Orders of the Day — Queen's Speech – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th November 1965.

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11.32 a.m.

Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East

Yesterday the tragedy of Rhodesia reached its climax with Mr. Smith's illegal declaration of independence. The House will wish me to describe the events that led up to this unparalleled act of folly.

The question of independence for Rhodesia has been under continuous discussion between Her Majesty's Government and the Rhodesian Government ever since the break up of the Central African Federation in 1963. When I became Secretary of State I inherited this difficult problem. The policy towards Rhodesia had already been laid down by the previous Government.

Immediately on taking office last October, I proposed to Mr. Smith that I should visit Rhodesia after attending the Zambian independence celebrations in Lusaka on 24th October. I made it clear to him that I wanted to obtain a balanced cross-section of Rhodesian opinion on the independence issue and that I accordingly wished to talk with Mr. Nkomo and the Rev. Sithole as acknowledged leaders of the African Nationalists, even though at that time both were in detention. But Mr. Smith refused to agree to this and therefore I saw no useful purpose in going to Rhodesia.

When I was in Zambia, the Rhodesian Government dismissed General Anderson, Chief of the Rhodesian Army, and rumour was current that there was to be a unilateral declaration of independence. I telephoned my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, as a result of which he made that statement which said that sanctions would be applied if power was seized illegally. We now know that this did, in fact, stop a unilateral declaration of independence.

From that time, I did all in my power to try to arrange a meeting with Mr. Smith. At the time of the unfortunate death of Sir Winston Churchill, Mr. Smith himself decided to come to London and this provided my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister and me with an opportunity to have talks with him. As a result of our talks, Mr. Smith reluctantly agreed that my noble Friend the Lord Chancellor and I could go to Rhodesia and would be free to see African Nationalist leaders, with one exception. This was that it would not be possible to see anyone who was detained on a criminal charge.

In these circumstances, therefore, it was possible for my noble Friend and me to see Mr. Nkomo although not the Rev. Sithole, who was criminally detained. But we were given an assurance that we would be able to see his nominees. In the circumstances, we decided to go to Rhodesia but I am bound to say that difficulties were put in our way after Mr. Smith had returned to Salisbury. It was a difficult decision to make but I decided to go to Salisbury on the ground that any break should rather be in Rhodesia than in London.

When the Lord Chancellor and I first met the Rhodesian Cabinet we realised how fundamental were our differences. However, one thing that I did judge during these talks with the Cabinet was that Mr. Smith himself stood out as a man of character and integrity. After the first Cabinet meeting, the Lord Chancellor and I set out on a tour to meet all shades of opinion and to get their views on the independence issue. We found that the churches as a whole, business interests generally and some national and local leaders were opposed to an illegal declaration of independence. However, we had, sadly, to recognise that the broad masses of the people supported the Rhodesia Front Government and the policy of a unilateral declaration of independence. [HON. MEMBERS: "The white people."] Yes, the white people. In the event, the Lord Chancellor and I made a favourable impression on the European people in Rhodesia and I can see one or two hon. Gentlemen opposite who have associations with Rhodesia and who have been kind enough to tell me that this was so.

We spoke very plainly to the Africans. I told them that they should work the 1961 Constitution. This provided for 15 seats on the B roll. I think that, subsequently, by educational and income qualifications, we could have seen increasing numbers of Africans getting on the A roll. In these circumstances, the Smith Government could not have, come into being. Unlike the other African leaders, the African Nationalists in Rhodesia have never fought an election and have never tried to show their ability to govern. Indeed, they have been more concerned with fighting each other. I told them that very often they have used intimidation to get support for their policies. In these circumstances, many liberal-minded Europeans who had supported the 1961 Constitution were frightened and transferred their support to the Rhodesia Front Party.

During the course of our tour of the country, remembering what I had judged about Mr. Smith himself, I thought that it would be valuable to get a personal meeting with him. He agreed that this should be so and I went to his home and had tea with him. He confided to me then that he had difficulties in his Cabinet. He agreed with me that, before the Lord Chancellor and I ended the talks with the Cabinet, we should have another private meeting. My noble Friend and I went to Mr. Smith's home and I am able to say that, as a result, we were able to agree what are now generally known as the five principles upon which negotiations could be conducted.

I remember that my last words to Mr. Smith were that he was the most popular figure in Rhodesia and that if he went to the electorate on his name alone he could win without the support of his party. I believed that to be true then and I believe it to be true now. Equally, I could tell him that I spoke for a united British Parliament and Commonwealth and that the two of us ought to be able to solve this problem. He accepted the challenge.

Throughout our long dialogue with Mr. Smith, we made clear beyond doubt to the Rhodesian Prime Minister that these five principles must be realised before Rhodesian independence could be granted. For the information of the House, I repeat the five principles. First, the principle and intention of unimpeded progress to majority rule, already enshrined in the 1961 Constitution, would have to be maintained and guaranteed. There would also have to be guarantees against retrogressive amendments of the Constitution. There would have to be immediate improvement in the political status of the African population. There would have to be progress towards ending racial discrimination. The British Government would need to be satisfied that any basis proposed for independence was acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole.

As I have said, I went to Rhodesia, with the Lord Chancellor, in February of this year, and my hon. Friend the Minister of State went there in July. Our purposes were to discuss with Mr. Smith and his Government the implementation of these principles. Later, in October, Mr. Smith and his colleagues came to London for further talks. It was hoped that these talks would result in a final settlement of the points of dispute between the British and Rhodesian Governments. The talks lasted for a week and ended in complete failure to reach agreement.

In these talks, as throughout all our exchanges with Mr. Smith and his Government, we have done all we could to remove the differences between us. We have, at the same time, kept in continuous touch with all other Commonwealth Governments, and we have also taken fully into account all the views expressed by those Commonwealth Governments.

Mr. Smith's proposals on our five basic principles did not provide any positive advancement for Africans in the political and social fields. They did not provide any fully effective safeguards against retrogressive amendment of the 1961 Constitution. they did not provide adequate means of consultation with African opinion in Rhodesia on the Rhodesian Government's proposals for independence. In particular, it was quite impossible for us, as, indeed, for the former Government, to agree that the Chiefs could, by any stretch of the imagination, be said to be representative of the African people.

I said to Mr. Smith and Mr. Harper, when they were pressing me to recognise the Chiefs, that I was prepared to accept that in one or two cases they truly did represent their people, but, in the main, these Chiefs, paid by the Government, employed by the Government and dismissed by the Government, were not free agents. I said that of one thing I could be assured, that they all had a vested interest, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said that he could equally be assured that they believed in "one Chief one vote".

Despite the breakdown of the talks, the Prime Minister made clear to Mr. Smith, before he left London, that we were very willing to continue the discussion. When I saw Mr. Smith off at London Airport, I said to him, "I will come out at any time. Let me know. Let us do all we can to stop this breakdown". I did not get much encouragement from him.

There were at least three proposals which merited further consideration. I pressed them upon him. There was our proposal for a Constitutional Conference. There was Mr. Smith's proposal for a Senate. There was the proposal that there should be a treaty between the British Government and the Government of Rhodesia to provide the safeguards on which we insisted. There followed further exchanges, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made his proposal for a Commonwealth Mission to Rhodesia to be headed by the Australian Prime Minister, Sir Robert Menzies. Mr. Smith rejected this.

Then, on 20th October, Mr. Smith sent the Prime Minister an ultimatum. He demanded immediate acceptance of independence on the basis of the 1961 Constitution, combined with a treaty on the lines suggested by Mr. Smith. This looked very much like the prelude to a U.D.I. Parliament would never have accepted this ultimatum. On the other hand, I am sure that the Rhodesian Government would have been forced into rebellion had we turned this demand down out of hand. The Prime Minister then announced that he was going to Salisbury. People in Salisbury, and, I think I can say fairly authoritatively, the Prime Minister of Rhodesia himself, acknowledged that the going of our Prime Minister to Rhodesia at that time stopped a U.D.I.

The Prime Minister went there to have talks with all who could help in solving the problem. He proposed that these talks should include African Nationalist leaders and ex-Prime Ministers as well as all other representative sections of the community. I went with the Prime Minister, as did my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Overseas Development, who went to discuss an intensive education programme with Rhodesian Ministers. My right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General also joined us in Salisbury.

The talks lasted four days. They involved just about all Rhodesians, both African and European, who could be said to be leading representatives of the population. In his talks with the Africans, the Prime Minister made three things clear beyond all doubt. There could be no question of the use of armed force by Britain to impose a solution. Majority rule, to which the British Government were committed, could not be expected today or tomorrow; it could be expected only when achievement warranted it. African opinion, at that time bitterly divided, should unite.

During the talks, it became clear that the proposal for a treaty was a non-starter. This idea, therefore, had to be abandoned. Despite exhaustive discussion on the basis of amendments to the 1961 Constitution, no progress was made. There were ominous signs of illegal action likely to be taken immediately.

In these circumstances, the Prime Minister then put two propositions to Mr. Smith. The first concerned Mr. Smith's repeated assertion that the Rhodesian people, including the majority of the Africans, wanted independence on the basis of the 1961 Constitution. The Prime Minister proposed that this assertion should be tested by a referendum of the whole Rhodesian people. Mr. Smith rejected his. The Prime Minister's second proposition was that a Royal Commission should be set up under the chairmanship of Rhodesia's Chief Justice. This Royal Commission would recommend the amendments to the 1961 Constitution which would provide the basis on which Rhodesia might proceed to independence as rapidly as possible. This progress would, of course, need to be in complete consonance with our five principles and acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole.

The Rhodesian Government accepted neither proposition but put forward instead what amounted to an ingenious combination of both. They agreed to the Royal Commission under the chairmanship of the Chief Justice of Rhodesia. They proposed that one member should be nominated by Rhodesia and one by Britain, and that the three should work on the basis of a unanimous report. They further proposed that the Commission should receive from the two Governments an agreed draft independence arrangement. This arrangement would be based on the 1961 Constitution with such amendments as we might consider necessary. The Commission should then proceed to find out whether the resulting document was acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole.

As the House knows, my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General and I stayed in Salisbury after the Prime Minister had left. We tried to reach agreement with the Rhodesian Government on the text of a suitable document. We wanted to see where we differed and where we agreed. After nine hours of talks, we found it impossible to reach agreement with the Rhodesian Government on the changes to the 1961 Constitution to put to the Royal Commission for a test of their acceptability to the Rhodesian people as a whole. If we had stayed a whole week, we could not have made any changes. The agreements and the disagreements were firmly registered. In addition to that, if we had stayed a week the Rhodesian Ministers would have accused us, as they have done continually, of trying to cause delay.

There was also an obligation upon my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General and myself to get back to report to our Cabinet, because the Rhodesian Prime Minister indeed was making demands that there should be an answer forthwith. I had to tell him that at least we could not act in that way. We had to get a Cabinet decision, and in due course Parliamentary approval, for what had to be done.

In a letter dated 31st October sent to my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, Mr. Smith proposed that the Rhodesia Government's amendments alone should be put to the Commission. The role of the Commission would be then to work out a procedure for testing the acceptability of these proposals and then to test them.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister replied to Mr. Smith accepting the suggestion, subject to Mr. Smith's acceptance of the following understandings. First, Her Majesty's Government must be free to state publicly that they dissociated themselves from the proposals and to require that this fact should be known in Rhodesia. Secondly, before canvassing the views of the Rhodesian people as a whole, the Royal Commission should submit for approval by both Governments a unanimous report on the procedure which it recommended for canvassing these views. Thirdly, Her Majesty's Government could not be bound to accept any report which the Royal Commission eventually produced, since the final decision rested with the British Parliament.

It might well have been that the Royal Commission would have established that the Rhodesian Government's proposals were not acceptable to the Rhodesian people as a whole. The effect of the reply of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was to reserve Her Majesty's Government's freedom of action in this event.

Supposing that the Rhodesian Government did not accept these proposals, my right hon. Friend suggested an alternative course. This was that the constitutional proposals should be submitted to the test of a referendum of the whole of the adult population of Rhodesia. This referendum would be subject to the proviso that it was conducted without restriction of normal political activity by all sections of the community. Furthermore, it would have to be subject to adequate impartial supervision. Finally, there would have to be stringent safeguards against intimidation.

In the exchange of messages which followed, Mr. Smith claimed that the Prime Minister was shutting the door on the negotiations. In his reply my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister demonstrated that this was not so. He offered to meet Mr. Smith at some convenient meeting place, such as ^Malta, after having discussions in London with the Chief Justice of Rhodesia about how the Royal Commission should work.

The Prime Minister told the House yesterday of Mr. Smith's objection to the conditions under which the Prime Minister had suggested that the proposed Royal Commission should be accepted. The Prime Minister answered this message on Wednesday afternoon. He clarified the position of Her Majesty's Government on every single one of Mr. Smith's objections.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister spoke to Mr. Smith on the telephone on Thursday morning. He again answered every one of Mr. Smith's objections to our views on the Royal Commission. Mr. Smith did not attempt to fault the Prime Minister's arguments; he did not demur; he raised no new arguments; he put forward no new proposals. He merely baldly stated that the views of the two Governments were irreconcilable. A few hours later he put himself and his country in a state of rebellion, tearing up that very constitution which he had so often claimed to be the right constitution for Rhodesia.

In the Proclamation issued yesterday in Salisbury, Mr. Smith alleged—I quote his words— That the Government of the United Kingdom have thus demonstrated that they are not prepared to grant sovereign independence to Rhodesia on terms acceptable to the people of Rhodesia. I am sure that hon. Members on both sides of the House will realise that this is a complete distortion of the truth. Acceptability to the people of Rhodesia as a whole was the central point of the whole argument. Neither we nor our predecessors were ever satisfied that Mr. Smith's proposals were indeed acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole.

The argument is about racial equality. Implicit acceptance of racial equality has been an obligation of Commonwealth membership ever since India became independent. Britain's attitude to racial equality is well known and quite definite.

We have heard much, and are likely to hear much more, about our kith and kin in Rhodesia. The Government are very conscious of the emotional ties which bind friends and relations in Britain and Rhodesia. But these are not our only kith and kin abroad, nor indeed in Africa. We have nearly as many kith and kin in what I may call "black Africa" as we have in Rhodesia. There are large British communities in Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania and most other Commonwealth countries in Africa.

If the British Government were to make clear by their actions that they take a one-sided racial view of the situation in Rhodesia—if, for instance, we were to present the appearance of having connived at this illegal act because we secretly sympathised with out kith and kin in Rhodesia—what is likely to be the reaction in Africa to such racialism on the part of the British Government? Racialism on our part would be met by racialism on the part of perhaps other Governments. I hope, therefore, that hon. Members will think, not only of our kith and kin in Salisbury and Bulawayo, but also of our kith and kin in Africa and other parts of the world.

The House will agree with me that this attitude towards racial equality is one upon which all of us in the House look with pride. It is our desire to see these standards established. We are determined that there must be eventually majority rule in Rhodesia. We are equally determined that there must also be eventually racial equality in Rhodesia. It is my devout hope that this unswerving determination will strengthen the Commonwealth association by the reaffirmation it provides of Britain's attitude to one of the most divisive problems facing the world today.

11.58 a.m.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I speak by leave of the House, Mr. Speaker. This is the first of many debates which the House will now be having on Rhodesia and its problems, which will occupy much of our thought and time. This is an opportunity to obtain a clarification of the Government's policy, their purpose, and the details of the action which they now propose to take.

I hope to be able to speak briefly today, having already spoken once in the debate on the Loyal Address. There are a few points which I want to raise and some questions which I want to ask. I have already expressed the deep regret felt on this side of the House at the action taken yesterday by Mr. Smith and his colleagues. The attitude of the Conservative Administration is well known to the House. The attitude of the Conservative Opposition has remained the same: that we were strongly opposed to a unilateral declaration of independence and we did everything possible to dissuade Mr. Smith from making it. We therefore deplore what has happened.

I think that everybody in the House realises that when the history of this matter comes to be written the historians will not look only at the last few weeks. The suspicions and doubts which have been expressed to the House by the Prime Minister, and again by the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, have not arisen only during the recent talks. Those of us who sat in the House for the last 15 years will recall the way in which we have watched the history of the Federation. We recall listening to the debates on the 1961 Constitution. We recall listening to constant attacks from some quarters on Rhodesian Governments. We remember a certain lack of co-operation with the Monckton Commission. We have seen the difficulties that former moderate and liberal Governments had in Rhodesia in holding their own against these attacks and in trying to make progress in the direction which all of us wanted to see. Therefore, the responsibility cannot be allocated only to the last few weeks or to those who are in Rhodesia at this moment.

The Prime Minister has given to the House, as always, rapidly and fully, an account of his discussions, and the Commonwealth Secretary has filled in the picture further today. We understand that the documents are to be published, presumably in the fairly near future, and no doubt the Prime Minister can confirm that there will be not only the records which were agreed with Mr. Smith but also the Government's own records.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

indicated assent.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I thank the Prime Minister very much, and we shall be able to study them.

Yesterday the Prime Minister told us about the last offer he made to Mr. Smith and his colleagues. It was described in col. 350 of yesterday's OFFICIAL REPORT. In it the right hon. Gentleman put forward the question: would the Rhodesian Government be prepared to commend a unanimous report by the Royal Commission to their own Parliament if the British Government did the same? That was the last stage in the discussions and perhaps the Prime Minister could tell us whether, if the answer was "yes", the British Government were themselves prepared to commend the Royal Commission's Report to the House.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

indicated assent.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

The Prime Minister is nodding his agreement.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Mr. Smith knew it.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

The Prime Minister has now given us further information which he did not give us yesterday. [HON. MEMBERS: "Yes, he did."] My recollection may be wrong. I do not recall that the Prime Minister said that Mr. Smith had already been told that, but I fully accept it. My point is that this shows how far the Prime Minister and the Government have gone in saying to Mr. Smith that they will recommend a unanimous report of the Royal Commission without any further question about it, and the Prime Minister was prepared to send out a senior member of the Government with powers to sign an agreed minute to that effect. The tragedy is that it was then too late, and Mr. Smith apparently made that plain to the Prime Minister. That is the tragedy of the present situation.

We might recognise how far the Prime Minister and his colleagues have gone in removing any further arguments about the 1961 Constitution or the basis which was to be put by the Royal Commission to the people, or the interim report, or any further questions. They have come back to the sole matter that if there was a unanimous report by the Royal Commission they would recommend it to the House, at the same time preserving the full rights of the House to give its own judgment upon it.

My only regret, I say quite frankly to the House, is that when the Prime Minister was in Salisbury he did not stay there in order to get this aspect of the Royal Commission's activities tied up at the time. It may be that there is a genuine difference of view between hon. Members on this point, but I believe that it is right to say this, not because it is being wise after the event, but because in a speech at Bexley two days before the Prime Minister left I welcomed his mission, wished him success and specifically urged him or the Commonwealth Secretary to stay in Salisbury until these details were completely tied up.

I believe that it would have been right to do this. The Commonwealth Secretary put forward the argument that he believes that he would have been accused of delaying this matter. I find it difficult to accept that argument. History will never be able to prove conclusively whether staying in Salisbury would have averted a U.D.I. What I believe to be wrong is that any doubt about this should have been left to remain, because there is no question about it that the doubt is there. In negotiations timing is the essence, and if the Prime Minister had been able to give further support to the moderate forces in Rhodesia who had agreed to the Royal Commisision it may be that at that particular moment it could have come into being and that thus the other stages would have followed. It is right to say that, because the Prime Minister has given his own explanation of the negotiation and the attitude which he took in it.

The Prime Minister set out to prevent a U.D.I. It is to everybody's regret that he did not succeed in doing so, and now the House has to turn its mind to the question of the action which has to be taken. This was defined yesterday by the Prime Minister in col. 359 of the OFFICIAL REPORT. AS it is a very important passage I should like to read it to the House, because I believe that it will govern a great deal of the Government's actions and the views which every hon. Member takes upon them. The right hon. Gentleman said: The right hon. Gentleman said that those measures which I have mentioned today and other measures which will follow should be examined on their merits and that the criterion in this examination should be the purpose which we all have in mind. That is absolutely right and absolutely fair. Our purpose is not punitive. We do not approach this tragic situation in a mood of recrimination. Our purpose is to restore a situation in Rhodesia in which there can be untrammelled loyalty and allegiance to the Crown and in which there can be, within whatever rules this House lays down, a free Government of Rhodesia, acting in the interests of the people of Rhodesia as a whole. There may be different views about how that can be brought about in this difficult situation. There may be different views about the severity with which measures should be applied and how quickly to reach that situation. There will be no difference in the House, I am sure, about the fact that it is our duty, and that we have as a House to perform that duty by discussing the basis on which we can restore the rule of law, legal Government and freedom in Rhodesia. In that passage the Prime Minister has very clearly set out the objective of the Government, the criteria by which the actions should be examined—that they should not be punitive and that there may be honest and sincere differences of view —[Interruption.]—about the measures which should be applied and the speed with which they should be applied. I do not see how it can be said from the benches opposite that there cannot be differences of view.

Photo of Mr Christopher Rowland Mr Christopher Rowland , Meriden

I am expressing my belief that some of the views expressed have been neither honest nor sincere. [HON. MEMBERS: "Withdraw".]

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. The hon. Member for Meriden (Mr. Rowland) is in order in expressing his opinions. He is not in order in expressing them from a seated position.

Hon. Members:


Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I am sorry that the hon. Member for Meriden (Mr. Rowland) does not believe that his colleagues in the House express views which are sincere.

As I have just said, this was the basis on which the Prime Minister set out the Government's action, and the onus rests on the Government to show that each of the actions which they propose is in accordance with the criteria which the Prime Minister has set out, and it is in that light that I should like to examine the Government's proposals today.

First of all, on the United Nations, the Prime Minister confirmed to us yesterday that the Foreign Secretary would maintain the position that Rhodesia is a British responsibility. On previous occasions previous Governments have given information to the United Nations about Rhodesia on the basis that it was not obligatory but they did so gladly. The present Government have maintained that practice. I should like to ask the Prime Minister whether the Foreign Secretary proposes to take any further steps in the Security Council. I should like to put to the Prime Minister the question whether if the Security Council wishes to take action which, on the Prime Minister's statement yesterday, the Prime Minister and the Government would deem to be unwise, they are prepared to oppose that action, if necessary by the use of the veto. The Government have set out their own position. Is the Prime Minister prepared to adhere to it in the light of action which other members of the Security Council or the Assembly may wish to take?

