HC Deb 19 March 1953 vol 513 cc209-10
48. Mr. George Craddock

asked the Prime Minister his reasons for refusing to meet a delegation from the Central African Committee; and if he is aware that his refusal has caused dismay amongst all sections of the community.

The Prime Minister

I see no reason for any dismay in any quarter that the delegation should be received by the two principal Secretaries of State who are most closely and earnestly considering the problem of Central African Federation.

Mr. Craddock

Does not the Prime Minister think that in view of the proposed Central African Federation, it would have been a gesture on his part and would have helped to cement the ties between the people of Central Africa and this country if he had met the delegation?

The Prime Minister

I think I must in reason follow the principle of devolution in some of these very serious and complicated questions.

Mr. Dugdale

Is the Prime Minister aware that it is not in keeping with his usual courtesy to refuse to receive a deputation presenting a memorial signed by Members of both Houses of Parliament, together with leading members of the Churches, including the President of the Methodist Conference and leading members of the Church of Scotland and of the Church of England, including the Bishops of Bristol and Worcester and the Dean of St. Pauls?

The Prime Minister

I cannot think that these dignitaries have in any way been treated with lack of consideration and respect by the fact that they were referred to the two principal Secretaries of State who are masters of the whole of this—[HON. MEMBERS: "Not masters."]—masters of all the details of this intricate problem.