Rhodesia

Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th March 1972.

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Photo of Gavin Strang Gavin Strang , Edinburgh East 12:00 am, 27th March 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what communications he has received from Mr. Ian Smith since the Pearce Commission completed its work in Rhodesia.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Any communications between Mr. Smith and me are confidential.

Photo of Gavin Strang Gavin Strang , Edinburgh East

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there has been considerable speculation in Rhodesia that Mr. Ian Smith is prepared to ignore the verdict of the Pearce Commission? Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that the British Government will not welsh on the crucial fifth principle that any settlement must be acceptable to the people of Rhodesia as a whole, and that if Lord Pearce reports "No" the right hon. Gentleman and Mr. Ian Smith will not go ahead and implement a modified version of the present proposals for settlement?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I have said that we could not pretend that "No" was "Yes". We have no intention of doing that. Whatever we do will be straightforward.

Photo of Mr Evelyn King Mr Evelyn King , South Dorset

If in any future correspondence with Mr. Smith the word "sanctions" should be mentioned, would my right hon. Friend accept that following the example of the United States and many other nations this is not a policy which we would carry on alone?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Sanctions are being breached. There is no doubt about that. As I have said previously in response to the right hon. Member for Leeds, East (Mr. Healey), if we wanted to alter the sanctions position we should have to do that operation through the United Nations.

Photo of Mr Denis Healey Mr Denis Healey , Leeds East

I welcome that assurance. Would the Foreign Secretary say whether he has had an assurance from Mr. Smith that there will be no vicitimisation of those Africans who have courageously expressed their view about the settlement proposals, in response to the Foreign Secretary's invitation? Can the right hon. Gentleman tell the House the answer to the question he promised to inform us about a month ago, namely, whether Mr. Smith has yet told him what were the reasons for which Mr. and Mrs. Todd and Mr. and Mrs. Chinamano has been for so long detained without charge?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I would certainly hope that there would be no vic- timisation of anybody who gave evidence to the Pearce Commission. That would be quite against the spirit of the whole operation. The answer to the latter part of the right hon. Gentleman's question is that beyond the fact that they were regarded by Mr. Smith as threats to security, I have had no more detailed information.

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he expects to receive the report of the Pearce Commission.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how soon he expects to publish the findings of the Pearce Commission; and if he will then produce a White Paper indicating future policy on Rhodesia.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

Lord Pearce has stated that he expects to complete his report during the latter half of April. As I told the House on 6th March, I will then need time to consider the report before making any further statement of policy.—[Vol. 832, c. 1004.]

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge

Is it not clear that after Pearce things in Rhodesia will never be the same again? Can my right hon. Friend confirm that in the event of the Pearce Report being negative or inconclusive the Government will consider all possible options for British policy in what effectively would be a new situation?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I am quite sure that Lord Pearce and his colleagues will produce a report which will be of enormous value to the House and to everybody, both here and in Rhodesia. Therefore, I hope that if any options are given to us by Lord Pearce they will not be closed by anybody here or in Rhodesia.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

Is it not perfectly obvious that the answer of the Pearce Commission will be "No" and that the settlement arranged between the whites in this country and the whites in Rhodesia is not satisfactory to the black Africans, who were not consulted on the matter? In view of that possibility, will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that he has sought urgent consultations with the United States to ensure that they accept the mandatory resolution of the United Nations in respect of sanctions?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

The United States have taken action which is contrary to the mandatory resolution, and they did this deliberately because they said that they were not able to do otherwise. When I appoint a commission of the experience and distinction of that of Lord Pearce, I do not want to give the answer for the commission beforehand. The hon. Gentleman is making assumptions which may not be valid.

Photo of Mr Alex Lyon Mr Alex Lyon , City of York

Has the Foreign Secretary seen reports that even in Congress there are reconsiderations of the stand of the United States about sanctions? Will he make representations, either bilaterally or, if need be, at the United Nations, about the importation of chrome? Has he seen the report that Lloyd's of London was insuring the ship which carried the chrome, which in itself would be a breach of sanctions?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

I have not seen that report. I understand that the reason why the United States took this action was strategic, because they purchased strategic materials.