HC Deb 20 June 1951 vol 489 cc487-8
3. Mr. J. N. Browne

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether any decision has been made regarding the improvement of the port of Limassol.

The Minister of State for Colonial Affairs (Mr. John Dugdale)

Yes, Sir. After full consultation with the local interests concerned it has been decided to accept the plan for harbour improvements put forward in a recent report by the consulting engineers, subject to one agreed addition. It is expected that preliminary work will start almost immediately.

Mr. Browne

Is the Minister aware that the people of Cyprus—and, indeed, of the whole Commonwealth and Empire—will be very glad to hear this, and in view of the dangerous situation that may arise over Russia or Persia, does the right hon. Gentleman not think that this work should be pushed on with the greatest possible speed?

Air Commodore Harvey

When does the right hon. Gentleman expect this work to be completed?

Mr. Dugdale

I could not say in advance, but it will be pushed on with every possible expedition.

4. Mr. Browne

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he has now investigated the harbour facilities at Famagusta; and what action he proposes to take.

Mr. Dugdale

Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend has now been advised by the Governor that the harbour facilities at Famagusta are adequate for civilian needs and that the rate of loading and discharging vessels compares very favourably with that in other ports of similar size in the Eastern Mediterranean. In these circumstances my right hon. Friend does not consider any special action necessary.

Mr. Browne

Will the Minister look at this again? Is he aware that this point was raised in the House on 28th February by myself, and has he read the article by Sefton Delmer, who is a skilled observer and whose views concur with those which I formed when I was there at Christmas time? Will the right hon. Gentleman please have another look at this matter because his answer is not satisfactory?

Mr. Dugdale

This matter has been inquired into very carefully by a number of experts who have a knowledge of harbour facilities, and that is the conclusion they have come to.

Mr. Driberg

In considering any developments at Famagusta, will my right hon. Friend bear in mind the very great historical and architectural importance of many of its buildings, and will he take care to safeguard that aspect?

Mr. Dugdale indicated assent.

Commander Noble

The right hon. Gentleman said that the facilities were adequate for all civilian needs. Are they adequate for other possible needs?

Mr. Dugdale

I understand that the local military authorities have made no representations to suggest that they are not adequate.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that there was a large-scale military landing at Famagusta only a few days ago, and will this Government of planners keep in touch with the War Office and see whether any new lessons have been learnt?

Mr. Dugdale

We have always been in touch with the War Office and with any other Ministry as necessary.