My next point is concerned with the use of force. This was dealt with by the Prime Minister in col. 360 of his statement yesterday. He said: As I have said before, I think that the solution of this problem is not one to be dealt with by military intervention unless, of course, our troops an; asked for to preserve law and order and to avert a tragic action, subversion, murder and so on. But we do not contemplate, as I have made very clear, any national action, and may I say any international action, for the purpose of coercing even the illegal Government of Rhodesia into a constitutional posture." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th November, 1965; Vol. 720, cc. 359–61.] This is a perfectly clear statement, and it means that the Prime Minister would not support the United Nations in taking action, international action, by force to coerce even the illegal Government of Rhodesia. I would ask him to clarify his statement, … unless, of course, our troops are asked for … I think it is necessary to query, asked for by whom? If it is asked for by the Governor on his own initiative or if at some future date when law and order broke down Mr. Smith and his colleagues, or other bodies, were to go to the Governor and suggest that the moment has come when it will be necessary for law and order to be restored, that would be an understandable position, and of course any British Government would have to consider this most carefully. If that is what the Prime Minister meant, then that is quite clear. I hope that he will be able to confirm this in the course of his speech.

Photo of Dr Jeremy Bray Dr Jeremy Bray , Middlesbrough West

Will the Leader of the Opposition say what status Mr. Smith has in asking the Governor to call for assistance?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I said that if the Governor were to refer this matter, whether on his own initiative or whether Mr. Smith, or any other body in Rhodesia went to the Governor and said that the situation had been reached where help from British forces was necessary to restore law and order, then this was a matter which any British Government would consider carefully.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I think it would be right if I clarified this, because I know that the right hon. Gentleman has doubts about the words I used yesterday. The legal Government of Rhodesia is the Governor. If the Governor were to approach Her Majesty's Government for forces, police, or any other assistance, to help restore law and order, we would, of course, respond to the request; we would naturally give very full consideration to it. If the Governor is pressed, whether by Mr. Smith or any other private person —because Mr. Smith is a private person —then the Governor, naturally, will weigh the importance of the pressure of Mr. Smith and of others. I think the whole House will feel that we should not consider sending what would be a major military invasion for the purpose of imposing a constitutional solution on Rhodesia. If the legally-constituted Government of Rhodesia were to seek help in dealing with law and order, naturally we would have to give it the fullest consideration. I am sorry to have given such a long answer, but I did not want there to be any confusion.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I thank the Prime Minister for that answer. It has clarified the situation completely and has confirmed what I said was my understanding of the matter.

I would like to deal with the other aspect proposed by the Government and to ask the Prime Minister whether he can tell the House if we have now a complete list of the proposals of the Government, as set out yesterday by him and in the Attorney-General's statement today? I think it is right that the House should know the Government's full intentions in this matter so that it can form a judgment as a whole. I would ask the Prime Minister whether it is possible in some way, if not in his own speech today, to make known to the House what the Government consider will be the effect on Rhodesia of each of the measures taken, and also what the effect is going to be on the people of this country. I believe it is right that the House, in making a judgment, should know the impact of each of these measures, both on Rhodesia and on Britain. We recognise that it is an illegal Government and that the Government of this country can have no dealings with it. We do not in any way condone its actions and neither must the Governor.

This arises from a particular situation —from the relationship of Rhodesia to the Crown, and the fact that we have responsibilities to all races and all peoples in Rhodesia. It may seem strange to some outside that whereas there are illegal or unconstitutional Governments in other parts of the world which we recognise, perhaps overnight—although very often we disapprove of them—in this particular case we take the view that it is an illegal Government and cannot be recognised or condoned and that there cannot be dealings with it. It is important that the House should recognise the source from which this arises. It is the relationship to the Crown and the responsibility which we have to all the peoples in Rhodesia. The Government are proposing certain constitutional actions in this connection. These are to be dealt with in the Enabling Bill, and we shall have an opportunity of dealing with this on Monday.

Can the Prime Minister tell us why it is necessary under this Bill, which we have just seen, to take power to suspend or revoke the Constitution? We understand the need to amend or add to the Constitution. It is a very wide power to suspend or revoke the Constitution. If the Government are looking forward to the time when Rhodesia would wish to return to normality, and there may well be those in Rhodesia who would be able to lead it in that direction, is it not likely to arouse further suspicion and produce discouragement if those people find that the 1961 Constitution, which has been the basis of the present discussions, and on which the Prime Minister was prepared to have a Royal Commission, has been suspended or revoked? Are these powers really necessary? Are they likely to produce the answer which the Government want?

When I see the procedure to be used on the affirmative Orders, I am glad that the Prime Minister has been able to include this in the Bill. Can he give the assurance, as I am sure he will be able to, that any affirmative Orders will be brought before the House quickly? He will realise that they cannot be amended. If the House wishes to make its voice known, the only way the matter can be dealt with is by the Government either withdrawing the Order entirely or withdrawing it and substituting another. From this point of view, I think that the House would like to be able to debate them quickly and take its decision upon them. Providing that the Government can assure the House that the need for the wide powers which I have mentioned is justified and that they will give us the time speedily to debate the affirmative Orders, then I think the House will agree that in those circumstances it would be right for the Government to be able to get the Enabling Bill through all stages on Monday. But it will depend to a considerable extent on the detailed explanations which the Attorney-General and others taking part in the debate are able to give us.

On the other actions proposed by the Government, I would ask the Prime Minister if he can amplify the answer given by the Attorney-General today in answer to a question from one of my right hon. Friends. This deals with the advice given to the people of Rhodesia by the Prime Minister yesterday in cols. 355 and 362 of HANSARD. This advice appears to be contradictory. The Prime Minister said in col. 355: It is the duty of everyone owing allegiance to the Crown in Rhodesia or elsewhere to refrain from all acts which would assist the illegal regime to continue in their rebellion against the Crown. This is very wide advice. Anybody carrying on his normal job can be said to be enabling an illegal Government to continue. The Prime Minister later said, in col. 362: It is our view … and I believe that the Governor has made this statement in Rhodesia—that it is the duty of public servants to carry on with their jobs, to help maintain law and order, certainly the judges and the police, at this critical time but that they must themselves be the judges of any possible action which they might be asked to take and which would be illegal in itself or illegal in the sense of furthering this rebellious act."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th November, 1965; Vol. 720, cc. 355 and 362.] I think that those two statements taken together, if broadcast in Rhodesia as the right hon. Gentleman has asked, put the people of Rhodesia in a very difficult position indeed. One could understand the advice that if they remain in their positions they will be furthering acts of this Government and this is to be deplored and illegal. One could understand the position in which, although it is technically illegal, they are right to remain in their positions in order to maintain law and order and maintain central services in operation and so on. But it is difficult to know what judgment they can form as a result of the two statements which the Prime Minister made yesterday. If he can clarify this it would be helpful.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I recognise this enormous difficulty. The cruel dilemma was not imposed by us. It is inherent in the action of Mr. Smith. I can put two cases, and the right hon. Gentleman will see what we are trying to distinguish between. We cannot lay down tests. If one were an assistant secretary to the Ministry of Health and wanted to buy some surgical dressings, one would have to use the phrase "I am directed by the Minister of Health", who is an illegal Minister of Health. In a sense he is recognising and forwarding the rebellion. At the same time everyone will agree that he must order those surgical dressings and, to that extent, must recognise the existence of the Minister. But if another secretary, in the Ministry of the Interior or a similar Ministry, were to be told by a Minister to go out and take action, which by any test was illegal, and would have been illegal before yesterday, any action which would offend against the conscience of any human being, such as to go out and shoot all the people in a detention camp, I would hope that he would feel that this was not only acting illegally but would be furthering the rebellion, because he would be doing it for the purpose of maintaining an illegal Government in office. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will agree that there are two different cases.

Photo of Mr Samuel Silverman Mr Samuel Silverman , Nelson and Colne

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman a question which I propose to ask my right hon. Friend later if I am fortunate enough to catch Mr. Speaker's eye? What would the right hon. Gentleman's advice be to the 4 million Africans who presumably remain loyal and who are now in a state of emergency, who are refused the right to express an opinion, who are refused access to information, who are held—[HON. MEMBERS: "Speech".]—in what can only be described as the circumstances of a police state and who are—

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. May I make two observations? Behind this debate are deep emotions which the Chair feels as much as any hon. Member. I hope that hon. Members will endeavour to keep them under reasonable control. Secondly, the question before the House is so complex that I hope that interventions will be brief.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I thank the Prime Minister for his intervention. I hope that he will accept that it has not entirely removed our doubts. The dilemma is there. But there is now the peculiar position that the British Government, the Crown, has responsibility in Rhodesia. That was made clear in the Prime Minister's statement and in the Attorney-General's statement today. There is the case of the civil servant which the Prime Minister mentioned which is one of a particular nature in that the medical services are always recognised to have a particular character. There is the act which would have been illegal before and illegal afterwards.

Much the most general matter worrying the people in Rhodesia concerns the normal actions of the police and armed forces and civil servants at their desks carrying out their ordinary occupations. Here, I still feel that the guidance given is contradictory. It ought to be considered carefully whether the Government say that anything which helps Mr. Smith's group is illegal and that those responsible must take the consequences; or whether the Government say in their second statement that these acts may be illegal but because of the need to maintain law and order and the public services people are justified in carrying on their normal duties. That would seem to me to be the alternative.

I believe that the right thing would be the Prime Minister's second statement yesterday as already issued, as he said, by the Governor, that, although the situation is very difficult and people have to use their consciences, they should maintain law and order and the normal services. I agree with the Prime Minister in that.

I turn to the individual actions which the Government has proposed to take.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I am trying to be brief and there are many points to be covered.

First, a question on the Sterling Area. What we have heard now seems to go further than the Prime Minister indicated yesterday. Rhodesia is removed from the Sterling Area. Exports of capital are not permitted and there is no access to the capital market. Do we now understand that, as a result of the Orders laid, sterling balances are blocked? Do we understand that all movements of sterling are controlled? If so, this seems to have gone further than the Prime Minister said yesterday, and it affects individuals in Rhodesia. Is it the Government's intention that individuals who want to carry on normal transactions not banned by any other action of the Government and who wish to move their own resources to and fro are controlled or blocked? If so, this would seem to be action of a punitive nature. {Interruption.] I understand that they are controlled, not blocked. I am glad to hear that they are not blocked. It depends now on the extent to which they will be controlled as to whether this meets the Government's criterion of being punitive or not.

This is an important point, because people in this country recognise the illegality of Mr. Smith's group, but they are not, I believe, prepared to see individuals in Rhodesia or in this country unnecessarily controlled by the Government in a way which does not flow from the illegal group in Rhodesia.

Photo of Mr James Callaghan Mr James Callaghan The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

There is a difference, as the right hon. Gentleman recognises, between being controlled and being blocked. In the guidance given to the banks yesterday a whole series of payments was set out—such as pensions, payments under contract entered into before 11th November, wages and salaries— which will be controlled, but not blocked. Therefore, it means that there will be a scrutiny of these payments to see that they are in the normal course in accordance with the provisions laid down here.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

Presumably, if individuals wish to carry on normal transactions, that will be permitted.

Leaving the sterling question, I turn to the next general group of actions. The High Commissioner has been withdrawn, and the High Commissioner here has been asked to leave. Will there be any consular representation in Salisbury so that there will be means of contact in Rhodesia? We understand the action to be taken about passports. The export of arms has been stopped, aid has ceased and there is no cover from E.C.G.D. The Ottawa Agreement is to be suspended and there is removal from the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. All of these follow an illegal Government in Rhodesia.

With the action to be taken on the Sterling Area, these other actions are a heavy blow to Rhodesia.

Photo of Sir Arthur Irvine Sir Arthur Irvine , Liverpool Edge Hill

May I ask one question to clarify the matter for the House? Is it the right hon. Gentleman's view that the stoppage of the export of arms flows from the illegal action of Mr. Smith, or is it punitive? If it is punitive, is the right hon. Gentleman opposed to the stoppage of the export of arms?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I believe that it is right. There should not be a sale of arms to an illegal Government. That is absolutely right, and I support the Government in this. There can be no doubt about that.

As I say, these groups of actions, taken with the actions on the Sterling Area, are a very heavy blow to Rhodesia. The House will recall that they are far more than happened when South Africa left the Commonwealth. The Government, although when they were in opposition they challenged the Bill which we passed at the time, have never sought to rewrite the Act on South Africa which embodied these measures. As it is an illegal Government in Rhodesia, these consequences flow.

I ask the Commonwealth Secretary or the Prime Minister to let us know what views have been expressed by the other Commonwealth countries about these actions. The Government must presumably be in contact with them. It is, I believe, well known that the African countries, particularly those adjacent to Rhodesia, do not wish any action to be taken which will lead to retaliation on them. That we understand, and the Government are right to consider this in judging the actions which they will take. At the same time, the African countries must recognise that there are other criteria which this country should use when making judgments.

I come to the point which the Attorney-General mentioned—the action about tobacco. Perhaps the Prime Minister can say whether this is an administrative Order which has to come before the House in any form, or something which does not need a decision, either affirmative or negative, of either House of Parliament. I ask the Prime Minister to explain what is the justification for taking the action on tobacco in addition to other action in the light of the criterion which he set out yesterday, namely, that these should not be punitive actions.

If the Government had wished to take action on trade, they could have covered the whole field; they could have taken much more action. They could have stopped all trade, or tried to stop all trade. But they have discriminated in that they have chosen tobacco and sugar in so far as it is not affected by the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement. If this does not flow from the fact that there is an illegal Government in Rhodesia, the Government must have some other justification for taking this particular action. The Government owe an explanation of this to the House. Why did not they cover the full range? Why did they take action over a certain range which flows from the position of Mr. Smith and his colleagues? Why have they taken, in addition, the action on tobacco? How will it restore freedom and law and order? What is the real purpose of it?

I must put this question frankly to the Prime Minister. Is the right hon. Gentleman endeavouring, by the action he has taken, to ensure that it is impossible for any so-called administration by Mr. Smith to continue to function in Rhodesia? Is that the purpose? [Interruption.] That is the real question on which the House has to judge. If so, will it be possible, and will the result be a restoration of freedom and law and order, or will there be a gradual slide into chaos in Rhodesia? These are very grave questions. I suggest that they are the questions to which the House and every hon. Member must give very careful consideration in the light of what the Government explain to us as being their judgment of the situation.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I agree. The right hon. Gentleman has put the key questions. I was proposing to put them and to try to answer them. Will he now say what his answer is?

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

As I said at the beginning, the onus rests on the Government to show why these actions are necessary, and in the light of what they give as their explanation, their judgment of the situation and purpose, we shall tell the Prime Minister and the House what our own position is.

What the House has to consider is whether the impact will bring about the objective that we want, or whether it may be quite the contrary, whether it is going to drive a rebel group, as the Prime Minister terms them, further into rebellion. [Interruption.] The Prime Minister described them as a group of frightened men. That was not the impression which some of us who met them in London got of them. I should have thought that to take this action—[Interruption]

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. I will not have debate conducted by hon. Members on both sides of the House shouting across the Floor in this way.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

They are somewhat determined men, and nobody in this House wishes to see Rhodesia forced or sliding into a form of society which already exists ill Africa and which is abhorrent to everyone in the House.

These are the grave matters upon which we have to use our judgment in respect of each of the actions which the Prime Minister suggests. The Commonwealth Secretary emphasised the close ties between the people of this country and of Rhodesia. We recognise them. The whole country recognises them and wants them to be maintained. The Prime Minister emphasised this last night in his broadcast. Therefore, in our view the action which must be taken has to be based on wise judgment and the consequences of the proposals which we have heard about today, whether they are going to bring about the result which we want, which is a return to normality in Rhodesia, or whether they will lead to very determined men sliding further away from this country and the Commonwealth and towards a form of society which is abhorrent. It is to this judgment that the House must devote itself when the individual Orders come before us, and that is what we shall do.

12.33 p.m.

Photo of Mr Geoffrey De Freitas Mr Geoffrey De Freitas , Kettering

I want to take up the point about our British community in other parts of black Africa. I was pleased that my right hon. Friend referred to our "kith and kin" in other parts of black Africa. We should recognise the consequences that there could be for the British communities in those countries, especially Kenya, as a result of this rebellion.

It can be argued that the white Rhodesians are entitled to commit suicide, but what cannot be argued is that in doing so they are entitled to endanger the great multi-racial experiment in Kenya. I ask hon. Members to recognise that our fellow countrymen have lived in Kenya for two years under black African rulers and have seen those rulers provide justice and good government without any racial discrimination.

On 21st October a number of Kenyans and British citizens, all of British descent, issued in Nairobi a statement from which I shall quote, and I shall afterwards give the signatories: Most of us have held, or still hold, positions of some responsibility in the public, commercial or agricultural life of the country. We wish to express publicly our feeling of deep shock and dismay at the declared intention of the Rhodesian Government to seize independence in the name of a white minority and in defiance of the British Government's persistent efforts to secure legally enforceable safeguards leading by stages to African majority rule … We feel we can speak for the overwhelming majority of British people in Kenya when we say that the efforts of all British parties to achieve support for Britain's policy are most certainly supported here.… Most of us had perfectly sincere reservations about the speed with which independence was granted to Kenya. Today: however, we must readily admit that a great many of our fears have proved totally unfounded. Like any other new country, Kenya has its fair share of difficult problems. —the disruptive forces of tribalism, stock thefts, drought and famine, chronic unemployment, arbitrary deportation orders, and so on. … we can honestly say that President Kenyatta's Government has kept its pledge to respect the rights of all races and that the bitterness of the past has been largely forgotten in the spirit of Harambee. That is unity or "pull together". Racial prejudice is minimal, the rule of law has been preserved. Freedom of religion, speech and of the Press has generally been respected. Law and order has been maintained by a first-class police force under African command. The signatories are Wilfred Barger, Jack Block, Sir Michael Blundell, Kenneth Bolton, Michael Curtis, Lord Delamere, Sir Derek Erskine, Sir Wilfred Havelock, Air Commodore Howard Williams, Sir William O'Brien Lindsay, Charles Markham, Monty Ruben, Humphrey Slade and Leslie Thornton.

The idea that black rule leads inevitably to the chaos of the Congo is a myth fostered by the Southern Rhodesian white politicians. Their propaganda is intense. In June last year, when I was still a civil servant, I met other civil servants in Rhodesia, and even some—very few—of these highly educated and highly intelligent men had been taken in by the myth that the politicians had created, the myth of black rule leading to chaos. I asked them to come and stay with me in Nairobi so that they could see what the result of the Kenya experiment was.

There is one other paragraph from the letter that I will quote: Indeed, it is a pity that more of Rhodesia's … leaders do not take the trouble to visit East Africa to learn at first hand what independence under black rule has achieved. So much for the idea about the inevitable chaos of black rule. The black African that I know—whether in West Africa or East Africa—is not a man of violence.

In July last year when President Kenyatta was in this country and was pushed off a pavement in London, the anti-Western elements among the politicians in Kenya stirred up demonstrations against me. There were placards saying: Go home, High Commissionerde Freitas, back to England. But it was all very polite. There was even one which read: Sir Geoffrey, please return. My wife and I could drive without any escort hundreds of miles into the country in a big conspicuous black car with a Union flag.

There has been no breakdown of law and order in Kenya so far. That does not mean that there could not be a breakdown. This is why I am worried about not only what has happened but what we are going to do and how we do it. The whites in Kenya today are schoolteachers, missionaries, technicians, businessmen, civil servants and farmers. No longer is the British community a settler community. In fact, settlers no longer play even a prominent part in the life of the country. Most of the settlers who gave Britain a bad name left Kenya before independence. Those who stayed are good men and women doing a fine job for Kenya. We in this House owe it to these people, our people, our kith and kin, our people: of our generation, thinking as we do, we owe it to them to do all we can to help Kenya continue its proud course as a peaceful multi-racial State in the heart of black Africa.

We in this House have great responsibility. If we are firm with the rebels and are seen by black Africans to be firm, then we shall convince the black Africans of our sincere belief in a multiracial community, but if we are weak or half-hearted then the sins of Mr. Smith may be visited on our fellow countrymen abroad. I beg all hon. and right hon. Members to remember that such weakness could be at the cost of the very great multi-racial experiment in Kenya. I ask that hon. Members opposite should unite with the Government and be as firm now on this in opposition as they were in Government.

12.41 p.m.

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

With the permission of the House, I would intervene to say a few words on the subject of Rhodesia. The House will have been impressed by the speech we have just listened to by the hon. Gentleman the Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas), and, of course, it would be as ridiculous to judge all black African Governments by the standards of the Congo as it would be to judge white Governments by the standards of Stalin's Russia or Hitler's Germany—and when it comes to violence it is hard for the white races to preach to the black races about their superiority in avoiding the use of violence in our generation.

We have heard a very full account both yesterday and today of the negotiations which have led up to U.D.I. We have reached this point that there is common agreement between the parties that the Government had no alternative but to give way no further and stand upon the five principles. Further, it is common between the parties that Mr. Smith and his colleagues are in rebellion. I do not believe that if the Secretary of State had spent a few more days in Rhodesia it would have made any difference whatever. As we were told yesterday, it is apparent that Mr. Smith took this act not because he was dissatisfied with the negotiations but because he was driven forward by his Cabinet and by the logic of events which he himself set in train.

But now every Member of this House is faced with a personal decision, and always when there is a state of rebellion these decisions are heartrending. That has been the history of all rebellions throughout all time. But we cannot avoid these decisions. The British people of late have been all too ready to bury their heads in the sand if they could find sand in which to do it, and they have been all too ready to refuse to face up to the consequences of the hard facts of the world around them.

We maintain that we are loyal to certain ideals, that we are loyal to the ideal of democracy, the ideal of a multi-racial community, and the rule of law. Are we in fact going to act up to those ideals? Or are we going to qualify them? Are we going to say, "Of course the black Africans can have majority rule in a country provided that there are not too many white people in that country"? Are we going to say, "Of course we support the rule of law, but not for our cousins"? It has never been the doctrine of British law, so far as I know, that we temper the law to our friends, our kith and kin. On the contrary, it has been one of the hard, fundamental principles of British law that everybody is treated equally under it.

The fact that the ex-Government of Rhodesia are of the same colour and of the same kinship as ourselves makes their action all the more shameful and all the more alarming. But it is apparent that in many quarters in this country they have considerable sympathy. I believe that this is a disturbing situation. The handling of this crisis by the British Government may well affect our standing and reputation in the world and in the Commonwealth, and may have deep-rooted results upon the temper of this country itself and the self-confidence of the British in their ability to conduct their affairs with sincerity and to stand up for those ideals which they profess.

I say quite firmly that I am in favour, if we have to take action, of taking short, sharp, effective action. Mr. Smith's Government are a rebel Government, and when we talk of what flows from an act of rebellion, serious consequences flow at common law from an act of rebellion, quite apart from what may happen after the introduction of Monday's Bill.

I reiterate that I believe the Archbishop was right to say that this was a moral issue and that he was also right to say that, in defence of the law and of morality, we cannot say the use of force would be wrong. I have never heard of Christians objecting to the use of force in such cases. But I heartily agree that force can only be the last resort which, though it cannot be ruled out, would add to the tragedy which we are witnessing, and would not by itself obtain any lasting solution in Rhodesia.

