21 JUNE 1975, Page 3

Opportunity for Mrs Hart

It is reported from Kampala that General Amin insists on being waited upon either by the Foreign Secretary or the Secretary of State for Defence, before he even begins to give consideration to the release of the British lecturer in jail in peril of his life, for an offence that would be regarded in this country as the utterance of a sensible if obvious judgment. However, Mr Mason has no, and Mr Callaghan little, experience of East African affairs — in spite of the latter's strenuous efforts to end the Rhodesian imbroglio. There is, however, a senior Labour figure — though no longer a minister — who might be able to influence General Amin; and who would surely not turn down the opportunity to try. She is, of course, Mrs Judith Hart, lately Minister for Overseas Development. In the course of a ministry at which she has worked especially hard, and again in her resignation statement, Mrs Hart insisted on the paramount desirability of a continuing outflow of British aid to overseas countries, whatever the cost at home; and she has but recently toured East Africa in the interests of that aid programme. She is, moreover — and has for a long time been —devoted to the interests of the East African states, and sensitive — some would say inordinately so— to their sensitivities. Even, therefore, in exile from government, Mrs Hart could be given an opportunity to serve humanity well. After all, Mr Wilson once sent Mr Harold Davies to North Vietnam on an important mission, and Mrs Hart is surely a more substantial figure than he then was: let the Prime Minister approach Mrs Hart without delay. The object of her mission should be to secure, in return for a substantial cash payment, the departure of all remaining Britons from Uganda.