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Rhodesia (Oil Embargo)

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st December 1965.

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Motion made, and Question proposed,That the Southern Rhodesia (Petroleum) Order, 1965, dated 17th December, 1965, made by Her Majesty in Council under the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965, a copy of which was laid before this House on 18th December, be approved.—[The Attorney-General.]

10.14 p.m.

Photo of Mr Nigel Birch Mr Nigel Birch , Flintshire West

I want to ask some questions about this Order, and it may well be that the Attorney-General will be able to answer them. None of us really knows what effects and when this Order will have upon Southern Rhodesia, but we all know what effects and when it will have on Zambia. The effect of the Order is the immediate cessation of oil supplies to Zambia. What I want to ask is what the Government's plans for supplying Zambia are. Will the airfields stand the traffic? How many tons of oil do the Government think they can get in each week? Will that tonnage be anything like sufficient to fulfil the needs of Zambia?

Unless we can have answers to these questions, the introduction of the Order is highly irresponsible, because clearly the Government must have thought this out. They must have thought it out. If what the Government are doing now would bring the economy of Zambia to a halt without bringing the economy of Southern Rhodesia to a halt, then it was clearly not a very sensible thing to do. So, presumably, they must have full contingency plans. It is up to them, when moving this Order, to explain exactly what the logistics of this matter are.

10.15 p.m.

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

It may be for the convenience of the House if I give some explanation of the terms of this Order. It seemed possible, at any rate from the speech the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition made at the beginning of the earlier debate, that the House might have been disposed to approve of this Order on the nod. That is not, apparently, the immediate wish of the House and accordingly I will deal briefly with its provisions and my hon. Friend the Minister of State will deal with the matters of economic politics.

The right hon. Gentleman has just referred to the Order which I invite the House to approve—the Southern Rhodesia (Petroleum) Order, 1965, dated 17th December, 1965, made by Her Majesty in Council under the Southern Rhodesia Act, 1965. It came into force on the evening of the 17th December and was laid before the House the next morning. Accordingly the Government, now, at the earliest opportunity, bring it before the House for approval in accordance with the provisions of Section 2(5) of the Southern Rhodesia Act. The House will recollect that Orders in Council made under that Act may extend to Southern Rhodesia and the Colonies as well as to the United Kingdom. This Order applies to the United Kingdom and in part to Southern Rhodesia. There is also power under Article 7(3) of the Order to extend it to the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Colonies and Protectorates in relation to the carriage of petroleum by ships and aircraft to Southern Rhodesia. The House will see that Article 1 operates solely——

Photo of Mr Graham Page Mr Graham Page , Crosby

Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves that point of the extension of the Order, it is clear, is it not, that by Article 7(3) Her Majesty may by Order extend this to the Channel Islands and the other countries? What is it which Her Majesty has to extend? The ships registered in the other countries or the people resident in the other countries? By the Act this already extends to the Channel Islands and the other countries mentioned.

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

That is so by the Act, but it is not so under the Order as it at present stands, and a further Order in Council will be necessary to extend it to the Colonies and Protectorates. Article 1 operates solely as part of the law of the United Kingdom. As the House will see, it forbids any person except under the authority of a licence granted by the Minister of Power, from supplying or delivering or agreeing to supply or deliver petroleum to any person in Rhodesia or to any person who, he knows or has reasonable cause to believe, will deliver it to Rhodesia or to do anything, such as acting as an agent, calculated to promote the supply of oil.

A person in Southern Rhodesia, as the House will see from the interpretation provided by Article 6, is defined as including not merely a Rhodesian incorporated body, but also a body, wherever it functions, which is Rhodesia controlled. Under Article 1 any person of whatever nationality or citizenship who contravenes these provisions within the United Kingdom is committing a criminal offence. What is more, contravention of the provisions of this Article is an offence if committed anywhere in the world by a citizen of the United Kingdom and the Colonies ordinarily resident here.

The House will observe that the Minister is empowered under Article 1(1) to licence the importation of oil which would otherwise be in contravention of this Article; and there is a similar power under Article 2. This provision is to enable oil to be lawfully imported or conveyed in British ships or aircraft in particular cases—for example, if we consider that supplies would become necessary for hospitals and such institutions and we are satisfied that the consignment in question will be used for that purpose.

Article 2, which also operates as part of the law of the United Kingdom, prohibits the use, except under licence, of any ship or aircraft registered in the United Kingdom or Colonies for the carriage of petroleum to Rhodesia.

Under Article 2(2) the owner and master of any ship or the operator and commander of any aircraft used in contravention of the Order will be guilty of an offence unless he can prove that he did not know, and had no reason to suppose, that the oil was destined for Rhodesia.

Article 3 also operates as part of the law of the United Kingdom, but, in addition, it operates as part of the law of Southern Rhodesia by virtue of Article 7(2) of the Order. It prohibits any person from importing petroleum into Rhodesia or from taking delivery outside Rhodesia of oil destined to be imported therein. Any Rhodesian, therefore, or any other person in Rhodesia who seeks to import oil will commit a criminal offence both under United Kingdom law and under Rhodesian law and will be liable to be punished by either the Rhodesian courts or, if he enters the jurisdiction, by the courts of this country.

The House will observe that the Secretary of State is given a power to make Regulations authorising the importation of petrol in circumstances which would otherwise be a contravention of this Article. That power has already been exercised in one case. Immediately after the Order came into operation, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations made Regulations permitting aircraft to import petroleum into Rhodesia otherwise than as cargo—that is to say, their own reserves of fuel.

May I pause for a moment and consider the three substantive provisions with which I have dealt. Right hon. and hon. Members will observe—and, indeed, the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) raised this point yesterday—that the effect of this Order is to provide criminal sanctions against any person in this country or Rhodesia and against any citizen of the United Kingdom and the Colonies or of Rhodesia anywhere else in the world who seeks to supply oil to Rhodesia. But, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman pointed out, no such sanctions have yet been imposed against, for example, a citizen of the United States who acts in this way while outside this country or Rhodesia. This is perfectly accurate. The fact is that we have no power to legislate for such persons.

However, as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said yesterday: The United States Government welcome and support our decision, fully recognise the authority of Her Majesty's Government in this matter, and are advising all United States citizens and enterprises to comply with the terms of the Order in Council. My right hon. Friend added that: The United States Government are completely satisfied with the assurance that they have had from the American oil companies …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 20th December, 1965; Vol. 722, c. 1691–3] The fact also has to be noted that quite apart from the United States, a great many countries are giving us their support in this endeavour.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

Has the United States Government the power to compel American oil companies to co-operate?

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

The United States Government has indicated that it is satisfied that with the coming into being of this Order in Council, its own shippers and those concerned in the trade of oil will comply with the desires of the American Government. Assurances have been given to my right hon. Friend to that effect. In my view this Order will undoubtedly assist the Governments of other countries to arrange for the support of their oil embargo.

Prohibition of the importation of oil into Rhodesia may render ineffective any future contracts for the supply of oil to Rhodesia and relieve the foreign contractor of his obligations under existing contracts.

Article 4 of the Order prescribes the penalties for a conviction either summarily or on indictment. Paragraph (2) of Article 4 contains the common form provision relating to the liability of a director, manager or other officers for the offences of a body corporate. Article 4(3) arises out of the ordinary rule that proceedings in a court of summary jurisdiction, unlike proceedings on indictment, have to be brought before the expiry of a fixed period from the date of the commission of the offence.

Since offences which might be created in breach of the Order will, in some cases, have been committed, or may be committed, outside the United Kingdom, it is necessary to provide that the time should run only from the date when the offender first returns to the United Kingdom.

Photo of Sir Harmar Nicholls Sir Harmar Nicholls , Peterborough

The Attorney-General is making clear what will be the penalties under the Order for any British shipper. He has only said that America and the other countries have expressed a pious hope that their people will comply. Have any other countries contemplated introducing legislation which would impose penalties upon anybody who commits offences of the kind which are dealt with in the Order?

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

I certainly have not used the phrase that the American Government have expressed a pious hope. On the contrary, as my right hon. Friend said yesterday, he has been informed that the United States Government are fully satisfied with the assurances which it has had from the oil companies. There is no reason to doubt that there will be wholehearted co-operation in this en-deavour on the part of those who want to maintain the rule of law in the world. All shippers will be concerned in maintaining the rule of law and in particular those with international shipping and other business interests. One would hope that they would take an honourable part in the process of suppression of rebellion, which is what this exercise is all about.