The Prime Minister has made it clear that the only event in which he contemplates the use of force is a state of internal chaos, but I would like the House to consider the position of those officials in Rhodesia who remain loyal to their oath. I feel deeply for them, and I should feel ashamed if, supposing a situation were to arise in which they have the chance to make good their loyalty, this country did not go to their aid. I do not believe anyone in this House would like to say that we have abandoned those who are loyal to the Queen. I trust that this will not arise, and I fully accept the great difficulty in giving advice to those people, but they must be very much in our minds.

When the Prime Minister intervened today, I do not think he made the matter much clearer. No one, we hope, will refuse to do something which is clearly contrary to his conscience and natural justice. If an official were ordered to enter a detention camp and to shoot the occupants it would be something which I feel an official should refuse to do, U.D.I, or no U.D.I. But the question is, how are they to conduct themselves given that there is a rebel authority in their land? Probably the most they can do is to say they must keep basic services going, but they certainly should not go beyond that if they can avoid it, and in the long run their duty is to try to restore sanity in that country.

The Government have chosen the way of sanctions. With this I agree, and I understand that, in principle, the Conservative Party agrees, too. Where there is some danger of disagreement is over the severity of the sanctions which are to be applied. I see no point whatever in applying ineffective sanctions. It would be much better to have no sanctions than to do that.

If it is asked what is the purpose of these sanctions, the purpose is to uphold the law and restore sanity. They are the method chosen by the Government and, in general, supported by the Conservative Party for the purpose of bringing the people of Rhodesia back to sanity and trying to get a reasonable government in that country.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

If the right hon. Gentleman would allow me to intervene for one moment, may I say that I am very sorry to interrupt what is the best speech that have I ever heard him make, but would he not agree that on the question of sanctions there is a very great difference between abolishing preferences and imposing sanctions, and that one is a privilege which is withdrawn because of status and that the other could be a punitive act?

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

Certainly there is a difference. It is a difference that the House should face, and I intend to take my stand firmly on one side of it. Let no one think that I consider that it is an easy matter. I am grateful to the hon. and gallant Member for making it so plain that I think that there is a difference, and I think that the country should be quite clear about the difference. In my opinion, the Government should take the severer action.

Let me explain briefly why I think that. Of course, I oppose any more severe sanctions than are necessary to achieve the aim, and clearly one wants to do as little damage to loyal Rhodesians as one can. But people should not delude themselves that it is worth applying sanctions at all unless they are severe and unless we face the very unpalatable fact that innocent people are going to suffer.

This is a rebellion, and I am afraid it is inevitable that in a rebellion innocent people must suffer. My belief is that they will suffer much more if we do not grasp that nettle and if we do not face the real alternatives that are before us. Above all, we should not delude ourselves that we shall not suffer, because we will suffer. The economic consequences to the country if the sanctions are effective may be serious. But I hardly think that that would be a reason for applying ineffective sanctions. I would like assurance from the Government that it is their view that these sanctions are meant to be effective, and quickly effective.

We have heard today that there is to be control but not blocking of the sterling balances. No doubt we shall have an opportunity of examining that further, but I must say that, far from being reassured, I was rather disquieted by the statement in the intervention of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. We have heard protests against sanctions on tobacco. Certainly, as has been pointed out by the hon. and gallant Gentleman, some of the measures can amount to more than withdrawal of privileges, and certainly this measure does. But one needs more than the withdrawal of privileges when one is dealing with rebels. Surely one goes beyond the withdrawal of Commonwealth Preference and so forth when one is dealing with a situation which may repercuss throughout the world. [An HON. MEMBER: A new Lord North.] Other people may pursue the Lord North attitude in the country, but I do not share that point of view, and I think it is wise at this juncture to say what I feel and not try to slide off.

I am puzzled about the word "punitive". No one wants to punish people unnecessarily, or to punish innocent people. But again let me be frank. If these sanctions are not punitive, what are they? One may choose other words. I prefer the word "effective". But I am wholly against ineffective sanctions which will merely exacerbate ill-feeling and do no good. I must say, therefore, that I have some doubt as to whether we should be mealy-mouthed about saying that people who rebel against this country should have punishment visited on them.

Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln

Would the right hon. Gentleman not agree that one view of punitive sanctions would be sanctions not intended to have any effect but which were simply imposed because of some illegal act?

Photo of Mr Jo Grimond Mr Jo Grimond , Orkney and Shetland

Yes, I have made my view clear. I support the Government in their sanctions on tobacco. It may be asked why they have not imposed a total trade embargo. There may be international difficulties about that, and no doubt we shall hear about them if there are. I think that the Government should examine the possibility of getting a general agreement to restrict oil supplies and that they should raise their actions at the United Nations and ask for support in enforcing them.

I ask that not in any spirit of vindictiveness but because I fear that what may well happen from the acts of last week is that we shall drift into a long period of recrimination and economic war, that during this period Britain will lose her determination, that we shall both fail to maintain the ideals which are at stake and also leave behind an immense trail of bitterness.

There may well be bitterness in the other African countries, as the right hon. Gentleman for Kettering has so clearly shown. That may well have a tragic effect upon the white minorities in those countries. There may be a great exacerbation of race bitterness in this country. The British people may face another of those failures like Suez and our failure to get into the Common Market, which will have an effect upon our temper. It is important that we should look our responsibilities squarely in the face and make up our minds that we are going to discharge them.

My own fear of the immediate future is not of bloodshed. It is of a very long trail of bitterness and disillusion, and also the fear that Britain is going to lose her reputation for being a country which upholds the rule of law and the rights of all citizens to fair treatment.

12.57 p.m.

Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln

Several speakers have already referred to the problem of public servants. The example was given of the difficulties of the police. I want to ask the Government about a point which I raised yesterday and to which I wish to return now, and that is the question of compensation.

The position of public servants who wish to remain loyal to the Crown is one that can be quite crucial to the development of this rebellion and to its duration. If, for example, the judges and those in positions of security refused to co-operate with the illegal regime, it would be a very great source of embarrassment to that regime, and Smith would have to scrap the lot and start again. But what is their position? If they remain loyal, they will not have jobs, and the same applies to other public servants who remain loyal while the rebellion lasts. Surely it is an obligation of honour on the part of this Government to see that those who suffer financially as a result of remaining loyal to the Crown are compensated for their loyalty.

It may be that that will cost a lot. Even if the cost should run into millions, quite apart from the justice of the case there could well be a saving in the long run because the loyalty of such servants could easily cut short the duration of the rebellion, and, let us make no mistake about it, if the rebellion lasts it is going to cost this country a considerable sum.

I want next to turn to the question of oil. In winding up the debate, I hope that the Prime Minister will state what his intentions are about oil. I agree entirely with what the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Party said about sanctions. There is no point in having sanctions if they are not going to be effective. But there is another danger, and that is the danger of creeping sanctions.

Photo of Sir Godfrey Nicholson Sir Godfrey Nicholson , Farnham

Surely that is the dilemma that faces us all. One says one does not want sanctions unless they are effective, and I follow that. It depends what the objective is. Any particular measure of sanctions must be assessed against the sort of effect one wants to create.

Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln

The obvious aim of sanctions must be to see that law and order is maintained, that the legal government of Rhodesia is restored, and that the illegal government of Rhodesia is ended. That must be the aim of imposing sanctions, and the great danger which exists is that there may be creeping sanctions, imposing some now, and some later, whereas if we are going to impose sanctions at all, we should hit them hard straight away.

Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln

No. I shall return to the matter of sanctions in a minute.

I want to turn now to the question of the attitude of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition said that historians will not look only at the last few weeks. That is a point which we may well consider, because if one looks at the position of the whites, it is undoubtedly true that they have to some extent been led up the garden path by past Governments. It was a Conservative Administration which, against the will of the majority of Africans, pushed through the Central African Federation, which gave certain promises which were later broken, and which led people like Welensky to believe that they had its support when they did not.

Photo of Mr Sydney Allen Mr Sydney Allen , Crewe

And against the vote of this side of the House which was then in opposition.

Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln

What is more, there was power on the part of the British Government to disallow legislation which was discriminatory. Appeals were made to the then Government to disallow certain legislation, but those appeals were refused. It is clear that if one looks at the causes of this tragedy the blame to some extent lies on the Conservative Party and on past Conservative Governments for misleading the white population in Rhodesia.

I want next to deal with the attitude of the Conservative Party in recent months. In recent months the attitude of the party opposite has been a considerable disappointment to some who expected more from some of its leading figures. There are some for whom I had a considerable respect, but I do not hold them in the same respect now, because their attitude throughout this time of crisis has been a niggling one, and to some extent irresponsible. The Leader of the Opposition has been straining to find points on which he could criticise the Government—little niggling points as to whether or not the term "rebellion" should be used, when they in the past have accepted that the terminology used by the Government was correct; whether a Minister should have stayed on a little longer than he did, and so on.

Is there any person on that side of the House who can really feel that the Prime Minister has not tried everything in his power to avert the situation in Rhodesia? I do not like using terms of political abuse, because normally they serve no purpose, but now there are signs that what the Opposition are doing can only be described as ratting.

Look at the distinction they are making —I am coming to the question of sanctions—between different kinds of sanctions. They are making a wholly artificial distinction. It may well be the legal position that the automatic result of this act of rebellion is that dealings with those who support it are dealings with the enemy. I am not saying that every person who does that is automatically committing a criminal offence. I think it is a matter on which they would be wise to take the advice of the Attorney-General, and to take legal advice. Nor, for that matter, is it something for which, on every occasion on which there has been a criminal offence, there should necessarily be prosecution, but one thing that is quite clear is that there cannot be any such distinction between one kind of sanction which is the automatic result of the act of rebellion, and other sanctions which are not.

One point on which I disagree with the Leader of the Liberal Party is on the line which he drew between withdrawal of preferences and the imposition of a prohibition on the tobacco trade. Why withdraw Commonwealth Preferences? Rhodesia is still a member of the Commonwealth. She has not ceased to be a member of it. Her trade with this country, by virtue of being a member of the Commonwealth, is still entitled to the preference which being a member of the Commonwealth implies.

The reason why sanctions have to be imposed, and why a line has to be drawn, is that we must deal with this rebellion and end it. The only form of sanctions— and this is where I answer the point made by the other side— which can be described as punitive are sanctions which do not have this aim, but which are imposed solely to react against something which has been illegal. What are the Opposition doing? They are apparently supporting the withdrawal of preferences, and one or two other measures which do not really hurt, but they are opposing those sanctions which are designed to be effective. The Opposition are supporting sanctions which are punitive and not supporting sanctions which are effective.

Photo of Sir Peter Emery Sir Peter Emery , Reading

This is not a matter about which to get heated. The hon. Gentleman claims that to have sanctions they must be effective, that it is no use having sanctions unless they are effective, and that the point of them is to restore law and order. Is it his idea that for sanctions to be effective they must bring ruin to the present economic position of Rhodesia? I see no effect of sanctions other than that.

Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln

The idea of sanctions is to make the position so uncomfortable for Smith and his regime that he ceases to be in charge.

The point that has to be faced by the Opposition is, why are they supporting sanctions at all? What do they hope to accomplish by their sanctions? That was the question asked by the Prime Minister of the Leader of the Opposition, and to which he did not get an answer. This is the only purpose for which sanctions are justified, and if the hon. Gentleman says that there is no reason for imposing sanctions if they cause no economic loss in Rhodesia, there is no reason why he should support sanctions at all.

What is happening in this case is that the Conservatives are turning more and more against the idea of economic sanctions, because, under pressure from the Rhodesian lobby, they do not wish to see Smith brought down. At least the Rhodesian lobby has been consistent. I am not saying that the Leader of the Opposition has had an easy task. All the indications are that the Rhodesian lobby is a pretty powerful one, and that he would have had a big revolt on his hands if he had not taken the line he did. It is on this sort of occasion, when one of the great issues of the world arises, that one should be able to expect an act of statesmanship from the Leader of the Opposition, and this we have not so far had.

Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln

I have given way enough.

Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln

What are the issues facing us when we consider the action to be taken against Smith? First, there is the nature of the Government which he has imposed. Anyone who looks at the repressive laws which existed before the illegal declaration of independence will find that they are some of the most repressive laws to be found anywhere in Africa. If one looks at the position in Rhodesia today, and if one looks at the complete censorship of the Press, I think it is fair to say that under the rule of Smith there is likely to emerge in Rhodesia a regime which is as oppressive as any in Africa, which is as oppressive as that in South Africa, and as oppressive as that in Ghana. There is complete censorship, complete police control, complete secret police information, and police informers are rife. There are complete powers to put anybody in gaol without trial, and without any sort of safeguards whatsoever.

But that is not the only issue, because if we are prepared to accept Smith, or if we adopt an attitude in which we appear to be prepared to allow him to continue, and we impose a few sanctions that do not really hurt, the result may well be that the thing we fear most, a black-white confrontation in the world, will come about. If the Leader of the Opposition persists in his present attitude he will undo the very great act of statesmanship for which Mr. Macmillan was responsible when he, at any rate, recognised that there was a wind of change.

1.10 p.m.

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

I agree with the hon. and learned Member for Lincoln (Mr. Taverne) that this is the last stage of a tragedy. The tragedy goes right back to when Mr. Gordon Walker and the present Minister for Welsh Affairs ran away from their own idea of Federation, and Federation was destroyed. I very much agree with the adjective chosen by the Prime Minister last night, in his broadcast, when he said that it was an unnecessary tragedy. I believe that we could have avoided it in recent negotiations if the terms put forward for a Royal Commission and the details announced in yesterday's telephone conversation between the Prime Minister and Mr. Smith had been communicated to Rhodesia many weeks before, and had been widely published there. I believe that then we would have avoided this senseless and stupid act of U.D.I.

It is senseless because in no country in the world is there more loyalty to Her Majesty the Queen, and because it has been virtually independent for 42 years. It is stupid because, up till now, the standard of living of all races in that country has been higher, I believe, than in any other country in Africa with the possible exception of South Africa. That seems to me to be the tragic implication of this unforgivable act.

What is to be our aim at this juncture? This seems to be the error into which I felt the right hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) was falling. What must be our aim? It must be so to act as to encourage men of good will in Rhodesia to bring Rhodesia back to the privileges of the Commonwealth. That is a very delicate task for Parliament and the country. It means that we should confine our actions to those automatic and necessary steps that flow from the consequences of the illegal act of the Rhodesian Government. To go beyond that would be to commit a grave error.

For what purpose do we go beyond that? It must be to force Mr. Smith and his party caucus to submission. The only way we can attempt to do that is by crushing the whole economy of Rhodesia. Surely the Liberal Party has learnt the lesson of the last 60 years of history. Economic sanctions do not work unless they are backed up by force, and economic sanctions backed up by force normally lead to war. That is what this country faces at present.

The Prime Minister has made it quite clear that he is not in favour of using force except for the preservation of law and order, and is not in favour of punitive action. In that case I challenge him to say how he can justify the imposition of a ban on tobacco as not being a punitive action. Apart from all else, is it effective action? The tobacco crop is sold, so it cannot be action in the short term. For five months, if not more, there will be no tobacco on the market. What is the purpose of this one part of a trade embargo? The threat can be most damaging to those who work in the rural areas. It will be regarded as a threat to their livelihood and will bring misery, unemployment and poverty to those African;; who are the best friends of Britain.

I can see what the Liberal Party is counselling. Rightly or wrongly, it is advocating economic warfare, backed up by force. I reject it. I can see the arguments, but I would prefer to try to encourage men of good will to use their influence to bring Rhodesia back to sanity rather than to adopt the other course of crushing Rhodesia and marching troops into the country. That would be wrong at the present time.

First, economic sanctions of that nature will undoubtedly invite retaliation by Mr. Smith and his caucus against adjacent countries such as Zambia and Malawi who are— and here I agree very much with what was said by the hon. Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas) — making a great effort to conduct their new independence and bring their countries to prosperity and order. We do not want to inflame the whole position in Africa. Africa is very dry tinder at present. I came back from it on Wednesday night.

I agree with the hon. Member for Kettering that we have had great cooperation from Kenya, but if, by economic sanctions and the use of force, we start a forest fire, it will sweep out of control men who are trying to lead their countries in young independence. That is why it would be wise to be very careful what we are doing at present. Nobody will benefit from economic sanctions and the use of force except the Russians and the Chinese communists in Africa.

I therefore beg the Government to work out what their policy aims to do at the present time. What is the object of it? Is it to crush Rhodesia? Is it because in their negotiations the Government have failed? Is this a vindictive attempt to see how much damage they can do to the economy of the country? That will not work. They will be judged adversely by the whole nation.

The Government have tabled an Enabling Bill under which they are attempting to take over from Parliament the rights of Parliament to pass Bills dealing with this matter. That is what it means. They are using a form of delegated legislation which results in Parliament being unable to debate an Order until it is already in operation and having no opportunity to amend it. There is a 28-day procedure and this is quite unusual. When there is an affirmative Resolution, the act normally does not come into operation until Parliament has passed that Order. In certain cases there is a seven-day Order, where it must be debated within seven days after it comes into operation.

I ask the Government why they are breaking all rules of Parliament in order to take these steps of economic sanctions. I beg them to redraft the Bill so that those constitutional provisions which would be the automatic consequence of the illegal act can be taken under the system suggested. If their real purpose is to introduce sanctions of a graver nature, we should go back to the timehonoured principle of a Bill being introduced and passed through all its stages in one day. However, it is a sad day when this country and this Parliament have to use unconstitutional means in order to deal with an unconstitutional act.

I regret that, unless the Government radically change that Bill, I cannot vote for it on Monday.

1.21 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

The right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) said that there was no country in the world in which there was greater loyalty to the Crown than Rhodesia. From then on, almost everything he said seemed to ignore the fact that the former Government of Rhodesia is now in rebellion against the Crown, that it is an illegal Government. It seemed, from what he said and from what has been suggested by other hon. Members on those benches, that there are those on that side of the House who are prepared that this act of rebellion should be permitted and allowed to succeed.

I ask whether there has been any other case in the history of the British Commonwealth where this argument has been seriously put forward in the House. I must admit that I have been deeply disappointed by the speeches of the Leader of the Opposition, on television last night and in the House this morning. He did not rise to the gravity of the occasion as I believed the Leader of the Liberal Party did. We are facing, as he said, one of the gravest crises, not just in the history of our country but of our relations with Africa and of relations between black and white throughout the world. Yet, at this time of crisis, to hear the Leader of the Opposition giving only equivocal and hesitant support to "certain parts" of Her Majesty's Government's policy and making niggling criticisms of other parts of it, seems to be a sad state of affairs.

It is instructive to compare the performance of the Leader of the Opposition and that of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in his speeches to the House and in that which he gave on television last night. I and millions of others saw him give the speech last night and I was deeply moved by the sincerity of his approach. I said to myself, "Thank God that, at this time of crisis, we have as our Prime Minister a man who is a man of principle and courage and guts who is prepared to stand firm and not to equivocate." In paying that tribute to the Prime Minister, I would add one to the Commonwealth Secretary. It would not be possible for any men to have gone further in trying to avoid a U.D.I, than did the Prime Minister and the Commonwealth Secretary.

Unless they had been prepared to sacrifice basic principles which are held dear — at least, I thought they were held dear— on both sides of the House, they could not have gone further to meet Mr. Smith's demands.

I feel that what is needed at this time and what is expected by the nation is a degree of national unity which, I fear, we have not had this morning, but I hope that second thoughts will bring this about on the other side of the House. The question of punitive sanctions has been raised. This term was first used by the noble Lord, Lord Salisbury, in the debate at the Conservative Party conference. We are today debating what is the purpose of any economic measures at all. Is it to show a mild displeasure at what has been done by Mr. Smith and his men? Is it to show a modest reprimand, a gesture of opposition, to an illegal act? Economic measures, whatever they may be, are being taken by this Government, I believe, because there is in Salisbury an illegal Government which has been dismissed by Her Majesty the Queen and which must be brought again to legality.

The Government have to use all the means at their disposal to see that legality is restored— not savage acts, but to impose ineffective sanctions would to me be pointless folly, and would be self-defeating. Therefore, if the actions now taken by Her Majesty's Government are not effective, other measures will have to be taken, because the responsibility of this Government cannot be shaken off.

Photo of Mr John Page Mr John Page , Harrow West

Is the hon. Member saying that he is prepared to see any measures taken in the form of economic sanctions which will so ruin the economic conditions in Rhodesia that a group of people will supersede Smith? Does he accept that that is the object of sanctions?

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

It is possible that those now in power may be brought to their senses, and if not it is possible that many other people in Rhodesia will see the folly of the decision taken by Mr. Smith and that other and more moderate voices will seek to return again to a legal Government. I trust this Government to decide what are the measures which are required at the time.

After all, what is the situation with which we are dealing? Why did Mr. Smith and his Government turn down every offer made by the Prime Minister? The answer is clear and inescapable: it is that they were determined to maintain white supremacy. Since 1961 and since the Smith Government came in, they could have acted in many ways to prove that the 1961 Constitution would have led eventually to majority rule. They could have pushed ahead with a rapid programme of secondary education to bring more and more Africans on to the A roll. They did not do so. They appeared to scorn the offers made by my right hon. Friends that we would help with such a campaign from British resources.

They could have taken action to give Africans responsibility in Government and the civil service. They did not do so. They could have encouraged all the freedoms proclaimed in the Declaration of Human Rights—personal liberty, freedom of conscience, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and association, protection from discriminatory action— all of which were supposed' to be enshrined in the Constitution and have been tragically stamped on as these years have gone by.

Photo of Mr Stephen Hastings Mr Stephen Hastings , Mid Bedfordshire

Is the hon. Member aware that Rhodesia spends 18 per cent. of its Budget on exclusively African education and that this money stems from their economy and is not money supplied by this country?

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

First, the main emphasis has been on primary education in order to give just enough education for the Africans to play their role in the State and, secondly, the proportion spent on education for white children has been dramatically more than that spent on African children.

Furthermore, if they had wanted they could have proceeded to do away with all aspects of racial discrimination. They have not done so. They have not done any of these things. As the years and months have gone by, freedom has been eroded, and now it has been abolished. They have set the machinery not forward in acceleration but in reverse and they have set out on a path which has already been trodden by South Africa in the past.

I want to read to the House an extract from the HANSARD of the Rhodesian Parliament of 4th December. It published the text of a statement which had been widely broadcast by loudspeaker in the tribal areas following the Indaba. I will take extracts from it: The Government wishes that all the people should have a clear understanding of its policy. The Government is strong and its policy will be carried out. Nobody will be allowed to stand in the way. Anyone who tries to interfere will be severely dealt with … The names of troublemakers in the tribal areas are being written down and they will not escape … Government recognises the chiefs and headmen as the true leaders of the people … Increased powers are being given to the chiefs. They have been provided with specially trained messengers who know how to deal with troublemakers. Guns are being made available to the chiefs and headmen. They have the power to arrest persons who try to undermine their authority. Government proposes to give the chiefs authority to punish and to banish wrongdoers. This is a statement of Government policy which has never been withdrawn.

