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Southern Africa

Volume 892: debated on Wednesday 21 May 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response he has received from other Commonwealth Governments at the Commonwealth Conference in Jamaica to his initiatives on Southern Africa; and if he will make a statement.

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 13th May.

There was a general welcome from the Heads of Commonwealth countries to Her Majesty's Government's new policy in respect of the position of Namibia, the ending of the Simonstown Agreement, our embargo on supply of arms, Britain's financial assistance to Namibians, and our willingness to contribute to an international fund to assist Mozambique after independence.

I hope to make a further statement on Rhodesia in the near future.

Will my right hon. Friend say what consideration was given to bringing Namibia into the Commonwealth and to requesting South Africa to end its illegal administration in that country? On the Rhodesian issue, may I ask what action was considered to assist Mozambique during efforts to bring the illegal régime to an end? Did my right hon. Friend find among the representatives of a quarter of the world's population, spanning five continents, any support for the illegal régimes in Rhodesia and Namibia?

There was in the communiqué a general invitation from the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth to the people of Namibia to the effect that if, at independence, they wished to become members of the Commonwealth, their application would receive a favourable response. There was no support for the present position in Rhodesia, indeed there was condemnation of it. As for the future of Rhodesia, I wonder whether my hon. Friend would wait for a short while, because there are other Questions about Rhodesia and Mozambique to which I would prefer to give substantive answers.

The right hon. Gentleman mentioned advancing a subsidy to Mozambique to help in respect of the imposition of sanctions. Since we have a substantial deficit on our foreign exchange, will the Foreign Secretary say where we shall get the money? From which country shall we borrow to lend to Mozambique?