Motion made, and Question proposed, That this House do now adjourn.—[Mr. Joseph Dean.]

4.17 p.m.

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Dr David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)

I do not think that any of us in this House would wish to go down for the Summer Recess without turning the attention of the whole House to the problem of Southern Africa in general and Rhodesia in particular. Certainly this was the Government's feeling in providing time for this debate. Few problems which face us at the moment can be potentially more dangerous for British citizens inside that country as well as for the whole of that continent, particularly the southern half of it.

The problem in Southern Africa is extremely complex and has been debated frequently in the House. There is a tendency to think, from the news coming out of Southern Africa, that it is all going wrong, that nothing is going right. I think that that is too defeatist an attitude. This week and over the past few weeks a very important decision was taken in the United Nations and in South Africa in relation to Namibia.

South-West Africa, or Namibia as it is now most commonly called, is a problem which has bedevilled the United Nations for over 30 years. Over the past 18 months there has been an attempt, unparalled in diplomatic history, involving the five Western Security Council Powers, to try to negotiate a settlement which would allow Namibia to become independent peacefully, under the auspices of United Nations resolutions. Those discussions have been extremely difficult. They have had to take place between two major elements which are currently fighting each other—the Government of South Africa, who see themselves as the administering authority for Namibia, and the main liberation movement, SWAPO. Those two bodies hold very different views, and many hours of discussion have taken place between myself, the Foreign Ministers of the United States, France, Germany and Canada and diplomats from all our countries. Extensive consultations have taken place with most of the member States of the United Nations and with the Secretary-General. Perhaps above all there have been consultations between the major African States, particularly between Nigeria and the five front-line Presidents. It says a lot for the willingness of all the differing parties, despite firmly held views, and their willingness to compromise that we are close to success. I do not say that we have finally achieved it.

It is certainly greatly helped by the decision taken on Monday by the South African Cabinet to invite the United Nations Secretary-General to send his representative, Mr. Ahtisaari, to Namibia on 5th August to work with the administrator-general in that territory, Judge Steyn, in trying to produce a plan which, it is hoped, will go back to the Secretary-General at the end of the month and be voted on in the Security Council early in September. That plan will have to be based on the detailed proposals that were put forward by the five Western Powers and endorsed in the Security Council.

There are many problems still to be negotiated. The composition of the United Nations transitional group will need to be negotiated and discussed. This is the responsibility of the Secretary-General. But there is a chance that the United Nations will have a presence on the ground to keep the peace during the transition, to supervise the elections and to ensure that Namibia moves to independence during the next few months. If that were to be done, it would be a formidable achievement.

Many discussions have taken place in the House over the past few months about Zaire, about our feelings of frustration and anxiety over the events in Kolwezi and Shaba province, about the obvious ill feeling that existed between Zaire and Angola and about the general concern which all Members of the House share about the Cuban presence in Angola. It has been easy to despair that an African solution was possible.

Over the months many people—perhaps unwisely—peddled what were superficially attractive solutions of Western intervention, involving NATO involvement and suggestions of pan-African forces. Luckily, wiser counsel prevailed, and it was argued that, patiently and carefully, we could use our influence to help Africa solve that problem. The Belgian and French Governments, helped by the United States Government and by ourselves, launched a humanitarian exercise to try to save life in Kolwezi. There were many suspicions in Africa that that force would stay, that it was intended as an international force and that it would become involved in the dispute between Angola and Zaire. That has not been the case. That force has been withdrawn and replaced with an African force.

It was further felt that Western pressure on Zaire to try to make political and administrative changes might lead to an alienation of the Zairean Government from the West. It says much for the statesmanship of President Mobutu that he has been prepared to listen to considerable criticism. Although these are early days, there are some hopeful signs that the Zairean Government are making some of the administrative and political changes that are necessary to bring stability to that country.

As a result of a series of meetings over the past few days, arranged with the encouragement of the Presidents of Zambia and the Congo, President Mobutu of Zaire and President Neto of Angola have taken significant steps towards reconciliation. Diplomatic relations are to be established between their countries and provision made for the return of refugees whose exile has provided the focus for the dispute in Shaba province. The proposal to open the Benguela railway should greatly help the economic situation in the whole region and will also make a valuable contribution to Zambia's economic recovery, which is of importance to us all when we consider the problems over Rhodesia.

It is welcome to see both States turning to the Organisation of African Unity to establish a commission of four African States—Sudan, Ruanda, Nigeria and Cameroun—which will oversee the normalisation of relations and the surveillance of the common border. Therefore, in those two areas, both crucially important for the future of Rhodesia, both with a very considerable inter-relationship, there is a sign of very welcome progress.

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Mr Julian Amery (Brighton, Pavilion)

Has the right hon. Gentleman managed to convince the South African Government that our support for the Walvis Bay resolution was not a betrayal of the undertakings made in April to the South African Government? Does he regard the abandonment of the anti-Soviet liberation movement in Angola as a positive development?

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Dr David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)

I think that the fact that members of the South African Cabinet made their decision in the way they did reflects their belief that the five Western Powers' explanation of vote in the Security Council, and the discussions that we held with their Foreign Minister, Mr. Botha, had assured them that we did not wish to be coercive in the support for that resolution, and that we were making a distinction between the political arrangements for Namibia following independence and the legal situation.

It says much for the South African Government, of whom I have often been very critical, that they have been prepared to accept—although they do not accept that resolution—that they will enter into negotiations with a Namibian government following independence as a voluntary act on the future of Walvis Bay.

I therefore believe that, whilst there are no winners, as it were, the issue of Walvis Bay has been resolved in a way that is reasonably satisfactory to all parties. I do not believe that it will run away. I believe that it is impossible to see the long-term future of Namibia with Walvis Bay outside it. But it has always been the belief of the Five that one could not involve that in the complicated transitional period. That is why we left it outside. As I explained to the South Africans, the choice before us was whether to have a resolution which we should have to veto, which would have completely ended the whole initiative—a resolution on which we should have abstained and would therefore have had no control over the content—or a resolution which we negotiated, where we would have some influence on the content, provided that we were prepared to support it. I believe that the choice we made was the right one.

It is up to South Africa as to how it sees the stability of Angola, but I believe that it also sees signs, as I see signs, of a change inside Angola, of an emerging African nationalism. I believe that it is not unrealistic to envisage the day, as has already happened in the Horn of Africa, when there will be a reduction in Cuban forces in Angola and when eventually all Cuban forces will return to Cuba. There has been some reduction and some of those forces have gone back to Cuba—though nowhere near enough.

This all raises a fundamental question which has been under dispute in this House for over a year and a half, certainly as long as I have been Foreign Secretary, but going back a great deal longer than that—that is, how British influence should be exercised in Africa. It is a very complex question. It is easy to look back to days when British influence was not just influence but power. While we held colonies, we were able to decide the future of African countries. It is easy to look back even with nostalgia to those days. I do not have nostalgia for those days.

I believe that the record of decolonisation of successive British Governments since the war has broadly been a proud one in which we can hold our head up high. But we have to face the fact that one of the greatest problems facing us, and the one that has always threatened certainly to damage, and some would say at times to destroy, our record for de-colonisation has been the issue of Rhodesia. It has baffled successive Governments and successive Foreign Secretaries. Anyone who believes that there are easy, simple solutions to this problem is extremely foolish.

When I first took over this office, I was attacked for saying that I believed that I had to involve myself as extensively as I did in Rhodesia. People took the view at that time that we had no influence on these matters and that this was not an issue in which we had any form of influence or control. The right hon. Member for Down, South (Mr. Powell) said this, but others did, too. I always believed that the potential dangers of the situation in Rhodesia were so grave that it had to be a major responsibility of any British Foreign Secretary.

The question then arose as to how we were to exercise that influence. Hereby hangs the difference. I do not believe that it is a difference between the two Front Benches—I certainly hope not—but certainly there is a difference between some Members of the House as to whether or not one should exercise that influence working with the United Nations, the Organisation of African Unity and one's main Western friends and allies. I do not believe that there is another choice for any British Foreign Secretary than to use all those three areas of influence. By turning aside from that, the House would be making an extremely grave decision.

I put that to the Opposition for consideration in deciding whether they wish to make this a party political issue. I have endlessly striven to avoid that. I do not believe that it is in any of our interests, and it is certainly not in the interests of bringing about a negotiated settlement in Rhodesia.

Let there be no illusions. If we lifted sanctions we should immediately put ourselves into a major confrontation with the United Nations, the Commonwealth, the Organisation of African Unity and, perhaps most important of all, our closest Western friends and allies.

There have been changes in foreign policy towards Africa by all the major Western Governments. For a short time after the war, many people thought that in Africa we had made a historic decision. I pay tribute to the memory of Iain Macleod, who, as Colonial Secretary, undoubtedly made that shift and that change of emphasis in British policy. Since then many people have wondered at times whether we have shown quite the same determination and resolution about the settlement of African problems.

During that time, when successive British Governments have tried to live up to their responsibilities in Rhodesia, they have not always had the strongest support from their Western friends and allies. The imposition of sanctions has not been fairly and reasonably applied by all our Western friends and allies. There was the notable example of the decision of the United States Congress on chrome. Many other decisions have made it difficult for successive Governments to live up to the full implications of sanctions.

I believe that that has been a great tragedy for the United Nations as a whole. I still believe that, rather than fighting and loss of life, there is still a place for the peaceful means of persuasion, one of which is sanctions. The fact that sanctions have been able to be flouted during a long period has undermined many people's belief that such action can ever again be used effectively to introduce peaceful change. I believe that, if sanctions had been fully, firmly and fairly applied, we should not now be debating the grave situation that we face in Rhodesia.

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Mr Derek Walker-Smith (Hertfordshire East)

The right hon. Gentleman will forgive me for being a little surprised that he should say that the purpose of sanctions was to introduce change. Surely he and the House are aware that the purpose of sanctions is defined by and restricted to the provisions of article 39 of the United Nations Charter—a threat to peace. From whence does the threat now come?

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Dr David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)

It is right that it is a threat to peace. It may have escaped the right hon. and learned Gentleman's attention that there is a war going on in Rhodesia. Since 1972 there has been the loss of 7,000 lives. If sanctions had been applied more firmly and fairly beforehand, I do not believe that that would have occurred. There has been the loss of more than 1,000 lives over the past four months since the internal agreement was reached and signed in Salisbury.

The fact that there is a threat to peace cannot be in dispute. The question is, how do we resolve the dispute and work towards a peaceful negotiated settlement? It is my strong contention that if we abandoned sanctions at this stage we would place ourselves in the position of losing completely and absolutely all forms of influence over Rhodesia. When hon. Gentlemen decide how to vote tonight, let it be clear that there is a danger that their vote will be misconstrued, although there does not appear to be any difference between the two Front Benches on the issue of sanctions. I recognise that the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) has his problems, and I do not want to make them any harder for him. However, I believe that his vote tonight will be misconstrued by those who wish to do that—and there are quite a number—as indicating a major shift in the Opposition's policy towards Rhodesia. I hope that that is not their intention.

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Mr Robert Hughes (Aberdeen North)

Is my right hon. Friend aware that within the past two days in Aberdeen an article has been published in The Press and Journal saying that what the Rhodesians want—and are hoping for—is a change of Government to the Tories, who would be more amenable to the Smith regime? I believe that the Opposition's reaction shows that their votes tonight will not be misconstrued. They will be voting to support an illegal regime and all that goes with it.

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Dr David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)

I hope not. I should prefer the Opposition to explain their vote as being a criticism of me rather than a major change of policy on their part. If it eases their conscience and ability to pass through the Lobbies, let them make it a criticism of me. My shoulders are broad enough to take it.

Let us make no mistake about the choice which lies before the House in the method by which we may bring about a negotiated settlement. I believe that it has been shown in Namibia and Zaire that it is best to make progress by working with, rather than against, the United Nations, the OAU and the African countries. I believe that that course has been advocated not only by the British Government, the United States Administration, which appears at present to be the subject of some criticism from the Opposition, and the French Government but by the German Government and all the other members of the European Community. There is no major country in the world that, when given the opportunity to endorse the internal agreement in the United Nations, chose to do so.

The course which I advocated, which was neither to endorse nor to condemn the agreement, was difficult to persuade some of our friends and allies to support. That should be better understood than it is. Even at that time, they foresaw some of the problems that have arisen as a result of the internal agreement, not least the perpetuation of the severe divisions between the nationalist movements.

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Sir Ronald Bell (Beaconsfield)

Is the right hon. Gentleman suggesting that, if the British Government had recognised the provisional Government as the legal Government of Rhodesia, the European nations would not have followed in that recognition?

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Dr David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)

That is not only exactly what I suggest but what would have happened. The hon. and learned Gentleman should read the statement of explanation of the vote of the French, United States and German representatives in the Security Council when the issue came up. The House should recognise the change in French policy towards Africa that has taken place over the past few years. There was a time when the French continued to supply arms to South Africa, despite the resolutions of the United Nations. That has now changed. President Giscard has made it perfectly clear that he understands that that is an issue of major importance to the African countries which are close to France. France is now following a policy similar to ours, which is determined to ensure that white minority regimes will have to make steady progress towards majority rule.

I come to what our role should be in respect of Rhodesia. I believe that there is common ground between the two Front Benches that sanctions should not be lifted and that the effect of doing that would be severely damaging. It is important that we should work towards round-table talks, but that will not be easy to do.

I said at the time when I was discussing this aspect that I thought we should work privately, using quiet diplomacy—that none of the sides wanted to go back into a Geneva conference where all the wounds would be opened and publicly displayed. I believed that we should search to find a common area of agreement by discussions prior to holding round-table talks.

To that end, we have had the United States Ambassador, Mr. Low, and a Foreign Office diplomat, Mr. Graham, moving around Africa, largely without publicity, trying to bring about a better measure of agreement among all the parties. It is not easy, and I do not wish to mislead the House that I believe that we are within immediate sight of success. I want to be quite clear about that, though we have made considerable progress.

We have made progress in a number of areas. The United States was under great pressure to lift sanctions, and the House will have followed the debates that took place and the eventual passing of the Javits-Chase amendment. The American decision is, in fact, similar to the position that I adopted in reply to a Question from the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe), when he asked me what our attitude was to the fifth principle. Our attitude has always been, from the time that the internal agreement was signed, that it was not ultimately for us to make the decision about its acceptability, that we could have our doubts about it, but that it would be for the people of Rhodesia as a whole to determine it. We have stood by the fifth principle throughout these negotiations—as I believe we are bound to do and as successive Governments have done. The interesting aspect, however, of the Javits-Chase amendment was that the United States Congress believed that before elections took place all the parties should come to round-table talks.

It is often said in Africa that the African States do not want all-party talks and that all they wish to do is to support the Patriotic Front. A very important statement came out of the OAU summit meeting at Khartoum only a few weeks ago. I quote: The OAU maintained that while it supports the Patriotic Front as the sole liberation movement in Zimbabwe, it still maintains that the other political groups should be involved in an all-party conference. The Council reiterate the decision of the Assembly of the Heads of State in Libreville that while supporting the Patriotic Front within the context of the armed struggle in Zimbabwe, which the OAU supports, the choice of the leaders in Zimbabwe is up to the people of Zimbabwe.

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Dr David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)

Yes, through the ballot box. That is a clearer statement of the intentions of the OAU than we have had for more than a year, and it is an extremely important statement which was, I believe, a tribute to diplomatic pressure and persuasion and to the fact that we are working together to achieve a negotiated settlement.

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Sir Nicholas Fairbairn (Kinross and West Perthshire)

Assuming that such a conference could take place, and assuming that there were elections which the Patriotic Front won, what form of government does the Foreign Secretary imagine there would be in Rhodesia? Assuming that the Patriotic Front lost, what does he imagine the Patriotic Front would do then?

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Dr David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)

If round-table talks took place and it was possible to have a transitional government which involved all the parties—which would be one of the major aims of such a conference—they would, I hope, so conduct the run-up period to the election that the people of Zimbabwe would choose in a fair and free test of opinion. I have made no secret of my belief that, even if someone were to campaign on a Marxist ticket, as it is sometimes called, that would not be acceptable to the great bulk of the black African Rhodesians who would be voting for the first time in Rhodesia. I do not believe that any political party that takes that as its main slogan in fair and free elections will win support in an election.

I also believe that we ought all to expect that, during a transition period, there may be many political groupings different from those that now exist. In looking at Africa, we ought all to recognise that there is hardly a single nationalist leader or major figure who has not at one time worked with others to whom he is at present opposed. I hope even now that the divisions of opinion between them are not permanent and fixed. Given the opportunity to shift their ground, I believe that they could well do so. The question is how to achieve that and how to have a stable transitional period.

I come now to the issue which has been the dominant problem ever since fighting started in 1972—namely, how to bring an end to the fighting, which, since 1975, has escalated sharply. There must be something like 80,000 to 90,000 people currently under arms in Rhodesia.

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Mr Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler (North West Norfolk)

Can the right hon. Gentleman envisage circumstances in Rhodesia today in which elections could take place with the certainty that intimidation would not so distort the results of the election as to make it meaningless?

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Dr David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)

I agree with the hon. Gentleman. I cannot give that assurance, and I think that is why proceeding to elections with the present level of violence would be extremely difficult. I do not say that it has to be ruled out, but it is why I attach great importance to roundtable talks and why I believe that we have to deal with this issue of law and order.

I come to the issue of law and order. It has to be faced—

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Mr Geoffrey Rippon (Hexham)

Before the right hon. Gentleman gets on to law and order, may I ask him a question? He keeps talking about the negotiated settlement. What change does he think an all-party conference might make in the already negotiated internal settlement? What principle of that internal setlement does he think inadequate?

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Dr David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)

I would hope that the most successful change would be that at the end of it all parties would agree to work together. I have always been clear about the basis on which that conference would take place. We cannot expect any party to come to that conference abandoning its previously held views. Therefore, I have always made it clear that it would be held without precondition and proceed gradually by patiently working out the areas where there are already significant areas of agreement. There is, for example, a broad measure of agreement that there has to be some governing council, or executive council—call it what one will—which has administrative, executive and legislative functions, and that it should be possible to share power during this transitional period.

At the moment, the sharing is between only one of three elements of the nationalist movement and the whites, with the Patriotic Front outside.

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Dr David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)

The right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) is expert in many areas of the world. I do not know how much he has studied the issue of Rhodesia, but he will know that it cannot be said that it has simply been boycotted. The successful ingredient would be, even if one could not reach complete agreement, at least to widen the areas of agreement to cover more nationalist leaders than it currently does. This is a very widely held view in Rhodesia. Let the House be under no illusion about that. I believe that the majority of Rhodesians at the moment—the clear majority—would argue that no settlement will really work unless Joshua Nkomo enters into it. The wiser ones would also say that full opportunity must be given for Mr. Mugabe to come into it. Indeed, the right hon. Lady the Leader of the Opposition, in answer to a question, at one time did not exclude the presence of Mr. Mugabe or Mr. Nkomo at such talks. There is much agreement and common ground about a council.

I turn to the question of law and order. This presents a major problem because everybody, naturally enough, is wanting to be the president of the new independent Zimbabwe. That is a perfectly reasonable political ambition which all of us in the House ought to understand. But in this country to be Prime Minister does not mean that we wish to have in our own hands the total and complete control of the armed forces. We have a strong tradition of civilian control of the armed forces. We spread that control. In Africa, he who is seen to control the armed forces is seen to be the person who holds power. Over the past two or three years in particular, the crucial issue has revolved around who controls the armed forces. Therefore, on 1st September, when we put proposals to the House about the armed forces, they were widely welcomed in all aspects save for one area of criticism on the question of law and order.

I think it is true to say that outside the House a more realistic view was taken and it was broadly understood why we had to integrate the armed forces. The question how to do this has been one of the most difficult to solve. The statement mentioned that a Zimbabwe national army would be created, based on the liberation forces, with acceptable elements of the existing Rhodesian defence forces and with recruitment open to all. That was the area that was to be negotiated.

Let us look beyond the words at the substance of what has been discussed inside Rhodesia with the resident commissioner-designate and many others since then. The issue of integration of the armed forces, which was anathema to the Rhodesians in September last year, has gradually had to be accepted more and more.

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Dr David Owen (Plymouth, Devonport)

Yes. The right hon. Member for Knutsford may be right in saying that it is still anathema, but, unless a way is found to resolve this problem of the armed forces, the conflict will continue. Therefore, the way to try to achieve a solution leads to the question whether there is a role for the United Nations in holding the peace in the transitional period, as has just been agreed in Namibia. Can the United Nations hold the neutrality of the transitional administration while trying to create an army which will be loyal to whomsoever is elected president of Zimbabwe? Nobody believes that that will be easy, but no one has yet suggested any other way to deal with this question of the armed forces.

It may be possible to negotiate the issue directly between Mr. Smith, the Executive Council and the Patriotic Front forces. It will certainly be one of the major elements in any round-table talks. I have no preconceived ideas about it. but one of the most significant and important isues to come out of the meeting at Dar-es-Salaam was the acceptance by the Patriotic Front, under tremendous pressure from the front-line Presidents, that during the transitional period the armed forces must come under a resident commissioner who could be an agreed neutral figure.

That is an extremely important principle. I believe that it is the key to success, because it will not be possible to hold elections while one side is thought to control the armed forces. The recent raids into Mozambique have illustrated this point very well. One of the black nationalist leaders on the Executive Council is dissociating himself from the raids while the other is finding it difficult to explain the position. I believe that, though one can delegate some issues to the military during the transitional period, major issues of principle, such as deciding to raid a foreign country, would have to come under some form of political control. Control of the police and the armed forces lay at the root of the resignation of Byron Hove. That issue will have to be resolved if we are to try to de-escalate the violence.

It may not be possible to reach an accommodation and agreement with everybody. I believe that some elements are irreconcilable. Some people, who wish to fight this war to the bitter end, have no intention of negotiating any settlement. I have discussed these issues, and I think I know who those people are. I believe that if we were to attempt to go for a clean decision and not allow that element, which I believe is the dominant element in the Patriotic Front that is prepared to negotiate, a chance to come to a negotiated settlement, there would continue to be fighting in Rhodesia, even if the country were to go to an election and even if it were to be granted independence. We have an obvious demonstration of the dangers of this type of continued fighting between nationalist leaders in Angola which still goes on with three major elements in Angola.

The complexities of some of the issues that I have explained ought to indicate that we should agree to strive, even at this late hour, to assert our responsibilities. I recognise the relevance of the right hon. Gentleman's motion, and I have always believed that the assertion of our legal responsibilities—involving an independent, neutral figure during the transitional period—is necessary. But I disagree with the right hon. Gentleman in thinking that any British Government could do this by taking over tile internal agreement. We should seek to strive to widen the areas of agreement and to try to bring in all the parties. The insertion into the situation of the resident commissioner, which was a crucial element in our proposals last September, was a hitherto unprecedented acceptance of British legal responsibilities, and it still holds the key to avoiding chaos.

I should like to say a little about the dangers of chaos for Rhodesia. Though I personally believe that over the last few months there has been too great a temptation in the newspapers and in some of the comments here to over-write the success of the internal agreement and to portray it as being more stable and more successful than it has been, there has been a slight danger in the last few weeks to be too cataclysmic about the immediate future. No one can tell what will happen. The key question is morale. There could be a dangerous crack in morale and a very dangerous situation may develop. In such a situation, any Government must make contingency plans. We must be prepared to see whether we can avoid tragic loss of life among black and white Rhodesians. Of course we must avoid loss of life, and we are doing so, but we should not assume that these difficulties will not go on for quite a few more weeks and months. All the time I am convinced that we must work to try to bring the parties together. We must try to widen the areas of agreement.

I do not set aside the possibility that some irreconcilable element will have to be excluded, but if we are to adopt the internal agreement with the current level of fighting there is clear evidence to suggest that there are significant sections of opinion—I say no more than that—which will not work for its success. In view of the great difficulty of mounting any form of elections and a fair test of opinion, it would be an act of total irresponsibility for us to choose sides and to give up all influence on bringing the parties in dispute together.

I intend to go on talking to Mr. Nkomo, Bishop Muzorewa, Mr. Sithole, Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Smith. I shall go anywhere to see any of them. [HON. MEMBERS: "And Chief Chirau?"] And Chief Chirau. I shall speak to anyone, as I have always been prepared to do, and I shall continue to strive for a negotiated settlement. I believe that this is in the interests of this country. I believe that it is in the interests of Rhodesia. I believe that it is our responsibility, moral and legal, to bring about an independent Zimbabwe under majority rule where white and black can live together, where white skills and techniques and knowledge can make that country a rich country to benefit the rest of Africa, but a country in which there is a clear transfer of power to the black majority which is acceptable to those people and which this House judges to have fulfilled the Fifth Principle.

4.58 p.m.

