Oral Answers to Questions — Rhodesia

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th November 1966.

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Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice 12:00 am, 24th November 1966

asked the Prime Minister what further correspondence he has had with Commonwealth and United Nations authorities about the Rhodesian situation.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

We are in constant touch with our Commonwealth colleagues and our representative at the United Nations, Sir

Photo of Mr Patrick Wall Mr Patrick Wall , Haltemprice

Will not reference to the United Nations involve us in economic war with South Africa? Will the Prime Minister say what effect this would have on the British economy? What advice has he received from the Governor about the effect of United Nations intervention?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

The hon. Member had better wait to see what happens, because my right hon. Friend is on his way this afternoon to Rhodesia. Anxieties about the South African position are one of the things we fully discussed with Commonwealth colleagues at the Commonwealth Prime Minister's Conference and I think that on this question they showed a high degree of responsibility and understanding, as on the whole question of the Rhodesian issue, which I wish hon. Members opposite would also show.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

asked the Prime Minister whether he will make a statement on Rhodesia.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I have, as yet, nothing to add to the statement I made to the House yesterday. [Vol. 736, c. 1401.]

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

As this may be the last opportunity, may I ask the Prime Minister whether he does not feel that the time has now come to make a compromise settlement based on the realities of the situation?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

Any suggestion that we could support will take full account of the realities of the situation, and has done so. What I am not prepared to do—nor was the right hon. Gentleman until October, 1964—is to compromise with principles.

Photo of David Winnick David Winnick , Croydon South

Is the Prime Minister aware that many people in this country feel that the illegal régime are spinning out the process as long as possible in order to avoid a final decision being taken by Britain to take the matter to the United Nations? Will my right hon. Friend confirm quite clearly today that under no circumstances shall we adopt the cowardly and despicable line of the Tories on this issue?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I do not think that we shall solve this problem with epithets. It is much too serious a problem. In any case, I do not know what the line of the Tories is on it—whether it is cowardice, whether it is despicable behaviour or any other epithet—because they have not condescended to tell us, though they will soon have to do so. I am aware that many people in this country feel, obviously including my hon. Friend, that the régime there are trying to postpone coming to a decision. I think that we have given them a very great deal of time to make up their minds, because they had the first chance to talk in January. My right hon. Friend was there late in September. They know perfectly that neither we, nor world opinion, nor the Commonwealth, can wait indefinitely. On the time-table, I confirm what I said yesterday, that we stand by the communiqué issued after the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference.