Mr Patrick Wall (Haltemprice)
Recently two books were published which attracted a great deal of interest. One was by Lord Bethel, the other was by Count Tolstoy. They referred to the period 1945 to 1946, when 1 million Russians—some were prisoners of war, some had fought for the British and some were slave labour liberated by the British—were forcibly handed over to the USSR to face execution or, what is perhaps worse, exile in Siberia.
It was then regarded as a matter of expediency by Ministers—this has been proved by recent papers—and was the subject of a cover-up by the Foreign Office, so that Parliament and the people of this country should not know what was going on. It was a shocking chapter in British history which would never have been tolerated by Parliament or the people of this country had they known what was going on.
History repeats itself not directly but sufficiently closely for us to learn a lesson if only we have eyes to see. Today, Ministers as a matter of expediency, assisted by a Foreign Office which appears to have a personal vendetta against Mr. Smith, appear to be preparing to hand over 6 million Rhodesians, black and white, to Communist rule. Many may then face the fate that the Cossack brigade faced in 1945–46, and first among them, as the Foreign Secretary must know, will be Bishop Muzorewa, Chief Chirau and Mr. Sithole.
There have been repeated failures in settling our quarrel with Rhodesia, failures which were the responsibility of the Rhodesian Government as well as of both Labour and Conservative Governments in this country. We must all share the blame—UDI, "Tiger", "Fearless", Pearce and so on. I believe—and this has come through in the debate today—that the most serious failure of all has occurred under the present British Government, who have disregarded the fact that internal settlement gives the basis for concluding this quarrel with Rhodesia in a peaceful way.
In September 1976 the Kissinger proposals gave the Government all that they had been asking for—an interim multiracial Government and majority rule within two years. In return, sanctions would be lifted and, if possible, guerrilla warfare would be ended. At that time Mr. Smith said:
Dr. Kissinger assured me that we share a common aim and a common purpose, namely, to keep Rhodesia in the free world and to keep it free from Communist penetration.
How Her Majesty's Government and the present American Administration have betrayed that promise! Today they appear to vie with each other to hand over Rhodesia to the Marxists.
Only the Oppositions in our two countries appear to appreciate the real danger of the present Anglo-American policy in the whole of Southern Africa. My right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) made clear what could be done to save a deteriorating situation. The Conservative Party, unlike the Government, would back the internal settlement, would try to make it effective and would assist in every way possible in the holding of a general election in Rhodesia, which both sides of the House agree is essential.
I turn to the other side of the Anglo-American agreement. The Republican Party of the United States of America recently published a policy document, the title of which is interesting:
On the Wrong Side in Africa.
The Carter Administration labels the democratic moderate compromise agreement as illegal and instead abets and encourages a small terrorist minority among the blacks:—
—That does not want peace between the blacks and whites but bloodshed.
—That is unwilling to compete in free elections, fearing that the vast majority of blacks would reject them,
—That does not wish to build a democratic nation, friendly to the United States, but a Marxist totalitarian dictatorship beholden to the Soviet Union.
That is the view of the Opposition in the United States, and I believe it to be the view of many Opposition Members here.
That is indeed a condemnation of Ambassador Young's policies. But how much more is it a condemnation of the policy of Her Majesty's Government, who have decades of experience in African affairs and should therefore know better? Indeed, I suggest that they are betraying the very people they claim to be protecting—the black majority.
The Foreign Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford and, indeed, the interim Government of Rhodesia want to bring Joshua Nkomo into the provisional Government. But why should he agree to this? He has said that he expects to win by the gun. Perhaps I should say that he expects Robert Mugabe's Shona to win by the gun, and then he can turn round and destroy them, or perhaps, at the worst from his point of view, he can partition the country between the Matabele and the Shona.
What possible bait can the Foreign Secretary offer when Mr. Nkomo can claim that both super-Powers, the colonial power—ourselves—the United Nations and the OAU are all on his side? I suggest that there is only one way in which Mr. Nkomo might be persuaded to change sides, and that is by the immediate lifting of sanctions and the recognition of the interim Government, which I and a number of my hon. Friends have recommended consistently. This advice has been rejected by both Front Benches, but I have yet to hear from either Front Bench a feasible alternative which will attract Joshua Nkomo to join up with the internal settlement.
Meanwhile, Mr. Mugabe's guerrillas murder and pillage from Mozambique and, when the Rhodesians hit back, the Foreign Office expresses shocked surprise and gives increased aid to assist Mozambique.
Meanwhile, Mr. Nkomo abducts school-children from Matabeleland against the wishes of their parents, which have been expressed publicly and openly, and trains them in Zambia for further battles against the Shona—not against the whites—and the Foreign Office takes no action beyond expressing its regret.
But now there is talk of a rescue expedition which may be necessary if Rhodesia is reduced to chaos. Yet the same Government who, I believe, have encouraged this chaos have so reduced our forces that it is virtually physically impossible to mount such an expedition. The Government have virtually destroyed our paratroop force and got rid of most of our long-range military transport aircraft—the Belfast fleet—and greatly reduced the Hercules fleet.
As has been said from the Government Benches, it is not only the quarter of a million whites who will have to be rescued but many blacks as well, and I support fully the view that it would be disgraceful to bring the whites over here because they happened to have blood relations here—it is said that there are 6 million people in this country who have blood relations in Southern Africa—and disregard the blacks. That cannot be done. But it will indeed be poetic justice if in the end Her Majesty's Government find that they have eliminated finally the possibility of any help from Zambia and have to rely on the hated South Africa in their rescue operations. That is what it may come to.
Marty hon. Members have asked what a Conservative Government would do if they won the next General Election in the near future and had to reap the whirlwind of the present Government's policies. I believe, as any sensible person believes, that it must depend on the situation. No one knows what it will be in October or November. If one listened to the Jeremiahs, one would believe that it will have deteriorated enormously. But I do not believe that it has deteriorated nearly as much as some hon. Members have said. However, no one knows what will happen.
There are many Opposition Members who are not prepared to see any continuation of the sanctions order. It would be very unfortunate if the first act of a Conservative Government was one which we could not support.
I believe that my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling) has produced a solution which could be followed up by a Conservative Government. I do not believe that the present Government could follow it up, because there is no trust between the Rhodesians and the present Government. However, my right hon. Friend's suggestion in his motion could be followed up by a Conservative Government. I commend it to my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford, and I hope very much that when he assumes office he will take steps along that line.
My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has a better understanding than any post-war Prime Minister of what happens in Africa. I believe that she could solve this problem, provided that the rot had not gone too far.
Up to the present, the Government's policy has been based on compromise and expediency, and this has been well illustrated by the excellent articles by the Rhodesian Prime Minister which have been published in The Daily Telegraph. What is needed today is positive leadership.
The British Government have failed to realise what is at stake in Southern Africa. They have all but destroyed the genuine, home-based multi-racial settlement not only in Rhodesia but also in Namibia. They have appeased Marxism in the shape of the Patriotic Front and SWAPO. With a background of decades of British experience in Africa, they have unfortunately been followed by the United States and the EEC. A change of Government here would almost certainly mean a change of policy in the E.E.C.
What really matters for the people of this country is that they should realise that the objective of Soviet policy is neither Rhodesia nor Namibia but South Africa, which controls the Cape route and is a source of at least eight of the world's key minerals. If South Africa falls to the USSR, so will Europe. If South Africa degenerates into chaos, so will Europe. The Government's policy seems to encourage both events and to assist the world-wide victory of Soviet imperialism in the guise of Communism.