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Mr John Davies (Knutsford)

We meet for this final major debate in this Session of Parliament on the subject of Rhodesia in a situation which seems to me one of extraordinary paradox. We may now be nearer in Rhodesia to a democratic transfer of power to majority rule than we have ever been. We may also be nearer to a situation of despoliation and disaster than we have ever been. No credit for the former possibility of democratic transfer attaches to the Government. A major part of the guilt for the danger of despoliation and disaster does attach to them.

Nearly two years have gone by since Mr. Kissinger took his initiative in Africa and, for the first time, procured the major breakthrough in the form of an acceptance of a transfer to majority rule. Throughout the ensuing period, the Opposition Front Bench and myself have tried by every means we know not to escalate the issue into one of party dispute. We have sought at all times to try by persuasion and by endeavouring to convince the Government of the rightness of what we thought to bring them nearer to our point of view. The total sum of that effort is an entire disappointment.

I think back over this period and how, from the time the Foreign Secretary assumed his office, I have persuaded and persuaded and called and called for the setting up of a mission in Salisbury and have asked him to nominate a person of prestige and obvious impartiality to take hold of the problem on the spot, to provide a channel of communication and to advance the whole question of the turnover foreseen in the Kissinger proposals. The Foreign Secretary has continually responded by saying that it is in his mind, but he has never done anything.

The Anglo-American initiative emerged in August and was later presented to the House. From the start, I sought to press on the Foreign Secretary the thought that to incorporate the security provisions implicit in that statement would be automatically to condemn it to failure. No sensible inhabitants of Rhodesia could accept a situation where those who had for so long been terrorising and massacring them would be those whom they would have to greet as their guarantee of security. How irrational that proposal was, how hard I tried to persuade the Foreign Secretary of that and how entirely obdurate he proved to be throughout.

I come now to the astonishing November declaration by Mr. Smith of his preparedness to accept the principle of universal sufferage—astonishing for a man who had said "not in a thousand years". Despite all my attempts to persuade the Foreign Secretary, was any real effort made to use that major declaration to push forward, in the way that the nationalist leaders in Rhodesia sought to do, towards an understandable settlement? No, none at all.

When the Foreign Secretary went to Malta earlier this year, I again pressed and pressed him, personally and on the Floor of the House, to use that occasion to persuade Joshua Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe, at a time when the internal settlement was not yet concluded, when negotiations were on and when the possibilities were there, to involve themselves in the operation and to convince them to do so. The right hon. Gentleman utterly failed to do that.

The same is true of my experience in seeking to be persuasive over the internal settlement. From the beginning—3rd March—I sought hard to ensure that this most enormous change in the circumstances in Rhodesia should be regarded as such and that it should be given every kind of help so that what was, at that time, a very delicate plant should be given a chance of life and the opportunity to survive, to come forward to something that was valid and to have the effect that was wished, namely a democratic transfer to majority rule. I sought so hard, and all I got from the Foreign Secretary was that he would neither endorse nor condemn the settlement. What a weak-kneed, incompetent way of handling this matter.

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Mr Alex Lyon (City of York)

The right hon. Gentleman has just returned from Rhodesia. What did he find was the attitude of the black population to the interim settlement? The reason that it was impossible either to agree or disagree with the internal settlement is that none of us knows what the blacks feel about it, though we are increasingly led to believe that they reject it.

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Mr John Davies (Knutsford)

I shall come to the great deal that I learned on my recent visit. I have not been without information throughout, because countless of my hon. Friends have been there.

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Mr John Davies (Knutsford)

How many Labour Members have been to Rhodesia? How few, how few.

I move on to the question of the development of this internal settlement through the difficult and agonising months since 3rd March. Immediately after my most recent visit to Southern Africa, I saw the Foreign Secretary and again sought hard to persuade him that many of the things that I have long sought that he should do are still required, but I got no response.

It is no longer possible for me and my right hon. and hon. Friends to seek to pursue that persuasive, low-level approach. The Government have been entirely unresponsive to it. Unfortunately, that lack of response has rebounded significantly to the damage of the situation in Rhodesia.

I have not been impressed by the Foreign Secretary's remarks in the House and I was even less impressed by what he said at the end of a business breakfast with Mr. Vance some time ago. Indeed, Lord Goronwy-Roberts in another place has tried hard to seek the cover of identification with the Opposition in their view of matters in order to escape the justified condemnation of the country.

Let us see where all this has landed us. I return to the question of my visit to Rhodesia and to Lusaka. The clearest of clear impressions that came to me was that I was faced on the one side with the Patriotic Front, in the person of Mr. Nkomo who was confident that he had only to intensify the fighting and to wait and the whole of Rhodesia would drop, like a ripe plum, into his hands. That is the position that I found and it is the result of all that the Foreign Secretary has told us today.

On the other hand, what did I find in Rhodesia itself? The internal settlement is obviously faltering in many ways—I make no secret of that. It is faltering primarily because the dozens, indeed hundreds, of people I saw on that brief visit all mentioned as their first problem the fact that clearly the whole of the outside world was against them and against the internal settlement. That is where the leadership of this Government has taken those people who sought a democratic agreement in their country.

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Mr James Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West)

Labour Members are not allowed to attend meetings of the 1922 Committee, but it is common knowledge in the House—in the Lobby, in newspapers and elsewhere—that when the right hon. Gentleman returned from his visit to Rhodesia, he said—and I am choosing my words carefully—that accepting the settlement of Smith and the three black men would not make it stick. Does he deny that?

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Mr John Davies (Knutsford)

I freely admit to the hon. Gentleman, who has always preserved a fair-minded attitude to this matter, that I said then and say today that it is not possible to recognise the internal settlement because it lacks the essential imprimatur of acceptance of the fifth principle, that is, the will of the people, which has not yet been declared. I freely admit that to the hon. Gentleman. I said it then and I say it now.

I fear that the net result of the Foreign Secretary's efforts has been to bolster the Patriotic Front in the belief that it cannot lose and to undermine the internal settlement. I found the people of Rhodesia in a state of great uncertainty. Whole areas that they had hoped and expected to be able to develop have not been developed. The elimination of racial discrimination which they promised has still not been done and needs to be done. The de-escalation of the war has not taken place. That needs to be done. It may be that "war" is not the right word. In Rhodesia we find a terrible permeation of the whole country by those who are bandits. They are simply set on massacre. They have chosen soft targets because they believe that others find the results more impressive. It is a horrifying and disgusting experience. That is part of the whole problem that has arisen because of the failure to grasp the problem of the war.

I do not doubt that the preparation for elections is inadequate. The completion of the constitution has yet to be achieved. The protection of minorities is, of course, the sixth of the principles that were set out by the right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson). That principle is still not entirely complete. All these matters remain to be completed. The internal settlement was a basis of consensus, but because the Government have adopted and followed the "Not endorse, not condemn" attitude, for so long—

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Mr John Davies (Knutsford)

We have certainly not adopted that approach. We have said throughout that we could not recognise but that we would support. I have said that continually and I continue to say so today.

What has happened? The nationalist leaders have found themselves compelled, because of the indifference and the total unhelpfulness of the British Government, to move around the world seeking such support as they can get. They have not been able to apply themselves as I had hoped in pursuing the problems.

Can the situation possibly be retrieved? I believe that it can, but only if there is a massive change of policy on the part of the Government. Unfortunately, none of my experience hitherto suggests that that will happen.

What has to be done? A mission has to be installed in Salisbury with proper leadership. It should have a competence in helping towards bringing about elections, which are the key to resolving the problem. It should not sit on the outskirts and watch disparagingly. It should go there to help. It should deal with the provision of an observer corps for the elections. It should try to mount that operation with all people and countries of good faith to secure progress.

I welcome what I believe to be the wise decision of the American Senate, which drew attention to the need for proper observation of the elections. Obviously, it has directed the attention of its Administration to the need to be involved and to provide for the constitutional requirements on the basis of minorities.

If that were done, the effect would be as great psychologically as it would be materially. It would have an immense uplifting effect on the morale to which the Secretary of State was referring. It would have a powerful effect. I wish to God that the right hon. Gentleman would accept the need so to act, as I have been recommending for so long. That would create the very circumstances that would enable the contesting parties to meet on an equal footing. They cannot do so at present because the Patriotic Front considers that it has the situation made. However, if the Government were seen to adopt the approach that I have outlined, they would tilt back the balance to something nearer normality. That is the balance between the parties. It is the balance of the parties—

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Mr John Davies (Knutsford)

I have said nearly 14 times that that is the balance between the parties. Can the hon. Gentleman hear or can he not?

Equally, there must be a time limit to the preparedness of the parties to come to any discussion. We cannot ask them to go on indefinitely. I remind the Prime Minister, who is occupying the Government Front Bench alongside the Secretary of State, that on many occasions I have been assured that there was no question of the Patriotic Front holding a veto against the settlement. I call the Prime Minister's attention to the reply that he gave me only the other day. I said to the Prime Minister: May I recall to the Prime Minister his answer to the question put by my hon. Friend the Member for Stretford (Mr. Churchill)? Is he seeking to say to the House that the fact that a war is being waged from outside a country's frontiers by guerilla forces means that automatically there is a case for non-recognition of the Administration within those frontiers? The Prime Minister replied: No, that was not what I said, and I do not think that the right hon. Gentleman would draw that deduction if he is making it as a general rule. If he is applying it only to Rhodesia at the moment, my answer would be 'Yes, I am saying that.'"—[Official Report, 27th July 1978; Vol. 954, c. 1793.] So the Prime Minister is saying that so long as the guerrilla war wages, however conducted, against the people who would wish to settle their differences within the country, so long the Government can never recognise the result. That is a clear denial of the right hon. Gentleman's former undertakings on the veto. That was a dangerous denial.

The Secretary of State has once again returned to the issue of an all-party conference. He does so without making adequate reference to the fact that every statement that he has ever made about an all-party conference has been to call it on the basis of the Anglo-American plan. That plan is as much anathema now in terms of its security provisions as it was originally. That is still an unacceptable proposition for the right hon. Gentleman to put forward. It may be that the parties will be able to come forward if they are totally uncommitted on both sides, and when there is no commitment even on the part of the Government or their American partners.

In the light of all the experience that I have had in trying so hard to change the Government's mind by persuasion, my one hope now is that there should be an early General Election for this purpose as for so many others. I take that view because I believe that until the election takes place the right steps will not be taken to overcome the immense difficulties that the wonderful country of Rhodesia is labouring under so that it may be brought back to a position of rationality and proper majority rule.

If that does not happen, we may find ourselves driven into desperation, into a situation in which we are faced with, as it were, a break down. I welcome so much the valid suggestion made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling), which in such circumstances may well need careful consideration and might have to be applied.

I realise the importance of sanctions. I have seen with my own eyes the effect of the limitations on the ability of Rhodesia to have access to the outside world. I know how difficult and important are the problems that sanctions raise. We must consider not only their practical effect. They have a symbolic effect as well for all sides.

I do not recommend my party at this stage to call for the immediate suspension of sanctions. I take that view because I very much hope that the time will come when the Conservative Party will be in office and will be able to deal with sanctions. When it does so, it must be from the point of view of legitimacy and from an unassailable position. That is my keenest wish and desire. I cannot see the present Government responding to that call. In any event, we must retain the total unassailability that Britain has alone in relation to Rhodesia. Britain alone can render an illegitimate regime a legitimate one by its own act. That must be done by the British Parliament.

I welcome greatly the Senate's resolution, which points the way to the American Administration. At the same time, I must repeat that if it appears clear by the time that we come to discuss the sanctions order in mid-November that the expectation of the internal settlement, which has now been declared, of holding an election between 4th and 6th December seems realistic and that Rhodesia seems about to hold the elections in free and fair conditions, I cannot see the Conservative Party voting to renew sanctions.

It is with regret that I have had to speak in these terms. I have had a completely and utterly unsatisfactory experience in dealing with the Government. I have endeavoured to the utmost to try to bring them to a state of reason in determining what they should be doing. They have consistently refused to take that approach. I call upon my right hon. and hon. Friends to accompany me into the Lobby this evening to mark their failure.

5.20 p.m.

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Mr Michael Maitland Stewart (Hammersmith Fulham)

The speech to which we have just listened from the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) has not made it any easier for us to understand what he actually believes about this problem. In debates not so long ago, he was thumping the Table and talking about ending sanctions. In the last few minutes he has told us, first, that he is not recommending his hon. Friends to vote against sanctions—a remark which was received with a gloomy silence—and a little later he was depicting again circumstances in which he would ask them to do so, and he got enthusiasm from the more zealous supporters of Mr. Ian Smith.

We are really, therefore, not very clear what the Conservative Party does believe about sanctions. We are even less clear what the Conservatives now believe about the internal settlement.

As far as I could make out, the reasons offered for voting against the Government were, first, that my right hon. Friend ought to have enthusiastically embraced the internal settlement earlier, and secondly, that the Government ought to have sent a mission to Salisbury. I shall deal with both of those points in a moment. But it seems to me that the right hon. Gentleman was painfully seeking some ground on which he could dissociate himself from the Government. What he ought to have been doing was seeking some ground on which he could clearly dissociate the main body of his party from those who have consistently supported the rebellion, because we are in this situation now. Let us look for a moment at what the situation is.

I believe that if the fighting goes on, it will end, sooner or later—and I accept the caution of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary about making prophesies about time—but it will end inevitably in the defeat of the Ian Smith regime in the most terrible circumstances. It is against that background that we have to consider what the situation is. I do not believe that anyone would really deny that will be the result if the fighting goes on.

Rhodesia, that unhappy country, has been brought into that situation by, first, the illegal declaration of rebellion. There have been many rebels in the history of our vast empire, many of whom, as we all know, ended up as the friendly and trusted leaders of independent nations. But they have all been able to claim that they represented their peoples or a large majority of their peoples.

Where Ian Smith is unique is that he has started a rebellion for the purpose of ensuring the domination by 5 per cent. of his people over the remaining 95 per cent. That is why one cannot regard him in the same way as insurgent leaders elsewhere. That surely is something that ought to have been condemned and discouraged from the start. [An HON. MEMBER: "It is past."] But this is what has led us where we are today, and it affects the judgment that we must pass on what would be right policy today.

We have been brought into the present situation by, first, an act of rebellion and, secondly, by the repeated refusal of many opportunities to conclude a reasonable settlement. The "Tiger", "Fearless" and several other proposals were obstinately turned down, because Mr. Smith believed that if he went on being obstinate he would retain his racial regime in power. A very heavy responsibility rests on all those, including some hon. Members of this House, who have encouraged him in that obstinacy. It is those people from whom the right hon. Member for Knutsford should try to dissociate himself.

In that situation the suggestion is put forward that the internal settlement finds a way out. When I first began to read the text of it, I earnestly hoped that that would be so. I had had such personal experience of the difficulties and the horrors attendant on this problem that I was anxious to see anything that was a practical way out. But there were two gigantic obstacles to it.

The first obstacle was that all the instruments of power remained firmly and unshakeably in the hands of the Rhodesian Front, and I doubted whether anyone would have confidence in a settlement that contained that principle dug into it. Secondly, the internal settlement contained the phrase that one of the duties of what is called the transitional Government would be to begin the removal of discrimination. But it was also provided that any measures for that, or indeed, for any other purpose, required the unanimous consent of the four—that is to say, that Mr. Smith had a veto on them. That seemed to me to be a gigantic difficulty.

But there was one ray of hope. The internal settlement might have been redeemed if the clause about the progressive removal of discrimination really began to take life. If we could have seen, in the months since the internal settlement was started, that there was a genuine effort to remove discrimination in schools, in land ownership, in what one will, one might have wanted to hope for the best about that. I therefore studied with great interest the two articles that appeared in The Daily Telegraph by Mr. Ian Smith to see what he said about this. There was not a paragraph, not a line, not a word. Mr. Smith does not apparently consider that this is a subject worth talking about—and I am afraid of the same here from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman.

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Mr Michael Maitland Stewart (Hammersmith Fulham)

Perhaps I do the right hon. Gentleman an injustice. Let us see the nature of the injustice. He said one thing about it. He said that the people in charge under the internal settlement were not making any progress on this subject. Mr. Smith does not regard it as worth talking about. The right hon. Gentleman, back from his visits, tells us that in this vital field the one thing that might have made the internal settlement a possible option was making no progress at all.

This is not something on which the Smith regime can say that they are inhibited, because my right hon. Friend does not speak more kindly. They could do something about schools. Whatever the situation, they have not begun.

I am bound to say, therefore, that for Britain to associate herself with a settlement which has those weaknesses would have put us in a totally impossible position, discredited and dishonoured with our friends in Europe, with Africa and throughout the world.

I look now at another suggestion. It is embodied in one of the early-day motions and particularly sponsored by the right hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling), which makes mention of return to legality and then working the internal settlement. I am sure that this is a genuine attempt at a solution. But the truth is that return to legality and the internal settlement are incompatible. A regime in which Mr. Ian Smith has a veto on anything that the Government may do is not a return to legality. A return to legality means that the full authority of the British Government is restored in Rhodesia. There is really no way forward here.

But there is one way. The phrase "return to legality" does have some hope in it. Notice what it means. It means the complete abandonment by Mr. Smith and those associated with him of his pretensions to be the lawful Government or any kind of Government in Rhodesia. It means the abandonment of this illegal declaration that should never have been made. If that were done, one could indeed have what the right hon. Gentleman wanted—a mission, a British Government presence, in Salisbury.

We really cannot send someone claiming to represent the British Government in Salisbury, where he is in a situation in which all the power is under the control of the Rhodesian Front and in which any changes in the conditions require the consent of Ian Smith. That would be to send him in chains. If someone from the British Government goes at all, he must go as the representative of the lawful authority. That is what "return to legality" would mean.

I think that there is a chance that we shall get a return to legality if those who have been encouraging Mr. Smith, those in this House, on his course so far were now to say plainly to him "Look here, we are people who have been your friends. We are people you can trust. We must now tell you that your illegal attempts are doomed to failure and the sooner you abandon them the better for everyone concerned and for everyone, black and white, in Rhodesia." That is the message that hon. Members and anyone who has influence with Mr. Smith ought to be giving to him now.

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Mr Geoffrey Rippon (Hexham)

Why does the right hon. Gentleman keep on talking about support for Mr. Smith? We are talking about support for the internal settlement. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]. What objection has the right hon. Gentleman to giving support to Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Sithole, who think that they have brought about the miracle of a negotiated internal settlement based on one man, one vote?

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Mr Michael Maitland Stewart (Hammersmith Fulham)

The right hon. and learned Member can please himself whether he listens to what I am saying. It is a free country. But since he has so obviously not listened to everything that I have said so far, he ought not to intervene. What the internal settlement means is all military power under the control of Mr. Smith and a veto on any action of the transitional Government by Mr. Smith.

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Sir David Price (Eastleigh)

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that Mr. Smith has moved a very long way towards the "Tiger" proposals since his original rebellion? Surely it is worth us in this House being a little more generous towards him in the hope that he will go the whole way? I am with the right hon. Gentleman. If Mr. Smith would return to legality it would solve most of the problems. But having gone so far towards majority rule we surely ought to be a little more helpful.

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Mr Michael Maitland Stewart (Hammersmith Fulham)

I would have been glad to believe that that could have been so. But when one notices the dismissal of Mr. Hove merely for saying that there ought to be changes in the power structure, which everyone knows is tree, when one notes the complete failure to do anything to remove discrimination in any form and the continuance of the Smith veto unchanged, I do not see how we can have the confidence in Mr. Smith which the hon. Gentleman asks us to have.

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Mr Michael Maitland Stewart (Hammersmith Fulham)

If the hon. Lady studies one of the latest pieces of news, I think she will find that Bishop Muzorewa must be rather more concerned about the degree of confidence which those in Africa who previously followed him now have in him than what the reactions of this House may be. I am afraid that every sign is that the internal settlement is breaking up of its own defects.

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Mr Michael Maitland Stewart (Hammersmith Fulham)

The hon. Gentleman can believe that if he likes. I, therefore, conclude—

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Mr Michael Maitland Stewart (Hammersmith Fulham)

No, I am sorry. I have given way enough. What is required is a return to legality and then the kind of conference which my right hon. Friend has in mind. Anyone who wants to end this dreadful story of blood in Rhodesia ought to be encouraging and supporting my right hon. Friend in the efforts which he has made to get a conference—I give way to the hon. and gallant Gentleman.

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Rear-Admiral Morgan Morgan-Giles (Winchester)

I am very grateful. The right hon. Gentleman seems to be concluding his speech. He referred just now to Mr. Smith leaving out essentials. Is it not fantastic to sit here in the House of Commons and hear a Foreign Secretary and an ex-Foreign Secretary make no mention whatever in their speeches about Soviet involvement in this whole ghastly problem?

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Mr Michael Maitland Stewart (Hammersmith Fulham)

Oddly enough, I was going to refer to that, because I was going to say something about the position of the Patriotic Front. The Patriotic Front must be brought into these discussions. I know that there are some Opposition Members, who, immediately one says that, cry out "Talking with murderers". Unhappily, there are so many people of so many different factions in Rhodesia against whom the word "murderer" or the word "traitor", could be flung. We do not get very far by those exchanges. If we get a settlement at all—

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Mr Michael Maitland Stewart (Hammersmith Fulham)

No. If we get a settlement at all the blood must be forgiven and forgotten on both sides. But the prelude to that is a conference which brings in the Patriotic Front.

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Mr Michael Maitland Stewart (Hammersmith Fulham)

I am sorry, I am not giving way any further. I have given way enough. Other hon. Members want to speak. By what means can the Patriotic Front

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Rear-Admiral Morgan Morgan-Giles (Winchester)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Mrs. Knight) distinctly heard the right hon. Gentleman refer to her. Is it not customary to give way in those circumstances?

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Mr Michael Maitland Stewart (Hammersmith Fulham)

What arguments or motives are there at this stage to get the Patriotic Front also to make the step forward which is necessary for peaceful settlement? That is exactly the point which the hon. and gallant Member for Winchester (Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles) raised. I trust the Patriotic Front wants a country which will be ruled by the people of Zimbabwe for their benefit and not under any kind of foreign domination.

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Mr Michael Maitland Stewart (Hammersmith Fulham)

The danger is that the longer the struggle continues the greater the chance that baneful influences from outside will increase. It is entirely proper to emphasise that point. I trust that the leaders of the Patriotic Front will realise it. I think also that they should realise this. I suppose that it is in their power, in the last resort, to say "No, we want to fight to a finish. Rather the whole of our own way accomplished by blood than a good part of it accomplished by agreement." If that is the course on which they are determined, I hope they will think first of this. If they come into their inheritance that way, what a mangled and impoverished inheritance it will be. It is very difficult to visualise the wretchedness of the country that they will inherit. That ought to weigh with them.

There is a further consideration. There is more than one leader in the Patriotic Front. As always in politics, there are rivalries and mistrust. If they think that the road forward is by blood all the way, they will find, as Andrew Marvell wrote: The same arts that did gainA power, must it maintain. Whoever first comes out on top, if things go that way, will be living in a country where he will know "I got here by force. Others might follow my example." It would be a regime of fear, dread, suspicion and tyranny.

All of this can be avoided if there is from Smith a recognition that the whole illegal declaration of independence was a piece of wicked folly and ought to be abandoned. If there is a return to legality, then the Foreign Secretary's hands are greatly strengthened in any discussion he has with the Patriotic Front which has, as I have suggested already, powerful and practical reasons why it should listen to the voice of peace rather than the thought of victory by blood.

It is impossible to answer the question "How pessimistic or optimistic is one about the outcome?" The situation is very dark, but there is the possibility of peaceful settlement. I have tried to suggest to the House what the ingredients of it are.

5.39 p.m.

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Mr Reginald Maudling (Barnet Chipping Barnet)

Many right hon. and hon. Members wish to speak, so I shall be as brief as I can be and also as positive as possible. To combine the two is not easy.

Let no one underestimate the gravity of the impending tragedy in Rhodesia. The possibility is a collapse, political and economic, and bloody warfare between black and white and between black and black. Nor should we underestimate the effect on this country if that should happen, because the wound left upon the conscience of Britain would be deep and long-lasting. But it is not inevitable. It can be avoided, but it will happen unless some action is taken to avert it.

The current position cannot last. It is possible for the Government of Rhodesia to contain the guerrillas, but they cannot destroy them. How can life go on without some prospect of victory and peace at the end? What future is there now for any young white man in Rhodesia? What future is there for Rhodesia without the white population? What future is there now for the peaceful black population if the men with the guns seize power? They come, Cuban trained, with Russian arms and with murder in their hearts, across the boundaries into Rhodesia. It may be said that they come in support of what they believe to be a just cause, but so do the members of the Provisional IRA.

It seems to me that there are several choices at present. The first is to let things continue on the path of chaos and carnage. The second is to accept the view that the settlement is working, that an election will soon he held, in December, and that all will then be well. I do not believe that. I wish that I could believe it, but it is not the world in which we live. It will not happen. Men of good will would like it to happen, but it will not.

Next, we could accept the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary's suggestion of a conference among all parties to reach agreement. Again, I wish that I could believe in that, that I could believe that it would happen, but I do not. Too much blood has been shed already. There is too much fear and too much lust for power to make that possible.