Photo of Sir John Hall Sir John Hall , Wycombe

Mr. John Hall (Wycombe) rose——

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

No, I cannot give way; I must continue. [HON. MEMBERS: "Give way."] I am not reluctant to give way, but I suspect——

Photo of Mr Albert Cooper Mr Albert Cooper , Ilford South

The right hon. and learned Gentleman is frightened.

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

Certainly, I am not frightened. The hon. Member for Ilford, South (Mr. Cooper) should come into the House and not make observations from below the Bar.

Photo of Sir John Hall Sir John Hall , Wycombe

I am glad that the right hon. and learned Gentleman has given way. I am certain that his reluctance is not due to any fear of what I might have to say. I wish only to raise a reasonable point in which we are all interested. The question was raised by an hon. Friend of mine whether the United States has power to introduce legislation that would make the action of supplying oil illegal. If the American Government has the power, why cannot this be done? Am I not right in saying that any American citizen will be able to supply oil without any penal sanction whatever against him by the United States Government?

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

The answer is that, of course, the United States has power to legislate about anything. But these matters take time, and we shall have to see what actions the supporting Governments may deem it necessary to take to ensure their full co-operation in this international endeavour to sustain the rule of law.

As I was saying when I was interrupted, Article 5 of the Order provides that the Minister may grant either general or special licences subject to or without conditions. Article 6 deals with interpretations, and I hope that the interpretations are self-explanatory. Article 7 deals with citation, commencement and extent, and, as I have already mentioned, Article 3 and the relevant provisions of Articles 4 and 6 are extended to Rhodesia. Paragraph (4) of Article 7 provides that Orders in Council under the preceding paragraph are to be laid before Parliament after being made.

I hope therefore that, in the light of that explanation, the House will now proceed to enthusiastic acceptance of this urgent, necessary and important Order in Council.

10.32 p.m.

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

We have heard a lot about Rhodesia today, and therefore I will confine my remarks within as short a compass as possible.

In my view, the Order is likely to be ineffective. It will effect legal sanctions on British subjects. It appears, too, to affect Rhodesian citizens, but it cannot be enforced. It has no effect at all on any American citizen who is supplying oil to Rhodesia. Unless we can get agreement from Portugal and South Africa to enforce an oil sanction, we will not make an effective oil sanction without force. My experience is that sanctions are quite unenforceable unless military or naval force is brought in to enforce them.

The Prime Minister himself said on 23rd November: … we are not going in for a trade embargo or an oil embargo on our own… The oil embargo is bristling with difficulties".—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 23rd November, 1965; Vol. 721, c. 252.] I agree with him. However, he has changed his ground continually. He said today that he had gone on from a succession of deepening economic measures.

I believe that here he has passed beyond the boundary where he can get the full support of the House. This is likely to cause chaos and bloodshed in Africa and prevent negotiations with the moderate people who are in Rhodesia. For that reason, I regret that I shall have to vote against the Order.

10.34 p.m.

Photo of Mr Hugh Fraser Mr Hugh Fraser , Stafford and Stone

I am sure that the words spoken so well by the Attorney-General could be translated into every known language and sent to the 1,500 or so shipping companies throughout the world for their enlightenment and guidance and also to the many oil companies which are possibly in a position to supply Rhodesia.

As one of those who pressed yesterday that this Order should be debated before the House adjourned, I believe that our decision to debate it tonight is correct. It is not a pleasant task to speak in this debate, and I hope that the House will overcome the tedium not merely of my voice but of a long-debated topic.

There are certain problems which arise from what the Government propose to do, to which I must take exception. First, throughout this affair the Government have taken the view, and a very important view, that the decisions on the sanctions and the actions taken against the illegal régime in Rhodesia must be in the control of Her Majesty's Government, and of course by this proposal to impose oil sanctions the control of our efforts passes completely outside this country.

What the Attorney-General has just said are the wild words of a Canute on the edge of the sea. The stuff that we have just heard is pure Canutism. The effectiveness of an oil sanction must depend entirely on international action, as those more learned in the law will show. The effect of that international sanction will have to depend eventually on the authority of the United Nations. The right hon. Gentleman the Prime Minister said this afternoon that he would not contemplate the use of force, but I believe that this sanction will not be effective unless there is a blockade of the port of Beira. This is the fact which the House ought to face in bringing forward this sanction. This is my first accusation of imprudence in these matters, demonstrating that the control of events is no longer in our hands.

Secondly, as my right hon. Friend said, I have reason to believe that this sanction will not be effective in Rhodesia in the short term because of the stocks of oil already there. It will not be effective, because I believe that the Rhodesians have the capacity to put in substitutes which will add considerably to their supplies. Finally, as the Prime Minister said this afternoon, I believe that there is a considerable danger of what he called leakages of oil coming from elsewhere.

There is the existence of the sugar crop surplus to requirements which can be reduced to alcohol. There is the question of Wankie coal, and the production of producer gas. There are many methods of producing alternatives, as we saw during the war, and as my right hon. Friend said, we are enforcing on the Rhodesian economy a siege economy—the "laager" and stockade mentality.

Far more serious, however, is the fact that this sanction is imposed at the wrong point, because, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Flint, West (Mr. Birch) said, the people who will be most damaged by this sanction are not the people of Rhodesia, but the people of Zambia. Whether or not this sanction succeeds against Rhodesia, there is the certainty that it will succeed against the people living in Zambia.

As I undestand it, the present consumption of oil in Zambia is between 180,000 and 200,000 tons a year. Thus, if there is to be an airlift, the planes will have to bring in oil at the rate of 500 tons a day on to inefficient and pretty well useless airfields. The Canadian Government have granted us four aircraft. Carrying how much? If it means that there will be a further heightening of tension between Zambia and Rhodesia, and copper has to be taken out by the aircraft which brine in oil, the turn round of the aircraft will become almost impossible. The task of moving oil at the rate of 500 tons a day is a very great one, and those people whom I have consulted in various sections of the oil industry assure me that alternative supplies cannot be arranged for nearly nine months—and certainly not in a few months.

It is a very serious matter when this Government, perhaps to satisfy a whim of their own or perhaps because of a feeling that there are other and more dangerous forces abroad, starts off this sort of sanction and counter-sanction, which inevitably escalate. Let us face the fact referred to in an article by Mr. Arthur Wina, the extremely able Minister of Finance of Zambia, in this morning's Financial Times. Anyone reading it will realise how dangerous this situation could become for Zambia, if it means Rhodesia cutting off the fuel supply to Zambia and making it difficult for her to obtain electric power. This dangerous situation will escalate, because the Government have taken a foolish decision in imposing a sanction which they cannot enforce, and which is bound to react, first, by driving the Rhodesians even more into Mr. Smith's camp, and making economic life in Zambia almost impossible. Mr. Wina ended his article by saying that if this led to the breakdown of the Copperbelt it would not be merely the people of Zambia who will suffer, but there would be 750,000 unemployed in this country.

10.41 p.m.

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

This is the last of the economic weapons in the hands of the Prime Minister. He has said that measures must be taken, but that they are not to be vindictive, and must be effective. Many of my hon. Friends believe, with me, that some of the measures taken by the Government have been vindictive—especially the stopping of money for malaria control and tsetse fly control, together with T.B. research—but it would be out of order to discuss those matters now.

What does the Minister consider will be the effect of this Order—considered together with all the other Orders—first, on the people of Rhodesia? I believe that it can only unite them, both black and white, even more firmly behind Mr. Smith. Secondly—and the Government have been very coy on this question—they have not fully answered Written Questions on the economic effect of previous Orders. What will be the effect of this Order, on top of the previous Orders, on the already rocky British economy?

This Order will involve not only the cost of the airlift but our support of the Zambian economy, and the total cost together with the effect of previous Orders could work out between £300 million and £500 million a year. I should like an estimate from the Government of the total cost of enforcing these sanctions before the House rises for the Recess. Finally, what will be the effect on Zambia? My right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) has dealt with part of this point. There are two other points to which I wish to refer. First, there was the gimmick of running copper in American aircraft from Zambia to the coast, which severely damaged Lusaka Airport runway. There has been further damage by the Javelins, and the airport is likely to be put out of action in the near future by the oil airlift. There are only two other effective airfields in Zambia, at Ndola and Livingstone. How do the Government think they can sustain the Zambian economy when the Order becomes effective? One of the quickest ways of stopping production in the Copperbelt is not by pulling a switch at Kariba but by making life impossible for Europeans living in Zambia. That is what the Order may do.

