§ 3.37 p.m.
§ Mr. James Griffiths (Llanelly)
When we last discussed the situation in Cyprus, two months ago, we from these benches ventured to criticise, in our view justifiably, the handling of the Cyprus situation by the Government, and during that debate we ventured also to put forward constructive proposals designed to secure a settlement and the bringing to a speedy end of the tragic situation in that island. In that debate constructive suggestions were put forward not only from our side of the Committee but from some hon. Members sitting opposite, and there was, in particular, a notable contribution by the hon. Member for East Aberdeenshire (Sir R. Boothby).
When the Secretary of State for the Colonies replied to the debate he devoted but a very small part of his speech to answering the criticisms or to dealing with the suggestions which had been put forward. Instead of devoting more attention to those, to his own enjoyment and to the enjoyment of hon. Members behind him he spent most of his time talking about 1951. I hope that in today's debate we shall devote most of our time 1392 to a consideration of the situation as it is today, to the events and the developments that have taken place during these two months, to the Prime Minister's statement last Thursday, and to finding out what, if any, are the plans of the Government for the future.
To help the Committee to concentrate upon that, I might be permitted to say a few words about 1951 and the years before. There is no secret about it. The actions of the two Labour Governments from 1945 to 1951 on the question of Cyprus are in record. To save hon. Members the weary task of looking through the OFFICIAL REPORT for all those six years, I would direct their attention to speeches which I made on two occasions in the past two years.
The first was on 28th July, 1954, the day on which the Hopkinson statement was made and was followed by a debate. In that debate I indicated what the attitude of the Labour Government to the Cyprus situation had been at various times. Again, in the debate which followed, on 5th December, 1955, I outlined the situation briefly.
I discussed the demands that had been made by the Greek Cypriots and the refusal of the Labour Government to accede to those demands. I indicated that during those years, at various times, proposals had been put forward by the Labour Government for a constitutional advance, and that those had been rejected. All this is on record, and if it is any comfort to hon. Members opposite, or if they think they can get any fun out of it or make political capital out of it, I say at once that as one who was a member of both Labour Governments I accept my full share of the responsibility for what we did or did not do.
Having said that, let me say this. [Laughter.] I hope that hon. Members will not laugh too soon. When we left office in 1951, we bequeathed to the Government a peaceful Cyprus, a friendly Turkey and a friendly Greece. Let the Committee contrast that situation with the situation today, whatever the Labour Government may have done or refused to do, or should have done, and did not do. Let the Committee contrast that situation in October, 1951, with the situation today as it has developed since that fateful day in July, 1954.
1393 I cannot do better than quote from an editorial in the Manchester Guardian of 13th July in which, in reviewing the present situation, that newspaper passed its verdict on the administration of Her Majesty's Government in Cyprus during the past two years. I think that the country believes that it is a fair verdict. The editorial said:With the Greeks inciting the Cypriots to murder British troops, with the Turks and Greeks in bitter hostility to each other, with the N.A.T.O. headquarters at Izmir unable to function properly, and with the British base in Cyprus neutralised—the Treaty can hardly survive for long.That is the verdict of a responsible newspaper and a verdict which, I believe, is shared by the majority of people in this country.
I should like to say two things about the situation in Cyprus from 1951 onwards, both of which are relevant and important and represent important changes in the situation compared with the first six years following the Second World War. The first has relation to what we all know and understand as one of the aspects of the Cyprus problem, that is the strategic implications. On 22nd October, 1951, ten days before the Conservative Party came to office, and while Cyprus was still peaceful and Greece and Turkey were still on friendly terms with each other, Greece and Turkey, jointly and together, joined N.A.T.O. I believe that that fact created a new context in which the whole problem of the strategic importance of Cyprus could be examined afresh.
Discussion between this country and Cyprus, throughout its long history, had always come to a deadlock. Cyprus made one demand and we rejected it, and then we put forward proposals and Cyprus rejected them. But it became known fairly generally to us, and it must have been known to the Colonial Office, that some time after 1951 the Greek Cypriot leaders reconsidered their previous attitude of at all times refusing to sit down and discussing a possible constitution, and that they were now prepared to consider and to work a constitution. As I understood from fairly reliable resources, they were prepared to consider constitutional development provided that it followed the colonial course of constitutional development to a true 1394 Dominion status and, thereafter, the right to self-determination.
In the debate on 28th July, 1954, bearing this in mind, I made a suggestion to the Government which, very unfortunately and tragically, they failed to take up. The Committee will recall that during that debate, the then Minister of State for the Colonies had outlined a constitution which the Government proposed to offer to Cyprus, which was less liberal than the one rejected in 1948. I urged the Minister, having regard to our previous experience, that it would be very unwise to make an offer at that time, particularly as he informed us that the offer had been made without any previous consultation with any of the leaders of any of the communities in Cyprus. I put an alternative suggestion to the right hon. Gentleman and I pleaded with him to think about it very carefully.
My suggestion was that, bearing in mind this change, it would be advisable to invite representatives of the various communities in Cyprus to London to discuss the possibility of a constitutional advance on the normal colonial lines towards Dominion status. I still believe that if that offer had been put forward then, it would have been accepted. We are entitled to believe that if those representatives had been invited not only would they have come, but they would have sat down to consider a constitution which would lead, whether eventually or at an agreed date, to Dominion status.
It might very well have been that in five years, ten years or fifteen years' time, when it had reached that stage in which Colonies, having attained their independence have to decide their future and whether to stay inside the Commonwealth, Cyprus would have volunteered to stay in the Commonwealth. I put it no higher than that. It is a matter of which we are all proud that most of the nations that have attained their independence and Dominion status within the Commonwealth have stayed in the Commonwealth. The one nearest to us which has not stayed inside the Commonwealth, but has gone outside, has the kind of history which Cyprus has today. I refer to Ireland.
I say, therefore, having spoken this much about the past—and I stand by what we did and accept full responsibility for it—that those two changes since 1951, 1395 and, in particular, the opportunity of making a fresh approach to this problem, was missed by Her Majesty's Government. Instead, we had that statement on the same day as the statement on Egypt, and from the beginning that has poisoned this situation.