Then, we could wash Britain's hands of it all. That is a choice too shameful to contemplate.

None of those choices seems to me to be acceptable. I am driven to the conclusion that the only way in which we can make progress and avert disaster is to support the internal settlement, on the right terms and in the right circum stances.

My first reason is that the internal settlement was agreed within Rhodesia, between the representatives of the Europeans and the representatives and leaders of the black Nationalist Party in Rhodesia. My second is that the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary has accepted that the internal settlement meets all the principles for which both sides of the House have stood for many years.[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes. Hon. Members should look at the answer of 18th April. The internal settlement meets all the principles for which we have stood, save the one outstanding question of the test of public opinion at a free and fair election. Our job is to see that there is a free election.

How can one support the internal settlement in practical ways? I do not believe that to remove sanctions now in favour of an illegal regime would help. It would be ineffective and divisive. It would be no real help to Rhodesia if the United Kingdom alone were to take that step. We should accept and recognise the internal settlement and the provisional Government as a basis for a return to legality of Rhodesia under the Crown.

If we study the history and the experience that some of us have had in the independence of colonial territories, we see that there are plenty of precedents. After all, Rhodesia is still de jure a colony, and only this Parliament can give it legal independence.

In the independence of every colony there has been a period of self-government under a British governor on the basis of a constitution agreed by the parties in the colony and accepted by Her Majesty's Government. In every case this has been followed by independence and free elections.

The British responsibility under this suggestion would be to see that the agreed constitution, the internal settlement, was carried out and respected. It would be our responsibility then to see that the elections which followed were fair.

In those circumstances, if we do that, if we again accept this responsibility, as we should, what reason could the Patriotic Front possibly have not to put itself to the test of a popular vote? I can think of no better circumstances in which it should be asked to do that—under a British governor, under a return to legality, to put itself to the test of a popular vote.

If the Patriotic Front wins, so be it—it wins. If it does not, it must accept that. Why should it not accept this proposal? If it does not, the only alternative—and God forbid that it should be the alternative—is that it is determined to put political power to the arbitrament of the gun and the gun alone.

What case is there in justice or equity against that solution? It needs trust, but we all need trust now. Without that, all is lost. It calls for effort and possibly for sacrifice by Britain, but that we cannot evade. Let us have no doubt about that.

A return to legality on that basis would mean two things. First, the sterile argument about sanctions would end. Rhodesia would be British territory once again, de facto as well as de jure. Could we impose sanctions on ourselves? The thing would collapse. The argument would end.

Secondly, the relief of the pressure on the Rhodesian security forces would be considerable. If Rhodesia returned to legality, there would be no case for the Governments of surrounding countries continuing to support forces invading what is once again British soil in fact as well as in law. I believe that they would not do so. But if they did, first, our protests should be vehement and effective. Secondly, if that action should continue, we should defend British soil and look to our friends and allies, including the United Nations, to help us in doing so.

No doubt there are many objections to what I propose, but let the objectors produce a better solution. The alternative is disaster.

5.47 p.m.

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Mr Jeremy Thorpe (North Devon)

I think that it has always been common ground in the House that the only possibility of averting bloodshed was a negotiated settlement. It is a truism that there can be no negotiated settlement without talks. Therefore, it seems to me that anyone in the House or outside who in any way inhibits the possibility, however slight, of talks taking place does a grave disservice to the possibility of a peaceful solution.

When I listened to the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) speaking from the Opposition Front Bench—I have a great respect for the right hon. Gentleman—I thought that the message to go out from the vote which the Opposition intend to force today would be, whether they intend it or not, "Hold on against the possibility of a Conservative Government in November. You will probably get sanctions lifted, and you have a good sporting chance of getting the internal settlement recognised." I could think of nothing that would make those who are at present reluctant to go to talks even more reluctant to do so.

I say straight away that those talks may fail. They may not produce the result that we want, but nothing should be said that in any way inhibits the possibility of their taking place, in conditions which I shall mention in a moment.

I listened to the right hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling) with great interest. He has had a very long experience of African affairs. I just wonder how acceptable the right hon. Gentleman's proposals would be and whether he has any evidence that they would be acceptable to Mr. Smith, who in 1965 committed UDI in order to reject the last vestige of colonial administration by Britain, which in effect had not really been of any account since 1923.

I wonder, first, whether the right hon. Gentleman stopped to consider what was the likelihood of acceptability, and, secondly, whether he had any idea of the number of troops and officials and the entire apparatus of government which would be required to give credibility to Britain's returning to that colonial and administrative role. I should have liked to hear a little more about that. Although it is an interesting idea, it is not a very practicable one.

I was at the very beginning among the first to press the Foreign Secretary to recognise those aspects of the internal settlement which I believed represented an advance. Certainly the recognition of the principle of one man, one vote, the principle of independence on 31st December, represented a formidable increase, a formidable advance, on behalf not only of Mr. Smith but of many of his European compatriots.

Those proposals of the internal settlement are regarded as inadequate by the Patriotic Front. I asked the Foreign Secretary whether he agreed that no particular group had a veto. The proposals are, he said, not acceptable to the Patriotic Front. They are not acceptable to the front-line Presidents, who again have not a veto but who are extremely important if guerrilla fighting is to be ended. The proposals are not acceptable to any other nation in the world and they are not acceptable to the United Nations.

However much some hon. Members may scoff at the United Nations, it may well be that at the end of the day it will be United Nations troops who have to move in to avert even worse bloodshed. One is therefore justified in asking whether all those people are entitled to think that the internal settlement is defective and are entitled to be cynical about it.

I should have thought that, in the light of the following aspects, one has an extremely disappointing reaction. Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Sithole both indicated that they could obtain a ceasefire. I always thought at the time that they were far more optimistic than the circumstances warranted, but at least one hoped to be proved wrong. It seems to me that if there is to he a ceasefire, one of the material considerations is whether or not—and, if so, when and where—pre-emptive strikes are indulged in against freedom fighters, or whatever we call them, because this is a highly delicate part of the political operation. Whether we agree that they are right or wrong, they are relevant to the question of achieving a ceasefire.

There is no doubt that when Bishop Muzorewa was at the United Nations the strike against Zambia took place without his being consulted and, indeed, incurred his disapproval. It is very doubtful whether he was consulted at all about the pre-emptive strike against Mozambique—and the same goes for Mr. Sithole. It is hardly surprising, for before the internal settlement there was a war council in which the Prime Minister was the chairman, with five political Ministers in addition to all the commanders of the combined operations, and before the internal settlement Mr. Smith deliberately amended the war council so that there were no Ministers at all sitting on it. The chairman became one of the commanders of combined operations, and ministerial roles were delegated entirely to white civil servants.

Therefore, although technically one can say that the posture of the security forces is decided by the war council, which is answerable to the Executive, in fact all the Executive has is a fait accompli. All the decisions are taken by the military personnel, and there is not a single representative of the ministerial or executive council on that war council.

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Mr Julian Amery (Brighton, Pavilion)

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman would not want to mislead the House. I am advised that although Mr. Sithole and Bishop Muzorewa were out of the country, their deputies who sit on the Executive Council were informed of what was happening.

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Mr Jeremy Thorpe (North Devon)

It may well be that they were informed, but may I say, without breaching private conversations, that these are matters, obviously, which one has wished to discuss with Mr. Sithole and with Bishop Muzorewa, and I chose my words very carefully when I said that I should be very surprised if Bishop Muzorewa had been consulted before the Mozambique strike? I do not wish to breach any private conversation. If what the right hon. Gentleman is saying is that their deputies were informed, that I am prepared to accept, but I would very much doubt that they were consulted.

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Mr Frank Hooley (Sheffield, Heeley)

According to recent public statements by both Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Sithole, they were not only not informed of the recent invasion of Mozambique; they did not approve of it.

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Mr Jeremy Thorpe (North Devon)

How credible a partnership is this internal settlement if the whole question of the right and desirability of pre-emptive strikes by the security forces is within the hands of Mr. Smith's existing white military commanders-in-chief, without any elected or appointed representatives there to monitor them? It seems to me that it is a situation in which there is even more power to the white minority, and certainly there is no sharing of decisions.

Likewise, we have a situation in which there is a judiciary which is wholly composed of people who recognise the 1966 illegal regime, and have administered and still administer the Law and Order Main- tenance Act. There is one black magistrate among the entire judiciary in Rhodesia. When Mr. Byron Hove, to whom reference has been made, said that white domination, in both the judiciary and the police, must be corrected, Mr. Hilary Squires commented that this was a gross departure from the spirit of the agreement of 3rd March—not, I would have thought, a very hopeful indication of the genuineness of the partnership that Mr. Smith wishes to bring about.

I welcome the fact that some 700 detainees have been released, but I would be very surprised if the figure of those who are still detained for political offences under the Law and Order Maintenance Act is not still double that figure. Indeed, there are lists of people who have been detained whom the authorities have not admitted are detained and whose whereabouts can only be guessed. They are very well documented.

I believe that that again is not an indication that the internal settlement is working as it should. As has been pointed out, there have been no moves towards land tenure reform. There has not even been a beginning towards scrapping the Land Apportionment Act. There has not even been a major declaration that this will happen.

I say to right hon. and hon. Members on the Conservative Benches that British recognition of the internal settlement is not needed in order to make the internal settlement work. It is possible to get on with it without recognition. There is in Rhodesia an independent public services board, and my advice would be that this is the moment—it may already be too late—for it to appoint distinguished Africans to the bench and to the bench of magistrates, to senior positions in the army, the air force and the police, and to academic and administrative posts. That would have made people realise that those in Rhodesia really meant business with the internal settlement.

Frankly, I am not surprised that the internal settlement has not worked. I received the testimony of a responsible civil servant who, some weeks ago, attended a meeting of civil servants addressed by Mr. Smith. The Foreign Secretary has also had an opportunity to verify and evaluate the recollection of this man of what happened at that meeting. I cannot say what the Foreign Secretary's judgment was, but I certainly had no reason to doubt the bona fides of the man in question. He occupies a position of some responsibility in one of the Rhodesian Ministries. He said that Mr. Smith, at a predominantly white meeting, had said quite clearly to his audience "You do not need to worry. There are not going to be elections by 31st December. That was a date which was selected for general convenience, and my African colleagues know that. You have nothing to worry about. Security, in terms of the police and army, is still in our hands and nothing has changed."

This man's wife, who also holds a public position of some responsibility in the same province, and who, in the course of her duties, goes into the protected villages and many other areas, so that she has a wide spectrum of opinion expressed to her, indicated that the Government spokesman who had addressed her and her colleagues had spoken in very much the same terms as those alleged of Mr. Smith.

Therefore, I believe that if anyone had hoped to get recognition—or even support, to use the right hon. Gentleman's word—for the internal settlement, the settlement would have had to be seen to be working first. In my view it has not gone very far along the road to achieving anything very much. It has not given confidence to the European population. It has not brought about a ceasefire to any appreciable degree.

Yet this is the moment when some right hon. and hon. Members say that we should lift sanctions. That would be the one disastrous thing to do. There is very little pressure that we have, but sanctions are having an effect—otherwise right hon. and hon. Members on the Conservative Benches would not be crying so stridently for them to be lifted. Is it any wonder that, faced with this apparent lack of movement on the internal settlement, the Patriotic Front is not interested in taking part in discussions on this basis?

One hon. Member asked what was the advantage of the Anglo-American proposals. In my view, they are these. There is a possibility of the integration of the fighting forces of both sides—a difficult and technical operation, but the only chance of averting a civil war based upon the private armies of Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Nkomo and the army of the internal settlement, all fighting as they have been in Angola. There is the possibility of security being in some way integrated. There are certainly firm transitional provisions which will involve a resident governor, United Nations guarantees and a considerable number of United Nations troops on the ground.

It may be that there will be no agreement. If there is no agreement, there will be an appalling war or appalling wars. There will certainly be a war between the Patriotic Front and the internal Government. Thereafter, there might be a war between the two wings of the Patriotic Front. I accept that as a possibility.

The only way is to try to avert that by getting talks going. The internal Government has had five months in which to deliver the goods and it has so far delivered virtually nothing. The life of the average African has altered hardly one jot or tittle. I believe that if the Government acted now to generate activity towards genuine partnership it would begin to astonish not only the world but, particularly, the African population of Rhodesia.

Against that background, it should attend talks with the Patriotic Front, either in London, in Lusaka or in Francistown and if necessary, if the Foreign Secretary cannot take the chair, or if it would be preferable for a leading Commonwealth citizen like Prime Minister Trudeau to do so, the Commonwealth should not be excluded. But it is vital that we go right to the end of the road to try to get those talks going.

If then there is total breakdown and there is a civil war, the international community will have an appalling burden of responsibility. But if, in that situation, the internal Government has really moved on partnership and has negotiated with its opponents right up to the last minute—I believe that the responsibility rests on it to do both—then and only then, if Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Nkomo reject a peaceful solution, the world will know where its duties lie.

6.4 p.m.

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Mr George Jackson (Brighouse and Spenborough)

I associate myself with the remarks of the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe), who has a distinguished record in his comments on Rhodesia. I agree with him particularly on two points. One is the failure of the interim Government to advance educated African people in the civil service and in legal positions. Second, it would be absolute folly to consider dropping sanctions at this moment. Anyone in the United States who gambles on that proposition is asking for racial war and not racial harmony.

I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling) has left, because he too has a distinguished record on African affairs. I was moved slightly to a cynical smile when he said that power must not come to Zimbabwe by the gun. I wonder how the British came to Zimbabwe but by the rule of the gun—with the slaughter of thousands upon thousands of the Matabele. The very name "Rhodesia" is an insult to the people of Central Africa. The phrase "British territory" is totally out of date in the 1970s.

However, I agree with the right hon. Gentleman that this will probably be the last debate on the subject before an election which will, in Zimbabwe, decide whether the nation goes down in bloodshed or manages at the eleventh hour to preserve a multiracial community. So any of us speaking today must remember that we have a great responsibility to black, white and brown people in that country.

Some of us may talk about moving forward to a multiracial society in Zimbabwe, but I have a longer memory than many people of this territory, going back about 20 years. I can remember when Sir Edgar Whitehead was Prime Minister. Then, the place was opening up—post offices, Meikle's Hotel and the Jameson Hotel, swimming pools, were available to white and black. On a trivial point, I remember having breakfast with the then Prime Minister, who apologised that it was only a boiled egg. He said that his cook had gone to vote in the first municipal elections in Salisbury in which blacks were allowed to vote. Hon. Members laugh, but this is not an amusing point.

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Mr George Jackson (Brighouse and Spenborough)

Ignorance is no excuse. The problems sprang not basically from the fault of the white Rhodesians. Sir Godfrey Huggins, Sir Roy Welensky and Sir Edgar Whitehead—the older diplomatic leaders of that country—had a wisdom far exceeeding that of some Opposition Members or of Mr. Ian Smith. It was the Congo and the failure of the Belgians to educate the people of that vast land, to give them a chance to learn—there were 13 graduates for a land the size of Western Europe—which caused that place and multiracialism to collapse, and which led to the flight of the Belgian refugees south through Southern Rhodesia. The panic spread, the reasonable whites were defeated, and Ian Smith and his colleagues took over. A former Prime Minister of this party said that they were not even fit to run a county council, and I think that that is very unfair on county councils in this country.

Why were Angola and Mozambique the victims of this violence? How did the Cubans and the Russians get in there? It was because there was not a chance for the black people. One out of 100 went on to secondary education in Mozambique. That is how the Russians and the Cubans got in. Totalitarianism of Right and Left depends on ignorance.

We have hope—even at the eleventh hour for Rhodesia. We have hope, because Sir Godfrey Huggins and his colleagues founded the university college in Salisbury, and as a result there is a cadre of trained black people. If the interim Government could move with speed, these people could move into positions of responsibility and make a multiracial nation work. But time is very short.

One must face the possibility of a collapse in Rhodesia and the ensuing plight of the vast majority of Europeans there. The collapse of the nation could mean that on one side we shall have Bishop Muzorewa and on the other side Mr. Mugabe. This is where Joshua Nkomo has a role to play. Opposition Members may criticise him, but they should remember that he spent 10 years in detention in the desert, being crucified by the so-called white civilisation of Ian Smith. The fact that he has come out of this and is ready to talk shows that there is still hope. Certainly, we need his help.

We also need the help and courage in desperately difficult circumstances of many white Rhodesians, some of whom are my personal friends. No one could be more horror-stricken than I am by the violence that has occurred, of the striking down of the most reasonable white Rhodesians. But they must not panic. It is easy for us to say that, but they must hold on for the next few months. As in Kenya, technicians and accountants are needed in Rhodesia. The whole paraphernalia of the white infrastructure is needed to make the success of black majority rule possible.

I hope that nothing will be said or done today that will harm this chance at the last minute. It may be a slightly softhearted approach to quote the sayings of the late Albert Schweitzer, a great European in Africa. He said that one could play the piano only by using both the black and white keys together, and that this was the case in Africa today. One can hear the sound of progress only by using the black, white and brown people together.

As Rhodesia is the last territory for which Britain really has responsibility, we must do everything possible today and in the next few months to ensure that that harmony is a reality.

6.13 p.m.

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Mr Edward Du Cann (Taunton)

I declare an interest in that I am a director of a company—and have been for six years—which has trading interests in Rhodesia from which we are at present unhappily divorced.

This is an extraordinarily ironic situation for many British companies which have put capital, effort, skill and enterprise into that very fine and potentially rich country. They have done much for it in terms of training and in other ways. It is very much to be hoped that peace will come and that there will be a path to prosperity which is in the general interests of all people of that nation.

In the case of the company of which I am a director, had there been no UDI its headquarters would still be in Salisbury. The company has more than 10,000 employees. Some are black and some are white, but all are Africans and all are Rhodesian. Many of them are my friends. I regard them all as my brothers. It is difficult not to be deeply anxious for their safety, their welfare and their livelihoods. It is because I feel this so deeply that I speak for the first time in the House on this subject.

There is much common ground between everyone who has spoken today. Since UDI 7,000 people have died, most of them black. Some have died horribly, because civil war is always war at its most horrific. There must be great anxiety universally in this House and in the country about the present position, its obvious deterioration and the mounting casualties. Perhaps we are on the verge of disaster.

I echo exactly the words of my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling). I dread the possible sight on United Kingdom television, and, I dare say, world television as well, of streams of refugees arriving in their thousands, as of right, in the United Kingdom. The costs and the burdens of the end of UDI may be onerous indeed. The reaction of the British people would be sharp if their consciences were stirred.

We have responsibility and we must live up to it. Time is short, but I believe that we can prevent disaster and that we have a duty to do so. I believe that we could bring peace and that it lies well within our power to do so. God knows there is a need for it.

I speak first of Soviet involvement. It is deep and it is committed. The evidence of it is universal. The size of legations and embassies in Africa and the form of aid and its volume provide this evidence. I shall not weary the House with statistics. The facts are well known. Soviet aid is invariably destructive; it is never economic.

The contemporary destiny of Africa and of Rhodesia is that that continent and that country should find their own style of independence and self-reliance, without the sinister encouragements of a totalitarian philosophy which, in the end, will always demand its price in subservience.

Why do we allow the risk of big Power rivalry in Africa to escalate? The growing United States dependency on imported strategic raw materials makes this certain, sooner or later. Why is it that the free nations are so conciliatory and supine before this obvious threat to liberty and freedom?

Why do the free nations not mount a diplomatic offensive against overseas involvement in African national affairs?

What would be the reaction of the world at large, and the United Nations in particular, if we in the United Kingdom sent a Gurkha brigade to any part of Africa? The reaction would be immediate, intense and continuous. Yet we acquiesce in the Russian and Cuban presence on a massive scale. How can the Cubans afford to send troops to Africa at the expense of their own people? More lately we have also seen an East German presence in Africa.

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Mr James Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West)

On the supposition that the Cubans and the Russians have been invited to Ethiopia—I stress that I do not want them there and I do not like them there—is the right hon. Member supposing that we are likely to be invited in with battalions? I am not quite sure who would make such an invitation.

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Mr Edward Du Cann (Taunton)

I am not saying that we have been or would be invited in, or that we should go in. I am saying that the incursion of the Russians, the Cubans and the East Germans is a crime against humanity, whoever invited them.

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Mr Ian Lloyd (Havant and Waterloo)

On this point, has my right hon. Friend seen this morning's edition of The Times which reported that Mr. Fidel Castro gave a specific undertaking to give aid to the five front-line States? There have been no reactions from any part of the House to that statement. Had we given such an undertaking, the reaction would have been unanimous, vociferous and widespread.

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Mr Edward Du Cann (Taunton)

Why do we give trade credits to the Soviets? Why do we export technology to them? Why do we sell grain to these new colonialists and imperialists whose actions, if successful, are designed to enslave those who would be and should be our cherished friends and allies? Certainly, those to whom we offer this help will do their best to bite the hand that feeds them now.

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Mr Tom Litterick (Birmingham, Selly Oak)

What is the connection between selling grain to the USSR—whoever is doing that—and the fact that the Smith Government are uncompromisingly racist?

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Mr Edward Du Cann (Taunton)

I am sure that the House will not expect a serious comment on that intervention.

The prospects for peace in Rhodesia and the prospects for agreement between the leaders of the new Zimbabwe will improve in direct proportion as each East German, as each Cuban and as each Russian leaves Africa for home, and as each missile rots in the sun.

Currently, and increasingly, as the Foreign Secretary said, there is an imbalance of power in favour of force. That must be adjusted if peace is to come on terms that allow Mr. Nkomo—that remarkable man—to play a significant role in the future. That should be the first aim of policy. It is a legitimate diplomatic objective. Because I believe that the Foreign Secretary, for all his qualities and the work that he is doing, is not pursuing this course actively and competently enough, I shall go into the Division Lobby tonight.

The British and the Western Powers have much to answer for, not only because we have neither opposed nor countered Soviet influence. The right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson) was right to speak of weeks rather than months or years. Sanctions could have been effected more quickly.

Oil was always the key. It still is. It is a matter of fact, not of argument, that oil has fuelled and is fuelling the Rhodesian economy. It is right that there should be an inquiry into oil supplies past and present. I congratulate the Foreign Secretary on having established the inquiry. I remind the House that I I have an interest in this matter. However, I have a higher duty—to speak my mind. I hope that we shall have the Bingham report soon. I hope that it will be published, because there is now great public interest in the matter. I hope that there will be no cover-up and no whitewash. Let us have the facts.

Those of us who read Count Tolstoy's book know about the appalling business involved in the return of the refugees to the USSR after the war. We know too from that how expert the Foreign Office can be at covering up.

But the past is over. What matters is now. The United States and United Kingdom Governments should exercise all their authority to stop oil supplies to Rhodesia at once.

The sight of the United Kingdom Foreign Secretary first saying, rightly, that it is essential to bring the several leaders to the conference table and then wringing his hands metaphorically because he cannot find ways to accomplish this is as unattractive as it is feeble. British policy is not credible. The reason why certain African leaders look to the East for support is that they have no confidence that we have the strength and authority, and will use it, to bring about a settlement. That feebleness is matched only by the pathetic journeys to and fro of Messrs. Graham and Low, to which the Foreign Secretary referred. If one speaks to anyone to whom they have talked, one is told that they offer nothing. They negotiate nothing. It is all politeness and tea-table talk—fiddling while the huts go up in flames and the stench of death in Rhodesia is sickening.

In the meantime the Anglo-American proposals, which I support, which now have lain on the table for a long time, are a mixture of good and extremely bad, are meaningless because they have no chance of being put into effect. That is a tragedy, because they offer the best opportunity for a settlement.

Is the Foreign Secretary really satisfied that he has pursued every conceivable route towards a settlement? Is he certain that he has consulted everyone who can help in every capacity? This is an emergency. It is a time for the imaginative and the radical, not necessarily only the trammelled routes of the Foreign Office.

Have we so soon forgotten, this once proud nation of ours, how to use power? Do we no longer understand realpolitik? I am not talking of the military. Perhaps in extremes that cannot be ruled out, perhaps by agreement or a token force. But I do not want the military on the scene. We might need a British presence to monitor the transitional regime. My right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) has consistently asked for that. That is a different matter. I agree that it is shocking that that has been neither available nor offered.

We must exercise the sovereignty and authority that we have assumed in more subtle but powerful ways. We must lead. We all know the lack of political leadership in the United States at present. It is the tragedy of the Western world that the leadership is in the hands of a cipher in the United States.

One way that we should exert pressure is through economic aid. Before 1974 it appeared that Rhodesia was an economic miracle. Its gross domestic product was up 83 per cent., the cost of living was increasing at a mere 3 per cent. per annum, and African employment was going up at 30,000 a year. But the last four years have shown a different picture. There have been three devaluations in the last three years, two of them last year. Whole areas are now closed to the central authority. A total of 60 primary schools have been destroyed and 700 closed down

By saying that we must exercise authority, I mean that there must be massive injections of finance with strings attached. Why do we give so much aid to the world without asking for anything in return? There should be strings attached in this case, involving guarantees for free elections and a genuine multi-racial society.

