HC Deb 10 November 1955 vol 545 cc2006-7
47. Mr. Alport

asked the Prime Minister whether he is now in a position to state the date of the next Commonwealth Prime Ministers' meeting.

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. My Commonwealth colleagues and I have agreed that the opening meeting shall take place on 27th June next year.

Mr. Alport

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether he expects the members of the Commonwealth to be represented in all cases by their Prime Ministers, or whether there is any indication of any of them sending other Ministers to represent them?

The Prime Minister

That is my hope and expectation. Of course I cannot bind my colleagues—it is for them to decide—but as at present arranged all the countries concerned will be represented by Prime Ministers.

Mr. J. Griffiths

Has it been considered that the Prime Minister of the Gold Coast might be invited to the next conference?

The Prime Minister

I have dealt with the question of the invitations to the Conference in my earlier Answer. I do not think I want to go beyond that at present.

Mr. Shinwell

As it appears that at the last Commonwealth Prime Ministers' conference the subject of Commonwealth defence was not on the agenda, can we be assured that at the next Prime Ministers' conference that item will appear on the agenda—the question of Commonwealth defence co-operation?

The Prime Minister

As I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman has attended these conferences, he will know quite well that as a rule there are no formal agendas submitted and agreed. The essence of the discussions is that they are informal as between the Prime Ministers concerned. It would not be for me any more than for any of the others to lay down what the agenda should be. I have no doubt that there will be certain discussions on defence matters, whatever the form in which they take place.

Mr. Dugdale

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether an invitation has been sent to Lord Malvern and, if the answer is "Yes," whether it was made clear that it has been sent to him purely in his personal capacity and not as the Prime Minister of a part of the Commonwealth which is not yet entirely self-governing?

The Prime Minister

I am quite sure an invitation has been sent to Lord Malvern, and I am quite sure that it would be the wish in all parts of the House that such an invitation should have been sent.