Racial Discrimination

Oral Answers to Questions — United Nations – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 16th November 1960.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough 12:00 am, 16th November 1960

asked the Lord Privy Seal how the British delegate on the Trusteeship Committee of the United Nations voted on the resolution sponsored by India and 14 Afro-Asian states and Bolivia calling on countries with overseas territories to rescind racial discrimination immediately; and which delegations voted in favour, which against, and which abstained.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

The resolution, which did not relate solely to legisation involving discrimination, was adopted by 74 votes to none with two abstentions (Australia and the United Kingdom). Full details of the voting on the resolution are contained in United Nations document A/C.4/SR. 1028 of 31st October, a copy of which is in the Library.

Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough

Does not the right hon. Gentleman regard it as disgraceful that the vote of the United Kingdom should have been one in a minority of two against 70 on this issue of racial discrimination? What in the world is the use of the Prime Minister going to Cape Town to criticise the system in the Union of South Africa if the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends support this policy in the United Nations.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

Far from it being disgraceful, I regard it as regrettable that the hon. Member has not read the speech of the British delegate at the United Nations.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

Or the full content of the resolution. In his speech the British delegate made it absolutely plain that, of course, we are opposed to racial discrimination. [HON. MEMBERS: "And vote against."] What the British delegate objected to, or the reason that he gave why we could not vote for the resolution, was that it called for the immediate introduction of universal adult suffrage, and that is not the policy which has been followed by either party in the House as far as multi-racial territories are concerned. Secondly, it called for an immediate rejection of all discriminatory legislation, and this would include discriminatory legislation in British Territories which is there in favour of the local indigenous population.