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Volume 886: debated on Wednesday 19 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement with regard to the replies he has had from Rhodesian authorities to British representations concerning the release from restriction of Mr. Garfield Todd, former Prime Minister of Rhodesia.

I have nothing to add to the reply I gave the hon. Member on 29th January, when I said:

"We are urging all concerned to carry out the terms of the agreements reached in Lusaka last month which provide for the release of all detainees and restrictees. That would, of course, include Mr. Todd, whose continued restriction I deplore."—[Vol. 885, c. 157.]

I am grateful to the hon. Lady. Does she appreciate that it appears now that Mr. Garfield Todd has been specifically excluded from the terms of the Lusaka agreement and that he is one of the few Europeans in Rhodesia who has the almost complete trust of the African population? Will she renew the Government's efforts to persuade the Rhodesian Government to realise that the success of the forthcoming conference may at least partly depend on the release of Mr. Todd?

First, I repeat that I deplore the continued restriction of Mr. Garfield Todd, just as I do that of many Africans in detention whose names will not be so well known to hon. Members. I do not want to lay down preconditions, but we continue to press for their release. We regard it as part and parcel of the outcome of some of the discussions held recently. If people are to be true to what they have said about their hopes for settling the problems over Rhodesia, they will take heed of the agreements which were reached in Lusaka.

Does my hon. Friend agree that the remarks of the hon. Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands (Mr. Rifkind) are highly commendable? Will she also bear in mind that as time goes on the bargaining power of the Smith régime will be diminished and our ability to put the heat on it to bring about the release of the detainees—Mr. Garfield Todd among them—will increase accordingly?

The situation in Southern Africa has moved very fast. Without going into detail, I agree that time is not on the side of Mr. Ian Smith in this situation.