§ 2.52 p.m.
§ THE MARQUESS OF LOTHIAN
My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend the Lord Privy Seal, I beg to move that the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 (Continuation) Order 1971, a draft of which was laid before the House on October 18, be approved. I shall be quite brief in moving this Motion. The purpose of the Order is to continue in force Section 2 of the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965. This Act provided powers to take whatever measures were necessary to deal with the situation in Southern Rhodesia following the unilateral declaration of independence. The principal measures instituted have of course been sanctions.
My noble friend announced to the House yesterday that the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary was proposing to leave for Salisbury on November 14 to hold discussions with Mr. Smith, to see whether the outstanding questions can 383 be resolved and whether an agreement in accordance with the Five Principles can be reached.
The original gap between the two sides has been considerably narrowed, but there are still major points of difference which our emissaries have been unable to reconcile. The House will, I feel sure, understand that the need to preserve the confidential nature of the negotiations precludes me from giving any detail at this stage. I think we should await my right honourable friend's report on his return from Salisbury.
I feel that the House will in general want to wish him the best of good fortune on this very delicate and difficult mission. But it would be dangerous to take for granted at this stage that an agreement will be possible. Even if it was reached, its terms would then have to be carefully explained to the people of Rhodesia as a whole, so that Her Majesty's Government could ascertain whether they were generally acceptable to those who would be affected by them. This assessment of opinion must be carried out thoroughly and fairly, and would inevitably take some time. If Her Majesty's Government are satisfied that the terms are acceptable, the Rhodesians will then take the necessary legislative action to implement the agreement. Her Majesty's Government would then commend to Parliament an Act to grant Rhodesia independence. At this point sanctions would cease to be necessary.
But in the meantime, sanctions must be maintained. We have always said that negotiations, if they took place, would be entered into by both sides from the positions they held at the time. The measures taken under the legislation we are now asking the House to continue have certainly contributed to the progress which has been achieved. To abandon them on the very eve of the culminating negotiation would, we believe, seriously prejudice the prospects of an acceptable agreement.
A crucial stage in the troubled course of events of the last decade concerning Rhodesia has, I feel sure the House will agree, now been reached. A successful outcome would mark a turning point for all Rhodesians, especially the Africans who for too long now have suffered from political, social and economic stagnation. A source of tension in southern Africa 384 would disappear and Rhodesia would be set on a new course providing a better future for all its peoples whatever their race, colour or religion. My Lords, I beg to move.
Moved, That the draft Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 (Continuation) Order 1971, laid before the House on October 18, 1971, be approved.—(The Marquessof Lothian.)
§ 2.56 p.m.
§ LORD GARDINER
My Lords, I agree with the Motion before the House, and I welcome the proposed visit by the right honourable gentleman the Foreign Secretary to Salisbury. Having said that. I propose to add very little. I am conscious of the fact that what I have said will not necessarily commend itself to all of my noble friends sitting behind me. It is also possible that what the noble Marquess has said will not necessarily find the agreement of all those sitting behind him. But to any of my noble friends who may feel that we are on the way to what I think they would describe as a "sell-out" of the five million Africans for whom we are trustees in Rhodesia, I would say that I understand their fears. One appreciates, for the reasons given in the leading article in The Timesto-day, how unlikely it seems that any agreement can be arrived at based on principles all of which the Rhodesian regime strongly disagree with. I can also understand that my noble friends' fears may not have been quieted by reading the report in The Times,that so experienced a Rhodesian politician as Sir Roy Welensky has said that, knowing the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister,I do not believe Sir Alec is coming out here unless the chances are almost certain that there is going to be a settlement.But while understanding those fears. all I can say is that 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.
385 The only other point with which I should like to deal is this. It has also been said that the Foreign Secretary ought not to be going to Salisbury; that he ought to have invited Mr. Smith to come here, or had a meeting with him in some neutral place. I quite agree that there may be circumstances, as indeed on two occasions we ourselves found, when it is helpful to meet at some place which is quite removed from any interference. On the other hand, both the then Commonwealth Secretary and I, and later the then Prime Minister and the Attorney General, went to Salisbury and I think it was of great benefit that we went there. It was, after all, only by going there that we could discuss this common problem, not only with the illegal regime but with ordinary European and African Members of Parliament; with European and African business men; with European and African clergy; with representatives of European trade unions and representatives of African trade unions; with the Council of Chiefs and with the leaders of the African political Parties who were then, and still now are, in restriction camps: and, in addition, sit round the fireside with ordinary African tobacco farmers in their own households, where we were courteously received, and discuss matters with them. Those are part of the advantages, I think, of going to Salisbury, because however much you may study the history of Rhodesia and the contents of all the White Papers and Blue Books, I cannot think it is not advantageous to whoever is conducting the negotiations on behalf of this country that he should personally exchange information with people in all walks of life, both European and African, there.
My Lords, the only questions I should like to ask the noble Marquess are these. First, I am a little concerned to see that for this part of his visit he has apparently reserved only two days, and I should have thought that two days is an inadequate time to discuss these problems with many different kinds of people there. You never know; you may find yourself most surprised by your discussions with African business men, or it may be another group. Secondly, the Foreign Secretary has not, I think, yet said whether he will or whether he will not discuss matters with the leaders of the main African political Parties or their 386 representatives. I suppose it is a sign of old age if you find time flying particularly fast, but I was surprised to realise this morning that it is just on seven years since I saw Mr. Nkomo and colleagues of his, and representatives of Mr. Sithole's Party; and it is over six years since the last Prime Minister saw him. I do not know, but the noble Marquess may be able to tell me, whether anyone from the United Kingdom has seen Mr. Nkomo for six years. Do we know whether he has changed his mind? He had then, I think, been in a restriction camp for some time, so he has now been in restriction for seven, eight or nine years. Whether Mr. Smith proposes to keep him in detention without trial for the rest of his natural life merely because he was a leader of an African Party, I do not know. But, speaking for myself, I should very much regret it if the Foreign Secretary, after taking the trouble to go to Salisbury, came back without seeing those who are, I believe, still the leaders of the main African political Parties, particularly when, as I have said, if there has been no contact with Mr. Nkomo over six years, we do not know how far he has changed his mind.
My Lords, 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.
§ 3.4 p.m.
§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, I certainly do not oppose the Motion, and I agree with what the noble and learned Lord has said, but I feel that we are in danger of suffering from an "Emperor's new clothes" syndrome in imagining that any settlement with Mr. Smith is possible within the framework of the Five Principles, and I would certainly echo the fears which have been expressed by the noble and learned Lord about the article in The Timesthis morning, where it was said that the Foreign Secretary would not be going unless he was reasonably certain of a settlement. How naive can you get? We know perfectly well that Mr. Smith is not prepared to budge an inch, either 387 on the first or on the fourth of the Principles which the Foreign Secretary himself laid down prior to 1964: unimpeded progress towards majority rule and the ending of racial discrimination. In fact, since Mr. Smith declared U.D.I. there has been an intensification of racial discrimination and a tightening of the screws which prevent progress towards majority rule. Although I have no objection to this visit's taking place at this stage, I feel it would be extremely naïve for anybody in this country to imagine that there is any likelihood of a successful outcome. One must draw the conclusion, if I may say so quite bluntly, that this visit by the Foreign Secretary is intended as "window dressing" to prevent the Tory Right Wing from opposing the renewal of the sanctions Orders in either House to-day. I am sorry if I draw attention to facts which are unpalatable, but I think it is important that somebody should say this in the debate to-day.
I would violently oppose any settlement which is not in accordance with the Five Principles. I do not think that any such settlement could possibly be in the Foreign Secretary's mind, because I agree with the noble and learned Lord who has just spoken that Sir Alec Douglas-Home is a man of the highest integrity. We may have criticised his judgment in the past, as I believe my right honourable friend the Leader of the Liberal Party did in another place yesterday, but we have certainly never cast any aspersions on his integrity; and it is unthinkable that at this stage in his career, when perhaps he may be about to retire, he would sacrifice his reputation for the sake of reaching an immoral settlement with a racialist regime which he himself was the first to criticise and in respect of which he laid down the Five Principles to which we adhere to-day.
The problem is that British politicians have little experience of the thinking of African leaders, and in particular the leaders in African countries where the whites still have a majority. I believe it is true to say that the noble Marquess had never set foot in the Continent of Africa until he took up his present position. No blame attaches to him for that, but it does mean that he must be extremely careful in dealing with people like Mr. Smith, who have shown over a 388 period of years that they are devious and unscrupulous in the way they try to exploit the divisions of opinion which they may think will appear in the fabric of political thought in this country. Mr. Smith has demonstrated that by tearing up the Constitution of 1961, written by Mr. Duncan Sandys and endorsed by the Conservative Party at the time. He has demonstrated it by the wriggling which took place in the various discussions—and I do not want to go through the "Tiger" and "Fearless" talks, and so on. I believe that his present apparent willingness to talk and possibly to arrive at compromises is only another step in the tortuous game that he has played over many years to try to prevent world opinion from being expressed in forms which will be likely to bring down the regime there.
The noble and learned Lord mentioned the continued detention without trial of African leaders, and I was delighted to see from the Secretary of State's remarks in another place yesterday that he was intending to discuss the present situation with them during his visit. I think it is vitally important that he should do so, and that any tests of African opinion, as the Foreign Secretary said many years ago, should not be dependent on those whom Mr. Smith chooses to nominate, and in particular the Indaba, which he has referred to as being totally unrepresentative of African opinion.
We must consider what is going to happen if, as a result of this visit, no further progress is made towards a settlement. There is very little for us to go on in the statements which have been made by the Government. Although they claim that some progress has been made, we are completely in the dark; and I accept what the noble Marquess has said, that perhaps it is better for these negotiations to proceed in confidence until the Foreign Secretary has had an opportuity to sound Mr. Smith direct. At the same time, I think it is important that we should not be presented with a fait accompli which we in this country are asked to accept and to apply some test of African opinion which is less than satisfactory to the people of the region themselves. Whatever we may think in this House and in another place, ultimately the granting of Independence to Rhodesia on some basis 389 other than majority rule must surely be dependent on the most cast-iron guarantees; and, as we say in the Five Principles, there must be no possibility of retrogressive amendment to the Constitution. It is very difficult to see how this can be accomplished without a British military presence in Rhodesia. Such a presence would not in any way be an inhibiting factor on their independence. The Americans, for instance, have a military base in Cuba although they do not even recognise the country. We have a base in Cyprus; and Cyprus is a fully independent country. As my right honourable friend the Leader of the Liberal Party said in the other place, it is no good our accepting verbal undertakings from Mr. Smith, because we know from previous experience that he is totally dishonest—
§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, I repeat that Mr. Smith is totally dishonest. He back-tracks on every undertaking he gives. We see this in the documentation before us. I will not bore noble Lords by reading out great chunks of the discussions that took place on "Tiger" and "Fearless". The correspondence goes back to 1963 with Mr. Duncan Sandys—
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord this question? If we cannot negotiate with Mr. Smith, with whom are we to negotiate? Does not the noble Lord think that by the tenor of his speech he is raising the temperature when, in these circumstances, all that we should do is to wish the Foreign Secretary the best of good luck in the difficult negotiations that face him?
§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, I am trying to strengthen the Foreign Secretary in the discussions he is about to have with Mr. Smith. I certainly wish him the best of luck. I am only giving the warning that perhaps he ought to be careful about any verbal undertakings that Mr. Smith may give in Salisbury. I am saying that I think he should attempt to reinforce these verbal undertakings by some mechanism which will be acceptable to the United Kingdom—perhaps to reinforce those verbal undertakings with some kind of physical presence in the country. That is one alternative. There 390 may be others about which the Foreign Secretary himself is thinking. I am merely saying—and I hope that the noble Lord will agree with me—that over a period of eight years we have come to realise that Mr. Smith's word is not worth the paper it is written on, and that whatever undertakings are given to the Foreign Secretary during the course of his visit they must certainly be reinforced by some kind of physical guarantees which are acceptable not only to the people of Rhodesia but to both Houses of Parliament in this country.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, will the noble Lord give way? With regard to those feelings towards Mr. Smith, would he not agree that they would have been equally applicable to the Russians with whom we conducted negotiations with regard to their treaties before the last war?
§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, I realise that there are not the same Rules of Order in this House as in another place, but I think it would be improper for me to enter upon a reply to the question addressed to me by the noble Lord. I should be delighted to do so on some other occasion, but we are now talking about the renewal of sanctions Orders and of the situation in Rhodesia. What is happening in the Soviet Union or in her satellites is a matter that we can discuss on another occasion.