Shortly after the debate on 14th May—two months ago—the Governor, Sir John Harding, returned to this country for consultations with Her Majesty's Government. Many hon. Members of all parties had the opportunity and privilege of meeting him and discussing the problem with him, and we were glad to have that opportunity. During his stay here, and shortly after his return, it was generally believed that after these consultations, and a reassessment of the situation in Cyprus, Her Majesty's Government had decided upon a new approach, a new initiative towards a settlement. Indeed, it became generally understood that the Government had adopted, and agreed upon, a new plan for Cyprus.
This news was generally welcomed, I hope and believe, by every hon. Member of the House. I say I hope and believe, because sometimes we hear rumours of some hon. Gentlemen opposite who declare their views upon these things to the Government. At any rate, the news that there was to be a new approach and a new initiative was welcomed in the country. Whatever our views, one thing is clear, that the country is desperately anxious for this deadlock to come to an end and for a settlement.
We heard that this new plan was being mooted. We asked the Government about it, and the Government said that they would make a statement at the appropriate time. I do not complain tbout that, but, although I am not a very old Member of this House, I have been here for twenty years, and I tell the Prime Minister that no Government in my time here has had so much consideration shown to them on problems of this kind as his Government have had from the Opposition.
Times without number the Secretary of State for the Colonies has come to us and said, "Please do not put that Question today. Please do not ask for a debate this week." That is true regarding Cyprus, Malta and other matters. I say to the Prime Minister, therefore, that 1396 when we were told that the Government would not make a statement then about this new approach, about this new initiative, about this new plan, but would make it at the appropriate time, we accepted that position.
What followed was a tremendous buildup in the Press for this new plan; a buildup which, it seemed to us, carried with it, if not the approval, certainly not the disapproval of the Government. There were no denials from official spokesmen. The Government did not take the opportunity in the House, even at an appropriate time, of saying that there was nothing in those rumours. Instead, they were allowed to go on, so speculation became rife.
All the newspapers had a shot at indicating what was the new policy. I will quote one only, because we have not yet heard from the Government what was the new plan and we are looking forward to hearing today. On 23rd June the Economist, a paper which is fairly friendly to the Government and perhaps very close to them, I do not know, stated:A tentative plan of action, designed to recapture the political initiative which the Government relinquished upon the deportation of Archbishop Makarios has by now been thrashed out.The plan now envisaged would apparently consist of an announcement of a date for self-determination, the unconditional offer of a constitution for limited self-government, with clauses—the details of which have still to be worked out—for safeguards for, first, the Turkish minority and, secondly, allowing the Greeks an elected majority.
We all had our hopes raised. We all accepted that, when the Government judged that the appropriate time had come to make a statement to the House, we would be told that there had been a new initiative, a new approach, a new plan, and that we were on the way to a settlement of the Cyprus problem. Instead of that, when we had a statement from the Prime Minister last week, what did we find?
It is clear from that statement that there was a new approach. It is equally clear that there was a new plan. It seems also that it was agreed that the new plan would be based upon the acceptance of the principle of self-determination as 1397 applicable to Cyprus, subject to certain qualifications. The qualifications were laid down by the Prime Minister in his statement as the protection of our own interests in Cyprus and of the interests of Turkey and other countries to which we had treaty obligations.
I presume that this new plan adopted by the Government fulfilled all those conditions which the Prime Minister indicated in his statement. Thereafter, we were told by the Government that the plan had been discussed with the Government of Turkey. We were not told that it had been discussed with any other Government—for example, Greece. Thereafter, it was clear from his statement that because the Government of Turkey had raised objections to the plan, the plan had been abandoned.
This House was never told what the plan was; the country was never told what the plan was. So far as we can make out from the statement of the right hon. Gentleman, the plan was shown only to the Government of Turkey, and, that Government having raised objections, it has been abandoned; and not only has the plan been abandoned, but it seems that any approach to a settlement has now been abandoned as well.
Now a word or two about the implications of the statement of the Prime Minister and, in particular, the implications of the way in which the new plan was handled and the way in which it came to be abandoned. I want to say a word about our relationship with Turkey, but before doing so I must point out that the principal repercussion, among many evil consequences of the present situation in Cyprus, and of our discussions in this Chamber, is that we are tending to take sides between the two countries. Some have become pro-Turkey, some have become pro-Greece.
I said in an earlier debate that one of the evil consequences was—[An HON. MEMBER: "Which side is the right hon. Gentleman on?"] It will be a bad thing for this country, and for Turkey, if it becomes known that Turkey is the special child of the 1922 Committee—
§ Major Legge-Bourke
I was only intending to ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he would not agree that it was really more important that we should all be pro-British?
§ Mr. Griffiths
I hope that a Welshman may claim to be pro-British. As this situation goes on and gets worse all the time, the amount of bitterness which we are building up is an awful legacy for the future.
Everybody admits freely the interests of Turkey in the Turkish minority in Cyprus and their interests in the wider strategical considerations involved in Cyprus. There should be consultation, yes, but I put this to the Prime Minister: does he admit the right of the Turkish Government to veto a plan? Is not that what has happened? Are we not now confronted with a situation in which Her Majesty's Government, having reassessed the situation, decided upon a new approach, agreed upon a new plan, then discussed that plan with the Government of Turkey and abandoned it when they raised objections? That, in effect, is giving Turkey a veto upon a settlement of the Cyprus issue.
The second implication to which I want to invite the Committee's attention is that the objections, as we understand them, were objections which arise from important international issues. We should, therefore, like to put to the Prime Minister, and to the Foreign Secretary, who is to reply, this question: will the Government tell us at this stage, particularly following these discussions with Turkey and what has been a consequence of them, whether they now regard Cyprus as a domestic issue or as an international issue?
This is very important indeed. It has been laid down in the House of Commons for very many years that the relationship between this country, as a metropolitan power, and a dependency is, to use the language of the United Nations, a domestic matter. If Cyprus and its future is to be decided, not as a problem of the future relationship of the United Kingdom with Cyprus, but in the context of the international issues which arise, then, clearly, it has become an international matter.