Success is there to be gained. We can save Rhodesia from incipient disaster. Take away the oil on the one hand, take away the advisers, the guns and the missiles on the other, and surely there must be a negotiation and we shall compel all concerned to come to the table.

The prizes are vast. There could be a prosperous Rhodesia and the potential, at last, for a richer Zambia, brilliantly led by Kenneth Kaunda. There could be a prosperous Rhodesia, a bulwark against further Soviet encroachment in Africa. Rhodesia could be a political example to her southern neighbours. Above all, our chief responsibility is to honour our commitment to the African in Rhodesia that he and his children may live in peace and freedom all their lives. We have a last chance. I pray that we shall take it before we meet again.

6.30 p.m.

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Mr Arthur Bottomley (Teesside Middlesbrough)

Those who have taken part in the debate so far have spoken of the seriousness of the situation in Rhodesia, and mention has been made of civil war and bloodshed. For this reason, I very much regret that the Conservative Party should seek to make the Rhodesia problem an election issue.

The House will recall that I was Commonwealth Secretary when sanctions were imposed on Rhodesia. It is accepted that economic sanctions contributed to the Administration of the Rhodesian Front agreeing to set up an internal Administration composed of black and white members of the community. On the surface, it appears that the internal settlement makes a substantial change in the position of Mr. Smith since UDI.

It is conceded that one of the main contentions of the Africans is that there should be one man, one vote. Let us look at the matter through African eyes. It is by no means certain that the principle of one man, one vote is ensured under the present constitution. The internal settlement obscures the real issues. It is an attempt to turn the conflict into a struggle between the privileged, both black and white, and the poor people in the rural areas.

Of the three Africans in the internal Administration, Mr. Sithole represents nobody. After he was deposed as leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union, he formed the African National Council, but he has little or no popular support. Chief Chirau is the leader of the Zimbabwe United People's Organisasation. He left his post as a member of Mr. Smith's Administration to form that body. It is generally believed that he did this with financial support from the Administration. He is, in effect, a stooge of Mr. Smith. Bishop Muzorewa has popular support, but his own position is weakening. The bishop is becoming associated with the racialist policies of Mr. Smith.

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Mr Geoffrey Rippon (Hexham)

Why does the right hon. Gentleman say that Mr. Sithole has no popular support whereas, presumably, Mr. Nkomo has, when Mr. Sithole is willing to go for an election and Mr. Nkomo is not?

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Mr Arthur Bottomley (Teesside Middlesbrough)

Elections under fair conditions, which is what we are all trying to achieve, would ensure that Mr. Nkomo is probably the most popular of all the Africans.

Let me continue to deal with Bishop Muzorewa. When one of his main supporters, Byron Hove, joined the internal Administration, he said that he wished to make a success of that job and suggested that African members should have a say in promoting law and order. Because he made that statement, he was dismissed. Mr. Hove was arguing that, if an internal Administration was to be successful, the Africans needed to have a greater say in the control of power. These were not unreasonable requests, but he was dismissed for suggesting them.

Last weekend Byron Hove saw Bishop Muzorewa and, indeed, was still an officer of his party. Mr. Hove has now given up being an officer of the party because when he asked the bishop "How many Africans have been given executive positions in departments of the Government?" the bishop replied "None" Is that the way to bring about the co-operation of Africans? A move should be made in that direction forthwith.

The internal settlement is heavily weighted in favour of the whites. Voting preference for the white Rhodesians is far in excess of what any impartial observer would feel necessary to protect a minority. The opportunity to change the racialist regime in Rhodesia is made extremely difficult by Mr. Smith's insistence that it can be done only by a unanimous decision of the Executive Committee. Mr. Smith has seen to it that the internal settlement provides that the emergency legislation under which the security forces operate will continue.

The apparatus of power remains in the hands of the Rhodesian Front Party. I do not think that can be denied. There has been much killing and oppression of innocent people. Events such as the killing of 74 innocent people in the attempt to destroy two guerrillas only weakens the bishop's position.

The Catholic Institute for International Relations says in one of its publications that there are numerous documented cases to indicate that, in spite of the internal settlement, there is widespread intimidation and torture of the rural population by the security forces.

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Mr Ian Lloyd (Havant and Waterloo)

I challenged the Catholic Institute for International Relations specifically and publicly to reply to a series of criticisms which I had of that document. The institute has never done so.

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Mr Arthur Bottomley (Teesside Middlesbrough)

I also talked to representatives of the institute. They told me that if the questions had been couched fairly they might have answered them.

It is significant that last October Mr. Smith said that there could be an independent inquiry to discover whether that kind of terrorism existed. It is significant that he has not agreed that that should happen now.

One of Bishop Muzorewa's senior officials, Benson Ndemera, has left his party after objecting to the killing of what he says are innocent people. The conflict between the Africans led by Mr. Sithole and the bishop is also responsible for much terrorism. In these circumstances support for the Patriotic Front grows, and we would do well to recognise that fact.

The Patriotic Front thinks that one of the reasons why Mr. Smith is so co-operative flows from the actions which the Patriotic Front has been taking. Members of the Patriotic Front see no reason for a ceasefire on Mr. Smith's conditions. I believe that internally support for the Patriotic Front is growing. Certainly the military strength outside it is growing considerably. The Patriotic Front says that it is not responsible for terrorism but accepts that it is fighting against the security forces.

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Mr Arthur Bottomley (Teesside Middlesbrough)

That has been disputed. It is very sad. Nobody has any evidence to say who was responsible. Accusations can be made against both sides. I require more evidence before I am convinced that the killing of missionaries by those supporting the Patriotic Front can be supported.

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Rear-Admiral Morgan Morgan-Giles (Winchester)

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that if he believes that he will believe anything?

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Mr Arthur Bottomley (Teesside Middlesbrough)

I probably have many more African friends than the hon. and gallant Gentleman has. Many of them want to see a settlement on peaceful terms. They are as much concerned about the whites as they are about the blacks. But we are pushing those elements away from us each time it is suggested that they are not honourable men. Of course there are honourable white and honourable black Rhodesians. It seems to me that the hon. and gallant Gentleman recognises the whites but declines to recognise the blacks.

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Mr Arthur Bottomley (Teesside Middlesbrough)

I believe that the Anglo-American plans proposed by my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary provide the best hopes of a peaceful solution of the Rhodesian problem.

I was glad to hear the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) say that sanctions should be retained. When I was Commonwealth Secretary, I suggested that the Commonwealth Secretariat should co-ordinate the work of the committee dealing with sanctions. That committee was composed of Commonwealth high commissioners. They held a meeting in June this year and they unanimously agreed that the interim regime in Rhodesia was inadequate and racialist and that economic sanctions should not be lifted until the Anglo-American plan for a round-table conference had been accepted.

We ourselves have an international obligation to keep on sanctions. We cannot push them aside lightly. We were responsible for the mandatory sanctions applied by the United Nations. If we decided to drop them without United Nations approval, I believe that the World Bank and the United Nations agencies would not be so forthcoming in trying to meet the economic problems caused by sanctions and the difficulties in Rhodesia. We should be acting in isolation and would lose the support of our African friends in particular and the third world in general.

Let us not forget that the front-line Presidents have been co-operative. If anyone challenges that, he should look at Namibia. We would not have got that solution but for the support of the frontline Presidents. They do not want to see a struggle in Rhodesia. They do not want bloodshed. They want a peaceful solution.

The OAU, meeting only recently, said that it wanted to see a Government in Rhodesia by free elections. It did not say that it supported the Patriotic Front alone. Surely we should encourage that kind of movement so that it can be seen that the Anglo-American plan is the best way to meet and solve the problem.

In a recent debate I suggested that Mr. Smith must go and that a former Rhodesian Prime Minister might take his place. I refer to Garfield Todd. Obviously, that was not acceptable. I make another suggestion. I think that perhaps Sir Roy Welensky might take over. I am certain that Mr. Smith cannot remain. It is my feeling that the differences and the difficulties will be exacerbated for so long as Mr. Smith is in office.

I repeat, I do not think that people in Southern Africa—certainly not those who are most intimately involved—want an escalation of the war. They do not want other Powers to be involved.

I think that the policy being followed by my right hon. Friend is right. The alternative is that the beautiful land of Zimbabwe will be threatened with destruction. Even now, normal life is no longer enjoyed. Innocent people are being killed and thousands live in conditions of permanent horror.

In the past I have accused the Opposition of not playing their full part in trying to bring about a peaceful settlement of the Rhodesia problem. I acknowledge that time and again leaders of the Conservative Party have done their best to see how we might co-operate on a bipartisan basis to bring about that result. I appeal to the Opposition now not to do anything which will make civil war and bloodshed inevitable. I suggest that we follow the leadership of the Secretary of State in trying to solve the Rhodesia problem.

Several Hon. Members:

rose

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Mr Myer Galpern (Glasgow Shettleston)

Order. I remind the House that approximately 43 right hon. and hon. Members wish to take part in the two and a quarter hours remaining for this debate. It is up to Members themselves to help each other by restricting the length of their speeches.

6.42 p.m.

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Reverend Dr Ian Paisley (North Antrim)

Northern Ireland has been in the grip of terrorist atrocities for a number of years. Therefore, I want to draw the attention of the House to a parallel from which we can all learn in this solemn and urgent debate.

Before becoming a Member of this House, I read speeches by Members en both sides relating to the situation in Northern Ireland. At that time statements were made by hon. Members about ready and simple solutions to the Northern Ireland problem, and many efforts were made to discredit those in Northern Ireland who had electoral support.

I deplore the attempt being made in the House today to undermine the credibility of those African leaders who are prepared to sit round the table and talk. If there is to be a settlement in Rhodesia, it will have to be agreed by the African leaders in that country. When these black gentlemen were not in Mr. Smith's internal settlement but were voicing strong opinions about the future of Rhodesia, they had support. Now it seems that, because they want to try to achieve a settlement, an attempt is being made to discredit them and their electoral power in Rhodesia.

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Reverend Dr Ian Paisley (North Antrim)

I shall not give way. I propose to speak for only 10 minutes and then to sit down. I feel that if I give way I shall be led up certain cul-de-sacs.

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Reverend Dr Ian Paisley (North Antrim)

I am not afraid to answer questions. However, I propose to make my speech and then to sit down. In other debates I give way more than other Members. But time is short and many hon. Members wish to speak. It will not help if I continually give way.

There is one principle that the House needs to re-emphasise today to all those who are interested in Rhodesia. It is that violence will not pay and will not be supported by this House.

When three Scottish soldiers were brutally murdered by the IRA, I heard it said from the Benches in this House "Who knows who murdered them? Probably it was some extreme Protestant organisation."

A missionary constituent of mine was murdered in Rhodesia. Everybody knows who murdered him. It was the forces of the Patriotic Front. The Africans on that mission station confirmed that.

The House, the Secretary of State and the Government have this week discovered that certain people will never know reconciliation or agree to any settlement. The position in Northern Ireland this week illustrates that point.

I should like to underline another principle—the recognition and discipline of the ballot box. Only when this House is strong in underscoring that the final discipline in Rhodesia shall be the ballot box and we work towards free elections in which all these factions can present themselves to the country shall we find whom the people of Rhodesia want to lead them. If the ballot box does not bring up an answer favourable to those who believe that bloodshed is the answer, what then will be the situation in Rhodesia?

These questions may be unpalatable to some hon. Members, but they have a parallel in Northern Ireland. If we do not recognise the discipline of the ballot box, the only other discipline will be anarchy and the power of the gun.

The House must remember that the only way forward in this situation is to build on what we already have. I think that the right hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling) was on the right lines when he suggested that there must first be a return to legality and then the internal settlement might be used as a basis for an interim Government.

Those who have been represented in this House as having strong support in Rhodesia have been invited time and again to come and talk, but they have refused. If they refuse to come, how can we talk to them? Let us have something on which to build. If this House puts its hand to the destruction of everything, it will be hard to rebuild. The right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe), the former leader of the Liberal Party, threw cold water on everything, but he did not put forward any positive alternative proposal that could be built upon. Surely the House has found from the situation in Northern Ireland that if everything is destroyed it is very difficult to rebuild.

I suggest that we take note of what has happened in our own country. It is all very well for hon. Members to talk about British territory and vehement protests, but we know how difficult it is to deal with terrorism in Northern Ireland. I have followed too many of my consti- tuents to the graveyard not to know what terrorism means.

I suggest that we in this House should seek to build on what we have. Let us try to encourage what is already taking place, and let us seek as soon as possible to give the people of Rhodesia the opportunity at the ballot box to say who shall lead them and rule them in the future.

6.50 p.m.

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Mr Geoffrey Rippon (Hexham)

We have today to address ourselves to two main questions. First of all, should we recognise the internal settlement? Secondly, if so, what should we do now?

In my judgment, we should both support and recognise the internal settlement. Formal diplomatic recognition must, of course, follow the return to legality towards which I think we must now move. That the internal settlement has not been supported and recognised by the international community is largely because the Foreign Secretary has been almost obsessively committed—to use a phrase which my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) once used—to his own proposals, to the now defunct Anglo-American proposals.

We should be ready to recognise that the internal settlement which has been negotiated is exactly the settlement which we have ourselves sought for so many years. I believe that the Foreign Secretary and, let it be said, also his collaborator Mr. Andrew Young bear a heavy responsibility for the present state of affairs. If the terrorism is escalating, it is because the United Kingdom and the United States have refused to help the moderate black Africans inside Rhodesia and have consistently shown support and sympathy for the external forces.

The right hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Stewart), who speaks with great experience, expressed disappointment that in those circumstances, with no help from us or anyone else, the provisional Government had not been able to make more progress. The former leader of the Liberal Party, the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe), said that 700 or possibly 800 detainees had now been released.

There has not been much progress towards land reform, and this may be regarded as disappointing. But it is all very well for the right hon. Member for Fulham to say "Do something about the schools." As my right hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann) said, the schools are closing. They are closing because of the terrorism. The whole purpose of terrorism is to terrorise and, to an extent, it succeeds.

But we in this House must recognise that the terrorism is being practised by those who manifestly do not believe that they could win if they went through the process of democratic elections. The more that they fear the success of the internal settlement and the more encouragement that they continue to get from Government supporters who want to impose their own external settlement, the worse the terrorism may become.

What objections have we in this House to the internal settlement? It has achieved, above all, this recognition of the principle of one man, one vote—[HON. MEMBERS: "It has not."]—the very principle upon which all previous negotiations have foundered, whether it was on the "Tiger" in 1966, on the "Fearless" in 1968 or after the negotiations conducted by my right hon. and noble Friend Lord Home when he was Prime Minister in 1971. The proposals in 1971 did not satisfy the fifth principle because people such as Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Sithole said "We cannot accept a settlement except on the basis of one man, one vote."

When Mr. Sithole came at the invitation of the Conservative group to the European Parliament in Luxembourg in July, I must tell the House that he made a very deep impression not only on the Conservative group but on all the other groups that he met. It is all very well for the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bottomley) to say that he has no popular support. As I indicated, the best way to test that is in an election. Why should those blacks who are inside Rhodesia and who have negotiated their own settlement accept what the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough says, that Mr. Nkomo is the most popular man and, therefore, ought to be number one? If he wants to be number one, let him accept the invitation which has always been open to him to join the provisional Government, together with three of his supporters.

What the black members—not Mr. Smith—of the provisional Government have asked is that we should give moral, diplomatic and material support for an internal settlement which I think they have rightly described as a miracle—this astonishing acceptance by Mr. Smith and the white Rhodesians of this principle of one man, one vote.

The Foreign Secretary said that the key issue in this was morale. If the key issue is morale, the way to create morale is for the British Government to try to help the internal settlement and not try to destroy it. Given that support, I have no doubt that it could be much easier to persuade Mr. Nkomo to join the provisional Government.

That has always been open to him and to Mr. Mugabe. I do not know what Mr. Mugabe and his followers might do, because the truth is that there is no Patriotic Front in the sense that there is no single military command or political command. As the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough said, there are several people seeking the leadership.

But we know what Mr. Mugabe wants to do, because he has told us. He made it clear last week that he and his terrorist guerrillas were not interested in a political settlement or, he said, in a political majority in Parliament or Government. He wanted, he said, control of the other instruments of political control—all in extremist Marxist hands. The Opposition want them to be initially in the hands of an albeit provisional Government. Ultimately, however, all these instruments of political control, after the elections, will be in the hands of a black majority Government in Zimbabwe.

Let us consider the principles which are enunciated in that agreement of 3rd March. The first is that there shall be a democratic, non-racial State in Rhodesia-Zimbabwe. Second, the Government shall be based on majority rule on the basis of one man, one vote. Third, there shall be free and fair elections. Fourth, there shall be a national assembly of 100 people to be elected by the people and to be accountable to them. Fifth, independence will come on 31st December this year. That is when Mr. Smith disappears and the black majority Government take over.

How can we quarrel with that internal settlement?

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Mr Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

The right hon. and learned Member has missed out quite deliberately—and, in so doing has attempted to mislead the House—the requirement that within that there are 28 seats out of 100 for the 4 per cent. white vote. Is that one man, one vote when 4 per cent. can elect 28 per cent. of the members—white votes?

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Mr Geoffrey Rippon (Hexham)

The principle laid down in that settlement is one man, one vote, and black majority rule.

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Mr Geoffrey Rippon (Hexham)

It is in the interests of the black moderates as well as everyone else to have a settlement with the whites. Unlike the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsbrough (Mr. Flannery), they do not want to drive out the white minority. They want them because they have had an opportunity to see what happens in other African States once the whites leave.

The alternative which is proposed by Mr. Mugabe and the terrorist guerrillas is one man, one vote and, he says himself, one party, and no doubt only one election. That means the end not only for white Rhodesians but for the black moderates.

As for racial conflict, we in this House have always had a clear principle. We want to meet all legitimate African aspirations in a way which also secures a future for white minorities, just as we protect black minorities here. The internal settlement is designed to do just that, and we should have welcomed it wholeheartedly from the outset.

The question is, what can we do to undo the damage that has been done by the Government? The key is not simply the ending of sanctions. It is a recognition of the internal settlement plus the return to legality from which the ending of sanctions would follow logically and inevitably. We have a dilemma over sanctions. Incidentally, it is worth pointing out that the Foreign Secretary appeared to have forgotten the original purpose of them until he was reminded by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith).

The imposition of mandatory sanctions has proved to be a great error. In the event, they have remained largely unenforced by the majority of members of the United Nations. The Rhodesian question should never have been referred by the then Government to the United Nations as a matter involving a breach of the peace. That is a matter of history now. The fact remains that unfortunately the British Government of the day put their signature to a resolution of the Security Council which is binding.

We are a permanent member of the Security Council. We have always accepted that we cannot choose which international laws we obey. Probably what we ought to do now, as Lord Home said when he dealt with these matters, is to go back to the United Nations and have the resolution rescinded on the grounds that we have accepted an internal settlement and are moving to a position of legality. That is why I support the early-day motion tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling) and other right hon. and hon. Friends. That motion calls for an interim period of self-government based on the internal settlement. It cannot be a question of setting aside the internal settlement and imposing another or attempting to reimpose the September 1977 Anglo-American proposals.

In particular there is no place for a British commissioner, particularly a British field marshal. I suggest that an appropriate way of restoring legality would be for the provisional Government to suggest a governor who would be appointed after consultation. He could well be one of the black members of the present provisional Government. The aim must be simply to restore legality so that sanctions can be removed. Then the fair and free elections provided for in the agreement of 3rd March could be supervised, again by agreement either by the United Nations or by another acceptable body.

What we have to accept is that there has been a genuine internal settlement, not one imposed from outside, as the Foreign Secretary seems to insist upon. We are always calling for respect for the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, respect for peaceful settlements and the protection of the civilian population against violence and terrorism. Now we have a chance to follow our own precepts. Instead, we listen so carefully and we bow so quickly to the voices and propaganda of extremists that we are in danger of ignoring the vast majority of black people who are now living in Rhodesia who condemn violence and who suffer most from the activities of the terrorist guerrillas.

Let us, above all, remember, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Taunton was indicating, that the security and perhaps the survival of the free world depend on the stability of Southern African and the frustration of the aims of those who seek to subvert it to the forces of Communism. That is as much in the interests of the black African as it is in our own vital interests. That is why I believe that the internal settlement should be recognised as a genuine fusion of the interests of both the black and white citizens of Rhodesia or, as it will come to be called if we give it the chance, Zimbabwe.

7.3 p.m.

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Miss Joan Lestor (Eton and Slough)

I do not know whether the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) was deliberately intent upon misleading the House. He has definitely tried to do that. It just happens that some of us do have the papers before us dealing with the whole question of what is alleged by the right hon. and learned Member to be the one man, one vote system of a proposed constitution in Southern Africa.

It is no such thing. There will be a common voters' roll, with all citizens of 18 years and over being eligible for registration as voters, subject to certain recognised disqualifications. A total of 72 seats in the legislative assembly will be reserved for blacks, who will be elected by voters who are enrolled on the common roll. A total of 28 seats in the Assembly will be reserved for whites, who will be elected as follows: a total of 20 will be elected on a preferential voting system by white voters who are enrolled on the common roll; eight will be elected by voters who are enrolled on the common roll, from 16 candidates who will be nominated by an electoral college for the first House.

That is what is set out. Those are the proposals. They go on to say that the arrangements can be reviewed in 10 years' time. It is to the discredit of the right hon. and learned Member for Hexham that he left out the most important part of the proposals, which do us a great deal of damage in the eyes of the Africans who are listening to our debate.

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Miss Joan Lestor (Eton and Slough)

No, I will not give way. I have been asked to be brief, and some of my time has had to be taken up in dealing with the deliberate misrepresentation of the right hon. and learned Member. What depresses me, listening to some Tory Members, came across well in the words of the right hon. Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann). He said that the past was over. It is not. If people are trying—I accept that some Tory Members are trying—to avoid an escalation of violence in Southern Rhodesia, we have to bear in mind what the years of UDI have done to some of those people who it is essential should be part of any negotiated settlement that takes place.

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Miss Joan Lestor (Eton and Slough)

Yes, like Sithole. I would like to deal with Mr. Sithole in a few minutes. However, I remind hon. Gentlemen that it is not so long ago that Mr. Sithole was one of those guerrillas. He was one of those who were beyond the pale. Suddenly, when he is thrown out by his own people, he becomes a respected, moderate person.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bottomley) said that one of the best things that could happen was that Ian Smith should go. I believe that the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) if he is doing his job—and I believe that he is—should be saying the same.

Ian Smith tells us that he will go in three or four months' time. He says that he will not wait until the election comes. Why does he not do it now? The dead hand of the past is important in this debate and in what happens in Southern Rhodesia. I do not know Robert Mugabe, but I have known Joshua Nkomo for many years—long before he was incarcerated by Smith. It is said that to get an agreement and a settlement Joshua Nkomo should come in. But Joshua Nkomo was locked up by Ian Smith. He has seen his friends and colleagues executed by Ian Smith.

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Miss Joan Lestor (Eton and Slough)

I am talking about Joshua Nkomo. I am saying that hon. Members are asking someone to do something that it is impossible for him to do. They are asking him to sit down with the man who has been responsible for his incarceration, responsible for the hanging and imprisonment of large numbers of his colleagues, and say "The past is behind us. Let us all sit down together." I do not believe that Joshua Nkomo will do that. If the right hon. Member for Knutsford or anyone else wishes to make a positive contribution to bringing about a negotiated settlement he will put this point strongly to Ian Smith. I do not understand what Ian Smith is hanging on for. He is one of the barriers to the whole process of negotiation that we all want to see.

I take the point made by the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) on behalf of the Liberal Party when he talked about Byron Hove. The internal settlement was shown up by the expulsion of Byron Hove and by the reasons for which he was expelled. I was not sure, when the right hon. Member for Knutsford talked about a return to stable rule in Southern Rhodesia, whether he meant rule under Ian Smith or something else. What is important is that precious little has changed in Southern Rhodesia since the so-called internal settlement came upon us. The argument has been about developing apartheid, about land, about black representation, and so on. One or two hon. Members agree that these changes have not yet taken place. The situation is very much as it was.

There has been, and there always will be in these debates, a condemnation of what people call the guerrilla fighters, and we all argue about who is responsible for what. Nobody in this House could be nearer than I am to being a pacifist. Violence is never one-sided, and the genesis of violence in Southern Rhodesia cannot be laid at the feet of the freedom fighters and the guerrillas. It has always been interesting to me that those who have been ready to condemn the freedom fighters and the guerrilla activities have allowed to go without criticism the activities of Ian Smith, whose regime was based on violence and backed by force, and in fact have tried to dissuade people from applying sanctions, the breaking of which has helped Ian Smith very considerably in both his internal and external activities.