May I say, in conclusion, how delighted I am that the Foreign Secretary reiterates the insistence of this country on full implementation of the Five Principles in any settlement that may be achieved. I am quite certain that none of us would argue that this is fundamental to the discussions which are to take place in Salisbury. The only dispute which might occur is whether or not Mr. Smith and his henchmen are likely to arrive at any agreement with us which is consistent with the Five Principles and with the interpretation put upon them by the Home Secretary, by Mr. Duncan Sandys, by Mr. Wilson and by every single Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary who has had responsibility for the affairs of this country in the past. I personally do not think that such a settlement is possible. I am prepared to accept that this attempt should be made, but I think that the Government ought to be considering, 391 before the visit takes place, what further steps they are going to take to bring the Rhodesian regime to heel if this final attempt should fail.
§ 3.16 p.m.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, for the first time in these debates I find myself in accord with the tone, at any rate, of the speech of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner; and I hope that he will not regard that as too great an insult. I find myself, too, in accord with the speech of my noble friend Lord Lothian. I cannot say very much for the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, to which we have just listened. I do not think that there is much point in wasting much time on that speech. Everybody heard it; everybody can make his own judgment of it, and I imagine that those judgments will be pretty low.
But I think one can say of all those three speeches that they suffer from one defect: that any one of them might have been made six years ago. The speakers, it seemed to me, spoke as though nothing at all had happened in the last six years. Have we not to face the fact that the policy of the last six years, a policy which we are reinforcing if we pass this Order, has been a failure on every count? Everything that economic sanctions were supposed to do they failed to do. Of every result that they were expected to achieve, they have in fact achieved the opposite. It was the purpose of sanctions to weaken the Rhodesian economy: they have not weakened it; they have strengthened it. It is true that as a result of sanctions, as a result of the policies of successive Governments here, there is a shortage of capital for investment in Rhodesia. But how happy the Chancellor of the Exchequer here would feel if that were his problem in this country! By comparison with the economy of this country, the Rhodesian economy is booming and thriving. That is due very largely to the operation of economic sanctions—or, rather, to the fact that they have been enforced by one country, this country, and disregarded by, I think, every other country in the world.
We were told six years ago that the rigorous application of economic sanctions would strengthen the hand of the liberal elements in Rhodesia, weaken the Rhodesian Front and produce an alto- 392 gether more liberal atmosphere. In fact, exactly the opposite has occurred. With every year that has passed the Liberals in Rhodesia have been driven further and further underground, or have been driven further and further to support Mr. Smith and his Government. We have to-day—not as a result of anything Mr. Smith has done, but as a result of the policy of the Government of this country—a Government in Rhodesia far more to the Right, far more veering towards the South African model, than we had six years ago at the time of U.D.I. We were told that unless we pursued this policy of economic sanctions, South Africa and Central Africa would be in an uproar. As a result of this policy the States in Southern and Central Africa now believe that we have betrayed them. We have continued to irritate and keep in being a festering sore which, if we had not insisted on this, as I think, insane policy of sanctions, would have been healed years ago; and by now we should have seen the whole of Africa working together for the good of the African and the white man together.
One of the things that we have to realise, and that I think the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, has to realise, is that conditions have changed. When my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary goes there with the good wishes of us all —even, I gather, with the good wishes of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury—he will no longer be a Minister going out to deal with a rebellious Colony; he will be going out to deal with an independent State. That is a fact, whatever our views may have been six years ago. To-day, Rhodesia, de factoand by any precedent in international law, until we dragged the United Nations into it, as I think quite illegally, is now an independent State.
§ LORD AVEBURY
My Lords, as the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, has done me the honour of referring to one or two of the things that I said, may I ask whether he would agree that the main hallmark of an independent State is recognition by other States; and would he remind the House which States have recognised the so-called independent republic of Rhodesia?
§ LORD COLERAINE
No, my Lords, I certainly would not agree that the hallmark of an independent State is recognition by other States. I would say that 393 the hallmark of an independent State is that it is the only effective Government in the area which it controls; and that is certainly true of Rhodesia. As I was saying, we are no longer dealing with a rebellious Colony, we are dealing with an independent State; and if we do not like our position I am afraid that we have only ourselves to blame for it. How prescient was my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary six years ago when he warned the Prime Minister of the day of the consequences of his policy! On December 21, 1965, in another place Sir Alec Douglas Home said:…it seemed to very many hon. Members … that to make the lives of Europeans and African, friend and foe of Mr. Smith alike, intolerable was a policy likely to harden Rhodesians' support for Mr. Smith and to place the nation under siege. When a nation is under siege, it rallies to its elected leaders whether it likes them or not. Certainly it would be a poor prelude to conciliation."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, 21.12.65; col. 1990.]My Lords, if that was true six years ago, why is it not true now? What has changed in the last six years? How is the continuance of this economic pressure a helpful prelude to negotiation? Should we not have been much wiser to abandon this policy and create an atmosphere of trust and respect and to rely on the bona fidesof Mr. Smith and his Government?
The noble Lord, Lord Avebury, says that he has no confidence whatever in Mr. Smith. I can give him one reason for confidence. If Mr. Smith had been the kind of man that the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, assumes him to be, he could have signed anything he liked, knowing that he would get his independence, and that at some time in the indefinite future some other Government in Rhodesia, or here, would allow Rhodesia to slip out from the undertakings he had given. The fact that Mr. Smith has steadfastly refused to sign any agreement is, to me, an indication of his honesty and not of his dishonesty.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, do I understand from what the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, says that he might even welcome some solution which is not necessarily based on the Five Principles?
§ LORD COLERAINE
No, my Lords, I have not said anything of the sort; but I 394 am about to say so. I must say that I do not understand this insistence on the sacrosanctity of the Five Principles. Where do these Five Principles come from?
§ LORD COLERAINE
Are we to believe that Sir Alec ascended Mount Sinai and received these Principles on tablets of stone from the hand of Jahveh? Is it not much more likely that he received them from some official in the Commonwealth Relations Office—perhaps that same genius who put into the mouth of the former Prime Minister the unforgettable and unforgotten phrase about "weeks, rather than months"?
I would say this, in particular, to the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn: there is a real danger in basing the foreign policy of a country upon moral principles, because it is very difficult to define them. People's views of what they are differ. The only safe base for a country's foreign policy is the interests of the people of the country concerned. The present Government were not elected to enforce moral principles of this kind; they were elected for quite different reasons. If we can get a settlement which is fair to the African, which is fair to the white Rhodesian and which contributes to the peace and progress of Central and Southern Africa, that seems to me the important thing, not whether it conforms with any abstract principles.
What is our responsibility to the African? One would judge, from listening to the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, and I have no doubt others, that our only responsibility was to see that he had majority rule. That was a point of view which might reasonably have been taken six years ago, or ten years ago, when we were in the midst of the euphoria of divesting ourselves of our responsibility towards black Africans in the rest of Africa. I do not see how any reasonable man can take that view to-day. I do not know whether the noble Lord, Lord Gladwyn, can cite any African State where the principle of majority rule has resulted in anything but a dictatorship. Are we really discharging our responsibilities to the black African in Rhodesia 395 if we enforce upon him unimpeded progress to majority rule, which ends invariably in one man, one vote; one election and one candidate. That is what has happened all over the rest of Africa, and there is no reason whatever to suppose that it will not happen here.
§ LORD GLADWYN
My Lords, if I may again interrupt the noble Lord, may I say that it is quite evident that his policy is not the policy of Her Majesty's Government.
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, I never said that it was. And if the policy of Her Majesty's respective Governments had been my policy, we should not be in the mess that we are in to-day. I do not have much more hope than the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, that we shall get a settlement from this visit. All I know is that if straightforwardness, honesty of purpose and trust can get a settlement, then my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary is the best person to get it. But, as I say, I do not believe that we shall get a settlement.
What will happen if we do not get a settlement? I notice that the noble Lord, Lord Alport, is to speak later in the debate. In common, I suppose, with some hundreds of thousands of my fellow citizens, I listened to his comments on the radio last night. He took the view that the failure of the mission, which he anticipated, would mean a continuing twilight over Africa for many years; and he advanced the extraordinary theory that by some means it would be possible to have selective sanctions whereby people of whom you approved in Southern Rhodesia could buy what they wanted, and people of whom you disapproved would be deprived of those things: the "goodies" would have Mercedes, and the "baddies" would have to put up with mopeds, or even with their own two feet. I hope that the noble Lord will develop this theme when he comes to speak. I have no great hope of the mission. I do not believe in this mystic virtue of the Five Principles. 1 believe that the policy which we have followed for six years, and which we are now invited to endorse again to-day, has been fatal, and will continue to be disastrous until it is changed. But, for my own part, I should not wish to embarrass the Foreign Secretary. I shall 396 not challenge a Division on this Motion, and if a Division is challenged, I shall not take part in it. I can only hope that the misgivings which I have expressed will prove to be unfounded and that the Foreign Secretary will come back with a solution that is acceptable to us all.
§ 3.35 p.m.
§ LORD GARNER
My Lords, it is always a pleasure to me to follow the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, particularly as I had the honour of following him in a totally different capacity yesterday. I fear that I cannot go all the way with him in the various things he said, and I was a little embarrassed at one stage by some of his references, since I suppose I personally was a reasonably responsible official in the Commonwealth Relations Office at precisely the time of the two occasions that he mentioned. However, I refuse to be drawn on that. 1 intend to be quite brief, because it seems to me difficult at this stage to see how there is anything one can say that would help towards a solution of the really tragic and intractable unfinished business in Rhodesia.
I would only say on the Order that I do not believe anyone likes sanctions for themselves, or could be other than deeply concerned, whatever they do: either they bite deeply and therefore cause considerable distress to people, or they do not, in which case they are regarded as ineffective. Nevertheless, we are under an obligation to the United Nations—an obligation which was imposed at the request of the British Government. And I certainly take the view, which I think the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, mentioned, that the very existence of the exploratory talks shows that sanctions have at least had some effect in inducing a number of the Europeans to think more seriously of making concessions in order to get a settlement with Britain. In any case, it is obviously a sound principle not to throw away your ace of trumps the moment before you sit down at the card table. Therefore I see no problem at this stage in approving the present Order.
For the rest, clearly one wants to suspend judgment and not to say anything controversial while the mission of the Foreign Secretary is pending. I would only say on that, quite briefly, that I think there is no question that Her 397 Majesty's Government are entirely justified in arranging a visit of this kind to see whether a settlement is possible. I would go even further and agree strongly with the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, that it is a positive advantage for British Ministers, none of whom, I think, has now been in Rhodesia for some years, to get reacquainted with the territory and to make contact with opinion of all kinds; because, after all, whatever the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, may say, de facto Rhodesia remains constitutionally and legally the responsibility of this Parliament, and we have been very much out of direct touch for too long.
I would agree, also, with all previous speakers, I think, in saying that for a delicate task of this kind no one commands such universal respect for his integrity and sense of honour as the Foreign Secretary. But even if he feels that a settlement which is reconcilable to the Five Principles is possible, and achieves this, several further rocks still lie ahead. It seems to me that to get the acceptance of the people in Rhodesia as a whole will certainly be a formidable task. I should have thought that one would apprehend great difficulties in securing the agreement of Black Africa, of the Commonwealth as a whole, of the United Nations—particularly in relation to the Security Council resolution—if not, indeed, of opinion in this country. It is clear from what the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, said that the Government are well aware of this and do not underrate the difficulties.
Therefore I hope with all my heart that it may be possible to reach a settlement to end this utterly tragic business that has gone on for so long. But I do not think it would be honest of me if I were to say that I had any strong hope that agreement will be possible. I say that, not because I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Avebury; I do not: it is not because I regard Mr. Smith and his regime necessarily as untrustworthy. It is really more basic than that. It was expressed quite eloquently in a letter by Mr. Todd which appears in The Timesto-day, in which he says:In the 1971 White Rhodesia context no settlement tragically could be honourable.398 It is basically, I fear, for the reason that Mr. Smith and his colleagues are just on a different wavelength from ourselves and have not begun to understand the problem in the sort of way that most of the rest of the world look at it. Having expressed those doubts, as I was in conscience bound to do, I conclude with good wishes and very earnest hopes for the success of the Foreign Secretary's mission.
§ 3.41 p.m.
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, I am sure that all of us will have listened with great appreciation to the speech which has just been delivered by the noble Lord, Lord Garner, particularly in view of his distinguished and long service in the Civil Service. I am very much tempted to begin my speech with a reply to the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, but I would say both to the noble Lord, Lord Garner, and to the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, that I shall be making many references to what they have said.
