§ 5.46 p.m.
§ Lord HOME of the HIRSEL rose to ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken or propose to take to request the Security Council of the United Nations to bring about the early withdrawal of all foreign troops which have intervened in the civil war in Angola, including those sponsored by the Soviet Union and Cuba. The noble Lord said: My Lords, I have placed the Unstarred Question on the Order Paper for a number of reasons. The first is to enable the Government to acquaint Parliament with any proposals they may have for positive action in relation to the critical situation in Southern Africa which has resulted from the intervention in Angola's civil war by outside forces and outside Powers.
§ I think the reason is valid, because until now I believe there has been too little guidance on this very important issue given by the Government to Parliament. Until now, too, I believe that the policies of the United States, the Nine—which include Her Majesty's Government—and other democracies can be described only as "policies of drift". In this situation we have drifted from bad to worse and all can see quite easily that it could become worse still. In fact, it will do so until the drift is halted.
§ My second reason is this: whatever were the considerations or inhibitions which prevented Her Majesty's Government and the other democracies, at the start of the Russian/Cuban intervention, from calling together the Security Council to order the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Angola, the time is now ripe. The fighting is virtually over. Therefore, there is an opportunity to organise the withdrawal of troops who have come in from outside.
§ My third reason is to suggest to Her Majesty's Government and to the Allies and democracies, and indeed to all those who attended Helsinki, that there should be a formal approach to Mr. Brezhnev 418 to secure from him the Russian interpretation of "non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries" in the context of détente. If the Angolan intervention by Russia and Cuba is held by Mr. Brezhnev to be consistent with the Helsinki communiqué, then détente for the democracies is a trap.
§ The facts are not in dispute. There are some 12,000 or more Cuban troops in Angola. There is a body of Russian military advisers and a weight of Russian arms, tanks, armoured vehicles, guns, air-craft and rockets. There are South African units in Angola, and there is a fringe of mercenaries. South Africans claim that their military presence is necessary inside Angola to protect water and electricity supplies essential to Namibia; but that objective, following the withdrawal of outside troops, could be secured by other means—either by treaty with the new Government of Angola, who by then would have been recognised, or by a United Nations presence until the future constitution of Namibia is settled.
§ Russian and Cuban action in Angola is different in kind. They had no status whatever to intervene in the affairs of Angola, and they certainly have no status to stay on now that fighting is coming to an end. When the Soviet leaders occupied Czechoslovakia, they sought to justify their action by reference to Russia's physical security. That excuse was always threadbare in relation to Czechoslovakia, but it is quite impossible to advance it in relation to their intervention in the Continent of Africa. There is no excuse at all. But it would be prudent for the free countries of the world to remember Czechoslovakia now, because the Russians are still there. In Southern Africa, they and the Cubans are astride the communications of Zaire and Zambia; they will, in a matter of days, be on the border of Namibia, and they are parading their intention openly to liberate, as they say, the Africans in Rhodesia and the Africans in South Africa.
§ By any measurement of the usual language used in the Security Council, that represents a potential threat to peace. It can, therefore, properly be taken to that organisation, and I believe it should be taken, and a mandatory resolution 419 tabled requiring the immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops from the territory of Angola. Why not, my Lords? Noble Lords will not have to stretch their imaginations very far to think what a bombardment of mandatory resolutions there would have been in the Security Council if any other country had intervened in Angola, or in any other place, in this way. If the United Nations is to retain any credibility at all, it cannot be allowed to adopt one rule for the Soviet Union and its Communist friends and another rule for the rest.
§ I noticed that last Friday—I think in a speech at Cardiff—the Foreign Secretary laid all the emphasis in this matter on Cuban intervention and Cuban withdrawal. All right, my Lords. The Cubans have the largest number of troops in Angola and they should go. But the Cubans were hired by the Soviet Union, they were transported to the area by the Soviet Union, they were armed by the Soviet Union and this military operation bears all over it the stamp of a Russian strategic plan for Communist expansion. It could never have started, would never have started, but for the Russians organising the intervention. I say this plainly, because nothing could be more dangerous to the peace of the world than if the leaders of the Soviet Union come to believe that they can commit any enormity, because so great is the desire for détente among the rest of the countries in the world that no one will dare to place the blame where it really belongs. They will construe that as soft, and it is almost an invitation to proceed from excess to excess.
§ I remember very well, as will your Lordships, the incidents concerning the spies a few years ago. I think it worth reminding your Lordships' House of the sequence of events. I saw Mr. Gromyko privately—this is all public property, so there is no harm in my saying so—and told him the situation. There was no action for six months, so I wrote to him telling him on paper exactly what I said to him in private, because I wanted to be able to deal with the situation privately. There was no reply for six months. I saw him again and there was still no reply; so I wrote again. In all, I gave him almost a year and half in order to deal with the matter quietly in 420 the context of détente which we all desired. The only thing that happened was that the number of spies was added to during that time. My attitude was interpreted as soft. As a matter of fact, in the event, it was not. But I think that will illustrate to your Lordships how the Russians react if nobody dares to tell them that he knows they are doing wrong. I repeat that there is nothing more dangerous than the Russians knowing that you know that they are in the wrong, but that you dare not say so.
§ So they went into Southern Africa, because there is infinite political mischief to be done there, and in order to extend the range of Soviet Russian and Communist authority; and they will stay. They have stayed in Czechoslovakia. They will stay, unless ordered by world public opinion to go. I hope we shall not delude ourselves into thinking that this is Russia's Vietnam. These parallels are extremely dangerous, and it is really nothing of the sort. It is true that their intervention does not always succeed, as we saw in Egypt. But if, in time, the MPLA decide that they want to be rid of the Russians, as they may well do, they will need the help of world opinion.
§ I hope that, in relation to the Security Council operation, the Government will not use the argument that it is unlikely to succeed. I am by no means so sure. The world does not like force used by an unscrupulous super-Power. Every small country in the world has an interest in the rule of non-intervention—the strongest self-interest. Of course, as a realist, one must recognise that the resolution might be lost or vetoed. That is quite a possibility. But if it failed, and if it were vetoed by the Soviet Union, would it not be safer that the Free World should know where it stands and, there fore, what it has to do? There is something to be said for clearing, the air here, particularly in the context of defence.
That brings me to my final proposal. For years, the nations of the world have agreed that unless the rule of non-intervention in the affairs of other countries is observed there will be no peace anywhere. It was inherent in the Charter of the United Nations and, indeed, it is obviously true. Your Lordships will remember that last August Mr. Brezhnev gave a lecture on this theme of non-intervention to many leaders of many
countries, including our Prime Minister, when the Conference was held at Helsinki. When he left the Conference, Mr. Wilson said this in a programme called "The World this Weekend". He was asked this question by a Mr. Cooke:
If, for instance, another Czechoslovakia situation arose, could not the Russians find a reason and an excuse to go there? After all, in Czechoslovakia they said that the Government invited them.
Mr. Wilson replied:
You can always find a reason, but it was widely interpreted by some of the most suspicious of the Soviet Union over these years as meaning that you would have to think several times before you were to break the whole spirit of Helsinki, with everything that stems from it for both sides. Many of them there said that if Mr. Brezhnev had made the speech he made the other morning in 1968, it would have been impossible for him to invoke the so-called Brezhnev doctrine ".
It was not very long before Mr. Brezhnev did break that doctrine; and, among other things, Mr. Wilson said in Parliament on 5th August last [Official Report, Commons, 5/8/75; col. 234.]:
The actual undertakings must be the subject of continuous monitoring and, finally, the test of Belgrade ",
when the next conference comes along.
§ I am suggesting that monitoring should begin at once and that Mr. Brezhnev's actions should be checked against his words, because democracies can no longer afford to allow Mr. Brezhnev's interpretation of non-intervention in the context of détente to be fluffed. It is really too dangerous. If, as I believe is certain, the eyes of the world are more open now, and Mr. Brezhnev would be seeming to say (and this time it would be understood) that in Russia's view intervention by force in Angola is compatible with his idea of détente, well, that would undoubtedly be grim. But it would be healthier and the air would be clearer if Communist Russia were then told by the rest of the world that no business could be done on that basis until Russia changed her ways on intervention in the affairs of other countries.
My Lords, I shall probably be labelled "provocative". I am going to plead guilty in the sense that there will be no peace until the Russian leaders are provoked by united world opinion to stop the export of Communism by force. That is really the essence of the matter. Although I am conscious that probably
one will be accused of being provocative, "softly, softly" simply will not do. Two years ago when I returned to this House and made, I remember, a second maiden speech, I put down on the Order Paper a Motion calling attention to a matter which I deemed to be the most dangerous in international affairs. It was that the foreign policies of all the Western democracies and of the Free World were in a posture, and I will quote what I said:
… of defensive reaction against the strong expansionist trend in the policy of Soviet Russia.
That is still so. I submit that if ever there was a case for a common foreign policy among the Nine it is here; that if ever there was a case for co-operation with America, it is here; that if ever there was a case for mobilising opinion in the free commonwealth of nations it is here.
§ Today, therefore, I return to the theme, with the plea that the free rally themselves while there is time. I think that there is time, although it is fast running out. What I am asking Her Majesty's Government to do today, whatever faltering there may be in the United States and whatever hesitations there may be among the Nine, is to take a lead and use the international machinery whereby the withdrawal of foreign troops from Angola may take place, the Communist doctrine of intervention in the affairs of other countries be exposed and the Russians asked to change their ways.
§ 6.3 p.m.
§ Lord ORR-EWING
My Lords, I am sure that the House will be deeply grateful to my noble friend for having put down this Question for debate. I cannot help feeling, with much humility, that it is very difficult to follow such a masterly speech which presents with such clarity of mind, wisdom and integrity, from the standpoint of my noble friend's international reputation, the case as it is. One of the advantages of this House is that one can raise a matter at fairly short notice, whereas it takes a long time in another place, unless there is co-operation on all sides.