But there are men and women in Rhodesia, white and black, who are of moderate views, who do believe in racial co-operation, and it is these who have been pushed to the wall. The former Prime Minister, Mr. Garfield Todd, was not ousted from office by any pressure from Britain. He was ousted by his own people, and by the extremists in Rhodesia.

When we look at the question of sanctions we realise that it is not a short-term task in which we are involved. This country, this Parliament and this Government have the task as much today as we had 25 or 50 years ago of helping Rhodesia towards a just and fair independence, and we cannot give up that responsibility. We cannot allow that responsibility to be usurped by an illegal group of people who have already been banished from office by Her Majesty the Queen. We cannot give up responsibility to Mr. Smith nor can we give it up to the United Nations. The responsibility is ours for seeing that the sacred trust is carried through—a sacred trust as much to Africans as to Europeans.

When I hear speeches such as those made by hon. Members opposite I ask myself this question: if it had been an African minority Government which had taken this action, would the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton have made the same sort of speech as he made this morning or, for that matter, would the Leader of the Opposition have made the same sort of speech?

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

I would certainly have made exactly the same sort of speech. I do not believe that economic sanctions, unless backed up by force, are an effective means.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

Be that as it may, the Prime Minister was, I believe, right in stating yesterday quite firmly that whatever measures are required to restore Rhodesia to the rule of law and allegiance to the Crown will be taken. The whole of Britain will hope and pray that economic means alone will be enough, and that is why economic means must be effective. That is why they must be organised. That is why the Foreign Secretary must go to New York to ensure that this is effectively carried out by all the world. We want no undermining of this essential policy by hon. Members opposite.

In my view, the Prime Minister was also right to state, as he stated yesterday, that our troops must be ready if need be to deal with a breakdown in law and order. It would be intolerable if there arose a situation in Rhodesia in which either white was killing black or black was killing white, and if we who have responsibility stood by and not only allowed carnage to develop there but allowed it to spread into other parts of the world.

There are three other points which I wish to make. First, I welcome the Foreign Secretary's rapid journey to the United Nations, in spite of criticisms from hon. Members opposite. It is folly to imagine that the United Nations would not see this as at least a potential threat or danger to the peace. Other member States of the United Nations surround Rhodesia and know what the consequences could be. Equally, it would have been folly if we had not decided to be there first and to take the initiative. We shall be respected for that.

Secondly, we must be absolute in our support for Zambia, which I believe has pursued a policy of moderation and rectitude and which must not be allowed to suffer. The effect upon Commonwealth unity if we failed in our obligations to Zambia would be very serious.

Thirdly, it would be intolerable if South Africa, the first country to recognise an illegal Government in Rhodesia, were to gain from this illegal action. This unholy alliance is, I believe, a threat to all the values which we hold dear. The situation as it now faces the House presents to the Commonwealth and to this country a tremendous challenge. It will require great firmness by the Government, and I believe that the Government will show it, but it will also require some resolution and some guts from those on the other side of the House who know as well as we do the record of the former British Government and the commitments which they undertook. It would be a shocking situation if, when in Opposition, they were to withdraw from the commitments which they had undertaken when they were in Government.

1.38 p.m.

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

The hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Ennals) at least made his position clear— an escalation of sanctions leading to and including war, provided that those sanctions are exercised against white Governments in Southern Africa. He has consistently made this view clear in remarks which we have heard from him in the past both inside and outside the House.

I hope that the House will allow me to start on a personal note. The news which I had of U.D.I, was a deep personal tragedy to me. I first visited Rhodesia in company with the right hon. Gentleman who is now the Chancellor of the Exchequer and my right hon. Friend the Member for Bridlington (Mr. Wood) in 1957. I fell in love with that country and with the people of all races in the country, and since then I have tried to do my best to maintain good relations between successive British and Rhodesian Governments. I deeply regret U.D.I, because of the effect it is bound to have on race relations not only in Central Africa but in the Commonwealth as a whole.

But the House must be fair. Though Mr. Smith is greatly to blame in his unconstitutional and stupid action, the blame cannot rest wholly on his shoulders. It must be shared by Front Bench Members on both sides of the House, and indeed by hon. Members on both sides of the House, who have produced a situation in which Britain has had responsibility but no power in Central Africa. But I believe that the real blame must lie upon those hon. Members who, when in Opposition, conducted a major and sustained campaign to destroy the Federation, which alone gave the last chance of real partnership in Central Africa.

I have very many African friends. I supported the non-racial approach of Mr. Todd when he was Prime Minister and also Mr. Michael Blundell and his party in Kenya. I did this until I saw that, in the circumstances of recent years, multi-racialism was no longer possible, because as soon as an African political party won a majority in its House of Parliament it became clear that it intended to exercise complete political and economic domination. And who can blame the Africans? But one must study the effect that this had on the European minorities who had equal rights, who were equally indigenous members of that country.

As the hon. Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas) and others have pointed out, race relations in Kenya and other places are excellent. The Africans wish to retain the European settlers. Their Governments understand their power to draw capital. They understand the contribution they can make to the economy. But these African Governments intend to run their countries for Africans, and that means a disastrous reduction in standards which, in turn, means that many Europeans have to leave.

I take the House back to 1960, to the famous "wind of change" speech. Mr. Macmillan said in Cape Town that we wished …to create … a society in which men are given the opportunity to grow to their full stature… But he qualified this. He spoke of … a society in which individual merit, and individual merit alone, is the criterion for man's advancement whether political or economic. Was this the criterion applied in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia or Malawi? Why is it that 50 per cent. of the European population of Kenya have left since independence, despite the excellent relations in that country?

The Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations talked very sympathetically about our kith and kin in Rhodesia. But what is happening to the European farmers who, in accordance with the wish of the British Government, remained in Kenya? The previous British Government granted sufficient funds to buy half a million acres of European land for African settlement each year. The present Government have cut this down to a niggardly sum sufficient only to buy 80,000 acres. It will, at this rate, take 16 years to buy out the small European mixed farmers in Kenya, many of whom are World War I veterans now in their seventies.

These farmers are suffering from cattle rustling and intimidation of their labour. If reports now current are true, it will take 16 years for them to be able to realise their capital and leave the country. Is this the way we treat our kith and kin? This is a shocking example of Treasury meanness which will not encourage the Rhodesians to trust the British Government. I hope that when the final decision is made—I understand that it will come on Monday —it will not be on the lines reported in the Press.

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

The hon. Gentleman is aware that Kenya Ministers are now in negotiation with my right Hon. Friend the Minister of Overseas Development. Perhaps he would await the report which she hopes to make to the House before he advances these criticisms, which are baseless.

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

I am aware that Kenya Ministers have said that £14 million for the purchase of these farms is inadequate and that they themselves may have to make up the difference by borrowing from other countries. They and the Kenya National Farmers' Union delegation consider that this offer by the British Government is a betrayal of our kith and kin in Kenya.

I now return to Rhodesia. I believe that the Secretary of State did his utmost to prevent this tragedy. I believe that the Prime Minister worked incessantly to prevent it. But it has happened, and the Prime Minister's efforts have failed. I said the other day that I believed that the differences in London and in the recent discussions in Salisbury were not very great.

The key was the "blocking third". The question was whether there should be a senate of chiefs or whether two unpaid chiefs were to be invited to sit in the Lower House—either of which solution would mean giving the "blocking third" to the Africans—or whether the additional Africans should be elected on the lower roll, and how the B roll was to be phased out, through the elimination of one seat on the B roll for each seat on the A roll won by a non-European or one seat on the B roll for two seats on the A roll. These do not represent great differences. Incidentally, I understand that Mr. Smith now intends to implement the promises he made to Her Majesty's Government for African advancement.

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

The hon. Gentleman is confused as between the "blocking quarter" and the "blocking third".

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

Whether it is a "blocking quarter" or a "blocking third", or a "blocking fifteenth", the question is whether the Africans were to be put in the position of being able to block legislation for constitutional change to which they objected. Mr. Smith made the concession of having 15 African seats plus two chiefs, or, alternatively, a senate of chiefs, providing a "blocking third" or any other fraction to enable Africans to prevent constitutional changes they disapproved.

Photo of Mrs Shirley Williams Mrs Shirley Williams , Hitchin

Is the hon. Gentleman not aware of the statement about the chiefs made in another place by Lord Melbourne, who said that they were in the pay of the Rhodesian Government and called them "old dodderers" with no influence?

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

Members of this House are also paid by the Government, but that does not make them irresponsible. The chiefs represent a considerable section of rural African opinion, though not all African opinion. However, I do not want to pursue these constitutional niceties. I hope that they will come into the open when the White Paper is published. The matter was perhaps made clear by the Prime Minister in answer to a question I put to him. I suggested that the differences were in fact narrow but he replied that they were differences representing something much deeper.

The position is that Rhodesians believed, rightly or wrongly, that, owing to pressure from the Commonwealth and the United Nations, the British Government would eventually insist on a hand-over to majority rule in two or three years and they did not trust the Government because they had prevaricated for too long. "Too little, too late" was the epitaph of the Central African Federation and it was a case of "too little, too late" for Rhodesia.

Hon. Members opposite may well feel that we should hand over Rhodesia to majority rule in the very near future but I wonder whether they are being really honest with themselves. What would we do if we were in the place of the Rhodesians? We in this House and country may be confronted fairly soon with much the same problem. We are in a minority in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth may soon demand that the majority should have the say. Commonwealth countries may soon demand votes in the Prime Ministers' conference and the Commonwealth Secretariat may move in this direction. Are we to accept that, because of the wish of the majority, we should lower our standards? Are we to move towards a situation in the United Nations where the richer white nations who are in the minority must obey the behest of the majority? That is a parallel to what we are demanding of the white people in Rhodesia.

But all this is no excuse for the declaration of independence, and the Rhodesian Government must suffer the consequences of their action. I support all the consequential penalties which flow from it — exchange control, exclusion from Commonwealth Preference, from the money market and from British aid— although Rhodesia has had practically none, except perhaps for the university, for many years.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

Why does the hon. Gentleman think that all these measures should be taken? What is the purpose of any economic measures?

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

I will explain. The Rhodesian Government have committed an illegal act. By such means they have divorced themselves from the Commonwealth. They should not share in the benefits of Commonwealth membership. But I violently oppose any punitive sanctions. What is the object of such sanctions? What is the object of the hon. Gentleman's suggestion? Is it based on the creation of chaos in Rhodesia so as to secure the overthrow of Mr. Smith's Government by force?

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

It is not a Government.

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

First, punitive sanctions will only have long-term effects. It has already been pointed out that the tobacco crop has been sold and that planting for the next crop is now under way and will not be sold until next summer, so that this sanction will not be effective until next year. It will lead to the dismissal of 500,000 foreign Africans now employed on the tobacco plantations in Rhodesia. This is inevitable if the illegal Rhodesian Government put the rights of their own Africans before the rights of Africans from other countries, from Malawi, Zambia, or wherever it might be.

Further, a policy of punitive sanctions would undoubtedly consolidate Rhodesian opinion behind the Rhodesian Government. My own friends, who come mostly from the old U.F.P., have always said to me, "If the balloon goes up, and if Britain really starts imposing sanctions of this kind on our country, we shall show them that we are Rhodesians first".

What is the object—to create chaos in order to bring down the Government? The only possible course, the only possible means for restoring the situation in Rhodesia, is to create a compromise with the Rhodesian people so that they themselves will want a change of Government.

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

Black and white. We certainly will not do that by making them tighten their belts and creating chaos in their country.

There is this overriding need for a compromise, and the problem must remain a British one. It is essential to keep United Nations intervention out of the dispute, and I believe that there is a danger of United Nations military intervention, which could provoke a race war in Central Africa which could spread throughout the world. I do not believe that the people of this country would tolerate United Nations military intervention.

I warn the Prime Minister that, if he intends to have a series of debates on one Order in Council after another imposing heavier and heavier sanctions on the lines suggested by the hon. Member for Dover, this series of debates will have the gravest consequences. First, it will lead to foreigners taking over our markets. It will lead to higher prices in this country. It will lead not only to the consolidation of people in Rhodesia behind Mr. Smith but to the consolidation of 4 million whites in South Africa, and I believe that it will create pressure from abroad for military intervention either from this country or from the United Nations. These matters will raise a growing storm of public indignation in this country which could well sweep the Prime Minister out of office.

I refer to only one other matter which is of the highest importance and which should be in the minds of all hon. Members on both sides. Yesterday, the Prime Minister said: It is the duty of all private citizens … in Rhodesia or outside to refrain from acts which will give support to the illegal regime ". —[OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th November, 1965; Vol. 720, c. 355.] The word "treason" has been bandied about, Today, the Attorney-General talked along the same lines.

These are the questions I put to the Prime Minister. Is there to be a limitation on the right of free speech in this country? Has the telephone of the Rhodesian High Commissioner been tapped? Has the telephone of his predecessor been tapped? Has my telephone been tapped? I should like an answer to these questions. While not supporting Mr. Smith's illegal Government, I want to ensure that the public in this country have the right to express their views and to criticise the actions of the British Government. That right of free speech is safeguarded in this House. It must equally be safeguarded in the country, and I want an assurance from the Prime Minister on this vital matter today.

1.54 p.m.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

I propose to speak briefly in answer to the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton). I shall not deal with the speech of the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall), which seemed to me to be irrelevant to all the main issues with which we are concerned and which, to me, I am sorry to say, carried overtones of memories from the days of appeasement in the 1930s. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes, indeed.

The right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton argued, with no historical foundation, in my view, that economic sanctions must be ineffective unless one also resorted to war. Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House what historical evidence he can produce?

Photo of Mr Robin Turton Mr Robin Turton , Thirsk and Malton

At once. The first example I give the right hon. Gentleman is the action over Ethiopia.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

The right hon. Gentleman cites the action over Ethiopia. I am deeply indebted to him for that example. We delayed for weeks, and then what did we do? We said we would not receive Mussolini's exports. We imposed one or two other trifling restrictions which many of us thought would be wholly and utterly ineffective, as we said at the time from those benches. In fact, they were a grave embarrassment to Mussolini, and it was widely argued by financial experts that, if they had been kept on for another six months, they might in themselves have brought his war to an end. But, alas, Ministers went from here to Geneva and proposed that even those feeble sanctions should be taken off after Mussolini, by the use of poison gas, had gone through to Addis Abbaba. If the sanctions now proposed for Rhodesia had been imposed on Mussolini, there is little doubt that his war would have been brought to an end quite soon.

But I agree 100 per cent. with the Leader of the Liberal Party that it is worse than useless to impose ineffective sanctions. If one wants to provoke the use of force, then try ineffective, creeping sanctions. Does the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton suggest that the ineffective sanctions imposed on Mussolini did not lead to the use of force? First, there was the continuation of the dastardly aggression by Mussolini in which tens of thousands of Abyssinians lost their lives, as did far too many Italians who did not agree with their dictator. Second, they led directly to the Second World War. In precisely the same way, if we allow ineffective sanctions to lead to economic chaos and thus, perhaps, to the use of force in Rhodesia itself, the situation may spread into a black-white conflict in which our kith and kin throughout Africa will suffer irreparable losses of every kind.

Photo of Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker Sir Douglas Dodds-Parker , Cheltenham

Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves the earlier example of sanctions, will he tell the House whether he remembers the Foreign Secretary of the day saying that not a man, not a ship, not a gun was moved by anybody except the British, and will not he agree that the action which Britain took antagonised Mussolini and threw him into the arms of Hitler and into the world war?

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

I remember many statements like that being made, but I remember also that between October, 1935, when Mussolini's war began, and December, 1935, every country in Europe, including France, formally supported the use of force if we chose to resort to it. The French Prime Minister, who was, in fact, Laval at the time, saved himself from defeat by publishing a memorandum in which he had told the British Government that he would give them the fullest support. However, I do not want to go into this history any more.

Photo of Mr Eldon Griffiths Mr Eldon Griffiths , Bury St Edmunds

Will the right hon. Gentleman deal with 1965? He asked my right hon. Friend the Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) for an example of sanctions failing. I will give him one, in Cuba.

Photo of Mr Philip Noel-Baker Mr Philip Noel-Baker , Derby South

Sanctions have not been imposed against Cuba except by the United States, and it is only because our Conservative Government and the Russian and other Governments refused to fall in with the American plan that Cuba survived.

I want now to deal with 1965. We should do now what Sir Austen Chamberlain proposed in 1935 but which the then Government disregarded, namely, impose an oil sanction. I have Sir Austen's words in my hands. He said he would ask the Government to impose an oil sanction, or to get League of Nations to do so, because Sanctions are in the long run effective, but most sanctions are slow of action. In oil you have a sanction which is comparatively quick. It is better for all …".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th December, 1935; Vol. 307, c. 352.] I have here an article by the City Editor of The Times on 30th October, a fortnight ago. He says, under six headings, why an oil sanction on Rhodesia would be very rapidly effective. He says that they are entirely dependent in Rhodesia on imports of crude oil from abroad. He says that the capacity of storage in Rhodesia is only one month's supply. He says that oil cannot be imported from Angola and that South Africa could not do it without the greatest possible difficulty. He says that an oil sanction would have a great effect on the Rhodesian citizens because 40 per cent. of their supplies go for personal use in motor cars. I believe an oil sanction is now required and I hope that the advice of the Leader of the Liberal Party and of some of my hon. Friends will be taken.

Why do we want to take action against Rhodesia? Not for revenge—of course not. We want to show that 200,000 people, who are split among themselves, many of whom hold ideas which were appropriate only to the last century or to the century before, cannot thwart the great movement of opinion throughout the world. We want to bring back into power in Rhodesia men of good will who will come into the Commonwealth and who will establish the kind of multiracial society of which my hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas) spoke with such eloquence this morning.

When I was Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations I had the privilege of meeting many Ministers of the Rhodesian Government. Among them all I formed a higher regard for Sir Edgar Whitehead, for his ability and his statesmanship, than for the others. I want to read some extracts from speeches made by Sir Edgar Whitehead in the last two years. In the latter days of 1963 he said this: I am firmly of opinion that any political party in Southern Rhodesia drawing its entire support from one race can never bring happiness or prosperity to this country in the long term. In January, 1964, he warned his friends against the extremist Right-wing who talked of declaring Southern Rhodesia independent. He said that that would be illegal and would amount to rebellion. He then said this: Southern Rhodesia would lose every shadow of legal protection. It would be a foolhardy act and would bring complete disaster on the country. No country in the world would recognise us. They were so warned by one of their own men. He said that the task now was to find a middle way which would win the confidence of all in Southern Rhodesia. Then he used these words: All the people must take part in every stage of development in this country. The concept of a completely multiracial State has to be accepted. That is the purpose which we have in view, and we trust and believe that men like Sir Edgar Whitehead will soon be working with our Government to make it come true.

2.5 p.m.

Photo of Sir George Sinclair Sir George Sinclair , Dorking

I want first to deal with one matter of detail. That is the duty of civil servants and those in the armed forces and the police. This is a very difficult matter for every officer in the field and is likely to be so over many months ahead. I believe that the statements about these duties made so far are on the right lines, however sharp a dilemma they pose. It is important, if we have the ultimate aim of conciliation in Rhodesia and bringing all communities back to a new course of constitutional government in which all can share, that we should not encourage widespread suffering inside the country, and this is a practical task of keeping the essential services going. I mean such services as water, transport, telecommunications, hospitals and health. I should like the Government here and their representative, the Governor, in Rhodesia, if he has any means of communication, to make it absolutely clear that, in the interests of all the inhabitants of Rhodesia, African and white Rhodesians, the essential services should be kept going. That, then, is my point of detail.

All speakers here, however they have expressed it, have felt deep distress at this U.D.I. There is no easy solution. I believe that there is no party political credit to be drawn out of this situation with which Ian Smith and his supporters have faced us, and faced us, I believe, quite unnecessarily. This is the tragedy of it.

There is one point that worries me, and I am not trying to make a party point here. Though the warnings were given to Mr. Smith and his main supporters of the consequences which would flow from an illegal declaration of independence, I am not at all sure how far those got to the main body of the supporters of his party in the country early enough. When these warnings were spelled out in all their starkness— in this I must pay a tribute to the Prime Minister for the enormous efforts he made when he went out to Rhodesia recently— was that in fact too late? Were people— farmers and others who supported him— kept in ignorance of the real consequences of this illegal declaration? If so, we in Britain must bear a share of responsibility for not bringing home those consequences earlier, when people were still free to make up their minds. I believe that perhaps by the time the Prime Minister went there minds had already been made up.

There is one feature of Britain's reactions to the threat of U.D.I, which I hope will be maintained. We have had a consistent policy in reacting against U.D.I., from the Tory Government's policy in the autumn of 1964 throughout the statements so far made by the new Government. It is very important indeed, I believe, to maintain unity of national leadership in this very difficult task. If we do not do so, I believe that we shall encourage other forces to enter into the Rhodesian scene— other African Governments and, perhaps, even physical intervention by the United Nations. I believe both of those would be disastrous for both communities inside Rhodesia, I believe they would be harmful for the rest of the African continent, and I believe they would be disastrous for the Commonwealth itself. It is specially on these grounds that I make a personal plea for the maximum degree of solidarity in political leadership in the handling of this Rhodesian crisis.

Another point is that if we are vindictive in actions or in statements against Rhodesia— and this goes for parties as well as spokesmen outside this House— I believe that we shall harden the attitudes of those who have taken this illegal step and their supporters and make it much more difficult for people to have second thoughts. I believe that we shall make it far more difficult for the 4 million Africans who will have to find a new way ahead just as much as the Europeans in Rhodesia. I know that at the moment the African leadership is not very clear on this.

In the end, from a united leadership in this country, we have to point to a way ahead in Rhodesia. Some people want sanctions to bring the illegal Rhodesian Government to heel, but to whose heel I am not sure. I do not see sanctions in that light.

I believe that our action should be designed to give real cause for second thoughts in Rhodesia, both to the people who at the moment are supporting the illegal Government and to those who do not wish to support them. We shall not do it easily by threats; but if we can point the way ahead— and this is easy to say but terribly difficult to work out— this is the best chance of getting a change of heart in Rhodesia. I doubt whether we shall do it by vindictiveness and oppression.

The Government and the Opposition have been agreed in sticking to one of Britain's main obligations in this whole affair, and that is that, while we maintain responsibility for Rhodesia, we cannot contemplate abandoning the interests of 4 million Africans. There is no reason why there should be an ultimate long-term conflict between the interests of the various groups living there. I believe that it is because we are making this attitude absolutely plain that we have the best chance of preventing the physical involvement of the rest of the African continent and, indeed, of the United Nations in Rhodesia.

