HC Deb 04 February 1952 vol 495 cc637-8
46. Mr. Gordon Walker

asked the Prime Minister what approaches he has made or is making to other Commonwealth Governments with proposals for the setting up of a court to settle differences that may arise between members of the Commonwealth.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. John Foster)

I have been asked to reply. None, Sir.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Has the hon. and learned Gentleman's attention been drawn to the speech made by the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs on 26th January at Birmingham? Does this reply mean that that speech bore no relation to Government policy?

Mr. Foster

Yes, Sir, my attention has been drawn to that speech. His Majesty's Government consider that the proposals have obvious attractions, but they appreciate the difficulties in the way.

Mr. Braine

Will my hon. and learned Friend note that a good many of us on this side of the House welcomed very much the proposal of my right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Colonial affairs? Is it not a reasonable supposition that if such a court had existed before, the tragic Kashmir dispute might well have been solved by now?

Mr. Foster

Note will be taken of that.

Mr. Hale

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman bear in mind, in the establishment of such a court, the necessity of having powers affecting individuals, such as the exclusion of the Rev. Michael Scott from the South African Union and access to the courts by tribes such as the Herero?

Mr. Foster

I could not usefully add to what I have said.

Mr. Wigg

Will the hon. and learned Gentleman make arrangements to indicate whether a Minister of State is putting forward a good idea or whether he is pronouncing on Government policy?