HC Deb 27 October 1949 vol 468 cc1495-6
16. Mr. Dumpleton

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what representations he has received from the South African Government regarding the possible incorporation of the High Commission territories into the Union; in what form such representations were made; and what reply has been made.

Mr. Gordon-Walker

No such representations have been received.

Mr. Dumpleton

Has my hon. Friend seen the report of "The Times" correspondent this morning of the remarks made by the Prime Minister of South Africa and will he assure the House that the Government will resist strongly any pressure to incorporate these territories into the Union?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

Yes, I have seen the reports in the British Press this morning. They are brief reports, and we have not, of course, had any official text of Dr. Malan's speech. His speech appeared, from the reports, to be a statement of intention later on to make representations. The question of the attitude of His Majesty's Government to such an approach does not really arise out of the Question on the Order Paper. Our policy has often been made clear in the House, on the last occasion by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations on 25th November, 1948, in answer to a Question by the hon. Member for East Harrow (Mr. Skinnard), and I would refer my hon. Friend to that statement of Government policy.

Mr. Wilson Harris

Has the hon. Gentleman observed, in particular, Dr. Malan's statement that it is intolerable that these territories should remain subordinate to a foreign country; and does His Majesty's Government equate its relations with the Dominions with those existing with foreign countries?

Mr. Gordon-Walker

I think it would be wise to wait for the official report of this speech instead of relying upon short extracts. I do not even know whether the speech was made in English or Afrikaans. Very often the translation from one language to another leads to misunderstandings which are later corrected.