By putting down this Question on the Order Paper it seems that my noble friend Lord Home of the Hirsel has at least stimulated the Government into 423 taking some action. The Question was put down on Thursday evening and by Friday the Foreign Secretary had made a speech in Cardiff in which he condemned the Cuban invasion. However, as my noble friend has said, there was no reference to the sponsoring or the carrying of these Cuban invaders by the USSR, and that is where the blame lies. I would ask your Lordships what is the common factor between 1956 and 1976. In 1956 there was the Russian invasion of Hungary and the Suezincident when the Russians backed Egypt. The factor common to both of these incidents was that it was a Presidential Election year. I think that the Free World has to be very careful in Presidential Election years. They show a green light to wrongdoers that they may have an opportunity of undertaking military adventures and invasions by proxy without retribution and without the Free World reacting as it should.
Of course, since the experience of the Communist success in Vietnam it is even less likely that the United States of America will take early action. With all the dangers now building up, Her Majesty's Government seem to me—and I speak with humility from the Back Benches—to be more intent upon setting up a smokescreen than upon initiating action. My noble friend has said that with such a threat to the peace of the African Continent one would have expected the Security Council to be in permanent session. One would expect NATO to be convened. One would expect meetings of the Western European Union to find out whether we could co-ordinate our action. However, Her Majesty's Government seem to be more intent upon encouraging the hounding and the harassing of a few mercenaries than upon initiating action among the Free World to face the dangers which beset us.
I cannot help reflecting upon this strange campaign about the mercenaries. It started in the first week of February. The noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, who is to reply to this debate—he is a very reasonable man and very moderate in all his opinions—used these words at column 1413 during Question Time on 5th February, which was long before any 424 question of murder in Angola. For the noble Lord, these were strong words:We deplore, and we would seek to do everything in our power to stop, mercenary incursion from this country or any other country into Angola.From then on, every day, every news paper, every radio news broadcast, every television news broadcast, every headline that we read seemed to go haring after this question of mercenaries, and most of the comment was highly derogatory. I believe that the noble Viscount, Lord Monckton of Brenchley, who is to speak in this debate, will refer from personal experience to some of these mercenaries because he went to see them. However, I cannot help suspecting that this output and reaction in the media reflected the Government's attitude, if not positive guidance. When a group of volunteers arrived at Fenchurch Street station they were all taken—some of them carried in police cars—for an immediate search to the police station. I wonder why? The excuse was that some newspaper—I wonder which?—had been tipped off that they might be carrying arms. They were searched and, of course, none was carrying arms. There may have been some with no military experience, and these are the ones we hear of; but there were a lot with a great deal of military experience and there were a lot who were motivated not by the money they were offered but by anxiety to do something for the Free World against this massive invasion. Yet the noble Lord said he would do—and I use his words—" everything in our power "—that is, in the Government's power—to stop them. We even had talk of withdrawing passports. All this was before there was any question of a massacre. When the 44 mercenaries returned to Heathrow they were taken by the Special Branch to police stations, kept there for three days and interrogated. No charge was brought against them and I understand that there is to be no charge.
On 10th February, in the House of Commons, there was another incident, in almost hysterical words, and these were repeated in this House. The Prime Minister was speaking about the recruiters—small-time crooks with records—at column 239 of Hansard of 10th February. The Prime Minister 425 spoke about these volunteers being recruited in conditions which wereutterly abhorrent to our system and standards in this countryand described a few hundred as a "vast private army". In even stronger terms, the Prime Minister went on to say that they were a real threat to democracy in our country. I should have thought that there were greater threats to our democracy than a few hundred United Kingdom mercenaries. I cannot help feeling that the Government, reflected by these terms, have lost their sense of priorities.
The Lord Privy Seal himself repeated much of this. In his answer to Questions he said that no British airline had been used and representations had been made to Belgian airlines to cease transporting them. What right have we to start coercing foreign airlines as to whom they should or should not take? Many of us of my age remember that it is not without honour that people have served in foreign or civil wars, starting in Spain, as I said at Question Time last week, and where, incidentally, Jack Jones served. Many Regular Army volunteers went to Finland with the co-operation of the Government in 1939 when the USSR invaded that small country. We had many volunteers for Israel and for Korea—I know one noble Lord who jumped a ship in order to go and serve there. We had Biafra volunteers. We have Ghurkas today—they are paid, they are mercenaries serving in our Forces and guarding our Queen. We have Regular soldiers serving in Muscat and Oman today, with honour, to help the stability of that part of the world.
Therefore, why is this such an astonishing campaign? I ask: was it to please the Marxist wing of the Labour Party? —because, of course, they have always supported the MPLA, against which mercenaries have been fighting. I resent this hysteria and this smokescreen only because if men are stupid enough—or heroic enough—to volunteer for other people's wars, it is their affair. Those, my Lords, are not my words, but a quotation from a Government Back-Bencher in another place, and the noble Lord, Lord Shinwell, used similar words when he intervened from the Government side at Question Time last week.
426 I cannot help feeling that the Prime Minister, and perhaps the Government with him, have become pathological about these so-called private armies. He hopes to make this affair an excuse for legislation, but if we are to have legislation it must cover not just this instance but all such threats to democracy. As the Economist wisely said this week: "Free men are free to court death." I resent this astonishing sense of priorities, because Her Majesty's Government, in chasing this hare, have neglected to condemn Russian arms, Russian tanks, Russian 'planes and Cuban troops ferried and supplied in large numbers to Angola, from which of course they can threaten South-West Africa, Zaire and Zambia. At the same time, we have a massive supply of Communist arms, sometimes from China and sometimes from Russia, in East Africa. So on the East Coast of Central Africa and also on the West Coast of Central Africa we have a large Communist armed force which could be a threat to the whole Southern part of that Continent. If war spreads to Rhodesia and South Africa, I am sure that the volunteers from this country, mindful of what those nations did to help us when we were in difficulties—and I fought alongside them—would not be numbered in their tens or in their hundreds but in their thousands, and many good men will be with them.
Noble Lords may ask, "What action would you take?" My noble friend Lord Home of the Hirsel has already sketched some action, but perhaps I may sketch some others. The United Kingdom has a long and historic association with Central and Southern Africa. We have many friends there; we do much business there; we have many contacts there and many of us have relations there. Surely, therefore, we could—and we would be the best people to do it—take the initiative with the Security Council. And if the Marxist MPLA is to be recognised, why do we not coerce and persuade and lead the EEC countries or the NATO countries to agree to recognise it as a de facto Government when the Cuban troops under Russian tutelage are withdrawn? We have power as a bloc in Western Europe: let us use that power, let us take action.
One of our NATO members is the powerful and friendly USA. They have 427 contracted to supply 6 million tons of wheat to the USSR, the delivery of which does not start until October 1976. Could it not be said to them that when they honour their Helsinki undertaking in the letter and in the spirit, then of course we will honour that contract, but in the interest of peace in the world we will suspend those shipments until such time as they withdraw the Cuban troops from Angola. The United Kingdom, during the last visit by the present Prime Minister to Moscow—the last of many visits —offered enormous loans. I must say that I find it quaint, since we are borrowing money from most countries in the world, that we should offer hundreds of millions of pounds in loans to the USSR at rather special rates. Perhaps that should be looked at again. It is true that they have not yet taken up much of it, but why should we leave it open-ended while they are carrying out this military venture? With all my sincerity, I say that if nothing is done by the Free World it will be a signal to hard men in the Kremlin to try other adventures. That is why we want early and co-ordinated leadership from our Government.
§ Lord DAVIES of LEEK
My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down—trying to keep to the key of this speech and recognising the seriousness of the constructive points that have already been made from the Front Bench and elsewhere—does he not see that for the diplomat there is here a terrific problem? Whatever one may say about the Marxists and the Communists in South-East Asia —which I am trying to study and under stand over the years—we may have the problem of the black versus the white world in Africa if this thing goes wrong. Consequently, we should tread like Agag in dealing with these points, constructively if we can, and trying to get the diplomats to come to some agreement. I apologise for interrupting, but I am seriously perturbed by the problem of black and white rather than the Communists and the capitalists.
§ Lord ORR-EWING
My Lords, of course one is worried about that, but I do not think flabby lack of leadership will solve this problem. I would remind the noble Lord that some thousand mercenaries have gone from the USA and the vast majority of those are black. So 428 there is a chance that there, in pursuit of freedom, we are mixing black and white together, fighting for peace in that part of the world.
§ 6.18 p.m.
§ Lord CACCIA
My Lords, like other speakers, I am sure we are grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, for using his great authority in raising this Question at this time. After he has spoken, what need of further witnesses? So I shall stick to one main issue—the Russians and their Cuban proxies. It is a well-established practice to examine the evidence before considering action. Intelligence should come before operations, or in Service jargon, I before O.Like the noble Lord, Lord Home, I doubt whether there is much argument here about the evidence. Three factions in Angola have been variously supported from outside, some with men and arms sent by neighbours, some by elements from far further afield. Why are they there? Again there is little doubt that they are there because those who sent them, or those who enticed them, reckoned that it was to their interest that one faction rather than another should prevail. For neighbours in Africa this attitude is not hard to grasp: their immediate and vital interests were bound to be affected in one way or another. Whether the means chosen were wise, or in the short or long run likely to be effective, is another matter.
But what of the Russians? Their intervention is not because any immediate vital interest was at stake. They did not even have the pretext—and like the noble Lord, Lord Home, I would say the word is "pretext"— which they put forward over Czechoslovakia in 1968, or over the Berlin Wall in 1960, or over Hungary in 1956. And insult has been added to those affronts to human dignity and all the eloquent phrases in the United Nations' Charter about national integrity. The insult is the use of Cuban military formations to handle Russian equipment by proxy. Is this the price that poor Castro now has to pay for being unable to refund his outstanding debts to the USSR?