Joshua Nkomo and others have looked at the internal settlement and considered the proposals within it. They have seen the misrepresentation of the voting system, and so on, and now they have been asked to sit down with Ian Smith and contribute to a regime that is based on white supremacy. That is not what they are fighting for. That is not what the fighting is about. That is not what their activities have been about. Therefore, both in psychological terms and in terms of reality, I do not believe that anyone who is sincere in wanting to avoid civil war in Rhodesia serves the cause well by saying that the past must be all forgotten, that we should accept what has been achieved, and let Joshua Nkomo and the others brush aside all that has happened. I do not think that that is what it was all about, and I do not believe that when they were forced to take up arms they did so to sit down with Ian Smith, who is responsible for the situation that one now finds in Rhodesia.

I find the situation frightening. I do not believe that successive British Governments can remove themselves from any form of responsibility for what has happened. I do not in any way suggest that we do that. But what we have to recognise is that the past is not over. The past is very much with the people to whom we look now, and to whom we shall look in the future, if there is to be peace in Southern Rhodesia and a peaceful transition there.

I do not believe that even at this late hour the Anglo-American proposals are completely dead. I believe that they are the only hope that we have of avoiding an escalation of violence in Southern Rhodesia. When he opened the debate, my right hon. Friend tried very hard to keep Conservative Members with him. He was a great deal more polite than I would have been, or ever am. We have to recognise that as the internal Government is at present constituted they will not get the co-operation of those from whom they need it most, because those people do not believe that the system represents one man, one vote, or that it represents an end to the system that has brought Rhodesia to the situation in which it finds itself.

I believe that we have to do everything within our power to get the support of the front-line Presidents, the British and American Governments, and the Patriotic Front, and try to reactivate the Anglo-American proposals, because there is no alternative to them, save the escalation of violence in Southern Rhodesia. If that happens, the responsibility will not just lie at our feet; our children will live to pay the price.

7.13 p.m.

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Mr Robert Rhodes James (Cambridge)

There is one point at least on which I can agree with the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor). I share with her a sense of atmosphere of crisis and a mounting sense of impending tragedy. This is the factor which oppresses me most and which ought to bring together those of us who are on opposite sides of the House and even those on this side of the House, who are in disagreement about certain aspects of the immediate situation. If the tragedy which we foresee and which appears to be approaching occurs, there is no guarantee that it can be confined to Rhodesia. There is no guarantee that it will be confined to Southern Africa.

I agree also with the point that was made earlier. I see no value in going back over the events of the past 14 years, because there is blame and enough to go round. There is blame upon British Governments and upon the Administration in Rhodesia.

What we are dealing with is a situation which in one essence is new, and that essence is that the external threat is a novelty and we are faced with the situation in Rhodesia that a war is going on—a war, furthermore, which is being supported externally. This is the new factor which this House and the nation must grasp, whichever party is in office and whichever may be the dominant view on immediate solutions.

The last time that I addressed the House on this subject, I pointed out the inadequacies of what I called the United Nations option—namely, the extreme limi- tations of the United Nations capability for a peacekeeping operation in the context of a country such as Rhodesia. I simply wish to repeat that, because the situation in Namibia is totally different from that which would face a United Nations force in Rhodesia. I agree that the possibility of observers for superintending elections provides other opportunities and alternatives.

On the issue of the abandonment of sanctions, I merely wish to say that it is technically extremely difficult and politically extremely dangerous and that, although as part of a final settlement it must be a major factor, I take the view, in agreement with my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies), that now is not the time to press for the abandonment of sanctions.

I said at the beginning that I was dominated by a sense of impending tragedy. My dominant criticism of the Government—I am not making a party speech, as I am sure the House realises—is that the sense of urgency which I feel appears to be absent in the Foreign Secretary. I believe that we must begin to think about the unthinkable. We must look at the situation as it is deteriorating and ask ourselves, as a House and as a nation, certain very important questions. Are we going to, as it were, stand idly by? What are we going to do if an appeal comes for help? What are we going to do if an evacuation situation arises? What will be our reaction to pleas for resettlement? What will be our reaction if the ultimate problem comes upon us that we are faced with a request, in one way or another, for military involvement?

I pose those questions because I belive that they are desperately important and urgent. I agree with the point made by the Foreign Secretary and by my right hon. Friends that we cannot operate in vacuo. The United Nations, our Commonwealth friends and the OAU are crucial to the objective which we all want to achieve, which is a peaceful settlement of this problem. Although I feel that this matter is far beyond party politics, and is far more important than that, I criticise the Government for their failure to seize the opportunity of the internal settlement. Despite all its limitations, they should have used it as a first very important step towards a new development which could, even now, avert the tragedy which is looming in Rhodesia.

7.19 p.m.

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Mr John Lee (Birmingham Handsworth)

It is a pleasure to follow the speech of the hon. Member for Cambridge (Mr. Rhodes James), because I think that his is about the first temperate speech that we have heard from the Conservative Benches. I agreed with a number of the things he said, and as a token of rapport may I say that I accept on my party's behalf certain criticisms that have been made of it.

For me, one of the most disgraceful episodes in the history of modern times in this country was the way in which the right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson)—I refuse to call him my right hon. Friend—failed to use force in 1965. I suppose that it would be out of order for me to call him a coward, but if that were in order that is what I would call him, and it is my view that that was one of the most disgraceful episodes that we have come across.

From that even some of the members of the Monday Club who dissent from it realise that the white people in Rhodesia would not be in quite the same predicament as they are at the moment, being in an embattled situation of either trying to maintain desperately against odds a racialist regime which gets less and less support or finding themselves submerged in a settlement of a kind which will not be to their benefit or to the benefit of many others besides.

I wish to concentrate on some aspects that are related to what was said by the hon. Member for Cambridge. I do not believe that even if our Government said that they would accept the internal settlement it would make a jot of difference. Things have gone beyond our control. If we had used force in 1965 or even later, it would have been possible for us to influence events in more than a peripheral way, but we are now faced with either washing our hands of the problem, to the detriment of all the people in Rhodesia, or doing our best to try to promote a settlement involving all the various leaders, including Sithole Muzorewa and Chirau. They are victims of the system and have suffered under the Smith regime. I believe that they were mistaken in joining in, but we should not wash our hands of them and say that once they were heroes but now they are Fascist beasts. If we can get them to meet the Patriotic Front, that would be helpful.

I take comfort from the fact that, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. Stewart) anticipated some time ago, although we talk as if the system is stratified in different factions the various people involved have changed sides time and again. It was not so long ago that Sithole was in alliance with Mugabe and Muzorewa was treating with various members of the Patriotic Front. There is no certainty in these matters.

In another part of Africa, an ironic and somewhat amusing situation occurred when the Russians thought that they could establish a presence in Zaire. This was some years before the current Cuban involvement. The Russians sent a mission to Gisenga, the so-called Left-wing leader who succeeded Lumumba, and the members of the mission were promptly arrested by Gisenga's supporters. That episode illustrates that these things are fluid and do not follow the same lines as we follow in this country. I hope that a further attempt will be made to get the leaders together.

The time may come for us to consider providing assistance for the rescue of people embroiled in circumstances that have developed in Rhodesia. If that happens, I hope that we shall be generous. We have nearly completed a scheme for the resettlement of Kenya farmers. That has cost 38 million and it has been progressing steadily, though we hope that some farmers will stay in Kenya. They have much to contribute and have contributed a lot since the independence for which the late Iain Macleod deserves much credit.

However, if we have a duty, it is an equal duty to black and to white people. Let no one, for fear of racialist backlash, say that we shall let in white settlers but not black people. That would be disgraceful. Let us state our position loud and clear.

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Mr Robert Hughes (Aberdeen North)

At present we allow white Rhodesians who claim patriality free access to the United Kingdom, but black Rhodesians fleeing from the Smith regime are sent back. That is the sort of racialism which that mob on the Conservative Benches support.

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Mr John Lee (Birmingham Handsworth)

I agree with my hon. Friend that that is quite disgraceful. I remember some of us, including the late John Mackintosh, voting against the miserable settlement for Kenyan Asians. I hope that the more decent Conservative Members would not countenance such an arrangement again. I am sure that the hon. Member for Norfolk, North-West (Mr. Brocklebank-Fowler) would not countenance such a scheme.

We have a duty to try to get together all the African leaders. If we fail to do that, it may be that as a long shot and a final, desperate throw we could do worse than offer the presidency of an independent Zimbabwe to Mr. Nkomo, who is the one leader in whom there is continuity. It might not come off, but it just possibly might. He is the one man who seems to have the status and the contacts. Obviously I should prefer the president to be elected, but if that is not possible we may find that we can avoid the sort of chaos that we all wish to avoid by taking this rather desperate step.

7.26 p.m.

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Mr Julian Amery (Brighton, Pavilion)

I know that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Mr. Lee) was sincere in his proposal about asking Mr. Nkomo to be president, but that will not be easy. I have received today the report of an interview that Mr. Nkomo gave in Lusaka three days ago. He said: I am definitely no longer interested in negotiating with any of the Rhodesian leaders. We have nothing to say to each other. Mr. Ian Smith and his three black lackeys must recognise that it is now a matter of his surrender. We won't hang them, but they will be severely punished for what they have done to the Rhodesian people. I do not believe that the hon. Gentleman's suggestion is a possible starter.

I am horrified at the way we have moved from one objective to another. For a long time, the objective was self-determination—one man, one vote on the basis of free elections. Dr. Kissinger, on behalf of the British and American Governments, undertook that if this principle were accepted, sanctions would be lifted. The principle was accepted and implemented to the extent that five of the six points have been fulfilled, as the Foreign Secretary admits, but there is still no question of lifting sanctions and no interest any more in self-determination.

We then passed to a phase when peace was the objective. The provisional Government made a generous offer, which was repeated yesterday by the joint Ministers of External Affairs in Salisbury. They said that they would be happy to have Mr. Mugabe and Mr. Nkomo join the provisional Government on the same terms as the bishop, Mr. Sithole, Chief Chirau and Mr. Smith. This has been refused in Mr. Nkomo's statement, which I quoted earlier, and in the statement that Mr. Mugabe made last week and which was published in our newspapers. The reason is clear. It was admitted by Ambassador Young in Salisbury. The leaders of the Patriotic Front want full power.

If we want peace, and we have one established group and another that wants full power, the problem of diplomacy is which side should we lean on. So far, all the pressure has been put on the provisional Government. Sanctions have been tightened, and no moral support has been given. On the contrary, the provisional Government has been given the cold shoulder. I hope that the Minister who makes the winding-up speech will be able to tell us whether the allegations of Mr. Smith in a recent article in The Daily Telegraph are true. Have we really refused to have a representative on the committee that is discussing the constitution in Salisbury? Have we really refused to be represented on the committee that is organising the elections? If so, what is the explanation for this extraordinary conduct?

What pressures have been put on the Patriotic Front? When President Kaunda was here with his begging bowl, did we say that he could have money, but only on condition that he brought Mr. Nkomo under control and stopped raids across the border? When we give aid to Mozambique, what conditions do we attach? As far as I can see, there is none at all. No ultimatum has been put to Mr. Nkomo that we would stop supporting the Patriotic Front unless he agreed the terms of a settlement by a specified date. All the pressure has been put on the provisional Government and in favour of the Patriotic Front.

Let us examine the provisional Government and the Patriotic Front. The provisional Government is pro-West in its external policies, in favour of Western-style democracy, and friendly to British interests.

The Patriotic Front is financed, armed and equipped, by Moscow. Its forces are indoctrinated by Moscow. Its leaders' public speeches, whatever their private intentions may be, are all extremely hostile to the West. It is all very well saying that we should bring the parties together, but what is the use of that if we are trying to bring the anti-West element or the anti-British element in on top?

The Government's policy now is to bring the Patriotic Front to power. It is no good saying that we neither endorse nor condemn, because it is now the policy to bring forward the Patriotic Front. President Carter let the cat out of the bag at his breakfast with senators only recently. It was leaked afterwards how he had explained his policy. He said "We cannot lift sanctions. If we did, we would legitimise the provisional Government. We would then have a commitment to help them. The only way in which we could fulfil that commitment would be to act in collusion with South Africa. Oh dear, that might cost the Democratic Party the election."

I have respect for the Foreign Secretary. I am sure that he is a humane man. It was nice, though sad, to know that his injury resulted from playing with his children. However, humane men can be callous in pursuit of a policy, as those of us who have read the documents published about the "victims of Yalta" will know.

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman deplores the atrocities, the disembowelling, the cannibalism and all the beastly acts that take place as a result of terroist policy. I am sure that it turns his stomach over. However, I cannot help feeling that his judgment goes the other way. I believe that he says to himself "This is a turn of the screw. A few more turns, a bit more terrorism, and white morale will break, or the blacks will abandon the bishop and go over to the Patriotic Front. There will be capitulation or collapse. It may leave a desert under Soviet control and a new front for the offensive against South Africa. But fortunately there will be no direct British involvement and no collusion with South Africa."

Let us consider the consequences. In our legal system we are supposed to have intended the logical consequences of our actions. It is not only thugs who kill, murder, burn and disembowel. It is not only the Patriotic Front, the front-line Presidents, or the Soviets, who arm them; the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues, together with his American colleagues, are supporting the Patriotic Front 100 per cent. in the present operation. It is they who have blood on their hands.

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Mr Julian Amery (Brighton, Pavilion)

I have made my point.

I congratulate my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) on the vigorous attack that he launched on the conduct of Rhodesian affairs by the Labour Party. I applaud everything that he said on that score. If I criticise at all, it is that I do not think we have yet produced a sufficiently constructive alternative.

I was sorry to hear my right hon. Friend say that he did not think that the time had come to lift sanctions. He suggested that, in a sense, they were irrelevant. They are not irrelevant. If we want to support the internal settlement, we must give those concerned both moral encouragement and material help. There must be not only foreign exchange but the realisation, not only from speeches but from what they buy in the shops every day, and the jobs they can fill, that they have some friends in the world again. I welcomed my right hon. Friend's assurance that when the sanctions order comes before the House again we shall be against renewing it.

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Mr Terence Higgins (Worthing)

That was not what my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) said. My right hon. Friend made it clear that sanctions should not be lifted unless there is a return to legitimacy.

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Mrs Elaine Kellett (Lancaster)

My right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) did not say that.

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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.

7.37 p.m.

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Mr Arthur Newens (Harlow)

The right hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) has good reason to congratulate his right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies). The right hon. Member for Knutsford made a speech which represented a major step towards the complete capitulation of the Opposition to their Rhodesia lobby. I remind the right hon. Gentleman that that lobby demands not only the recognition of the internal settlement and the rejection of the Patriotic Front but the lifting of sanctions on the terms indicated by the right hon. Member for Pavilion, on which the right hon. Member for Knutsford has attempted to face both ways.

The advocates of the Conservative case claim to be the protagonists of peaceful change and the opponents of violence. They claim to be the champions of the democratic ideal against dictatorship and the representatives of Western interests against those of the Soviet Union. If we were all stricken by amnesia, that case might be plausible, but knowing the record of the past 14 years we have good reason to be cynical, especially if we have supported, as most Labour Members have, majority rule throughout.

Today Mr. Sithole and Bishop Muzorewa have their doughty defenders on the Conservative Back Benches, but which of those defenders uttered one word of protest when Mr. Sithole was in detention? Which of them cheered Bishop Muzorewa when he opposed the Smith-Home proposals of 1971? We hear the voices of those who claim frequently to be the supreme upholders of law and order. Have they forgotten that Mr. Smith and his henchmen were responsible for the most flagrant rejection of law and order in Rhodesian history? When the possibility of oppression is raised, we should remember that the oppression and repression of one group by another were initiated by the white minority Government against those who dared to speak out for majority rule and democracy.

We need also to recall that violence was initiated by the white minority. That has taken the form not only of the use of arms on the battlefield but of the use of the noose. Even the claim that the internal settlement is designed to establish democracy and majority rule is, as my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor) observed, ill founded. My hon. Friend made it clear that 28 seats of the 100 in the Assembly are to be reserved for whites, including eight Members who, in future elections, will be elected from 16 candidates nominated beforehand by the 28 white Members of Parliament. In other words, the white population, which represents 4 per cent. of the total, will have 28 per cent. of the seats.

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Mr James Spicer (West Dorset)

The hon. Member has mentioned both Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Sithole. He has held up their virtues in those early days when they were against the Smith regime. If he has talked to Mr. Sithole, he will know that Mr. Sithole accepts this internal settlement as being right for the black and the white population of Rhodesia because it carries them all through to an independent Zimbabwe. If Mr. Sithole and Bishop Muzorewa, who are people who fought for the freedom of black Africans in Rhodesia, can accept it, why cannot the hon. Member accept it?

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Mr Arthur Newens (Harlow)

In the long run, the people who must make the decision are not any of the leaders but the people of Rhodesia as a whole. That certainly means that the leaders of the Patriotic Front must be brought in. That is why my right hon. Friend is very rightly taking the stand that he has outlined here today.

I return to the point that I was making on the question of this so-called democracy which is supposed to be introduced by the internal settlement. Constitutional change is to be possible only if, after 10 years or two Parliaments, whichever is the longer, recommendations by a commission, chaired by a High Court judge, are approved by a majority of the Assembly. If 28 white Members can persuade 22 black Members to join them, they can then thwart and block any further constitutional change. But, if this is not a sufficient safeguard, a declaration of rights will guarantee the property and pensions of the minority. The independence of the judiciary, which has been appointed during the Smith era, is to be guaranteed Office-holders in the public services will have their jobs protected.

If right hon. and hon. Members on the Opposition Benches do not believe what I am saying, I suggest that they read the handout from Rhodesia itself, which makes that clear. It also makes it clear that the settlement is a facade which maintains or would maintain for an indefinite period the realities of white domination. Its advocates claim to be the spokesmen for Western interests. Such a settlement and those who support it, including some hon. Members of this House, will convince those who genuinely believe in self-government of the malignant influence of Western interests not only in Rhodesia but ultimately in Africa and in the third world as a whole.

We must recognise that we in the West have no right for all time to expect that Africa will be part of a Western sphere of influence. We have to recognise that the peoples of Africa have their right to choose. The Opposition should reflect that if they had their way over Rhodesia they would surely, indubitably, drive the Patriotic Front and all its supporters to complete dependence on Soviet and Cuban aid, which they affect to deplore.

It seems that, in the stand they have taken today, the Opposition are demonstrating that they have learnt nothing from the past in Africa. They should look at the position in Mozambique and Angola and recognise that the regimes which they today deplore were born of policies which they themselves supported and of the revolution against Portugal and Portuguese rule to which they always gave their support.

I believe that we must recognise that, whatever is done, the situation in Rhodesia, as an article in The Times of 24th July demonstrated, will continue to deteriorate. The internal settlement will certainly not survive. The wind of change in Africa has been followed by a tide which is sweeping through that continent. It will sweep to one side all the Canutes who sit in Salisbury or in this House and attempt to resist it.

The policy of my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary offers the only tenuous hope for the future of avoiding the dangers of a bloodbath, of which hon. Members on both sides of the House have spoken. If, however, a bloodbath ultimately comes, the policy argued and pursued by the Opposition and set forth today by the right hon. Member for Knutsford will have done much to contribute to it.

In those circumstances, many of us will have a right to point a finger and say "Those are the guilty men." I believe that those right hon. and hon. Members who vote here this evening against the Government will be giving comfort to those who have stood for many years for white supremacy in Rhodesia and in other parts of Africa. It is our duty to make it clear that the future does not lie with those people. If we want peace and progress in Rhodesia, we must give all possible support to my right hon. Friend in the steps that he is taking and we must reject out of hand the internal settlement and all the efforts to sustain it which have been and are associated with right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on the Opposition Benches.

7.47 p.m.

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Mr Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield)

I shall not follow up the inflammatory diatribe of the hon. Member for Harlow (Mr. Newens). I want to establish that I am deeply concerned about the problems of Rhodesia.

I believe that Rhodesia lies like the gladiator in the political arena of the world, ensnared in the net of political intrigue, with the spears of the trident of death, disorder and destruction poised over her very heart. Will the United Kingdom and the free countries of the West, like the Roman emperors of years ago, give this small but very important country, struggling to independence and to democracy, the "thumbs up" to enable it to survive and to make progress, or will our Government and the free world give it the "thumbs down", and consign 6 million people to tribal warfare, death and destruction, and to a Marxist dictatorship which will want nothing to do with the six principles that the Prime Minister of Rhodesia, Ian Smith, has conceded and is implementing, with the exception of the fifth principle, relating to acceptability?

Alternatively, are we prepared to do a Pontius Pilate, as has been suggested in one or two of the contributions in the debate, and wash our hands of what is our responsibility? This point was ably and cogently argued by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling). Are we backing the ballot box to decide who should govern Rhodesia, or, by default, shall we permit the power of Russian guns to decide the future of this important nation?

In the last 20 years or so, many African countries have broken their colonial ties and have gained independence. Starting with the highest hopes, many of these countries have quickly, sadly, and unfortunately become one-party States, ruled so often by repressive leaders, such as Idi Amin in Uganda. Economies have stagnated and collapsed, and tribal warfare and killings have become the order of the day in many of these new nations, which often take a holier-than-thou attitude from any platform that is given to them by the United Nations.

Is black racialism more acceptable and less evil than white racism? Do we want either of them? We do not.

Is the murder of six white farmers in Rhodesia by terrorists since 4th July helpful to the economy of Zimbabwe? Is the killing of four UANC officials by terrorists in the last four weeks aiding a peaceful setlement in that troubled country, or the massacre of 17 black civilians, including nine children, at a kraal some 60 kilometres south of Sinoia, or the attack by terrorists on the Kariba-Elephant Walk convoy, which resulted in the death of the black driver of an Express Motorways bus and three white civilians, including a child, or the death of at least 34 other black civilians by black terrorists in the last three or four weeks? Are all these actions helpful to achieving a peaceful settlement in Rhodesia? Are these the actions of people who are really concerned about the future peace and prosperity of Zimbabwe and all its people, whatever their colour?

If these deaths and incidents occurred before the internal settlement had been agreed and signed, leading, as we know, to black majority rule on 1st January next year, I could perhaps have understood the need for such action by the terrorists. But I do not now believe that such action is necessary. I support the call by Mr. Sithole and Bishop Muzorewa for the terrorists to lay down their arms and come back into Rhodesia in order to play their part in the elections when they come.

Is the House aware that terrorist activity, financed, I believe, on some occasions by money contributed by British aid, has forced the Ministry of African Education in Rhodesia to close 845 schools, thereby depriving 218,000 children of education? Are you aware, Mr. Deputy Speaker, that on 5th July the Rhodesian department of veterinary services announced that the curtailment of tsetse fly spraying caused by terrorist activity had resulted in the deaths of 12,000 cattle in the Darwin-Rushinga area? Is the Secretary of State aware that on the human side the forced curtailment of health services has resulted in increased disease and infant mortality rates in affected rural areas? Is that really what the Secretary of State is about in denying at least support to the internal settlement?

Surely Rhodesia does not need to follow the sad example of so many of those other countries in Africa. It can be the exception. Whatever Labour Members may say, there is a basic harmony between black, white and coloured in Rhodesia. This aspect of affairs greatly impressed me when I had the pleasure and honour of visiting that country last October. [HON. MEMBERS: "Who paid?"] The black leaders in Rhodesia are committed to sensible, moderate and responsible policies. They want to remain friendly with the Western world. Rhodesia is basically a prosperous country. It has vast reserves of vital raw materials. Its farms are highly productive. To those Labour Members who are interrupting from a sedentary position I would say that food production—

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Mr Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield)

I shall not give way, because I promised to be brief. Food production could be increased, to the advantage of other less fortunate countries which border Rhodesia. Rhodesia has a basic industrial structure of considerable potential, which has been built up since sanctions were imposed. It has one of the most advanced black education systems in the whole of the African continent. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] Shall we allow these fantastic advantages to be wasted and destroyed?

The internal settlement now needs political and economic support from the West. If it gets this support, it will be successful. If it is seen to be succeeding, I am convinced that other African countries such as Zambia, Botswana, and Mozambique, will gradually accept it and co-operate with it, because they themselves and their suffering peoples will benefit from the opening of the borders and the free movement of trade.

I am sick and tired of Labour Members and, sadly, of the Foreign Secretary, too, always seeking to curry favour with the Soviet Union and other Marxist dictators. I find it inexplicable that our Foreign Secretary should place more importance on the leaders of the Patriotic Front than on the moderate black leaders of the internal settlement who, whatever Labour Members may say, represent a majority of the blacks in Rhodesia.

Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that Joshua Nkomo, who is a considerable political figure, has decided that he will not join the internal settlement, that he only wants ultimate power and cannot now be persuaded to join the internal settlement. Continued attempts to reconcile the two sides will simply not work. I believe that that plays to the advantage of the terrorists and to the disadvantage of those who support the internal settlement.