I come to what my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said to the Prime Minister last Thursday. If this is 1399 an international issue, it is an issue which involves N.A.T.O. Indeed, it is clear that because of the present situation the Eastern Mediterranean wing of N.A.T.O. is breaking down and, one of these days, will disappear. The suggestion put forward by my right hon. Friend was that, bearing in mind the international issues involved, this matter should now be taken to the N.A.T.O. Council. In reply to my right hon. Friend last week, the Prime Minister said that he would not now take the matter to N.A.T.O. Does he propose to take it to N.A.T.O. while there is still time, before nothing is left of N.A.T.O. in the Eastern Mediterranean?
I want to put the next point to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. The House rise in a fortnight and we shall be away for some time. Although the Prime Minister has not told us when we shall return, it is likely that before we get back the United Nations will have met.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)
It meets in November.
§ Mr. Griffiths
In that case, we shall be back before the United Nations meets.
When the United Nations meets I presume that the question of Cyprus will be on the agenda. It was put on the agenda last year by Greece. When it was on the agenda before, the Secretary of State, as well as some of his colleagues, argued that this was a domestic matter, in which the United Nations had no authority and no status. How can we argue that now? How can we now argue that Cyprus is a domestic issue within the meaning of the Charter when we have been told that the last effort to settle the matter has broken down because of the international issues?
I seems to us quite clear that we have the right to say to the Government that if they regard this as an international issue, surely we must use international organisations to arrive at a settlement. If it is a domestic issue, then the responsibility is upon Her Majesty's Government to find a way out of it.
§ Mr. John Peyton (Yeovil)
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves that point, will he make it clear whether he thinks it is an international situation or a domestic situation, if he is not just playing with 1400 words? Does he not agree that there was an absolute obligation upon Her Majesty's Government very fully to consult the Government of Turkey, 40 miles away from Cyprus?
§ Mr. Griffiths
I have already said so. We are faced not with consultation, but with the abandonment of a plan after consultation, clearly showing that it had been vetoed. The Prime Minister said the reasons the plan had failed arose from international issues.
§ Mr. Griffiths
I cannot give way again.
From the outset there has been no dubiety in what we have urged from this side of the House. We have urged the settlement of the problem by direct negotiation and we have more than once put forward proposals designed to that end. On the statement made by the Prime Minister last week it now looks as if all attempt at a settlement has been abandoned—except the statement which he made that Lord Radcliffe had been asked to visit Cyprus and was proceeding to Cyprus the next day.
Let me say a few words about this new initiative, if it can be called such. Let me begin by saying that all of us who know Lord Radcliffe have a deep respect for his ability and his integrity. As I understand, he has been asked to go out to Cyprus to examine the situation without any terms of reference, and the terms of reference will be considered and defined when he comes back. It was, in my view, very doubtful whether we helped him, ourselves or the possibilities of a settlement in Cyprus by asking him to go out there without first finding out whether he would be able to have consultations with representatives of all the communities in Cyprus. Almost as soon as he arrived it became known that the representatives of the Greek Cypriots, the Ethnarchy, would not meet him unless they met him with Archbishop Makarios.
Before the last debate we had been told that Lord Radcliffe had been appointed as a constitutional adviser, if discussions took place upon a constitution following the talks, which unfortunately, later broke down. In my view, there was no need for them to have broken down. On 2nd May, my right hon. Friend the Member 1401 for South Shields (Mr. Ede) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he hadyet set someone to work to draft a constitution, along the lines of the correspondence between the Governor and the Archbishopwhich, of course, has been published. In the course of his reply, the Secretary of State said:No constitution is likely to have validity or strength unless it is produced from genuine discussions by those who will be responsible for working it. Detailed drafting of a constitution cannot, therefore, be undertaken until genuine discussion is possible and there has been a fair measure of agreement on fundamental issues."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd May, 1956; Vol 551, c. 373.]For that reason, he said, at that time there was no purpose in asking Lord Radcliffe to undertake his work of drafting a constitution.
Why has he been asked now? Are we now to understand that there is agreement on fundamental issues? If so, can we be told what that agreement is? It is quite clear that Lord Radcliffe has been placed in an impossible position and has been given a task which he cannot possibly fulfil. To begin with, he cannot have consultations. My right hon. Friends and I asked earlier, during Question Time, whether he is to have an opportunity of meeting representatives who can speak for all the communities in Cyprus. It is essential that he shall meet, among others, the Ethnarchy, and it is clear that the Ethnarchy will not meet him without Archbishop Makarios.
I therefore put the question which we have put before. Lord Radcliffe, who is to be charged with the responsibility of drafting a constitution, first, by his own desire—which is quite understood and appreciated—wishes to see the scene for himself and to have wide consultations. Is he to be given the opportunity of discussing the matter with Archbishop Makarios and with the Ethnarchy? Unless he has that opportunity he cannot begin his task of surveying the field and of having consultations before he sits down to his task. Since his arrival in Cyprus Lord Radcliffe has told us that he is not empowered to negotiate and that we quite understand. He has told us something else. I gather that he spoke on the radio and, according to Press reports, said that it would be some months before he was able to make any 1402 recommendations to Her Majesty's Government.
The new approach and the new plan have gone. They have been jettisoned. Lord Radcliffe has been asked to draft a new constitution and has told us that it will be some months before he is able to make any recommendations. In the meantime what will happen in Cyprus? There, we shall continue to have violence and counter-violence, murders of British people and sentences of death on young Cypriots, greater bitterness within Cyprus between the communities, greater bitterness and ill-feeling between Greece and Turkey, ill-feeling between both of them and oursvlees. So it will go on to the bitter end and, at the end, shall we have a base? If we get anything it will be a legacy of bitterness.
My right hon. and hon. Friends and I said in the last debate that Her Majesty's Government should invite to London representatives of the communities in Cyprus and should also bring Archbishop Makarios here. Whatever may be the views of hon. Members about him, it is clear that there can be no settlement without him. The Government go further than that. Both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for the Colonies have said that one word from him would stop the violence. I have myself appealed to him to give that word. If we invited him over here, one of the things which could be discussed would be a joint statement to put an end to the violence so that the negotiations could continue in peace. If he is as powerful as that, does anyone imagine that we can settle the Cyprus issue without him? Of course not.