Can the oil sanctions be swiftly effective? With many of my hon. Friends, I believe that they cannot be effective without a blockade. We have had the curious situation of the Prime Minister going to the United States, where many people expected him to secure a joint declaration by President Johnson and himself to the effect that their nationals were not to ship or carry oil to Rhodesia, but where, instead, we have merely had pious platitudes from the U.S.A. and many other countries compared with this Order which will be effective only in respect of British nationals.

We have had a statement in the House that the oil-producing States will refuse to supply oil to Rhodesia, but once oil goes into a tanker the oil-producing States have no control over its destination and indeed no knowledge of its destination. This Order cannot possibly be effective either in Angola, which produces oil, or in South Africa where it is refined. I believe, therefore, that the Order will, of necessity, escalate into a blockade, perhaps to start with of Beira, after which the Government may soon be urged, again by the United Nations, to increase their scope to cover all the South African ports.

The African pressure which has been exerted on the Government during the past few weeks, has been largely directed by a small number of men in Africa who wish to eliminate the 4 million whites in Southern Africa, and who expect us to start doing this job for them. The Leader of the Opposition said today that he did not believe that the oil sanctions under the Order would necessitate the use of force, and I agree with him. But I believe that this power in the hands of our Prime Minister will lead to the use of force, and I am not prepared to take that risk.

The Prime Minister said today that he was opposed to an invasion of Rhodesia, but added a few minutes later that force to make the oil sanctions work was a different matter. I believe that he will be driven to use force and will try to disguise it by saying that it is action in support of the United Nations. I believe that the Afro-Asian majority at the United Nations will jump at this; that the U.N. would willingly blockade Beira and, if it can find anyone to do this work, that it will extend to a blockade of the whole of Southern Africa; that this could lead to the entry of a United Nations force into Zambia; and that this could in turn lead to the invasion to Rhodesia to which the Prime Minister says that he is opposed. Because of all these consequences flowing from this Order, I am opposed to it and will vote against it.

10.48 p.m.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

I am surprised, not for the first time. I was under the impression that the Leader of the Opposition, supplemented by the former Prime Minister, was agreed that the Government were correct in their judgment about the imposition of oil sanctions. I am ready to be corrected, but that was my impression. Now I discover that several hon. Members on the other side of the House are revolting against their leaders. This breaks my heart. Of course, I am sorely tempted to encourage them: the Labour Party will gain considerably from a split in the Tory ranks. But I beg them not to revolt against their leaders. We have to weigh the political advantage which may accrue to the Labour Party—and there may be a snap election—[AN HON. MEMBER: Who are the patriots now?]—if and when there is another election, because of this turbulence in the Tory ranks, which we deplore—against the advantage which will accrue to Great Britain, the enhancement of its prestige in the eyes of the world, if we display unity on an important and vital issue of this kind.

There is the choice. Politically speaking, from an electoral point of view, I would prefer a split in the Tory ranks. I should love to see——

Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Stretford

Order. The right hon. Gentleman is getting very far from the Order which we are discussing.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

I am very innocent in these matters. I should have thought that that was the issue before the House. Do we accept the Government's proposition or do we reject it? I gather from the speeches I have heard since entering the Chamber that some hon. Gentlemen opposite, no doubt from genuine conviction, would prefer not to have oil sanctions and would, therefore, be disposed to reject the Order. If so, let them be honest about it and demonstrate their integrity by being counted when the vote takes place. It would be deplorable—and the country would be disturbed and the caucuses in the Tory constituencies would be equally concerned—if they did not have the courage of their convictions. However, if they do not have that courage we will have to bear it with our customary fortitude.

At exactly what are hon. Gentlemen opposite driving? There is almost complete unanimity on the benches opposite about the need to avoid violence and force. These—the hon. Gentlemen opposite—are the new pacifists. They are usurping the function of my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes).

Photo of Mr Emrys Hughes Mr Emrys Hughes , South Ayrshire

I trust that my right hon. Friend will remember that the Prime Minister is against bloody war, too, so that we are all pacifists now.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

My hon. Friend argues in a global fashion. I want to be more selective. I should not be surprised if, before long, hon. Gentlemen opposite demand that the Polaris submarine bases be removed from this country. There is no saying how far they will go.

Photo of Sir Douglas Glover Sir Douglas Glover , Ormskirk

On a point of order. For our guidance, Mr. Deputy Speaker, can Polaris submarines, which run on nuclear fuel, have anything to do with this oil Order?

Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Stretford

I agree that it seems to be rather far from the subject under discussion. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will now come to the Order.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

I was merely trying to pour a little oil on troubled waters, Mr. Deputy Speaker. What are hon. Gentlemen opposite troubled about? Why do they object to my expressing my honest opinion? Is it because they dislike what I am saying, because I have found them out or because they dislike being exposed to the country? These pseudo patriots ! Is that why they object?

Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Stretford

Order. The right hon. Gentleman really must come to the point of the Order before the House.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

I believe that it is a good Order. [Interruption.] What is wrong with hon. Gentlemen opposite? Why can I see one of them glaring at me so? I assure him that I am not troubled by the severity of the look he is giving me. His judgment is very faulty and defective. [Interruption.] I will not shirk the implied rebuke that what I am saying is buffoonery. In today's proceedings we have had not only an example of buffoonery but of political manoeuvrability of the most despicable kind. Hon. Gentlemen opposite know that to be the truth. Talk about playing politics. We have had a manifestation of playing politics in the course of our deliberations——

Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Stretford

Order. The right hon. Gentleman really must now discuss the Order which is before the House.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

I reject the argument which was adduced by the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall). Anyway, we know his views on this matter. What has he just said? He has said that the results of this Order will be a disposition to employ force. Force against whom? Against Rhodesia? Does the hon. Gentleman suggest that? He does? Then by whom? Does he suggest that the Government contemplate using British Forces, either on the ground or in the air or on the sea, against Rhodesia? Is that what he suggests?

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

The right hon. Gentleman cannot have been listening to what I was saying. I said that I believed that the Government would use the United Nations as a cloak for the use of force to blockade Beira, which could extend to U.N. intervention in Zambia, and a possible blockade of the whole of Southern Africa.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

There was a suggestion that I am out of order, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, but is the hon. Gentleman in order in making accusations that the Government will use the United Nations as a cloak in order to cover up their own intents'? Is that in order—an allegation of that kind against the Government? If so, how was it that we had those speeches from the leader of the Opposition on the previous occasion?

If this is in order, whom are we to believe? Whom are we to trust on the other side—the leaders of the Opposition or the back benchers who were making a noise just now, and objecting to my observations? Whom are we to believe? Anyhow, let us see what happens at the end of this debate. Let them be counted for what they are, and for what they are worth in the eyes of the country.

10.56 p.m.

Photo of Mr Graham Page Mr Graham Page , Crosby

The House enjoys the childish games—or the second-childish games of the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), Mr. Deputy Speaker, but we are discussing an extremely serious Order. I object to this Order because it seeks to empower the Government to go further than the Order itself allows. It gives the Govern-tent the power by further Order to extend their powers under this Order without presenting that further Order to this House. I strongly object to that being done.

The Preamble to the present Order is that the Order is made in the exercise of powers under the Southern Rhodesia Act, 1965, whereby Her Majesty … may by Order in Council make such provision … as appears to Her to be necessary or expedient in consequence of any unconstitutional action taken therein. That is, in Southern Rhodesia.

This Order requires the approval of both Houses of Parliament within 28 days of being made, but it also seeks to give the Government the power to extend this Order by an Order which does not need the approval of the House. That is shown in Article 7(3). It purports to permit the Government to extend this Order to the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, Colonies, Protectorates and countries over which Her Majesty has foreign jurisdiction without producing that Order to the House for approval, but merely laying it as a Statutory Instrument.