Nkomo and Mugabe are out to destroy the moderates; they are not out to share power with them. Of course, if they succeed they will then set about destroying each other, and Rhodesia with them, for the tribal rivalries of Robert Mugabe and his Mashona and Joshua Nkomo and his Matabeles are ever-present just below the surface. If the Patriotic Front wins the struggle against the parties to the internal settlement, civil war in Rhodesia will result, just as sure as night follows day.

The issue is clear. If we support and encourage the internal settlement, the future peace and prosperity of Zimbabwe will be ensured for all the people of that country. A barrier to further Communist expansion in Africa will have been established. If my postbag is anything to go by, the British people demand that this Government and this House should act in the interests of all the people of that great little country of Zimbabwe. Then, as a country, we can look back with a little pride on the last important colonial responsibility that we possessed.

7.57 p.m.

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Mr James Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West)

Unlike the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton), I do not find the issue at all clear. In the interests of democracy I give notice to the Conservative Opposition that I shall allow no interruptions. The only person to whom I will give way—unfortunately he has just gone—is the Shadow Opposition spokesman, the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies).

For the last few decades, since the first Attlee Labour Government, our colonial debates have been optimistic. During that time we have given independence to emergent States in the third world. I should like the Conservative Opposition to take note of what I am about to say. Some of these States had white settlers. Of course, this was not so in Ghana, Sierra Leone or Gambia. However, there are many examples of white settler communities, besides that in a future Zimbabwe, where there has been snothing like the nonsense, mischief and portents of doom that we have heard tonight.

There were 70,000 such settlers in Kenya. There were tens of thousands in Zambia, the old Northern Rhodesia, and many others in Tanganyika, which is now called Tanzania. Those white settler communities have merged into black majority Governments. I ask the Conservative Opposition to think about this. Why is it that in respect of Rhodesia there is this danger whereas the settlers in all those other territories have settled down?

In case any hon. Member feels that those communities have not settled down, I remind the House that in 1954, along with the right hon. Member for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bottomley), I served on the commission of inquiry into Mau Mau. According to The Guardian this morning, 8,000 or more have been killed inside Rhodesia, and 1,500 outside. During the Mau Mau uprising, which scared us to death at the time, only 25 whites were killed in Kenya. That is a fleabite compared with the danger which we are now facing in what was formerly Southern Rhodesia and is now known as Zimbabwe.

We must never forget that all this is happening in Africa. This is a huge, tormented problem. I should like to remind the House that many good judges in Africa believe that Africa will define the state of world politics for the next 50 years. A huge dustbin of ideologies has been toppled over at least 100 peoples. They are now trying to emerge from all the muck and rubbish that has fallen on them.

Therefore, I was delighted to hear my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State talk about working in collaboration with not only the United Nations and the EEC but the Organisation of African Unity, which has been a bit of a scarecrow but is now bucking up. A week or so ago there was held in Khartoum the OAU conference, at which some good speeches were made. The OAU is now trying to get some discipline into its meetings.

Obasanjo, the Nigerian leader, made a speech in which he said "We do not want, never mind Soviets and Cubans, the French or anyone else coming in." The best speech was made by Sekou Toure, who does not often go to the meetings but who went from Guinea. If anyone in Africa is more Left than Sekou Toure, I have yet to see him. He said "Don't blame the imperialists. Let's look at ourselves. Let us stop inviting in Soviets, Cubans, French or anyone else, East or West, to settle our squabbles with our neighbours." Therefore, unlike the Opposition, I welcome what was said earlier about having the widest possible discussions.

Today is our last chance, before the House rises, to debate the tragic happenings in Rhodesia. We meet again, when—in October or November? Will there be an election? This is why I was disturbed to note the undertones of the "kith and kin" business that we have heard about for so long.

Like many other hon. Members, I have been to East Africa and I have met one or two settler communities. I do not find one leader of a white settler community—whether Michael Blundell in Kenya, Sir Ernest Vasey or Sir Roy Welensky—who does not condemn the behaviour of Smith and people like him in the matter of leadership of the whites in Rhodesia over the past years.

I want to say a word about the behaviour of certain Opposition Members, including the hon. Member for Macclesfield. I refer again to the issue of white settlers being our kith and kin. That attitude has been fostered, and, in my view, festered, by certain elements, not least on the Opposition Benches. Those concerned do not help the cause of concord and peace by the abuse that they have heaped on my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for his speeches outside the House or his speech today. There is nothing to be said for that kind of inter-party bickering.

I have a bone to pick with the right hon. Member for Knutsford. We clashed earlier. When I recalled what The Guardian said on 11th July—we all know it—I was baffled to hear what the right hon. Gentleman said. Under the headline Mr. Davies comes home cautiousThe Guardian said: Mr. John Davies has made a valuable trip to Salisbury on behalf of the Conservative Party. He has seen far himself the deficiencies of the settlement as it stands and has come back advising that it would be wrong to put the support of the party behind it. The temptation to the party leadership to detach itself from the Foreign Office position must be strong, for if there are votes in Rhodesia (and by October, with the war getting weekly worse, there might be) they would be likely to go the settlement way. October apart, bipartisanship has been severely frayed lately since the bulk of the Opposition argument in the Commons has come from the back benches. What distinguishes Mr. Davies from most Tory visitors to Rhodesia"— whoever pays for them, Mr. Smith or otherwise— is that he sees the strict limits within which Britain must work. He has not let his wishes become his beliefs. Recognition of the settlement"— the internal settlement— would not make it stick. It would not end the war"— whatever we do or do not do in supporting Smith and his supporters in Salisbury. That is the first and most important point that I wish to make.

I want to put the following question to the Opposition: are we to see two civil wars? The way Opposition Members are going on, they are precipitating that. Is there to be a continuation now of a struggle between Smith and some black allies, the bishop, Sithole and others, and the Patriotic Front? The history of Africa is that the blacks always win. Smith will lose.

If the Patriotic Front is fighting week after week and month after month, it will be bolstered even more than now by Soviet money and guns, with Cubans if need be, as elsewhere. That is my analy- sis. I have seen it happen in two other places in Africa, not least the Horn.

What will follow? What worries me is that inside the territory there could well be a black versus black civil war, which is terrible to contemplate, between ZAPU and ZANU, or Nkomo and Mugabe, if one can personalise the two movements. What is essential to stop that is that Ian Smith must go.

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Mr James Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West)

The quicker Ian Smith goes, the better. In visits to East Africa I met no former white settler leader who does not think that Smith is to blame, of course with many others, for much of what is happening.

I know that there are no Marxists on the Opposition Benches. Therefore, they will accept the Churchillian thesis of men making history. In Ian Smith we have a man who, when history is written, will be blamed for UDI in 1965 and for the dangerous sickness which, if the present position continues, will engulf Rhodesia and include all its people. He has procrastinated for years on anything that would lead to peace and prosperity for a future independent Zimbabwe.

All other white leaders looked ahead to independence, when they would have a black majority Government and they would build up the country and live together in decency with black leaders. That is not so in Rhodesia. This man Smith concedes an interim Government with the black Africans, but every Labour speaker has told us that although he concedes an interim Government, he has no intention of making it work in the genuine, decent, honest, democratic sense.

We have had examples time after time. What about Mr. Hove, who was a joint Minister? When he wished to democratise and Africanise the civil service and the police, he was simply told that it could not be done. He is no longer a Minister.

Who here imagines that there will be elections before the end of this year? This is a very serious question. We have only to look at the conditions in the bush. Because of the disintegrating social, political and military position, we must ask who will collect the ballot boxes and make sure that they contain valid voting papers, whatever may be the constituency, whether it is near the Mozambique border, the Botswana border or any other border, or whether, indeed, it is in the African location in Salisbury?

Open elections must be held in Rhodesia, and this means that there will have to be supervision by an outside body, the United Nations. The Anglo-American agreement, not the internal settlement, must be put into force, with someone at the head of it who is above all the back dealing and petty backstairs work which Smith is carrying on with his fake constitution.

I am, I am afraid, not merely pessimistic but fatalistic about the future of Rhodesia. The hour is not only late; I believe that it is too late. It is very unusual for me to talk in this way, but 12 o'clock is approaching so fast that one can almost hear the clock chiming.

8.10 p.m.

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Mr Joseph Godber (Grantham)

I propose, Mr. Deputy Speaker, to discard the speech that I was prepared to make today, because I realise how many hon. Members wish to speak in the debate, and I want to speak for only a few minutes. In addition, my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) said most of the things that I wanted to hear said here today, and my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling) has endorsed them and filled them in.

I want to address myself very briefly to two or three points. First, I want to make it absolutely clear, as did my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford, that in voting against the Government tonight I shall not be voting for the repeal of sanctions. I have stood for the retention of sanctions over many years, from each side of the House, and I think it would be quite wrong to vote for the removal of sanctions at this time, before we can see what further progress may be made.

For over five years I was deputy to Lord Home of the Hirsel, as he now is, at the Foreign Office. I worked with him over a long period, trying to make progress on Rhodesia; therefore I feel as deeply as anyone the need to secure a proper, balanced and reasonable settlement. I believe that no one could have done more than Lord Home did in his time, and I believe that Labour Ministers have also tried to achieve a solution to the problem of Rhodesia, but I am deeply concerned about the present attitude of the Foreign Secretary, because I believe that he is missing out on the opportunity that was presented by the move made earlier this year through the internal settlement.

I have heard all the arguments today about how bad the internal settlement is, but to those of us who battled for years to try to get Mr. Smith to accept some form of majority rule it is a tremendous step forward, and in my view it is folly to ignore it. That is why there is now deep concern over the line that the Foreign Secretary has taken. He appears to be supporting those who are not interested in a negotiated settlement, who are not interested in the ballot box, but who are interested in terrorism. I believe that it is very wrong that a British Foreign Secretary should take that view and give support to those who have been engaged in terrorism and who are still engaged in terrorism.

That is why I believe that something must be done to bring home to the Government the dangers of their present attitude. We have heard again and again from Labour Members today why they believe that the internal settlement is bad, but no one, not even the Foreign Secretary, has put forward any real positive policy to take us forward. The Government are standing on the Anglo-American proposals that have been put forward that even one Labour Member today described as being not quite dead. I think that that was the phrase used. Those proposals on their own will not take us forward to a solution. If the Government are not prepared to go along with the internal settlement, they have to produce something more positive.

I believe that the Government should use the internal settlement, with all its faults—I freely admit that there are many—as a means of securing elections that would provide a majority black Government. Whatever other factors might be achieved, it would represent far more than anyone could have hoped for from Mr. Smith, even as recently as a year ago.

I urge the Government and the Foreign Secretary to think again and not to be hypnotised by people such as Mr. Andrew Young. I believe that he has done grave harm to the cause of the West in Africa. I am a keen supporter of the Anglo-American alliance, but that does not mean that I have to support a man who is obviously so impressed with his own distorted view of the situation, and who has really no long history of knowledge of African affairs. It is a serious folly to allow ourselves to be dictated to by a man of that kind.

I urge on the Government the need to look again at the internal settlement. If the British and the Americans together were to give their full support to the internal settlement and bring it to fruition, with elections in Rhodesia before the end of this year, we should be making progress. To stand back and appear to be giving more favour to those who are interested in terrorism than to those who want to proceed by negotiated means is doing harm to both black and white in Rhodesia.

These are the points that seem to me to matter most of all. I said that I would speak for only a few minutes, Mr. Deputy Speaker. As this might be the last occasion on which I speak here, I wanted to bring forward my own opinion that the Government are acting wrongly at the present time, and I hope and pray that they will change their view.

8.16 p.m.

Photo of Mr Martin Flannery

Mr Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

I am sure that the right hon. Member for Grantham (Mr. Godber) has given his views with integrity, and I am glad to know that he does not agree with the bulk of his party on the question of sanctions. If I were a black African in Rhodesia I would dearly wish that there were more who took that attitude.

If I were a black African in Rhodesia and had listened to the Tory Party in this debate, I would emerge from it disheartened, thinking that the Patriotic Front was my only hope. I would be more determined than ever. In my opinion, when the people of Zimbabwe hear of the vote of the Tory Members tonight they will recognise that it is the Conservative Party that has supported Smith and company all the way through and has precipitated what is now happening in Rhodesia. I believe, further, that the Tory vote here tonight and especially the virtual promise that has been given about sanctions, will strengthen the Patriotic Front and the front-line Presidents.

During the four and a half years that I have been here, there has never been revealed more nakedly and with such terrifying clarity the sheer backwardness of the Tory Party and its refusal to face reality in Southern Africa and Rhodesia. A gunboat mentality has peered out through practically every sentence. In fact, the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) showed to perfection the sheer cream of reaction. I felt that it was a pitiful spectacle when the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) stood at the Dispatch Box earlier on, having totally capitulated to the Right wing of the Tory Party. It was one of the saddest sights that I have seen in this House.

What are the real issues? The first real issue that Conservative Members cannot confront is that of democracy. They can talk until they are blue in the face, but they still have the imperious mentality which holds that black men are beneath them. It stands out, and the people of Southern Africa, and black Africans everywhere, know that that is the truth. They know that there is no hope from the Conservative Party for black Africa.

The other real issue—linked with that of democracy—which Conservative Members cannot face is that of racialism. They are upholders of the white supremacists in Southern Africa, and they know it. That is why they react so violently when we tell them the truth. They should know that wherever there is no democracy there will always ultimately be an explosion, whether it be in Chile, in the Soviet Union, in South Africa—which will be next, as sure as I am standing here—in Northern Ireland or in Rhodesia. These are the realities that we have to face.

What does Mr. Smith stand for? Why do Conservative Members try to distort reality by saying that he stands for democracy? He has steadily been relegated to the dustbin of history, where he belongs, because the black Africans see him and his ilk, and the kith and kin of the Tory Party, for exactly what they are—racialists and anti-democrats. He has used every device known to mankind to retain power for the white minority, but he has failed. His position is long overrun. The position of Tory Members is overrun, but they will create a bloodbath in Rhodesia before they will admit it.

Smith's accomplices—Muzorewa, who has forsaken what he stood for, Sithole and Chief Chirau—are now seen by the people of black Africa as three 0stooges supporting the racialists. They are now in a hopeless position and do not know which way to turn. I forecast that they will ultimately flee the country, along with their white master, Smith, who, by the way, treats them with utter contempt.

The Mozambique raids which have just taken place—the death toll of which has still to be made clear—occurred while Muzorewa and Sithole were abroad trying to drum up support against their own people. They are treated with utter contempt by Smith, just as he took no counsel of them when he kicked Byron Hove out when Hove was asking for the Africanisation of the regime, could not get it and saw it for what it was.

The article in The Times of 24th July has been mentioned. This is a great article by James Wilkie—and The Times is hardly sympathetic to people such as me. The article said: … vast areas … are under control of … guerrillas … who decide which transport … may move on which roads. The headlines said: Rhodesian internal settlement in parlous condition and Rhodesian civil servants planning hopelessly for defeat". Those are parts of a major article which hon. Members must have read. That is the present position, as they all know.

Now the Tories say that they want to save lives. Where were they when Smith and his cohorts had an almost daily and melancholy parade of hangings? Did they want to save lives then? Those hangings ceased only recently. Where were they at the time of Soweto? Where were their voices being raised for Steve Biko, who was murdered in gaol in Southern Africa? Where were their voices in defence of Nelson and Winnie Mandela and other black South Africans whom the Voster regime is gaoling and torturing morning, noon and night and sending to islands off the coast?

How dare they claim that they believe in human liberty when they never raise their voices about Chile or any of the other places where tyranny exists? Did they never mention what happened in Kenya, where there is now a black regime? Why are they so frightened of the same thing happening in Rhodesia? It is because that is the last foothold they have and they cannot face relinquishing it. That is the hard reality. I call upon the Tories to realise that there is no escape from democracy.

The so-called internal settlement is no settlement. It has gone. The position is overrun. There is not the slightest chance of the internal settlement being resurrected.

So what should we do? I hope that some Tories will take not the slightest notice of the ultra Right-wing Rhodesian lobby in this House, epitomised by the hon. Member for Macclesfield, which is counselling the regime to do things which will produce the bloodbath that they say they do not want.

If such people had their way we should still be in India, with an endless Vietnam going on. I well remember their great mentor, Churchill, saying when we pulled out of India that he had not become the King's First Minister to preside at the liquidation of the British Empire. But he had to see the Empire go, and Tory Members now will have to see it go soon.

I want to support the Foreign Secretary, who has laid out the blueprint for what can be done, for what will produce peace, prosperity and democracy in Rhodesia. All sides must attend a roundtable conference, but its aim must clearly be stated as free and equal elections on the principle of one man, one vote and not a system in which 4 per cent. of the population have 28 out of 100 seats. That is what should be held out to every man, black and white, and on that basis the white people can stay in a prosperous Zimbabwe with equality with the Africans. That is the only way out.

Those who cannot stand the idea of democracy for the black majority in their own country will have to leave. The alternative is chaos. The Tories are ready to create chaos rather than have democracy in Rhodesia. There will ultimately be a collapse, and they know it—and it will be the collapse of Smith and company. One hopes that that will happen soon, so that there will be less killing. The black collaborators will join their own people against the whites—they will move over. All black Africa will help Mugabe and Nkomo and the Patriotic Front. This attitude is shown clearly by the front-line Presidents.

The outcome will be exactly the same no matter how the Tories vote tonight, but we would like it to happen without the killing. They can have it with the killing if they want—that is up to them. We want it without the slaughter. We want the Tories not to make their position clear to the black people, not to show that they are desperate. We want them to show that they do not want the killing.

It is no good condemning Russia and Cuba. We were there 100 years before Russia and Cuba ever made themselves felt in Africa, and when we were there we took the lot. We did not put black Africans in power.

With the utmost sincerity, I beg the Tories to stop crying about it, to face reality, to be big boys and face up to it. They must recognise that white rule and imperialism are dying and help the birth of democracy in Zimbabwe. Whether they do or not, the outcome will be the same, but if they do not they will have accelerated the killing. It is time for democratic change in Rhodesia. We should get together and help that change to take place on behalf of democracy.

8.26 p.m.

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Mr William Clark (Croydon South)

I do not think that I will follow the direction taken by the hon. Member for Sheffield, Hillsborough (Mr. Flannery). If I may say so with all the courtesy I can, his was a disgraceful speech. I do not think that it does the cause of Rhodesia any good to keep knocking the moderates—Bishop Muzorewa, Mr. Sithole, Mr. Smith and Chief Chirau—and then praising, more or less, the Patriotic Front. It was a disgraceful speech. I should like anyone listening to this debate to be assured that the hon. Member does not speak for the British people. His views are diametrically opposed to what the ordinary man and woman in the street think about Rhodesia.

There have been mistakes on both sides in Rhodesia, but now—12, 13 or 14 years later—there is an internal multiracial settlement. With free elections promised, I think that the Foreign Secretary—I had better be careful in my choice of language—is mad not to give all the moral support of Her Majesty's Government to this settlement.

Britain is not giving a lead on Rhodesia, but the rest of the world looks to us to lead. We had responsibility there previously, and I do not think that we can except the Americans to lead. With a lead from the British Government now, I am absolutely convinced that we could get moral support from the rest of the world for the internal settlement.

What do we really want from the internal settlement? We all want to see free elections in Rhodesia. If we can get free elections, we shall have the black majority government that everybody wants. The continuation of sanctions, the ostracism of Rhodesia by the rest of the world, the increase in the cost of foreign exchange in Rhodesia, which is causing an increase in the cost of imports, if it can get them, and the discounted sales of exports, if it can sell them, are all having a detrimental effect on Rhodesia.

Who is suffering? It is not the small minority of whites, but the blacks. They are suffering simply because the intransigence of this Government is such that they have tied the hands of the leaders of the provisional Government behind their backs and they cannot do much to improve the economy.

I do not know whether the Foreign Secretary is naive or over-arrogant. I really cannot see how his present policy can succeed. It must lead to an increase in violence and bloodshed. Who, then, will be blamed?

The British Government must work in concert with the American Government. We must insist that the African leaders influence a ceasefire in the territories surrounding Rhodesia. This Government have a certain amount of political muscle. We give aid, so let us use the influence through the aid programme to try to get the African leaders to bring about a ceasefire. We should recognise the provisional Government in order to give them a chance.

A lot has been said about the Patriotic Front. Mr. Nkomo and Mr. Mugabe have had many opportunities to join the provisional Government, but they have turned them down. Mr. Mugabe is more interested in the bullet than in the ballot box. With the danger in this part of Africa of Russian and Cuban intervention, it is obvious that if Rhodesia falls into the hands of the extremists it will only be a short time before they turn their eyes to South Africa. This would be terrible to contemplate, because of the mineral resources there on which the West depends so much. The loss of Rhodesia would be the forerunner to the loss of South Africa.

My indictment of the Government is that they are standing on the touchline, hoping that something will turn up and wringing their hands. While they do so, this cauldron in Rhodesia is boiling over to the loss of black and white lives. It is time that the Foreign Secretary and the Government did something positive to give encouragement to the moderates in Rhodesia who are trying to get a multiracial internal settlement.

8.33 p.m.

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Mr Alex Lyon (City of York)

The House must give its blessing to any scheme for legalising any Rhodesian Government. There is a sense in which we have a peculiar right to speak about the Rhodesian situation, but today some Conservative Members seem to have misunderstood the limits of our power and our right to speak on behalf of 6 million black Africans who have not yet been consulted about their wishes in this matter.

It is a fact that there are three black leaders in the interim Government, one of whom is not even thought to have any real support inside Rhodesia. The other two undoubtedly have some support, but the question is how much.

It is right that when the agreement was first announced a number of us on this side of the House had difficulty in accepting that it would lead to full majority rule in Rhodesia. Nevertheless, we abstained from criticism because we thought it right that if the black people of Rhodesia wished to accept it with all its limitations, it was for them to decide and not us. I have taken that view ever since.

In the period immediately preceding this debate, however, it seems that the will of the black Africans in Rhodesia has been made more evident than at any time since the internal agreement was signed. Following the dismissal of Byron Hove, there was an immediate outcry from black opinion in Rhodesia.

Bishop Muzorewa undoubtedly suffered a major political reverse because he accepted that dismissal. It cannot be said that the people, who in the past had supported the ANC, supported Bishop Muzorewa on that occasion. If he got immense public applause when he first returned to Rhodesia after his exile abroad, it cannot be said that he can muster that kind of support in Rhodesia today.

Therefore, Conservative Members must ask themselves whether they are really saying that we should back the internal settlement and Mr. Sithole and Bishop Muzorewa. Would we not be going out on a limb in doing this when the vast majority of black people in Rhodesia do not support these two men? Opposition Members are saying that we must put it to the test but we must remember that the whites in Rhodesia will have a preliminary test. They are to be allowed a referendum before there is an election. They will be able to say whether they accept it. We do not yet know—and Mr. Smith appears to be doubtful—whether even the whites are prepared to accept the settlement.

The blacks are not to be given that opportunity. They will be given an opportunity to vote in an election controlled by the internal Government, which is dominated by Mr. Smith and in which he has a veto over all the decisions taken by the internal Government and a total dominance of the forces of law and order.

The second indicator, in addition to that involving Byron Hove, is the attitude of Smith and the white Ministers in the Executive Council to the recent invasion of Mozambique by Rhodesian forces. It is clear that Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Sithole were not consulted.

Opposition Members asked why Nkomo and Mugabe do not come into the internal Government and put their trust in the internal settlement. They asked why they will not go before the people and see whether they are supported. The answer is obvious. It is because the real force of power—the real executive power—is vested in those who have control of the forces of law and order. That is the crucial matter.

If Nkomo and Mugabe look at the Mozambique raid dispassionately, they are bound to argue that the people in the internal Government were never consulted and that they had no influence over the Executive. They are bound to ask why they should put their trust in it. It is no wonder that Mugabe says he wants his people to be part of the army that will take over from the present Rhodesian army because he can trust only his people. He feels that he cannot trust the white-led forces which are under the control of Mr. Smith.

A person who does not control the forces of law and order cannot hope to control what happens in an election. There is bound to be some disorder and, therefore, the forces of law and order will make an appearance, whether in the form of the police or the army, at election meetings. That is bound to condition the way in which people are asked to express themselves. We cannot have a free election in Rhodesia under the present internal settlement as long as the forces of law and order are under Mr. Smith's control. I should not be influenced by the result of such an election. I do not see why Mugabe and Nkomo should be.

Opposition Members have criticised the Foreign Secretary for making the obvious point that Nkomo and Mugabe must be inveigled into a settlement in which they have some trust. They have condemned that suggestion on the basis that Nkomo and Mugabe are Communist stooges led by Moscow. I remind the Opposition that it was little more than a year ago that they urged my right hon. Friend to back Nkomo when he was negotiating a settlement with Mr. Smith. Nkomo was the man then. They did not talk about Muzorewa. He was a man of no political significance who had no support in Rhodesia. That was what the Opposition said. They did not say that today. Now they say that Muzorewa is the man we should trust.

