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Volume 655: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1962

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he is aware that the alterations now proposed in the constitution of Northern Rhodesia conflict with the undertakings given to the Federal Government at the time of the referendum in Southern Rhodesia; and whether he will make a statement.

No, Sir. I have nothing to add to the reply I made in response to a supplementary question from my hon. Friend the Member for Chigwell (Mr. Biggs-Davison) on the occasion of my statement of 28th February. I made it clear then that there had been no departure from any undertaking by Her Majesty's Government.

Will my right hon. Friend clarify that earlier answer? Is he denying that the undertaking was given on 25th June to the Federal Prime Minister, or is he suggesting that the changes he announced on 28th February were not a sufficient departure to constitute a breach of the undertaking? Is he aware that on 6th March the Federal Prime Minister described the answer to which my right hon. Friend has referred as misleading in part and incorrect wholly?

It is for the House to judge the value of my Answers. In June we put forward certain proposals which we hoped would be definitive. Subsequently, in September, it was made clear that we were prepared to receive representations over a limited area of dispute. In view of our responsibilities to the people of Northern Rhodesia, we were prepared to do so.

Even if my right hon. Friend is correct, is he not aware that these charges of bad faith and sharp practice are being made from Salisbury? Is that not very damaging to Anglo-Rhodesian relations? What are Her Majesty's Government going to do about restoring good relations between the two Governments?

We are obviously anxious that the relations between the two Governments should be as cordial and as close as possible. For that reason nothing has been hidden by me from the Prime Minister of the Federation. I do not think we could get any further by bandying charges against one another.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what steps he is taking to preserve law and order in Northern Rhodesia in view of the decision of the United Federal Party to resist the proposed new Constitution by unconstitutional means.

Has not the right hon. Gentleman seen the minutes of the emergency congress of the United Federal Party's officials at Broken Hill last September at which Mr. Julian Greenfield, the Federal Minister of Law, said that he would be prepared to use unconstitutional means in order to stop the June proposals being implemented? Is not this subversive attitude of mind among Federal leaders most dangerous, and will not the right hon. Gentleman take steps to make sure, therefore, that no Federal troops are ever allowed inside Northern Rhodesia?

I have seen Press reports of what is supposed to be a document which emerged from a party meeting, but it is not for me to comment on the authenticity or otherwise of that document. In any case, I know of no decision by the United Federal Party to resist the proposed new Constitution I have recently announced.


asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if, in view of the declaration by the United National Independence Party that the new constitution for Northern Rhodesia is unworkable, he will prepare new plans for that country.

May I ask the Minister whether, if he is contemplating any further legislation, he will bear in mind that many of my hon. Friends and myself believe that the paramount need is the preservation of the Federation?