I have three specific complaints to make about the Order. The first is its ambiguity. I refer the right hon. and learned Gentleman to Article 7(3), which seeks to extend this Order to those countries I have mentioned. It seeks to extend Article 2—but what in Article 2 does it seek to extend? Article 2 relates to ships and aircraft. Does it seeks to extend the Order to the ships and aircraft of other countries? I ask, because paragraph (3) states: This Article applies to British ships registered in the United Kingdom or in any other country or place to which the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965 extends. … If the right hon. and learned Gentleman refers to the Act, he will find that it already applies to those countries mentioned in Article 7, so Article 7 cannot refer to extension of this Order in regard to ships and aircraft. If it does not, then it must refer to the Government's extension of the Order to acts occurring to or from those other countries. Is that the case?

Article 2 refers to petroleum being taken to or from Southern Rhodesia. Is it intended to extend that so that it applies to petroleum to or from the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, the Colonies and the Protectorates? That is how the Order reads.

I therefore object to it, first, on the ground of ambiguity. I object to it on the ground that every Order should be justified under the Act as one which appears to be necessary or expedient in consequence of an unconstitutional act taken in Southern Rhodesia. The Select Committee on Statutory Instruments has already raised this matter in connection with a previous Order of this Government. The fact that those words are not included in this Order shows that the Government are ignoring the Select Committee and its recommendations to the House.

Finally, I object to the Order because it extends further than is allowed by the Southern Rhodesia Act, 1965, which allows Orders in Council to authorise further Orders if the latter are "incidental, supplemental or consequential" upon the parent Order. Can it be said that it is incidental, supplemental or consequential to apply au Order, which applies to the United Kingdom, to all the other countries mentioned in Article 7? This would not be just incidental or supplemental or consequential. It would be a new Order altogether. Why do the Government seek to do these things in this hole and corner way? If they seek to do the things mentioned in the Order without bringing them before the House, how far do they intend to go in making Orders without bringing them before the House?

11.2 p.m.

Photo of Dr Maurice Miller Dr Maurice Miller , Glasgow Kelvingrove

The hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) accuses the Government of using their powers to govern. Surely he realises that everything which is now taking place was inevitable. It became inevitable when the decision was taken by the previous Smith Government. If we mean to restore constitutional government in Rhodesia, the hon. Member must realise that every step now proposed must be taken. Did the Smith Government misread the signs? Were they depending upon people in this country who were advising them wrongly as it subsequently transpired? Did they believe that what would happen in this country should not be taken too seriously and that we were merely making gestures? This was the burden of some of the speeches we have heard about Rhodesia.

The hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) asked what would be the effect upon the British economy. It comes not as a surprise or a shock but it takes one aback a little to hear someone whose Government left a £800 million deficit suddenly asking us this and using it perhaps as an excuse for doing nothing in this case. We have duties to discharge to the Commonwealth and to other human beings. We know that we cannot discharge those duties without their costing us something. After all, we spend £2,000 million a year on defence against what is perhaps a hypothetical enemy.

It is seldom that both moral and practical issues are so clearly seen. There is a clear moral issue here, a clear moral lead which this country must take. There is also the practical implication. We live in a world of 3,500 million people, and more than two-thirds of them are not white people. Surely, no hon. or right hon. Member will deny that every step must be taken to restore constitutional Government in Rhodesia. Some hon. Members seem to worry about what is happening or what may happen in Zambia. Has Zambia indicated that she does not want us to take the steps we are proposing to take?

Perhaps the most important point is this. Are we united in our desire to bring about the end of the rebel Government, and are we discussing only the means to do it? There are only three possibilities. The first is that we apply sanctions of all kinds——

Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Stretford

Order. We are discussing only one sanction at this time.

Photo of Dr Maurice Miller Dr Maurice Miller , Glasgow Kelvingrove

I appreciate that, Mr. Deputy Speaker, and I shall try to confine my observations to this particular sanction. We must apply the oil embargo, and we must apply it forcibly—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh".]—I did not say by military force, but forcibly because sanctions are force, economic force—or we must use military means, which we do not want to do. This has been made quite clear. The third possibility is that we permit the Smith regime to carry on. If we adopt the third course, we condemn 4 million people in Rhodesia to virtual slavery, and we lose every vestige of principle and morals we ever possessed. We ought not to discuss these things in terms of patronising or giving benefits to the coloured people of Rhodesia. We do not give people something if they are entitled to it and it has been denied them for many years.

Oil sanctions will increase Mr. Smith's difficulties. If this is what we want, we must pass the Order and agree to an oil embargo. On the other hand, if our object is to make it easier for him, we should oppose the application of an oil embargo. Not many hon. Members have admitted openly that it is their intention to make things easier for Mr. Smith. The Leader of the Opposition has stated that he is not in favour of the continuation of the rebel régime and, therefore, by implication—indeed, he has said it openly—he agrees that an oil embargo must be imposed.

The British people expect the Government to act on principle and give a lead. I respectfully suggest that this is what we should be giving tonight.

11.9 p.m.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon , Wells

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Dr. Miller) talked about giving the Africans something. He seems to have failed to realise that the imposition of sanctions in general, and this sanction in particular, will remove from many hundreds of thousands of Africans something which to them is probably the most valuable thing in their lives—stable employment on good wages. [Laughter.] Those who indulge in laughter at this matter, which to many hundreds of thousands of Africans is a serious matter, are only exhibiting their own abysmal ignorance.

My objection to the Order is based on several grounds. To start with, the Prime Minister has continuously since the beginning of this very sad episode shifted his ground. We were told at the beginning that sanctions were not to be punitive. Only this evening, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs used the words "without rancour and without vindictiveness".

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon , Wells

We are discussing the oil Order tonight, if the hon. Gentleman will be a little patient for the moment. He has the reputation of being a little bad tempered about these matters. So I entreat him this evening to hold his wrath for a little until he has heard what I have to say.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

I am just trying to keep the hon. and gallant Gentleman in order. That is all.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon , Wells

This Order imposing this last sanction can be one of two things. It can be a reformative sanction, or it can be a punitive sanction. I submit that the main reason why it is so wrong is that it is punitive. It will destroy the economies of two countries—Zambia, which is quite innocent in this matter, as well as Southern Rhodesia. Quite apart from that, we ought to ask ourselves this general question when discussing any form of sanction. This is a little wide of the Order under consideration. What is the ultimate purpose of a sanction? What is the ultimate purpose of stopping the oil supplies to Southern Rhodesia?

I would say that the ultimate purpose of this sanction and any other sanction should not be to punish the perpetrators of an illegal régime, because régimes cannot be punished. The people punished in the long run are the ordinary common people of the country, and they surely in this case do not deserve punishment. What we want to do is to bring those reasonable elements within Rhodesia into a position where they are prepared either to persuade their leaders to negotiate or else to find leaders who will negotiate on a reasonable and sensible basis.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon , Wells

Let me finish my argument first. Then I will give way. This sanction will do nothing of the sort. There is plenty of evidence already coming out of Rhodesia that these sanctions, and particularly this one, if it is implemented, will just harden opinion in favour of Mr. Smith's régime. For that reason, I consider that it will be completely abortive and cannot support it.

Photo of Mr Christopher Rowland Mr Christopher Rowland , Meriden

Before the hon. and gallant Member sits down——

Photo of Sir Samuel Storey Sir Samuel Storey , Stretford

The hon. and gallant Gentleman has sat down. Mr. Richard.

11.14 p.m.

Photo of Mr Ivor Richard Mr Ivor Richard , Barons Court

This is in many ways a much more honest debate than the earlier debate. At least the Rhodesian lobby is now out in the open where we can see it. The speech of the hon. and gallant Member for Wells (Lieut.-Commander Maydon) seemed to me to indicate very clearly where that lobby stands in relation not only to this sanction but to the other sanctions which have been imposed. The hon. and gallant Gentleman drew a distinction between punitive sanctions and a beast I have never heard of before, which he called a reformative sanction. I do not know quite what sanctions he puts into that class, since the lobby of which he apparently is a member has consistently opposed the imposition of any substantial sanction since the U.D.I.

Photo of Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon Lieut-Colonel Stephen Maydon , Wells

The question is whether sanctions are reformative or punitive. The earlier sanctions which were the immediate result of U.D.I., which inevitably followed the consequential sanctions, were undoubtedly reformative and not punitive.

