HC Deb 21 December 1956 vol 562 cc1609-40

11.8 a.m.

Mr. Kenneth Robinson (St. Pancras, North)

My original purpose was to raise the question of the new Emergency Regulations in Cyprus which were promulgated by the Governor just over three weeks ago, but since you, Sir, selected this as the first subject for debate on the Christmas Adjournment, a great deal has happened in connection with Cyprus. I propose to deal briefly with some of those new developments, but my main theme remains the Emergency Regulations in that island.

The island of Cyprus has endured more than 12 months, not only of bloodshed and sudden and violent death, but of repressive government and Draconian legislation—government and legislation of a kind which, happily, is rare in what we call the democratic world. Many of us had hoped that the anniversary of the introduction of the first Emergency Regulations would be marked by some relaxation. That anniversary fell towards the end of last month. We hoped for that relaxation if only as a gesture to usher in what we thought was perhaps going to be a new era in the relations between this country and that unhappy island; but instead of any relaxation we had this announcement by the Governor of new and still more stringent Regulations, which meant more intensive repression than ever.

These new Regulations fall into three categories. The first deals with an extension of the death penalty; the second with an intensification of the already very serious censorship of the Press, and the third comprises the Public Officers' Protection Regulations. These measures were dealt with at some length, and very severely criticised, in another place about a fortnight ago. The complaints that I have to make today are, in general, similar to those made in another place, and I would summarise them quite briefly. What I think is quite extraordinary is the reply which was given, on behalf of the Government, by the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd.

The Regulation extending the death penalty means that now, for carrying a bomb or a firearm in Cyprus, the only possible penalty is death. What is still more disturbing is that the death penalty can now be exacted for a new crime described as consorting with terrorists. A reading of the Regulation shows that this can mean that a person walking along a street in Nicosia with a man who has a gun or a bomb on him can himself suffer the penalty of death, even though he may not have known that his companion was carrying a weapon. The noble Lord, Lord Jowitt, claimed that under this Regulation, if two poachers were arrested in Cyprus and one had a gun on him for the purpose of his trade or profession, as it were, then both would, inevitably, suffer death. In the reply of the Government spokesman, this interpretation of the Regulations as they now stand was not denied.

I do not propose to say very much about the Regulations dealing with the Press, because they have, to some extent, been amended and relaxed. I would, however, remind the House that, for a year, the Press in Cyprus has been working under a control and a threat of censorship which is wholly alien to our traditions and which, I think, represents probably the most serious interference with the right of free speech that we have seen in the Commonwealth in our time. Indeed, the very respected editor of the Times of Cyprus, Mr. Charles Foley, is at this moment facing charges under the old Emergency Regulations which could result in a year's imprisonment, a £100 fine, or both. That is under the old, the less stringent, Regulations.

I would remind hon. Members that at no time during the eight years of terrorism in Malaya was the British Press ever subjected to censorship, to control, or even to advice tendered by the Government of Malaya. The new Regulations which recently came into force in Cyprus empower the Governor of that island, at his absolute discretion, to suppress and shut down a newspaper, without reason given and without any notice at all. That seems to me to be a fantastic interference with the rights of free speech and freedom of expression.

Lastly, I would mention the Public Officers' Protection Regulations. Under these Regulations the ordinary citizen is denied access to the courts to prosecute any complaint he may have not only against a member of the security forces but against any Government official, unless he has the consent of the Attorney-General of Cyprus, who is, of course, himself a member of the Government. In other words, the Attorney-General can prevent anyone from obtaining redress against a Government official for any injury which has been done, or which he believes has been done, to him. The Government become judge and jury in their own case. I would like to ask the Minister of State to look at what would have happened had these Regulations been in force a few weeks ago.

We have all heard about the extremely unpleasant form of punishment which has been exacted from time to time in Cyprus, punishment by collective fines; but, recently, a collective fine of £35,000 exacted on the people of Limassol under the Emergency Regulations was found by the High Court in Cyprus to have been illegally imposed. I have no doubt that it is a result of that judicial decision that, amongst the relaxations announced a few days ago, was, I am happy to say, the total abandonment of these collective fines.

Nevertheless, if these Public Officers' Protection Regulations had been in force at that time, would not individuals who had been fined, and who instituted the proceedings that resulted in the whole fine being quashed, have been prevented by the Attorney-General from taking their case to court? That seems to me to be an extremely serious thing, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will give us his views on it when he winds up this debate.

The Emergency Regulations in Cyprus add up to an almost total denial of civil liberties there, and it is small wonder that in an editorial the other day, The Times said that they had been amended …to a point of severity which is nothing but ruthless. I should now like to call the attention of the House to the reply of the Government spokesman in another place. A number of points had been raised by noble Lords, and the Under-Secretary of State replied: It is also true to say that drafting is a difficult business. It is difficult sometimes without drafting rather widely, to cover the sort of cases which one knows one must deal with. I think the noble Earl will agree with me that precise drafting is a difficult art and is difficult to achieve. I am not going to pretend that this drafting is perfect. It may be that many of the things he has said are correct, and we may be able to improve these Regulations. I will certainly have a look at them again and see whether that can be done." —[OFFICIAL REPORT, House of Lords, 6th December, 1956; vol. 200, c. 828–829.] In the course of his remarks, on no fewer than half a dozen occasions the noble Lord said either that he would look at the drafting here, consider the wording there, or have another look at the point.

As we are here dealing with Regulations under which sentence of death can be passed and men executed, it seems amazing that these Regulations should have been drafted in so careless a manner that they could be shot to pieces and that the intention and the drafting seems to differ all along the line. I want to ask the Minister of State who actually approved these Regulations? Who initiated them in the first place? Did they come from his Department, or did they come from the Governor. When, as no doubt happened, his right hon. Friend was asked to approve them, what legal advice did he get. To what extent was the wording scrutinised? To what extent was it discovered whether or not the drafting of the Regulations carried out the intentions that were supposed to be behind them?

Mr. Elwyn Jones (West Ham, South)

What about the Law Officers?

Mr. Robinson

Indeed, what about the Law Officers? Were the Law Officers consulted in this matter, as they most certainly should have been consulted?

Having said that, I think all my hon. Friends will welcome the news that we have heard this week that certain Regulations are to be relaxed. We welcome a small and modest advance, but which is nevertheless the first move of any kind in this direction in more than a year. Under this relaxation some 30 detainees have already been released, and we are told that the cases of men still under detention under Regulation 18B are to be reviewed.

We are glad to know that the despicable business of whipping youths is to be abolished and also that the no less uncivilised practice of collective punishment is being abandoned. I would say again that I cannot help feeling that this last decision had some connection with the judicial findings about the illegality of the £35,000 fine on the people of Limassol.

The new Regulations governing the suppression of newspapers have not been withdrawn, but they have been amended to permit fair and honest criticism of the Government. They had to be amended in order to permit even that. I have tried to find out whether the new Regulations are available in this country, and I understand that they have not arrived. Possibly the right hon. Gentleman will be able to enlighten us further about the new form of this Press censorship Regulation.

The greater part of the Emergency Regulations in Cyprus remain in force, and I should like hon. Members to reflect on what they mean in actual physical terms to the half-million people of this unhappy, torn island. I should like to tell the House a few of the things that happened in one month, the month of November. There were about 30 murders, an average of one a day. There were 10 Cypriots killed, including a child of seven years old, by the security forces. There were 80 explosions. There were 800 arrests, mainly for questioning. There were 18 Cypriots detained under Regulation 18B, and 20 Cypriots were sentenced to terms of imprisonment, most of them ranging between 15 and 5 years. Five youths were whipped. In 25 villages a curfew was imposed. A £35,000 collective fine was imposed on the people of Nicosia, and a £950 collective fine on the village of Panayia. The Larnaka Secondary School was permanently closed and its director was deported from the island.

Must this kind of thing go on indefinitely? Those of us who are particularly concerned about affairs of this island have looked forward to the proposals of Lord Radcliffe for a constitutional advance as perhaps heralding a new and happier phase in our relations. I must confess that I am less sanguine now than I was before I heard the statement of the Colonial Secretary after Questions last Wednesday, with its ominous reference to partition in the future. I will say another word about partition later, but I want to make it quite clear that I have no criticism of the way in which Lord Radcliffe has carried out his mandate.

I quarrelled with the Secretary of State for the Colonies over the terms of reference that were given to Lord Radcliffe, and I do not want to reopen that quarrel today, but I would say one thing about the second requirement in the terms of reference. Hon. Members will remember that one of the things Lord Radcliffe had to take into account was That the use of Cyprus as a base is necessary for the fulfilment by Her Majesty's Government of their international obligations and for the defence of British interests… That, in the words of the Minister of Defence in another connection, is what all this is about. Let us make no mistake about that.

I wonder whether the Minister of State read a letter in the Sunday Times from a very distinguished military expert, Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck. I will not quote the whole letter, although I should like to do so. I will quote merely one sentence. He said: I would say that it"— that is, Cyprus— has none, or practically none, of the requisites of an efficient base for the deployment and subsequent employment in military operations of either sea, land or air forces or all three. It lacks almost every facility which a commander in war would expect to find in a base of operations. When one considers that the whole of this unhappy story stems from the fact that Her Majesty's Government have always claimed that Cyprus was necessary as a base, one is a little concerned that a gentleman of the distinguished experience of Field Marshal Auchinleck states categorically that in his view it is useless as a base.

To return to Lord Radcliffe, I think that, given the terms of reference, he has produced about as liberal a Constitution as we could have expected, and I am sure we are all grateful to him for the painstaking way in which he has carried out his task and for what I, at any rate, find an extremely interesting and clear report.

In announcing this to the House, the Colonial Secretary said one very important thing. It was in response to a question by my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan). The Secretary of State said: I made it quite clear, I hope, that it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government that there should be this Constitution in Cyprus."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th December, 1956; Vol. 562. c. 1276.] That can only mean, first, that the Constitution is final and that it is in no way open to negotiation or discussion, and secondly that it will be imposed on Cyprus if necessary. I would hope that the right hon. Gentleman will confirm that my interpretation of that sentence is correct.

Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)

May I say to my hon. Friend that I sincerely hope that he is not right, because the Colonial Secretary also said that he …would pay the greatest possible attention to any suggestions which may be made, and the same would apply, of course, to suggestions from the people of Cyprus or from hon. Members of this House …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th December, 1956; Col. 562, c. 1274.] He said that the proposals were balanced and that it would be difficult to disturb that plan, but I hope it does not mean what my hon. Friend suggests it will mean.

Mr. Robinson

I hope, too, that it does not mean that, but I would point out that the quotation that I gave was two columns later than the quotation given by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). It is a very clear statement. If the right hon. Gentleman would like to deny it now, I would be only too delighted.

The Minister of State for Colonial Affairs (Mr. John Maclay)

I should like the hon. Gentleman to repeat what he said, because I missed part of it.

Mr. Robinson

I quoted from Col. 1276 in HANSARD of 19th December. There the Secretary of State is reported as follows: I made it quite clear, I hope, that it is the intention of Her Majesty's Government that there should be this Constitution in Cyprus. Perhaps he would give us the considered view of the Government on the precise meaning of that sentence.

I gladly acknowledge, of course, that the right hon. Gentleman hopes that the Constitution will be accepted and worked by the people of Cyprus, that it will be voluntarily accepted, and that there will be no necessity to impose it. I am sure he hopes that. But it will not have escaped the notice of the House, and I am quite sure it will not have escaped the notice of Archbishop Makarios, that the people of Cyprus are now being offered less than was offered to and rejected by him in the negotiations which were broken off last March, and that to ask them to accept this Constitution is asking them to make a definite step forward from their earlier position.

Nevertheless, I hope—I want to make it quite clear that I am speaking only for myself here—that the people of Cyprus will accept and will work this Constitution. Moreover, I think that, subject to certain provisos, it will be reasonable for them to do so.

There are four very important prerequisites. First, it should be made quite clear that the acceptance of this Constitution in no way commits the people of Cyprus to the idea of partition in the future. I thought that that idea was folly when it was first flown as a kite by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot), and I think it is no less a folly when advanced from the Government Front Bench. I wish those words dealing with partition could be unsaid, because they have already done a lot of harm. At any rate, it must be made quite clear that the acceptance of the Constitution will be wholly without prejudice to any conditions attaching to ultimate self-determination when the time comes for the exercise of this right.

Secondly, there must be a change of Governor. I do not want to attack Sir John Harding. I am very well aware that Sir John has been a distinguished public servant and has a fine military career behind him. I know—or I strongly suspect—that he did not want this job but undertook it only from a sincere sense of duty. I blame the Colonial Secretary for choosing a military man to undertake an essentially political job. This is not a unique mistake on the part of this Government; they are a little apt to choose men with military backgrounds to undertake complex political problems. It is not a suit- able background; far from it fitting a man to undertake a political job, indeed, I can think of no career more unfitting.

With the best will in the world, I cannot regard Sir John Harding's Governorship of Cyprus as anything less than disastrous from the political point of view. Nor has it been particularly successful in his own sphere. He has been given a free hand and almost unlimited security forces to deal with Eoka; but, despite the repeated assurances we have had that Eoka is on its last legs and there are only a handful of terrorists left. who will be completely wiped out in X weeks or Y months, the month of November was the worst month yet in Cyprus for terrorist activity.

I know it is difficult to apportion responsibility between the Governor and the Secretary of State in these matters. It may be that Sir John Harding is merely a tool of the Secretary of State, in the same way as another military Governor of Cyprus a few centuries ago, Othello, was a tool of Iago. I do not want to carry the analogy too far, but I would happily cast the Colonial Secretary as Iago in any production of "Othello". There has been a lamentable lack of understanding on the part of the Governor of the whole political essence of this problem. Above all, Sir John Harding will always be associated in the Cypriot mind with repression and be remembered as the author of the detested Emergency Regulations. It would, I think, be asking too much of the people of Cyprus to co-operate with him in working a dyarchic Constitution.

Next, an amnesty on the most generous terms is, of course, an essential prerequisite of the introduction of any Constitution. Last—and this is most important —Archbishop Makarios should be allowed to return. not to Greece, as has been hinted in one or two places, but to Cyprus. He should be returned unconditionally and allowed to take his place again as the spiritual and political leader of his people. I believe that if the Government were today to announce that they proposed that Archbishop Makarios should return to Cyprus in one month's time, terrorism would cease.

I believe that that is a chance which could reasonably be taken, but, if the right hon. Gentleman thinks that it is going a little too far, then could the Government not say something like this—that the Archbishop's exile is terminated and that he will return to Cyprus within, say, one month, provided that terrorist activity has ceased by then? If it has not, perhaps he could then go to Greece instead. If only the Government would take some enlightened step of this kind, and appreciate that they have been totally unsuccessful in destroying the Archbishop's influence in the island by exiling him to the Seychelles, I believe they could transform the situation.

This is the last chance. It is certainly the last chance that this Government will have of solving the Cyprus problem. They are asking the people of Cyprus to take a big step in accepting this Constitution. Some move forward from their own position is required equally of Her Majesty's Government. I hope that they will take this last chance.

11.35 a.m.

Mr. Ronald Russell (Wembley, South)

A week or so ago, the hon. Lady the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. L. Jeger) and the hon. Gentleman the Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson) combined with one right hon. and two hon. Members of the Liberal Party to put down a Motion on the Order Paper condemning these Emergency Regulations.

[That this House deplores the ruthless severity and repression of the further emergency regulations in Cyprus, which extend the imposition of the death penalty without option of commutation; empower the Governor to suppress newspapers wihout notice or stated reason and remove front the normal process of law police and members of the forces who commit offences while on duty against the civilian population; considers that, in view of the forthcoming consultations on Lord Radcliffe's proposals, it is especially regrettable that the new Press regulations have the power to prevent free and candid discussion: and urges the withdrawal of these regulations as a contribution to a new atmosphere of tolerance and cooperation, essential to constructive constitutional progress.]

I must therefore confess that I was not surprised to find that he had sought your permission. Mr. Speaker, to raise this matter on the Adjournment of the House today.

There is one thing in common between the speech of the hon. Gentleman this morning and the wording of the Motion, namely, that in neither is there one single word of condemnation of the terrorists for the campaign of murder which they have been letting loose in Cyprus in the last twelve months and, as the hon. Gentleman himself said, more especially in the month of November.

Mr. K. Robinson

Really, this is getting a little tiresome. Whenever hon. Members on this side of the House speak about Cyprus, they have from time to time said that they hate violence of any kind whether exercised by the terrorists or by the Government in countermeasures. Really, if we are not to be allowed to make a speech on Cyprus without constantly reiterating that in every speech, the position will be quite impossible.

Mr. Russell

I did not suggest for one moment that the hon. Gentleman or any hon. Member on the other side of the House did not condemn terrorism. My point is that every time an hon. Member opposite makes a speech of the kind made this morning—as has happened on many occasions—without condemning terrorism, then he is unwittingly giving encouragement to the terrorists in the island to go on with their murderous campaign. I therefore feel that it is desirable that hon. Members opposite should accompany any remarks they make about the Emergency Regulations or any complaint against the action of the Government in Cyprus with a condemnation of terrorism, even if it means reiterating, what they have said before. I am very glad that the few remarks I have made so far have drawn at least that much from the hon. Member.

The hon. Member has referred to uncivilised practices on the part of the emergency forces and to Draconian legislation, and he used the word "ruthless". Most of those adjectives apply in far greater degree to the campaign launched by the terrorists. That is another reason why I was amazed that the hon. Member made no reference to it. I wonder whether my right hon. Friend the Minister of State, when winding up the debate, can give the latest total of people killed or injured in Cyprus since the campaign began. The number must now be reaching an appalling total, and most of us would like to know the latest figure.

The question of the Constitution and the announcement made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State two days ago falls into two parts. One is the Constitution and the other is the efforts to restore law and order. I cannot help thinking that it is up to hon. Members of this House to give the Government their full support, as was given by this House to the Government of the party opposite seven or eight years ago when faced with a similar campaign of terrorism—after all, there is not much difference in terrorism, whoever is running it—in Malaya, when a similar emergency arose.

That emergency had to be handled by the party opposite, but they did not handle it very successfully. It had been going on for three years by the time they left office and the present Government took over, and it was eventually quashed as a result of the action of this Government. It was quashed in Malaya largely because of an action of which, in a sense, the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North complains in Cyprus—that is, by sending out a qualified soldier to run the campaign against the terrorists.

General Sir Gerald Templer was eminently successful in dealing with the guerilla tactics of the Chinese Communist terrorists in Malaya, and I am sure that it was for that reason that a soldier of the eminence and experience of Sir John Harding was sent out as Governor and Commander in Chief in Cyprus, in the hope that it would have a similar effect with the Eoka campaign of terrorism in the island. So far, it has not brought the results which we hoped, but I do not know what the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North suggests is the remedy.

There seem to me to be only two ways of curing the trouble, either to give way to the terrorists, which, I am sure, is not the desire of hon. Members opposite or the desire of the majority of people on the island, or to introduce such measures as may be considered necessary, bearing in mind the experience that we have had in dealing with terrorist campaigns in other parts of the world, in order to stamp it out. I cannot see what other alternative there is.

Mr. Callaghan

Has the hon. Member not considered the possibility that our policy should be directed towards winning the assent and co-operation of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots in the island, so that the terrorists become abhorrent to them?

Mr. Russell

I am sure that the terrorists are abhorrent to the majority of Cypriots in the island, but if a campaign of fear is put into operation by the terrorists surely that is enough to deter people from co-operating, as we all hoped they would. That underlies the question of getting the co-operation of the Greek Cypriots. They know full well that if they gave information to the authorities, as has happened in so many instances, they would probably be murdered the following day. That is not an alternative policy. The fact remains that we must stamp out the terrorists before we can win the co-operation of the people.

Those are the only two possibilities that faced us, either to give in to the terrorists, which I am sure nobody wants to do, or to carry on with the campaign of trying to stamp out terrorism. After all, we were successful, after a good deal of patience and considerable time, in stamping out the terrorism in Malaya and in ending the need for an emergency in Kenya. Is there any reason why the same result should not be achieved in Cyprus if we carry on with the firmness and the patience that we have shown? Therefore, it is our duty to support Her Majesty's Government in the action which they have taken.

The announcement made two days ago that some of the Regulations have been withdrawn shows that the Government are only too willing to relax them whenever they feel able to do so. In announcing his proposals two days ago, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State made it quite clear that he, the Government and Sir John Harding deplored Regulations of this kind and were only too glad when it was found possible to relax them. We have to trust the Government in handling this matter, as we trusted them in handling the campaigns in Kenya and Malaya.

I must emphasise that I do not feel that any help is being given to the Government when hon. Members opposite make speeches of the kind which they have been making and have made today, particularly without condemning the terrorists for their ruthless campaign of murder. The terrorists alone are the people responsible for the conditions in Cyprus today. I support every action of the Government in suppressing this murderous campaign of terrorism, and I hope that before long it will bring success.

11.47 a.m.

Mrs. Lena Jeger (Holborn and St. Pancras, South)

The whole House should feel indebted to my hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson) for the able manner in which he has introduced this debate. It must surely be a matter of regret to all who wish Cyprus well that so many hon. and right hon. Members opposite are completely unable to appreciate the realities of the situation. It surely is completely unrealistic in the middle of the twentieth century to talk about stamping out terrorism as being an effective policy. We have had enough experience in Cyprus and in other parts of the Colonial Empire to know that repression of this kind is simply a sowing of dragon's teeth and that, in fact, violence in Cyprus has increased in direct relationship to the severity of the Regulations.

We wore told that Archbishop Makarios had to be deported because he was a leading force in the terrorist movement. After he was taken away, there was a crescendo of increasing violence and terrorism in Cyprus. Hon. Members opposite cannot point to one instance in the uphappy history of Cyprus when the increase in repression has contributed to peacefulness or stability. In fact, we all know that the contrary is true.

It is unfair that every time hon. Members on this side of the House try to make constructive suggestions about the future of the island, there is what is becoming almost a parrot cry from hon. Members opposite about the question of terrorism and the implication that it is being encouraged by Members on this side of the House.

Mr. Russell

I hope I made it clear, when I said they encouraged it, that I meant they unwittingly encouraged it. I did not mean for a moment to suggest that any hon. Member wanted to encourage it.

Mrs. Jeger

I am grateful to the hon. Member, but I would remind him that hon. Members on this side of the House have constantly repeated their view. I myself have condemned terrorism in Cyprus, not only from the security of these benches but in discussions in Cyprus itself, in talks which I have had with Archbishop Makarios, and when addressing Cypriots in prison and outside prison. Every time I have had an opportunity of talking to Cypriot people I have made my own abhorrence of violence absolutely clear.

It is countered in Cyprus by this answer, "Before terrorism started you did not listen to us. You did not listen to us when we put forward our proposals peaceably." The bitter truth is that since the campaign of terrorism started more time has been given than before in this House, and more space has been given in the Press than before, to considering the circumstances and policies in Cyprus, and people all over the world who had no time to spare to consider colonialism in Cyprus are now anxious about it.

That is why it is so essential that we should try to solve the problem constructively, and certainly suggestions that there is need to stamp out terrorism by increased severity are completely useless and unrealistic. We are all desperately anxious to see a new turn of events in Cyprus, but that can come about only if there is applied to this sore and sad situation an element of healing and hopefulness.

Time for this debate is brief, and I must be brief. Therefore, I shall content myself with advancing only one or two arguments. We had hoped this week that we were going to turn a corner towards a better future for Cyprus, and I myself still hope that we shall, but I am sure that nothing would help us on more to a free and candid discussion of Lord Radcliffe's proposals for Cyprus than a loosening of the emergency regulations. Whether we like it or not, we have to come to terms with the people of Cyprus if we are to produce a workable settlement.

It is most unfortunate that Lord Radcliffe's proposals should be considered at a time when the Emergency Regulations, for the major part, are still in force, because they cause the majority of the people of the island, whatever hon. Members opposite think, to feel a strong and bitter sense of alienation from the Government and from the present Governor. The hon. Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell) referred to a Motion on the Paper about the Regulations. We were specially concerned, in putting down that Motion. about the somewhat vague provisions for the extension of the use of the death penalty. My hon. Friend has dealt with that aspect very fully. I hope that the Minister of State will be able to assure us that many of the fears expressed in another place were without foundation.

However, we can go only on the words of the Regulations as they stand, and they impose the death penalty not only for carrying weapons but for consorting or being in company with a person who is carrying a weapon. That seems to me to be extraordinarily dangerous. What will be the impact of this Regulation on family life? Is the whole family to be executed because father has a gun? The words consorting or being in company with anyone carrying a weapon could be construed to mean that everybody living in the same house as one man with a gun should be executed. What about a girl who is out for a walk with a boy who, unknown to her, may have a gun in his pocket? She may be completely innocent of any complicity, but it seems that she is liable to be sentenced to death.

It is not good enough to say, "Of course, a court would not put that interpretation on the Regulations in such a case." The fact is that the Regulations say things which seem to suggest that the death penalty can be passed and carried out in Cyprus against anybody over the age of 16, even though he or she may be innocent of any complicity in terrorism, and that we are enforcing what my hon. Friend called a system which is really Draconian. The Regulations would be more understandable if they included some phrase to the effect that they applied if the person without the weapon had a prior knowledge that the person with whom he was consorting was carrying the weapon. There is, however, no such proviso.

Another Regulation which worries us is that which seems to put not only the police and the security forces but any members of the Civil Service in Cyprus above the law. At the very time when we are hoping to help the Cypriots to understand and practise for themselves the processes of democracy that seems an extraordinary thing to do. Does that Regulation mean, for instance, that if a jeep runs over an old woman she cannot bring an action against the driver of the jeep or against the Government? Suppose, for instance, an incident occurs which is completely unconnected with the emergency, as for instance, that a postman on a bicycle knocks down a child. Does that Regulation mean that because the postman is a civil servant he cannot be sued without the permission of the Attorney-General?

In reply to a Question asked in the House the other day, the Colonial Secretary said that this Regulation was necessary because of the number of frivolous cases brought against members of the forces, so I put down a Question asking quite simply how many prosecutions had been brought by Cypriots during the emergency against the police, Armed Forces, and security officers in Cyprus. The answer was: Nine."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 19th December, 1956; Vol. 562, c. 162.] Throughout the period of this emergency, which is over a year old now, there have been only nine cases in which Cypriots have used the legal processes against the police and members of the Armed Forces and security officers. I submit, therefore, that the Colonial Secretary's argument on that score is not good enough, especially when one recalls that on at least one occasion officers of the forces have been found guilty by a court in Cyprus of cruelty and of causing bodily harm to Cypriots while the officers were carrying out their duties.

It is a tribute to our forces in Cyprus that there have been so few cases of that sort. I have seen the men, many of them very young National Service men, carrying out these intolerably abhorrent tasks, which are really the worst kind of police work. It is bitterly unfair that they should be asked to do much of the work which they have to do in Cyprus. I should gladly be the first to say that I have seen then working with great tolerance and great good humour in the difficulties which the Government have put upon them. However, it is most unfortunate that the population of the island are not able to feel that when instances of cruelty or of bullying or of accident do occur, exceptional though they may be, they have some redress. The implication is that sometimes the Cypriots may be right and that the Government are afraid that they may be right. Nothing would restore confidence among the people of Cyprus more than to feel that the police and the security forces were equal with them before the law. Surely that is not too much for them to ask?

The question of the Press has been adequately dealt with by my hon. Friend. I very much hope that it will be made absolutely clear that candid, open discussion, particularly of the Radcliffe proposals, can be carried out by the journalists in Cyprus. What worries me is that to escape the penalties of the law comment in the Press must be "fair and honest", according to the Regulations. I hope that the Minister of State can help us about this matter. I want to know who is to say whether the comment is fair and honest. If there is a newspaper attack, for instance, on certain actions of the Governor, does Sir John Harding decide whether it is fair and honest? Is it for him to bring the whole of the processes of the law against the newspaper editor, processes which permit the imposition of the penalty of the closing of his newspaper?

I hope that, as in another place, we shall get news of reconsideration of these matters from the Government. We are just about to adjourn for the Christmas Recess. For many people in Cyprus it will be the second Christmas in prison of the breadwinner, the father of the family. Some hundreds of them are still without trial or without any charge being brought against them. Many of them cannot be guilty of the terrorism of the last year because they have been in prison for over a year. I hope very much, therefore, that the news that we have heard of the first instalment of releases, which I welcome, will be followed by a much larger number, and that we shall soon be able to end the detention of persons without charge or trial.

The best chance of success for Lord Radcliffe's proposals, and for a fair discussion of them, would be for the Government to take an imaginative step. I should like to see them, from their side this time, suggesting a truce. I think that the handling of the last truce offer from the terrorists was deplorable. It would be helpful, therefore, if this time Her Majesty's Government would take the initiative in suggesting a period of truce, in bringing Archbishop Makarios back to Cyprus for talks, not only between himself and the British officials, but with other leading Cypriots. I am sure that is the only way in which there can be some turn for the better in that desperately unhappy island.

12.2 p.m.

Mr. Elwyn Jones (West Ham, South)

I shall detain the House for only two minutes to express the fervent hope that the Minister this morning will announce substantial amendments in such of these Emergency Regulations as it is proposed still to enforce.

The debate on this subject in another place provides one of the most devastating criticisms by eminent lawyers of a set of Regulations that the volumes of HANSARD have ever contained. The eminent authority of a former Lord Chancellor, fully conscious of his great responsibilities, was brought to bear and I agree with my hon. Friend that the reply of the Government in another place to those criticisms was extraordinary. To have it said that these criticisms would be looked at was a most remarkable and ineffective way of dealing with them.

These Regulations are a defiance of some fundamental principles of our law, namely, the principle of equality before the law and of giving discretion to judges to choose between one penalty and another. As for the incredible provision, for which I know no precedent, for putting public servants in a special position vis-à-vis the criminal law, I doubt whether even the Nazi governors in occupied territories took to themselves powers quite as Draconian as that. It will not do, and I hope that the Minister will now announce fundamental changes in these Regulations.

12.4 p.m.

Mr. James Callaghan (Cardiff, South-East)

I am sure that the House will be grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson) —not primarily to my hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. L. Jeger), though I am sure it will be grateful to her also—for raising this subject. I say that because we have a duty in this House—and I address this specifically through you, Mr. Speaker, to the hon. Member for Wembley, South (Mr. Russell)—to hold the Government responsible for seeing that we do not fall below the standards that we ourselves accept as being a necessary part of the government of a free people in a free country.