In this, the sixth debate on Cyprus in the last two years, we say that the Government's handling of the situation in those two years justifies our criticism and our censure. We say that the events of the past two months and what has been revealed by what the Prime Minister has said show that there is no plan, no initiative, no chance of a settlement. All the suggestions put forward not only from this side, but from elsewhere, have been rejected.
If reports are true, those suggestions have been rejected by the Government not only because of the objections which might have been raised by Turkey, but 1403 because of objections by some of the diehards opposite, those self-appointed guardians of British interests who can talk very big to a small country but who were silent when a vital Commonwealth interest in Trinidad Oil was sold outside the country. The leader of the Suez boys was silent—they were all silent. They are very stern towards small countries, but when it is a matter of big business, they collapse very easily.
We again say that sooner or later—and the sooner the better—we shall have to go back to the kind of proposals which we have submitted, because only in that way, at this desperate eleventh hour, can we save the situation in Cyprus and save our fair name in the world.
§ 4.14 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)
The speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) has not been particularly helpful in this situation. I do not think that it will help Cyprus. I do not think that it will help in any international body where this matter may have to be discussed. I did not detect in the whole speech anything which might contribute to a settlement. The right hon. Gentleman suggested that violence would continue. It may, but it would be a good thing if right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite would consider, before making their speeches, whether those speeches are likely to contribute to a continuance of violence or not.
The right hon. Gentleman said that he thought that the majority of people in this country would condemn the Government's actions over Cyprus. I disagree completely. What is more, I think that, whatever differing views there may be, there is a wider understanding of the difficulties of the situation. My principal criticism of the right hon. Gentleman's speech is that he did not appear at all to acknowledge the difficulties in this position. He talked about whether it was an international problem or purely a domestic problem. I think that, juridically, it is a domestic problem, but no one can deny that it has very important international aspects. It is a delusion to believe that at any time a final settlement could have been achieved between Her Majesty's Government and the people of Cyprus alone.
1404 We have to be practical and take account of the fact that on this matter both Turkey and Greece have very strong feelings. It is one of the tragedies of the whole situation that the work of reconciliation between Turkey and Greece, which began with the Treaty of Lausanne, has been jeopardised by what has happened. We all know the history of the relations between those two countries, the unhappy years of war, the tens of thousands of casualties and the vast movements of population. Everyone will bear in mind the work of Kemal Ataturk and Venizelos in building up a new relationship, friendship and alliance. That work was carried on by their successors and, up to 1954, had brought the rich fruits of the joining of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the Balkan Pact, and a new spirit between the two countries.
Unfortunately, it was in 1954 that the Greek Government decided to make an international issue of this matter and they sought to inscribe it on the agenda of the United Nations. At that time, as the right hon. Gentleman mentioned, I was leading the United Kingdom delegation at the United Nations. I spoke, privately and publicly, as strongly as I could to the representatives of the Greek Government of the fact that the inevitable consequence of bringing this matter into the international arena would be to cause a deterioration in the relations between Greece and Turkey.
Accusations of lack of foresight have been made against Her Majesty's Government. The record disproves that and I ask the right hon. Gentleman to look again at the White Paper, Command 9300, containing the account of what happened at the United Nations in September, 1954. He will see the argument about Article 2 (7). It was not I alone, but the Turkish representative at the United Nations who also drew attention in the clearest terms to the international dangers involved in the course of conduct which the Greek Government were pursuing.
The responsibility for the deterioration of relations between Greece and Turkey has been primarily due to that fact and that decision by the Greek Government. The suggestion is put forward that Her Majesty's Government have not been doing enough about this matter for the 1405 past twelve months. That is a quite false statement and I remind the Committee of the passage in the communique issued after the Commonwealth Prime Minister's Conference, which stated:The Prime Ministers were informed of the situation in Cyprus and welcomed the unceasing efforts of the United Kingdom Government to find a solution acceptable to all concerned.Last autumn, when my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer was in my position, he held a conference in London to try to find some means of reconciling the views of the two countries. That conference did not find a solution. The Government then decided that the only practical course was to negotiate with Archbishop Makarios in order to see whether, without prejudice to the practical application of the principle of self-determination, agreement could be found upon a constitutional development of the island. Those negotiations broke down for reasons which have been thoroughly debated in this House. The Government then decided that another attempt should be made to dispose of the question of self-determination upon acceptable terms, in the hope that that might facilitate constitutional development.
It is over the application of the principle of self-determination that the Turkish Government have found the most difficulty. I think that that is well known; it was made quite clear at the conference in the autumn. It was, therefore, thought right that we should have an exchange of views with the Turkish Government upon the matter. As a result of those exchanges—which were confidential—the Government decided that progress could not be made upon that line, and that it was better—indeed, necessary—to pursue the alternative line of constitutional development.
§ Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)
What does the right hon. and learned Gentleman mean by that? Last Thursday the Prime Minister stated quite categorically that the Government still accepted self-determination in principle.
§ Mr. Lloyd
If the right hon. Gentleman will wait for a moment, I propose to deal with that issue at some length, because I regard it as an important one. As I say, however, the fact of the Turkish position and of the Turkish views had 1406 to be taken into account. There would have been very grave dangers in doing the contrary.
The right hon. Gentleman has just raised the question of the principle of self-determination. Her Majesty's Government have accepted that principle. It is a general conception embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, to which Her Majesty's Government are signatories. I do not think that hon. Members find any difficulty about the acceptance of the general principle. What is a very different matter, however, is the application of that principle. If it were to be accepted that people have a right to self-determination whenever they ask for it, it would make nonsense of organised international society. I have never heard the most virulent supporters of self-determination suggest that the Turkish Cypriots should have the right of self-determination.
