asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs what further action he has taken within the framework of the efforts of the United Nations and Commonwealth countries to implement comprehensive mandatory sanctions against Rhodesia; and whether he will make a statement.
Can the Commonwealth Secretary give any indication how soon it will be when sanctions are extended and along what lines they are likely to be extended? Are we in touch with the United Nations Secretariat about sanction-busting, as one or two countries should know better?
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there will be the utmost resistance on this side of the House to any extension of these sanctions, which have strengthened Mr. Smith?—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Witness the lifting of the censorship. If the object is to induce negotiations, will the right hon. Gentleman take up the offer of my right hon. Friend the Member for Kinross and West Perthshire (Sir Alec Douglas-Home)?
I cannot agree with the hon. Member. The question of extension of sanctions is of course something that is designed to indicate to the régime that, however long it seeks to go along this road, it is a road which leads to economic stagnation. I think that enjoys very general support at the United Nations as well as very considerable support in this House.
On Question No. 27, could the right hon. Gentleman confirm that in fact the political position of Mr. Smith in Rhodesia today is stronger than ever before? Is it not now quite clear that sanctions is a policy which is far more hurtful to this country than it is in promoting the cause which the Government seek to promote?
No, Sir. I cannot accept that at all. I think the hon. Member must know very well that at the moment, for example, Rhodesia has cut herself off from her traditional sources of outside development capital and is using her internal resources for wasteful stockpiling of unexportable commodities like tobacco. Since the African population of Rhodesia is increasing very rapidly, the real economic state in Rhodesia is one of decline.
Is my right hon. Friend aware that, unless the sanctions policy is made effective, there is a danger that the Commonwealth will not survive? Will he therefore consider listing the individual foreign companies which are violating sanctions so that measures can be taken against them at the United Nations?
I agree with my hon. Friend that the future of the Commonwealth is very much at stake in making sanctions as effective as possible. The suggestion my hon. Friend makes is one of a number of suggestions that are under consideration at the United Nations at the moment.
I am increasingly depressed by the degree to which hon. Members, and now right hon. Members, opposite rush in to suggest how strong Mr. Smith is. These great and serious moral international issues must be seen in a much longer time scale than the temporary popularity of an individual over a month or two.
In the short run sanctions are bound to have the effect that the right hon. Gentleman is describing. Is he drawing the implication from that, that in the short run we should surrender? I certainly do not draw that implication.
I would refer the hon. Member to the Answer which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister gave to the hon. Member for Dorset, South (Mr. Eveyn King) on 25th January, 1968. As the hon. Member will be aware, exchanges between Governments are confidential.—[Vol. 757, c. 173.]
Since when there has been no change. Is not the Secretary of State aware that one of the consequences of this futile farce is that other members of the United Nations—competitors of ours—are merely taking our trade? When will the Government face facts and bind up these self-inflicted wounds?
If the hon. Gentleman feels that way, why does he resist the proposal for comprehensive mandatory sanctions which would put those people who are, as he says, taking our trade on an equal footing with British traders?
Notwithstanding that, could the Government, in consultation with our Commonwealth colleagues, use every possible pressure—for instance, on Portugal—whether it be through N.A.T.O., E.F.T.A. or any other medium, to ensure that there is proper policing of sanctions on the Mozambique border?
asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs what information he now has regarding the number of men under sentence of death in Rhodesia as the result of guerilla activity; whether next of kin have been informed; and whether the names of all those thus sentenced are now known.
Does my hon. Friend agree that that sentence for any of the freedom fighters in what amounts to a civil war situation is utterly indefensible, and that they should be assured of prisoner-of-war status? If we are not in a position to guarantee that ourselves, will my hon. Friend initiate discussions with the Red Cross?
The names of all those who have been sentenced cannot be known because some have been withheld for security reasons. Moreover, the names of those whom the régime has announced its intention of not hanging have not been disclosed. It would therefore be very difficult to find out by any means who are the people involved.
Is it Her Majesty's Government's position that it is all right for Mr. Dupont, the Officer Administering the Government, as he is called, to exercise or usurp the Royal prerogative of mercy and reprieve persons sentenced to death in Rhodesia?
Her Majesty's Government would deplore a breakdown of law and order in Rhodesia. Their policy is to promote a return to constitutional rule and they do not believe that this will be achieved by violence.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that the policy of sanctions is designed to cause a crisis of confidence and of government in Salisbury? Is not the very success of the sanctions policy to be measured, at least to some extent, by a steady weakening of the internal forces of law, order and racialist repression?
I do not agree with that. The policy of sanctions is designed precisely in order to try to produce a peaceful solution without all the suffering to people of all races that would result from the use of force and violence.
Bearing in mind certain remarks from hon. Members opposite today, will my right hon. Friend remind the House that the State of Mr. Smith is a police State? Is there any evidence either in education or housing that Mr. Smith's régime has moved any way towards a multiracial society?
On education and housing, I am afraid that the sad evidence is that the Smith régime have been moving in a more segregationist direction. We of course welcome the lifting of the censorship by the régime inside Rhodesia, although I am bound to say that I would feel more optimistic about the future if the régime were to go ahead and lift some of the more oppressive features of the police State.