However this may be, why have the Russians acted in this way so soon after Helsinki? We may well ask ourselves this question. But I wonder whether it occurred quite in this form to the 429 Soviet leaders before their decision in this case, any more than it occurred to them after the war when they turned their backs on their wartime allies and revert to the struggle against what they called imperialism. After all, have they ever renounced what, from Lenin on, had been the steady goal of Soviet policy? Indeed, have they not specifically warned us, even after Helsinki, that the ideological struggle was to continue? Have they been any less frank than Hitler about their ultimate aims and current practices?
True, they have so far been less hasty than Hitler, who wanted to do it all in his own lifetime. But have they been any less clear? There may be other complicated explanations and excuses for Soviet actions, and there are a number of well-intentioned people in this country and elsewhere who will make those excuses for them. In your Lordships' House it is hardly necessary to remind your Lordships of the virtue of William of Occam's so-called razor. He said it is not necessary to complicate an issue when there is a simple explanation.
We all remember the excuses made for Hitler, the cherished belief that he could not really mean what he had written. We remember the well-intentioned effort to neutralise the voice of Churchill, as if that could be done; and in my own Department, to muzzle Vansittart, that is, until is was almost too late. With that so recent lesson, there can be no rhyme or reason for us not to accept the plain evidence of our senses in Angola; a Russian high seas fleet second to none, support points already available in the Mediterranean and Indian ocean, and a steady goal, never renounced—all this, and more, at the cost of the standard of living and liberties of their own citizens.
Even so, it is asked, what are we going to do about it? Is not détente the only policy? The honest answer is that if Angola spells détente to the Russians, it is intervention in plain English—intervention in face of the undertakings of Helsinki. In fact, the Russians are in the process, I regret to say, of making "détente" a dirty word, like "appeasement" which earlier had an entirely honourable connotation in foreign affairs.
So much for intelligence. Now for operations. This is surely a matter, in 430 the first case, for Her Majesty's Government to initiate. The noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, has put forward a proposal and, with his usual wisdom, has called for the withdrawal of all—and I repeat, all—foreign troops. It may be argued that the Security Council would not, with its present composition, pass any such resolution, and that we might draw down upon ourselves a Soviet veto. But like the noble Lord, Lord Home, I must ask the question: is this the Government's view? Even so, is that necessarily the end of the argument? Ought not your Lordships and the public to know what the United Nations has come to if it cannot be used at least for throwing a light on things as they are?
If not that, what else? I must regret the unilateral action announced today by the French Government, because in a matter of this kind—and I only say this in the hope and expectation that the Minister who is to reply will confirm it—our efforts, as the noble Lord, Lord Home, has said already, should be to get together the greatest weight of opinion behind us in any action we can take—our friends to begin with, our friends in the European Economic Community, and in the United States. When the French Government decided today to recognise Angola on their own and ahead of the rest of the action to be taken, I suppose, at some point by the other members of the European Economic Community, I can only say that personally I am sorry that this did not come—ifit were to come —as a concerted move, so as to show the world that we are in fact acting together, and the Russians that they cannot pick us off one by one, one doing one thing and others another, so there is confusion from which they can profit.
For the pressure of world opinion and other influences in the past has made the Russians withdraw, for instance from Persia and Finland after the war, and from Austria in 1956. Of course they had no business to stay on in any of these countries as long as they did, any more than they have the right to be in Angola now, but in all these cases, stoutness of heart on the spot—and as an ex-High Commissioner in Austria at that time I can testify to that stoutness of heart in Austria—supported by world opinion and other influences did work in the end, and in the case of Austria in the long end.
431 My Lords, what do I mean by the words "outside opinion" and "other influences?" Not necessarily a lot of public statements, but a deal of frank talk in private when the Russians judged that we and our friends—and I have cited some of them—mean what we say. Suffice it as a gloss to add that this cannot mean unilateral disarmament. Therefore, I greatly hope that the Minister who is to reply will show that Her Majesty's Government are doing their utmost with all the allies they can get together, their friends and associates, to see that the Russians cannot get away with this blatant intervention. Of course, I do not ask the Minister to use in public any less diplomatic language than we have been accustomed in your Lordships' House to hear and respect. That is not his way; nor necessarily is it the way for responsible Ministers to carry conviction. But in his own way, I sincerely trust that he will respond to the anxieties which all should share, and show that the Government are determined to see this matter through, no matter what the weaknesses and tergiversations of others may be, and no matter what the difficulties with which we are ourselves beset.
§ 6.28 p.m.
§ Lord ALPORT
My Lords, it is some time since I took part in a debate in your Lordships' House on the situation in Africa. The reason for this has simply been that I did not feel I could offer any views which were not either a repetition of those I have advanced on numerous occasions in the past or simply a catalogue of dire forebodings little likely to help towards a constructive solution of the problems of that part of the world. I do not pretend that I foresaw the precise train of events which has brought us to the present situation. But there were certain developments which for a long time have been inevitable. The first is the collapse of Portuguese authority which was certain because of the insupportable drain imposed by a long war on the moral and material resources of a small impoverished country. The second was the attitude of mind of the Rhodesian Front leaders in Rhodesia, which would preclude any hope of a settlement with any group of African politicians which would be viable in terms of the realities of political 432 power and aspiration in present-day Africa; and thirdly, that the neo-Imperialist era would open under one or both of the Marxist super-Powers.
When this happened, the first victims were likely to be the successor Governments of black Africa South of the Sahara. Only then would white African Governments be brought face to face with the military peril which confronts them. I believed that a modern Fashoda incident would take place somewhere along the line of the Tanzam railway, with the Russians coming down from the North and the Chinese coming in from the East, via Tanzania. I thought that this might produce a temporary balance of power which would give the Rhodesians and the South Africans sufficient respite to enable them to adjust their policies to avoid a situation which would be too ghastly to contemplate.
As your Lordships will recognise, this scenario—to use a modern term—is wrong in detail, though perhaps not so far as at first sight seems likely. My miscalculations were these: Chinese imperialism is less concerned with the African theatre than I supposed, probably because of its preoccupation with South-East Asia and the inner tensions of metropolitan China itself. Secondly, the Russians, realising their previous failures to penetrate into Africa, have left the dirty work to the Spanish-speaking mercenaries, in the shape of the Cubans, and are now content to supply the military hardware and back-up. Thirdly, the South African Government have shown far greater realism far sooner than I believed possible. I was, however, right in believing that the Rhodesians would sit tight and engage in a series of abortive negotiations with anyone prepared to partner them in a constitutional danse macabre.
As it turns out, the Russians have out-flanked the Chinese. Marxist influence of the Soviet variety lies along the frontiers of Swaziland and, as my noble friend Lord Home has said, has its hand on the economic throats of Zambia and Malawi and Rhodesia by its control of the railway systems of Angola and Mozambique. No wonder that in Zambia Mr. Arthur Wina advised President Kaunda a few days ago to open the Rhodesian Border. And the paradox of 433 the present situation is that Zambia's concern to see a black Government in Rhodesia has now less to do with the freedom of the Zimbabwians from white Rhodesian Front rule than to open up alternative lines of communication to the congested and inefficient port of Dar-es-Salaam and through South Africa to Durban and Cape Town.
My Lords, the successor Governments of Africa South of the Sahara have, naturally—perhaps inevitably—fallen for the temptation of all small weak States faced with the problem of resisting the expansionist policy of super-Powers. They have tried to play one off against the other. Thus, President Nyerere in Tanzania, heading a country deeply penetrated by the Chinese, has contemplated with equanimity the growth of Russian sea power in the Indian Ocean and has been an influential advocate of the Russian-backed MPLA in Angola. I can assure you that, in that I am not indulging guesswork. As has so often happened in the past, this expedient of statesmanship has failed because one or other of the great Powers has not come up to scratch. In this case it is the Chinese. But the same has happened on the other side of Africa. The third super-Power, the United States of America, have, perhaps temporarily, decided to enjoy a period of preoccupation with their own affairs and the problems of their own public life, rather than carry out what I am afraid must be regarded by all of the super-Powers in the Free World as their responsibilities for paying for their position in effort and treasure, and, perhaps, blood as well.
The consequences of all this can be assessed in two dimensions: first, that of white Southern Africa, which must now —let us be quite frank—face the prospect of fighting for its existence; and the second is black Africa, South of the Sahara, where the existing nationalist or military or social democratic or one-Party successor regimes may soon find themselves destroyed by Marxist minorities aided by the military and ideological support of Soviet Russia working through its satellites in Cuba and elsewhere.
What I am trying to say is that the issue, so far as white South Africa is concerned, is quite clear. The prospects are, to me, absolutely clear, tragic and unacceptable in every way. But let us 434 not fail to realise that it is not only their problems that are the issue, not only their future that is the issue; there is the future of all those successor States who, on the whole, are westward-looking, whether or not they backed the MPLA during the OAU conference and who are the successor States of what they believed would be the free Africa of the future. The real issue is not the future of Namibia or Rhodesia or the Transkei, or the fate of South Africa, as I have said; it is whether the régimes which achieved independence of the colonial powers in the last 100 years in Africa can fend off the era of Russian neo-imperialism which may now engulf them. The régimes at stake are the successor Governments throughout the whole of Southern Africa, or the whole of Africa South of the Sahara, except possibly for one of the existing satellites, which is Somalia, which is essentially a non-African country, in one sense of the word.