Photo of Mr Ivor Richard Mr Ivor Richard , Barons Court

The hon. and gallant Member now talks of "consequential sanctions". I am afraid that I do not understand, either, what they are. If hon. Members opposite are going to go into this sort of nonsense and talk of sanctions falling into this category or that, then somebody on that side of the House should decide into which category the various sanctions are to be put. The hon. and gallant Member says that this is not a reformative sanction at all but a punitive one and may very well hurt the very people in Rhodesia who are most deserving of the protection of this House. Yet another lobby said that it would cause chaos and bloodshed in Rhodesia, while at the same time as that argument is being made we hear that it will be ineffective in any case.

How can a punitive sanction—which we are told that this country cannot impose in any case because no other country will follow it up, and which will be ineffective—cause chaos and bloodshed? That really is something which I cannot understand. With the greatest respect to those in the Rhodesian lobby, I do ask that they get the logic of their situation right before they come along at this hour of the night projecting some of the humbug and nonsense we have heard. I should like to follow this from that point.

We have had a demonstration by right hon. and hon. Members of the Opposition—and I mean not just the Front Bench but the Opposition as a whole—unequalled, so far as my political experience goes. Here, tonight, we have an Order imposing the most serious of all the sanctions which this Government has so far thought it necessary to impose against Rhodesia. The House has heard views from the Opposition as to whether a tobacco embargo should be imposed, and whether a sugar ban should be imposed, and even whether a total trading ban should be undertaken. Yet this is the only sanction which this House has discussed in this whole Rhodesian affair in which we have not had the official view from the Opposition Front Bench.

Perhaps that is slightly unfair. We did get an opinion from the Leader of the Opposition this afternoon saying that he would support an oil sanction, while the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home) said that he would, too. What we have is a straightforward rebellion against the Front Bench on the U.D.I., and what the House as a whole objects to is the cowardice of the Tory Front Bench in having given as its only advice in the matter of this most serious of sanctions that hon. Members should abstain from voting.

What is the country at large to make of such a piece of manoeuvring—[Interruption.] I will make my own speech in my own way and in my own time. We have heard already enough to make tears come to my eyes, at least. We have heard that the Rhodesia lobby is concerned only with the interests of Zambia; but what a lot of nonsense! Have its members asked the Zambians? Have they had any talks with President Kaunda? Has anybody got that sort of opinion? Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Preston, North (Mr. J. Amery), who has just come back into the Chamber, can assist us by saying to what extent the Zambian people are to be helped by this sanction.

Photo of Bernard Braine Bernard Braine , Essex South East

Mr. Bernard Braine (Essex, South-East) rose——

Photo of Mr Ivor Richard Mr Ivor Richard , Barons Court

Normally I am quite prepared to give way in debate, but, frankly, the conduct of the Opposition earlier today and in the course of the debate this evening does not encourage me to allow hon. Members opposite to interrupt me during the few remarks which I want to make.

The Rhodesian lobby tell us that their opposition to the Order is based upon the effect which it will have upon the Africans in Rhodesia. What information have they about the effect upon the Africans in Rhodesia? Have they some information which we do not have? Have they some information that Mr. Nkomo, who is apparently in restriction, and the African Nationalist Party in Rhodesia are opposed to the imposition of this oil embargo? I have seen no such information in the Press. If any right hon. or hon. Gentleman can give me that information I will willingly give way to him.

The hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) was at least honest when he said that the basis of his opposition to the Order was that he did not trust the Prime Minister. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I am obliged for those cheers which I accept from the source from which they come. If the view of Opposition back-bench Members is that they do not trust the Prime Minister, is that the view of the Opposition Front Bench? Are they saying that in acquiescing in the noises which are coming from their back benches? It is a very grave charge to make, and it ought to be justified, if it can be justified. Do they believe that the Prime Minister is misleading the House and the country about Rhodesia? I notice that the cheers are getting fewer, and I trust that by the end of the debate, when we vote, they will be down to the residue on the other side of the House.

Photo of Mr Ivor Richard Mr Ivor Richard , Barons Court

I will not give way. There are hon. Members opposite whom I call the Rhodesian lobby, and who, as my hon. Friends have said, do not want the Government to succeed in their opposition to the Smith régime. The longer this whole affair drags on, the more Orders about Rhodesia that are brought before the House and the more debates about Rhodesia there are, the clearer it becomes that there are hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite who are only too anxious that Smith should succeed. But I do not address myself only to those in the Rhodesian lobby. Hon. Members on the Front Bench below the Gangway opposite, may be satisfied with the way in which the Opposition have behaved today. I wonder whether some hon. Members on the back benches opposite, of whom I thought better, are just as satisfied.

11.24 p.m.

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

I have not listened with any pleasure, nor, probably, I think, have the majority of the House to the speech which we have just heard by the hon. Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard). It has confirmed the view which I have had through 20 years of experience in the House—that the more offensive in tone a speech is, the less its effect on the House. At one stage, the hon. Member prayed his political experience in aid in support of his argument. His political experience is short, slight, slender and unsubstantial, if those words are apposite tonight.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

Who is being offensive now?

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

The right hon. Gentleman made a long speech and I am seeking to make a short speech which will, I hope, be strictly to the point of the Question now before the House.

I think that every hon. Member has brought and should have brought careful consideration to the issue which lies before us tonight. It can be formulated into three questions which should be answered. First, will oil sanctions as proposed to be imposed prove effective? Secondly, will the hardship which they may bring in their train be disproportionate to the chances of their proving effective? Thirdly, will these sanctions carry an unacceptable risk of involving resort to force?

On all these three matters it is inescapable that the burden of proof lies on the Government, as it must, and I venture to submit that in none of those questions have the Government succeeded in discharging that burden of proof. When I use the words "burden of proof" in the House I am not using the phrase with the strict and particular exactitude with which it is used in the courts where the right hon. and learned Gentleman and myself from time to time meet in friendly forensic conflict. Certainly if we applied those strict standards of proof, everybody would have to concede at once that the Governments' case would be struck out for disclosing no cause of action. I am not proposing to apply that strictness of proof here tonight. I am simply applying the robust, practical, common sense standard of proof which we would expect in the House of Commons; and, applying that standard of proof, none of those questions can confidently be answered in the way in which the Government would wish.

On the first of these matters, whether the sanctions would prove effective, there are two questions. The first concerns the stocks and possible substitute supplies, dealt with so clearly by my right hon. Friend the Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser), and the second is the question of the chances of a continued supply in spite of our sanctions. The right hon. and learned Gentleman was good enough to refer to the point which I put to the Prime Minister yesterday. Of course it is a fact and is confirmed that we have the unique position of being the only country, so far as we know, to bring this prohibition on oil supplies within the ambit of penal control. I fully accept that the United States and the other countries are sincere in their protestations as to the exhortations which they will give to their suppliers and their hope that they will be complied with. But exhortation is not a substitute for law, and all experience shows it, not only in this country, but in the United States and other countries as well.

There is a provision in the Order saying that the provisions can be applied to foreign countries over whom we have jurisdiction. But it is the countries over whom we have no jurisdiction that we have to take into account. While I accept their good will, they will not be on the same footing as this country. Therefore, we cannot consider that the burden of proof has been discharged in regard to this question either.

I come briefly to the third question—whether it would be likely to involve an unacceptable risk of resort to force. I accept entirely that the Prime Minister is sincere when he says that he does not wish to resort to force. But there is a legal maxim, which will be well known to the right hon. and learned Gentleman—people are presumed to intend the natural consequences of their acts. We have therefore to look to see what is likely to ensue from the imposition of these sanctions.

Photo of Mr William Molloy Mr William Molloy , Ealing North

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman not agree that what he has just said applies, with greater force, to this illegal régime of Smith and his colleagues?

Photo of Mr Derek Walker-Smith Mr Derek Walker-Smith , Hertfordshire East

I have said what I had to say about that. I pointed out that it was an illegal and foolish action when I made my speech on the Rhodesian Constitutional Order in Council. I do not want to repeat what I said then within the narrower ambit of what we are now discussing. The question that we must face is, accepting the sincerity of the right hon. Gentleman, what will the position be if the policy of oil sanctions drives him, unwillingly, to resort to force. Suppose the choice becomes this, the failure of sanctions or resort to force by way of blockade?

