HL Deb 05 February 1976 vol 367 cc1418-20

3.28 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government how the British representative on the United Nations Security Council voted on the resolution on South African policies in Namibia on 30th January, what was the result of the voting, and whether they will print the terms of the resolution in the Official Report.


My Lords, Security Council Resolution 385, to which my noble friend refers, was adopted unanimously on 30th January. The Government are pleased with this result, and we call on the South African Government to pay heed to it. The text of the resolution has been put into the Library of the House, together with the British Permanent Representative's statement and explanation of vote.


My Lords, while thanking my noble friend the Minister for that Answer, and while expressing congratulations to the British representative on this matter, may I ask my noble friend whether it is not very significant indeed that this resolution was carried unanimously, since previously it has often been vetoed by America, Britain and France? —or they have abstained. Will my noble friend confirm that this resolution condemns the illegal occupation of Namibia, condemns the discriminatory laws there, and condemns the build-up of military power and aggression of neighbouring countries? In view of the fact that there is to be a further meeting to consider any reply from the South African Government, have the British Government any plans for action to enable this resolution to be implemented?


My Lords, the answer to the first four questions is, Yes. My noble friend has correctly summarised the contents of this excellent and constructive resolution. The answer to his second point is that we are already pressing hard with like-minded members of the world authority to ensure that South Africa implements as soon as ever possible the contents of this resolution.

Baroness ELLES

My Lords, is it not true that the explanation of vote given by the Permanent Representative at the United Nations include a reservation with regard to preambular paragraphs 5 and 6 of the resolution, which refer to the opinion of the International Court of Justice as to the right of South Africa to remain within Namibia for the time being? Is it not also true that these resolutions are not mandatory but only recommendations?—which I think should be borne in mind. Thirdly, is it not also true that the British Representative, in his explanation of vote, raised serious objections to the word "control" which was contained in the resolution, and very much preferred supervisory action of the United Nations with regard to self-determination of the people of Namibia?


Yes, my Lords, to the best of my recollection what the noble Baroness has said is quite true. I do not, however, think that the reservations which our Permanent Representative advanced—certainly not the semantic one to which she referred at the end of her question—did anything but facilitate unanimous progress through the United Nations of a worthwhile and constructive resolution.

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