HC Deb 30 October 1946 vol 428 cc606-7
43. Mr. Skinnard

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies which of the West Indian colonies have accepted the principle of West Indian federation; and what action has been taken as a result of their decisions.

Mr. Creech Jones

The legislatures in all the Colonies consulted, with the exception of the Bahamas, have debated the despatch of my right hon. Friend the Member for West Bristol (Mr. Stanley) of 14th March, 1945, and have expressed willingness to participate in a conference to consider what practical steps can be taken to achieve closer association between them. I am considering how best to carry discussions further and the convening of a conference as soon as practicable. I hope to approach the Governors concerned shortly.

Mr. Skinnard

In view of the fact that feeling in favour of federation is rapidly getting stronger throughout the British West Indies, as evidenced by various federations of professional, trades union and other bodies, does not my right hon. Friend consider that the Colonial Governments should lead rather than lag behind public opinion?

Mr. Creech Jones

I think it will be appreciated that this movement must grow, but we are taking all possible steps to encourage discussion and association between the various territories.

Dr. Morgan

Have the Government of the Island of Barbados also now accepted the principle of federation with the other Colonies?

Mr. Creech Jones

They have accepted the view that a conference would be desirable, and are willing to participate in it.