The House is now being asked to extend an Order applying sanctions to Rhodesia. Quite inevitably, if we have to decide correctly about sanctions we must have in mind the broader issues that are related to Rhodesia, and particularly the fact that Sir Alec Douglas-Home is going shortly to Salisbury to negotiate with Mr. Ian Smith. I am not going to suggest that the purpose of this visit is to secure unanimity in the Conservative Party, both in another place and in your Lordships' House, but I should like to congratulate the Government upon their timing of the announcement, which seems to have had that effect both in another place and in this House.
It has been suggested that to-day we should give only a formal endorsement of the extension of sanctions, without expressing views on wider issues. My Lords, I cannot take that advice. I believe the fact that the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs is now going to Rhodesia makes it more, rather than less, necessary for views to be expressed. It is very important at this moment that both Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Mr. Ian Smith should be aware of the reservations which many of us hold regarding this visit.
Sir Alec himself was the author of the Five Principles in 1964. They are well 399 known to all of us and I need not repeat them verbatim, though I shall be referring to three of them in the course of my remarks. The Labour Government added a Sixth Principle, which I think will be accepted by us all. It was againstoppression of majority by minority or of minority by majority.First, I think it has to be clear to us that Mr. Smith has rejected the Five Principles in toto. Indeed, on November 11, 1965 (exactly 11 years ago to-morrow), he gave his opposition to the Five Principles as a major reason for introducing U.D.I. But he has not only rejected the Five Principles as a whole; he has rejected one after another in detail.
The first insisted thatthe principle and intention of unimpeded progress towards majority rule"——I leave out some irrelevant words—would have to be maintained and guaranteed.Mr. Ian Smith has repudiated that view. Introducing his illegal Constitution in 1969, he said that it was:To sound the death knell of the principle of majority rule.At other times he has said that the majority of Africans would not in his lifetime reach a civilised level justifying votes, and on one occasion he even said this level would not be reached for a hundred years.
There is a suggestion that agreement might now be reached by Britain making grants for African education so that after a considerable period there would be a civilised African majority. I want to challenge the whole conception—the conception that what is termed a "civilised status" should be the basis of citizenship. A democratic State must reflect in its legislature all sections of the community, and particularly the underprivileged section. They know the injustices from which they suffer and do not need to be even formally literate to be able to choose representatives to express their grievances. A State which excludes the poorest from citizenship is an unbalanced society; it means rule by the privileged.
Britain has established universal suffrage even in apartheid-dominated Southern Africa, in Lesotho, in Botswana and in Swaziland. We have established it in the near neighbour States of Rhodesia, in Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania 400 and Kenya. On what grounds can it be denied in Rhodesia itself? I want also to sound a warning against the acceptance of the Chiefs as the voices of the African tribes. They are the salaried servants of the Government, and while a few show independence most are impeded by their official administrative status. So much for the first principle, the advance to majority rule.
I wish to turn now to the Fourth Principle:There would have to be progress towards ending racial discrimination.I think even Lord Coleraine would agree that racial discrimination in Rhodesia is now becoming stronger rather than decreasing. The noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, said yesterday that Mr. Ian Smith had agreed to suspend the eviction of Africans from the Anglican and Catholic Mission lands during negotiations. They number 3,500 in the case of the Anglican Church, and 1,000 in the case of the Catholic Church. This is not a decision of principle, not a change of attitude. There is no suggestion of maintaining the Africans in their homelands if negotiations fail; there is no guarantee even if the negotiations succeed. They have been treated merely as a counter in the bargaining between Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Mr. Ian Smith. This shocks me. It is not only a matter of the eviction of Africans from these mission lands. Mr. Ian Smith has now restricted the number of Africans who can attend church services in the presence of Europeans. This week the Catholic Church decided to end co-operation with the Administration in Rhodesia on this issue, and to close its schools rather than accept a racial discrimination which it regards as contrary to its Christian faith. These instances are two of many. There was the disgraceful dispersal of Cold Comfort Farm and the exiling of Clutton Brock because of its multiracial community. There was the cruel eviction of the Tangwena tribe from their ancestral land; those Africans are still in the hills. There is the eight years' detention without trial of the African leaders who are held only because they are the leaders of the two largest African Parties.
If our Foreign Secretary is to succeed in negotiations on the Fourth Principle to end discrimination, three major changes will have to be made in 401 Rhodesia. The 1969 Constitution will have to be withdrawn. The Land Apportion Act, which divides the country equally between 235,000 whites and 5,250,000 blacks, of whom 80 per cent. depend on the land for subsistence livelihood, must go. The Land Tenure Act, which applies the South African apartheid system of the exclusion of blacks from European areas, must be cancelled. Unless all this is done, the Fourth Principle becomes a sham.
I want to refer also to the Fifth Principle which says that the Government…would need to be satisfied that any basis for independence was acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole".I appreciate that Sir Alec is to spend three days visiting white and black representatives, and that it is also his desire to visit detainees. When I raised this point in this House yesterday, the answer from the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, was that it was uncertain whether Sir Alec would be able to meet all the leaders. I would particularly ask whether the Foreign Secretary is to meet the Rev. Mr. Sithole, who is the leader of one of the two African Parties. My expectation is that permission will not be given because he is under a formal criminal charge. I welcome the fact that there is to be a period after the signing of any agreement so that both the white and black population in Rhodesia can judge whether any agreement should be accepted. It is going to be difficult to find a means by which the opinion of the whole people can be judged. I should like to make the suggestion that we should ask a Commonwealth Commission, which should include a British representative, perhaps a representative from the Dominions, with representatives of African States, to make an investigation and judge upon that issue. Her Majesty's Government will appreciate the necessity, if there is to be a settlement, that they should carry other African Governments with them.
My last point is to ask how any settlement is to be guaranteed. Two Prime Ministers in Rhodesia have been dismissed because the white political organisation regarded them as too moderate. We have recently had the demands of the Rhodesian Front Congress which are hardly distin- 402 guishable from apartheidin South Africa. The noble Lord, Lord Garner, quoted from the letter in The Times of to-day, written by the noble Lord, Lord Acton, and Mr. Garfield Todd, ex-Prime Minister of Rhodesia. I quote two sentences from it:A document signed by the Rhodesian Front Cabinet is worthless because of the Cabinet's record and because it is answerable to the white electorate … The white electorate will gladly accept the removal of sanctions. Then they will once again dismiss any Government which works towards majority rule".We must have in mind the South African precedent which actually included in its agreement with us entrenched clauses to prevent the white minority from excluding the coloured African and Indian peoples from their rights. On independence those entrenched clauses were torn up just as worthless pieces of paper. We must have some guarantee that any Rhodesian settlement will be implemented.
The Liberal Leader, Mr. Thorpe, in another place yesterday, made the suggestion that it might be brought about by a British military presence. I do not like that proposal; I do not like it partly because Rhodesian arms, their Air Force and their Army, are the third strongest in the Continent of Africa, only less strong than those of the United Arab Republic and of South Africa itself, largely because a very unwise decision was reached when the Central African Federation was concluded. A British military presence would have little influence in such circumstances.
Another alternative would be a guarantee from the United Nations. That I should like if I felt that the United Nations were now strong enough to fulfil such an obligation. With great sorrow, I have to recognise that they are not. No, my Lords; I believe we are driven back to this conclusion: that no independence should be given to Rhodesia at all until there is majority rule in that territory. We demand it of other nations. Why should we not demand it of Rhodesia?
My Lords, I have spoken of the black Africans. I am just as deeply concerned about the Europeans in Rhodesia. If their present course is followed I despair what their future is to be. Inevitably, there will come all over Southern Africa a racial war, and in that war in the long run the European minority will be the 403 worst sufferers and the worst victims. I beg Sir Alec when he goes to Rhodesia to bear these points in mind and not to accept a settlement which denies human rights.
§ 4.2 p.m.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, the noble Lord who has just spoken mentioned, I think, six countries: Kenya, Zambia, Bechuanaland, now called Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho, and Malawi. He said that we granted self-government, independence, to all of these together with a widespread vote, if not a universal vote; why not to the Rhodesians? I believe I am right in saying that, with the exception of Swaziland, where a form of Parliamentary Government subsists still, and of Botswana, where there is a kind of advisory council called a Parliament, all the others have reverted from the Parliamentary system to a dictatorship, or a near dictatorship, or a one Party system—every one of them. Lesotho was the last to go. Indeed, it could be said, ironically, that there is more independence in the first of the Bantustans in South Africa than there is in any of these other countries, because there at least they have a Parliament and an Opposition, black judges and magistrates and so on. I thought the noble Lord who spoke just before me, Lord Brockway. whose sincerity I admire and with whom I co-operate where we can, gave his whole case away towards the end of his speech when he said that you could not deal with anyone in Rhodesia—he could not deal with Mr. Smith. But he also said there was nobody else to deal with. Other speakers have said, "You can't trust Mr. Smith and his white men." The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, said this too. Is not that the whole point?
§ LORD BROCKWAY
My Lords, if I may interrupt, I did not say that. I was very careful not to make any personal attacks.
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
Well, my Lords, I thought he read with approval from a letter in The Times which said that. Was that not so? Yes. However, on that point there is to my mind the whole case. We have a de facto Government in Rhodesia. We can 404 deal with them. We cannot deal with anyone else. Are we to say that in the last six or seven years we have learnt absolutely nothing and that the words written down—perhaps by the noble Lord on the Cross Benches there, or perhaps by Sir Alec Douglas-Home himself; we do not know—are sacrosanct because, since they were written down six years ago, they have been echoed by one Government or another, by one Prime Minister or another? Men make mistakes, and it must be clear that we have made a mistake here. And, if we have made a mistake, is it not better to own up to it than to try to "fiddle" some compromise which looks as if it is honourable both ways round while it is really dishonourable both ways round? I very much prefer that we recognise that we have lost this battle of Rhodesia, and make terms with the only Government there is in that country.
I am not one who ever would have wished to fight against the Rhodesians. I prefer to remember that we fought with them twice in my lifetime. But the day when we failed, because we had not the will or the power or the aeroplanes to send a force to the Kariba Dam to defend it, on the day of U.D.I.—that was the day on which we gave the whole case away. It is all very well for my middle-of-the-road noble friend here, Lord Garner, whose view I respect and whose career I respect, to say, "This still remains a Colony". Of all the academic nonsense, I have never heard the like. This still remains a colony: Good God! We have not a writ there. Our writ does not run. We have no power and no influence, and where you have no power and practically no influence the only thing to do is to make terms.
Before I go on to deal with this question of honour, which is bandied about so freely, may I make clear, in case there is any possible misunderstanding among my friends or others, that I have an interest in South Africa, which I often declare; I have no interest in Rhodesia, save that it is a neighbour of South Africa and that, as one old soldier, I have in mind the fellows I fought with twice in my lifetime. I noticed this very morning that in the Daily Express, the Yorkshire Post and the Daily Telegraph the leading articles counselled Sir Alec 405 Douglas-Home, while wishing him luck, while praising him for what he is and is known to be, to have a flexible mind and, either directly or by implication, to go there in order to make a settlement and not in order to fly up a Five-Principles flag which can never be pulled down. "Never" is a bad word for any politician to use. I can think of cases in my own lifetime in Parliament when Ministers have said "Never this", "Never that" and "Never the other", and have come to change their mind. There is nothing dishonourable about changing one's mind when one finds one is wrong. In fact, it could be said that the dishonourable course is to go on with something when one knows it to be wrong and stupid.
May I now deal with this question of honour, which is, as I say, bandied about. Almost every newspaper speaks about the great honour and honourable behaviour and conduct which we attribute to Sir Alec. But are not all the men in the other place honourable and right honourable Gentlemen? And is it not an assumption that everyone is honourable unless he is proved to be otherwise? So if Britain changes her mind and decides that she has made a mistake, is it to be said she is behaving dishonourably? Why?
It is a curious British tradition to lose battles and to be proud of the occasions when we have done so. I think of the Dardanelles, of Mons, and of Dunkirk in the last war. Some of the greatest annals in our history were the occasions when we lost battles. Men who have fought battles know that they sometimes win them and sometimes lose them; it is only those who have never fought a battle who do not know this. I believe that everyone in this House must know in his heart of hearts that we are wrong in this policy towards Rhodesia. If that be true, had we not better change it? Perhaps we cannot do so to-day because of the process and arrangement which has been presented to us; but I agree with my noble friend Lord Coleraine in all that he said, and my behaviour will be exactly that which he defined for himself. I would not provoke a vote because I should hate to vote against Sir Alec. On the other hand, if there is a vote I could not myself take part in it 406 because I could not support this frustrating and absurd business of sanctions which, far from achieving their purpose, have done exactly the opposite to what was expected of them.