As I understood the right hon. Gentleman he has not excluded the possibility of the use of force if it comes to that position. The question we have to ask is, where will it end'? Before asking that we need to ask, where will it begin? It will begin with the imposition of force on third-party countries, not themselves parties to the dispute. This will raise very grave questions of international law. We ought not to embark upon this lightly or without great consideration and restraint on the part of the Government and this House. It should not be forgotten that this will arise within the ambit of a matter which lies within Article 2(7) of the United Nations Charter—that is, within the domestic jurisdiction of this country. It is the pith and purport of the case made by the Government that this is a domestic matter and that the Government of Rhodesia is still exercised from this country.

In conclusion, I accept that the right hon. Gentleman and his right hon. Friends do not want to resort to force. I cannot resist the conclusion, however, that if these sanctions are imposed they may be driven, in the event to force, unwillingly, imperceptibly, but ineluctably and inexorably. There being this possibility, I feel it is my duty to vote against this Order.

11.28 p.m.

Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln

I am sorry that the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith) took exception to the approach of my hon. Friend the Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard). We realise that the right hon. and learned Gentleman's oratorical style is more elaborate and circumlocutious. He raised a number of points which need looking at. The right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) suggested that one of the difficulties of this Order is that outside powers will be involved. If this is the objection why was the same objection not raised to the imposition of the tobacco or sugar sanctions? There was no vote on them. It is suggested that other Powers may not support this sanctions, because they have not taken legal action. There has been every support for the other sanctions from a large number of Powers, who were more concerned to suppress the Rhodesian régime than many hon. Members opposite.

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

There have been no Orders before this House introducing tobacco or sugar sanctions.

Photo of Mr Dick Taverne Mr Dick Taverne , Lincoln

Technically the right hon. Gentleman is right, but the issue of these Orders has certainly been discussed, as has the question of whether to oppose them, to move a Motion of censure or to vote against them. There was no opposition then. The Leader of the Opposition said that, so far, all these were measures which he had not opposed and which he was willing to support.

Part of the trouble on the benches opposite is that some hon. Members make a perfectly valid point when they question whether the sanctions will be effective—this is a matter which must certainly be looked into—and some hon. Members opposite question them because they will be effective. Amongst these are to be found hon. Members who bring their cars into the car park here with "Support Rhodesia" labels on the back of their car. These are people who ask for support for a rebellious act against the Crown. I wonder sometimes whether some of the leaders of the Opposition Front Bench would not denounce some of this blatant support for the rebellion.

Let the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East argue the question of effectiveness with his right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, because the Leader of the Opposition told us this afternoon that he would support the oil sanctions; he thought that they would work. He did not think that further measures would be required.

The hon. and gallant Member for Wells (Lieut.-Commander Maydon), apparently disagreeing with his right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition concerning effectiveness, said that one of the results of the Order might be that Africans were hurt. It is true that effective sanctions will hurt not only rebels, but other people in Rhodesia. That is a valid point. It is, however, a point which must be faced about every sanction that is proposed. If sanctions do not hurt, there is no point whatever in imposing them.

If the only purpose of sanctions was to show a sign of our disapproval, do hon. Members opposite really think that by ticking off the rebellion the régime in Rhodesia would say, "We are sorry, we did not realise that you would disapprove, we will now come to heel"? Until sanctions hurt, which must mean hurting innocent citizens as well as those who support the rebellion, there is no prospect of a return to constitutional rule.

The hon. and learned Gentleman asked whether this sanction was likely to lead to resort to force. In all this, there is one consideration which hon. Members opposite completely fail to consider. Suppose that we do nothing. Suppose that we do not impose sanctions and that we do nothing to reassure African and world opinion that we are determined to bring the rebellion to an end. Do hon. Members opposite think that in those circumstances there is no likelihood of resort to force by anybody else? Do they imagine that if we sit back, let the rebel regime take its course and say, "We are sorry, it may be a rebellion, but there is nothing we can do or intend to do about it", other Powers will do nothing whatever about the enslavement of 4 million Africans? That could never be the outcome.

It is suggested that a result of this sanction might be that at some stage somebody will take it further. That may be the case. The Leader of the Opposition thinks not, but it may well be that because we have no legal authority to enforce it against Portugal, and because South Africa is not under a legal obligation to observe it, if at some stage, contrary to the view of the Leader of the Opposition, further action is necessary, there will be a mandatory resolution in the United Nations. Because of the legal authority that a mandatory resolution in the United Nations would provide, Portugal would be legally bound to observe the sanction.

There is at present no reason to suppose that Portugal and South Africa, which have played the matter strictly according to the legal position, would necessarily ignore a mandatory resolution of the Security Council. The great question, however, which hon. Members opposite must face is that if we are not prepared to take effective action, impose severe sanctions and get the co-operation of the Powers which are co-operating with the tobacco and sugar sanctions also, the conflict which they so much fear is much more likely to come about than as a result of the policy which is now being followed.

11.40 p.m.

Photo of Mr Eric Lubbock Mr Eric Lubbock , Orpington

The hon. and learned Member for Lincoln (Mr. Taverne) is quite correct in underlining the risk that, if we do not impose effective sanctions, there will be a resort to force by other Powers in the world besides ourselves. I think that we ought to bear that in mind in looking at the remarks of the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East (Sir D. Walker-Smith), who said that failure of sanctions might involve resort to force by the use of a blockade. That is perfectly true, but the resort to force by the use of a blockade will be a much less harmful alternative to the people of Rhodesia and the people of Africa as a whole than the resort to force by other Powers in the continent of Africa—[Interruption.] The hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) may not agree with what I have to say, but I hope that he will listen to me with the same respect that I listened to him.

Not all Conservatives follow the line which has been expressed this evening. I am very pleased that that is so and that there is a cross-current of opinion which makes this a non-political matter. I would like to treat it as such, if I may be permitted to do so—[Interruption.] The right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East asked three questions: would oil sanctions prove effective, would they produce hardship disproportionate to their chances of being effective, and would there be unacceptable risk of the resort to force? It is important for anyone who is taking part in the debate to provide the answers to those questions.

I would say that oil sanctions are likely to prove effective. It is a pity that the Government did not take this action earlier on, and I was in full support of my hon. Friend the Member for Devon, North (Mr. Thorpe) when he complained about the delivery of oil by the tanker "British Security" to the port of Beira. At that time, the Prime Minister was saying still that the oil embargo bristled with difficulties, and that he was not in a position to come to the House with firm proposals. I think that, in the light of experience, it would have been much better if the oil embargo had been imposed before the tanker, which was under British control, had reached that Portuguese port and discharged her cargo of 21,000 tons of oil which is now bringing aid and comfort to the rebel regime of Rhodesia.

It is certainly true that if the sanctions which have been imposed so far have proved partially effective, the addition of oil sanctions to those that we have imposed hitherto is likely to be more effective, and that is the answer to the first question which was posed by the right hon. and learned Member for Hertfordshire, East.

Then he asked if the hardship will be disproportionate to the chances of these sanctions being effective, and I would say to the right hon. and learned Gentleman that inevitably the sanctions which we have imposed and which our allies, the Americans, the French and the Germans, are now imposing on oil are likely to bring some degree of hardship to the people of Rhodesia, both black and white. But unless there is some hardship among the people of that country, they are unlikely to come to their senses and agree that the illegal declaration of independence has been a gross aberration and mistake on the part of the Smith régime.

Thirdly, I think that it is quite obvious to anyone who has considered the matter at all that if we want to avoid the use of force we must use every possible peaceful means, including the imposition of oil sanctions, before we go any further. It strikes me as very odd that those who are most irrevocably opposed to the use of force against the illegal régime are those who cry out loudest against the imposition of an oil sanction. I think that there is something inconsistent in this attitude, and that they ought to attempt, at least in their speeches this evening, to try to reconcile that conflict.

The hon. Member for Barons Court (Mr. Richard) rightly asked what kind of sanctions the Opposition would like to impose, and into which categories they would like to divide them. I do not think that one can do this. We have embarked on a course from which there is no turning back. If we wish, as I think the whole House does, to crush the rebellion of the Smith régime, we must go on imposing sanctions until it is brought back into the path of constitutional government.

It is quite unrealistic to talk, as the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Graham Page) does, about the incidental and supplemental provisions of this Order. This evening we have to stand up and be counted. Are we on the side of illegal rebellion by a small junta in Rhodesia, or are we in favour of the restoration of constitutional government in that territory'? Are we prepared to accept, as I believe a small minority of hon. Members on this side of the House are, the de facto existence of a police State in a territory which is supposedly under our control or are we determined to do everything in the power of this House to quell that revolt?