The problem—this is the problem for them and it is the problem for the Free World as well—is how can they brace themselves to meet the challenge facing them. Is it right that at this juncture the appeal should, as my noble friend Lord Home has said, be to the United Nations. I am sure he is absolutely right in saying that, whatever might be the outcome of a reference to the Security Council, it is something we should try, but I am also sure that this is a problem for the peoples of Africa to tackle. I fear that in the United Nations the issue will soon become confused and blurred by the parallel problems existing in the Middle East and the Far East and the relations between America and the Soviet Union. The danger is that, not for the first time in history, Africa—vulnerable, exposed, underdeveloped, divided Africa—will surrender its identity and its newly won freedom to a new era of exploitation, so that, in an effort to solve the problem of white minority government South of the Zambesi, the independent Governments of black Africa North of the Zambesi, will, almost unwittingly, allow them selves to become the victims of a Marxist political philosophy and its consequences in terms of human life. This is, let us not forget, a direct antithesis of everything for which the age-old traditions and aspirations of the peoples of Africa stand.
435 As my noble friend Lord Home has said, by all means let us see if the United Nations can help. But, in addition, let this country and this Government, in concert with the other European Governments—which, after all have played a major part in the historic development of Africa, for better and for worse, and this includes every member of the European Community except Luxembourg—consider whether there is something which they could do, by their concerted efforts at the United Nations, or through their EEC institutions, or by some combined initiative outside, which could prevent a situation arising in Africa, which, irrespective of the disaster which may overtake the white minorities, will enchain the black masses of Africa in a new period of political slavery and ideological exploitation. I join with my noble friend Lord Caccia in saying that I greatly regret that the French have not held their hand in recognising the new Government in Angola, and have failed to do it in concert with the other Members of the EEC.
Once the United States have got over their present preoccupations and have been able to shake themselves clear of the paralysis which has resulted from Vietnam, it may well be that they will be there to take part, too, in trying to find a solution to this dangerous and tragic problem. But I still say that it is Europe—Europe of the West, free Europe —which has an opportunity and a challenge now to show that it is not a smalltime, introverted, rich man's club but a concert of powerful nations capable of united action outside the limits of its political frontiers and unfettered by simple economic self-interest.
My Lords, if there can be such united action by Europe it would, I believe, be of value to Europe itself. We hear a great deal about the development of political institutions in the EEC. It is the expereince of all of us that political institutions are not created, or seldom created satisfactorily, from the drawing board and the constitutional lawyers; they are evolved as a result of the habit of co-operation between countries. If we could get that co-operation in this instance between the nations of the EEC on a political matter with which we are so desperately closely connected—and if 436 it goes wrong we will all be the sufferers, as well as Africa—we may be not only doing Africa a good turn but perhaps be doing some good for ourselves as well.
§ 6.42 p.m.
Lord ST. JUST
My Lords, when we had a debate initiated by the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, on security problems of the Free World, I do not think that many of us, looking ahead, had any idea quite how fast things might move on the African Continent. I must honestly allow, and I certainly will allow, that I have not had the experience of the noble Lord, Lord Alport, and other speakers who have spoken before me connected with Africa, but I know South Africa and up into Rhodesia well. I was convinced that when the threat was to come it would come from the Tanzania direction, and that this would be the Maoist threat of the Chinese, but how wrong one proved to be. Obviously one saw Angola's potential danger. The last time I went through the country and landed even just for a few hours, trouble and shooting were already going on, but one still had a feeling that there was a possibility that the situation would be brought under control. Little did one see, or realise, how quickly the Russians, with Cuban support, would move into the area.
If I may also agree wholeheartedly with what the noble Lord, Lord Alport, said on this matter, I think that with the experience EEC countries have had with Africa, and especially with Southern Africa, there is a part that can be played here still in advising on what can, as we know, potentially be the most terrifying holocaust—there is no other word for it. I am quite certain that one of the dangers that must, and in fact does, exist in African nations just North of the Zambezi which, as the noble Lord, Lord Alport, was saying, were for a period of time governed by our colonial Empire—I am not saying that they have not now extremely good minds and extremely good Africans working in these countries, and have efficient Governments—but a rising may easily come in under the guise of the East or the West from Angola or the Tanzania area, which the African leaders will not be able to hold themselves. Then where does Rhodesia stand? South Africa also would be put in the position of having to fight for its very existence.
437 May I mention one personal note as I was, after the war, stationed in Berlin attached to the Military Government. I had to attend every meeting of the Kommandatura where the Russians were present—and this is the point the noble Lord, Lord Home, mentioned, and it is very important—and I found that if you go on pounding at the Russians to convince them, in the end they sometimes believe that they may be wrong. We used to find this in the meetings that went on at the Kommandatura. I held only a very junior position there, but my senior officers day in and day out found themselves sitting at the table going on and on at the Russian leaders who were helping them to administer Berlin from the shattered mess that Berlin was in. It got to the most extraordinary position. There was an extremely likeable general, General Kotakov, who was in fact the Russian commander of the military sector of Berlin at the time. In the end he became so friendly with General Hind that he started to agree with the various things on which, up until then, there appeared to be no hope of getting any agreement. At a meeting one Monday we no longer found General Kotakov at the table. We asked, "Where has General Kotakov got to? Is he ill? Is he detained, or anything else?" They said, "He does not exist". From that moment onwards there was no news, and so far as we could ever discover that was the last that was ever heard of General Kotakov. I am quite convinced that in the end pounding does have an effect on the Russian mind.
§ 6.48 p.m.
§ Viscount MONCKTON of BRENCHLEY
My Lords, my intervention was to have been short. It will be even shorter because my noble friends Lord Home and Lord Caccia have said all that needs to be said on the main problem. My intervention is solely on one small side of the question of mercenaries who, I think your Lordships will agree, have in the past had great honour in history. We could not have won most of the major wars we fought without the Hanoverian legions. At present, there are the Ghurkas, the French Foreign Legion, and the Wild Geese from Ireland who officered and commanded most of the armies of Europe at one time or another. The real mercenaries in this problem are the Cubans who are armed, fed, trans 438 ported and governed by the Russians. That to me is a pure definition of mercenary. They have that weapon that has probably won more territory for the MPLA than any other, the Katushka rocket launcher, which fires banks of rockets which are terrifying to see. We saw them in Korea from the safety of the inside of a tank, but for people badly armed and not all that well led and in retreat, it is a most terrifying experience—and that is what the mercenaries are doing.
May I turn for a moment to the British mercenaries, or volunteers, whatever you like to call them. They are like some of your Lordships 40 years ago. Some of them—to be exact, two—were on the run. Perhaps I had better withdraw what I said about being like your Lordships, because there may not have been two of you on the run 40 years ago. Two of them were on the run and they took this way out, going to fight in a foreign war. Few believed in the cause they were going to fight. I suppose that that is justified also, like those who went to both sides in the Spanish war. I had a most wonderful tank gunner at the beginning of the war who had been a sergeant in the Carlist Cavalry and who when the battle started put me straight quicker than anybody else. The majority were ex-Servicemen and they were going for one reason only: they were sent by the British Government because they were un-employed. Now the cuts are taking effect and more soldiers are leaving the Forces today unable to get jobs. One young officer who went and came back, but is going again, was in a cavalry regiment under me. He is going because he cannot find a job. We are told that we are to have more defence cuts, and even cuts in the number of civil servants in the Ministry of Defence. I can only wonder how many more merceneries there will be when those defence cuts come.
§ 6.51 p.m.
The Earl of LYTTON
My Lords, the victory of Marxist forces in Angola is certainly not one to give satisfaction, much less when it has been achieved by alien intruders patronised, financed, armed and transported by one of the super-Powers. It all reminds me of Gladstone's invasion of Egypt 94 years ago, more like a bit of Victorian imperialism than anything else. What surprises me is that it 439 should be regarded as such an outrageous offence against the agreement of détente; it is an outrageous act whether there was any détente or none. It is the kind of thing which has been denounced by every important State except the Soviet Union, which is the solitary imperialist on the map of the world.
A great deal of time has been spent by noble Lords on the Benches on my right in trying to persuade the Government—I do not know whether they need persuading—that our real enemy is the Soviet Union. I have the impression that the Government recognise that fact, and my advice to them in this very important emergency is to play it cool and, as they obviously will try to do, to act in collaboration with our partners in the EEC. Victory, total and sweeping victory, having been achieved by the enemy in Angola, certain things have to be done or not done. In the inter-war era we might have considered restoring the situation by armed force; we might have considered restoring it by means of sanctions—as we did, or tried to do, in the case of Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia—or we might have encouraged the intrusion of freedom fighters, as they were called, during the course of the last war, in the Balkans.
I am greatly relieved to learn that nobody has suggested any of those three courses today. None is possible to achieve by ourselves, none would achieve agreement in Africa or the United Nations and, in addition, they would be politically undesirable, even if we could carry them out. Nothing that I have seen has been so damaging to the post-war peace as the division of the countries of Europe by means of fostering irregulars, guerrilla fighters, partisans and freedom fighters; that has left every nation in Europe which was occupied by the enemy cloven in two. All are suffering from the consequences of that action.
What, then, are we to do? I presume that we will recognise the de facto total control of the MPLA. Whether France does so a day ahead of us is a relatively trivial matter; we are all going to do it and I can see no other course. Having once done it, I presume that we shall renounce all patronage of guerrilla movements in Angola—that no matter what the feelings of those we have previously supported may be, we will encourage them 440 to lay down their arms and we will supply them with no further arms to act against the Power, the authority, we recognise. That is surely one of the things we must do. Having done that, my hope is that we will see the red light and make sure that the resources, in a military sense, of Southern Africa are adequate to hold the fort against Soviet intrusion, with or without the help of the Cubans, by any means whatever, whether by direct invasion, by subversion or anything else. In other words, we turn full circle, abandon an attitude of sanctions towards the South, of distant distaste for any military association with Simonstown and allow Southern Africa to stand up for itself and not be overrun.