I have one other thing to say about the so-called "principles". One cannot consult five million Rhodesians. There is no way of doing that. The only people who can speak for them are the chiefs at the indabas, and if we discredit that source of discussion then we are left with no source of discussion at all. I remember when I first became a Member of another place and realised that there were 54,000 voters in my constituency; I quickly came to the conclusion that the only thing I could do was to get to be friends with the policeman, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, the doctor, the postman and another 10, 20 or 30 people who from time to time visited the 54,000, because I never could visit them myself, and I never tried. I did it by representative characters. In this case there are no representative characters. There are one or two men who have come to the top as agitators and rebels and leaders—some to be admired, some not to be admired—and there are the chiefs, the headmen and the persons whom the noble Lord opposite denigrated. They are the only people who can be consulted, and I think they should be; but any idea that you can consult five million chaps in Rhodesia is moonshine. Indeed, it is easier to go to the moon, as we have recently seen, than to do that. It is a great nonsense.
The Liberal idea that you must have copper-bottomed guarantees—that is what they called it in the other place; here the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, I think called it merely a guarantee, not copper-bottomed—
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
My Lords, that is so—cast-iron, metallic anyway. What is a copper-bottomed guarantee? A presence in Rhodesia? Can anybody imagine how tolerant the Rhodesian Government, or any other Government, would be of a presence? A presence for what? Just to report? Any spy can do that. Or is it to be powerful enough to stand up against the Rhodesian Air Force? There again, we have this terrible nonsense of men like the 407 Liberals who have not governed for 30 or 40 years—
§ LORD FRASER OF LONSDALE
Who, as my noble friend says, never will again; men who themselves gave South Africa independence, I think, under Mr. Asquith's Government, who are now right out on the sidelines but who make these suggestions about how one can have a guarantee about Rhodesia. A guarantee? This is quite impossible. Moreover, the more Britain trusts people like the Rhodesians and the other old Dominions of ours—South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and especially the smaller ones like Rhodesia and New Zealand —and trades with them the more likely it is that any liberal views (with a small "1") here in Britain which we may cherish and may hope that other people will follow, will in fact be followed, because the best way to win friends and influence people is to trade with them and mix with them. To cut yourself off from them, to refuse passports and to refuse circulation among the people and to apply sanctions is the worst possible way to make friends and influence people. So I discount the Liberal contribution to this debate, disagreeable as it was.
It is said that to do anything but apply majority rule in Rhodesia, to uphold the Smith regime in any way by trading with them or agreeing with them or dealing with them, or leaving responsibility to them, as I recommend—it is their business in their country, which they know better than anybody else how to manage—is, it is said, to "sell the black men down the river". That is an easy phrase, and I suppose that it is clapped at an ignorant meeting; but really it is nonsense. They are far better off if they are managed by people who know how to manage them and who have experience of the matter, as indeed the 15 or 16 million black men in South Africa are very much better off than any other black men in any black country in Africa. They are better paid, they have better health, better hospitals, better everything —and even the illusion of freedom and voting, and the rest of it, has gone from the rest of Africa.
408 My recommendation is that as soon as possible we should make a settlement with Rhodesia based upon the fact that we cannot prevail there because our writ does not run. We agree that that is the case, as of course was the case with the war with Scotland long ago, and the war with America in our history. The situation with Rhodesia is now becoming a matter of history. Let us make that settlement and thank God for it. In the meantime, I wish Sir Alec all the best of good luck, and I want to assure him that if he does come back, having pulled down from his mast some of the Five Principles he will not find that everybody in this country disagrees with him.
§ LORD FRASER of LONSDALE
On the contrary, there are some millions of us who fought with the Rhodesians and who will agree with him; and there are many other millions who feel that this whole episode has been a mistake or who now see that it has been a mistake and wish it ended.
§ 4.19 p.m.
§ LORD MILVERTON
My Lords, as an indication of my attitude to this subject perhaps I may be allowed to begin by saying that I agree with every single word that was uttered by the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, and I disagree with every single word that was spoken by the noble Lord, Lord Avebury. In particular, I would reject, and reject emphatically, his aspersions on the character of Mr. Smith.
I rise to speak in this debate because I think there are some aspects which need emphasis, although they are sometimes now taken for granted, as I have noticed throughout the speeches. It seems to be taken for granted that sanctions have somehow achieved their position of coming down from the Kingdom of Heaven, or wherever they came from; but in fact I believe that one cannot consider this question properly without remembering the origin of sanctions, exactly how they happened and the standard which they represented. I shall be very brief because I assume that most of these facts are familiar to your Lordships, and if they are not I shall be surprised because you must have had at one time ample opportunity of hearing them.
The original action and the involvement of the United Nations, to begin with, 409 emphasises the use of double standards and the tinge of hypocrisy which somehow infected those early proceedings. Again, I am sure that your Lordships will remember that the late Dean Acheson, lecturing to the United States of America Law Society in May, 1968, in those days at the beginning of these events, referring to Rhodesia's new Constitution, said:This is not everyone's cup of tea. Neither was it everyone's business. Nor was it apartheid It was a matter relating solely to the internal affairs of Rhodesia "—it was a matter relating solely to the internal affairs of Rhodesia, in which the United Nations, by its Charter, was forbidden to meddle—and to the relation between the United Kingdom and Rhodesia.As to Article 39, Chapter VII, of the United Nations Charter, the "threat to peace" which was later quoted in this connection, Dean Acheson was equally outspoken on the utter absurdity of this accusation. He said:Instead of aggressive threats Rhodesia has helped her bitter enemy and attacker, Zambia, with railway transport, food supplies and hospital treatment for special Zambian cases.That is an instance of something that Rhodesia has rarely been credited with.
With regard to sanctions, these were, and are, an assault on the economy and the wellbeing of the Rhodesian people, of whatever racial origin they may be; and once more no better description of this sordid affair has been made than that given by Dean Acheson. After all, he was a former Secretary of State of the United States of America and a lawyer of international repute, and also one of the original draftsmen of the United Nations Charter. In his speech to the American Bar Association in 1968 he said:It will surprise some of our fellow citizens, though hardly anyone here today, to be told that the United Nations is engaged in an international conspiracy, instigated by Britain and blessed by the United Nations, to overthrow the Government of a country that has done us no harm and threatens none.He went on:This is barefaced aggression, unprovoked and unjustified by a single legal or moral principle.My Lords, that summing up by so distinguished and experienced a person surely must command some weight. And 410 it is because I regard sanctions as the equivalent of international blackmail that I think the sooner the British Government abandons this unworthy misuse of her influence the better. Indeed, it seems to me that had the British Government decided now, taking its courage in its hands, to abolish sanctions at once, then the Foreign Secretary could have gone to Rhodesia in a far happier atmosphere and with far more likelihood of a settlement based on mutual trust and understanding. It was along those lines, too, that the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, seemed to be thinking in his speech this afternoon.
I have dealt simply with sanctions and their senseless brutality in any circumstances, and especially in these circumstances, where the chief sufferers are the coloured Africans for whose benefit these steps were nominally taken and were supposed to be justified. To those unrepentant members of the United Nations whose condemnation of the present Rhodesian Government is apparently undimmed by any facts, I can only offer a Biblical suggestion:Let him that is without blame among you be the first to cast a stone.In that connection, how many Governments represented on the United Nations could afford to have their own internal administrations critically examined on the principles so smugly laid down for Rhodesia?
Very relevant also is the increasing uneasiness among many other members of the international judges of Rhodesia about the rightness of this vendetta. I should like to make a brief reference to one, Australia. Australia is one of the countries which followed the British lead in imposing sanctions, but she is now becoming increasingly dubious about the wisdom or justice or the justification of this policy. Over the weekend I received a copy of the report just written by an Australian barrister, Dr. Walter Henderson, Ll.D of Gray's Inn; he is President of the Federal Council of Australia-Rhodesia Association. He came over to England, and went on to Rhodesia. He spent the whole of May and the beginning of June in Rhodesia in an intensive study of the real position and conditions there. His aim was to be able to go home to Australia and tell the Australian public what sort of people 411 their Government's chosen enemies are and what are the circumstances in which they live. As he tells us in his report:The only bias I feel that I have shown, my interests in life having been predominantly legal, is that of judicial detachment.I cannot, obviously, quote very much of his report, but in it will be found this comment:I found order, peace and security everywhere, in town and country. No racial tension, no racial friction.And he goes on to tell that he talked to everybody, that he was given a welcome by Mr. Smith, who said:We have nothing to hide in this country from any intelligent and reasonable observer.He was given every facility to talk to Africans or anybody he liked.
Perhaps the best thing I can recommend to any Member of this House is to read that Australian's independent account. It contradicts nearly all of the somewhat exaggerated falsehoods which have been so widely circulated about Rhodesia. Incidentally, he mentions that the crime rate in Rhodesia is decreasing and now appears to be the lowest of any country in which proper records are kept. He also records this, with which I very much agree:The settled policy of the Rhodesian Government is to preserve the customs, view of life, and the religious and spiritual beliefs of the Africans, as these are the life-blood of their individual and social life. The Rhodesian Africans are a happy, smiling people.He goes on to say:I found them to be such whether in remote tribal land (for example, under the escarpment of the Zambesi Valley) or in the towns. It is the Government's intention that they remain soTo those of us who know something about, and have had some practical knowledge of, Africa, those are very wise words.
One final word, my Lords. Much play has been made of the story of imprisoned leaders of the people. We heard something of that sort from the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. It will probably be found that these men, these leaders of the people, arc self-appointed leaders of the people whom the African people have no desire and no intention to recognise as their leaders. They are apostles of disorder, anxious to disrupt a system, 412 whether it be European or African, in order to create the chaos that they envisage as progress. Such detainees are common in most countries—we have them here—and they are welcome in no country.
I have made these comments in the hope that the truth, which is stranger than fiction—and, indeed, a stranger to fiction—may secure for Rhodesians, of whatever racial origin, a fair deal, and added to that the chance of development in the background of their own culture. I think that those who have had the experience which I have had all over the world would agree that that is a feature essential to human happiness. You have to build on your own culture. Do not blame Mr. Smith, or any of the Rhodesian Government, if that is the ideal which they have put before the Africans: the opportunity, with education and everything else, to be themselves and not imitation anything else. In conclusion, may I say that I have the deepest respect and admiration for our Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. The heritage of sanctions makes his task incredibly difficult to achieve. I am quite sure, however, that if it is possible to snatch success out of such incredibly adverse circumstances as those for which he is not responsible, I am sure he is the one person who might do it. I am sure that he carries with him our best wishes and our deep respect in all his endeavours.
§ 4.35 p.m.
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I must start with an apology to the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian. Although I put my name down to speak in this debate some days ago, after hearing the statement of the noble Earl the Leader of the House, yesterday, I thought that no useful purpose would be served in my taking part in it. That was the reason why I was not present to listen to him when he opened the debate. However, I came along to listen, and having listened to some of the speeches I am rather glad that my name was down, and therefore I propose to say a few words on this subject. I do it with certain nostalgic feelings. It is like the old days to be speaking in a debate sandwiched between the three noble musketeers, the noble Lords, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale and Lord Milverton, and the noble Lord, Lord 413 Barnby. I am sorry that I am not speaking after the noble Lord, Lord Barnby, as I so often do, in order to take up some of the points that I am quite sure he is going to make.
Before coming to the main subject of this Order, there are one or two points which have been raised by previous speakers on which I should like to touch. The noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, mentioned the failure of democracy in all African countries. I think his phrase was, "one man, one vote, one election and one leader". Well, it is a good phrase which sounds well, but with the greatest respect to the noble Lord it is not strictly accurate, in that there are many countries—in fact most of the countries in Africa—where regular elections are held, and where there are Oppositions. I am not denying that there are many which are entirely one-Party States. 1 am not denying that the position of the Opposition in many of them is not quite so free and easy as that of the Opposition in this country. However, they are just as free and just as easy as are the Opposition in, shall we say, Portugal; and the number of elections held in Kenya and Tanzania in the last ten years is greatly in excess of those that have been held in Spain. The position of the Opposition, and Opposition leaders, in those countries is far happier and far freer than is the position of Opposition leaders in some of the countries of Europe with which we have friendly relations, and with which the noble Lord and his noble friends have even friendlier relations. Therefore, I think it is somewhat invalid, even as a debating point, to point the finger of scorn at African countries for their failure in democracy, and to say, why promote any form of democracy when they do not know how to use it.
Even if it were true, surely we must accept the fact that here we at least believe that democracy is a good thing, but that it is a slow growing development. It cannot suddenly appear fully fledged in every country of the world. It has to pass through a long period of development (which is sometimes painful, and which we have experienced over the centuries in this country) before it can emerge into what we like to call its full flower—though I am quite sure that the people who come after us will look back and see our form of democracy 414 as a rather peculiar manifestation, possibly suitable to the present time but not by any means the ideal.
