. Unless we can have the assurance of a positive response by the Government to such a repudiation, I, for one, can regard the settlement only as a sham and I shall be unable to vote for the Motion. I hope very much that the noble Marquess or the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, when he speaks to-morrow, will be able to give us that assurance. Subject to that assurance, I wish to support the Motion.
§ 12.33 a.m.
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, as the last speaker this evening and before the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, speaks to the adjournment of the debate until tomorrow, I would respectfully draw your Lordships' attention to the fact that the average length of speeches has been something like 30 minutes for each noble Lord, with one of 50 minutes. Some who 462 have spoken earlier to-day are not now present in your Lordships' House. This hardly seems courteous to those noble Lords who speak late in the debate, though I do not apply that criticism to myself, because I do not consider that I have anything of particular importance to say. Nevertheless, I do not think it is in keeping with the dignity and traditions of your Lordships' House.
I have my eye on the clock and I do not wish at this stage to comment at any length on some of the speeches made this afternoon. I respect the views of noble Lords who may disagree with the views I hold. But to me the issue is now absolutely stark clear. Here I go along the road the Government have now planned. Either we seek the acceptability of African opinion on this conditional agreement and succeed in this or we fail. If we fail, the eventual result in the future is rivers of blood, European and African alike. There is no going back at this junction in our consideration of this problem. To me, it is deadly serious. In all humility, I can talk with some experience of this: Changi Prison, and a few years later the blood-letting of Europeans and natives in Malaya; the breakdown of law and order and terrorism. That, to me, is the issue which faces us this evening.
I thought it particularly depressing to listen to the speech of the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Durham. It is no good whatever if we think of Mr. Smith in such terms as a man with whom we can do no deal and cannot trust in any of our deliberations with him. I was sorry for the noble Lord, Lord Alport. His mission in Africa seemed to be one of failure, though I could not really attribute that fact to any particular failure on the part of the noble Lord himself. With regard to the interim period in which we have to consider this conditional Agreement, it is obvious that the Commission will take some time for this opinion to be sought and to find whether it is acceptable to African opinion or otherwise. Ideally, it is most desirable that the Commission, in its task of seeking out the truth, either for these terms or against them, should operate in an atmosphere completely free from hysteria, rancour and emotionalism, simply because issues affecting race are emotive in context.
463 Perhaps I can give two examples in the last week or so where emotionalism on racial issues has been displayed in the Press, even to the extent that stories have appeared before the actual terms which were negotiated with Mr. Smith were known in this country. On the morning of November 16, the Daily Telegraph published a statement purporting to have been made by Mr. Humphry Berkeley of the Africa Bureau, which read as follows:It was sad that Sir Alec had started his career with a shameful surrender at Munich, and concluded it with a shameful surrender at Salisbury.Is it not disgraceful and emotive to use such words when the conditional agreement that was brought back from Salisbury was not known in this country at the time, and could not possibly have been known to Mr. Humphry Berkeley. On the morning of November 16, when that statement was published in the Daily Telegraph, the terms were not even known to Parliament. It was only on the afternoon of that day that the statement was published by the Government, and comment was made in the Press that very evening.
An incident similar to that in date, time and publication, is attributable also in the case of Mr. Peter Hain, who, again before he could ever have seen the terms, said:I hope to be able to generate a militant campaign up and down this country that will make the operation at Suez look like a Sunday afternoon outing.How on earth can all this be helpful to the Commission about to visit Salisbury? How can it possibly be conducive to a temperate and equable atmosphere in which the talks must be conducted if they are to succeed? But Messrs. Berkeley and Hain are in good company, for Mr. Malik, Russia's representative at the United Nations, derided the British-Rhodesian agreement also: and if Russia does not want an agreement to succeed, one can be sure that the agreement is not in the interests of Russia's imperial policy in Africa.
Apart from irresponsible statements and comments, which can always inflame the position, there is another matter which has always tormented me about the Rhodesia situation. We could have used force against Rhodesia, but I believe that 464 had we done so we should eventually have had a racial war that would have set the Continent of Africa alight from one end to the other; and, left with sanctions, in the long term this would hit the African more than the white Rhodesian. This seems to have happened.
The information I have received since these terms were announced in Rhodesia, from letters which I have received, is that there is far more widespread unemployment amongst the coloured Africans than was previously known. Really what worries the ordinary Africans who are natives of that country is the security of jobs rather than policies. They want to know what is going to happen in their future; they want to know whether they can seek employment and get some security of employment, and so on. It is important, therefore, that nothing should be said or done that would detract from the possibility of an agreement that would see the lifting of sanctions to help the Africans in the dire circumstances in which they have obviously been placed by the sanctions imposed on that country.
As regards the agreement, I am convinced that considerable concessions have been made by Mr. Smith. Other noble Lords have touched on this matter and at this late hour I will not comment on it further. As regards the Rhodesian Front, and apart from some of its racial policies which in the past I have disliked, I have always tried to be objective and fair in the balance. When white minorities settle in a country such as Rhodesia they make their homes there, often their children are educated there. Everything they possess is there, and they have nowhere else to go. Who can doubt the justification of their fears at the time when after U. D. I. a civil war broke out in Nigeria? We are not without blemish at a period of time when we have decided that a particular culture was ready at a particular moment for self-government. It has not always been a happy moment.
My Lords, I have really no more to say. I am so much in agreement with the powerful speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Goodman (in the views he expressed he is so much on all-fours with my own overseas experience) that tonight I am thankful that we have had the 465 benefit of the noble Lord to advise us in these matters. In conclusion, the issue to me is clear. This conditional agreement, subject to the acceptability of African and white opinion in Rhodesia, is the last chance to avoid future apartheid or an eventual racial war with all its attendant horrors. I gladly support the Motion standing in the name of my noble friend the Lord Privy Seal and I will support him with my vote in the Government Lobby tomorrow.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDERSECRETARY OF STATE, FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE (THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN)
My Lords, I beg to move that this debate be now adjourned until tomorrow.
§ Moved, That the debate be adjourned until tomorrow.—(The Marquess of Lothian.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to, and debate adjourned accordingly.