Oral Answers to Questions — Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th January 1974.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the United States Government about the imposition of sanctions on chrome from Rhodesia.
We have expressed our concern to the United States Government. The Senate recently voted to repeal the Byrd amendment and it is our hope that this will be followed by legislation to end Rhodesian chrome imports to the United States.
Will the noble Lord accept that there is a view, held certainly by Senator Humphrey and his colleagues in the United States, that the British view ought to be made more widely known? What efforts are the British Government making to influence opinion in the House of Representatives before its vote?
I think that the British view on this matter is well known. The United States administration is well aware of our views. It knows that we hope that it will secure the repeal of the Byrd amendment.
Does my right hon. Friend agree that in the strategic interests of our NATO allies it would be preferable to be able to buy chrome from Rhodesia rather than from Soviet Russia or, worse still, chrome purchased by Soviet Russia from Rhodesia for resale to America at an enhanced price?
I can understand why it is important to the United States, but it is equally in the British interests and in wider interests that sanctions which have been imposed, which are being implemented by this country, should not be broken by any country.
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that it is extremely important that the British Government's view on the desirability of legislation on the Byrd amendment should be made crystal clear in Washington? Will he undertake to take that action if he has not already done so?
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman another question about Rhodesia? Is he aware that reports in the Press this week have stated that a meeting was due to take place between Bishop Muzorewa and the Foreign Secretary towards the end of the week? Is he further aware that other reports state that that meeting has been cancelled? Can the right hon. Gentleman help us by telling us what has happened?
Both the hon. and learned Gentleman and the Government have expressed their hope that there will be legislation to end the Rhodesian chrome imports into the United States. There were no plans for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to meet Bishop Muzorewa. The bishop has now returned to Rhodesia.
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements he has made to meet the Netherlands Foreign Minister to discuss Rhodesian sanctions.
None, Sir, but we have periodic exchanges with the Netherlands Government on this subject, and they are aware of our views.
Is the Minister aware of the widespread Press reports on the Dutch anti-apartheid investigation into the Zephyr organisation which operates from Holland and has widespread sanctions-breaking operations? Is he aware that the investigation shows that 600 companies throughout the world trade with Zephyr, of which 24 are British and 22 are based in Hong Kong? Will he agree to make available to Parliament the results of an urgent official investigation into the activities of this company operating from Holland?
I am aware of that report. I understand that the Netherlands authorities are investigating the matter. In so far as British companies are concerned, inquiries are being made in this country and also in Hong Kong to establish whether there have been any breaches of sanctions. So far, no evidence has been produced to show that there has been any violation of our control. On the question of publication, it is not customary to publish results of such investigations.
Would it not be rather more fruitful if my right hon. Friend could give the House an indication of how the discussions between Mr. Smith's Government and the ANC are getting on?
I can only suggest that my hon. Friend puts down a Question, which I shall certainly try to answer.
As this matter concerns Holland, could it not be raised in the Council of Ministers so that, through that organisation, we could impose sanctions on those members of the Common Market which are breaking sanctions on Rhodesia?
It would not be appropriate to raise the question of sanctions in the Community forum. Sanctions are primarily a matter for the United Nations, which would seem to be the most appropriate forum in which to raise the matter.