If we mean anything by saying that we think democracy is a good form of government in Africa, surely our object must be to do all that we can to promote the growth of democracy, and not to say that these people do not know how to use it, and therefore they will never have it at all. I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, is not in his place, and I say all this with great respect to him: he propounded what seemed to me a very peculiar doctrine so far as I could make it out, and I do not think I got it wrong. He said that there is nothing dishonourable in acknowledging one's mistakes. That is perfectly true; there is nothing dishonourable in doing that. He went on to say that because we have failed (up to the present time) in Rhodesia, we should acknowledge our mistakes and acknowledge defeat. He then brought in the analogy of the Dardanelles, of Mons and of Dunkirk; and at that point I was a little surprised, because, surely, had we followed at the time of the Dardanelles, Mons and Dunkirk what I take to be his argument, and acknowledged our mistakes and our defeat, we should never have won the war, because we had lost the battle. The spirit which built the British Empire, the spirit which prompted Cecil Rhodes, was not the spirit which said, "We have been defeated in one campaign" or, "We have suffered a reverse in one campaign. Therefore we will throw in the sponge and make peace with our enemies." It was surely the spirit which said, "Although we have made mistakes here, we shall profit from our mistakes and we shall go on and win the war." And that is precisely what we must be doing now. Thank God! it is not a shooting war; but it is a battle for decency and for honour. It is in that light that we must look at it, and it is in that light, I am quite certain, that the Foreign Secretary is looking at it in relation to his coming visit.
I shall not do more than agree wholeheartedly with my noble friend Lord Brockway in his account of the present situation in Rhodesia. We have been told. and we are glad to hear, that there has been a suspension of some of the most retrogressive, discriminatory and 415 racialist policies of the Smith regime. It is good that they have been suspended. But we must have far more than that if we are to have any negotiations whatsoever with them, let alone recognise them as the Government of an independent, or would-be independent, country. There must be not merely a suspension; there must be an actual abolition of these discriminatory, racialist regulations, and there must be a reversal of the acts that have been taking place.
My noble friend Lord Brockway mentioned the case of Cold Comfort Farm and of Guy Clutton Brock, a great and good man who has done so much to promote the welfare of Africans and to promote the high esteem in which, still, some people from this country are held, even in Rhodesia, among the African population. There must be a reversal of the laws which have banished him from that country and brought to an end the work to which he has devoted his life. He, and others like him, must not only be allowed back; they must be encouraged and helped to continue with this work which is of such enormous value. The actions of the regime with which we are hoping to do business are far more important than any words.
There are two other points that I should like to make. The first is a very short and obvious one. We are discussing sanctions and their continuance for another 12 months. Those who oppose the continuance of sanctions say that they have done no good whatsoever; that they have done us in this country some harm, they have done Rhodesia some harm, and that they should therefore be abolished. But surely the fact that talks have taken place over past months, and that these new talks are to take place, is an indication that the situation in Rhodesia is not all that Mr. Smith and his friends would like it to be. In other words, their economic development is not progressing as they would wish, and that is because of sanctions. If it had not been for sanctions there would never have been any question of this final round of talks. Therefore they have had some modified success and as the noble Lord, Lord Garner, said, it would be sheer folly on the eve of these talks to contemplate for one moment throwing away what he described as "the 416 ace in your hand". If you feel that these talks are not going to succeed, then surely that is all the more reason for continuing sanctions and for building up the pressure. They have had some success, though not sufficient, and the fact that they may have failed—and I am now anticipating on this occasion—is all the more reason for continuing them with increasing pressure, in the hope that eventually, in the not too distant future, they will achieve some success.
The other point I should like to make is a rather wider one. I have often said, and for a long time believed, that the key to the Rhodesian problem lies not in Salisbury but in Pretoria and, to a certain extent, in Lisbon and in Lusaka. In other words, if there were a real desire on the part of the Government of South Africa and the Government of Portugal to bring about an honourable settlement of the Rhodesian problem, then they between them, and even South Africa alone, without the co-operation of Portugal, could do it with a turn of one tap, the tap, which supplies fuel, petrol, to Rhodesia. Therefore our best chance of succeeding in achieving this solution must lie in this case in our efforts to convince—not to bully, not to bribe, not to blackmail—the Government of South Africa and the Government of Portugal that it is in their long-term interests, as countries with a great stake, and in the case of South Africa their sole stake, in Southern Africa to have a peaceful and a happy and prosperous area in the whole of Africa South of the Sahara—something that can never be achieved so long as the sore of Rhodesia continues. That is the persuasion that I hope we have been using —and I hope shall continue to use—with South Africa and, as I say, to a lesser extent with Portugal.
But, my Lords, whatever solution may be achieved with the help of South Africa, it will be of no avail whatever unless it is acceptable to the countries of black Africa to the North, and in particular to Zambia. That is why I said that the second key to this problem lies in Lusaka. For that reason, I was very happy indeed to hear the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, say yesterday, in reply to a question, that the other Commonwealth countries bordering on Rhodesia were being kept fully in the picture as to what was going on. But I 417 would press for a little more than that. I do not want to say anything which would sound derogatory of our diplomatic representatives, of our High Commissioners, in those countries. They are good men doing a good job, and it is clearly part of their responsibilities to pass on to the Governments to which they are accredited information from this country, from Her Majesty's Government, as to what negotiations are being carried on in Salisbury. That is their job and I am sure they are doing it very adequately. But in a matter so important as this, in a matter which is vital to the interests of those countries, I believe that more than messages passed through a High Commissioner are needed.
What is needed is a ministerial visit at the highest possible level, so that it is made abundantly clear that the Rhodesian problem is not one that is going to be solved solely between London and Salisbury, between Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Mr. Smith, but is something in which all the neighbouring countries in Africa are involved, and that we welcome and need their co-operation and help. In order to achieve that, I earnestly suggest to Her Majesty's Government that at some stage when the Foreign Secretary is in Africa at the present time, either in the middle of his talks with Mr. Smith or at the end of them, he should take the time to stop, at least in Lusaka and preferably in Dares-Salaam and in Nairobi, to explain to the Governments there precisely what has been happening and what he has in mind for the future. If that is impossible, then he should send out one of his more senior colleagues in order to do that, so that there is a feeling of real involvement and a feeling that it is a matter concerning the countries of Central Africa and of East Africa just as much as, if not more than, the United Kingdom on its own.
Having said that, my Lords, I would echo the good wishes that have been expressed on all sides for the success of the Foreign Secretary's mission, in full confidence that he will not agree to anything that any of us here would consider in the slightest bit a departure from the Five Principles, or any settlement which could be said to be in any way a dishonourable one. I share, alas, the scepticism voiced by the noble Lord, 418 Lord Garner, about the possibility of a good result coming from this meeting, but at least we wish the Foreign Secretary well and hope that if he is unable td come back bringing "peace with honour" he will at least bring honour rather than peace.
§ VISCOUNT MASSEREENE AND FERRARD
My Lords, before the noble Lords its down, may I ask him a question? I quite understand that he is perturbed about what he has called racialism in Rhodesia, but might I ask him whether he is equally concerned about the far worse racialism in the Sudan, for instance, where the Sudanese Government are reputed to have slaughtered about a quarter of a million of the Southern African tribes? I could also tell the noble Lord (but this is not the time to do it) of far worse racialism in the various republics in Africa. What I should like to ask the noble Lord is whether he would agree that the United Nations ought therefore to suggest sanctions for these other countries which are practising violent racialism—for instance, the Sudan?
§ LORD WALSTON
My Lords, I deplore racialism wherever it is found: in this country, when it is found, in the Sudan, in Rhodesia, in South Africa and in any other country. I deplore it wherever it is found. Where there is a difference, as I know the noble Viscount understands well, between the Sudan and Rhodesia is that we have an actual, a legal and a moral responsibility for Rhodesia which we do not have for the Sudan.
§ 4.52 p.m.
§ LORD ALPORT
My Lords, I rise to support (the Motion which my noble friend Lord Lothian moved earlier this afternoon, but before ' I offer certain observations to your Lordships I hope that I may be allowed to thank my noble friend Lord Coleraine for his reference to my broadcast yesterday. I sometimes record broadcasts. I never listen to the radio. My assumption therefore is that all my recordings are immediately "scrubbed" by the producer as being inadequate for the purpose for which he intended them. It is only when I hear from some friend that he or she has actually heard what I said that I have the satisfaction of knowing that my words 419 went out over the air, and on this occasion reached such distinguished ears.
It is no surprise to me, my Lords, that this Motion should coincide with the Foreign Secretary's announcement yesterday afternoon. I cannot pretend that I am happy that, in that announcement, Sir Alec Douglas-Home said that he was going to Salisbury. I think he is right to do so, but only in this sense: that unless he went he would never convince himself or be able to convince a vociferous section of his supporters that the idea of an honourable settlement with Rhodesia is simply a political mirage. I am not happy because I do not like to see a British Foreign Secretary traipsing out to Rhodesia, giving the impression that a settlement, honourable or other-wise, is more important to Britain than to Rhodesia. I know that the argument is that by negotiating on the spot the Rhodesian Cabinet can be made to endorse any agreement reached, and thus prevent a debacle similar to that of the "Tiger" episode. But my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary made it quite clear at earlier stages that he did not intend to go to Rhodesia, to Salisbury, unless he was quite certain that a settlement could be reached, that all the preparations had been made. From what he said yesterday and from the comments that I have read in the papers, it seems to me that there is no certainty in his mind that a settlement can be made, and if that is the case he goes out with the disadvantage of apparently going to court Rhodesian opinion rather than insisting that their emissaries come here.
My Lords, if Mr. Smith and the Rhodesian regime were acting in good faith, then Mr. Smith would be able to judge what he could agree to and how far he could carry his colleagues along with him in that agreement whether he was 10 miles or 10,000 miles from Salisbury. I am sure that tactically Sir Alec has placed himself in the weakest possible position. I am sure that by going to Salisbury he will have added to and not subtracted from the price which Mr. Smith is asking for a settlement. Nevertheless, I think he is right to go. If I am wrong in my fears and the Rhodesian Republic is at the end of its economic tether despite what my noble 420 friend Lord Coleraine has said; if Mr. Smith is prepared to eat most of the words which he has uttered over the last six years, and much longer; if the Afrikaners who rule the Rhodesian Front have at last become liberals; and if the powerful Civil Service, the police and the Rhodesian military forces are prepared to support a settlement on British and not on South African terms, then Sir Alec's visit will be well worth while and he will deserve the honour and thanks, not only of this nation, but far beyond as well. But my fear is that he will he faced, at the end of his journey, with the most excruciating dilemma which can confront any statesman: the dilemma of either making a dishonourable settlement or confessing final failure—and that, my Lords, as all of us here know, is not a happy prospect for any man at the end of a long and distinguished political career.
We have heard pleas that nothing should be said today which would make Sir Alec Douglas-Home's task in Rhodesia more difficult. Let us not fool ourselves. Nothing can be said at this stage in the relations between the Rhodesian Front and the British Government which will add to or detract from the fact that an honourable solution of the conflict between Great Britain and those who today rule Rhodesia is not within the art of the possible in politics. Reference has been made to what Lord Acton and Mr. Garfield Todd wrote in their letter to The Timestoday, and I know how clearly they are convinced, as I am convinced, of the truth of that fact. A settlement in terms of the art of the possible in relation to Rhodesia today means one thing only: the final abandonment by Great Britain of any continuing responsibility for or involvement in the future welfare of the peoples of Africa, black and white, South of the Zambesi except, of course, for some temporary financial commitment to tide over the settlement terms.
A settlement, however it is dressed up, however ingenious may be the constitutional formula in which its terms are presented, cannot represent anything better than a de jurerecognition of the republican, apartheidist,anti-British, pro-Afrikaner political solution which Mr. Smith's policy and Party represents. I have no need to produce evidence of this, 421 my Lords, because the present Rhodesian Administration have produced ample evidence themselves. It is no coincidence that at a moment when a settlement seemed a possibility administrative orders were promulgated to remove the large African community attached to the Epworth Mission from the so-called European lands to designated African areas. Here I have to declare an interest. When I was in Salisbury some ten years ago, my wife started an organisation which consisted of the wives of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps and a number of public-spirited Rhodesian ladies. They took under their wing an orphanage started by an African Methodist Minister, Mr. Rusiki. It was almost the first African orphanage of its kind in the country. Last year when we revisited Rhodesia we found that the society which she had founded was still active and that Mr. Rusiki, with the encouragement he had received, had greatly improved the orphanage and was ready to hand over his life's work to a trusted successor. This may seem a little matter in the great scheme of things; but that orphan-age is part of the Epworth Mission. Nothing that Mr. Partridge or Mr. Hostes Nicholls can produce can take the place of something which was created by the compassion and enterprise of a simple African clergyman inspired by the teachings of Jesus Christ—and which was situated in the area that Cecil Rhodes gave to the Methodist Church in perpetuity.