Finally, I am strongly in support of the Prime Minister's own statement and about two of the factors that guide his policy. One is that it should not have a vindictive content. The second is that he is against intervention by force, using it either nationally or inviting it internationally. To those two concepts I believe that many of us would give our wholehearted support.

2.13 p.m.

Photo of Mr Christopher Rowland Mr Christopher Rowland , Meriden

The speech of the hon. Member for Dorking (Sir G. Sinclair) throws across the divide of the House some possibility of an accord on this matter. Last week I was one of 11 back-bench Members of my party who signed a statement which could be deemed to express a scintilla of concern that the Government might have been giving in to Mr. Smith. I want to say today that I have no reason to believe that that is the case, or indeed was the case. I believe that the Prime Minister has a united party behind him, and the only question at issue is that he should have a united nation behind him.

Throughout the last two or three years there has been admirable bipartisanship between the two major parties and the Liberal Party on this issue. When the Conservative Government abandoned the principle of majority rule before the granting of independence, the Labour Opposition did not oppose that development. When one thinks back, one sees that that was a considerable concession. We recognised the facts of Rhodesian life. Equally, while we have been in power, the Conservative Party has not dissented, until recently, when we as the Government have spelled out the grave consequences to Rhodesia of U.D.I.

I should like to quote two passages from the definitive statements of this Government in the last 12 months. The first was on 27th October, 1964. We then said: The economic effects would be disastrous to the prosperity and prospects of the people of Southern Rhodesia. All financial and trade relations between Britain and Southern Rhodesia would be jeopardised. Any further aid or any further access to the London Market would be out of the question. Indeed, most serious consequencies would be involved for enyone in the United Kingdom who afforded aid, financial or otherwise, to the illegal Government. Southern Rhodesia's external trade would be disrupted. To its credit the Conservative Party did not dissent from that very stern statement.

On 29th April this year, in a statement to the House, the Prime Minister said: Her Majesty's Government adhere to the Statement issued on 27th October, 1964. It expressed the view that the economic effects of a unilateral declaration would be disastrous to the prosperity and prospects of the people of Rhodesia and that Rhodesia's external trade would be disrupted. Nothing that has happened in the last six months has afforded reasons for modifying this judgment in any way. It goes on—and this is important in view of the discussions about tobacco— to say that the White Paper then recently issued by the Rhodesian Government: states that a great proportion of Rhodesia's exports could be marketed in countries other than Britain with whom Rhodesia has trading relations, and it discusses in particular tobacco which is Rhodesia's chief export. Britain is by far the biggest buyer of Rhodesian tobacco, and if Britain were to stop buying it the effect upon the tobacco growers and upon the whole economy of Rhodesia would be particularly severe. The Rhodesian Tobacco Association is itself reported to have reached the conclusion that the imposition of embargoes would be disastrous to the industry. There would be no difficulty in procuring British tobacco requirements from other countries."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 29th April, 1965; Vol. 711, c. 638.] The implications of the statement are clear and the Conservative Party, to its credit, did not dissent.

Photo of Mr Victor Goodhew Mr Victor Goodhew , St Albans

Surely the hon. Member will agree that it is one thing at the time to say nothing which could be misunderstood as being an encouragement to U.D.L and another to say afterwards that one wished to examine the proposals very carefully and to oppose them if necessary.

Photo of Mr Christopher Rowland Mr Christopher Rowland , Meriden

I will come later in the course of my remarks to that point, which is very relevant. The point here is that there need have been no confusion as to what the British Government's response was likely to be. The Conservative Party did not then go through the motions, but it now says that it must consider these proposals. It is to the credit of the party opposite that so far it has never expressed dissent from this policy. Indeed, I believe that the Opposition support for these two statements has been one of the reasons why the Government have been able to be so firm in the last few months. But a few weeks ago it became apparent to observers of the political scene that there was an erosion of will on the other side of the House. I do not know where it started but it seems to have been coincidental with the Brighton conference — [Interruption.]—I would not like to assess the importance of Lord Salisbury. I am not expert in this matter.

At the Edinburgh "teach-in", at which the former Prime Minister and myself, in a more humble capacity, took part, I was interested to note that, when asked by the students of that university what penalties the former Prime Minister would impose if Rhodesia went ahead, he said that he did not wish to discuss that. I thought then that we were in for the kind of developments which we have now observed in the last 48 hours.

What is at stake is not now the determination of the Labour Government. What is at stake, and I choose my words carefully, is the honour of a former Prime Minister and the adherence to principle of the new Leader of the Opposition. One could argue that it is in the interests of my party to see these exposed, for me to be able to say that dishonour and unprinciple reign. I have no desire to see that happen. It is far too serious in any case. The exchange which the Leader of the Opposition and myself had earlier on, when I was angry, was an index of my disappointment so far. I have a high regard for the Leader of the Opposition; I lobbied on his behalf amongst Conservative Members of Parliament whom I knew. Whether they now think I was misleading them I am not sure.

What I want to say to him in his absence is that I think that the national interest transcends every issue in this situation. I know that on the other side of the House there are many Members in varying degrees of sympathy with Mr. Smith. I do not doubt the honesty and sincerity, for instance, of the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall). What I want to see is the Leader of the Opposition leading his party. I do not want to see him engaging in almost theological arguments, and certainly semantic arguments, about the precise meaning of the word "punitive". I want to see him support, quite unequivocally, the measures sufficient to bring the rebellion to an end.

Some of my hon. Friends are concerned that we may engage in "creeping sanctions". But the Leader of the Opposition is liable to engage in creeping-backward sanctions. I want him to realise that the policy which the last Conservative Government and this Government have pursued had two parts to it. First there were sanctions, designed to deter. As we all know, members of the Opposition, in a different capacity, frequently talk about the credibility of the deterrent. If the deterrent is to deter it must be credible and we know that if it fails to deter we must honour our pledge. If we fail to make these deterrents credible now, then Britain's word in the United Nations and firmness of purpose on a whole range of other issues in the world will be torn to pieces.

I hope that the Leader of the Opposition will reconsider the position he has so far taken up. Yesterday, following the Prime Minister, he said: I will not … today wish to say anything which could add to the dangers of the present situation. If I may say so, it was his failure to say one thing which did add to the danger of the present situation. That was the one thing which the Leader of the Liberal Party said, namely May we say that we fully support those measures which are proposed by Her Majesty's Government."— [OFFICIAL REPORT, 11th November, 1965; Vol. 720,c. 337 and 360.] I am glad that so far nobody in this debate has beaten me to it in quoting from today's issue of the Economist.I think that it has put succinctly, and probably better than I could, the nub of the situation. It says Mr. Smith must not be allowed to get away with his rebellion. For Britain to shrink from this now would be the slap on the wrist that signalled the farewell of a faded and foppish nation … For Britain, and above all for its Prime Minister, this is one of those moments when destiny throws down the challenge. I have already said I believe that that challenge has been met. The article goes on: … the test is as much Mr. Heath's as Mr. Wilson's. There are only a few issues on which it is patently criminal to exploit possible vote-catching dodges, but this is without doubt one of them. If the Tory Leader is as firm with his right-wing (including Sir Alec Douglas-Home)"— that is their opinion— over Rhodesia as Mr. Wilson has been with his left-wing (including Mr. Frank Cousins) over Vietnam, the bomb and the unions"— and I speak not as a member of the Left wing in my party— he will be doing what he knows to be right by his country; if not, not. Mr. Heath's caginess in Parliament on Thursday was not the best omen. I think that the Opposition know what is at stake in this. Electoral calculations are not. What is at stake is the general future of Africa and the future of the white people in Africa. It is the general reputation of Britain in the world. And it is also the need to make sure that Britain takes sufficient action, so that Britain's responsibility is made manifest to the rest of the world. If we do not take sufficient action, if we take the limited action which the Leader of the Opposition would seem to suggest, then I see no alternative but for the United Nations, or some other international body, to take that action. I think that these are the issues to which he should address himself, and I believe that he knows they are what is at stake.

The eleventh hour is not the time for the Leader of the Opposition to spit in the wind of change. At the moment my fear, and again I choose my words with care, is that the present stance of the Leader of the Opposition— I do not know what the complete Conservative policy is on this; we have only his statements to go on— intentional or not, and I believe it to be unintentional, is liable to give encouragement to the Queen's rebels. I desperately want to be proved wrong in that. What I would like to say to the Leader of the Opposition again is, "Think again, Mr. Heath, think again."

2.17 p.m.

Photo of Mr Humphrey Berkeley Mr Humphrey Berkeley , Lancaster

I do not think there could be one Member of this House who does not regard this U.D.I, as being an unmitigated disaster. An unmitigated disaster because, even now, it is wholly impossible to predict what the consequences of this act will be. In these circumstances, it seems that it is of the greatest importance that we should try to maximise our national unity. I feel bound to say that I somewhat resent at least two rather partisan speeches to which we have been subjected from the other side. I refer to the speeches of the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Ennals) and the hon. and learned member for Lincoln (Mr. Taverne). It is not so much the contents of their speeches with which I disagree, but it seemed that both were attempting, quite unfairly, to drive a wedge not only between the parties but between my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition and some of his supporters. I would like to say to both of them and to the House that anybody who tries to play party politics on such a solemn matter as this is not likely easily to be forgiven.

Photo of Mr David Ennals Mr David Ennals , Dover

It was certainly not my intention in anything I have said to drive a wedge between the Leader of the Opposition and those on the benches behind him. I said that national unity was vital, and I pleaded with the Leader of the Opposition and those on the benches behind him to support unequivocally, and to the full, all the policies which have been adopted in this time of crisis by Her Majesty's Government.

Photo of Mr Humphrey Berkeley Mr Humphrey Berkeley , Lancaster

If the hon. Member will read his speech in HANSARD tomorrow, he will be able to judge just how effective he may have been in trying to secure this national unity, which he now says he thinks is important.

I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition has made it clear that the Conservative Party has not retreated from the stand which it took just over a year ago when we were the Government. I believe that the principles upon which the Government worked and the basis upon which they conducted the negotiations throughout this protracted period were a continuation of the policies which the Conservative Government instituted. I do not believe that, unless there had been some great abandonment of principle, the negotiations could have ended in any other way. Therefore, I wholly and completely absolve the present Administration from any lack of endeavour in trying to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion. It is highly probable, if not virtually certain, that had we been in charge of the negotiations, the same melancholy result would have faced us.

I was very glad that the hon. Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas), who has had experience as High Commissioner in two Commonwealth countries in Africa, referred to the tragic possibilities which may face Europeans, people of our stock, in other countries in Africa as a result of this U.D.I. It would be a terrible tragedy if these were to occur. The hon. Member talked about Kenya where he served as High Commissioner. But there is also Tanzania where an Englishman, Derek Bryceson, was returned to Parliament in the general election only a month ago with a majority of over 30,000 over his African opponent. He is now a member of President Nyerere's multi-racial Cabinet.

I hope that we shall always remember that we are talking about the fate of 400,000 of our countrymen in Commonwealth Africa, half of whom are in Rhodesia and half in territories further north. We must always remember that we cannot put a barbed wire fence round any African territory and that what happens in Rhodesia in the next few months may well have consequences upon our countrymen in the territories further north.

I have said that I believe that the negotiations, whether carried out by the former Government or by the present Government, would almost certainly have ended in the present melancholy situation. I say that because I have come to believe, with great reluctance, that the Labour and Conservative Governments and Mr. Smith have for the past two years been talking entirely different languages. We have been talking about responsible government. He, I believe, has been talking, and is now talking, about white supremacy. I do not believe that there is a genuine compromise between these two views.

If anyone doubts that this is the real basis of difference between our two Governments, I should like to make two observations. First, it is a fact— because the former Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) has made it public— that two years ago he offered to Mr. Winston Field, the then Prime Minister of Rhodesia, a British grant of millions of pounds a year to be devoted exclusively to African secondary and higher education. That offer has never been taken up. We understand from the present Prime Minister that that offer was subsequently renewed.

I am bound to say that any impartial person must begin to suspect the bona fides of a Government who are not prepared to accept financial aid, the object of which is to train Africans to take a responsible position in society— in the Civil Service, in the professions and in politics. That seems to me to have been one of the most ominous features of the last two years of discussion.

The second point which I should like to make is this. We should look at some of Mr. Smith's antecedents. Ten years ago the Prime Minister of Rhodesia was Mr. Garfield Todd. He was turned out because he was too moderate. He was succeeded by Sir Edgar Whitehead. He was turned out because he was too moderate. A year ago the former Federal Prime Minister, Sir Roy Welensky, suffered a most humiliating defeat in a by-election in Salisbury because he was too moderate. I do not believe that Mr. Smith wanted a U.D.I., but had he not declared a U.D.I. I believe that he would have been turned out because he was too moderate and would have been replaced by Mr. Harper or another of his colleagues whom no one could claim were too moderate. Therefore, there was a certain inevitability about this crisis, and it is something which we should recognise. I hope that we can do so and at the same time preserve as high a degree of national unity as possible.

A question which has been repeatedly asked in this debate is: what is the object of sanctions? I will say what I understand the object to be, and I hope that this will prove to be acceptable. I should have supposed that the only object of sanctions was to bring about legal rule under the Governor. It seems to me that sanctions which are a gesture or a protest are a waste of time. The only question about sanctions is whether they will effectively and, one hopes, speedily bring about a restoration of legal rule under the Governor. What we would hope for as a result of any sanctions which Her Majesty's Government may apply would be a loss of European confidence in the leadership of Mr. Smith who has put the Europeans in this parlous position. All our energies should be directed to this end.

My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition is right to say, "We will look at these sanctions". I think that we should look at them one by one. We should ask ourselves, "How effective will this particular sanction be?". I would support any sanction which the Prime Minister can convince the House is likely to bring about the desired result as rapidly as possible.

There has been some complaint from the Government benches about the use of the word "punitive", to which some people appear to think we on this side of the House have attached too much importance. The person who first introduced the word was the Prime Minister. I am not sure that "punitive" is the right word to use. I rather agree with the Leader of the Liberal Party that effectiveness is what matters. What we are after, I believe, is effective measures and not measures of revenge or recrimination. For that reason, I will support such minimal measures as are necessary to be effective, but I am not prepared to support measures which are revengeful and punitive and which do not have this effective quality.

Photo of Viscount  Lambton Viscount Lambton , Berwick-upon-Tweed

Would my hon. Friend follow that through to its logical conclusion, that the measures of the British Government are intended to bring down Mr. Smith's Government in Rhodesia?

Photo of Mr Humphrey Berkeley Mr Humphrey Berkeley , Lancaster

Mr. Smith's Government in Rhodesia does not exist. This has been made plain on both sides of the House. This is the constitutional position that we both recognise.

What I want to see is a shift in European opinion, the Europeans coming to recognise that in Mr. Smith they have a dangerous man who has involved them in perils going far beyond what any of them might have believed possible three or four weeks ago. Not a single hon. Member who has spoken has not blamed Mr. Smith for his reckless action. Let that recklessness be brought home to the European population of Rhodesia. It can be brought home, and I hope it will be brought home, and then I hope that saner views will prevail.

Photo of Viscount  Lambton Viscount Lambton , Berwick-upon-Tweed

My hon. Friend is not answering my question. He has got around it by saying that Mr. Smith's Government does not exist. Is it, then, his hope that Mr. Smith's assembly of Ministers—we can call it by any other name—will fall as a result of the measures of Her Majesty's Government.

Photo of Mr Humphrey Berkeley Mr Humphrey Berkeley , Lancaster

I have made it perfectly clear already— much as I admire my hon. Friend, I refuse to be cross-examined by him any longer— that what I wish to see is a withdrawal of confidence by the Europeans in Rhodesia in Mr. Smith's illegal Government, and I believe and hope that this will come.

I want to say a few words about the constitutional position, the police and the use of force. I am very glad—

Photo of Mr Henry Clark Mr Henry Clark , North Antrim

Would not my hon. Friend agree that if at some future date— perhaps six, eight, 12 or 18 months' time— it becomes apparent that the efforts to discredit Mr. Smith have become hopeless, that sanctions continued beyond that point would clearly be sanctions which could be described as punitive and that there is no further hope of altering European opinion in Rhodesia, all sanctions should be removed?

Photo of Mr Humphrey Berkeley Mr Humphrey Berkeley , Lancaster

That is a hypothetical question. What we are discussing is the effectiveness of economic measures, and that is the point on which I wish to concentrate.

When in the past force has been discussed we have suffered from a great deal of confusion of mind. I thought that the observations of the Archbishop of Canterbury a few weeks ago were most unhelpful, first, because of the timing, which I think was lamentable, and, secondly, because it seemed to me that he did not make it in the least clear what type of force or intervention he was envisaging. I am very glad that today the Prime Minister has spelt out in great detail the circumstances in which a military commitment might be involved. All of us must recognise that if there is a breakdown of law and order, if there is an outbreak of violence— all of us hope and pray that that will not occur— and the Governor of Rhodesia appeals to this country, plainly we have a duty to answer that appeal. These are the only circumstances in which I envisage a military commitment being either possible or necessary.

I want to put some points to the Government about the Constitution. First, I see that in the Enabling Bill provision exists for the Constitution to be suspended. It would be helpful for us to know whether there is any intention at present that this should happen. Secondly, I am somewhat puzzled about the reasons why the British High Commissioner in Salisbury has been withdrawn. He is the British Government's representative to the Government of Rhodesia. The Government of Rhodesia at present consists of the Governor. I should have thought that it would have been helpful had the British High Commissioner remained in Salisbury and taken the opportunity, if he was allowed to, not only of keeping in touch with the Governor but also of keeping in touch, as is the duty of any ambassador, with all sections of the Rhodesian population. I should have wished him to stay there unless he had been expelled. I hope that the Prime Minister will comment on this point, because I think it is important.

It seems to me that if we say that our objective is to restore legal rule under the Governor, we ought also to say definitely and clearly two other things because these also will affect the European view and European morale in Rhodesia. First, can we clearly say that we have no intention whatsoever of allowing United Nations entry into Rhodesia by means of a military force or by any other means?

Secondly, can we say that, judging by past and present performance and, indeed, the performance that we saw on television last night, we do not believe that we can hand over in the immediate future to the African Nationalists in Southern Rhodesia? They have not shown themselves as yet to be fit and ready to take over the government of the country. They denied themselves the opportunity of fighting the 1961 Constitution. They have been denied the advantages of higher education and other training by the present Rhodesian Government. By any standards they are not ready as yet to administer the country. I would hope that we would make it clear as a Government that we see the end as being a resumption of legal rule under a Governor with full colonial powers to administer Rhodesia for a period of probably not less than five years and perhaps even more than five years, in which an ordered and steady transfer of power takes place at the same time as an accelerated education programme and a training programme, but this transfer taking place in an ordered way and at a speed of our choosing.

This seems to me to be the important thing for us to emphasise at the present time. It should be made plain to the people of Rhodesia, and particularly to the Europeans in Rhodesia, about whose fate we are all concerned at present, that if Smith's Government falls the result is not going to be a Congo situation— we will not permit that; it is not going to be United Nations intervention—we will not permit that; it is not going to be an immediate transfer of power from white to black—we will not permit that because relations between the races are too embittered at the moment for this to be contemplated; but we intend to take over and firmly guide the territory towards majority rule in a situation in which mutual harmony can exist between the races.

I have been to Rhodesia perhaps a dozen times in the last eight years, and I have seen, as many of us have seen, the appalling deterioration in the relationship between the races. Five years ago it was barely perceptible. Today it is the most obvious feature to anybody who goes to Rhodesia. What is it about? Both races are basically haunted by fear. The Europeans are haunted by the fear that if they give up any of their privileges they will be swept away overnight, the Africans will take over and they will be inexperienced and a Congo-like situation will emerge. The Africans, too, are frightened. They are frightened that now they will never achieve majority rule, never be first-class citizens and will always be denied education and training which is their right and which can fit them to govern in due course.

These are the two basic haunting fears which exist in Rhodesia at present. Therefore, if we can recapture the position, if we can exert British authority, it is essential in my view that we should stay in Rhodesia as the responsible power until black and white can live together in the future without fear and in safety and harmony.

2.50 p.m.

Photo of Mr Raphael Tuck Mr Raphael Tuck , Watford

I think that hon. Members on this side of the House— all of them— and those Members on the other side of the House who have sufficient generosity to accord honour where honour is due, will all support the actions and the conduct of our Prime Minister during these last fateful days and months. When Mr. Smith appeared to spit in his face he figuratively wiped the spit off, affected not to notice it, and went on talking, confident and calm, trying to relieve the situation. His statesmanship, his wisdom, his patience, his tact and his tireless efforts to reach accord will call for our undying admiration, and, I think, the undying admiration of generations to come.

May I pay tribute to the very statesmanlike, courageous and effective speech made by the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley). He was not afraid to say what he felt. I would particularly agree with him when he says that this should be tackled in a non-party spirit, in a spirit devoid of faction. Unfortunately, this has not been the case in the debate so far.

I can understand the feelings of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition when he felt he had to find something to disagree on, and we found him scratching around like a hen in a barn trying to find some sort of disagreement. Then he found it: the Prime Minister should have stayed in Rhodesia. Does he really think that if the Prime Minister had stayed in Rhodesia— indeed, if he had got the whole of the Cabinet squatting in Salisbury— it would have made one bit of difference to the final decision of Mr. Smith, when we know, from the Prime Minister himself, on Mr. Smith's own admission, that while discussions were proceeding the decision had been taken by the Rhodesian Cabinet that they were not going to play, that whatever our Prime Minister offered, they were not going to accept it and that U.D.I. was a fact?

Photo of Sir Harwood Harrison Sir Harwood Harrison , Eye

That is not so. It is on the record that when the Prime Minister came back to this House he said that he hoped agreement would go ahead.

Photo of Mr Raphael Tuck Mr Raphael Tuck , Watford

But yesterday when he made his statement he said exactly that— and Mr. Smith admitted it later— that while discussions were going on the Rhodesian Cabinet had already decided on U.D.I. and Mr. Smith was a prisoner in his own Cabinet. Does the Leader of the Opposition really think it would have made any difference if either the Prime Minister or his Cabinet had stayed in Rhodesia?

Then there was the question of the United Nations. I can understand the right hon. Gentleman's perturbation when the United Nations is mentioned, because we all know the loving care and support which his predecessor in office, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home), has always given to the United Nations. I was, however, appalled by the jeers which greeted the Prime Minister's mention of the United Nations, jeers from Members of Her Majesty's obstruction opposite. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I am sorry. I apologise for the Freudian slip. It should be Her Majesty's Opposition, but they act as though they were Her Majesty's obstruction. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I repeat, they act as if they were Her Majesty's obstruction. It is the duty of the Opposition to oppose, and to put forward alternative proposals to the Government's instead of which the Opposition set themselves always to obstruct, and to make destructive criticism instead of constructive criticism.