In the Austria Treaty, Austria was deprived of the right to unite with Germany. In other words, she was denied the right to self-determine her future in that way. The Aland Islands have a Swedish population, and in 1919, in a plebiscite, over 90 per cent. of the population voted to join with Sweden. Despite that the League Council specifically rejected the claim for self-determination and decided that the islands should remain with Finland. There were strong strategic reasons for that decision, and no one now disputes it. We know the situation which existed in the Trieste area. No one thought that the rigid application of the principle of self-determination would solve that problem. The idea of self-determination for the Sudeten Germans before the war caused controversy, to put it mildly, and the argument against it was based upon strategic grounds.
I should like to give a final example. During the discussions upon the Lausanne Treaty the great Greek statesman, Venizelos, rejected the idea of self-determination for Western Thrace, largely upon strategic grounds, and because past treaties must be honoured. In the minutes of that meeting his speech is reported as follows:It is true that his democratic principles incline him to accept the recognition of the right of peoples to self-determination; but it must be admitted that this right does not constitute 1407 the only relevant factor in the solution of quesions relating to the disposal of territories inhabited by mixed populations.It is worth remembering that at the time there was general agreement that if the area of Western Thrace were to be taken as a whole there was a considerable Turkish majority there.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I should like to finish what I wish to say about self-determination. Can one wonder, in view of what was said about Western Thrace, that the Turks now talk of raising that question again in the context of Cyprus? I would also remind the House that in 1931 Venizelos, in his wisdom, saw the danger of the Cyprus question. This is just a piece of history. He said:There is no Cypriot question between the Greek Government and the British Government.It is a great pity that his successors did not share his wisdom.
I conclude my point about self-determination by saying that we have only to cast our eyes over a map of the world to see some of the problems which would arise if the right of self-determination were regarded as of universal application at any particular moment. If it were held that the majority of the inhabitants of a frontier area, or a province outside the existing borders of a State, could opt for incorporation in that State, it would mean that few frontiers could be taken as permanent. There would be constant unrest and constant uncertainty. However good the principle may be as a principle, there are scores of cases in the world today—of which I have given some examples—in respect of which it is recognised that its practical application would cause such problems that it cannot be adhered to.
In Cyprus, we have not taken up so negative a position. We have not said that the principle can never be applicable. What we have declared ourselves willing to do is to try to work out conditions in which it might be possible to apply that principle to Cyprus in the course of time, and in such a way as not to create greater problems and cause greater dangers. That is our position; that has been our position throughout, and that is what we have tried to do.
§ Mr. Bevan
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has made a reference, as has his colleague upon several occasions, to the mischief caused by certain speeches in this House. Does he realise how much mischief he has caused in the last five minutes? First, he has repeated what the Prime Minister said, that we stand by the principle of self-determination for Cyprus, and he has then proceeded to qualify it to such a degree as to destroy its entire validity.
When that is read in Cyprus references will be made once more to "perfidious Albion." [HON. MEMBERS: "Rubbish."] It is being said, and it will be said. Surely it is not good enough to state a principle and then to hedge it around with so many qualifications and conditions that it ceases to have any meaning at all. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman therefore go on and try to define more concretely the circumstances in which he thinks that self-determination could be applied to Cyprus?
§ Mr. Lloyd
The right hon. Gentleman has made an interesting intervention. We have never failed to point out the difference between the principle of self-determination and its application.
I think that the right hon. Gentleman and his friends were in power when the Charter was actually signed—or they were the immediately successor Government. When they were in power, although they had subscribed to the principle of self-determination, they never suggested its application to Cyprus. During their period of office they never put forward the idea that that principle should be applied in Cyprus, because it must depend upon the circumstances, and, if the application of the principle will cause greater dangers than its denial, that is a matter very much to be taken into consideration. In that connection, I would think that Venizelos's speech about Western Thrace was directly in point.
We have endeavoured to make progress upon establishing conditions in which the application of this principle—
§ Mr. Francis Noel-Baker (Swindon)
There is a genuine misunderstanding here. Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman make plain what is the Government's view at this moment about the application of the principle of self-determination in Cyprus?
§ Mr. Lloyd
As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said the other day, there has never been any suggestion—and I did not know that it was even the view of the Opposition—that self-determination should be applied to Cyprus at once. In how many years do they suggest it should be applied? What is their view of the matter? What I have stated is that we have to seek by negotiation to find out whether we can establish conditions under which the application of that principle would cause less harm and damage than the continuation of the present state of affairs.
In taking up this position—which, I maintain, is not a negative position—there are still certain risks. I want to recapitulate some of the particular considerations. Cyprus remains essential for the maintenance of British interests and the discharge of British obligations, both under N.A.T.O. and in the Middle East. It is not just a N.A.T.O. question, but also of the Bagdad Pact and other treaty obligations in the Middle East, the protection of the oilfields and the Tripartite Declaration. A N.A.T.O. base on Greek soil could not satisfy our needs. We cannot accept any doubt about the availability of facilities in Cyprus as and when we need them. Of course, we would prefer to have these facilities amid a friendly population. I believe that the people of Cyprus would like it, but for the pressure of the terrorists.
Then there is the Turkish position, and I do not think that very much understanding of the Turkish position was shown in the right hon. Gentleman's speech. For Turkey, Cyprus is an offshore island covering the approach to its southern ports. The Turks are our staunch friends in N.A.T.O. and in the Bagdad Pact and other alliances, and their continued friendship is something that we value very much and is of tremendous importance to the Commonwealth and Empire. I think that any Government which lightly risks any disagreement between our two countries would be taking a very grave risk indeed.
The Treaty of Lausanne has been mentioned. The reference made in the Prime Minister's statement was to the Turkish view of it. That view has often been expressed, and notably at the tripartite conference last September. This 1410 is an important point in relation to the Eastern Mediterranean. The Parliamentary group of the Democratic Party in Turkey passed a resolution that if the present balance between Greece and Turkey is upset in relation to Cyprus, it would necessitate a revision of Western Thrace and of the Dodecanese.
Therefore, Her Majesty's Government recognises that the status of Cyprus cannot be considered in isolation from the political and strategic pattern of the area as a whole. That does not imply any limitation of our sovereignty. Whatever account may be taken of it, the Turkish position and attitude is a fact. I say again that for us to disregard that attitude would constitute a grave danger to the whole future of the Eastern Mediterranean.