I do not take either view. I believe that there is only one way in which we can justifiably hand over Rhodesia to a legal Government. That is when it is clear that the 6 million black Africans—who far outnumber the 250,000 whites for whom the Conservative Benches have so much concern—support the regime that we leave there. Having seen what has happened in the last few months, I submit that the internal settlement does not have that support.

It is true that any kind of guerrilla war of this nature will not be an open conflict between one mass of forces and another. One cannot expect any guerrilla force without tanks or aeroplanes to be able to go into the field to fight a normal, conventional battle. Guerrilla war depends on having insurgents moving about the country and causing disruption and loss of life by reason of attacks on isolated posts. I accept that. But they cannot take such action in countries in which the Government have the full backing of the local population. The only reason why the guerrillas are able to control such a vast area of Rhodesia is that they are being given support in local areas. That is happening not because the guerrillas have made people give them support, but because people want to do so.

The Rhodesian forces are seeking to counter that position by indulging in repressive activity against black people in the tribal trust lands. For that reason, the increase in guerilla activity is now moving into Bulawayo and Salisbury and shows, more loudly than does the reaction to Hove or to the Mozambique raid, that the black people of Rhodesia do not support the internal settlement. If my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary were to support the settlement, I would have to part company with him.

The right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies), who spoke so despicably from the Opposition Front Bench should make an apology to my right hon. Friend. The right hon. Gentleman has in the past taken the view that we cannot remove sanctions and that if we were to do so we should be isolated from the rest of the world. When the right hon. Gentleman returned from Rhodesia, he told the 1922 Committee that the situation in Rhodesia did not allow the United Kingdom at that stage to accept an internal settlement. He cannot criticise my right hon. Friend for failing to approve or disapprove of the settlement while at the same time not stating his own view. The truth is that if he were now part of a Conservative Government he would not pursue a different policy. The abysmally cynical speech made by the right hon. Gentleman in this debate was aimed at papering over the cracks in the Opposition. It took the arguments of the hon. Member for Worthing (Mr. Higgins) to rip aside the screen. We then saw all the factions shouting their slogans again.

If Bishop Muzorewa were listening to this debate, he would be ashamed of his new friends. The truth is that the Opposition have never favoured a just settlement in Rhodesia. They favour the perpetuation of white minority interest. That has been their position ever since I came into the House in 1966. The three wicked men of the Tory Party—the hon. Member for Havant and Waterloo (Mr. Lloyd), the right hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) and the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall)—appear to be shaking their heads. That is a disgraceful exhibition.

The only cause that will be served by this debate and by the vote which will be cast later is that of disruption in Africa. The whites in Rhodesia will think that they can hang on to the slender bastion of power for a little longer. When they do, they will advance the ambitions of the Soviet Union in central and Southern Africa a great deal more than will anything that is said from the Labour Benches. It is the Opposition, not the Labour Government, who are helping the Russians in Africa. If the Opposition had any sense, they would see that to be the case and would abandon their vote tonight.

8.45 p.m.

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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. It states: 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.

8.56 p.m.

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Mr George Rodgers (Chorley)

Despite the claims made from the Tory Benches it is quite apparent that the internal agreement is fraudulent. Certainly Ian Smith has demonstrated over the years that he is a very slippery customer. The fact that he has moved a few inches in recent months is not enough. Obviously there are many yards, if not miles, for him to move before anyone could begin to recognise the internal agreement as valid.

The news of recent atrocities in Rhodesia, especially the massacre of the missionaries and children, has been received in this country with a feeling of revulsion and horror. I do not intend to direct blame upon one force or another. I do not know who is responsible. Surely the tragedy is that such an event should take place at all. That is what should concern us.

It is inevitable that when a war is under way terrible crimes will be committed on either side. We had recent evidence of this in Vietnam, where the American forces utilised saturation bombing against a small peasant nation. Crops were poisoned and vegetation destroyed, while men, women and children were killed wholesale. This is an inevitable consequence.

War is not glamorous. There is nothing gallant about war. It is a gruesome and ghastly business. This is evidenced by a speech made to the United Nations Security Council as recently as 30th June, when Marcelino Dos Santos, the Minister of Development and Economic Planning in Mozambique, said that since his country had begun strictly to apply Security Council sanctions against Southern Rhodesia 1,432 people had been murdered by the army of Smith; a total of four villages in Mozambique had been completely levelled; many localities had been left without hospitals, schools, stores and water reservoirs; homes had been burned and destroyed, factories and bridges demolished, and thousands of head of cattle slaughtered. This was before the recent incursions and the use of sophisticated weapons and aircraft against the people of that country.

Unfortunately, the British press does not give a balanced account of these events, and while attention was understandably focused on the dreadful atrocities in Rhodesia little attention was paid to the events in Mozambique. This is the reality of war. A dreadful civil war is currently taking place in Rhodesia. This is inevitable, given the continuation in office of an illicit Government who should have disintegrated long ago. That Government is the cause of the atrocities. That Government would not be in office had we managed successfully to apply sanctions upon firms and individuals who flouted the law by supplying the vital oil to the Rhodesian regime.

The simple truth is that the economy would have collapsed without such supplies if sanctions had been effectively applied. Those who supplied succour to the Rhodesian regime presumably did so in pursuit of profit—because I can think of no other reason why sanctions should be breached, unless we look at the larger possibility, that the international oil companies have decided to enter the political arena and have further decided that they prefer the regime of Ian Smith to a democratically elected Government. It is either to do with profit or it is a case of political intervention by the oil companies.

It must have been apparent way back in 1966 that sanction busting was taking place on a massive scale, yet it was only in April 1977 that an official inquiry under Mr. Bingham was put in hand. Even then there appeared to be no great urgency about the situation, because 11 weeks went by before the committee started work, and even now the sanction-breaching continues to take place. There is a suspicion that the inquiry is being used as a reason for not taking action to halt the flagrant abuses of the law by international companies, presumably on the ground that we must not prejudge the findings of the inquiry.

There is abundant evidence of wholesale evasion. In 1976 "The Oil Conspiracy" by an American Church group, was published. It exposed the situation and revealed that the international oil companies were well aware of the destination of the oil provided by their subsidiaries in South Africa. The New York Times investigated the claims and was clearly impressed and could not dispute the findings. Capitalist shareholders in Mobil Oil in America apparently have greater conscience than have some capitalists over here. They have insisted that guarantees be given that the oil from their company will not be sold or transferred to a secondary country without their approval.

An elaborate system has been set up to conceal sanction breaking. The South African Government have set up an agency entitled Freight Services, and another agency, set up by the Rhodesian Government, is called "Genta", which is an anagram of agent. The Rhodesians apparently go in for this James Bond stuff on a grand scale. There has also been a paper-chase, which has enabled several minor companies to be set up simply to act as letter boxes for invoices to conceal the destination and payment for oil.

I think that a tribute should be paid to the Hazlemere group and the antiapartheid movement, which have done a magnificent job in investigating and exposing the activities of the international oil companies which have kept the Smith regime in office and allowed the slaughter in Mozambique and Rhodesia to continue. Two journalists, Bernard Rivers and Martin Bailey, have shown great courage and tenacity in bringing this matter into the open, but surely it should have been brought into the open a long time ago by the British Government.

I am particularly concerned about the involvement of BP and Shell, which have close connections with the British Government and the British community—in fact the Government are a majority shareholder in BP. We must dismiss the silly evasive comment of the oil companies that they have no jurisdiction over their subsidiaries in South Africa. What sort of parent company has no jurisdiction over its subsidiaries?

I deplore the excuse that these companies dare not breach South African internal law. I do so, first, because sanctions have a higher priority than South African law and should have been obeyed as a first priority; secondly, because South Africa is more dependent upon the oil companies than are the oil companies upon South Africa. The fact is that 85 per cent. of South African oil is refined by the major oil companies, which gives them tremendous economic power, and it is extremely unlikely that South Africa would be prepared to endanger its own existence to assist the suvival of the Smith regime.

All the African Commonwealth nations have expressed bitter resentment at the failure of the United Kingdom to deal effectively with sanction breaking, and certainly Canada has also expressed dismay at our failure in this direction. The Soviet Union has secured an abundance of support among the African nations because it has condemned outright the Smith regime and the South African minority Government.

That comment applies also to China. It might come as a shock to the right hon. Member for Finchley (Mrs. Thatcher) to know that China has condemned the Rhodesian regime, and we shall fail to win friends and influence people in South Africa unless our policies cease to lean towards the international oil companies and the disgusting apartheid States that exist in South Africa.

The Foreign Secretary today made an excellent and powerful speech, and one that was conciliatory, but we must remember that he represents a Socialist democratic nation. We carry no brief for the oil lobby's operations.

Time is running short—probably desperately short—but I still believe that if we are prepared to act democratically and decisively, it may be late, but it is not too late to prevent a bloodstained catastrophe in Africa.

9.5 p.m.

Photo of Rear-Admiral Morgan Morgan-Giles

Rear-Admiral Morgan Morgan-Giles (Winchester)

I have felt strongly about this issue for many years, but I hope to speak ressponsibly and I shall be brief.

The present situation has arisen because of 13 years of indecision and dithering by, I am sorry to say, successive Governments. It has been an example of the dreadful, dead-handed indecision of some democracies. Matters have now gone far beyond Rhodesia and, despite the fact the Foreign Secretary did not mention the Soviet Union, it is now a major East-West issue.

Soviet tactics can be summed up by the chilling word "destabilisation"—the fomenting, by proxy, of civil war, massacre and bloodshed ceaselessly until the Soviets' aim is achieved, first in Rhodesia and then throughout Africa. Further procrastination is therefore entirely contrary to the interests of the Rhodesians of all races, Africa as a whole, Britain and all Western nations.

It is sad to see that so many Labour Members are apparently most united by one petty aim, namely, to bring about the downfall of Mr. Smith. They want the satisfaction of seeing him and his supporters bite the dust after having defied all that they have been able to do against him over the years. In many cases we have had nothing more constructive than that from Labour Members.

The internal settlement is a major step forward, whatever our view on these matters. Mr. Smith has said, in essence, that he will hand over power to Africans but not to anarchy, and I find it difficult to quarrel with that point of view. He is, after all, supported by three prominent Africans, with widespread support in the country. One could argue about how widespread their support is, but the figures are significant. The present interim Government gives the only possible chance of achieving free elections in Rhodesia. The so-called Patriotic Front wants power through the gun, and does not deny it.

If the Foreign Secretary wants to bring Mr. Nkomo and, perhaps, Mr. Mugabe to the conference table, surely it is absurd to withhold support from the internal settlement. Continued sanctions against Salisbury and indirect subsidies to the Patriotic Front will, of course, reinforce the intransigence of the Front's leaders. They are not fools. They know on which side their bread is buttered.

Equally, it is grotesque to imagine that the terrorist forces, with their Soviet training, ideology and equipment, can ever be incorporated into security forces that would be acceptable to the Rhodesian people as a whole. As usual, the Liberal Party, judging by the speech of the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe), is in cloud-cuckoo-land on this issue.

The Foreign Secretary is an amiable enough man, but Foreign Secretaries have to take decisions. Dithering, compromising and sitting on the fence, hoping against hope for the impossible, has gone on for too long. However unpalatable it may be to the Labour Party, the Foreign Secretary must have the guts to see that dithering will no longer do. He must support the internal settlement immediately, for the sake of all Rhodesians, because time has run out.

9.10 p.m.

Photo of Mr Frank Hooley

Mr Frank Hooley (Sheffield, Heeley)

In Yorkshire we say that the proof of a pudding is in the eating. What is clear in Rhodesia now is that the internal settlement has not brought peace internally and has gained no recognition externally. It is instructive to examine why that is so. Internally, the white races' constitution that Smith has promulgated has 28 per cent. of the seats in the so-called Parliament reserved to 4 per cent. of the electorate—the white electorate—and eight of those seats are not subject to election. The settlement is clearly not on.

The proposals mean that the redistribution of land and the other economic resources are effectively precluded under the settlement. The white-dominated judiciary and public services are to be retained. The police, defence and prison services will remain firmly in white hands. Any criticism of these arrangements constitutes what Smith calls political interference. The House should ask Mr. Byron Hove what happens to those who dare criticise the arrangements.

The war continues. The state of emergency continues. There are stringent regulations to control African opposition to minority rule and to suppress any indication of support for the Patriotic Front. The repressive and discriminatory laws enacted by the white minority Government over the past 14 years are still in force. These include laws relating to detention without charge and without trial.

Much has been made of the release of the 700 detainees, but all the evidence is that many, many more have been arrested and that many remain in detention. Legalised murder, in the form of hangings, seems to have diminished, but more and more Africans are being indiscriminately shot dead by the security forces.

I give two examples. On 14th April, George Simbi, a prominent ZANU supporter, who had taken part in the Geneva constitutional talks, was shot dead by the security forces near his home. On Sunday 14th May, a political meeting was organised, which was attended by several hundred unarmed civilians, including a large number of children. Troops from the police support unit of Smith's regime came up and opened fire with automatic weapons and threw grenades into the crowd. That massacre was probably not far short of the massacre that occurred at Soweto.

Savage curfews are imposed upon the African villages. I shall quote one clause from the curfew arrangements, which reads: No juveniles (to the age of 16 years) will be allowed out of the kraal area at any time … day or night, or they will be shot. That is how Smith deals with African children.

The hated protected villages are being extended. It is now estimated that about 580,000 people are in them. That is the situation in Rhodesia under the internal settlement that my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is expected to accept and approve.

The external situation is that the frontline States have made it clear that they do not accept the settlement. The OAU has condemned it. It has called on the people of Zimbabwe to support the Patriotic Front. The United Nations Security Council has condemned it explicitly. A clause from the resolution passed by the Security Council on 14th March states that the Council Declares as illegal and unacceptable any internal settlement under the auspices of the illegal regime and calls upon all States not to accord any recognition to such settlement. The next paragraph states that the Council Further declares that the speedy termination of the illegal regime and the replacement of its military and police forces is the first prerequisite for the restoration of legality in Southern Rhodesia so that arrangements may be made for a peaceful and democratic transition to genuine majority rule and independence in 1978. That is the considered judgment of the Security Council. In a negative sense, the fact is that the so-called internal settlement has not received recognition by any country in the world. Not one State has accepted it, including even South Africa.

As the settlement has manifestly failed to bring peace in Zimbabwe and has failed to gain recognition outside, what is the way forward? First, we should make it clear that it is impossible now for any British Government to do a deal with Smith. The message must be put across to the white minority that Smith must be replaced. Otherwise there is no possibility of anything. Smith is the symbol of everything that has gone on in Rhodesia for the past 13 years. He is the symbol of the repression of the Africans and the destruction of civil liberties there. There can be no dealing with Smith.

Secondly, sanctions must be tightened. I agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Chorley (Mr. Rodgers) said about oil sanctions. It is an absolute disgrace that there has been no action by the British Government on this issue. It should be made clear that if South Africa continues to connive at this breach of sanctions, pressure must be brought against her.

This is not a matter of legalistic quibbling, and the Bingham inquiry is a charade. We must take action on the oil issue, otherwise our credibility in the whole issue of sanctions comes under criticism.

Thirdly, the front-line Presidents should be asked—as I believe they are being asked—to use their power to bring Mr. Nkomo, Mr. Mugabe, Bishop Muzorewa and Mr. Sithole to the negotiating table, if it is possible.

Fourthly, I believe that the Anglo-American proposals contain the essential components of a possible transition to independence under proper majority rule. I think that the fundamental principles set out there are right and sound. I am not optimistic that it will be practicable to bring them into operation unless there is some change in the situation and unless particularly Smith and those immediately around him are prepared to abandon power and open the way for a relatively peaceful transition to majority rule for an independent Zimbabwe.

9.16 p.m.

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Mr Maurice Macmillan (Farnham)

I want first to associate myself with and to support as strongly as I can the ideas put forward by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling) and developed, in a very splendid speech, by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon).

In the short time that is available to me, I do not propose to make any attempt to embellish those ideas. I want to ask the Government why they have changed their policy and why they have abandoned belief in majority rule—perhaps a curious belief in their present circumstances; nevertheless, a belief that they held once—in favour, apparently, of either imposing a neo-colonial Anglo-American plan on Zimbabwe or allowing a Soviet-backed guerrilla movement to take it over. That is what the speeches that we have been hearing from the Labour Benches amount to.

A long time ago, on 22nd March 1976, the then Foreign Secretary—now Prime Minister, and seated, I am glad to see, in his place in the Chamber—said, in a reply to a question: It is the duty of the House to say to the European population in Rhodesia—which is our responsibility and not Mr. Smith's—as well as the African population 'Here is a way forward. We shall play our part if you will take the step that you Europeans believe to be risky.'"—[Official Report, 22nd March 1976; Vol. 908, c. 33.] That was in a different situation, but it seems to me that anyone looking at matters with an unprejudiced eye would say that that is precisely what the internal settlement is trying to do. The Europeans are taking a step which they believe to be risky. They are moving forward with the representatives of the African peoples.

Of course, there are some who are not moving as fast as either would like. But if, as the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) suggested, the shortcomings of the internal settlement are keeping Mr. Nkomo away, that is totally illogical. If Mr. Nkomo were to come in, as he has been asked, he could improve the settlement. He could end the white domination which the other side have been alleging. He would even have the opportunity to gain votes, perhaps, at a general election, by being the man who moved forward. It would be said that the internal settlement was not much until he came.

But Mr. Nkomo does not do that. Really, we know why he does not do it. It is because he has not got the vote—although he has got the guns from the Cubans and the Soviets.

Perhaps Mr. Nkomo would like to do it. Perhaps by now he cannot do it. When I met him in the past I hoped that he would be able to, and it seemed possible, but now he has gone over to the other side.

The present Government have changed their policy, perhaps because they are frightened or perhaps because they do not know what to do. Later in March 1976 I made a speech in which I quoted a letter written to me by the then Minister of State at the Foreign Office, the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Spark-brook (Mr. Hattersley). He said: I can also assure you that the Government takes very seriously indeed the question of potential threats to our supplies of essential raw materials. With regard to Soviet policies in Africa, you will have noted that the Foreign Secretary —now the Prime Minister— made it clear that the Government would take a very serious view of an extension of the present Cuban role in Angola into any of the neighbouring countries in Southern Africa". What are the Government doing now? They are helping the Cubans, under the guise of the Patriotic Front.

The Foreign Secretary, quite rightly, looked back with pride on a record of decolonisation, mostly peaceful, but I beg of him to remember how it started under the first Labour Government after the war, when, by lack of will, failure of courage and anxiety to be rid of responsibility, the Labour Government left India independent in circumstances which led to the massacre of 2 million or more Hindus and Moslems alike.

There are 250,000 whites, tens of thousands of black coloured British passport holders, and hundreds of thousands of black Rhodesians who would be imperilled if the Cuban troops were allowed by the right hon. Gentleman to move into Zimbabwe in the mistaken belief that by allowing them to do so, in the guise of the Patriotic Front, he was helping the people of Zimbabwe.

9.22 p.m.

Photo of Mr Richard Luce

Mr Richard Luce (Shoreham)

There is at least one view which both sides of the House have in common in respect of this debate, and that concerns its significance. I am sure the Prime Minister will correct me if I am wrong, but this is probably the last major debate of this Parliament. It is a debate against the background of a sombre and serious situation in Rhodesia, with many black and white lives at stake. At the present time, an average of 20 people a day, both black and white, are killed.

The debate is held against the background of a British Government who legally hold the ultimate responsibility for the regime there, and for the legalisation of that regime. It is held against the background of the real desire on the part of the people of Rhodesia, and on the part of the people of this country, that we in this House should show our ability to rise to the occasion and use what influence we have in a constructive fashion to try to find ways in which we can bring about peace in this desperately strife-tom country of Rhodesia.

Humility is a requirement on the part of all of us. None of us has a monopoly of good judgment. We all need to recognise that factor as a start. My right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies) has recently been to Rhodesia and has reported on the gravity of the situation. We need to face reality before we can determine the right policies in order to approach this very serious problem.

We know the level of violence. As the Secretary of State said, about 9,000 people have been killed since December 1973. We know that the economy is in a serious situation and that there is serious social dislocation. We know that this is seriously affecting Rhodesia's neighbouring States—Zambia, Mozambique and Botswana—all of which are caught up in the implications of this crisis. We, as much as the people of Rhodesia, feel a deep sense of frustration and helplessness, because we are not in a strong enough position to bring to bear upon the situation in Rhodesia the kind of influence that we should like to bring to bear.

Yet I believe that it is not the end of the road. It is not too late. That is a message that has come out clearly from the Opposition Benches and from some other quarters, including the Secretary of State himself.

One factor that we must constantly remember is the historic factor. If we do not face up to that, we do not face up to the reality of the problem. Ever since the pioneers first came in the 1890s, through the period when the British South Africa Company ran Rhodesia, through the period of responsible self-government from 1923, through the period of federation and through the period of UDI, Rhodesia has had a unique history as compared with our other colonies, in that we at Westminster have not asserted direct control. That fact adds to the complexity of the situation. We all need to grasp it if we are to try to find a solution.

The main burden of the Opposition's case today is twofold. First, we condemn the Government for their lack of active encouragement of the internal settlement, a lack which we believe has contributed to a deteriorating situation in Rhodesia. Secondly, despite the lateness of the hour in Rhodesia, we on the Conservative Benches—and, I hope, others—still hold out hope that it is possible to find a solution. It is our task to concentrate constructively on what should now be done to help to try to find such a solution.

I turn to the position of the British Government. It is true that responsibility and power and influence over events in Rhodesia are dispersed among many sources—to the internal leaders of the regime, of course; to the Patriotic Front, which holds responsibility for the situation; to the leaders of the neighbouring States, who have considerable influence over it; and to the Soviet Union, which my right hon. Friend the Member for Farnham (Mr. Macmillan) and many others mentioned. All have an influence, either constructive or destructive, on the situation.

But we in this country and the Government are in a key position, because we hold the ultimate responsibility for the legalisation of the transitional Government. We have more influence over the situation than many of us care to accept, but we must bring it to bear in conjunction with our allies.

In September 1976 there was a critical turning point in that Mr. Smith at least accepted the principle of majority rule. Having used such expressions as "not in a thousand years", in September 1976 he accepted the principle. Surely that was the very moment at which the British Government should have said "Good. At long last you have yielded to what we have been asking for so long. What can we do to help you fulfil that principle? Now get on with it." However much we trust or distrust Mr. Smith, the question was what encouragement, what chivying, we could provide to make sure that he met that principle.

The next significant turning point was 3rd March this year, when black and white leaders joined to sign an internal agreement, the intention of which was to meet the principle of majority rule, the principle which we in the West and African nations had all been asking for year after year. Of course, it was an agreement which would provide safeguards for the whites, a point made by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon). If, as Mr. Nkomo, Mr. Sithole and Bishop Muzorewa all say, they want the whites to stay, certain safeguards must be negotiated. Those safeguards were provided for in the Anglo-American proposals. The Secretary of State acknowledges the need for safeguards for the whites.

At that critical turning point, what was required from the British Government was an acceptance that at least a foundation had been laid by black and white leaders in Rhodesia. At that point, what was required was active encouragement of the fulfilment of that agreement of 3rd March to bring out the best in human nature among both whites and blacks in Rhodesia.

As my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford said in his opening speech, day after day, week after week since 3rd March we have from the Conservative Benches been urging the Government to give some sign of encouragement to the internal leaders. Indeed, on 4th May we had a debate on Rhodesia. We did not force a vote, in the hope that the Government would respond to our appeal. Instead, what happened? The Government continued to sit on the fence. They adopted and have continued to adopt a passive and unbalanced approach to the internal settlement.

These are points which have been brought out most forcefully by my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Hexham, my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Mr. Rhodes James), my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, South (Mr. Clark) and my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Winchester (Rear-Admiral Morgan-Giles).

The end result of that passive approach has been twofold. There has been a total demoralisation of the internal leaders and, however unintentionally—no one would suggest that it is the Secretary of State's desire to see an increase in violence—an encouragement to the men of violence. The Government have to be condemned for that.

Photo of Mr Jeremy Thorpe

Mr Jeremy Thorpe (North Devon)

Does the hon. Gentleman believe that the fact that there has been no dramatic advance in African appointments to the army, air force and police can be attributed simply to the fact that the British Government have not given support to the internal settlement?

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Mr Richard Luce (Shoreham)

I shall seek to answer that question when I come to what I believe can be done in a practical way to assist the agreement.

From the Government Benches today we have had a series of totally destructive and negative speeches which failed to recognise the changes which are taking place in Rhodesia. We have heard from the Labour Benches disparaging remarks about Mr. Sithole, who at one time was in prison for acts of terrorism, about Bishop Muzorewa, who led African opinion against the Conservative Government's proposals for a settlement in Rhodesia in 1972, and about other Africans such as George Nyandoro and Robert Chikerema, all of whom have been sent into exile or to prison in the past. Labour Members will not give any credibility to these leaders who are taking part in the internal settlement.