It is no coincidence that the Catholic Church in Rhodesia should have decided to ignore the policy of the Smith administration with regard to the racial composition of their schools. A distinguished member of Jewry in Rhodesia told me, not many weeks ago, how shocked he was at the advice given by an emissary of the Vatican to the Roman Catholic hierarchy that they should acquiesce in the policies of Mr. Smith's Rhodesian front. It is significant that in spite of the Vatican pressure, the Catholic hierarchy in Rhodesia should have decided in relation to their schools to ignore the discriminatory policies of the Rhodesian regime. I have no doubt that these actions by the two Churches, the Methodist Church—yes; and the Anglican Church—as well as by the Catholic hierarchy, have greately em- 422 barrassed Mr. Smith and his colleagues at what may appear to be a crucial point in negotiations, the aim of which, as Mr. Smith himself has said, is to obtain a "first prize"—so far as Rhodesia is concerned.
But your Lordships will not fail to recognise these three things: first, that there exists today in Rhodesia, outside Parliament and outside the present Cabinet, a set of officials who are so powerful that they can announce, at a critical point in negotiations between this country and the Rhodesian Front, a decision affecting thousands of Africans which runs directly counter to one of the most important of the Five Principles; secondly, that their decision with regard to the Epworth Mission exhibits a studied contempt for the long-established rights of one of the most important British Churches in Rhodesia and that similar contempt has been shown for the views of the Roman Catholic hierarchy; and, thirdly, that it emphasises how little the inheritence of Cecil Rhodes—who first proclaimed the principle of "equal rights for all civilised men"—means in the contemporary Rhodesia of Mr. Smith, Mr. Dupont and the Rhodesian Front. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Brockway—and I have not always agreed with him over a number of years—that the idea that there could be a suspension of the decision to move the Epworth Mission during negotiations is really the summit of political cynicism.
My Lords, what does not seem to be fully understood in this country is that since U.D.I. was declared in 1965 the most far-reaching changes have taken place in Rhodesia. It is not the Rhodesia that we knew—the loyal, liberally minded, British-orientated Rhodesia of the post-war period. The British population has shrunk. The non-British European population has been increased by the very substantial immigration of Afrikaners, Portuguese, Italians and Greeks who are without the background and the political ideas of constitutional propriety which, on the whole, is the inheritance of the people of this country. Those Europeans who once sought to create, under the leadership of the late Lord Malvern and the late Sir Edgar Whitehead, a multi-racial society are largely emigres from Rhodesia or form a small, politically Catholic hierarchy, have greately em- helpless and socially ostracised minority. 423 Those are the men whom some of us in this House look upon as having been our comrades in arms in the last war.
When I called last October on one of the most distinguished living Rhodesians at his office in Salisbury—a man who had held high ministerial office in the last war, and subsequently—he told me that he never went out because the atmosphere was so hostile to him—so hostile to all that he had lived and worked for in his long life. When I remarked on the Union Jack on the table by his desk he said, "I have given instructions that it shall cover my coffin when they carry me out." It was to be his last gesture of defiance of the Rhodesia which no longer represents the true Rhodesia that he had helped to build—the last pledge of loyalty to this country in which he still had faith and which still carries his hopes and the hopes of millions of other Rhodesians, black as well as white.
Nor is Africa the same Continent as it was when a Conservative Prime Minister and a Conservative Commonwealth Secretary framed the Five Principles on which the recognition of Rhodesian Independence might be based. A great new factor, ominous, insinuating and politically skilled, is the presence of a powerful Chinese influence in Central Africa. Any settlement will strengthen China's influence and consolidate its claim, both in Africa and in the United Nations to lead the African "Third World" States. I think it important to remind Mr. Smith that any settlement which closes the British account with Rhodesia means that thereafter he will be entirely on his own and dependent completely on the South Africans on the one hand and the failing Portuguese on the other. If anyone thinks that I am overestimating the significance of the Chinese penetration of Central Africa, there is living evidence in this country in the person of Sir John Moffat who knows that part of the world better than most Englishmen or, I should say, most Scotsmen. And it should be remembered that it is not so many weeks ago that the Emperor of Ethiopia—in a most extraordinary political episode, if one thinks back, over the last five years—was a guest of the Chinese Government in Peking. The writing is there on the 424 wall for Rhodesia, for the whole of Africa and for ourselves.
Nor is this country of Great Britain on which the Commonwealth of the post-1945 era exercised its emotional and intellectual, even its moral, compulsions, the same country as it was then. This year is the anniversary of Stanley's meeting with David Livingstone a hundred years ago. That was in what I think one could call the bright confident morning of Britain's penetration of the African Continent. Then it was the great mysterious arena which catered for so many human aspirations, for spiritual and material fulfilment; for adventure, for wealth and for the escape to freedom from the limitations of an older world. Last year the Prime Minister, in a speech, referred to Africa as "the scruffy continent". I am not aware that he has ever set foot on it or seen its size and majesty, but that phrase illustrates the change which has taken place in Britain's attitude to Africa. After all, why should we waste time and treasure on a "scruffy continent" when Europe beckons us on?
Over these last years, my Lords, for what it is worth I have tried to prevent my country from accepting the final abandonment of its destiny and responsibilities in Africa. I do not believe that the Afrikaners who today rule South Africa and Rhodesia, despite Mr. Smith, or rather because of him; or the Russians, whose influence now dominates the satrapy of Egypt and spreads on down through Moslem Africa to the Sudan and Somalia; or the Chinese, who now extend their African interests via the railway through Tanzania to Zambia, are the natural and inevitable inheritors of Britain in Africa. I do not want to see the last act of British statesmanship in Africa held up as a sell-out in order to gain some minor advantages in a miniscule market, or as a manoeuvre to avoid some temporary Parliamentary embarrassment. Whatever my noble friends on this side of the House may have said earlier in this debate, I do not want my country to accept defeat, and defeat not at our expense but at the expense of others who have trusted us.
However, Sir Alec is going and I have tried to make my point with such small ability as I can command. I want to say only one thing more. When he returns 425 I hope that he will recollect that any claim to have achieved "Peace with honour" will have a somewhat sinister ring in English ears.
§ 5.12 p.m.
§ LORD BARNBY
My Lords, I suppose it is natural that the presentation of this Motion should bring forth strong feelings for and against sanctions. If it were an ordinary debate, anyone speaking relatively late in it, as I am doing, would seize on the opportunity to refer to some of the points that previous speakers have made if there was some perplexity about them. I will confine myself to saying that I am in entire agreement with the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, and the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale. They had the courage to put forward realistic views which many of us, perhaps, would be diffident about doing with such forthrightness. I feel that when those two speeches are read many of us will be impressed by—I repeat the term—the realism of the line that they took. I should like to expand on them, but I shall confine myself to those remarks on those two speakers.
A week ago to-day the noble Lord, Lord Chalfont, leading for the Opposition, gave us a penetrating and analytical review of world conditions and the troubles which beset the world. He also warned us of the danger of trouble breaking out in other directions. Anybody speaking today recognises the extreme fragility of the moment; the fervent hope of a settlement, or the continuance of the folly and perplexity with which it would seem that the Government, by tiredness, have surrounded the situation. Now the Government are asking the House for this Order. It certainly risks an addition to present troubles. One might have thought that we have enough troubles on our doorstep, with violence, terrorism and all that it has brought in its train in the situation in Ulster, without seeking to instigate trouble elsewhere; in Rhodesia, for instance, where for six years there has been complete order and tranquility. This Order seeks to continue economic warfare against Rhodesia and stimulates dissention in a foreign country. My Lords, this is a foreign country. My noble friend Lord Coleraine said that no writ of Britain runs in it. This has been so described by my noble friend Lord 426 Salisbury, who, from his long experience with the United Nations, is surely qualified to understand what is the position. I should like to say that when I was speaking with him today the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, expressed his great disappointment at not being able to be present at this debate. We all regret very much that the temporary difficulty he is having with his legs prevents him from being here.
Rhodesia's qualified voters are unlikely to be dominated by any development externally which, in their view, rightly or wrongly, would imperil their security. Alas!, I suppose it was inevitable that these discussions should stimulate deep emotions. I respect the views of others and it behoves us to show tolerance towards the views of each other. Because of my patient exploration of the country I claim to have some knowledge of the subject. I have no financial interest in Rhodesia, only an academic interest. What I am going to say would not apply to the noble Lord, Lord Alport; but how many Members of your Lordships' House who might be called on to express their vote imposing their will on a territory 5,000 miles from Westminster have ever visited, for instance, the Tribal Trust regions—that is, the African lands —to see what is being done by the Rhodesian Central Government, whites and Africans together, dedicated to teaching modern agronomy to a tribal-minded people who know little about modern methods and the cash system and are still customarily, in the tribal system, following a subsistence economy. There are, I think, in Rhodesia 72 regional offices helping in this way the still tribal population to advance their agricultural production. These people know nothing about revolt or Western institutions.
Let us remember that this Order is aimed at a people who, rightly or wrongly, regard it as an attack on their security. They are British like us. They, loyally and with dedication fought with us after Dunkirk, as has been mentioned already, and they would defend their position, as they see it, with equal conviction now. They are battling for freedom. For freedom from what? From what they believe would be unsophisticated and, as yet, unready black African rule. They fight for that, as British people, just as we fought with them 427 against German aggression. I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Fraser of Lonsdale, who decried sanctions because they prevented contact. Sanctions are the very reverse of contact. I quote:Walk together,Talk together,Oh ye peoples of the earth, Then, and then only,Shall ye have Peace.For our Foreign Secretary I have the deepest respect and, indeed, as my former Leader in this House, a great affection. Today there is, the world over, the impressive habit of high-level Ministers of visiting foreign countries, overriding the career representatives. This issue, in its context, would seem to have merited before now a visit from the only authority capable of bringing about a settlement, when today's dilemma—a dilemma shown in many of the speeches made this afternoon—might have been avoided. However, the Foreign Secretary, if anybody, can effect a settlement, as has already been emphasised by my noble friend Lord Coleraine; and certainly he, with the brilliance of the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and the skill of Sir Peter Rawlinson, present a team which might, indeed, as we fervently hope, bring back a settlement.
For myself, with some knowledge of the country, I am convinced that the Order is wrong. It will hurt the African most. Its announced intention, as has been emphasised by the noble Lord, Lord Walston, was to force acceptance of direction from Whitehall, 5,000 miles away. Experience to date proves that it will not succeed. The Government must be planning ahead to the time when the dust of current negotiations has blown away. Doubts have been expressed, but we hope that a successful result will emerge. But towards a foreign territory with a potential as impressive as any on the continent of Africa, what do they contemplate? Would they apply force as a settlement? Surely not. Do they mean to continue to deny this promising area to British trade?—a seemingly poor advertisement in a world of commercial sense. Rhodesia has had six years of order and tranquillity. Our ancestors boycotted the rebellious American States, and then after seven years capitulated. Would a Conservative Government contemplate sanc- 428 tions beyond that period? Surely com-passion, not infrequently, has been the highest act of statesmanship. This Order would be a poor example of compassion in this world of turbulent inconsistencies, and, indeed, I fear, a possible goad adding to humanity's burden. I, like others, hope that this mission will succeed—God bless it!—but as regards this Order, I cannot refrain from recording my dissent.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF CORK AND ORRERY
My Lords, in a year's time I suppose the Government may bring this Order before us once again. If so, I think they will find it necessary to do so with arguments quite different from those used this afternoon by my noble friend Lord Lothian. Events can prove me wrong, but I assume at the moment that before then the whole position will change, hope-fully for the better, but more likely for the worse. Either a settlement will have been reached or the last possible attempt to reach a settlement will have failed. So far the Government have, in a limited sense, had it all their own way. So long as there seemed to exist the smallest chance of coming to terms and that negotiations might succeed, the nation has sat with its fingers quietly crossed and other countries have watched and waited with tolerable calm. I do not see that calm lasting very much longer, either here or overseas. There are two things which could unleash the tempest: either the announcement of a settlement or the announcement that no settlement is possible.
