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Southern Africa

Volume 894: debated on Wednesday 25 June 1975

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9.

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make known to the United States of America Her Majesty's Government's views on the situation in southern Africa.

Full opportunity is always taken of my regular contacts with the United States' Government to explain Her Majesty's Government's views of southern Africa.

Will my right hon. Friend try to ensure that when the issue again comes before the Security Council, South Africa will not be protected from the consequences of its illegal occupation of Namibia by the combined vetoes of the United States and the United Kingdom?

I should never want to use a veto, but, on the other hand, the language that is used in resolutions must also be acceptable to Her Majesty's Government. On this occasion, despite the great work that had gone into securing a constructive resolution, this was overturned at the last minute and I was not prepared to instruct our delegate to vote for it.

Now that Mozambique has become independent, is the Foreign Secretary in a position to give the House more information about his intention regarding aid to that country, in the context of the imposition of sanctions against Rhodesia? Will he confirm that if this is his intention, such aid should be firmly in the context of a United Nations' resolution? How does he envisage that the quantum of such aid should be assessed?

As I have explained on previous occasions, this matter will, first, have to be discussed with the new Mozambique Government, which took office only yesterday or today. Following the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, we should prefer the initiative to be taken through the United Nations, and that is what we shall work for. On the other hand, I should not rule out bilateral aid if that seemed to be the only way of assisting.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I have studied with some care the exact text of the resolution which the British Government vetoed? Is he aware that the text was absolutely consonant with Labour Party policy as it has been expressed over many years?

No, Sir, I am not aware of anything of the sort. The resolution proposed was unreasonable and extreme. It sought to make a determination under Chapter 7 of the United Nations Charter, which would have paved the way for a whole range of actions that we believe would have been unjustified.