I have always been an admirer of the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), but I was disappointed in his speech this evening. I think that he has been mistaken in attempting to focus the attention of the House on the political aspects of this problem, and I think that he has underestimated the seriousness of the position which faces this House, this country, and the world as a whole in dealing with the Rhodesian problem. I think that this is far too serious an issue for the kind of levity with which he treated the House.

Photo of Mr Emanuel Shinwell Mr Emanuel Shinwell , Easington

I regard the matter as seriously and as gravely as anyone in this House. I had to deal with the subject when I was representing the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association at the recent Parliamentary Conference, but I am entitled to point out that the Leader of the Opposition and the previous Prime Minister both agreed with the Government about the imposition of oil sanctions, and implied that they would not vote against the Order. The difference of opinion seems to be on the part of some hon. Members on the back benches opposite. Surely I am entitled to point that out?

Photo of Mr Eric Lubbock Mr Eric Lubbock , Orpington

The point which the right hon. Gentleman has missed is that we are trying to preserve some national unity on this matter, and he has attempted to drive a wedge in the Conservative Party, in the unfortunate division which already exists in the official Opposition, and I think that it is his duty to try to help them to rally behind the Government. That is my opinion. The right hon. Gentleman may disagree with me, but I think that if he asks the Prime Minister he will find a different point of view.

The Prime Minister has tried his best to rally national support behind the policy which he has advocated all along, and hitherto he has been remarkably successful in doing so. But today we find the first signs of a rift in the official Opposition, and the right hon. Gentleman, instead of trying to rally support behind the Government for their policy, has attempted to drive a wedge in the Conservative Party and to widen and to exacerbate the divisions which have already appeared.

Photo of Mr Ioan Evans Mr Ioan Evans , Birmingham, Yardley

Before the hon. Member sits down——

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

Order. I think that the hon. Member has sat down.

Photo of Mr Eric Lubbock Mr Eric Lubbock , Orpington

No, Mr. Speaker; I had given way to the hon. Member.

Photo of Mr Ioan Evans Mr Ioan Evans , Birmingham, Yardley

Would not the hon. Member agree that it is the function of the Leader of the Opposition to keep his party together, and not that of hon. Members on this side of the House?

Photo of Mr Eric Lubbock Mr Eric Lubbock , Orpington

I agree that the Leader of the Opposition is paid a salary for that purpose, but that is not of the utmost importance. What I am considering is the position of this country in the world, what we are trying to achieve in Rhodesia, and what our object is in the United Nations and the Commonwealth as a whole, and I do not think that the right hon. Member for Easington has been very helpful in the task that we are trying to undertake this evening.

Mention has been made by hon. and right hon. Members on this side of the House of the hardships which they say will be caused to the people of Zambia by the imposition of the oil sanctions. It is extremely important for the Government to back up the Government and people of Zambia to the utmost. I am extremely pleased that an airlift has been organised for oil into Zambia, and that the Americans have promised to support us in this. I see that we have already sent a Britannia aircraft with oil to Zambia, but I should like to know why we should not also use Belfast aircraft, which have a much greater capacity than the Britannias, and also the VC10s, which I understand have been newly taken over by Transport Command.

The right hon. Member for Stafford and Stone (Mr. Hugh Fraser) has expressed unrepresentative views, and the hon. Member for Haltemprice outrageous views. I hope that when this debate is read in Rhodesia, as no doubt it will be, full account will be taken of the views expressed in the opposite sense from hon. Members on both sides of the House—not only from the Government benches but also from the Conservative benches—because it is extremely important to preserve at least an element of bi-partisanship on this issue.

I agree absolutely with the Prime Minister that notice is taken of the speeches of hon. Members who are against the Government policy on Rhodesia and not the speeches of those in favour of the measures taken to restore that territory to constitutional Government. I hope that the broadcasts which are made by the B.B.C. from Bechuanaland and other places to the people of Rhodesia will take full account of the speeches of Conservative Members who support the oil sanctions imposed by this Order.

11.54 p.m.

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

We have heard some predictable criticism from a number of hon. Members, and I want to make it absolutely clear to the House that the Government's decision to make this Order was reached after a very thorough survey of all the practical problems involved. Only after we were completely convinced that oil sanctions were a workable proposition and that oil supplies could be maintained to Zambia did we decide to implement this Order.

I agree that the primary prerequisite of an effective embargo of this kind is the fullest international co-operation, and Her Majesty's Government have constantly stressed that unilateral action would be totally inadequate without the collective action which I have mentioned. In this respect, we have had the full backing and co-operation of the Government of the United States. They have welcomed and supported the decision of Her Majesty's Government to make the Order in Council, recognising the authority of this Government in this matter, and advising all United States citizens and enterprises to comply with the terms of the Order.

A number of hon. Members have asked what the United States Government are doing. I will give one example to the House. The Norwegian tanker the "Tamarita," on charter to the United States company Aminoil, was due to arrive at Beira on 22nd December with a cargo of crude oil for Rhodesia. I am able to tell the House that the United States Government have instructed the oil company concerned to divert the "Tamarita". This is the extent of the co-operation of the United States and the ability of that Government in this respect.

The responses of other Governments to our requests have also been encouraging. There seems to be a wide-scale willingness to help in all possible ways. I believe that, during my recent visit to Zambia, tangible results were achieved, in particular in arranging to supply Zambia with alternative supplies of petroleum if the Salisbury regime decided to suspend delivery. The institution of an airlift will be a major contribution to continuing these vital supplies. As the House knows, when Mr. Smith, in retaliation against the Order, refused to maintain supplies of oil to Zambia, two British aircraft were able to fly at once into Lusaka in accordance with our agreement. In this respect too, we have the fullest co-operation of the Government of the United States.

I should like to tell the House precisely what is being done over the airlift. It will initially consist of the provision of Britannias of Transport Command to fly oil from Dar-es-Salaam to Ndola. This will be supplemented shortly by a commercial airlift. The Canadian Government has also co-operated fully: they are providing C130s to supplement the British airlift. The United States Government is initially providing DC7 aircraft, which will operate from Elizabethville and Leopoldville to Ndola. This airlift will be supplemented by an additional supply transported by surface routes.

During my visit to Zambia, I discussed the best land routes into the country in great detail, bearing in mind that supplies from Rhodesia might be cut off, as they were. We are satisfied that the equipment requested by the Zambian Government and the other expenditure proposed were necessary to bring the routes to maximum capacity as quickly as possible, and a list was prepared of the equipment needed, most of which had been ordered in this country. From information we were given, it seems certain that, by about the end of April, the capacity of the land routes should be sufficient to cover Zambia's essential needs.

It is, of course, inevitable that there will still be a certain amount of hardship in Zambia. The Government of Zambia have decided to ration petroleum fairly strictly, although there will be a considerable relaxation once the airlift has reached its peak. In view of what some hon. Members have said, I should like to stress—it is important that I should make this point—that all our measures are being taken with the full agreement and co-operation of President Kaunda and the cabinet of Zambia.

Photo of Bernard Braine Bernard Braine , Essex South East

There is one question which has not been asked tonight and which, so far, has not been answered. [Laughter.] Before hon. Gentlemen opposite dissolve completely into laughter, I should point out that I asked the Prime Minister this question yesterday and he did not answer it. Has a calculation been made by the Government of the cost of this airlift to Zambia or are we entering into an open-

commitment at a time of acute economic stress in this country?

Photo of Mr Cledwyn Hughes Mr Cledwyn Hughes , Anglesey

Certainly calculations have been made. Her Majesty's Government would not enter into a commitment of this kind without having made careful calculations. [HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] This is a phased operation. As I have tried to explain—[Interruption.]—it would not be proper for me to give detailed calculations this evening. If I gave them they would be helpful to people whose only desire is to circumvent this embargo.

I would like, finally, to stress that the Order is designed to bring about the downfall of the illegal regime in Salisbury with the minimum possible delay. With each day that passes with the illegal regime still in office the difficulty of creating a genuine multi-racial society in Rhodesia increases. Tensions are building up throughout Africa. Failure to secure the rapid downfall of Smith and his associates will lead to others taking over the responsibility of that country for the solution of the problem. This could only lead to chaos and misery throughout Central Africa and a situation which would be to the detriment not only of all the peoples of Africa but also of the free world as a whole. It is for this reason that I ask the House to support the Order.