It is an allegation of the Greeks that Britain has inspired Turkish opposition, and a prominent Greek said the other day to a European statesman that if only Britain would leave Greece and Turkey to settle the matter together they would do it speedily. I believe that to be completely untrue. Nevertheless, if Greece puts forward proposals, agreed with Turkey, designed to meet both Greek and Turkish apprehensions, Her Majesty's Government will certainly consider those proposals most sympathetically. [Laughter.] The hon. Gentleman may laugh, but that is what is being said—that we have organised this Turkish opposition, and that if only Greece and Turkey got together they would speedily settle the matter. If the hon. Gentleman believes that, he will believe very many strange things.
As far as Greek behaviour is concerned, Greece is an old and valued ally of this country, with which we made great sacrifices together in the past, and it is that which makes the recent conduct of the Greek Government the more saddening. That conduct has made an agreed solution through quiet discussion very much more difficult, and it cannot but raise doubts in the minds of Greece's allies about their future attitude even if a settlement were attained.
The continued incitement to murder poured out by the officially-controlled Athens Radio is one important factor in the deterioration of the situation. Athens Radio praises the murder of British soldiers and civilians, including the 1411 British woman who was killed the other day in Cyprus. It praises the murder of Greek Cypriots who oppose the terrorists, over 40 of them. How can we have friendship with or confidence in people professing high moral principles and, at the same time, inciting others to murder? Greek subjects, arms and munitions have gone to the terrorists, and this could not have happened without the connivance of Greek officials.
May I remind the Committee of the vessel "St. George", which was arrested while clandestinely taking arms and munitions to Cyprus? At the subsequent trial, when a number of persons were convicted—six were Greek nationals—it was shown that the vessel had been specially reconstructed for carrying armaments, but it showed very much more—that the arms and munitions which it was carrying had also come from Greece. It is clear that the voyage could not have been undertaken without the connivance of Greek officials.
There is another matter in the approach of many people to this problem which I think is disturbing, and that is the indifference they seem to show to the freedom of choice or opinion which is allowed to individual Greek Cypriots, in the pressure that can be applied by the refusal of the Church to baptise, marry or bury people who are opposed to Enosis. We know of the brutal murders of Greek Cypriots suspected of having friendly leanings towards Great Britain, and that the terrorists, abetted by the Orthodox Church in Cyprus, have created a state of affairs in which it requires great courage by individual Greek Cypriots not to toe the Enosis line.
One of the difficulties—and it is very much better to face facts like these—of persuading the Ethnarchy to accept any constitution is the fact that they do not really want the normal democratic processes by secret ballot as we know them in this country, because that might very soon mean the end of the political authority of the Church.
However that may be, in view of the international problems involved and the difficulty of resolving them in the light of all these facts, I maintain that the Government are absolutely right to proceed with the formulation of a constitution, at the same time saying that that 1412 constitution cannot be put into effect until law and order have been established and terrorist intimidation ended.
Her Majesty's Government, therefore, have taken the steps which they have done. Perhaps because so little publicity was given to it in this country, I might just remind the Committee of the statement of the United States Government issued on 14th July, which said:The United States welcomes the intentions of the British Government, as announced by Prime Minister Eden to proceed with the development of self-government on the island of Cyprus.We are glad to have that assurance, and I think that that is the path along which we may now try to go.
So far as Lord Radcliffe's mission is concerned, it would even seem from some of the comments made upon it that the purpose of the critics is to make sure that the mission fails. It is asked with whom Lord Radcliffe will consult, and that question was asked today. The point is that he is not going out as a negotiator, but as a constitutional expert to produce what he hopes would be the most suitable constitution, in the light of all the difficulties. Even if everybody in Cyprus refuses to consult with him formally, I do not believe that even that would prevent him understanding the difficulties of the situation or the various viewpoints, or being able to make suggestions which would form the basis either for action of for further consultation by Her Majesty's Government with the parties concerned.
These questions about why he is going out there and about how he will set about his task raise difficulties and are likely to cause obstruction. I do not think that at this time it is useful to argue these matters. I think he should be given a fair chance to do what is a difficult task. The suggestion was made that it was grossly unreasonable for Lord Radcliffe to require some time to produce his solution. I should have thought that the right hon. Gentleman would sufficiently have recognised the difficulties of this matter to suggest that he should be given sufficient time to do his job properly.
§ Mr. R. T. Paget (Northampton)
Before the right hon. and learned Gentleman leaves that point, may I ask a question which is causing me some anxiety? When I was over there, I think that the morale of the police and the civil service 1413 was causing a good deal of anxiety. At any rate, they are allowed to think that there is a danger that those whom we are asking them to serve us against are to be their masters. It may well be that their morale is not likely to last. If these constitutional preparations are going on for some time, can an assurance be given that, whatever form the constitution takes, the police and the civil service will remain in a position in which we can effectively protect them and protect their careers?
§ Mr. Lloyd
I would say that we can most certainly give the assurance that these people will not be left at the mercy of those with whom they have been dealing. As to how that should be dealt with is a matter for Lord Radcliffe to make recommendations, and the Government still will be entitled to deal with the matter. I agree with the hon. and learned Gentleman that it is important that it should be said now.
I had hoped that the note which would be struck by this debate would be, first, an accurate recognition of the realities of the problem. I did not detect that in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. Secondly, a welcome for Lord Radcliffe's mission, and the hope that it would be successful. I did not detect that in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. Before I sit down, and in support of my contention that there is growing up a wider understanding of our position, I wish to make two quotations from newspapers recently published. On 14th July the Herald Tribune commented:In this newspaper's opinion, Sir Anthony and the British Government have gone as far as possible in endeavouring to reconcile the Greek and Turkish points of view and have not sought to incite Turkish opposition to Enosis. …Popolo, in Italy, said on 13th July:We believe … that the British Government by staying in Cyprus in this difficult and unpopular position had not acted solely for the sake of British interests and prestige … by staying in Cyprus Britain is manning the most advanced bulwark on the road to the oil wells and to the Middle Eastern powder magazine.Inasmuch as many more in this country and in other countries are beginning to realise how much is at stake I think that I can ask the Committee to show its approval of the Government's action and its support for our determination to continue to combine patience with strength.
