HC Deb 16 June 1955 vol 542 cc725-6
1. Mr. Hale

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what reasons now prevent the return of Seretse Khama to Bechuanaland.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. Douglas Dodds-Parker)

In a statement made in both Houses on 27th March, 1952, Her Majesty's Government explained that they had decided that the refusal of the Labour Government to recognise Seretse Khama should be made permanent, and that the good order and well-being of the Reserve required that he should absent himself from the Protectorate until an alternative chief has been securely established with his own Administration. It has been made clear on a number of occasions that this decision is final and Her Majesty's Government are not prepared to depart from it.

Mr. Hale

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that in these circumstances we shall have to take steps to depart from Her Majesty's Government? Is he not aware that the original Labour decision was suspension for five years and that that has expired? Is it not rather contemptible to keep "passing the buck" back to the previous Government? In view of the fact that the statement was made in 1952, does the hon. Gentleman inform us that no further consideration has been given to it since 1952, and does that mean that the Government cannot in any circumstances reconsider the matter?

Mr. Dodds-Parker

The hon. Member cannot shrug off the responsibility of the former Government for taking a decision which was supported by us and was fully debated in 1952 and supported by Parliament.