What is required, then, from a British Government in order to help to give credibility to the internal agreement? The settlement started with the formation of an Executive Council, a joint Government with blacks and whites serving in it, an amnesty for guerrillas and the start of the creation of frozen areas to which guerril- las from outside could come. There were also the release of some 700 detainees and the lifting of the ban on the Patriotic Front parties.

All those steps are to be welcomed, but, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Farnham and others have said, regrettably the momentum has now slowed down. I believe that much of the blame for this, or at least some of the blame for it, is due to the Government's passive approach to the internal settlement and, indeed, to their total discouragement of it.

It is true, of course, that the working party which is looking at race discrimination laws in Rhodesia has been set up late in the day. It is true that preparations are now in hand for an election, to be held between 4th and 6th December. This should be welcomed and we should give every encouragement to it. It is also true that work is still continuing on the finalisation of the constitution.

Equally, it is true that, as the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) said, there has not been sufficiently quick promotion of Africans. There are many able, highly educated Africans from the university in Rhodesia and elsewhere who could take up senior positions in the civil service, the judiciary and elsewhere. But what have the Government done to encourage and to chivy the Rhodesians to do these things? What should the British Government be doing now? As my right hon. Friend the Member for Knutsford said, had there been a mission chivying and advising, there would have been a dramatic improvement in the situation and we should not be in the position we are in today.

With all our experience in many parts of the world, we could give advice on how to draw up a constitution which would save the situation in Rhodesia. With all our expertise, we could give technical, administrative and practical advice on how to proceed with the ending of the race discrimination laws—with which there are many difficulties, not to be underestimated. We could be giving practical advice with regard to the preparation of elections. We could be offering to provide observers and helping with the registration of the elections.

The key surely is the holding of a test of acceptability. The former leader of the Labour Party, the right hon. Member for Huyton (Sir H. Wilson), was reported in The Scotsman on this subject on 3rd April: Sir Harold said that the test now was whether the Africans and the white Rhodesians accepted the agreement: 'If so, I believe we are committed to recommending it to Parliament.' I do not know how much credibility the Government side now attach to the right hon. Gentleman, but, after all, he took a leading part in negotiating with Mr. Smith and we should pay some attention to his views. The key is to hold a test of acceptability, working with our allies—that is a key factor—to see that it is fulfilled.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling) made an interesting and constructive speech. As I served under him as a district officer when he was Colonial Secretary, it is my duty to pay the greatest attention to what he has to say. His proposal is most constructive. He suggests that we should assert a colonial status, given certain conditions in Rhodesia. I suggest to my right hon. Friend in all humility that at this stage there is still a chance that, given encouragement, the internal settlement could succeed—given encouragement. In the meantime, I believe, his proposition should have serious examination by all who are interested in peace in Rhodesia.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Taunton (Mr. du Cann) made a most impressive speech when he talked about the desirability of reconciliation between the Patriotic Front and the internal leaders. That remains a desirable goal. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery), in a characteristically colourful speech, reminded the House, the internal leaders themselves have all said that they would welcome the return of Mr. Nkomo to participate peacefully in the affairs of Rhodesia.

But reconcilation can be achieved only by secret diplomacy and not by Geneva-style conferences, which are totally and utterly destructive. At the end of the day, the United Kingdom and the West have to make a stand on democracy. We surely cannot countenance such totally unjustified massacring as we have seen of black and white people in Rhodesia—encouraged, as has been said, by the Cubans and the Soviet Union.

What on earth is the point of destroying the whole country by indulging in civil war? My hon. Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) warned the House of those dangers. The right hon. Member for Fulham (Mr. Stewart) also warned the House of the great dangers of the destruction of the country by civil war. A sordid power struggle with the use of the gun can lead only to Rhodesia being a heap of ashes. We on this side and anyone else in the House who believes in democracy must make a stand on that principle.

It was a former Colonial Secretary who, when he arrived in Kenya, described that country as "God's own country with the devil's own problems." Although there is not a direct analogy between Kenya and Rhodesia, there is enough similarity for lessons to be learnt. We should remember the story of Kenya. Kenya went through a dark period and has emerged from it very successfully. Rhodesia is now going through a period of darkness and despair, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton) said, there is a prize worth standing out for in terms of achieving peace in that country. That prize is the end of violence for ordinary black and white people in Rhodesia.

Freedom and prosperity in Rhodesia could be a granary for the southern part of Africa. Rhodesia could be an encouraging example to South Africa of a multi-racial society. And there could be a turning of the tide economically for the neighbouring countries of Mozambique, Zambia and Angola. There is still hope if we adopt the right attitude, and we must continue to struggle for a peaceful solution.

At the end of the day we must make a stand for democracy. It will require statesmanship and compromise on the part of all leaders. We shall vote against the Government tonight because we cannot associate ourselves with their failure to give active encouragement to the internal settlement. It is five minutes to midnight, and this Government must make a stand.

9.41 p.m.

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands

Mr Ted Rowlands (Merthyr Tydfil)

The hon. Member for Shoreham (Mr. Luce) began his speech by saying that we need to be realistic. Indeed, that is so. We are holding this debate against a sombre background. There is an increase in violence and guerrilla activity. The boys from the bush have not returned home as was hoped, believed and, indeed, assumed on 3rd March, when the internal settlement was signed.

We are facing a situation which has changed considerably in the past few months. The hon. Member said that there was hope if there were statesmanship and realism. That is exactly our position. One must be realistic and work from the situation that exists, and not from one which Conservative Members would like to believe exists.

The debate today has been about the way in which the war can be brought to an end and an urgent solution to the problems facing Rhodesia can be achieved. It has been interesting and fascinating to sit here and listen to the internal debate on the Conservative Benches, between the different factions of the party. We are still not clear where everybody stands.

The right hon. and learned Member for Hexham (Mr. Rippon) and some of his colleagues—we are not certain whether these include the right hon. Member for Knutsford (Mr. Davies)—argue that the internal settlement plus Britain's blessing would achieve peace.

Others, particularly the right hon. Member for Chipping Barnet (Mr. Maudling), have already begun to recognise that the internal settlement plus Britain's blessing will not be sufficient. Therefore, we have had alternative prescriptions from them, particularly from the right hon. Member for Chipping Barnet. He argued a proposal the nature of which I must emphasise. In doing so I shall explain the reasons why the Conservative Front Bench has not endorsed it today.

First, under his proposal, the British Government would assume full responsibility for the present unamended internal settlement. I thought that my right hon. Friend the Member for Fulham (Mr. Stewart) destroyed that suggestion in a devastating critique, in which he demonstrated that in doing that the British Government would assume full responsibility for a settlement which would allow Mr. Smith a veto on any action or any progress that was made by the so-called internal Executive.

Secondly, the right hon. Member for Chipping Barnet was all too careful not to bring out the point about what would happen to his proposal if the war continued. The right hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Mr. Amery) let the cat out of the bag. He said that it was obvious, if we accepted the logic of the right hon. Member for Chipping Barnet, that we should have to go in with armed forces to support the existing order against the Russians and the Cubans. What is true is that one would have to anticipate the possibility of a civil war continuing in Rhodesia in which a British Government who had assumed full colonial responsibility would have to fight on one side. That is a recipe for the blood bath that we are all trying to avoid.

The right hon. Member for Chipping Barnet spoke of the unreality of the other proposals, including the Government's proposals. How real are his proposals? There is a unity about his proposals—a unity against them. Mr. Smith is against them. Bishop Muzorewa commented only yesterday that he did not accept the basis of the proposals. The Patriotic Front would not support them, and Africa would not support them. Even the right hon. Member for Knutsford could not endorse them today.

I should like the right hon. Member for Chipping Barnet to see the value of our proposals. They envisage a significant and major role for Britain. I shall remind the House what that role is.

Photo of Mr Reginald Maudling

Mr Reginald Maudling (Barnet Chipping Barnet)

If the settlement is so defective, why did the Foreign Secretary on 18th April tell me that if it supported free elections he would defend it, come hell or high water?

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands

Mr Ted Rowlands (Merthyr Tydfil)

We have always said that the fifth principle is the vital principle. We must deal with the situation that exists. I was saying that our proposals involve the appointment of a British commissioner, or a neutral administrator who is responsible for law and order and the establishment of a transitional Administration under which free and fair elections can take place.

Opposition Members have discussed the holding of free and fair elections and the participation of the British Government in their organisation. We are prepared to participate in the preparation of elections which are conducted under the neutral auspices of a transitional Administration which allows all parties the rights and opportunities to participate in them, in a climate and in a system which is impartial and fair to all. My hon. Friend the Member for York (Mr. Lyon) brought that point out effectively.

Photo of Mr Mark Carlisle

Mr Mark Carlisle (Runcorn)

The Minister said that he supports free and fair elections. Is it true, as is suggested in the newspapers today, that the Government have declined an invitation to send a representative to help the committee which is aiming to set up such elections in Rhodesia?

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands

Mr Ted Rowlands (Merthyr Tydfil)

I have explained the basis upon which we would be prepared to participate in the preparation of elections. Those elections must be conducted under neutral auspices and under a transitional Administration that will allow all parties to participate in a climate and system that is impartial and fair to all.

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands

Mr Ted Rowlands (Merthyr Tydfil)

I have explained the basis on which, under the Anglo-American proposals, we would be involved in the preparation and development of free and fair elections in Rhodesia.

Photo of Mr John Davies

Mr John Davies (Knutsford)

Is it or is it not true that the Government have refused to participate in that committee, which has been set up simply to procure free elections?

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands

Mr Ted Rowlands (Merthyr Tydfil)

We have explained, and I repeat, the basis on which we would take part in elections [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I think that the right hon. Member for Knutsford—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer".]

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands

Mr Ted Rowlands (Merthyr Tydfil)

I have explained clearly the terms on which we would participate, and those terms have not been met by the present internal settlement or by Mr. Smith. What the right hon. Gentleman suggests in his proposals is that we should now—

Photo of Mr George Thomas

Mr George Thomas (Cardiff West)

Order. This is the last major debate before we go into the long recess. Nothing is added to argument by abuse. I am sure that the hon. Member for Staffordshire, South-West (Mr. Cormack) does not seek to imply that the Minister is telling a lie.

Photo of Sir Patrick Cormack

Sir Patrick Cormack (Staffordshire South West)

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. The Minister has been asked a straight question to which there is an answer "Yes" or "No" He has not given the House the answer.

Photo of Mr George Thomas

Mr George Thomas (Cardiff West)

Order. We may assume from what the hon. Gentleman says that there is no charge that the Minister is telling a lie.

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands

Mr Ted Rowlands (Merthyr Tydfil)

What many Opposition Members have suggested is that one should now go in and prop up or support the internal settlement, instead of endeavouring to widen areas of agreement. The suggestions put forward by the right hon. Gentleman and many of his Conservative colleagues would widen the divide between the nationalist movement at a time when we need to create bridges and reconciliation between the two parties. Events in the last few months have, in our view, demonstrated a need for an all-party conference. There lies the solution to ending the war and setting Rhodesia on the path to speedy majority rule.

A great deal of this debate has been concerned with the success or failure of the internal settlement. Some hon. Members have been trying to produce evidence to suggest that the failings and falterings which were referred to by the right hon. Member for Knutsford were to be attributed to the British Government. That is absolute nonsense. There is a growing body of evidence—it has been underlined by the comments of the right hon. Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe), my right hon. Friends the Members for Middlesbrough (Mr. Bottomley), and Fulham, and my hon. Friend the Member for York—which proves that the internal settlement has failed for internal reasons. It has failed because it has not met the internal needs of the people of Zimbabwe.

Many hon. Members have pointed out that not a square metre or a square inch of land has been transferred from white to black since the internal settlement and that no jobs have been created. It has also been said that few promotions have taken place since 3rd March. I would point out that in the senior ranks there have been no promotions from white to black since 3rd March. Mr. Hove made the position clear in a letter to Bishop Muzorewa yesterday. He said: You told me that the transitional regime has not appointed a single African to a senior position. There is little wonder that there is now less and less support for the internal settlement. The Daily Telegraph Mr. Smith, and even the right hon. Member for Knutsford have had to admit that. The internal settlement is failing for internal and not for external reasons.

Photo of Mr Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler

Mr Christopher Brocklebank-Fowler (North West Norfolk)

What action are the Government taking to encourage the leaders of the internal settlement to overcome these problems? Surely we are entitled to a constructive contribution to this debate.

Photo of Mr Ted Rowlands

Mr Ted Rowlands (Merthyr Tydfil)

It is for those who have constructed the internal settlement to make it relevant to the people of Zimbabwe.

The articles that Mr. Smith has written in The Daily Telegraph blame everybody. They blame the British, the Africans, the Americans, the international community and everybody—except themselves. The strengths and weaknesses, successes and failures, of the internal settlement are the responsibility of those who have made the settlement and of nobody else. Our attitude and approach to the internal settlement, of neither condemnation nor approval, seems to be the view taken by large numbers of people in Zimbabwe. Above all, there is a growing recognition that, contrary to expectations, the guerrillas have not returned, the numbers of refugees have grown, and violence has increased. This position gives us no comfort, but to ignore it would be folly.

Since 3rd March a significant number of people and organisations have realised the need for an all-party meeting. Those who embraced and warmly welcomed the internal settlement at the beginning are now urging an all-party meeting. They are not, therefore, as the hon. Member for Shoreham tried to proclaim, supporting the men with the guns. They are supporting the only realistic option open to them of trying to bring the parties together in order to bring peace to this war-torn land.

The day before yesterday the Christian churches in Rhodesia as a whole passed a resolution calling upon all parties to meet to negotiate on the basis of the Anglo-American proposals. These are wide representative organisations of religious opinion in Rhodesia. They are not, as the hon. Member for Shoreham tried to imply, supporting the men with the guns they are supporting the realistic solution to the problems they now see confronting Rhodesia. My right hon. Friend has shown that if we had followed the Opposition's policy we would have had no support from any quarter—from Africa, Europe, the United Nations and, indeed, increasingly, Zimbabwe and the Rhodesians themselves.

The right hon. Member for Knutsford apparently intends to divide the House tonight. His speech was full of false wrath and indignation. The sum total of his recommendations to meet this serious situation was to send diplomats to Marimba House, in Salisbury. I should tell him that already a senior deputy under-secretary is at Marimba House discussing the possibility of preparing for an all-party conference with members of the internal executive in Salisbury. I believe that that is the way forward.

The right hon. Gentleman, through false wrath and indignation, tried through his policy of schizophrenia and ambivalence to conceal the deep division within the Conservative Party. He had to resort to blustering in his attempt to shuffle upon this Government the blame for present and future problems in Rhodesia. We can only presume that he is doing it for domestic party political reasons. That is disgraceful. Everyone will see through it.

We intend to persist in our policy. At least it addresses itself to the real situation. There is an obvious need for genuine negotiation involving all parties.

We heard a great deal from the right hon. Member for Pavillion about courage and cowardice. One of the easiest and most cowardly courses would be to succumb to the simpliste view on the issues facing us. To have adopted the course of recognising the internal settlement would have been disastrous. The easiest option would have been to do that. We could have got warm support from some hon. Members, but we would have destroyed the chances of building the bridge that now needs to be built between the parties, thus bringing the war to an end.

We have listened to many opinions and views. We are willing to talk to all parties. Already this week we have talked to two or three of the major figures in

Rhodesia about these issues. We are willing to talk. We are willing to continue our urgent endeavours to bring all parties to an all-party conference. That, in our view, is the right policy. That, in our view, is the only one that is likely to bring peace to the war-torn land of Rhodesia.

The Opposition, with their various policies, have not addressed themselves to the situation that faces this House, Rhodesia and the international community. For that reason, I hope that my right hon. and hon. Friends will oppose the policies proposed by the Opposition.

Hon. Members:

No. Sit down.

Question put, That this House do now adjourn:—

The House divided: Ayes 165, Noes 171.

Division No. 324]AYES[9.59 p.m.
Amery, Rt Hon JulianGardiner, George (Reigate)Mayhew, Patrick
Atkins, Rt Hon H. (Spelthorne)Gilmour, Rt Hon Sir Ian (Chesham)Meyer, Sir Anthony
Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East)Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove)
Banks, RobertGlyn, Dr AlanMitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Bell, RonaldGodber, Rt Hon JosephMoate, Roger
Bendall, VivianGoodhart, PhilipMonro, Hector
Biffen, JohnGoodhew, VictorMore, Jasper (Ludlow)
Biggs-Davison, JohnGow, Ian (Eastbourne)Morgan-Giles, Rear-Admiral
Blaker, PeterGrant, Anthony (Harrow C)Morris, Michael (Northampton S)
Body, RichardGrieve, PercyMorrison, Charles (Devizes)
Boscawen, Hon RobertHamilton, Michael (Salisbury)Neave, Airey
Bottomley, PeterHarrison, Col Sir Harwood (Eye)Nelson, Anthony
Boyson, Dr Rhodes (Brent)Hastings, StephenNeubert, Michael
Brittan, LeonHawkins, PaulNewton, Tony
Brocklebank-Fowler, C.Heseltine, MichaelNormanton, Tom
Brooke, Hon PeterHiggins, Terence L.Onslow, Cranley
Brotherton, MichaelHodgson, RobinOppenheim, Mrs Sally
Bryan, Sir PaulHordern, PeterPage, John (Harrow West)
Buck, AntonyHowe, Rt Hon Sir GeoffreyPage, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)
Budgen, NickHowell, David (Guildford)Paisley, Rev Ian
Carlisle, MarkHunt, David (Wirral)Pattie, Geoffrey
Channon, PaulHurd, DouglasPercival, Ian
Clark, Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)Hutchison, Michael ClarkPeyton, Rt Hon John
Clark, William (Croydon S)Jenkin, Rt Hon P. (Wanst'd & W'df'd)Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Cockcroft, JohnJessel, TobyPrice, David (Eastleign)
Cooke, Robert (Bristol W)Johnson Smith, G. (E Grinstead)Raison, Timothy
Cope, JohnKellett-Bowman, Mrs ElaineRathbone, Tim
Cormack, PatrickKershaw, AnthonyRees, Peter (Dover & Deal)
Critchley, JulianKilfedder, JamesRees-Davies, W. R.
Crowder, F. P.Knight, Mrs JillRenton, Rt Hon Sir D. (Hunts)
Davies, Rt Hon J. (Knutsford)Lamont, NormanRenton, Tim (Mid-Sussex)
Dean, Paul (N Somerset)Latham, Michael (Melton)Rhodes James, R.
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord JamesLawrence, IvanRhys Williams, Sir Brandon
du Cann, Rt Hon EdwardLawson, NigelRidley, Hon Nicholas
Durant, TonyLester, Jim (Beeston)Ridsdale, Julian
Eden, Rt Hon Sir JohnLloyd, IanRifkind, Malcolm
Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)Luce, RichardRippon, Rt Hon Geoffrey
Emery, PeterMcCrindle, RobertRoberts, Michael (Cardiff NW)
Eyre, ReginaldMacfarlane, NeilRoberts, Wyn (Conway)
Fell, AnthonyMacGregor, JohnRossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Finsberg, GeoffreyMacKay, Andrew (Stechford)Rost, Peter (SE Derbyshire)
Fisher, Sir NigelMacmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)Scott-Hopkins, James
Fletcher, Alex (Edinburgh N)McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)
Fookes, Miss JanetMarten, NeilShelton, William (Streatham)
Forman, NigelMather, CarolShersby, Michael
Fraser, Rt Hon H. (Stafford & St)Maudling, Rt Hon ReginaldSilvester, Fred
Fry, PeterMaxwell-Hyslop, RobinSims, Roger
Sinclair, Sir GeorgeTebbit, NormanWall, Patrick
Skeet, T. H. H.Thatcher, Rt Hon MargaretWeatherill, Bernard
Smith, Dudley (Warwick)Thomas, Rt Hon P. (Hendon S)Whitney, Raymond
Speed, Keithvan Straubenzee, W. R.Winterton, Nicholas
Spicer, Jim (W Dorset)Vaughan, Dr GerardYoung, Sir G. (Ealing, Acton)
Spicer, Michael (S Worcester)Viggers, Peter
Sproat, IainWalder, David (Clitheroe)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Stanbrook, IvorWalker, Rt Hon P. (Worcester)Mr. Spencer Le Marchant and
Stanley, JohnWalker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir DerekMr. Anthony Berry.
Stradling Thomas, J.
NOES
Anderson, DonaldHattersley, Rt Hon RoyPenhaligon, David
Archer, Rt Hon PeterHayman, Mrs HelenePerry, Ernest
Armstrong, ErnestHealey, Rt Hon DenisPhipps, Dr Colin
Ashton, JoeHeffer, Eric S.Prescott, John
Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)Hooley, FrankPrice, C. (Lewisham W)
Barnett, Guy (Greenwich)Horam, JohnRees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds S)
Bates, AlfHughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)Richardson, Miss Jo
Bean, R. E.Irvine, Rt Hon Sir A. (Edge Hill)Robinson, Geoffrey
Beith, A. J.Jackson, Colin (Brighouse)Rodgers, George (Chorley)
Bonn, Rt Hon Anthony WedgwoodJackson, Miss Margaret (Lincoln)Rodgers, Rt Hon William (Stockton)
Bidwell, SydneyJay, Rt Hon DouglasRooker, J. W.
Blenkinsop, ArthurJager, Mrs LenaRoper, John
Booth, Rt Hon AlbertJenkins, Hugh (Putney)Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)
Bottomley, Rt Hon ArthurJohn, BrynmorRowlands, Ted
Callaghan, Rt Hon J. (Cardiff SE)Johnson, James (Hull West)Ryman, John
Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)Jones, Dan (Burnley)Sandelson, Neville
Carmichael, NeilJudd, FrankSever, John
Carter-Jones, LewisKilroy-Silk, RobertShaw, Arnold (Ilford South)
Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)Lamborn, HarrySheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Cohen, StanleyLatham, Arthur (Paddington)Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Colquhoun Ms MaureenLee, JohnSilkin, Rt Hon John (Deptford)
Cook, Robin F. (Edin C)Lestor, Miss Joan (Eton & Slough)Silverman, Julius
Corbett, RobinLitterick, TomSkinner, Dennis
Crowther, Stan (Rotherham)Loyden, EddleSnape, Peter
Cryer, BobLuard, EvanSpearing, Nigel
Cunningham, G. (Islington S)Lyon, Alexander (York)Stallard, A. W.
Cunningham, Dr J. (Whiteh)McCartney, HughSteel, Rt Hon David
Dalyell, TamMcElhone, FrankStewart, Rt Hon M. (Fulham)
Davidson, ArthurMacFarquhar, RoderickStoddart, David
Davies, Ifor (Gower)McKay. Allen (Penistone)Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton W)
Davis, Clinton (Hackney C)MacKenzie, Rt Hon GregorThomas, Ron (Bristol NW)
Deakins, EricMaclennan, RobertThorpe, Rt Hon Jeremy (N Devon)
Dean, Joseph (Leeds West)Madden, MaxTilley, John
Dormand, J. D.Magee, BryanTinn, James
Douglas-Mann, BruceMallalieu, J. P. W.Tomlinson, John
Duffy, A. E. P.Marks, KennethTomney, Frank
Dunwoody, Mrs GwynethMarshall, Jim (Leicester S)Torney, Tom
Eadie, AlexMawby, RayTuck, Raphael
Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)Meacher, MichaelVarley, Rt Hon Eric G.
Ellis, John (Brigg & Scun)Millan, Rt Hon BruceWainwright, Edwin (Deanne V)
English, MichaelMitchell, Austin (Grimsby)Walker, Harold (Doncaster)
Ennals, Rt Hon DavidMitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)Walker, Terry (Kingswood)
Evans, loan (Aberdare)Molloy, WilliamWard, Michael
Ewing, Harry (Stirling)Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)Weltzman, David
Fernyhough, Rt Hon E.Morris, Rt Hon Charles R.Wellbeloved, James
Flannery, MartinMorton, GeorgeWhitehead, Phillip
Foot, Rt Hon MichaelMoyle, Rt Hon RolandWilley, Rt Hon Frederick
Forrester, JohnMulley, Rt Hon FrederickWilliam, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)
Fowler, Gerald (The Wrekin)Murray, Rt Hon Ronald KingWilliams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)
Fraser, John (Lambeth, N'w'd)Newens, StanleyWilson, Rt Hon Sir Harold (Huyton)
Freeson, Rt Hon ReginaldNoble, MikeWilson, William (Coventry SE)
Freud, ClementO'Halloran, MichaelWise, Mrs Audrey
Garrett, W. E. (Wallsend)Orbach, MauriceWoof, Robert
George, BruceOrme, Rt Hon StanleyWrigglesworth, Ian
Golding, JohnOwen, Rt Hon Dr David
Graham, TedPalmer, ArthurTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)Park, GeorgeMr. James Hamilton and
Hardy, PeterParker, JohnMr. Donald Coleman.
Harrison, Rt Hon Walter
Question accordingly negatived.