As for the Cuban occupation, if there is ever the prospect of a military enterprise in the rest of Southern Africa they will stay, otherwise they will be idle men far from home, getting bored and demoralised and they will want to return home. The prospects of them withdrawing are much better, I think, than that of the Russians losing interest. With respect to the comment of the noble Lord, Lord Caccia, concerning Austria, I am not at all certain that the Russians left Austria after ten years of pressure, because we pressed them to do so. After all, by that time they had all the oil they wanted out of the Esterdorf wells and they had made the drastic mistake of having the only free elections they had ever allowed, when the Communist vote was only 10 per cent. It was, therefore, a bad experiment for them, and for that reason they left; and I question whether the Foreign Office or any other Foreign Office had anything to do with it.
§ Lord CACCIA
My Lords, with respect to the noble Earl, Lord Lytton, until the Soviet archives are eventually open, if they ever are, to public inspection, who can say? Nevertheless, we and our friends—the Americans, President Eisenhower, Sir Winston Churchill in particular—all said to the Russians, "What we want from you is not words but specific performance somewhere before we will talk to you and agree to a summit, and by specific performance we mean, for instance, Austria." Whether or not that had an effect, it is a fact, first, that they did agree to the Austrian State Treaty and, secondly, that they did go before we 441 had committed ourselves to meeting them at the summit.
The Earl of LYTTON
I know what the noble Lord says, my Lords, and I do not want to carry the argument further with him on that point. I was interested in the experience of the noble Lord, Lord St. Just. I had a similar experience with the Quadripartite Government of Vienna; and it is my impression of the Russians that their endurance outlasts that of any Western diplomat one can think of, and in my view they depart only when they think it is in their interest to do so. If the question is one of negotiations, such as those in Helsinki, my fear is that that was the sort of compact one should never make with the Russians. If one tells them that one will exchange so much oil for so much wheat, it is probable that they will carry that out; but if one uses an expression like "détente"—which means behave more decently and be more diplomatic, conciliatory and polite and let us cross the frontiers and embrace you, while you do the same with us—they will interpret that in their own way. It is a useless form of agreement with the Russians. They are pragmatic, and one can deal with them and make compacts with them only in practical matters, matters that can be measured, such as the number of secretaries in an embassy. These things they understand, and, if one is able to check them, one finds that they carry them out. If one can see what they have done, they will do it. A word like "détente"is a gift on a plate for a policy which is dedicated to the manipulation of falsehood in the interests of Marxism. I feel sure that the Government know these things as well as anybody else and I have nothing more to add on the subject, except to say that one should treat the Russians according to what one knows them to be.
§ 7.1 p.m.
§ The Earl of ONSLOW
My Lords, Admiral Gortchakoff made possible Russian aggression in Angola. Russian ships have been reported—and perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, will confirm or deny this—landing tanks and marines (both Cuban, but Russian armed) in Angola and also giving covering fire. The Russian action can only be described as aggression. Russian paid, transported and equipped Cuban bayonets have imposed on two-thirds of the 442 Angolans something which they clearly did not want. Nor did any of Angola's neighbours want it. It can only be described as the most irresponsible action of a great Power since Hitler. It is a direct threat to the peace of the world and a direct encouragement to war. This has been said already but, in my view, it is so important that one extra voice will do no harm in emphasising it again.
Two facets of the matter have struck me. One is a simple comment on the hypocrisy of the Western World in particular. Contrast empty Trafalgar Square with the anti-Vietnam "demos" of a few years past. There have been no sanctimonious utterances from the Prime Minister of Sweden, no rioting on the campuses of the United States of America and no resolution from the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. Admittedly, one Minister has made a speech recently on the need for working-class solidarity with the oppressed brethren overseas. Those brethren were white and under a Government which is at least attempting some form of liberalisation. I suppose that one must also give Mr. Callaghan due credit for mentioning the Cubans. What possible interest has Russia in Angola except to stir up trouble? Russia is not a maritime Power. She does not live by world trade. Russia has never known the meaning of the word "liberty" or "freedom". Ivan the Terrible's spiritual successors still rule in the Kremlin.
My second point is the effect on Rhodesia. This has been mentioned and glossed over by several previous speakers, but I should like to refer to it again. In the past, Mr. Smith has been blind, stubborn, stupid and ill-advised not to come to some sort of settlement. He now has before him the example of the collapse of Portuguese rule in Africa. He must now yearn for the terms which he was offered on the "Tiger" or the "Fearless". He must wish he had been slightly more generous at the time of the Devlin Commission. I have always disapproved of Mr. Smith—not that that would worry him, I am sure—but I have approved of the material progress brought by the Europeans to Rhodesia. Mr. Smith has totally failed to recognise the force of African nationalism. Mr. Vorster has not. That is why he leant upon Mr. Smith at Kariba a few months ago and why he has tried, admittedly in small ways, to 443 make his peace with black Africa. It has been reported that President Kaunda, M. Houphouët Boigny and General Mobuto recognised this when they asked —or so an authoritative newspaper in South Africa has stated—that the South African troops should go to the aid of the UNITA faction in the South of Angola.
How will the Cubans ever be got out of Africa? The noble Earl, Lord Lytton, mentioned Mr. Gladstone. Mr. Gladstone, when we occupied Egypt in 1882, said it was a distinctly temporary measure. He wanted to extract himself and he found it impossible to do so. The Russians have not Mr. Gladstone's love of liberty or his dislike of imperialism.
The Earl of LYTTON
My Lords, if I may interrupt the noble Earl, I should like to say that the Egyptians have, more recently, managed to get rid of the Russians.
§ The Earl of ONSLOW
My Lords, it took them 20 years and they were offered an alternative source of supplies and money. Also, Egypt was not physically occupied by a Russian garrison. If UNITA and the FNLA keep up a guerrilla war the excuse for the Cubans and their Russian mentors to stay will be overwhelming. This guerrilla war will spill over into Rhodesia, and possibly into Zambia, South-West Africa, Namibia and Zaire. Right-wing reaction in South Africa will make it practically impossible for Mr. Vorster to apply any pressure to Mr. Smith as a result of the Communist take-over in Angola.
However, if, by a miracle, Mr. Smith had a change of heart and showed some statesmanship by reaching some form of agreement with Mr. Nkomo and if Bishop Muzorewa could be brought back into the peace councils in that part of the world, it is just possible that something might be salvaged. If not, the result will be a horrible cocktail of black and white blood with the olive being the destruction of industry and commerce and of the material progress made in Rhodesia over the last 50 years. But Mr. Smith's actions so far make this so unlikely that, though I am a youngish man who has always tried to see hope and optimism whenever I have spoken in your Lordships' House —and that even applies to Ireland—my heart is today full of the blackest of 444 black despair because I see no hope. All I can do is to pray that the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, when he comes to reply, will prove me wrong.
§ 7.8 p.m.
§ Lord WIGG
My Lords, it was a Chinese diplomat, I believe, who, before the war, commented that the heavens were black with chickens coming home to roost. They are still coming in. For me, the memories which come in now spread from the earliest years of this century when I attended political meetings with my dad, who is now long dead. One precept which he rammed into me on every occasion was, Whenever you're in doubt as to what action you should take politically, just see what the Tories are doing and do the opposite! "He put it much more roughly than that but it is a very good principle. Look at tonight. All the forces of reaction and ignorance, with one or two honourable exceptions, have had their say.
I turn to the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel. He is a man whom I respect, but I remember that he was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Neville Chamberlain. He carried Chamberlain's umbrella. His support of appeasement and of the policy that took this country to the very edge of the abyss and of being overwhelmed politically and militarily was not love of Hitler. It would be a scandalous libel to suggest anything of that kind. The noble Lord, Lord Home, is absolutely consistent. He hates the Soviet Union and all it stands for. He always has and he still does. What is so tragic about that is that it blinds him to the truth. The first simple truth is that the Foreign Office—and the reasons for this are very deep seated—has a long record of always being wrong. It has always been wrong, from the earlier days of this century when it took us blindly into the Entente Cordiale, which once again took us to the very edge of military defeat. It took us from a pre-eminent position in the world. It cost us a million dead. It undertook to put six divisions, which we had not got, in on the French left, because it knew better than the Government's military advisers. There is a long and detailed story.
Again, look at our record in the Middle East. I was immensely interested tonight when one Conservative noble Lord spoke 445 about Egypt, and then suddenly he realised that he was on dangerous ground; so did the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel. He said, of course the Russians were there; but the Russians were not there. I am thinking about what happened in Egypt in 1956. There was a miscalculation which ended any claim which this country had to be a military Power. I will not go too far back. I will not go back beyond 1956. Let us go on from there. What happened in 1956? The Tory Party was is disarray. From behind the little intrigues there emerged that great figure of English political history, Mr. Harold Macmillan. There is the villain of the piece. It was not a Labour politician who abandoned conscription, yet we hear from these Benches tonight about unilateral disarmament. Unilateral disarmament indeed! It was a Conservative Administration who abandoned conscription. I am not going to argue that point, because it is a dead duck. But once conscription was abandoned, any possibility of this country having a viable military force, which would enable it to sustain its power in any part of the world, was a dead duck.
Who was it who made the "winds of change" speech without consulting his colleagues? A Labour Minister, or Mr. Harold Macmillan? Mr. Harold Macmillan! And the country, the world, nature, abhors a void. So if there was a wind of change, and we were giving notice to every nationalist group or groups striving, if you like, for freedom, that we, the British raj, were going home as fast as we could, irrespective of the consequences, what was to happen? What did happen? Let us take probably one of the very potent reasons which caused the Soviet Union to act not so very long ago—the Congo. One of our European partners, when they left the Congo—I remember Jawaharlal Nehru writing this —took even the pencils away. They took the ribbons out of the typewriters. They left absolutely nothing. It was to the credit of the democracies of the West that we put together a force, under a British Commander, under General Alexander, which went there to hold the peace. But there was chaos. That area, one of the most prosperous and richest areas in Africa, was reduced to cannibalism by the action of one of our European partners. That is the Congo.
