Prime Minister (Conversations)

Oral Answers to Questions — Rhodesia – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 1st December 1964.

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Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans 12:00 am, 1st December 1964

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what conversations he has had with the Prime Minister of Rhodesia.

Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there is great anxiety in this country that some sort of accommodation should be reached with the Government of Southern Rhodesia, or Rhodesia as it is now called, and is he further aware that, he having been so outspoken in his statements to the Rhodesian Government, many people in this country feel that he should now be equally outspoken to the African nationalist politicians in that country? Will he point out to them the necessity to fight constitutionally if they wish to be taken as responsible politicians rather than rely on intimidation and violence? [HON. MEMBERS: "What Constitution?"] The 1961 Constitution.

Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East

It is precisely for that reason that we should like talks to get going as soon as possible, so that we can bring about a situation in Rhodesia where peace and security will prevail.

Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans

It is all very well for the right hon. Gentleman to say that he wishes to speak to the Prime Minister, but this will not do on its own. He has had some pretty rough things to say to the Europeans. Will he now be equally outspoken to the African nationalists, making clear that there is a Constitution on which they could fight and that it would be much more effective if they were to do this instead of relying on intimidation and violence?

Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will do me the courtesy of reading the speech I made in Zambia in which I paid tribute to the part which Rhodesians of European descent had played in helping to build up the country and trying to provide a constitution. Since then, there has been a change in the Government, which threatened unilateral action. Until that is out of the way, it will be very difficult to get the Africans to co-operate as we hope they will.