As the prerequisite to any conceivable settlement is that it is acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole, would my right hon. Friend assure the House that he will not accept the charade of an indaba of chiefs but that all black Africans, including those in detention, will be required to give their consent before any settlement is agreed to?
The question of acceptability to the people of Rhodesia as a whole has long been one of the principles insisted upon by both the previous and the present Government. The idea of an indaba purporting to speak for the African population as a whole was very firmly rejected by right hon. Gentlemen opposite—indeed by the right hon. Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) on the last day that he held office. That has been the continuing position of this Government.
When he last answered Questions on this subject, the Prime Minister said that after Lord Alport returned he would make a statement saying what the Government intended to do about it. Would he give consideration to Lord Alport making a dispatch after his return setting out his conclusions, even if he could not set out the sources of his information, so that Parliament and the country could judge what his conclusions were and what action should be taken?
The quality of the attacks made on Lord Alport by certain of the extremist members of the regime will not be a surprise to hon. Members. They have no significance whatsoever in terms of the responsibilties which Her Majesty's Government have in the matter. The question of future United Nations action must be a matter for the United Nations.
Is the Prime Minister aware that N.I.B.M.A.R., which lies at the heart of the negotiations, is the most massive and monumental stumbling block since the Pharaohs tripped over the Pyramids, and that it shares with those edifices the ability to bury reputations? It is asffitial—[Interruption.]
I thought that the Pharaohs were buried in the Pyramids. As for N.I.B.M.A.R., Mr. Smith anti his colleagues had ample notice from the Commonwealth Conference afterwards that, as a result of a very hard struggle on our part, we had secured acquiescence by the Commonwealth to his having another chance to reach agreement. We gave him that chance. N.I.B.M.A.R. was not then in question. He could have accepted the "Tiger" proposals—I think he wanted to—but he was not allowed to, and his refusal was backed up by right hon. Gentlemen opposide in the Lobby.