§ 4.41 p.m.
§ Mr. Clement Davies (Montgomery)
During the course of his speech the right hon. and learned Gentleman made use of the phrase that the Government's policy and attitude in no way implied a limitation of British sovereignty. It is to that point I propose to address myself this afternoon. Apparently, the principle of self-determination is not in issue. We had better have that clear, because it was repeated twice by the Prime Minister when he spoke in the House on 12th July. Then the right hon. Gentleman said:Her Majesty's Government then decided to make another approach to this most intractable question on the international level. The principle of self-determination had been accepted by Her Majesty's Government.Later on he repeated that. He said:I will repeat it—that the principle of self-determination has been accepted by Her Majesty's Government. There is no change and no retreat in that respect.Well, that is perfectly clear. But apparently it is the application of it that is difficult. Let us see wherein lies the difficulty with regard to the application. This was the way in which the Prime Minister stated it:Unfortunately, this has not yet been found possible. It has become plain that steps to create conditions which might lead to the application of self-determination for Cyprus would raise far wider issues for our Turkish allies as parties to the Lausanne Treaty settlement."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th July, 1956; Vol. 556, c. 600 and 606.]Not a word there about the Turks being members of N.A.T.O., but only a reference to themas parties to the Lausanne Treaty.So that is quite clear. Quite obviously that is the considered view of Her Majesty's Government. That was the statement made by the Prime Minister himself and read to the House. So, apparently, it is a claim based by Turkey upon the Lausanne Treaty. Therefore, it is right that one should turn to that.
Before I do so, however, let me correct one point in the speech of the right hon. and learned Gentleman. He deplored the fact that Greece had suddenly brought this matter before the United Nations, and he called attention to the friendship which has existed between Greece and ourselves for a matter of something like 130 years. Nevertheless, the Greeks intervened. It is as well that we should know why they intervened. They did so 1415 because in 1954 a statement was made by Lord Colyton—Mr. Hopkinson, as he then was—not on his own responsibility, but on behalf of Her Majesty's Government. He made a definite statement at the Government Dispatch Box that Cyprus could never hope at any time, in spite of the contention of her people, to get self-determination.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
I hope that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will allow me to intervene in fairness to my noble Friend whose remarks on that occasion have so constantly been taken out of context. I believe my noble Friend will have an opportunity in another place at an early date to put them into context. I have not the text by me, but I wish to remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman that, to the best of my recollection, my noble Friend also said:I am not going as far as that today. …That observation is always, or invariably at any rate, ignored.
§ Mr. Davies
Let us see what were the effects of the words. We know the effect they had in Cyprus. We know the effect they had on the Greeks. But it may be just as well if I remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman what were the actual words.
On 28th July, 1954, the Minister of State for Colonial Affairs—Mr. Henry Hopkinson as he then was—said:At the same time, my statement has made it quite clear that there can be no question of any change of sovereignty in Cyprus"—Hon. Members then shouted, "Oh," calling attention to the seriousness of that statement. Then Mr. Hopkinson went on to emphasise it—no question of any change in sovereignty. That, therefore, would act as a limitation on the suggestion which the right hon. Gentleman put in the last part of his question.That was a question put by the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths). A little later we find Mr. Hopkinson saying:In regard to the second part of the Question, it has always been understood and agreed that there are certain territories in the Commonwealth which, owing to their particular circumstances, can never expect to be fully independent."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th July, 1954; Vol. 531, c. 507.]1416 Again there was a shout of "Oh"—
§ Mr. C. Davies
It goes on:I think the right hon. Gentleman will agree that there are some territories which cannot expect to be that. I am not going as far as that this afternoon, but I have said"—
§ Mr. Davies
The right hon. Gentleman made the position perfectly clear with regard to Cyprus. He repeated it twice and he could not make it any clearer. He then made the statement with regard to the other territories which was made by the Foreign Secretary this afternoon.
§ Mr. Davies
Deliberately. He made the statement, and, in fact, repeated it three times, that Cyprus could never hope.
What inference is to be drawn from that? No conclusion can be drawn from that other than that the words mean actually what was said, and that Mr. Hopkinson meant them. We all know the effect that they had straight away in Cyprus. Is it surprising that those people then appealed to Greece and that that was why Greece decided to raise the matter before the United Nations? The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows that there are certain clauses in the United Nations Charter which seem to suggest that that is a right which can be exercised by one Government on behalf of a people which is under the domination of some other Government. At that time there was nobody more popular among the Greek people than this country, this Government and our people, because everybody knew the tremendous sacrifices that we have made on their behalf. That is the Greek position.
Let me come to the Turkish position. The Prime Minister has said that the issue is raised by the Lausanne Treaty. In order that we may get the matter clearly before the Committee, I would go back to the origin, which was, as is well known, in 1878, when Cyprus was transferred by a Convention made between the Sultan and Her Majesty Queen Victoria. It was signed on 4th June, 1878. By that Convention certain agreements were made. It is interesting 1417 to see what really happened. The Convention said:If Batun, Ardahan and Kars be retained by Russia and if Russia tries to extend her annexations England will join Turkey in defending Turkish territory. In return, the Sultan assigns Cyprus to be occupied and administered by England.If Russia restores Kars and other conquests to Turkey, Cyprus will be evacuated by England.Kars was restored by Russia to Turkey in 1921, just a year before the Treaty of Lausanne, but no question was then raised that Cyprus might be transferred back.
What happened after that? Soon after the outbreak of war between this country and Germany on 4th August, 1914, Turkey, then under the domination of the Young Turks, saw fit to join Germany, and gave protection to two well-known German cruisers. On 5th November, 1914, an Order in Council was made saying:Whereas by reason of outbreak of war between His Majesty and the Sultan the Convention, Annexation and Agreement of 1878 have become annulled and are no longer of any force or effect,Now from and after this date, Cyprus shall be annexed to and form part of His Majesty's Dominions and Cyprus is annexed accordingly.Could anything be clearer than that? Whatever rights Turkey might have had under the Convention of 1878 they were obviously ended, and were regarded as ended by His Majesty's Government on 5th November, 1914.
