Page:MALAYSIA BILL RHODESIA AND NYASALAND BILL (2) (Hansard, 11 Juli 1963).djvu/14

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


of an orderly dissolution of the Federation. At one time it looked as though this would not be possible, and that we might find ourselves engaged in acrimonious arguments which got us nowhere. His skill in this respect has been considerable. Secondly, he managed to achieve not only the attendance of the Southern Rhodesian Government at the Conference but their agreement to the conclusions of the Conference without, so far as we can see, making any commitment whatsoever to Mr. Winston Field in terms of promising the granting of the principle of independence.

I want to say something about Southern Rhodesia, because what happens there over the next few months will have a crucial impact upon the Commonwealth, the future association of the three territories, and public opinion and morale here. Let us take the latter consideration first I do not believe that the British public would be prepared to stomach our handing over independence unconditionally, for the first time since 1910, to a minority in Southern Rhodesia which is out-numbered by sixteen to one. This is my view, and we shall have to see whether it is correct, but I believe that the precedent would be far from being a happy one.

Lord Commissioner of the Treasury (Mr. Frank Pearson) Nonsense.

Mr. Berkeley I thought that Whips were not allowed to speak.

Secondly—and this is perhaps of more importance—is the impact which this would have upon the Commonwealth and the other territories. One fact that we must recognise about the Commonwealth—because it is a fact of life—is that there is no difference in attitude between the white Dominions and the Afro-Asian Commonwealth countries On this matter. I was in New York last October, and I spoke to various Commonwealth representatives at the United Nations, including representatives from the white Dominions. It was quite apparent to me then that the white Dominions were finding it increasingly embarrassing and mortifying to have to defend the Southern Rhodesian position at the United Nations. Whether we like it or not, the plain fact is that if we were to make Southern Rhodesia independent on the basis of her present Constitution she would not get the nominating vote of a single Commonwealth country for her admittance to full membership of the Commonwealth. If we are to study the situation realistically we must disabuse our minds of the fact that there is some great division between the old and the new Commonwealth on this issue. There is no division of any kind. If we were to agree to Southern Rhodesian independence on the present basis we would find ourselves in total isolation.

I now come to the more immediate question—and, for these territories, in some ways the most important question —of what prospect there is of an economic association between the three territories so long as a Government of the present type exists in Southern Rhodesia. What I am desperately anxious that we in this country should not do now, having gone to great pains, trouble and anguish to dismantle the Federation—of which so many of us had considerable hopes in the early days—is try to rebuild a common services organisation which would have as little chance of success as the political federation had ten years ago.

One has, I think, to accept as being the case that it is extremely difficult for territories pursuing totally different forms of government to engage in any kind of co-operation with each other of a closely intimate kind. Why, for example, is Spain not acceptable as a member of N.A.T.O.? Nobody suggests that we have a political federation with Spain. It is thought, however, that the form of government in Spain is so different from those in other countries of Western Europe that co-operation on the basis of a military alliance would be exceptionally difficult. Why, for example, are not Spain and Portugal thought suitable to be members of the Common Market? Again I think because there is such a wide disparity between the types of government which they follow and the type of Western European democracy which we see in the Common Market countries. Even allowing for France, I think that there is a basic view that the differences are too great for genuine and real co-operation to work.

If this is so in Western Europe, with its great experience, how much more is it likely to be so in an area in Central Africa where we now have two countries with black African majorities—both of whom, fairly shortly, will apply the