446 Then we have Mr. Smith. The opposition to Mr. Smith's action was not exactly vociferous on the Tory Benches either in the other place or here. There were many Conservatives, honourable men, who still had the vision to see the disaster that followed from that action. They knew that it could not succeed, any more than they know very well, if they think, that the action of apartheid can succeed. I have every sympathy with the South Africans in an insupportable dilemma, because they have no home to go to. The whites in Rhodesia can probably find a home. But there is no home for Mr. Vorster and his friends, and they are now up against the sheer facts of life. But what precipitated this action? A group of Marxists? The possibilities of détente? Who approached détente? What is it all about? Détente is a tie-up between the Russians on the one hand, and the Americans on the other, because neither can face the bill, and both have the knowledge to know the appalling dangers that face both of them, because the first strike capability is now not the start of it if they carry on with the nuclear race.
The only way to stop it, it has been found so far, was détente—détente as between the United States and the Soviet Union. But who broke it? Who widened out détente into the possibilities which have presented themselves to the Soviet Union? Why, the United States. They thought that under the umbrella of détente there was carte blanche for the CIA to go in to Angola, as they had gone into the Congo. But the Russians read the signs right. They got it right. They saw what had happened in the wake of Vietnam; all that America wanted to see was the hack of the Statue of Liberty. No more adventures for the American people, particularly in election year.
So, when President Ford and Dr. Kissenger want to pour American money and American arms into Angola, them are forces in America which say: "Not on your nellie. Not another dime. Not another piece of equipment." It is more than likely that perhaps the Russians have been trained by those many dissidents from the Foreign Office; they may have trained them. The "I" comes before "O". Perhaps their intelligence was not good enough to say "Ah; well, this is what is going to happen. We 447 must prepare for it, because independence is going to come." So the chances are that the Americans are going to pour it in, and at some point it will stop, and there you will be given your chance.
Now, I do not happen to believe that Angola—to use the jargon of the day, the jargon of the Daily Telegraph, and the jargon that has been used tonight—is necessarily Marxist, unless Marxism means that you read form right and occasionally back the winner, in which case I wish that the Foreign Office was Marxist, which it is certainly not, because it never gets it right. But the Russians have got it right to this extent, and the point was touched on by the noble Lord, Lord Alport. One of the struggles inside Africa, which I deplore more than anything else, is the possibility of a struggle between China on the one hand, and the Russians on the other, because there is no doubt whatever that there has been enormous commitment by China in Tanzania, where they have built a railway. It rather looks—and I agree here with the noble Lord, Lord Alport—that at some point China, for reasons of her own, curtailed her investment, and that again may have encouraged the Russians here to think that they can go in.
But that they are Marxists, and that they intend to stay there, in the sense that quite clearly worries the last noble Lord who spoke, and others, I just do not believe. After all, let us look for a moment at North Vietnam. It is not widely reported. This is the kind of news that never hits the front pages of the Daily Telegraph, and the Right-Wing reactionary papers—but North Vietnam has become a non-aligned country. They want neither China, nor Russia. This is a nationalist movement and they want a unified Vietnam. They want to run their own show in their own way. But the Russians, of course, having backed them up to the extent they have, will want, as it were, some money back. I think that is more than likely. In my judgment, exactly the same thing will happen in Angola. In Angola we shall get the emergence of a very definite nationalist movement which wants Angola. That is what the struggle has been all about. Had it not been for influences—some of them from this country; certainly much of them from the 448 United States—it is more than likely that the struggle would have never taken on the form that it has. After all, my Lords, there must be even a limit to Conservative hypocrisy. There must be a limit somewhere. But if noble Lords will go back only a few weeks and read the Daily Telegraph, to see the exultation from its special correspondent in Lusaka about the possibility of a victory—or, let me put it this way, of the defeat of the MPLA. It was only when the tide began to turn, when in fact Russian help and the Cuban mercenaries (as somebody wants it) began to have an effect, that the tune began to change —and change it has.
My Lords, I hold the view—and I have not changed it—that the great disaster which has overtaken this country is that we have hidden under the blankets; we have put our heads in the sand. We have, of our own volition, abandoned conscription. We have an enormous defence bill. Since the end of the war we have spent £40,000 million on defence. Yet, what have we got to show for it? We are incapable of exerting any pressure, of defending the things we stand for, of protecting our citizens as we ought to protect them. We have withdrawn from the Gulf, we have withdrawn from East of Suez. Let me say that before I became a Minister, when I was a Minister and since I have ceased to be a Minister I have deplored that policy. I am sufficiently chauvinistic to believe in the values of my fellow countrymen. I spent many years of my life, in a very humble capacity, serving in a practical form the things in which I believe, and today I still deplore the fact that we do not count for that—and today another chicken has come home to roost.
" Let us get together with our EEC partners ", we are told. Even before Lord Home finished speaking, even before the noble Lord, Lord Caccia, had spoken, they had to admit defeat. Our gallant French allies, as always—there at night, gone in the morning—serve the interests of France exclusively. I do not blame M. Giscard d'Estaing for that. What I deplore is when Lord Home, with all his authority, can get sotied down in his hatred of communism as to forget his fundamental duty, which is to the interests of this country. The interests of this country are to cut away from nonsense like "the East", because it will not work 449 in the long run. Today has given us another proof that it does not work. My analysis is that when a Russian soldier shook hands with an American soldier in the heart of Germany in April 1945, the hegemony of Europe and the hegemony of Germany was broken for ever. The great struggle for power in the world has passed from Europe. It has gone South and East, and if we do not follow it we deny all the traditions which, over the centuries, our fellow countrymen have built up.
The Earl of LYTTON
My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, may I challenge him on one point which I must say outraged me—his overture about the umbrella that Neville Chamberlain brought back, and the connection with it of Lord Home. I am sorry Lord Home is leaving the Chamber, because I am intending to defend him. The noble Lord who has just spoken sometimes speaks as though he is an enormous military expert. I should like to say, from a very humble position in the War Office at the time of Munich in 1938, that when the umbrella came back we said, "Thank God!—perhaps we have another year ".
§ Lord WIGG
My Lords, if I may be permitted to answer that, I certainly do not speak as a military expert. Indeed, my authority to speak on military matters at all is that I happen to possess one decoration that no other Member of this House or the other House has got, and that is a Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. But if I have to express my view on the occupants of the War Office at that time and since, let me tell the noble Lord that it is a pretty low one.
§ 7.25 p.m.
§ Lord BANKS
My Lords, I should like to apologise to the House for the fact that my name does not appear on the original list of speakers owing to some administrative misadventure, but I hope that I may be permitted to detain the House briefly before we hear the reply to the debate from the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts. I am sure that we in this House are all agreed that we owe a debt of gratitude to the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, for bringing us face to face this evening with the very serious situation which has arisen in Southern Africa. The Coalition 450 Government in Angola, which the settlement with Portugal required and which at least half the members of the Organisation for African Unity wanted a month ago, has not been achieved. The Marxist-led MPLA have swept the country. They have done so supported by some 10,000 to 12,000 Cuban soldiers and substantial supplies of Russian arms. Those sympathetic to the West have been defeated. Two African countries, Zaire and Zambia, have been discomforted; and a possible confrontation between Rhodesia and South Africa, on the one hand, and Russian-armed Cuban forces, on the other, has been presented. A fear of Russian domination in Southern Africa has been created;the global balance of power between the East and the West has been disturbed. That is a formidable list of unhappy events.
There are two ways in which it is often suggested to us that we should react to these events. One of these ways I would describe as a rose-tinted devotion to détente. As I hope to indicate in a second, I favour détente, but I think there are some who are so devoted to the concept that they will not face up to the harsh realities, the harsh facts of the struggle for power in the world. On the other hand, there are those who want to see a fierce resistance at every point to the Russians and their allies, and who are prepared to back any nation, whatever its record may be, which happens at a particular moment to be standing against them—people who would have liked to see the United States of America pouring forces into Angola to counter the Cuban forces and the Russian arms. I believe that the first of these arguments is based on a false, even foolish, optimism; and I believe that the second is based on an exaggerated pessimism.
I believe that there is a third policy which we should follow, and I think that the elements of that policy are these. First, I agree with those speakers who have said that there should be a solidarity among the members of the European Community, and I join with those who regret the fact that France should have decided to recognise the MPLA in advance of her partners. But I do not regard that as an indication of the total and utter failure of the Community. We 451 are in the very early days of the Community; but it stresses the need for us to develop this concept of a common foreign policy in the Community, of concerted action. I believe that we shall see a joint recognition of the MPLA, not because we approve of the way in which it came to power, nor because we approve of its philosophy, outlook and ideology; but because it is the Government in power, because it will give us more influence with that Government and because there is the possibility—and that quite a strong one—that that country, under the MPLA, may nevertheless have an association with the EEC similar to that which already exists with other African countries.
I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, that we should seek the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Southern Africa. If we can achieve this through an approach to the United Nations, then so much to the good. I think a lot will depend on the support which we can obtain from the Organisation of African Unity in making any kind of approach to the United Nations. But certainly one wants to see the influence of the EEC put behind the concept of the withdrawal of foreign forces from Southern Africa. There is a good deal of evidence to suggest that the Cuban forces and the Russian arms came into Angola as a reaction against South African involvement. If that is so, then it is clear that South African involvement was, in fact, the kiss of death for UNITA in Angola. But certainly let us see what can be done through the United Nations to press for the withdrawal of all foreign forces.