I am sure that the answer which the hon. Gentleman would give me is that when one is dealing with the kind of situation that there is in Cyprus, one cannot afford to wear kid gloves but has to go right to the heart of the situation and use methods that are understood by persons who employ terrorism. Alas, this is true to some extent, but, nevertheless, I want to carry him with me, at least so far as to say that it is our duty in the House, and his duty as well as ours, to ensure that the Government do not take powers that are unnecessary and do not use them in a way that would be condemned as being unnecessary to the situation. It is these tests that my hon. Friends are applying to the Regulations that have been imposed. If the powers are too wide, if they are being improperly used, I merely say to the hon. Gentleman that we are doing no more than sinking to the level of those who are employing terrorism in Cyprus unless we speak out against them, and it is our constant duty so to speak.

I do not think that my hon. Friends need repeat that they are opposed to terrorism. I would not be persuaded or cajoled by the hon. Gentleman to drag that into every speech, because the attitude of the Labour Party on this matter is well known. We do not have to preface everything by reviewing the whole of the circumstances. Yet I must express my own opinion, as this is the first time that I have spoken in a Cyprus debate, that in my view the situation in Cyprus, and the terrorism which now exists, is the result of the bankruptcy of the policy of the Government. I do not see how historians will be able to escape that conclusion when the history of this period is written, after these events have died away.

I want to address myself particularly to the question of the Regulations concerning prosecutions brought by private persons against Government officials, which are now forbidden, I understand. I wrote to the Colonial Secretary on this matter on 8th December, as follows: I have been disturbed to learn that allegations by reputable persons about brutality in Cyprus are not being inquired into. My information is that the allegations are principally directed against the special police and not against the ordinary police or the Criminal Investigation Department. These investigations were made by persons of the highest repute in Cyprus, namely, a former Attorney-General, who I believe is well esteemed by the Adminitration, and another former member of the Governor's Executive Council. They have sent the Administration 30 documented cases of prima facie brutality by security forces.

I hope that all hon. Members, on whatever side of the House they sit, will agree that if reputable persons put forward documented prima facie cases, they ought to be investigated. That is what I ask should be done, because the reputation of British justice is at stake here.

Here may I interpolate to say that it is the view of the Government—because I received a reply from the Colonial Secretary yesterday—that many of these allegations are made with the deliberate intention of embarrassing the Administration and serving as Eoka propaganda. I can see the force of that, but I go on to say that, even so, there is a responsibility upon the Administration. even though it is time-wasting and even though it is frivolous, to ensure that every complaint of this nature is investigated and that those of good repute in Cyprus, lawyers of high standing, should be satisfied that the Administration is not trying to hide something.

My hon. Friend the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South told us that only nine of those allegations had been made—

Mrs. L. Jeger

Nine were brought to the courts.

Mr. Callaghan

—brought to the courts during the period of the Regulations. Clearly that is not an excessive total. What troubles me about this, however, is that although two reputable lawyers—one a former Attorney-General and one a former Member of the Executive Council—made these complaints, up to the time of my information, which is now getting a little old since some weeks have elapsed, they had not received a single reply to any one of those cases from the Governor's Administration, nor have they been able to get the evidence which they were asking for to investigate these complaint. Indeed, one can say that the only reply they have had was the introduction of this new measure which prevents prosecutions by private persons where allegations of ill-treatment by the security forces are put forward.

Some of the cases which have been sent to me would be condemned by every hon. Member, no matter what was the degree of provocation to which the members of the security forces had been subjected at any time, either in general or in particular. There are examples—I think I am not putting it too highly—of torture. I do not propose to go into the details here because that would not be fair at the present time. However, an English lawyer, Mr. Peter Benenson, who is of some reputation—he was a Labour candidate at the last General Election—tells me that as a result of his own investigations in Cyprus he is satisfied that there are at least four well-documented cases.

Mr. Benenson wrote to the Colonial Secretary about these matters on his return to England, and on 26th November the Colonial Secretary replied to him, saying: …I know that all complaints of ill-treatment are investigated… The right hon. Gentleman gives his reasons for thinking so; there were two cases of officers dismissed from the Service. The right hon. Gentleman went on: It is unfortunate that Mr. Clerides did not receive an early acknowledgment of his letters but the Administration and police are under very heavy pressure at present. I am fully confident, however, that these and any other allegations of this nature will in due course be investigated and that justice will be done. When I wrote to the Colonial Secretary, which was some time later, I asked whether he would make inquiries into the matter and give an undertaking that the Administration intended to investi- gate the complaints. I am extremely dissatisfied with the reply which I received, because it is word for word the same reply as he gave to Mr. Benenson three weeks earlier.

Has the Colonial Secretary made any inquiry into the matter at all? Frankly, on the basis of the two letters, which are word for word, except for the final paragraph in the letter to me, a personal paragraph, I confess that I do not believe the Colonial Secretary has done so. I ask the Minister of State to undertake to make a specific inquiry, not into the allegations themselves, but into the question whether the Administration in Cyprus is inquiring into the allegations? Has the Administration interviewed Mr. Clerides and Mr. Pavlides, who have put the allegations forward, and, if so, when can we expect some answer to be made to the very serious allegations, which amount to torture of persons by members of the British special police?

It is not only Cypriot lawyers who are concerned about this matter. There are English lawyers who are concerned about the reputation of British justice and the repute of Britain in the matter. That is why I press the Minister specifically on the point. I ask him also to contact the Governor in order to restore the rights of private prosecution, because I know of no other way in which the rights of the citizen can be protected in a situation like this.

I leave the matter there, except to say that there is a Commission on Human Rights which has been set up to investigate these complaints, and the international jurists are themselves concerned about it. Rather than have it dragged out of us in this way, I would sooner our own Administration investigated the matters and decided either that they were ill-founded or that there was something in them. On the basis of the evidence so far in front of me, I would not dismiss the allegations as frivolous. They are far too serious for that. If what I suggest were done, we should know that Britain's reputation for doing the honourable and proper thing in a matter of this sort would be unsullied. Until these allegations are answered, we are under a cloud of suspicion.

My hon. Friends who have spoken have welcomed the relaxations in respect of the Regulations in Cyprus, which are extremely repressive. I also welcome the Governor's decision to allow persons to visit the Archbishop in the Seychelles. I am certain that those are steps in the right direction. I hope that the Constitution will be thoroughly and fairly examined by everyone before they reach conclusions, and I also hope that the Government will adhere to what the Colonial Secretary said in reply to a Question which I put to him earlier, that he will give the greatest possible attention to suggestions from hon. Members and people from Cyprus, because, as has been pointed out, the situation has changed since Lord Radcliffe was given his instructions last July.

