§ 3.16 p.m.
§ The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make a Statement on the recent discussions between the Foreign Secretary and Mr. Nkomo.
§ The MINISTER of STATE, FOREIGN and COMMONWEALTH OFFICE (Lord Goronwy-Roberts)
My Lords, during an adjournment in the current talks between himself and Mr. Smith, Mr. Nkomo visited London at his own initiative from 1st to 5th February. In the course of his visit he had wide-ranging discussions with my right honourable friends the Secretary of State and the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on the political situation in Southern Africa in general and in Rhodesia in particular. By agreement with Mr. Nkomo details of the discussions are confidential.
§ Lord ALPORT
My Lords, may I ask the Government whether they would be willing to use their good offices to try to create the conditions whereby it would be possible for Bishop Muzorewa, and his part of the ANC, to be associated with the constitutional negotiations which are at present going on in Salisbury? At the same time would they make it clear, since they have given the impression that they are not concerned, or, at any rate, wish not to be involved in any way with what is happening and the very serious situation which exists in Southern Africa at 190 the moment, that Her Majesty's Government would be prepared to give practical help where they can in ensuring that any negotiations which exist reach a satisfactory and successful conclusion?
§ Lord BROCKWAY
My Lords, may I ask the Minister whether he is aware that, since I met Mr. Nkomo while he was in London, I have no doubt about his sincere desire to secure a settlement on the basis of majority rule? May I further ask him whether Her Majesty's Government are taking any steps to secure an extension of the consultations between Mr. Smith and Mr. Nkomo to include the chairman of the other faction of the ANC?
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS
My Lords, I entirely endorse what my noble friend has said about Mr. Nkomo's sincerity in the talks that he is now conducting with Mr. Smith. On the second point, which is a variant on what the noble Lord, Lord Alport, quite rightly put to the House and to the Government, we will take every possible step to help to create what I have described from this Box: a cohesion and a co-operation among the various parts of the African National Council, and that of course includes Bishop Muzorewa and his friends.