Photo of Mr Edward Heath Mr Edward Heath , Bexley

I cannot accept this from the hon. Gentleman. Throughout all these negotiations we have refrained at all times from criticising the Government or the Prime Minister. We have given them every possible support, in public and in private, and today we have indicated the very large measure of agreement which there is between the two sides of the House. If the Prime Minister and his hon. and right hon. Friends want to maintain this they must repudiate this sort of stuff from the hon. Gentleman.

Photo of Mr Raphael Tuck Mr Raphael Tuck , Watford

I am very glad to see this antagonism on the other side. I am not disputing that certain Members on the opposite side, and in particular the hon. Member for Lancaster, have agreed with the actions of the Government and have voiced their opinions accordingly, but there has been much disagreement from others, and in particular yesterday, when the Prime Minister was making his speech, it was evident to all on this side and to all decent thinking Members on the opposite side as well.

As for sanctions, I must here associate myself with the remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Liberal Party and of the hon. Member for Lancaster. There is some difficulty about this word "punitive". I venture to suggest that what we should do is to divide this word "punitive "— between cases where it is punitive in its aim and those where it is punitive in its effect. What we want to do is to avoid sanctions which are punitive in their aim; but, of course, all sanctions are punitive in their effect. They are meant to bring about a certain result. They are meant to bring Mr. Smith and his illegal Government to heel, and unless in a certain way they deprive Rhodesia of certain things, unless they are punitive in effect, they are not effective at all. The sanctions which were proposed, for example, by Mr. Stimson when Japan attacked Manchuria in 1931, when he received that slap in the face from Sir John Simon who put the first nail in the coffin of the League of Nations — those sanctions were not punitive in their aim but they were to be punitive in their effect. I must here again voice my agreement with the word "effective". If the sanctions are to be anything at all they must be effective, even if they happen to be punitive.

I call upon all hon. Members of the House to rise in their support of what the Prime Minister has done, and is doing, and to put aside petty party differences.

2.57 p.m.

Photo of Sir Henry Legge-Bourke Sir Henry Legge-Bourke , Isle of Ely

The only comment I would make on the speech of the hon. Member for Watford (Mr. Raphael Tuck) is that I think when he has been here a little bit longer, if I may say so without presumption, he will learn that it is hardly the best way to achieve such a result as he hoped for in the last sentence of his speech by taking the way he himself adopted in the rest of his speech.

I have given you, Mr. Speaker, a pledge to take only five minutes. I shall be grateful for the co-operation of the House in ensuring that I keep my promise.

The point that I particularly wish to draw to the attention of the Government is the question which I would have put to the Attorney-General had you not, Mr. Speaker, very understandably and properly brought questions to an end before the debate.

I am deeply concerned with the position of the Governor and the Armed Forces of the Crown in Rhodesia. We have been talking a great deal about Mr. Smith and other people whom we do not particularly admire from time to time, but in my opinion not enough has been said in recognition of the appalling position in which the Governor must find himself today, and we must all recognise that his position could become a great deal more difficult all too easily.

The Armed Forces in Rhodesia are, in vast majority, likely to be prepared lo accept orders from the Government which has been declared illegal. If that is the case, and if the only link that we now have with Rhodesia is through the Governor acting on behalf of the Crown on the advice of the United Kingdom Government, how can we ensure that what we ask the Governor to do from here is carried out? It seems to me that the position of those under military law in Rhodesia is an extremely dangerous one unless they are very careful. If they support the illegal Government, not only will they be supporting what has been quite properly described as a treacherous activity; as soldiers, they will also be committing mutiny against the lawful authority of Her Majesty in Rhodesia.

I want to know what steps are being taken to ensure that it is brought home to everyone who is serving Her Majesty in the Armed Forces of Rhodesia the risks that they run unless they obey the Governor and refuse to obey orders from the illegal Government of Mr. Smith. I should like a categorical answer to that question, because, in my opinion, it is of immense importance. Ultimately, the Governor ought to be able to rely absolutely on the loyalty of those serving Her Majesty and holding her Commission in the Armed Forces, to ensure that his instructions are obeyed if it should become necessary to involve the use of troops.

In addition, I would ask the Government to consider, without necessarily saying publicly here, how they will do it. Are there any methods open to the Armed Forces to get into communication with their opposite numbers in Rhodesia in a way which is perhaps not open in the civilian field? After all, the Armed Forces serving Her Majesty are equipped with special signals apparatus, and I can conceive of methods of getting in touch with Rhodesian forces which might be denied in the civil field without the use of force.

If I may say so, the Secretary of State has carried himself with distinction throughout the negotiations. I should like to ask him, finally, what importance he places on the reaction of Sir Roy Welensky to what has been happening. A week or two ago, Sir Roy gave an interview which was broadcast in Britain over B.B.C. Television in which, as I understood it, he said that although he was absolutely opposed to U.D.I, and strongly advised Mr. Smith not to declare U.D.I., nevertheless, if he did, it was the duty of all Rhodesians to back Mr. Smith's Government, because it could not possibly be said that Mr. Smith was in office on anything but an independence ticket.

I do not know how much weight Sir Roy carries in Rhodesia today. If he carries any weight and the Government think that it is important that he should exercise that weight in a proper direction, I hope that the Government will ask Sir Roy to consider most carefully revising that statement before it is too late.

3.4 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Jackson Mr George Jackson , Brighouse and Spenborough

I want to follow the example of the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley) and make a contribution which I hope will keep the two sides of the House together rather than divide it. As I look across at hon. Members opposite, I am aware that it may be a little difficult, but I hope that they will bear with me and, if at all possible, come with me.

In the debate, any impression of major division, any impression of bitter passion or any impression of partisanship for partisanship's sake will go out of the House to Rhodesia. Whatever our views may be, they will strike equally our supporters out there, as they will round the world and in the United Nations. Surely there must be room in the debate to discuss the issue without violent party passions.

There are bound to be disagreements. Some of us remember one kind of Rhodesia, others another, but this surely is a cause to be argued in a logical and reasoned fashion. I was very much impressed with the remarks of the hon. Member for Lancaster when he said that he thought the division between the Government of Mr. Smith and the late Government of the Conservative Party and our own Government was irreconcilable on this one point of education.

My memory of Salisbury is of a school for Africans, the only secondary school in that area. Just before the term began I remember a long queue of young Africans lining up hoping to get admission, while at the same time in the European sector of Salisbury there were empty desks. If the former Government of Mr. Ian Smith had been genuine in their intention to move forward to a multi-racial society, they would have accepted the former Prime Minister's suggestion of educational assistance. They would have been ready to co-operate with the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Overseas Development on this particular principle. Prime Minister Pearson of Canada was anxious to make educational assistance available, and Australia was also anxious to help.

The fact remains that there are fewer Africans in teacher-training colleges in Rhodesia than before. Rhodesia's education budget is considerable, but the fact is that £ 6 million has been spent on education for European children, and only the same amount for the Africans. If the former regime had been genuine, if there had been any hope of real cooperation for progress towards majority rule, the acid test was their accepting this offer from Britain, but they turned it down, and it seems to me that in doing so they turned their backs on the genuine development of a multi-racial society. But this view is by no means typical of the European population of Rhodesia as a whole. Those who have grave doubts about the capabilities of the Africans in administration today would not deny the need for training for tomorrow, but when one gets the situation of a virtual ceiling on education, then the division is there.

With regard to the question of sanctions it seems to me that here we have a straightforward, logical situation. We wish to influence the situation in Rhodesia in order to remove the present illegal circumstances and return to lawful development. If we are to do this, it is best done quickly. If sanctions are to be imposed, they must be substantial, quick and intended to influence, or they are worse than no sanctions at all.

Nobody in this House can get any pleasure out of imposing sanctions. Nobody can say, "You are for it, and I am against it". We are all against the need for these sanctions. But if we are to have them we must be convinced of the need for effectiveness, and here I refer to the article in The Times on the question of oil. Earlier in the debate we wandered back into the 'thirties about the question of effectiveness of oil sanctions then, which I am not particularly fitted to deal with because I do not remember those developments in detail, but surely we can carry the House together in saying that if sanctions are to be imposed they must be effective and rapid.

We must remember— and I hope that I can proceed with general unanimity on this point— that we are being watched by the African members of the Commonwealth in our actions. My hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas) referred to the Europeans who live in African Commonwealth countries. We are being watched by Nigeria, not just by Ghana. We are being watched by Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda, by our friends amongst the African leaders there. If we are seen, or thought, to be ineffective, if our bona fides are challenged, the whole question of a multiracial society in Africa is challenged. There are prejudiced people in Uganda and Kenya who would be anxious to victimise Europeans and who are anxious to look for opportunities to discriminate against the whites. If it was thought in any way that this House favoured the white population of Rhodesia and was not prepared to exercise sanctions I fear that we would have racial strife throughout the whole continent. This is not necessary. Some African leaders have been pushing Britain too hard and have been too impatient, but others have been very patient and anxious to help Britain, so we must be ready to operate in a decisive fashion in applying sanctions.

Reference has been made to the use of force. Once one gets an emotive word of this sort it is kicked around like a football and distorted on this side and that side. People's motive are challenged one way or another. The situation in which force might be used seems to me to be clear. We hope that it will not be necessary, but it would be used if there were a breakdown of law and order, in the sense that Europeans were being killed on a major scale and the regime of Smith was not effective. It would be used if there were a call by liberal Europeans who were persecuted and arrested and many Africans who might not only be held in detention but in danger of losing their lives.

Reference has been made to the Congo. If the situation were on that basis we could intervene; otherwise, the question of large-scale armed intervention from Britain does not arise. There is only one complication— with regard to Zambia. If, by some misfortune, the rebel regime in Salisbury should be provoked— although Mr. Smith has declared his unwillingness to take this action— and there should be interference with the Kariba Dam and with power supplies or interference with copper supplies; if the lives of people in Zambia were threatened— and many Europeans are living in that country— and an appeal were made by them, we should have to listen.

Finally, I want to refer to the Europeans in Rhodesia who want nothing to do with the folly of the extremists who have taken U.D.I. I believe that Mr. Smith is a moderate compared with the people behind him. In our actions during the next few weeks we must make it crystal clear that we are looking to the liberal element to take us out of this abyss. Reference has been made by the hon. Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke) to Sir Roy Welensky. I hope that we shall invite him to London. There is every evidence that he is extremely unhappy about the present situation. We must also keep in contact with others in business, including the tobacco farmers. Judges will be on the side of the legal Government and the policies of Britain, and we must not forget them. We always have to keep the option open until after this present unhappy state. A period must elapse after which European responsibility will again be needed in Rhodesia, until the African peoples are ready— and we dare not decimate the liberal population of Rhodesia in the meantime. I hope that as a result of this debate, by the end of the day the message that goes out from this House will be one primarily not of division but of unity.

3.13 p.m.

Photo of Mr Richard Hornby Mr Richard Hornby , Tonbridge

Thanks to the speeches made by the hon. Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas), the Leader of the Liberal Party and my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley), I can make my speech extremely short, because they have raised the points that I wanted to make. At the start of his speech this morning the Commonwealth Secretary said that the Rhodesian tragedy reached its climax yesterday. Those were dramatic words, but it must be made quite clear that things could get a great deal worse in the days ahead unless events are handled firmly and wisely.

Last weekend I told my constituents that I felt that the Prime Minister's handling of events up to this point deserved every support. I still hold that opinion today, and I hope that I may continue to do so. As my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said at Question Time yesterday, national unity is extremely important as a basis for effective and credible action in the eyes of the world.

There are, I believe, two main dangers which face us in the days ahead. Danger number one arises within this Rhodesia situation and is a danger which the hon. Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas) emphasised in particular. Danger number two is represented by the British people and interests all over the continent of Africa.

This is not a problem which can be isolated to Rhodesia alone, as other hon. Members have said. To quote a non-Kenyan example, a few days ago there was a letter in The Times signed on behalf of more than 100 Europeans in Tanzania. The same anxious attitude of mind would be shared by Europeans in the Copper Belt and elsewhere in Africa. We cannot isolate the consequences of what is happening in Rhodesia. The effects will be felt in many other countries too.

The second danger which I fear— perhaps the biggest of all— is the possible danger of pressures leading to demands for intervention in the affairs of Rhodesia. These pressures would certainly become apparent in speeches in the United Nations. I have no doubt that the same pressures will be felt in the politics and the Cabinet chambers of Governments all over Africa. If one is looking for moderation, understanding and a peaceful road back to the rule of law in Rhodesia, this is something which we cannot ignore.

I come now to the central point in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster. I believe that if we are to avoid these dangers, we need to show the world that Britain is determined to lead and to control events to the best of her ability, and to exert the maximum possible effective leadership. Many of my hon. Friends have spoken— and I agree with them— of the dangers which could ensue from United Nations action in this matter. It is not that there are never international events in which the United Nations can or ought to intervene. The point is that if one is to get a peaceful solution to this problem, it can better be done by the Power which is ultimately responsible— Great Britain.

If we are to persuade the members of the United Nations, in particular the African members, that this is the best way to a peaceful solution, the price which we in this country must be prepared to pay is the taking of sufficiently credible and effective measures to produce a resumption of the rule of law in Rhodesia. By effective and credible measures, I mean the kind of measures which were enumerated by the Prime Minister yesterday, and which I would wish to support provided that I can be satisfied along the line as they are examined in detail.

No one likes the idea of sanctions. No one can be under any illusion about the personal hardship, the pain, and the harm which will be caused to the economy of Rhodesia, the individual public servants who have incredibly difficult decisions to take and the economy of Great Britain. Of course hardship will be caused. We must emphasise this.

However, I believe that there would be infinitely greater hardship if we refused to face the necessity of taking these decisions. Failure to take them would mean overwhelming pressure in the United Nations for matters to be taken out of our hands. It would mean overwhelming pressure on moderate and statesmanlike people like President Kaunda of Zambia and others to tolerate and countenance intervention and border warfare. It would then mean an overwhelming pressure and likelihood of racial violence within Rhodesia itself. The only road towards safety— and, Heaven knows, one cannot guarantee it in this difficult situation— is through effective and credible action by Great Britain.

The decision about sanctions is no easy decision, but it is better that the economic measures proposed should err on the side of being excessive if it were thought that the result would be quick enough. A far worse situation would arise if there had to be an escalation of measures, with all the time a possible increase of doubt whether in the end the action would be effective. I am well aware that many of my hon. Friends and others are anxious about the history of sanctions, which is not altogether happy. To them I would say that even if there is a grave doubt about the effectiveness of such measures, the last country which should allow itself to be responsible for their failure is the responsible Power in that area, Great Britain. If it could be shown —and I am talking specifically of British interests—that Britain did her best to solve this problem by peaceful measures but that the peaceful measures were not backed by other African, European or even American countries, at least something would have been salved from the wreckage as far as Britain's reputation was concerned. If Britain is in the lead in casting doubt on the validity of these measures, she will be in trouble.

We are in the last phase of British colonial rule in Africa— or nearly the last phase because, as my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster said, there could be an Indian Summer in Rhodesia. It has been a very distinguished history, with two strands, one of development and one of trusteeship. There is much going on, through the Ministry of Oversea Development, through private enterprise and in other ways, affecting the strand of development. If in the last resort the tradition of trusteeship were to be shown to have been exercised only in the interests of people of European stock and white faces and not in the interests of the total population, that indeed would be a tragic last chapter.

3.24 p.m.

Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton

We have heard some very sincere and moving speeches, including that by the hon. Member for Tonbridge (Mr. Hornby). I face the problem with great sadness and depression. I do not think that the problem is as easy as the hon. Member for Tonbridge seemed to think, and I certainly do not believe that U.D.I, was avoidable. I do not think that any effort made by anybody could have avoided it.

Mr. Smith and his Government were returned on a mandate requiring them to establish independence. With Mr. Smith it was a matter of principle— misguided principle, but nevertheless a matter of principle. To him it was a matter of honour, and no pragmatic argument had any effect on him at all. As has been said, the two sides were talking different languages.

As Sir Roy Welensky has said, every white Rhodesian almost without exception now identifies Mr. Smith with his country. That is not a fact that we like, but it is one which it would be silly for us to close our eyes to. Therefore, I want to see just what the issue is, or what remains of the issue. It is not independence. The reality of independence was conceded in 1923. In fact, throughout the negotiations, both my right hon. Friends have been saying to Mr. Smith, "The reality to your independence is not in any way challenged. There will be no going back on the constitutional conventions."

It is not a question of white Government. I have never believed in the sincerity of either side on the question of multi-racial Government. I did not believe in the sincerity of either Sir Roy or Sir Edgar. But when it came to Mr. Field and Mr. Smith there was no question about it. No one should have thought or suspected for a moment that either of these men intended to work this Constitution so as to bring about a transfer of power from white to black, and neither side was interested in grey or multi-racial rule. We accepted that under the constitution the Rhodesian Government controlled the time of transfer. That was the basis of these negotiations. Mr. Smith was told that we were not trying to force African rule on him.

Nor is the issue the rule of law. The rule of law could not have been more thoroughly abrogated than by the latest security order made by Mr. Smith. But after that order was made my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister was on the telephone to Mr. Smith yesterday explaining to him that it was accepted and that it was not regarded as an obstacle to a Commission ascertaining whether the Constitution under which the rule of law had been abrogated was acceptable to the populace or to the ascertainment of whether they desired independence on this Constitution.

When that principle had been conceded in the negotiations, U.D.T. was but the formalizing of principles which had already been granted. It seems to me to be utterly idiotic of Mr. Smith to have demanded that formalisation. I do not think that it is very bright of us either to allow this formalisation to involve disaster.

I return to a proposition which in the 20 years I have been in this House I have made again and again. It is that Heads of States and Prime Ministers should never meet to negotiate. If they do, points of negotiation become entrenched points because the prestige of the men who have made them is of the highest and they cannot get away from it. Thus, points of difference become inflated until they are unmanageable. That seems to me to be what has happened here.

Nobody could have done more than my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to prevent the U.D.I. But these very efforts to prevent it have aggravated the consequences. But for this we could have treated it with contempt. We could have treated it very much as we treated the Kabaka when he did much the same. We could have said simply, "We do not recognise this. It is not a reality. We are continuing under the 1961 Constitution, which remains unaltered. Neither we nor anyone else will recognise it— not even the South Africans. You will be able to communicate with others only through us. If your people want to travel, they can travel only on a Commonwealth passport issued with our authority. Every communication you make must be through us. This is just a provincial nonsense, and we do not recognise it". That is what we could have done if we had not inflated the importance of this particular point of punctilio rather than of principle to the stage where all the other States and all the world are committed to its disproportionate importance.

Where do we find ourselves now? Instead of being in a position to mitigate the consequences of Mr. Smith's folly, we are committed to aggravating them. We talk about treason. It is an odd sort of treason when it is said that, in the interests of free speech, it is a treason which may be advocated in the Press and on the wireless.

Photo of Sir Elwyn Jones Sir Elwyn Jones , West Ham South

If my hon. and learned Friend will allow me, I said nothing of the kind.

Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton

I think that it was the Prime Minister who said it. It is an odd sort of treason when one of the principal traitors who is under our hand, the High Commissioner, is not arrested but is sent back to join his fellow traitors in rebellion. He is treated as a diplomat, but his is a Government which does not exist. According to that argument, he is a traitor. I think it was Strafford who, on his trial, used these words: Statute and custom have chained the lion treason. Beware lest you loose him, for he will devour you and your children. Even in the 18th century, we had the sense not to talk about treason during the American rebellion. To raise it now, in my view, is absurd.

What about the dismissal of Mr. Smith? The rule of international law which requires the recognition of de facto Governments is a rule of public order necessary to world security. There is a de facto Government in effective control. By the dismissal of Mr. Smith, which we know to be ineffective, we cut off communications except through the apartheid Republic of South Africa, which is the only State in diplomatic relations with his Government. Therefore, if we have to conduct communications with Mr. Smith, we have to conduct them through South Africa, and we have reached a somewhat ironic conclusion.

Now, the financial aspect. I do not believe—I am in a minority here—in maintaining sterling as an international currency, but, if we do maintain it as an international currency and we have the Sterling Area which is worked in that way, it is very tricky indeed to start using sterling as an instrument of political coercion. The two things do not fit. Again, how tightly are the economic sanctions intended to bite? Are they to mean that businesses in Rhodesia cannot get goods? If so, employees of those businesses will be discharged. It must be remembered that Rhodesia is not a Welfare State and there is no cushion of unemployment benefit or the like. If we impose a regression on the Rhodesian economy, we condemn a lot of black men to starve.

I ask the House to consider the economic sanctions. I think particularly of tobacco. Financially tobacco is not all that important, about £ 23 million. Agriculturally and in terms of employment it is enormously important. Alternative crops cannot be grown on tobacco land. That land will go back to bush. This is the greatest employer of Africans in the country— not merely in Rhodesia. This is where the men from Malawi go to work. If they are cut out from what is really Malawi's only export, what happens to Malawi? The consequences here will be felt primarily by Africans. They are the people who will suffer the consequences of these actions.

As to finance, Mr. Smith can probably recover anything that he loses on tobacco by a transit tax on copper. We have to move 240,000 tons of copper through Southern Rhodesia. That copper, even at present world prices, is £ 250 a ton cheaper from Northern Rhodesia than it is anywhere else in the world. If that copper should go off, the other prices will rise. At present prices it is £ 60 million on to our balance of payments. If the prices rocket, it will be double that and' we shall suffer pretty serious injury.

All to what end? We are told that it is to restore the situation. The moving finger writes;And, having writ, moves on;Nor all thy piety nor witShall lure it back to cancel half a line.Nor all thy tears wash out a word of it. This situation cannot be restored. We cannot go back to where we started. In our hearts we all know that.

What are the sanctions for? Are they to coerce, or are they to punish? And coerce to what? To coerce Mr. Smith to undo his declaration of independence? I do not believe anybody can seriously believe that. Are they to bring down the Government; in which case where is the alternative? I do not think anybody has seriously suggested that it is provided by Mr. Sithole or Mr. Nkomo? Nor is it provided by Sir Roy Welensky or Sir Edgar Whitehead. They will be backing Mr. Smith now. They have already said they would. Where is the alternative?

It may be that if the sanctions bite hard enough we can produce anarchy. If we produce anarchy because they are frightened men and because they are a small minority, these whites in Southern Rhodesia, they will adhere all the tighter together and they will be the more violent and they will be the more brutal. Then there will be horrible acts of repression on the unhappy Africans we have encouraged to rise or have driven through starvation to rise. We shall be responsible. The Government will be responsible.

Photo of Mr Eric Heffer Mr Eric Heffer , Liverpool, Walton

My hon. and learned Friend is talking a lot of nonsense.

Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton

They will be responsible for the bitter repression which will happen. Then, as my hon. Friend the Member for Kettering (Sir G. de Freitas) says, that is when vengeance will be taken on the whites in Kenya and everywhere else. This is something which we must not allow to happen. Appeasement! Hon. Members can use words of a pejorative type like that. I am looking at the facts.