I believe that another element in this policy is to stress the fact that we do not abandon détente, that we do not regard détente through rose-tinted spectacles; that we are aware of all the difficulties which exist, all the problems and all the conflicts; nevertheless we want to continue with this idea of achieving détente. But we have to make it clear that, as we see it, the introduction of Cuban forces and the introduction of Russian arms into Angola in the way in which we have witnessed in recent weeks is inconsistent with our interpreta 452 tion of détente. We must make that very clear.
I believe that we should also make it clear that we intend to maintain our links with China whatever we may feel about the policies pursued by that country and about the ideologies of that country and the régime that exists in it. I believe that we should make it quite clear that we have no intention of allowing those links to wither. I am sure that if we were to pursue a policy based on these principles and if we pursue it with coolness, steadiness and firmness, then the worst of the possible consequences of the recent unhappy events may be avoided.
§ 7.31 p.m.
§ Lord DAVIES of LEEK
My Lords, I apologise but I shall not keep the House for more than five minutes. I should like to point out what I consider in tonight's debate to be of vital importance and which I think—I say this with humility—has been forgotten. The House will be grateful to the noble Lord who raised this subject It was raised with all the diplomatic ability that the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, possesses; but I should like quietly to put points of view which must be understood. I take as an example that from my experience on the negotiations with Smith on "Fearless" We talked for a long time there. I remember when the noble Lord, Lord Goodman. went out, and before he went I said that we had had better agreements, in rough form, with Smith on "Fearless" than we had later when the noble Lord, Lord Goodman, tried his best. We were facing a man who had forgotten altogether that he was in the middle (and beyond the middle) of the 20th century so far as dealing with the black Africans was concerned.
I was concerned tonight with the blanket words we use. Marxism, for example, has become an ugly blanket word. It triggers off emotional antipathy. One cannot discuss Marxism in a philosophical sense without someone yelling, "Yah!, Commie!" or something equally stupid. Whatever Marx may have done, he did something for man kind. Like the noble Lord who discovered the theory of fluctions—and he was a noble Lord—and calculus, he taught mankind in mathematics how to measure stresses and strains in movement. Thus we are now able to sink the 453 oil rigs in the sea and get oil out without the steel of the rigs breaking.
What Marx and other philosophers tried to do was to look at the movement of history. We always look at it as something static; not only the Foreign Office here but in France too. Whatever we say, when we are talking about the Nine we use another blanket word "Europe ". But the Common Market is not Europe. It is only part of it. It is not only a dichotomy, it is a trichotomy, and a tetrachotomy. It is split up. The Italians are worried about selling their wine; and so are the French. We have our differences. Consequently, when we are talking about getting an understanding with the Common Market, what are we asking for?—to make it a warrior State! We cannot manage Northern Ireland. The only thing that is left to us in the last analysis is the Churchillian formula: Jaw, jaw rather than war, war.
In the last analysis, the two mightiest nations on earth now realise this. If we go to war nobody wins. Civilisation can be destroyed. When we are talking about Egypt—I was there—we must remember that Aswan was our mistake. We should have subsidised the Aswan Dam; but Foster Dulles and others were absolutely opposed to helping there. So we lost a foothold of economic importance in Egypt at the time.
Vietnam I visited many times, but like others I never succeeded in seeing Ho Chi Minh and Giap. One should see it! There were six times more bombs on Vietnam in 30 years than in the European war. What can the yellow man—I do not like using that term but it is colourful —think of Western militarism? What answer do we expect? There is none. Contrary to the popular Press (and with other members of this House I was in Vietnam a month or two before the collapse), many people thought that if the North Vietnam troops got down there there would be murder and terrible distress. Instead, they began to act sensibly, and, as the noble Lord said, they are trying to get some sort of non-alignment.
Can we get this in Angola? The trouble with Angola did not begin with Marx but with Portugal, with a type of government that was exploited. What I am worried about is that this will lead not to differences of capitalism and Socialism or Marxism and Communism; but 454 that if we make a mistake in Africa it will lead to black versus white. Reason will go out of the window. In countries like America and Europe where many good coloured citizens are now living, they will find a cause and we can have a situation bigger than the Irish problem unless it is handled with diplomacy. In my own way, I pay tribute to the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel. I did so to my noble friend in front of me and the noble Lord who spoke there. I interspersed to point out that no matter how much we talk, we have not the military power today and, in the last analysis, we must learn the art of diplomacy—as the British can if they use the profound common sense that they have shown many times in their history. This is the chance to show our leadership.
§ 7.38 p.m.
§ Lord GARNER
My Lords, I apologise for making a brief intervention at this late stage, particularly as I have nothing constructive to suggest. I am deeply distressed by two sets of facts which are irreconcilable and to which I find no easy solution. On the one hand, we face a nightmare that yawns ahead. There has been aggression by foreign forces aided by Communist instigation. Our own partners are in disarray. United States action is paralysed. The policy of the Union of South Africa which was building up for détente seems to lie in ruins, and forces which will claim the victory, even if they do not earn it, lie poised for further action. We think here particularly of Rhodesia, which has been mentioned on several occasions. Successive British Governments have been saying to Europeans in Rhodesia over the last ten years or so that there is no hope for the future if the whites and the blacks cannot learn to live together. This lesson has not been learned so far, and it seems to me that the day of reckoning may be soon at hand.
I sympathise deeply with the feelings of concern and anxiety—perhaps of exasperation—that have been expressed this evening. We must face the facts of the situation and be sure that any action we take will produce the result we want and will not land us in a worse position than we were in before. That is what makes me nervous of the proposal to take this matter to the United Nations. I see no evidence that African nations as a 455 whole want a reference to the United Nations. I see no evidence that if we were to have a resolution in front of the Security Council it would necessarily command the support required, let alone a Russian veto. Therefore, I urge that we should think carefully before we worsen our position and reveal ourselves to the world as in a more weakened position than we were at the beginning.
As I said, I have no solution. I hope when the Minister replies he will have some crumbs of comfort for us. The essential objective of all of us in this debate must be to try to secure the removal of the foreign forces which have been operating in Southern Africa. I am not going to outline in detail how we secure that. But we have to do two things. First, we must recognise the reality in Angola and come to terms with the new regime. In this connection, I agree with previous speakers who deplored the premature action of the French Government. Nevertheless, that does not affect the broad scene there. Secondly, we have to redouble our efforts and bring all our influence to bear to try to secure that a sensible solution is arrived at in Rhodesia itself.
§ 7.42 p.m.
§ The MINISTER of STATE, FOREIGN and COMMONWEALTH OFFICE (Lord Goronwy-Roberts)
My Lords, I am sure the whole House will be most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Home of the Hirsel, for giving us an opportunity of discussing this extremely important matter, and for the manner in which he introduced the debate. Angola today not only illustrates the horrors of civil war and human suffering, it also presents the most dangerous implications for the peace and stability of Southern and Central Africa, and possibly in wider fields than that. Her Majesty's Government have made absolutely clear from the beginning their policy and counsel; that is, that it is wrong for any country to interfere in the internal affairs of another, particularly in newly-independent States moving towards self-determination. We have repeatedly said that the Angolan people should be left alone to determine their own future free of any kind of outside interference, whether by privateers or by Governments.
456 The House will recall a similar anxiety about the prospects for peace and freedom arising from the situation in Portugal. The policy and counsel of Her Majesty's Government on that occasion was exactly what I have said it is in regard to Angola. This was persisted in at this Box, in the Foreign Office, at the Box in another place and not without some success. When today we take a somewhat sombre audit of what is happening in Angola, it is just as well to recall that this principle of non-intervention has so far shown more than qualified success in a vital part of Europe and the world, Portugal. But other countries have intervened. It is clear that the conflict among the liberation movements which had been going on for most of 1975 could not have escalated into civil war, as it has done, if there had not been large-scale intervention by other countries.
The Soviet Union have supplied the MPLA in Angola with enormous quantities of weapons and military material. Up to 12,500 Cuban troops now operate in a far off African country outside any sphere of interest which Cuba could reasonably claim. We have made strong representations about foreign intervention to the Soviet Union, the Cuban Government and the South African Government. I was asked why, in his Cardiff speech—in a few paragraphs of an entire speech—my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary had not specified the Soviet Union in his condemnation of all kinds of intervention: in fact he referred to every kind of intervention from whatever quarter it came. That included the USSR as well as the SAR and the Cubans. He had earlier summoned the Soviet Ambassador, on the same day as representations were made to the South African and Cuban Governments, urging them strongly that they should stop their intervention in Angola, and this was made public.
§ Lord ORR-EWING
My Lords, before the noble Lord leaves that point—I have the speech in my hand—could he say whether the Foreign Secretary, when he made representations to the Cuban and South African Governments, made any representations simultaneously to the USSR?
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS
My Lords, this is exactly what I am saying. 457 Practically at the same time, on the same day as representations were made to the South African and Cuban Governments he summoned the Soviet Ambassador, urging strongly that they should stop their intervention in Angola.
§ Lord ORR-EWING
My Lords, may I apologise sincerely. That was not in the hand-out which was issued from Transport House. I am afraid I took that as my text and I apologise.
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS
My Lords, there is absolutely no need for the noble Lord ever to apologise to me. I know him too well to think that he would in any way deliberately mislead me or the House. I referred to the fact that reference was made to a few paragraphs in a larger speech covering a much wider field of public questions. If there was no specific reference to the Soviet Union in those paragraphs, nevertheless, at the same time as he made representations to South Africa and Cuba, he made these strong representations to the Soviet Union. We have also deplored, publicly as well as privately—diplomatically—that Soviet arms supplies have been made available in Angola, and the presence of about 500 Soviet military advisers. So the charge that my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has not dealt at least even-handedly with all those, including the mercenaries, who have intervened in Angola, does not lie effectively.