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Edward Short) rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.

Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.

Question put accordingly.

The House divided: Ayes 276, Noes 48.

Division No. 16.]AYES[12.2 a.m.
Abse, LeoBlenkinsop, ArthurClark, Henry (Antrim, N.)
Albu, AustenBoston, TerenceColeman, Donald
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)Bottomley, Rt. Hn. ArthurConlan, Bernard
Alldritt, WalterBowden, Rt. Hn. H. W. (Leics S.W.)Corbet, Mrs. Freda
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Boyden, JamesCousins, Rt. Hn. Frank
Armstrong, ErnestBraddock, Mrs. E. M.Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)
Atkinson, NormanBray, Dr. JeremyCrawshaw, Richard
Awdry, DanielBrinton, Sir TattonCronin, John
Bacon, Miss AliceBroughton, Dr. A. D. D.Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony
Bagier, Gordon A. T.Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & Fbury)Crossman, Rt. Hn. R. H. S.
Barnett, JoelBuchan Norman (Renfrewshire, W.)Dalyell, Tarn
Beamish, Col. Sir TuftonBuchanan, RichardDarling, George
Beaney, AlanButler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)Davies, C. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)
Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony WedgwoodButler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)Davies, Harold (Leek)
Berkeley, HumphryCallaghan, Rt. Hn. JamesDavies, Ifor (Gower)
Bessell, PeterCarlisle, Markde Freitas, Sir Geoffrey
Binns, JohnCarmichael, NeilDelargy, Hugh
Bishop, E. S.Carter-Jones, LewisDell, Edmund
Blackburn, F.Chapman, DonaldDempsey, James
Diamond, Rt. Hn. JohnJohnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)Perry, Ernest G.
Doig, PeterJohnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)Popplewell, Ernest
Driberg, TomJohnston, Russell (Inverness)Prentice, R. E.
Dully, Dr. A. E. P.Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Dunn, James A.Jones, Dan (Burnley)Probert, Arthur
Dunnett, JackJones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham,S.)Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Edelman, MauriceJones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)Randall, Harry
Edwards, Rt. Hn. Nest (Caerphilly)Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)Rees, Merlyn
Edwards, Robert (Bilston)Jopling, MichaelReynolds, G. W.
English, MichaelKelley, RichardRichard, Ivor
Ennals, DavidKenyon, CliffordRoberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Ensor, DavidKerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham)Rodgers, William (Stockton)
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)
Evans, loan (Birmingham, Yardley)Kirk, PeterRose, Paul B.
Fernyhough, E.Lawson, GeorgeRoss, Rt. Hn. William
Finch, Harold (Bedwellty)Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)Rowland, Christopher
Fisher, NigelLegge-Bourke, Sir HarrySt. John-Stevas, Norman
Fitch, Alan (Wigan)Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)Sheldon, Robert
Fletcher, Sir Eric (Islington, E.)Litchfield, Capt. JohnShepherd, William
Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)Lomas, KennethShinwell, Rt. Hn. E.
Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)Longden, GilbertShore, Peter (Stepney)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles (Darwen)Loughlin, CharlesShort, Rt. Hn. E. (N'c'tle-on-Tyne, C.)
Floud, BernardLubbock, EricShort, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N. E.)
Foley, MauriceMabon, Dr. J. DicksonSilkin, John (Deptford)
Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)McBride, NeilSilkin, S. C. (Camberwell, Dulwich)
Ford, BenMacColl, JamesSilverman, Julius (Aston)
Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)MacDermot, NiallSilverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Freeson, ReginaldMcKay, Mrs. MargaretSinclair, Sir George
Garrett, w. E.Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross & Crom'ty)Skeffington, Arthur
Garrow, AlexMackenzie, Gregor (Ruthergien)Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Ginsburg, DavidMackie, George Y. (C'ness & S'land)Small, William
Gourlay, HarryMackie, John (Enfield, E.)Snow, Julian
Greenwood, Rt. Hn. AnthonyMaddan, W. F. M.Soskice, Rt. Hn. Sir Frank
Gregory, ArnoldMahon, Peter (Preston, S.)Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Grey, CharlesMahon, Simon (Bootle)Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.)Swain, Thomas
Griffiths, Will (M'chester, Exchange)Manuel, ArchieSwingler, Stephen
Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.Mapp, CharlesSymonds, J. B.
Hale, LeslieMarten, NeilTaverne, Dick
Hamilton, William (West Fife)Mason, RoyTaylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Hamling, William (Woolwich, W.)Maude, AngusThomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Harper, JosephMayhew, ChristopherThomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)Mellish, RobertThomson, George (Dundee, E.)
Hattersley, RoyMendelson, J. J.Thornton, Ernest
Hazell, BertMeyer, Sir AnthonyThorpe, Jeremy
Healey, Rt. Hn. DenisMikardo, IanTilney, John (Wavertree)
Heffer, Eric S.Millan, BruceTinn, James
Herbison, Rt. Hn. MargaretMiller, Dr. M. S.Tuck, Raphael
Higgins, Terence L.Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)Urwin, T. W.
Hobden, Dennis (Brighton, K'town)Milne, Edward (Blyth)Varley, Eric G.
Holman, PercyMiscampbell, NormanWainwright, Edwin
Hooson, H. E.Molloy, WilliamWalker, Harold (Doncaster)
Hornby, RichardMonslow, WalterWallace, George
Horner, JohnMorris, Charles (Openshaw)Warbey, William
Houghton, Rt. Hn. DouglasMorris, John (Aberavon)Watkins, Tudor
Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)Murray, AlbertWeitzman, David
Howarth, Robert L. (Bolton, E.)Newens, StanWellbeloved, James
Howell, Denis (Small Heath)Nicholson, Sir GodfreyWells, William (Walsall, N.)
Howie, W.Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)White, Mrs. Eirene
Hoy, JamesNoel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)Whitlock, William
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)Norwood, ChristopherWigg, Rt. Hn. George
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)Ogden, EricWilley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Oram, Albert E. (E. Ham, S.)Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)
Hunt, John (Bromley)Orbach, MauriceWilliams, Clifford (Abertillery)
Hynd, John (Attercliffe)Orme, StanleyWilliams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)
Iremonger, T. L.Oswald, ThomasWilliams, W. T. (Warrington)
Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)Page, Derek (King's Lynn)Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Irving, Sydney (Dartford)Palmer, ArthurWinterbottom, R. E.
Jackson, ColinPannell, Rt. Hn. CharlesWyatt, Woodrow
Janner, Sir BarnettParker, JohnYates, Victor (Ladywood)
Jay, Rt. Hn. DouglasPavitt, LaurenceZilliacus, K.
Jeger, George (Goole)Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)Peart, Rt. Hn. FredTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)Pentland, NormanMr. John McCann and
Mr. Brian O'Malley.
NOES
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)Bruee-Gardyne, J.Currie, G. B. H.
Amery, Rt. Hn. JulianBullus, Sir EricDavies, Dr. Wyndham (Perry Barr)
Baker, W. H. K.Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)Digby, Simon Wingfield
Biggs-Davison, JohnCordle, JohnFell, Anthony
Box, DonaldCraddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)Fletcher-Cooke, Sir John (S'pton)
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)Cunningham, Sir KnoxFraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)
Grieve, PercyLucas, Sir JocelynTeeling, Sir William
Griffiths, Peter (Smethwick)Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C,Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)
Hay, JohnMott-Radclyffe, Sir CharlesTurton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Hirst, GeoffreyNeave, AireyWalker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
Hordern, PeterNicholls, Sir HarmarWall, Patrick
Howard, Hn. G. R. (St. Ives)Page, John (Harrow, w.)Weatherill, Bernard
Hutchison, Michael ClarkQuennell, Miss J. M,Wells, John (Maidstone)
Jennings, J. CRoberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)Woodnutt, Mark
Kerby, Capt. HenryTalbot, John E.
Lagden, GodfreyTaylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Lloyd, Ian (P'tsmth, Langstone)Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)Mr. Stephen Hastings and
Mr. Victor Goodbew.

Resolved,That the Southern Rhodesia (Petroleum) Order, 1965, dated 17th December, 1965, made by Her Majesty in Council under the Southern Rhodesia Act 1965, a copy of which was laid before this House on 18th December, be approved.