If the Minister does not believe me, he need not accept that from me. I would ask him to direct his attention to The Times of today's date, in which it is stated: It cannot be emphasised too often that nothing can be quite the same after Suez. Every issue of international relations, diplomacy, politics, and economics has to be rethought. I would say in all seriousness to the Minister that this applies to our special British position in Cyprus so far as British interests in the Middle East are concerned.

I beg the right hon. Gentleman not to close his eyes, during the weeks that lie ahead, to the possibility of reconsidering our position in Cyprus in relation to it being a British base. It may well be that a solution to the problem lies along the lines of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. Also, if he is willing to reconsider the Constitution at all as a basis for negotiations, will he consider some of the very wide powers which the Governor is given in relation to internal security? I do not think it is impossible for us to secure a situation under a Constitution in Cyprus which would be like that of Malta, where the Government hold responsibility for internal security, and where the relationship of the Governor to the Prime Minister—in this case, it would be to the Chief Minister—much more closely resembles the position in this country.

I urge the Government to be flexible in their approach. There is a great responsibility upon all of us here, but particularly upon the Government, for the Government have one more chance to solve the problem in Cyprus. I hope that we shall take the chance. None of us can relish the thought that men and women are being shot down in cold blood in that island today, but that will go on unless we give them the leadership and the political institutions which will enable them to set aside the terrorists. The leadership, whether hon. Gentlemen opposite like it or not, will come from the Archbishop. The institutions can come from us if we are flexible, broadminded and tolerant in our approach. I beg the Government not to throw away their last chance.

12.17 p.m.

The Minister of State for Colonial Affairs (Mr. John Maclay)

I was very glad indeed that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said some very wise things about giving the Radcliffe proposals every possible chance that they can have. I had hoped that something like that would have come earlier in the debate. I am very glad that there was this wise and balanced appeal, with which we all agree, that every possible chance should be given in an unbiassed and unprejudiced atmosphere for quiet and steady consideration of the proposals.

The debate has gone a good deal wider than I expected. It began on the new Emergency Regulations. It developed into a Cyprus debate. For a short time towards the end, I thought it would become a Suez debate. The result is that my reply may have to be rather scrappy, because I want to answer as many as possible of the detailed questions that have been asked rather than to make a carefully studied reply, which, in the circumstances is simply not possible.

I entirely agree with the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson) that it is the duty of the Opposition to question anything about which they are doubtful and to put forward their own ideas, but I do appeal to hon. Members opposite, above all on a subject like Cyprus, when they are speaking to think the whole time of what effect their words will have in an area where people are being killed and shot and where murders are occurring.

I am not saying for one second that hon. Members opposite incite trouble. Of course they do not. I know that they hate this thing as much as we do. However, I have just been on a long trip to various parts of the world, and among other things that impressed me, in the Colonies in particular, was the meticulous way in which debates, particularly Adjournment debates, are studied in the part of the world to which the Adjournment debate refers. Very often remarks are taken out of context.

The hon. Member for St. Pancras, North said that there was no reason every time we spoke of Cyprus to condemn terrorists, because it is well known that the attitude of the Opposition is that they condemn terrorists. But when they make speeches rather like that of the hon. Member's attack on the Governor and the other things he said, they will be quoted in the context of the speech and it will appear to many that, if not condoning terrorism, the Opposition are making no active efforts to stop it. I ask hon. Members opposite to remember that and the importance of making it clear every time we discuss this subject that we all want to get this disastrous and tragic killing stopped in that island and that that is above all possible question of party advantage or party discussion. It is the duty of all of us, to have that in mind above all—and of course we do not want to stop criticism.

The impression I have gained from some of the opening speeches is that the three new Regulations are very grave additions to the Emergency Regulations already existing. I wonder whether that is keeping the matter in proportion. The death penalty alterations were made necessary by a change in the methods of Eoka. In the weeks immediately preceding the introduction of the Regulations, the tempo of murders had increased. The murders were increasingly wanton and indiscriminate, which was evidence of the pressure the existing Regulations were exerting on Eoka.

A considerable number of young people have been employed by Eoka, not only to do the dirty work, but to carry away weapons and to assist murderers to escape and hide. The new Regulations are a counter to these new tactics.

There had been a change in tactics from a concentration on the security forces to attacks on expatriates walking down a street who had no reason to expect any form of attack. There was an absolute necessity for some change. I believe that we ought to back the Governor completely in his decision to alter the Regulations in that way. He thought it was necessary to combat the new tactics of Eoka and the possibility of an intensification of Eoka's activities, which was to be expected about the time it looked as though the Cyprus issue might be brought before the United Nations. It has been made clear by past history that there are occasions when one can expect an intensification of activity and this was one of them.

Mr. Elwyn Jones

Does that mean there have been no amendments, in spite of admissions of ambiguity and obscurity by a Minister in another place?

Mr. Maclay

The position at the moment is that, in the light of the debate in another place, the Regulations are being carefully examined, but I can report nothing further than that at this time. The Governor proposed the new Regulations, they were approved in outline by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, they were not submitted to the Law Officers here. That is the technical position.

Mr. Callaghan

It is more than a fortnight since the debate in the other place was held. Considering the gravity of the matters with which we are dealing—the death penalty for a person carrying arms is one example—surely we can expect an early announcement from the Government?

Mr. Maclay

I will deal with that one straight away, because that does not require any redrafting. It is the question of giving an explanation of consorting. That is the point. I am advised that that is the technical answer. It was said that a person found in company with another one possessing a weapon would be sentenced to death. The position is that the circumstances would have to raise a reasonable presumption that the person accompanying the one carrying arms was involved in terrorism. The actual wording is: … in circumstances which raise a reasonable presumption that he intends, or is about to act, or has recently acted, with such other person in a manner prejudicial to public safety or the maintenance of public order… That is a full answer to the question raised by the hon. Lady the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. L. Jeger). She assumed that if a sister was walking along with a brother, not knowing that the brother had a weapon in his pocket, she would be liable to the death penalty. I cannot believe that that would be so under the words I have just read.

Mr. Ede (South Shields)

The right hon. Gentleman said that the Regulations were not submitted to the Law Officers here. Were they examined in the legal department of the Colonial Office?

