HC Deb 26 October 1953 vol 518 cc2411-2
8. Mr. Dodds

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement giving the reasons for the decision to hand over the administration of Trieste's A Zone to Italy; and, in view of the danger to peace, why it has been decided to withdraw our troops at such short notice.

10. Mr. Hale

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what consultations with, and representations by, the Government of Yugoslavia, took place before the decision to evacuate Zone A of Trieste.

12. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how far the Tripartite Declaration of 20th March, 1948, on the future of Trieste, still represents the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Eden

I would refer hon. Members to the statement which I made to the House on 20th October. Since the House will have an opportunity of debating this subject on Wednesday, I have nothing at present to add.

Mr. Dodds

Does the right hon. Gentleman take full responsibility for this act of incredible, diplomatic stupidity? Is he aware that there is a widespread feeling in this country that should bloodshed result from this decision, then this Government will bear a terrible responsibility?

Mr. Eden

I am not called upon to endorse any of the hon. Gentleman's epithets, but I accept full responsibility.

Mrs. Castle

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that not the least unfortunate part of this sorry affair is that neither side in this dispute knows whether the action of Her Majesty's Government represents the first instalment of the operation of the 1948 Declaration or was intended as an alternative to that? Is he aware that this House cannot properly debate this matter on Wednesday unless the right hon. Gentleman is much more frank than he is prepared to be this afternoon, and clears up this very important point?

Mr. Eden

If the hon. Lady will be good enough to look at my original statement she will find there a reply which relates to what she has said. I do not want to say any more about it at the present time, because I do not think it will help us to get an agreement.

Mr. S. Silverman

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind, in any further negotiations about this matter, that it might be advisable to get away from the atmosphere of a Declaration of any kind and get back to the Treaty to which we were a party?

Mr. Eden

It is not Her Majesty's Government alone that has been making declarations. There have been lots of others.