This may be the moment, while calm still prevails, to consider for a little the future that will await us if we approve or do not approve the Order. I person-ally think we must approve it. I do not like the United Nations sanctions. I thought from the beginning that they were misguided, illegal, counter-productive, dangerous and impossible of success. I said so then and, for the reasons so eloquently put forward by my noble friend Lord Coleraine, I think so still. But this is not the moment to take them off, for two reasons: first, to do so now would be to wreck any chances which the Foreign Secretary may have of bringing back from Salisbury a favourable report; and, secondly, we are still in the trap—you remember the trap and how we got into it? 429 I remember also another African occasion when the then Prime Minister suddenly shot off to Nigeria to see whether he could settle the troubles there. In an interview with the B.B.C. in Lagos a Nigerian politician was asked his opinion, and he answered in the following words:I think it is just another demonstration of the art of dramatised indecision by its leading political exponent.I am only quoting these views expressed, which are obviously not necessarily those of the speaker. But if this man was right, the greatest such demonstration was surely the decision (if you will excuse the paradox) to drop our Rhodesian responsibility in the lap of the United Nations. There, among the African delegations at the United Nations in New York, lies the trap that we are in; and it would be vastly interesting to know what the Government mean to do when the time comes to try and get us out of it. I hope that they know that the sand is sinking in the glass.
Suppose that Sir Alec finds in Salisbury that the chance of settlement is quite gone. What then? Shall we be told the truth, that the sanctions policy has failed, or will the Government go on pretending, sending a succession of Lord Goodmans trundling back and forth to Salisbury? I hope not. Then what will they propose to do about sanctions? The simple logic of the thing requires that these shall at once be dropped. Once they have failed in the sole purpose for which they were devised, what justification will there be for continuing them, since they would then be merely savage punitive reprisals directed against the white Rhodesians but falling mainly on the blacks?
If the Government follow that line of argument they will find things being made a great deal more difficult and a great deal less simple for them than that. They will be told—indeed, they are being told already, and have been told this after-noon—that there must be no surrender and that thus to give up hope would be a betrayal of the black Rhodesians. They will be told that there must be no surrender and that sanctions must be kept on permanently—until what happens? Until the blacks rise in wrath against the whites and make a settlement with us—the nation which by its policies will 430 have by then reduced their country to bankruptcy and inflicted on them more hardship than they are ever likely to receive at the hands of the whites? That is what the Government will be asked to do, not only by the gaolers of the trap but by honest men here at home; and whatever they mean to do about it, I hope that they are thinking about it constructively now. For it will not do to come back here year after year, prolonging this debate into a sad November rite. If I read the temper of my noble friends aright, they will revolt in ever-increasing numbers against that. What, on the other hand, if, against the odds, a settlement should after all be achieved? How would that be received? To narrow that question, how would it be received by noble Lords on the other side of the House? I do not know, but I look forward to finding out, whether the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd would repeat now what he said a year ago. What he said then was this:Whether sucess is possible I do not know, but I should like to say to the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, on behalf of the Opposition, that we wish the Government well in their negotiations, and if they succeed in achieving an honourable settlement within the Five Principles, we on this side of the House will be the first to applaud them, because we are deeply conscious of what this settlement would mean to the 4½ million British citizens in Rhodesia."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11/11/70; col. 790.]Does that statement represent the un-divided voice of the Opposition now? Consider these words from a letter in Monday's Times,signed by Mr. Wedgwood Benn and others, if possible even more distinguished: the possibility that the British Government might, despite all that has happened in Rhodesia—and I quote:… be prepared to reach an agreement with the Smith regime and again, in the latter half of the 20th century, to the establishment of another white-minority-ruled state in Southern Africa. We suggest that this would reject the burden of responsibility for all Rhodesians which the Government has repeatedly claimed and in fact constitute a betrayal of Rhodesia's five million Africans.Those words are far removed from the friendly words of the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, and his noble friends.
For a less extreme, and possibly sounder, point of view, listen also to the words of Mr. Arthur Bottomley, who played so large a part in the previous 431 Administration in negotiations with Mr. Smith. These are his words, as spoken in the B.B.C.'s "World at One" programme yesterday:
The fear I have is that if we had some settlement with the Rhodesian Europeans the repercussions throughout Africa as a whole against the overwhelming numbers of Europeans who live in different African countries could be so excited that we'd have a bigger problem than Rhodesia in due course.My right honourable friends in the Government are up against it, my Lords. Sir Alec may succeed in Salisbury or he may fail, but it does not look to me as though the Government can easily win. Even if a settlement within the Five Principles should be reached, some kind of a whirlwind will be loosed against them, even if it is only loosed against them by my noble friend Lord Alport.
In this connection I was very much encouraged, and I believe that other noble Lords were equally encouraged, to hear the statement made by my noble friend Lord Lothian in his opening speech, to the effect that any settlement that may be achieved with the Rhodesian Government should he referred for approval to the African Rhodesians. This at any rate is a reassurance and a safe-guard. I do not of course know what the Government will do with this, but I do believe that they will do what they believe to be best for Rhodesia as a whole. The quotation that I read just now from the speech made last year by the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, continued like this:I often feel, when listening to noble Lords opposite speaking on Rhodesia, that they are thinking of one section and one section alone." (col. 790.)Well, my Lords, if indeed there are among my noble friends some who think like that, they do so without my support —and I am not at all sure I am acquainted with them, anyway. I do and will align myself with any policy of the Government that is designed (as I believe it will be) for the wellbeing of Rhodesia as a whole. But I require, if I am to support them in the Division Lobby, that they should be prepared if necessary to fight for it. If they come back here in a year's time with substantially the speech that my noble friend Lord Lothian has made this afternoon, asking us just to hang on patiently a little longer, not to 432 breathe too hard and not to rock the boat, then I give notice now that I shall vote against them; and, as an earnest of my intention, if there is to be a vote this evening I shall benevolently abstain.
I end with a personal plea. May we hear rather less talk of an honourable settlement? What we need is a just settlement. If it is just it will be honourable. If it is honourable it may still be less than just, for I confess to an uneasy feeling that talk of "honour" may carry overtones of amour propreand face-saving, of a striking of national attitudes, of refusal, at great cost to others, to admit defeat. Let us strive for a just settlement with every means at our command. If it is not to be had, let us be prepared to admit to failure, without equivocation or delay, and restore to the millions in a suffering country, if not approval for their rulers, at least the support from overseas without which there can be for them no progress of any kind. That may be hard counsel, my Lords, but it is not dishonourable.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ LORD GRIMSTON OF WESTBURY
My Lords, after this long debate you will be relieved to hear that I shall not detain your Lordships for more than a moment or two. I agree with every word of my noble friend Lord Coleraine's speech, and with his attitude to this matter. I have opposed the sanctions policy since its inception. We have seen six years of failure; I do not think that anybody can imagine that the sanctions policy has been a success. We have been the chief victims of it. A motor car plant constructed by a British firm for the assembly of British motor cars in Salisbury is now being used by an Italian firm. I am sorry that my noble friend Lord Alport has left his place, but the other effect of the sanctions policy is that it has consolidated support behind the extremist sections. If the sanctions policy had not been endorsed, one would have been far more likely to have seen a moderate Government in Salisbury rather than an extremist one. When one's country is put under siege everybody falls in behind the Government of the day.
The leader in The Timesthis morning holds out little hope of a settlement. I believe that Sir Roy Welensky has uttered the view that he cannot think that 433 Sir Alec would be going out to Rhodesia with the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and the Attorney General unless there was some change. With the Five so-called "Principles" nailed to the mast on one side, and the past utterances of Mr. Smith on the other, it does not seem possible that there can be a settlement, unless somebody has given way—and that one does not know. There has been evidence of talks—the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, has been out to Rhodesia two or three times—but we do not know what their result will be. Sir Alec's visit is taking place next Sunday.
I personally should have liked to have opposed this Order for the sanctions policy is wrong. However, I do not want to do anything to impair what chances there may be of a settlement. I agree with my noble friend Lord Cork and Orrery: I should like to hear less talk about an honourable settlement, and more talk about a just one. If people get into attitudes you cannot do anything. If anybody challenged with a Division on this Motion today I should abstain; I would not support the Order, but I would not vote against it because one does not want to do anything which would impair the chances of a settlement, however slight they might be.
§ 5.44 p.m.
My Lords, your Lordships must excuse me if on a matter of this importance I adhere to a script. My remarks will be very brief. I also promise your Lordships that what I have to say on this vexed, running sore (it cannot be called anything else, and is all the worse for being a family matter) will not run beyond the foolscap sheet that I have in my hands.
I must recall to your Lordships—and I am sorry that in general I am obviously against my own Party on this theme—that on my last visit to Salisbury last year, I found a Prime Minister much more worried by the deterioration of relationship between our two peoples than by sanctions themselves. And all I met—which must have included half the Cabinet—insisted and agreed that it was and, unfortunately, still is up to today, a quarrel between successive Governments, not one in particular, and not between peoples. On Sunday night, when boarding his plane to go 6,000 miles down the 434 world, I wish Sir Alec tremendous luck. I expect that what I am about to say will shock my own Party, but it is not new, for I have said this in your Lord-ships' House before. I wish Sir Alec did not have hanging round his neck five paragraphs or Principles of his own drafting, which no European with small children on the lawn in Salisbury, Bulawayo or Marandellas, could possibly accept. And Governments reflect people. The man on the spot, as much maligned, if you like, as the flying visitor, is no fool, and politics is the art of the possible —a point more readily understood by the more traditional Party.
My Lords, feelings are more obvious than actual thoughts and opinions. I say nothing except that I earnestly desire that this family should pull together again. I shall not vote in favour of this renewal Order—and nor is this the first time. Last year, in a short speech in your Lordships' House, soon after my January journey to the capital on the High Veldt, I reported thoughts beyond these present ones that can be referred to. I again bless Sir Alec's journey and a mind that, with true Scottish spirit, will not miss much. Let him also note that his opposite number—not opponent—does not have his second Christian name, Douglas for nothing. With love of Africa, and strong belief in God, patience and trust, an Order like the present one need never again scatter tempestuous and disastrous black ink across your Lordships' Order Paper.
§ 5.48 p.m.
§ LORD MACPHERSON OF DRUMOCHTER
My Lords, I apologise for speaking without giving prior notice, but we have a gap in our list of speakers for this eventuality. I was under the impression that the excellent suggestion of the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, that we should not debate this Order today would have been accepted; that was the reason why I did not prepare a speech, or put my name down on the list to speak. I am sorry that I missed the speech of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, whom I have always thought an expert (although I may not agree with him in a lot of matters) on this particular territory. I want to make two points this evening. First, I was a little shocked at the speech by the noble 435 Lord, Lord Avebury. I am sorry to see that after he made his speech he left the Chamber and has not been back. The particular point that struck me was his reference to the integrity of Mr. Smith. I know Mr. Smith and I am not asking noble Lords to agree with his actions or policies, but I am sure that the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, will agree with me that Mr. Smith is a man of integrity. If he reaches a settlement with Sir Alec Douglas-Home it will be done in good faith and will be dealt with on an honourable basis. I resent the implications that with Mr. Smith we have a man whose word we cannot trust.
The other point I want to touch on is the continued slur on the tribal chiefs. I must admit that I do not know any particular tribal chiefs in Rhodesia, but I do know Rhodesia and Zambia, not only from the "posh" hotels but from the country and up-country. If any of your Lordships are not sure of the role of a tribal chief, I suggest that you go up into the country, where you will find that the only law is that of the tribal chief. He marries people; he deals with all the problems of community. I am afraid we have to face the fact that large sectors of Rhodesia are tribal lands and are governed and run by the chiefs of the locality. It will be a great mistake if we write off the tribal chiefs because the Rhodesian Government pays them a retainer. To my personal knowledge, they do an excellent job in the localities, and I therefore see no reason why they should not receive some remuneration for it. But please, my Lords, do not write them off as a sector of the community in Rhodesia without any influence. Lastly, I would express the hope that Sir Alec may be able to find a solution to this tragic position. If he does, I am sure it will be an honourable one.
§ 5.52 p.m.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, in the course of our debate this afternoon reference has been made to the wisdom that if one makes an error one should freely admit it. Yesterday afternoon I responded to the Statement that was made by the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, and I gathered afterwards that some of my noble friends felt that I had reacted wrongly, or perhaps had laid a degree of 436 emphasis which was not quite rightly balanced. I must say that I would have been very willing to admit an error, but, if I may say so as a consequence of this afternoon's debate, I fear that I cannot.
The first point that I made was that I supported and welcomed the visit of the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary to Salisbury to seek a negotiated settlement of the dispute between Rhodesia and Her Majesty's Government. I stood for many years at the Dispatch Box opposite defending the view and decision of the previous Labour Government. If any noble Lord refers to what I said on those many occasions he will see that I always stressed the deep desire of the Labour Government at the time, as it is of the Opposition today, that a negotiated settlement should be achieved. My Lords, you will not get a negotiated settlement unless one person or the other is willing to move, either here or where the discussions take place.