Mr, Maclay

The approval here was in outline, not in detail at this stage. That is what I am advised.

Mr. Ede

Is the answer to my question therefore "No"?

Mr. Maclay

It must be "No." I will take further advice on that. I understand that the position is that the Regulations were approved in outline and that the detailed drafting was not done in London and has not so far been seen here.

Questions were asked about the Regulation dealing with the Press. Many points have been raised and it is necessary to pick up the matters one by one. The whole point about the change in the Control of Publications Order is that at the end of October the Governor reported that there had recently been a large amount of publicity material consisting mainly of general and often anonymous allegations of misconduct against the security forces. He wished to prohibit the sale and circulation of such material which was having the effect of hindering the prosecution of the security campaign and befouling relations between the security forces and the Cyprus public. There was a series of publications which could easily have had that effect and had had it. The Regulations were accord-ingly made.

I had better give the gist of them in detail, because I understand there has been some misunderstanding. The provisions of the Regulations are that the Governor may make an Order prohibiting the sale or circulation of any publication if it appears to him that it contains matter prejudicial to the security campaign; inciting to violence; likely to create hostility or ill-will between sections of the population or between the public and the Security Forces.

I think no one will disagree that those are objectives which are quite proper for the Governor, if these publications were adding to the trouble and a number of people were being killed.

Mr. K. Robinson

Does the right hon. Gentleman think that the last of those three conditions is reasonable? It is fantastically wide.

Mr. Maclay

It is, as I said, likely to create hostility or ill will between sections of the population or between the public and the Security Forces. There is no reason to believe that the Regulations will be administered unwisely. The Governor has shown throughout the time he has been in Cyprus extraordinary care, wisdom and caution in using his powers, and it is most unfair and wrong to imply any charge that these powers will be used unwisely.

Hon. Members opposite have forgotten and have not mentioned the Advisory Committee provided under the new Regulations. It was not there before, under the old Regulations. There is a right of appeal to the Governor, through the new Advisory Committee, against orders made under these Regulations.

Mr. Callaghan

The Regulation which the right hon. Gentleman regards as satisfactory says: The Governor may in his absolute discretion …prohibit the sale and circulation of any publication if it appears to him…that it might be prejudicial to the successful prosecution of measures taken or to be taken to forward the termination of the state of emergency in the Colony. Can one possibly have anything wider than that? An attack made in the Press upon the Governor in the exercise of his authority could be construed in this way. It becomes an almost totalitarian régime.

Mr. Maclay

No; it must depend entirely on how the Regulations are administered. If the hon. Gentleman can produce cases where they have been administered in a totalitarian way and not in the interests of the preservation of order and life, he may have a case, but one cannot assume that matters will be handled in that way when there is no evidence to justify it.

Mr. Callaghan

This is a most important matter. The Minister really tempts me. I refrain from quoting cases only because I want to give the Colonial Secretary the opportunity of investigating for himself. If he will look at the proposed prosecution against Mr. Foley for a moment, he will see that he is bound to assume that Mr. Foley is being prosecuted for making a political attack upon the policy of the Governor.

Mr. Maclay

I am not prepared to discuss that prosecution, because it is still sub judice, but I shall come back to the other question raised before I sit down.

I must now turn very briefly to the question of the protection of public officers. That raises an important point, about which there seem to be some misunderstandings. The purpose of the new Regulations is to prevent malicious and vexatious prosecutions against members of the security forces. There is no question of denying justice or of placing the security forces above the law. The Attorney-General having given his consent, proceedings can be instituted in the usual way. Hon. Members really must not make reflections upon the impartiality of the Attorney-General, as was implied in one or two remarks made by the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North. He said that the Government would be judge and jury in its own case. That is not entirely without precedent in matters of this kind. But we can be certain that the Attorney-General will exercise his duties under these Regulations with complete impartiality, free from any political bias.

The reason for introducing these Regulations was simply that lawyers who purported to act for persons wishing to prosecute had recently made a number of applications for the names and other particulars of members of the security forces, in circumstances which gave the Governor ground for believing that the lives of those members would be endangered by the provision of such detailed information.

In this connection two main points arise. First there is the question whether it is purely vexatious.

Mr. K. Robinson

They are all vexatious to the Governor.

Mr. Maclay

Not in the sense that one normally uses the word "vexatious". Secondly, a new danger can arise in relation to this technique of lawyers trying to obtain names through instituting proceedings. I must make it clear that civil proceedings are still permissible. I think that that deals with the point made by the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South.

I am told that the appeal against the Limassol fine could not have been stopped by the new Regulations. The technical position is that nothing in the Public Officers Protection Regulations prevents a civil action—and the Limassol litigation was a civil action. Therefore, the latest Regulations would not have altered or affected the Limassol action. The decision to abandon collective punishment had nothing to do with the Limassol case, and it is a great pity that that implication was put upon it. That judgment turned entirely upon the question whether the Regulations had been properly complied with. Their legality was not prejudiced.

I have covered a good many of the questions which have been asked. They are all highly technical, and I am no lawyer. It really needs a lawyer at this Box for this operation. If there are any other important questions which I have not dealt with, I shall be glad to do so later.

I regret that, at a moment when we are trying to have this new Constitution considered wisely, and when the Governor has made very definite and positive concessions—I could go through them, but we are already over our time—the opening speeches did nothing to help the people in Cyprus to feel that Her Majesty's Government are making a very serious and determined effort to encourage them to look carefully and closely at the draft proposals. In that respect, I welcomed the speech made by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan).

The Governor himself, recognising the need to improve the atmosphere, has made very positive relaxations in the Emergency Regulations.

Mr. K. Robinson

I said quite clearly that although I thought the Constitution was less favourable than the one which was turned down in the March negotiations, I nevertheless thought that it should be accepted, and that it would be reasonable for the Greek-Cypriot people to accept it and try to make it work.

Mr. Maclay

Yes, but was that the most helpful thing that he could say about this—that it was less favourable than the previous Constitution?

Mr. Robinson

It is true.

Mr. Maclay

It may be true, in the hon. Member's opinion, but I regret that it should have been said at a time when we want to give every possible fair wind to these proposals.

I welcome a debate of this kind, dealing with matters which need explaining, and it has been useful in that it has enabled me to clear up certain misunderstandings—but I regret some of the things which have been said.