Whether we like it or not, the point will come when we shall have to deal with Mr. Smith, because there is nobody else there to deal with. It may be that it was necessary to have done the things which we have done because world opinion has been built up to believe that this unilateral declaration is a matter of vital importance. Nevertheless, these things which we have done are going to hang like a dead chicken round our necks and our problem will be how, saving our faces, we can get rid of it.

3.41 p.m.

Photo of Mr Henry Clark Mr Henry Clark , North Antrim

We have just heard a carefully argued speech from the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget). I do not hold identical views. He identified almost completely the views of the Rhodesian people with those of Mr. Smith. I believe that there is considerable danger if in the House and in the country we continue to identify the people of Rhodesia, completely and absolutely with Mr. Smith's action. It is up to the Government and to the House to be quite clear that whilst Mr. Smith's regime is in revolt the individual people of Rhodesia are not yet necessarily in revolt.

It must be said, and must go on being said, that we have every reason for respecting the people of Rhodesia and particularly the white people. [HON. MEMBERS:"Why the white?"] The white in particular because the white Rhodesians have proved—and this is a valuable lesson in the middle of the twentieth century—that an area of poor soils and bush need not necessarily remain under-developed. This is a lesson which can be an inspiration to many other parts of the world.

The words"kith and kin" have perhaps been used rather too much— [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear"] But kith and kin to me are several score of old and trusted friends and not a few close relations, and by the action yesterday of the regime in Rhodesia some have shown themselves bitterly opposed to the views which I and this House have generally believed are essential for a peaceful and prosperous future for the continent of Africa. I have received letters and telegrams to this effect. Let us keep the clear distinction between Mr. Smith and the people. The electors of Rhodesia, the majority of whom are white, hold the key to the present situation.

We know only too well that there is a relatively small and very extreme group of near-Fascists in Rhodesia. We know that Mr. Smith has probably had to listen to this group more than he would like in the past few weeks. One is even led to suspect that because the difference between Her Majesty's Government and Mr. Smith was getting narrower and narrower that small extreme group forced Mr. Smith rather suddenly into a U.D.L Anyone who has studied Rhodesian affairs over a reasonable period of time knows that there are equally in Rhodesia a liberal-minded group, at least as liberal as the majority of Members of this House. Between the extremists on the one side and the liberal-minded people on the other there is a full spectrum of political opinion. It happened that in the election the majority of political opinion coming from this spectrum has been focused on Mr. Smith. I do not believe that Mr. Smith is the only possible political focus for the white people of Rhodesia, and this is where I disagree with the hon. and learned Member for Northampton. I believe that it is possible that Mr. Smith may be discredited.

Photo of Mr Reginald Paget Mr Reginald Paget , Northampton

I profoundly hope the hon. Member is right.

Photo of Mr Henry Clark Mr Henry Clark , North Antrim

Perhaps we differ only in degrees of hope. I believe that it is possible to discredit Mr. Smith and to find another leader in Rhodesia with whom Her Majesty's Government could negotiate. It is for this reason that it is absolutely essential for us to maintain the closest possible communication with the people of Rhodesia if not with Mr. Smith.

When we look back over the last ten years, perhaps the one failing of this country is that we have not maintained sufficient communication with the people of Rhodesia as opposed to their Government. I believe that the only possible justification of sanctions is in terms of a change of heart, perhaps a new leader or a new political focus in Rhodesia. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Lancaster (Mr. Berkeley) that sanctions are justified only when the Prime Minister can convince the House that those sanctions are likely to lead to a change in focus and a change of political heart among the people of Rhodesia. There is no other justification for them.

If the sanctions have a hope of producing this, then I can see no justification for half-measures for the sake of half-measures. But if after a period of time it is apparent that sanctions are becoming purely punitive, and that there is no further hope of creating a change of heart among the white population in Rhodesia, those sanctions have ceased to have any justification and should be removed. In many ways I would support strong sanctions in the hope that they would be taken off in a reasonably short period of time rather than half-measures which might continue to eat out the economy of Rhodesia for a long time.

Finally I repeat my plea that the Government will make quite clear to the people of Rhodesia that they are prepared to negotiate on a reasonable basis at any time in the future with any leader, of any section of opinion in Rhodesia, who can get a degree of support among the white population.

3.47 p.m.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

Everyone, however partisan he might be, wants to try to preserve as great a measure of unity as possible, not only within this House, but within the country, in a situation as delicate as this fraught with such dire international implications. I thought, looking at the debate in that context, that the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition fell below the standard required for the occasion. It seemed that, after having met the 1922 Committee last night, he was straining every nerve to find differences rather than to find an area of agreement. He thinks that he and his party have some magical word, to which they can pin their colours— the word "punitive". They are going to test every action of the Government by this measure of whether a sanction is punitive or not.

Neither the Prime Minister nor the Government can be charged with any punitive action or punitive intent. Indeed, many of us on this side of the House feel that the Prime Minister and the Government have gone too far the other way as a price which they would pay for unity in the House. The word "appease- Ment" has been used. Whenever a Government are desperately anxious to preserve the unity of the House, inevitably the charge is made, and the fear is felt, that we are on the high road to appeasement.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker) put his finger on a crucial point— the question of oil sanctions. We have had talk about the punitive effect of the Government's policy on tobacco imports into this country. I believe that the ex-Rhodesian Government fears more than anything the one sanction which would be most effective—an oil sanction. Forget all about tobacco sanctions and the other sanctions; just impose oil sanctions. I believe that that would very quickly produce the result which everybody in the House should want— whether they want it or not, I do not know. But if we want to bring to the Rhodesian people the feeling that calamity has been brought upon them, nothing can induce that feeling more quickly, more effectively, than to prevent oil from getting to Rhodesia.

It might be argued that this is vindictive, that this is punitive. How do we deal with criminals in this country, in any country, when they rebel against legality, against the Crown, against legal government and the rule of law? We seek to be punitive, educative and corrective. We punish the criminal; we seek to educate him; and we seek to correct what we regard as a wrong way of living. This is seemingly what we are out to do for the Rhodesian people— the Rhodesian minority of people, let me add.

There has been far too much talk today about the effects of the sanctions that we shall impose on the white people, although it is true that the right hon. Member for Thirsk and Malton (Mr. Turton) talked about the effect of sanctions on the 4 million Africans. This is very often the argument which is adduced. It was adduced when sanctions were threatened against South Africa. It was said that the people who would suffer most were the black people. This is one of the prices we have to pay repeatedly for standing for our principles.

When an industrial worker strikes in this country, the argument can be adduced that the people who suffer most are his wife and children. Of course that is true. But the striker does not desist from striking on that account. If he feels strongly about his principles, he says to his wife and children, "You will suffer because I believe fundamentally in the principle for which I am striking" The same applies in Rhodesia. If the Africans suffer as a result of sanctions imposed by Her Majesty's Government, as I believe they may well do, they will willingly do so. [HON. MEMBERS: "How does the hon. Gentleman know?"] Mr. Smith does not know it. I have as much authority as any hon. Member opposite to say that they will or will not suffer. But even if they do suffer, I believe that they are so firmly con vinced that they have the right to a much greater say in the government of their country that they are prepared to make a sacrifice to attain that right. We have a very strong moral obligation to help them to do it. Both sides of the House are committed to that.

One of the basic aims of the Commonwealth is to bring people to the position where they can govern themselves. If we believe that, then we have to do things which will create among the 4 million black Africans in Rhodesia the belief that the Government of this country want them, not now, but eventually to rule Rhodesia, and in a much shorter time than is envisaged by Mr. Smith and his colleagues. I do not think they wanted the Africans ever to control the destinies of Rhodesia. Indeed, I believe that they have been inspired throughout under both the Conservative Government and our Government by two emotions— fear and greed. Their fear is that if they lost control they would have created the situation themselves and that if they got majority black control the blacks would be just as vindictive as the whites have been towards the blacks in the past. The greed of the whites arises from the fact that, without exception, they have a much higher standard of living than most of them could have attained in this country, and they seek to preserve that at all costs. I think that these two motivating forces would have led them eventually to U.D.I, no matter what Government were in power in this country.

I give a warning— I hope it is a friendly warning— to my own Government. I believe that they have been absolutely right and that their judgment has been impeccable up to now. I hope they will not go further to satisfy the desire of all of us for unity in this House. There comes a time when everyone must stand up and be counted. There comes a time when one must follow the logical course of one's policy. If we believe that we are dealing with a rebel Government of racialists, then the inevitable conclusion must be that we must bring it down. We must create in the minds of the Rhodesian people the belief that there is no future in this course, and to that extent the more effective and the more punitive the sanctions the better.

3.58 p.m.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

Many detailed points have been raised during the course of the debate, but I think it is more appropriate that they should be further pursued on Monday and on subsequent occasions. In spite of what the hon. Member for Fife, West (Mr. William Hamilton) has just said, I think that the issue in this general debate is the nature of Parliament's approach to the situation, not the approach of political parties but the approach of Parliament as a whole. The debate has shown a considerable measure of common ground, and I think it is much more important to emphasise that than it is to emphasise the differences. During the earlier parts of the debate there were a certain number of provocations and there was a certain prickliness on both sides of the House, but the tone has changed considerably during the course of the afternoon.

So far as the common ground is concerned, we all agree that this is a tragedy. We almost all—I except the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget)—believe that it was an avoidable tragedy. We are all aware of the dangerous consequences for Rhodesia, for Southern Africa, for the Commonwealth and for good racial relations throughout the world. There may be criticisms which should be made of the conduct of these negotiations. I do not propose to make any such criticisms today.

I acknowledge with sympathy— I am sorry that I do this in his absence— the strain under which the Prime Minister must have been in the final stages, particularly during that last night. I also acknowledge the efforts which he has made to try to prevent this outcome, and also those of the Commonwealth Secretary. We did our best both by public utterance and by private persuasion also to dissuade the Rhodesian leaders from the folly of U.D.I. I think, therefore, that there is general agreement in the House, first of all deploring U.D.I. Secondly, there is general agreement, as I see it, that it is the United Kingdom Parliament's responsibility to deal with this matter.

I myself think that the Government are right to report the matter to the United Nations. We have made a practice of reporting affairs in Rhodesia to the United Nations over the years. I should like more information, if the Prime Minister were able to give it, as to what are likely to be—

It being Four o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.

Ordered,That the Proceedings on Government Business may be entered upon and proceeded with at this day's Sitting at any hour during a period of One hour after Four o'clock, though opposed.—[Mr. Howie.]

Question again proposed.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

I was saying that I think the Government are right to report this matter to the United Nations, but I should like the Prime Minister to give us such information as he can as to what he thinks are likely to be the developments in the Security Council, and particularly to answer the question by my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition about the actions we are likely to take.

Thirdly, dealing with the extent of the agreement between us, we agree with the position stated by the right hon. Gentleman today with regard to the use of force.

Fourthly—and this has been stated on both sides of the House—we acknowledge, we agree, and we assert that we have a responsibility to all the citizens of Rhodesia.

I then come to the object of the exercise. What is our purpose? The Prime Minister has said, in the passage which my right hon. Friend quoted, that the purpose of the exercise is not to punish or to be vindictive. It is to get Rhodesia back, as I see it, to constitutional govern- ment. It is to get— and this remains our purpose, I think, on both sides of the House— a multi-racial society established in Rhodesia with responsible majority rule. That has been the purpose of successive Governments and I believe that that still remains the purpose of this House— a multi-racial society with responsible majority rule.

Mr. Ian Smith told me that he personally did not believe in apartheid, and he told me also that he himself did not believe in minority rule in perpetuity. I think that there are many in Rhodesia who share those views, and I think that one of the pities—I am not making this point as a criticism—is that many people in Rhodesia were imperfectly informed of how far the United Kingdom was prepared to go to meet reasonable requirements. I am not sure that they were told by their then Government, or that it was made clear to them, that the Government of the United Kingdom were prepared to agree to independence before majority rule and that the United Kingdom Government thought that a substantial period was needed to develop responsible African participation and majority rule. I think that even to the end a great many people in Rhodesia thought that the choice was either U.D.I, or one man, one vote the day after tomorrow. I do not think the facts of the situation were made clear to them.

Therefore, I think that our object is to see that even now more reasonable counsels prevail in Rhodesia. The danger is that certain actions will strengthen extremism, that certain actions will attract to this illegal regime support which it would not otherwise get, that certain actions will consolidate it in Rhodesia.

Some reference has been made, I think by one of my hon. Friends, to what Sir Roy Welensky said, but one Rhodesian said to me, "I am wholeheartedly against U.D.I., but if it happens, I am a Rhodesian and will back my country." I do not think it is just a question of financial sacrifice or a financial pinch or difficulties which might be occasioned for them. I think there will be a sense of backing their country. We have to take account of the psychology of that.

Therefore, we come back to what is our primary purpose at the present time. The Guardian said today that our purpose should be to bring Rhodesia to its knees. The Government have rejected that approach.

The test has been put by hon. Members on both sides that really the action to be taken must be effective. Effective for what? Is the purpose chaos and ruin? According to what the Prime Minister has said, it is not the purpose of Her Majesty's Government to procure chaos and ruin in Rhodesia.

Then the other very pertinent question is, would that happen? After all, Rhodes.a is primarily an agricultural community and it would take a very long time to do what The Guardian described as bringing Rhodesia to its knees. One has to consider whether each action taken is likely to do more to hinder the achievement of our primary purpose than to help it. Our primary purpose is to see that, even now, more moderate counsels prevail in Rhodesia.

I would submit to the House that this is a very delicate balance. It is very difficult on each matter to weigh that balance, and it requires essentially a very cool-headed approach.

The general approach of my right hon. Friends and myself is that we believe that there are certain consequences which almost inevitably flow from U.D.I, and, by "inevitably", I mean that they are the natural and probable consequences of U.D.I. which must have been foreseen to be those natural and probable consequences. It is quite ridiculous for it to get about that those consequences are comparatively harmless to Rhodesia, because they are very serious indeed to the Rhodesian people.

The benefits of the Commonwealth Preferences, access to the London market, the prohibition of capital movements, the control of the movement of balances, the difficulties over passports, the suspension of the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement and a number of other matters to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred are what I would describe as the natural and probable consequences of U.D.I. As I say, there will be questions to be asked about individual items in that list. But, in addition to those, as I understand it, there are certain other steps proposed.

I think that some of us have doubts about the ban on further purchases of sugar. I understand that the price that they will get goes down from £47 a ton under the Commonwealth Sugar Agreement to about £18 a ton, which is the present market price. That is a pretty severe diminution in what they will get. Will a ban on all purchases really be more effective than that? Will that not be counter-productive?

Then one comes to tobacco. I think it is right that the preferences should be lost, but there are doubts as to whether it is wise to ban all purchases. The hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Northampton mentioned one of the consequences. I am told that something like a quarter of a million black Rhodesians are engaged in growing tobacco. I said "black Rhodesians"; that is wrong—they are made up of people from Rhodesia and from Malawi. Of that quarter of a million I am told that at least half are from Malawi. What is the consequence of a ban? What is to happen to those 125,000 citizens of Malawi who, I suppose, will be put over the frontier? Will that help stability there and strengthen the moderate-minded elements in either country to keep the situation under control? I am afraid that the danger may be that it will consolidate Rhodesians behind the illegal régime and that it will attract support to it.

Another matter, which I think is a very serious one, is that it may produce an attitude of mind in Rhodesia which will make reprisals against Zambia much more likely. That is something which, even in this most unfortunate and disastrous situation, we must all most sincerely wish to avoid. All I wish to do is to beg the Government to think about what has been said in this debate on these matters, to consider these objections, to try to meet them, and to give very serious weight to them.

But having said that, and acknowledging that there is a difference of opinion, a genuine difference of opinion which may arise between Members on either side of the House, and between Members on the same side of the House, both about method and about extent, I say that such possible differences, or such real differences, should not be allowed to obscure our fundamental agreement that U.D.I. is a tragedy, that it was an avoidable tragedy.

We accept the guidelines laid down by the Government, that the United Kingdom Parliament has a responsibility to all Rhodesians, that force should not be used except in the circumstances outlined by the Prime Minister today, that our purpose is not to bring Rhodesia to her knees— the Government have rejected that approach— but that our purpose is to bring Rhodesia back to lawful constitutional development. Cannot we all co-operate to that end without magnifying such differences as there may be about method and extent?

4.11 p.m.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I would like to thank the right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath) not only for the tone—

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. Even the right hon. Gentleman must ask the leave of the House to speak again.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I beg your pardon, Mr. Speaker. I must ask the leave of the House, and I hope that I shall be granted it, as was the Leader of the Liberal Party.

I would like to thank the right hon. Gentleman not only for the tone of his speech, but for many of the things he said, and indeed for the way in which he and other of his right hon. Friends, in this very critical and difficult time, at this most crucial moment, made statements entirely helpful in this difficult question, and for playing their part in preserving what he referred to yesterday as our first need in this matter, and that is national unity in handling this critical situation.

I would like to take up right away one point made by the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd). He asked whether it was the case—he said that he was not putting it forward in a spirit of criticism—that the people of Rhodesia really knew what the alternatives were; really knew that we were not proposing majority African rule the day after tomorrow; really knew that the choice was not, as it was dishonestly presented, between an illegal declaration of independence today and having their throats cut the day after tomorrow, which was the view that was so often put.

Certainly—I agree with the right hon. and learned Gentleman—not all the media of communications in Rhodesia enabled people to see that there were other alternatives. On my own visit, indeed on the morning I left, I made a fairly lengthy pronouncement which was carried in every Rhodesian paper in full, I think, and on radio, and, indeed, I am glad to say, on television as well, and the House can see for itself, because I placed a copy in the Library, the words that I used on this question, and it was no fault of ours if the people of Rhodesia—and I am sure the right hon. and learned Gentleman may be right— did not fully understand that there were viable alternative courses; that we were holding out to them the hope of alternative courses.

I said yesterday that we would take an early opportunity to say a word about citizenship, and perhaps it would be convenient if I did so now. The illegal declaration that was made yesterday does not make any difference to the status of Rhodesian citizens in United Kingdom law. They continue to be British subjects, and the citizen of Southern Rhodesia who is not also a citizen of the United Kingdom and Colonies if he remains loyal and wishes to become such a citizen of the United Kingdom, can do so by one of a number of possible ways.

For instance, if he is descended in the male line from a United Kingdom ancestor, and has close connection with the United Kingdom, he will be able to obtain citizenship provided he intends to reside here. The necessary amendment of the law to make this possible will be made by Order in Council under the Enabling Bill.

If he is not in this category he can claim citizenship after a period of residence here, and we shall take his loyalty into account in considering whether the normal period of five years can be reduced. If the illegal regime in Southern Rhodesia purports to deprive anyone of his Rhodesian citizenship this will have no effect in our law, and he will still be eligible to apply for United Kingdom citizenship. Rhodesian citizens who do not otherwise meet the requirements of immigration control will be admitted to the United Kingdom if they are of United Kingdom ancestry or would be in danger of persecution in Southern Rhodesia owing to their demonstrated loyalty to the Queen's Government and to the rule of law.

I want to deal with some of the points made in the debate, and I begin with some of the very pertinent ones made by the Leader of the Opposition. At one point, at the beginning of his speech, he seemed to be looking for alternative explanations of this tragic event— explanations alternative to those given by me yesterday, or alternative to what I would think was the obvious fact that some at least of Mr. Smith's colleagues were never prepared to negotiate for an agreed settlement, or to let him do so freely.

In this part of his speech the right hon. Gentleman went back quite a long way in history. He seemed to think that the causes lay in the Labour Party's opposition to the 1961 Constitution. It is a fact: that we opposed it. I freely state that I voted against the 1961 Constitution in this House. So did Mr. Smith, in his House; indeed, he resigned from the then Government, where he was a Chief Whip—some Chief Whips do resign, occasionally—and played a leading part in forming the Rhodesia Front, precisely, as he told me many times, because of his opposition to the 1961 Constitution. That, at least, Mr. Smith and I had in common in our negotiations.

But if we want to go back more than over the past few weeks I must tell the House something that Mr. Smith said to me— I think he was unfair in saying it, but it was one of the factors in his mind— namely, that if my predecessors had spoken to him and his predecessors as frankly and clearly as I had done we would not be in this situation. I do not agree with him in saying that. The record has been published today. We have tried to speed up the publication of the record so that it would be in the hands of hon. Members before the debate ended. It will show, if one turns to the account of the September 1964 talks, that the right hon. Gentleman the then Prime Minister spoke with absolute firmness and clarity.

Going further back we find that the right hon. Gentleman the then Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations, both then and on earlier occasions, was just as frank with Mr. Smith and with Mr. Winston Field as I believe we have been in these past few weeks. Of course, it is widely held in Rhodesia that in earlier years, before the right hon. Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) was Prime Minister, there was a significant lack of clarity and firmness. It is a widespread Rhodesian legend, held by politicians of all parties there, that the Macmillan Administration and some leading members of it did not speak with great clarity.

But even if right hon. Gentlemen two, three of four years ago had spoken with the same clarity as my predecessor and I have done, I do not believe that it would have avoided the present crisis. I believe that it might have brought it on a year or two earlier, that is all. I do not believe that the present crisis is due to that.

The other point made by the Leader of the Opposition—and he was not saying this in a critical manner—was that I should have stayed on in Salisbury until we could have reached absolute agreement on the Royal Commission. I have already told him that it must be hard for him to appreciate what we were up against in these talks. Late on Thursday night there seemed no hope, and at 9 o'clock on Friday night the odds were heavily against even a procedural agreement, and even against keeping the door open for further talks. When hon. Members read the record of the meeting with the Rhodesian Cabinet— and if it has been expurgated at all it has only been to cut out one or two words that I used that I did not think appropriate for publication in a Parliamentary paper— they will see that throughout I was trying, and I think that Mr. Smith was trying, to keep the doors open, and that we were both doing it against the unremitting opposition of some of his colleagues. When, at the end of the night, we finally kept one slender hope alive— I never said that it was more— I cannot describe the looks of hatred on the faces of some of his colleagues, directed not only at me but at him. But after that, there was never any question of reaching agreement on the Royal Commission until Mr. Smith had met his so-called caucus, his Parliamentary party.

I think— I do not know what the House thinks—that it would have been totally inappropriate for me to have been kept hanging about in Salisbury for another week while those consultations were going on. I did not meet members of his caucus. It was decided that Mr. Smith should speak for his own Parliamentary party, but if I was asked, I was prepared to meet any of them, including Boss Lilford himself, which I think might have done some good. However, it would have been inappropriate, I think, if I were to have been kept hanging around while he was going through the agonies of meeting that caucus, which included some extremists and some almost neurotic racialists.

I welcome the Leader of the Opposition's insistence on the need to maintain national unity in this matter and I assure him that there was no more that we could have done—at least I can see nothing more, looking back on the negotiations —and when he comes to read through the record, if he has any second thoughts, if he cares to say what more we could have done, or less we could have done, I will be glad to answer his points. Looking back on the matter after what we know now, after yesterday morning, I think that the miracle was that we kept things going so long and were able to open so many doors which had been slammed in our faces.

