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Rhodesia

Volume 888: debated on Wednesday 12 March 1975

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15.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether it is still the policy of Her Majesty's Government to promote the international application of sanctions against the illegal Rhodesian régime.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Committee of the European Coal and Steel Community recently approved the grant of financial aid to a research project in which the Rhodesian Iron and Steel Corporation would participate? Will he ensure, when this matter is further discussed tomorrow in Brussels by the research project sub-committee, that the British policy of sanctions is properly represented and adhered to?

I understand that the International Pig Iron Secretariat has drawn up a revised proposal in which Rhodesia is not involved. I hope that that is true, because I certainly agree with my hon. Friend that there should be no en-encouragement of EEC countries to trade with Rhodesia. At my instigation the European Community set up a committee of experts six months ago to try to block the loopholes.

Which countries in the Common Market are concerned in sanctions-busting in relation to Rhodesia, and what action is being taken against them. apart from the committee which is considering it?

The Customs experts of the Nine, again at my suggestion, met at the end of last year to pool their experience, and a number of countries are co-operating effectively in investigating a number of suspected breaches of sanctions. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will not carry his opposition to the EEC to the point of suggesting that it is ineffective for us to use our weight in the EEC to make sanctions effective. That is what we are doing at the moment, and we are doing it much more effectively than we did previously.