HC Deb 21 June 1950 vol 476 cc1279-81
26. Mr. Driberg

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is aware of the plebiscite held in the churches of Cyprus last January, when some 96 per cent. of the Greek-speaking population of the island voted for union with Greece; and if he will state the attitude of His Majesty's Government to this proposal.

Mr. Dugdale

My right hon. Friend is aware of this plebiscite. It has repeatedly been made clear that no change in the sovereignty of the Island is contemplated. As was made known locally before the plebiscite by a published letter from the Governor to the Archbishop, the attitude of His Majesty's Government on this subject remains unaltered.

Mr. Driberg

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this sentimental wish for union with Greece is very widespread among Greek-speaking Cypriots of all points of view, from the Orthodox clergy to the Communists, and could he say what steps are being taken to demonstrate to them that they are moving steadily towards self-government—when, of course, they can do what they like—and that, meanwhile, they are better off with us than they would be with the Greeks?

Mr. Dugdale

Very large numbers of people in Cyprus can, and do, see for themselves that they are very much better off under us.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Without accepting the accuracy of the claim which is contained in the Question of the hon. Member, may I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he realises that the country as" a whole is behind him in making it quite plain that in view of its vital strategic importance we do not propose to leave Cyprus and that we do not regard Enosis as a discussable subject?

Sir R. Glyn

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether, in his communications with the Greek Government, they have expressed themselves as quite satisfied with the present situation?

Mr. Dugdale

Communications with foreign Governments are a matter for my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary.

Mr. Hector Hughes

Is my right hon. Friend satisfied with the manner in which this plebiscite was carried out and that no duress was exercised by the churches on the people in the taking of the plebiscite?

Mr. Dugdale

No; quite frankly, I am not altogether quite satisfied. I have heard of many plebiscites being conducted better than this one.

Mr. McAdden

In view of the dissatisfaction which exists in Cyprus and the conduct of the plebiscite, to which the right hon. Gentleman has referred, does he not also consider this unholy alliance between the Godless Communists and the God-fearing Greeks is a strange one?

Mr. Driberg

Can I take it from the original answer of my right hon. Friend, which did not dispute the percentage in my Question, that, broadly, he is not disputing the accuracy of my statement that there is a widespread sentimental feeling in favour of this reform, and will he observe that the Opposition Front Bench spokesman now seeks to censor matters which can be raised in this House?

Back to