Since the right hon. Gentleman has referred to things which might have been done differently, I must say what I believe to be in Mr. Smith's mind. I have referred on a number of occasions to the capacity of Rhodesian Ministers for what seemed, at times, to be almost total self-deception. This was one reason why we had to say again and again that we meant what we said about the economic measures which we should take.

But while the right hon. Gentleman and so many of his leading colleagues have throughout realised the need for national unity on this matter, I have to say that our position was, for a time, weakened in the negotiations by false hopes on the part of Mr. Smith and his colleagues that opinion would be divided in this country and that we did not speak fully for the House as a whole and that, at the end of the day, we should be forced by political opposition not to apply the economic measures which we said would be applied.

This belief was total self-deception on their part, but it. played some part in their attitude. At no point were they more convinced in that belief than when, for one moment at Brighton, it looked as if the Conservative Party would be pushed around on these matters. However, at the end of the day they were not pushed around. Thanks to the right hon. Gentleman's help and the speech he made on the eve of my going to Salisbury, I was able to tell Mr. Smith that what I was saying represented the views not only of the Labour Party, not only of the Government, but the views of this House, and that what I was saying carried authority on behalf of the whole country.

I should like to answer one or two questions which the right hon. Gentleman asked. First, he asked about the United Nations. I am glad that the right hon. and learned Member for Wirral said that we were right to take the initiative in this matter. I think he feels, as we all do, that if we had not taken the initiative a different kind of initiative might have been taken by people with different kinds of ideas. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary is now in New York leading our delegation. Because there was some little controversy about this yesterday—a little ribaldry—I must say that anyone who ignores the fact that Rhodesia is a matter of world concern must have his head in the sand. I said yesterday that this is a British responsibility and so it is, but it is of world concern for all that.

The House will know the tremendous passions which have been aroused in Africa, in large numbers of Commonwealth countries there and in Asia too. These passions have found expression in the Organisation of African Unity and in the United Nations. We do not agree that the courses urged upon us by some of these countries are wise or practical courses, but we cannot ignore the fact that they are being urged.

I hope that no hon. Member would for one moment want to see the Commonwealth break up, but nothing would be more certain, I believe, to achieve this than if we were to take the line that what is happening in Rhodesia is no affair of theirs and that we need not take account of their feelings. It will be difficult enough to steer people who feel so strongly into wise and cool but still effective courses. I must tell hon. and right hon. Gentlemen that unless we show that in the discharge of our responsibilities the measures which we propose are likely to be effective in securing their object, the demand for other and in our view unwise and dangerous courses will become that much harder to resist.

The right hon. Gentleman asked about the circumstances in which we should be prepared to send Her Majesty's Forces to Rhodesia to maintain law and order. I think that I answered this in my intervention this morning, and the right hon. Gentleman seemed satisfied with what I said. He also asked whether the list of economic and other measures announced yesterday represents our complete list. The answer to this is "Yes" as we see the situation at present. We may, of course, have to take further action to counter particular legal or provocative actions by the regime in Rhodesia, and this is one reason why in the Enabling Bill we are asking the House to give us powers to revoke or amend the Constitution.

Photo of Mr Tom Iremonger Mr Tom Iremonger , Ilford North

Can the Prime Minister say at this stage whether it is Government's objective in the first place actually to regain control of Government through the Governor in Salisbury and to exercise direct rule there as a preliminary to bringing about the final objective?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I will, I hope, deal with all our objectives. The right hon. Gentleman quite rightly asked me what was our general strategy. Perhaps the hon. Member will let me come to that in a moment.

I referred to the powers for which we were asking to revoke or amend the Constitution. I think the House will realise that this Constitution had been stretched almost beyond breaking point by Mr. Smith and his colleagues in the days before their illegal declaration. We do not yet know all the measures which were taken. We had some information of the Governor being asked to sign some pretty devastating Orders before yesterday's break. Since he had to take the advice of the then legal Government, he had to sign those Orders, and some of them go a very long way in frustrating certainly the whole spirit of the Constitution, although perhaps not in breaking its letter. That is not for me to say. Some of these things may be challenged in the courts.

May I give one example of why it may be necessary for us to amend or revoke the Constitution? As I understand it— I do not think that the details of this have yet been published— the Governor was asked to sign an Order the day before the break. There is an article in the Constitution, a provision, for the Governor to nominate an individual to act as Deputy Governor— to be acting Governor whenever the Governor is out of the country or is in some way prevented from discharging his duties. The day before the break, I think it was, the Governor was asked to sign an Order nominating as his substitute if he were incapacitated or unable to discharge his duties a whole list of Rhodesian Ministers, which means that they would have the complete powers— the executive power and the quasi-Royal power— if the Governor were incapacitated. I do not think that it will have entirely escaped the House that the Governor might well be incapacitated from discharging his duties by actions within the control of those particular individuals.

In those circumstances it was legal, I suppose, under the Constitution, but I think that it will be necessary for us to seek powers to change that provision of the Constitution to render illegal that act, taken for one purpose only—and that a very evil purpose. [HON. MEMBERS: "Did he sign?"] Yes, he had to sign it. The Governor had to sign anything which was within the Constitution and recommended to him by the regime. This is one more reason why we were so insistent, when trying to draw up the document for the Royal Commission, that it should be made as far as possible foolproof against measures to twist or strain the Constitution in order to frustrate the purpose of the Constitution.

We have no intention, as things are, of suspending the Constitution as a whole. Certainly, we should need very compelling reasons, which would first be put to the House. As my right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General made clear, and as I have myself made clear, there can be no question of drawing up a new Constitution except on the basis of completely separate legislation, which would have to go through the House.

I want now to say something about the procedure of the Enabling BUI. The right hon. Gentleman, quite fairly, asked for an assurance that a debate would follow speedily upon the making of Orders under the Bill when it becomes an Act. If we had been concerned only with the effectiveness of the action we were taking, I think that we would have asked for the Bill to go through today, because one or two Orders are urgent. Secondly, we would have wanted to provide that the Orders should be subject to negative Resolution because of the need for them to go into operation urgently. But the Government felt that it was a little unreasonable, particularly in the atmosphere of yesterday, to ask the House today, a Friday, and another place to meet and put through a Bill of this scope with the very sweeping powers we are asking Parliament to confer. For this reason—and we had discussions through the usual channels—it was decided to defer the Bill until Monday, and this gave the opportunity to have the general debate today which, I think, is the right preliminary to a discussion of a Bill of this nature.

Again, there was some discussion about the procedure on the Orders. We took the view that because we are asking to some extent for a blank cheque here it was right that there should be an affirmative procedure rather than the negative procedure, which would have been normal. As the House will see, it is proposed that the Orders should come into force immediately, but, of course, they will fall if they are not confirmed by affirmative Resolution of both Houses of Parliament within 28 days.

I am sure that the House will feel that it would meet its convenience—and we have discussed this with right hon. Gentlemen opposite—that debate should take place on a number of Orders at once. I do not think that we want to see essential domestic legislation and the normal give and take of Parliamentary debate held up indefinitely while we have to clear up the Rhodesian situation. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why not?"] I think that there is an understanding between us that we should try as far as possible to debate the Orders together, or those that are related together, and perhaps we shall be able to do something under the usual negative procedure after 10 o'clock. Subject to that, it would be reasonable to provide for the affirmative procedure.

Photo of Lord  Balniel Lord Balniel , Hertford

I am not disagreeing with the Prime Minister's views on this, but if the Enabling Bill is passed is it not open to the Government to introduce an Order in Council suspending the Constitution of Rhodesia and is it not the case that this could come into force without Parliamentary debate, although, at some time within the following 28 days, it could be debated by Parliament?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I think that the hon. Gentleman will find that to be so. Our intention is to revoke or amend parts of the Constitution but there might be certain instances in which we had to suspend it. But the Constitution is not operative today. It has been so twisted and strained by the illegal regime that it is not a constitution any more.

One thing on which I am sure the House will insist is that the illegal Parliament in Salisbury should not continue to meet and pass laws which have no validity. But, as I have said, we have no intention of suspending the Constitution. We should need very compelling reasons to do so. If such reasons arose, we should come to the House and say why we needed to do it. I give that assurance to the House. The phrase used in the Bill is: … for suspending, amending, revoking or adding to any of the provisions of the Constitution of Southern Rhodesia It is not intended to do that with the Constitution as a whole but certainly if we need to make widespread suspensions or revocations we shall come to the House first.

Photo of Sir Rolf Williams Sir Rolf Williams , Exeter

Will the Bill to be introduced on Monday be subject to the Expiring Laws (Continuance) Bill?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

It will last 12 months and will need specific renewal by the House and, therefore, so will any action taken under it.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me, but I must get on.

The right hon. Gentleman asked me whether action had been taken on one particular measure announced yesterday, namely, the provision of consular facilities through the skeleton staff which is being left behind at the High Commissioner's office. The answer is "Yes ". The consular facilities are there and already available. In fact, for some weeks before yesterday's declaration the High Commission staff had been working very hard dsaling with an unusual spate of requests; for British, as opposed to Rhodesian, passports.

I come now to the two main points put to me by the right hon. Gentleman, and repeated in different form by a number of hon. Members on both sides, because these are, I think, pretty fundamental to the issue we are discussing today. The first is the position of Rhodesian public servants. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to think that there was some contradiction or some lack of clarity in their position. This I readily grant, and I hope that no hon. Member will use this fact as an instrument with which to criticise Her Majesty's Government. I know that the right hon. Gentleman will not.

The contradiction in their position, the lack of clarity in their position, the cruelty of the dilemma which faces public servants and, indeed, many others of Her Majesty's subjects in Rhodesia arises not from our action, not from our failure to be able to help them— because we have no executive power— and not from our failure to make their position clear. It arises from the illegal and monstrous action taken by what was until yesterday their Government. It arises entirely from that. We are, of course, dealing with a totally unprecedented situation. If there were a precedent, I suppose that the nearest would be that of occupied Europe during the war, but there are very many differences between that situation and this.

I take the position of the judiciary, the police force and the armed forces. The first matter which must be made clear is that if any of them are asked to take an oath of allegiance to the illegal authority it will be their duty to refuse, because their oath of allegiance to the Queen is absolute and they could not take any oath which conflicted with it. The Governor has already told the judges, with our approval, that it is the judges' duty to carry on, and I understand that they are going to carry on.

Clearly, it will be for the judges to decide the legality or otherwise of particular laws or so-called laws, ordinances and so forth which might be illegal, illegal either because they were made by unauthorised persons, by private persons not Ministers, or because they were intrinsically illegal or offensive in some way to the Rhodesian Constitution. It will be for the judges to decide whether certain acts of the illegal Government are illegal in themselves.

Sir G.Nicholson:

Is it widely known in Rhodesia that it will be a treasonable act to take a new oath of allegiance?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

By whatever steps are possible for telling people of this, I think that it will be known, but the House will not for a moment underrate the extent to which we now have a police State in Rhodesia and the extent to which there is complete Press censorship and so on. For example, the fact that the Governor dismissed the Ministers yesterday has not been allowed to be broadcast or printed in the Press. Therefore, how far it will be possible for what I have said to be known throughout Rhodesia I should not like to say, but I have good reason to think that there is a considerable number of persons loyal to the Queen in the public services, and I think that they will be pretty efficient in passing on information which they already have in regard to this matter. But it may take time.

My right hon. and learned Friend was asked about what we were doing to improve the audibility of broadcast services from outside. Perhaps the House will leave that with us. We have been on it for some little time. There are difficulties in this connection, and, if we have to borrow on the experience of an organisation known as Radio Caroline, we shall not hesitate to do so.

Photo of Commander Sir Peter Agnew Commander Sir Peter Agnew , Worcestershire South

The right hon. Gentleman has been very good. Will he allow me to intervene on one question? Can he say whether the Governor will be authorised by Her Majesty's Government to continue to accept payment from Rhodesian sources by way of emoluments as Governor or will he now be paid from the Consolidated Fund of the United Kingdom?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

That is a very fair point. I should like to have notice of it and consider it further. I gather from information I have had that his position is already in some jeopardy. I should like to go into it.

I think the House would agree that it is the duty of public servants to remain at their posts, and especially to maintain essential public services and public order. But to ask for some simple directive for their guidance is, in these circumstances, crying for the moon. In every case the officer or official concerned will have to decide whether any particular action or course of action involves furthering the cause of the illegal authorities, and there can here be no absolute rules. I mentioned the case this morning of an official in their Health Ministry. Even if he were to mention his so-called Minister in ordering surgical dressings, for instance, by saying "I am directed by the Minister of Health", I am advised that to that extent the official might be regarded as recognising and furthering the rebellion. I do not think that the House would want to carry this argument to the point where hospital administration became impossible. Again, I should think that an official continuing as permanent secretary or private secretary to an illegal Minister would to that extent be recognising and aiding a usurper.

The test must lie—I discussed this at considerable length with the Governor and with Sir Hugh Beadle when I was in Salisbury and we agreed that there could be only guidelines here—in whether an official is asked to take action which itself furthers the rebellion, or action which by any standards would be illegal or immoral or repugnant to him—which would, for example, have been illegal under Rhodesia's laws of a week ago— or action involving violence or intimidation beyond the existing laws of Rhodesia. I do not think it is possible to go much further than this.

We shall continue to give a lot of thought to this. The Rhodesian illegal authorities have already passed ordinances affecting the rights, duties and penalties where public servants are involved, ordering them to stay at their work and the rest of it. In the last resort the same test I have mentioned must apply to members of the armed forces, many of whom must now be facing a clash of divided loyalties which must be almost intolerable to bear.

I come to the other major question raised by the right hon. Gentleman. I recognise the importance of what he said. That is the question of how far the economic measures should go. The right hon. Gentleman fairly draws a distinction between those measures which are an inevitable corollary of this Government in Rhodesia being an illegal one and those which go beyond that. The right hon. Gentleman made great use of the word I used yesterday when I referred to punitive measures. When I used that word—I think the surrounding context will make it clear—what I was saying was that we are not going to indulge in any measures purely for the sake of recrimination, purely for the sake of inflicting punishment, purely for inflicting pain or hardship for their own sake. We are not out to punish, nor, for that matter, are we out to deter. I do not think this is a precedent for other cases. Every measure has been judged and must be judged against its ability to restore the rule of law and the functioning of a democratic constitution in Rhodesia. They must be judged by this test.

The Leader of the Liberal Party was, I think, pretty near the bone this morning when he suggested that some hon. Members at least used the word "punitive" when they meant "effective", that they were against any measures which might prove to be effective. I believe that everything we stand for, and still more our ability to defend our position against world opinion outside and to stop them taking a hand in these matters which might not be helpful —all of this will be prejudiced if hon. Members say that all that we ought to be doing at the moment is to wag a warning finger at Mr. Smith and say to him, "Naughty, naughty. You must not do things like this"; or if hon. Members were to say that we should have measures but not to the point of their having any real effect; or the other dangerous theory we shall hear more of as time goes on, that we should take measures for a time just to show our disapproval and then withdraw them, perhaps just when they are becoming effective.

The right hon. Gentleman put the right questions this morning, I think, about what our strategy is, though I think he resisted my invitation to give the House his own answer to these questions. The question we have to decide is whether we have now, in our minds, as a nation decided—as a House, as a Government —that there can be no truck with this illegal regime or any compromise with it. That is the first question we must answer. The second question arising from it, if the answer to that question is "No truck. No recognition", is whether it is our policy to restore Rhodesia to the rule of law at the earliest possible moment, or whether we want to drag out the agony. This can be done, in our view, only by bringing the rebel regime to an end, by making that regime unworkable and, indeed, creating a situation where at the earliest possible moment the people of Rhodesia, acting through the only legal Government there—the Governor—themselves want to see and ask to see a lawful Government in its place.

I believe that the answer which the House will give to these questions, therefore, is that we cannot recognise this illegal regime nor do business with it, and I think that it will say that the main reason why we cannot do this is simply because it is illegal. There is another reason developing, too. As the calendar of their repressive ordinances unfolds, the House may well feel that we shall not be able, in any case, legally or illegally, to do business with a group of men who use their first taste of power, however illegally asserted, to erect all the sickening apparatus of a police State.

I have obtained a list of the powers which they have taken. Some of these have appeared in the Press. I am sure that the House will find what hon. and right hon. Members have read in the Press—and it is only part of what is happening—totally repugnant. When I was in Salisbury I warned Mr. Smith then about the possible creation of a police State; and against these tendencies and the fact that they are illegal, I do not understand how any hon. Members could suggest that it is wrong for us to take the steps which in our opinion are necessary and likely to bring this regime to an end at the earliest possible moment.

I recognise that the argument is very much concentrating on the question of tobacco. Some may think that tobacco was decided upon because the tobacco farmers have contributed to the treasure chest of the rebellion. The rest of the business class, the Rhodesian Federation of Industries, the Institute of Directors and the Chamber of Commerce are solid almost to a man against the causes of Mr. Smith. But it is a fact that the tobacco farmers have contributed to the treasure chest of rebellion and, not only that, have used their contribution for the purpose of calling the tune against, as I believe, the views of Mr. Smith himself. But that is not our motive. We do not carry our opposition to political contributions that far.

I believe that if we are to make the maximum impact, the quickest and most painless impact—and I emphasise that —on the ability of the regime to survive, it is necessary to make clear now that we are not going to buy Rhodesian tobacco. The effects of this action are not limited to their overseas balance of payments, though over a period of time they would have a serious effect. But the whole financial and banking structure of Rhodesia revolves round tobacco-financing in such a way that this decision will have a pretty serious and speedy effect. We were quite frank about this when we were there, and no one had any doubt what we intended. Mr. Smith and his colleagues were told, and the tobacco farmers whom I met and lunched with were left in no doubt of the action which we would take.

Even granting, and I do grant it, that the right hon. Gentleman does not want to limit these measures to those which would be ineffective, I hope that he would agree with our assessment that it is better for the action to be effective quickly than for it to be lingering and involve great and prolonged hardship. Without going into conversations which I had in Salisbury, certainly that was the impression of the recent business mission which went from this country to Rhodesia and met a great number of industrial and financial leaders in that country. I think that they came back with a very strong impression that if action is to be taken, let it be effective quickly, so that we can jointly, Britain, on the one hand, and a legitimate Rhodesian Government, on the other, acting together, pick up the pieces and speed up the political and economic reconstruction of Rhodesia as quickly and helpfully as possible having regard to the situation which yesterday's events created.

Photo of Mr Julian Amery Mr Julian Amery , Preston North

If the measures at present proposed do not prove to be effective, are we to deduce, from what has been said, that it would be the Prime Minister's intention to do something further?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

It is our view that these measures will be effective, not least because of the financial considerations. As I have already said in answer to the right hon. Gentleman, we have no other measure in contemplation so far as we are concerned. We shall, of course, review the situation in the light of the actions taken in Rhodesia. We shall certainly have to review the situation in the light of the discussions in the United Nations and elsewhere, because in our view it is important that, whatever measures are taken, they will fall a long way short of some of the measures which may be urged in the United Nations. At this moment the Security Council is meeting.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I am sorry; I have given way once to the hon. Gentleman. My right hon. Friend, the Foreign Secretary is now in New York and I think it will be recognised that he has a very difficult task. Whatever our legal and constitutional responsibilities, we must not get into the same position in this House as the former Rhodesian Government got into, and think that we can live in a world of our own and ignore the views of a hundred other countries.

I do not think anyone will think that my right hon. Friend's task is going to be easy in keeping countries that feel passionately about what is going on in Southern Africa on the rails and keeping them confined to wise, practical and cool actions. His task will be immeasurably harder to the extent that those with whom he is dealing believe that we ourselves are not whole-hearted in our determination to bring this illegal regime to an end; to the extent that they might think that political discussions on this supreme challenge to us, to this country and to the world, might be petering out in a Parliamentary argument about semantics, or to the extent that they believe that we are prepared to take tough measures against the rebels in other British territories because they are coloured, and are content to rely on some governessy admonitions because, in the case of Rhodesia, the rebels are white.

I warned the House yesterday that the problems arising from this could quickly get out of hand on an international scale. If that were to happen no assertion of our imperial responsibilities could stop it. It is not good enough to say that this is a matter for Britain only. One will not stop this by procedural amendments, whether in this House or in the United Nations. Debates about the use of words, whether "punitive" or anything else, will not stop military aircraft crossing national frontiers. Hon. Members may dismiss, and are perfectly entitled to dismiss, from their minds the resolutions of the O.A.U., or the announcements made this morning about the use of parachutists, as impracticable or nonsense. They may dismiss these, but one thing that they cannot dismiss is the danger of major Powers getting a foothold on the Continent of Africa.

After the Commonwealth Conference last summer I referred in the House to "the struggle for the soul of Africa", going on between countries such as ours and China, whose attempts at penetration in Africa have become a byword. But there are other nations beside China. There are other nations, who, perhaps, might feel competitively stimulated by the success they think China is having.

There may be other nations seeking a foothold, perhaps a military foothold, on the Continent of Africa, who would be glad of the opportunity of establishing that foothold with the substantial backing, with the aura of legitimacy from a resolution of the United Nations. I must ask hon. Gentlemen putting this argument, who are prepared to say that we ought perhaps to go a bit slow on our own economic measures, whether they have considered where this might lead us? If we are not able to show world opinion and those who have it in their power, whatever we do, to go in for military action, that we ourselves mean business and are carrying out effective measures, unless we are prepared to face that, then hon. Gentlemen may be inviting a prospect which is not one that I find comforting—the prospects of a Red Army in blue berets.

The issues that we are facing today cannot be dismissed by a play on words. We have to get down to real issues. They cannot be assessed in terms of the nicely calculated less or more. They cannot be assessed and decided by pure considerations of private profit. Still less, I think, can they or should they be settled in terms of purely party considerations.

I am not prepared to go to my colleagues in the Commonwealth and say that what we said before this illegal declaration we did not mean, that it was all bluff. I am not prepared to go to them and say, and nor is my right hon. Friend in the United Nations prepared to say, that the national unity to which we appealed was a facade, because I believe that it is not a facade. I believe that it is a real national unity, and what the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition said yesterday and today, I think, has made that clear. But this means that our measures must be effective.

Nearly 30 years ago, Winston Churchill, in a debate in the House on Abyssinia, used these words: We cannot undo the past, but we are bound to pass it in review in order to draw from it such lessons as may be applicable to the future, and surely the conclusion from this story is that we should not intervene in these matters unless we are in earnest and prepared to carry out intervention to all necessary lengths."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 6th April, 1936; Vol. 310, c. 2482.] I cannot think of a better text on which to build out national unity than those words of Sir Winston Churchill.

Debate adjourned.—[Mr. John silkin.]

Debate to be resumed upon Monday next.