Skip to main content

Rhodesia

Volume 720: debated on Tuesday 16 November 1965

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Q1.

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement about his discussions with the Rhodesian Governor, and on the situation in Rhodesia.

I have nothing to add to my statements of 9th, 11th and 12th November.

While expressing admiration for the devotion to duty displayed by the Governor, may I ask the Prime Minister how it is intended that he should govern? Is he, for example, to try to set up a lawful Government in opposition to Mr. Smith?

I have nothing to add to what I have already said on this Question.

Q3.

asked the Prime Minister if he will give an assurance that the use of force, under United Nations auspices, in Southern Rhodesia has been included in Her Majesty's Government's contingency planning on this problem.

I have nothing to add to, or subtract from, the statements I made in the House on Thursday and Friday of last week.

Am I right in assumiug that my right hon. Friend's statement on Friday made no reference at all to subscribing to a United Nations force and he was referring to a plea for help from the Governor in Rhodesia which might possibly be made to the Government in this country? Will my right hon. Friend give an assurance that, if all else fails, United Nations action by force, backed up by Her Majesty's Government, is not ruled out?

The statement I made in the middle of the speech of the Leader of the Opposition relared to an appeal from Rhodesia for help in restoring law and order. I have said on a number of occasions that I do not believe that the use of military force is appropriate for settling the constitutional problems of Rhodesia.

Will the Prime Minister take it that he will have the fullest support of this side of the House for what he has said on the inappropriate-ness of the use of force in this difficult situation? Has he had any application from his hon. Friend to join any expeditionary force?

I shall take all offers of fullest support from any hon. Gentleman in the spirit in which they are intended.

Q8.

asked the Prime Minister which of the reserve powers under the 1923 Constitution have ever been enforced by the British Government, and which reserve powers were withdrawn when Rhodesia was granted a further Constitution in 1961.

The answer to the first part of the Question is None, Sir: as regards the second part of the Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to him earlier today by my right hon. Friend the Commonwealth Secretary.

Would the right hon. Gentleman agree that, from 1961 until today, anyone who advocated that the British Government should force the Rhodesian Government into adopting such a doctrine as the immediate implementation of one man, one vote, was advocating that the British Government should do something ultra vires?

I have explained on a number of occasions our position about majority rule in Rhodesia, but since we are referring to the 1923 and 1961 Constitutions I may add that what appals all of us is the way in which the 1961 Constitution has been twisted out of recognition while still being appealed to as being enforced. This is why we were anxious, if there were to be independence, that the Constitution should be fully entrenched and safeguarded against tricks of that kind.