Mr Julian Amery (Brighton, Pavilion)
When the Opposition Front Bench spokesman replies, no doubt the issue will be clarified. I understood my right hon. Friend to say that we shall not be renewing the order. If that is not so, there is less hope for Rhodesia than I expected.
I despair of the attitude of the Government. They are sunk so deep in ignominy and cowardice, and the Anglo-American policy is in such ruins, that they cannot lift it out of the mud again. Therefore, a heavy responsibility rests upon the Conservative Party—especially as we may be on the eve of an election—to declare its positive plan. I shall not develop that. My right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling) said exactly what I believe to be true. There is a chance to bring Rhodesia back to legality, to end rebellion, to lift the sanctions, to weigh in with massive help and to ensure that an election takes place and that the colony of Rhodesia goes forward to independence.
Only recently a friend of mine went to the Foreign Office. He asked an official, who must be nameless, for his reaction to the Maudling plan. He was told that it was "insane". When he asked why the official took that view, he was told "If we were to accept the responsibility of being the colonial Government again and if the Russians or Cubans escalated the conflict, we should have an obligation to help Rhodesia." It seems that the thought sent a terrible shudder down the spine of the Foreign Office.
I do not believe that the Soviets would be silly enough to try to mount a major conventional operation so many thousands of miles away from their bases and the Cuban bases. I could be wrong. However, if the Soviets are determined to stake everything on securing control of Southern Africa, with its mineral resources and strategic importance, surely we shall have to rise to the challenge and defend our principles and our interests. In politics, courage is a much better counsellor than cowardice. I remind the Foreign Secretary of the old German saying:
Money lost, not much lost. Honour lost, much is lost. Courage lost, all is lost.