At this point, perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Orr-Ewing, may care to receive from me my view on what he said about the Prime Minister's reference to the mercenary incursion. I deplored every incursion, including mercenaries, when I replied from this Box. I ask the House to consider that at that time British policy and British counsel was achieving increasing credibility in Africa among the countries whom we were seeking to convince we were in earnest about non-intervention. It was at that time that this kind of sordid, bloody adventure was concocted in this country. This is what set off the fully justified condemnation of that adventure by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister. Quite apart from the sordidness of this adventure, the total irresponsibility in its effect upon the credibility of what this country was trying to get over to black Africa—
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS
My right honourable friend the Prime Minister was right to see that and to speak up about it. I am glad he did. We have in fact been playing a very active role in seeking a political settlement and an early end to all this bloodshed and destruction. The Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary has been engaged in a series of meetings with a number of African leaders. We have also been engaged in a great deal of activity and diplomacy. Whatever happens militarily on the ground, it seems to us essential for the long-term political stability of Angola and of Central and Southern Africa that the future Government of Angola should be as broadly based as possible. I wish the noble Earl, Lord Onslow, were here, because he made a very important point in his speech—
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS
So long as we apologise about the right things! Lord Onslow made a very important point when he referred to Mr. Smith. I hope he will forgive me if I paraphrase him. He referred to the fact that if Mr. Smith at long last was to do the statesmanlike thing and not act out of obduracy and blindness—I repeat his blindness, his lemming-like blindness —to what is staring his country and himself in the face, and made even a small gesture, this could transform not only the prospects for Rhodesia but the prospects of the entire length and breadth of Africa.
§ Lord WIGG
My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt my noble friend, but this is vitally important. The time for small gestures is long since past. The first part of what he said about Mr. Smith is right, but it is misleading Rhodesian and world opinion to imply for one moment that the situation in Africa, which is now coming up to boil, can be transformed by empty gestures. It is actions that matter.
§ Lord GORONWY-ROBERTS
My Lords, a small gesture need not be an empty one: it can be a very real one. However, I take my noble friend's point. It must be a real gesture if it is done at this point when moderate—perhaps the term "moderate" is a dangerous one to use—or constructive black African leadership has been ready to co-operate. This is the golden chance: perhaps literally the last chance. That is why I thought the noble Earl, in putting the point he did, rendered a service to the debate and to the House.
I turn rapidly now to one of the central points which was made by the noble Lord, Lord Home. He pressed hard for action in the Security Council to call for the withdrawal of forces from Angola. I want to be very frank about this. Like him, I am a United Nations man; that is to say, I am desperately anxious to see the emergence of a real world authority to which all sovereign States can really defer in matters of peace and co-operation. But I would ask the House to pay particular attention to the caveat mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Garner. Perhaps I should put this in my own words. In our view, unless the African countries themselves show willingness for the United Nations to become involved in this situation—and they have so far made it clear that they do not want this—there will be no majority at the United Nations for any course of action which we—and I refer to the whole House—would be likely to think helpful. Indeed, there is a danger that in forcing the issue, in making a demonstration—and I am profoundly attracted to doing this—we might induce another resolution tying the United Nations by majority to the exact opposite of what we have set out to achieve.
It is easy to shoot down an argument like this, because it is not an easy or pleasant policy to follow; but I suggest that it is essential, at least at this juncture. However, I want to assure the noble Lord, Lord Home, out of deep respect for the way in which he approaches these difficult and important questions, that what he has said is already being assessed and examined very carefully by the Government, and his words today will be particularly studied. Certainly, if the situation were to change in 460 the way we think would be helpful to the purposes of the proposed move, we should wish to play a constructive role ourselves. We will most certainly keep this matter very closely under review, and indeed we are doing so already.
The noble Lord, Lord Banks, linked, quite rightly, the United Nations possibility with the EEC and the OAU. I am not suggesting for a moment that the noble Lord, Lord Home, was suggesting a simplistic move on these lines by the United Kingdom alone, because he was not. I think the noble Lord, Lord Banks, put it precisely. I agree that we must move with the Community and with the Commonwealth in the United Nations. I do not wish to join in the denigration of any member of the Community, but perhaps the time is coming when it is necessary to say that if the political advantages of joint action by the Nine arc to be realised, then all the countries of the Nine must join in. If there is advantage in NATO, then everybody should be in, and not in-and-out, according to what may momentarily prove to be convenient. I have said before that I get a little tired of hearing the denigration of this country for the shortcomings of its friends and partners. This country is playing fair with the Community, despite the fact that there still remain in some quarters substantial reservations, as we have just heard, about remaining Members of the Community. This country is playing fair with all the organisations to which it belongs. This is a patient people—perhaps a little slow moving—but it is slow in moving away from its commitments as well as perhaps a little slow in moving towards the acceptance of new commitments.
If this debate does nothing more than emphasise once again that this country cannot do it all on its own, that it has the right to expect co-operation and help over the whole vast field of political and economic action—and a little help on Concorde would not come amiss—and a little more consistency in regard to what we call "joint action by the Community", then it will have achieved something.
The noble Lord quite rightly asked what we are doing to get joint action by the Community. Yesterday and today, the United Kingdom has been exerting itself in Luxembourg to achieve joint action. It is not for me to retread the 461 excellent speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Caccia, who was the first of a number of speakers to point out that the ranks have been broken already. This is, perhaps, plain speaking. The noble Lord asked me to use the right phraseology. I hope I am not disappointing him.
What comes out of this debate? Is it despair?—nothing of the sort! We forget our successes. I referred to one—the transformation of the rather grisly prospect in Portugal; probably in Spain, too. There is also the far more hopeful position in Greece. It is not for this country, or this House, to lose its nerve. We need to think carefully, as the noble Lord, Lord Garner, told us, about what we do, and reach out for our friends and partners and, with friendly frankness, seek to build cohesion of action which, once we get it, must prove effective.
I turn swiftly to another point raised by the noble Lord, Lord Home; that is, the future of détente. The Russians have argued that détente has nothing to do with their involvement in Angola in support of the MPLA. We have made it quite clear that we do not accept this, and we have made it clear both privately and publicly. The adoption of policies which serve to prolong rather than reduce tension, in the Third World in particular, can only be damaging to the spirit of global détente which the Soviet Union claims to cherish.
The noble Lord asked that we begin to monitor the implementation of the Helsinki agreements. We have never ceased to monitor them since their signature, and if the Soviet Union believe that in 1977, when the Review Conference takes place, we shall ignore and pass over the record of the Soviet Union during this period, then they have truly lost their touch with reality. Détente means responsibility and restraint on both sides, not just on one side. I have said at this Box that we do not accept what is sometimes called the Brezhnev doctrine of qualified sovereignty. We do not accept it in Europe; we do not accept it in Angola. I believe the Russians understand that we do not accept that doctrine. What is needed is not to denounce détente, but to restore it.
At this point, one is in difficulty about referring to third countries, and nobody knows better than the noble Lord, Lord 462 Home, who has served in a distinguished capacity at the head of these affairs, how difficult it is to do this. I am pro-American. I am grateful for the immense contribution made by that great republic across the Atlantic. I have great faith in their future. It may be that, for the moment, they are nursing their psychological wounds after one or two little local difficulties, but it would be a great mistake to under-estimate the tremendous moral, as well as material, strength of the United States. It would be an even greater mistake if Europe and the Free World were to neglect for a moment, as some two years ago we were in danger of doing, the real bonds between us and North America.
Finally, may I refer to another strand of discussion in this debate; that is, recognition. It is clear that the situation has evolved very fast and we are reaching a new phase. The question of recognition was discussed very fully by the political directors of the Nine in Luxembourg yesterday and today. I use the language which the, noble Lord, Lord Caccia, has enjoined on generations of Ministers, and again tonight on me. There is a diversity of procedures in the Community in regard to recognition. Not all Members are yet in a position to take the required action. Some may be in a little bit of a hurry; others are not in such a hurry.
It is now for individual Member Governments to decide on the question of recognition, in the light of the discussions which have taken place in the last two days. While those discussions did not literally synchronise the timing of the declaration of recognition, they nevertheless achieved a very substantial consensus among the Nine as to their way ahead, individually and collectively, in regard to Angola. The French Government announced today their recognition of the MPLA Government; other Members of the Nine may follow in the next few days. Her Majesty's Government are, like the others, carefully considering this matter, and I should like to inform the House that a Statement is likely to be made shortly on this question.
Of course, it is a pity that the Nine could not move as one. For the past year or so, there has been a gratifying increase in the amount of co-operation, at least on the political front, among the Nine. This is all to the good. In 463 the UN, and in other world for a, there has been a discernible contribution, which is all the more impressive and forceful because it has been a cohesive European one. But it is not yet perfect. Certainly, we should have preferred a joint move on Angola by the Community; in the event, this did not prove possible. But there will be a further opportunity for the Foreign Ministers of the Nine to discuss the question on Monday next. We still believe very strongly indeed—and I fully agree with the noble Lord, Lord Home, who made this point—that concerted action by the EEC would very greatly strengthen the position of the Free World; and when we get together on Monday I am quite sure that we shall, on the basis of the individual actions taken by members of the EEC, concert a proper kind of statement which will cement together on Angola a consensual European approach.
The debate has been valuable. It has brought out two points—deep concern about the future of Africa and about the possible dangers to the Free World, and deep concern also about the future of real détente. It has also sent another message: that of a growing determination to consolidate the Free World—in the Community, in the Commonwealth and in the United Nations—behind a joint policy aiming at non-intervention, peace and stability. This is the two-fold message that this debate has, I think, shaped.
I am quite sure that Her Majesty's Government have been and are thinking very hard about these two points and will consider with great attention what your Lordships have said, particularly because so much of what has been said tonight is fully in accord with the policy of Her Majesty's Government.