Like my noble and learned friend Lord Gardiner, I believe it is most opportune that the Foreign Secretary should go to Salisbury because it is only there that he will be able to have discussions with those outside the Government—the illegal regime—in Rhodesia. I agree with my noble and learned friend that to set aside two days is insufficient to enable the Foreign Secretary to carry out all the discussions that I think he would wish to do, and certainly for it to be in any way credible for him to say, when he comes back, that he has sought the widest possible view. I do not know whether the noble Earl, Lord Jellicoe, can say anything further on this, but I hope that he will convey this view—and some of us who have been involved in these matters can speak with some experience of the time that is needed. Secondly, it seems to me that clearly, if there is to be a settlement, as the noble Lord, Lord Grimston of Westbury, said, someone will have had to shift his ground. I rest my confidence on the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary and on his very clear and explicit statement yesterday, first, that a settlement would have to be within the Five Principles. Those Principles were drafted by the present Secretary of State for Foreign and Common-wealth Affairs. I join with other noble Lords who have a very great affection 437 for Sir Alec, and although we may criticise errors of judgment, I do not think that, with his long service in Parliament and to the State, I have ever yet heard a word of criticism of his integrity or his honour. Therefore, so far as I am concerned, I am willing to say that I give my confidence to Sir Alec in this difficult mission, and I myself am confident that there will be no "sell-out" on these five basic matters of principle. I thought the other important words were that clearly an agreement had to be acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole. How that is ascertained is something for us to debate and to consider, but here again I do not believe that Sir Alec, as a man of integrity and honour, would be willing to accept a system of assessing agreement unless it was clearly credible not only to this Parliament but to Rhodesia. To that extent I do not retract anything I said yesterday in terms of support for Sir Alec's visit to Salisbury.
Another point was whether we should have had this debate at all. I quietly hinted that it might be better if we did not have a debate but allowed this Order to proceed, on the understanding that a full debate could be held on the return of the Foreign Secretary. The House is always entitled to its view, and quite clearly a number of noble Lords felt it was right and proper to make their contributions. My noble friends Lord Brockway and Lord Walston expressed their own particular fears set in the circumstances as they see them in Rhodesia. I myself would not have complained that those speeches were made. It was not their speeches, frankly, that I had in mind when I spoke yesterday. What really concerned me was what could be the con-sequences of, and the construction placed on, some of the other speeches we have heard in this House this afternoon. My Lords, if you are going to negotiate and want success in your negotiations, and hope that your negotiator will come out of them with success, you do not start to pull the carpet from underneath his feet. But that is what has happened this afternoon.
On a number of occasions the question has been raised as to the consequences if Sir Alec fails to achieve a settlement. One or two noble Lords who have spoken this afternoon have made it very clear that if there is no settlement they will vote against the continuation of sanc- 438 tions, even if Her Majesty's Government feel that it is right and proper, in the interests not only of Rhodesia as a whole, but the Commonwealth and the Third World. Therefore, my Lords, let us bear in mind that the only speech from the noble Lords opposite contrary to that view was a notable and powerful speech by the noble Lord, Lord Alport; but no one I think, with all due respect to the noble Lord, would believe that he has a great deal of support on that side of the House. Certainly, one of the matters which endears him to me is my memory of his maiden speech. He spoke from where he is now sitting and made a most powerful speech (as he did today) on the same subject, to be received in a deathly hush from his colleagues sitting around him.
All the speeches from noble Lords opposite today have in one way or an-other condoned and supported an illegal regime in Rhodesia—a régime that is in rebellion against the Monarch of this country. I do not believe that has helped the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in his negotiations in Salisbury. For that reason I say to my noble friends who in any way criticised my view yesterday that that is what I had in mind when I suggested that the debate might perhaps have been postponed.
§ LORD GRIMSTON OF WESTBURY
My Lords, I think the noble Lord must have included me in his overall condemnation of speeches from this side of the House. I wish to say that I said no such thing. I made no remark whatever which condoned anything coming from Salisbury.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, I accept that the noble Lord himself was not explicit in regard to the regime in Salisbury, but undoubtedly he made quite clear which way he would be voting next year if this Order is brought before the House by the Conservative Government.
My Lords, I do not intend to say any-thing further. In some respects I have said more than I intended. I have been provoked. I think I have done reasonably well in restraining myself. I suspect that there will be another occasion and then I may not have to be quite so restrained. I shall then be able to pursue the noble Lord, Lord Coleraine, who 439 said that Government policy should not be based upon moral principles. What sort of world should we be living in if that were accepted as the basis on which governments govern?
§ LORD COLERAINE
My Lords, I think the noble Lord might also add that I said that the Government policies should be based on the interests of the British people. Would the noble Lord deny that?
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, I do not believe there is any difference between what is right and proper for the British people and moral standards.
§ 6.4 p.m.
My Lords, this debate has gone fairly wide—wider than the Motion itself. We have been carried on the wings of the eloquence of my noble friend Lord Alport up to and beyond the Great Wall of China. But I should like to say straight away that I have greatly appreciated the tone, and indeed the substance, of the speeches we have heard from the noble Lords who have spoken from the Front Opposition Bench, and I would express my appreciation here and now to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Gardiner, and to the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, for their straightforward generosity towards my right honourable friend and towards his forthcoming mission. I do not like saying this about a very new Member of your Lordships' House, but I wish I could say the same of the speech which we heard from the Liberal Benches. I must confess that I found the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Avebury, rather less than fully helpful, given the present circumstances. In any event, I under-take that the advice and comment offered in your Lordships' House today will of course be taken fully into account by Her Majesty's Government in considering their policy in relation to the problem of Rhodesia—this problem which has vexed us and the world for so long.
I am going to speak quite shortly. Naturally, our discussion today has been overshadowed by yesterday's announcement of the forthcoming visit by my right honourable friend to Rhodesia to see whether or not he can resolve the differences which still lie between the two sides. I am quite confident that there is 440 no one here—and this confidence is borne out by our discussion—who will not wish my right honourable friend success in the extraordinarily difficult task which he faces, since success would mean (and I should like to underline this to noble Lords in all parts of the House, whether they agree with this or not) that a settlement had been found within the terms of the Five Principles, to which both sides of this House officially have subscribed. May I say to my noble friend Lord Coleraine, whose speech I much appreciated, although I did not agree with part of it, that I, for one, ascribe no mystic virtue to the Five Principles. But those Principles clearly embody objectives to which successive British Governments have jointly subscribed.
My Lords, i do not know what will come out of this mission; I do not know whether the tempered pessimism of The Timesor the tempered optimism of Lord Malvern* is closer to the truth. On the one side, that we have reached this point after twelve months of exchanges is of course a great cause for hope; and here I would express our gratitude to a Member of your Lordships' House, the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, and to the officials, for their arduous endeavours over a long and protracted course of preliminary discussions. On the other hand, the fact that there is still a deep gap to be bridged—and this was made clear by the Secretary of State in his Statement yester-day—must temper our optimism. But I think it is felt in all parts of your Lord-ships' House that if there is any single countryman of ours capable of snatching from this extraordinarily complex and difficult situation a settlement which is both just and honourable (and I do not admit that there is a dichotomy here between justice and honour), that man is my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary.
There was one thing my noble friend Lord Alport said which I found just a little hard to follow. I think he suggested that at the end of the day my right honourable friend might be faced with what he termed a "cruel dilemma"—a choice between a dishonourable settlement and no settlement at all. I should like to make one thing absolutely clear, and I have total confidence in making this clear: if my noble friend is right in his * See col. 459. 441 pessimism (and I hope that he is wrong), and if this is the sort of option with which, at the end of the day, my right honourable friend is faced, this will not present him with any dilemma. I think everyone who knows my right honourable friend knows that in that sad event he would opt, sadly but clearly, for no settlement at all. So there would not be that "cruel dilemma" of which the noble Lord has spoken.
With the prospect of success so much in the balance, I know that your Lord-ships would wish to refrain from weakening the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary's hand in the coming negotiations. I do not subscribe to what the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, in all sincerity, has said. I do not think that what has been said this afternoon in your Lordships' House has weakened my right honourable friend's negotiating hand. But, my Lords, although sanctions have certainly fallen far short of achieving their original purpose, they have, we are certain at least, helped to bring about the progress towards an agreement that has so far been made, and their removal, combined with the ending of Rhodesia's isolation from the rest of the world, are clearly factors in responsible Rhodesian thinking. To that extent I would certainly agree with what the noble Lord, Lord Garner, said from the Cross-Benches. For that reason, I hope that the Order before us will have the support of your Lord-ships' House, although I know that that support will be given by some of my noble friends reluctantly and with reservations.
My noble friend Lord Coleraine quoted something which my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs had said in respect of sanctions. I have no apt quotation to give back to my noble friend, but what I would do is to remind him that time and time again my right honourable friend has expressed his determination to do everything possible to reach a settlement by negotiation. At the same time my right honourable friend has made it equally clear that during these negotiatins he would take the line that as far as sanctions were concerned the status gunshould and must be maintained. But, that said, I should like to express my gratitude to my noble friend—I know the 442 strength of his feelings and those of his associates, if I may so term them, on this matter—for what he has said about the attitude he is going to take on the Order before us today. I appreciate it
. Turning to the other side of the argument for a moment—and I intend to be brief—I would urge any noble Lords who may feel tempted to pass judgment on the attempt now to be made to find a settlement, and subsequently, if this attempt succeeds, on the terms of that settlement, to await the views of the people most affected by that settlement, should it be achieved. Those people are the Africans in Rhodesia themselves. This involves consultation, and consultation, as I see it, is in three stages or at three levels. First, there are the consultations which my right honourable friend proposes to include in the course of his forthcoming visit to Salisbury. I have been asked—I think both noble Lords speaking from the Front Bench opposite expressed some doubt—whether my right honourable friend was allowing himself sufficient time and scope for these consultations. All I would say is that there is some flexibility in my right honourable friend's programme and therefore in the time available for seeing representatives of African opinion; and if, in his judgment, more time for such consultation were necessary, I have no doubt at all that my right honourable friend would do his best to find such time. As to the specific point put to me by the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, I think all I can say at this stage is that the possibility of my right honourable friend seeing both Mr. Nkomo and the Reverend Sithole should not be ruled out. I cannot at this stage go beyond that. That is the first stage or level of consultation.
The second is if there is a settlement. I wish to reiterate what was implicit in the Statement made yesterday, that in that, event the views of Africans in Rhodesia would be sought, thoroughly and impartially, to enable Her Majesty's Government to satisfy themselves whether or not the terms of the settlement are acceptable to the Rhodesian people as a whole. We fully recognise the crucial importance of what I think is termed the test of acceptability. I have noted the suggestions which were made by the 443 noble Lord, Lord Brockway in this context, and I will see that those suggestions are conveyed to my right honourable friend. In any event, not until this has been done, not until that second stage of consultation has been gone through, would the Government consider submitting to Parliament proposals to implement an agreement. But there is, of course, a third stage, a third level of consultation, which the noble Lord, Lord Walston referred to, and that is consultation with Commonwealth opinion, with foreign opinion, above all with representative opinion in those countries which lie close to the North of Rhodesia. Again I can only say that I have taken full note of what the noble Lord said in that thoughtful and constructive passage of his speech, and again I and my noble friend, Lord Lothian, will see that those views are conveyed to my right honourable friend.
The present impasse benefits neither Rhodesia nor this country, nor the wider interests as a whole. It certainly benefits least of all the Rhodesian Africans, who, if the deadlock remains unbroken, face a very bleak future, with little prospect of political or economic progress. Indeed, as we have seen recently, unless certain trends in Rhodesia are reversed there is a risk that their condition could well deteriorate and that the screw of discrimination could be turned more tightly. In those events, I fear that Rhodesia would inevitably be pushed further and further back into the environment, political, social and discriminatory, of South Africa.
A settlement which accords with the Five Principles offers the African in Rhodesia a real prospect of a radical but peaceful change, and that is my answer to much of what the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, said in his speech. Such an improvement would contribute to the elimination of one source of tension, at least, in the clouded Southern African scene, and serve to strengthen one strand, at least, of that fragile relationship between the developing and the developed world. The stakes here are thus very high indeed, and the responsibility to be borne by the Secretary of State in his forthcoming mission is also a very heavy one. That being so, I am sure—and my certainty in this respect has been rein-forced by this short debate—that on what- 444 ever side of the political fence we find ourselves, the great majority of your Lordships will desire to wish the Foreign Secretary well in the very difficult mission on which he will so shortly be embarking. That said, I trust your Lordships will agree to accept without a Division the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.