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Volume 887: debated on Monday 24 February 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will now consult the various parties in Rhodesia with a view to calling a constitutional conference.

The Government remain ready to convene a constitutional conference on Rhodesia as soon as it is appropriate to do so. The arrangements for a conference will have to be worked out and agreed between us and others concerned. The Government welcome the consultations which are taking place in Africa, particularly the discussions between Mr. Smith and the leaders of the African National Council, which should help to prepare the way for a conference.As the House knows, Mr. Smith has informed me that he does not wish British officials to visit Salisbury at present. Nevertheless, if he wishes to send emissaries to London to explain his views I shall be ready to receive them. I extend a similar invitation to the officials of the African National Council if they think that discussion between us would be of assistance at any stage.