That was the position when the war ended. For some time there were difficulties in getting a treaty made with Turkey because of various incidents in Asia Minor, which culminated in Turkey having a complete victory over the Greeks and in the burning of Smyrna. Ultimately the parties met at Lausanne, and not only this country and Turkey, but Greece, France, Japan, the United States and so on.
Article 20 of the Lausanne Treaty deals with Cyprus. The discussions before the actual signing of the Treaty took several weeks. The dominating personality there was, without a doubt, the British Foreign Secretary, Lord Curzon. I have had occasion in the last few days to read through the whole of those discussions. All kinds of committees and commissions were formed to deal with questions relating to islands which are much closer to Turkey 1418 than to Cyprus, to minorities, and to the line of demarcation between Greece and Turkey, and in particular—the most difficult point of all—what was to happen to a territory which had been directly under Turkish domination for something like 400 or 500 years, namely, a part of what is now Iraq. It was on that point that Lord Curzon had his tremendous triumph.
Scarcely a word was said, or needed to be said, about Cyprus. Everybody accepted the position as laid down in the Order in Council. All that Article 20—the shortest Article—contains is this short sentence:Turkey hereby recognises the annexation of Cyprus proclaimed by the British Government on 5th November, 1914.Nothing could be clearer than that. Why does the right hon. and learned Gentleman say that the policy he is pursuing has no limitations upon British sovereignty? The position was made perfectly clear by his great predecessor in 1922. It would be better if the right hon. and learned Gentleman followed the example of that great predecessor and protected British sovereignty.
Article 21 of the Lausanne Treaty is interesting because it deals with the position of those who were Moslems in Cyprus. It says:Turkish nationals ordinarily resident in Cyprus on 5th November, 1914, will acquire British nationality subject to the conditions laid down in the local law and will thereupon use their Turkish nationality.Much more interesting than that is a prior one, Article 16, which says:Turkey hereby renounces all rights and title"—it cannot be clearer or more emphatic than this, can it?—whatsoever, over or respecting the territories situated outside the frontiers laid down in the present Treaty and the islands other than those over which her sovereignty is recognised by the said Treaty, the future of these territories and islands being settled or to be settled by the parties concerned.Now Her Majesty's Government say, "We dare not do anything with regard to those territories over which Turkey surrendered all her rights in 1922. We dare not do what we consider it is right to do." The right hon. and learned Gentleman says that limitation of British sovereignty is not involved. Article 16 of the Lausanne Treaty says:The provisions of the present Article do not prejudice any special arrangements arising from 1419 neighbourly relations which have been or may be concluded between Turkey and any limitrophe countries.That is the position as laid down.
As I understand it, the Government say, "We agree that Cyprus is entitled to the self-determination of her people." That connotes that, prior to self-determination, the people are entitled to ordinary democratic government, which means a Government elected something after the fashion of the Government of this country, with universal suffrage and a Parliament from which the Government can be chosen. Thereupon, the Government, after a while, will be in a position to decide whether to be independent, to remain with the Commonwealth or to join with some other country. All that is contained in the phrase, "the right of self-determination." The Government say that is right. They repeat that today. They say, "Whatever may be the position in regard to other territories we do not go back on that, but we dare not do it because we are told by the Turkish Government that we must not do what we consider right."
§ Mr. Davies
The right hon. and learned Gentleman shakes his head. Does he differ from the Prime Minister? That is the position as it has been put. The Prime Minister said perfectly clearly, "I do not go back on self-determination. I repeat, there is no hedging about it at all, but I do not do it because of the issues involved under the Lausanne Treaty." I have gone through the Lausanne Treaty and it is shown as clearly as can be that Turkey has renounced whatever right she could have. By what reason can she justify her action today? I have limited myself to that point. I should like to know what justification there can be for this proud country to be afraid to do what is right in the opinion of its Government and of the country merely because of a threat by someone else?
§ Mr. K. Zilliacus (Manchester, Gorton)
Before the hon. and learned Gentleman for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) sits down, may I ask him a question—
§ 5.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Walter Elliot (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
We on this side and, I think, very generally throughout the Committee wish well to Lord Radcliffe in the mission he has undertaken in the very difficult situation in Cyprus. But I am sure that everyone in the Committee is uneasy and unhappy about the position in Cyprus. It is by the common consent of all that we are seeking for a solution. If I may say so, however, I am not at all sure that the search for a solution will best be served by a recapitulation of the difficulties, or even of the legal position, such as that to which we have just listened from the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies).
The realities of the situation are quite other than those described by the right hon. and learned Gentleman. We are dealing with a situation in which the leaders of the Greek Cypriots have said time and again in the clearest possible way that they are not interested in self-determination as such; they are interested only in enosis, full union, with the mainland of Greece. If it comes to whether British subjects are to be transferred against their will to the sovereignty of Greece, obviously other arguments than the arguments of the right hon. and learned Member come into play. Going over the previous legal history of the case does not, if I may say so with the utmost respect, dispose of the realities of the situation.
§ Mr. Clement Davies
I realise that that was the position taken up by the Greek Cypriots, but, as I understand it, their leaders have changed from that position during the last two years or nearly three years, especially Archbishop Makarios, who came to the conclusions that Enosis and merely relying on a plebiscite was not enough. The right thing to do was to form a constitutional government and then to decide.
§ Mr. Elliot
Those are not the things which have been said in public, either by most Cypriot leaders, or by those giving encouragement, incitement and fomentation of their case from the Greek mainland. I do not think anyone among the Greek Cypriots or, indeed, from the Greek mainland would say that he was not in favour of Enosis with the mainland without the danger of instant assassination.
1421 That, however, is not the task to which I wish to devote myself for a very few minutes this afternoon. In spite of the fact that we now have Lord Radcliffe's mission, the factors upon which one has to work are not sufficient to secure a reasonable prospect of a solution which might be—I will not say acceptable, but which might be equally distasteful—to all the parties concerned. For, whatever happens, this situation must be resolved by compromise. Whatever one might say about compromise, it will be bitterly opposed by zealots on all sides. We must add new factors to the matter under consideration. I have endeavoured to put down some of those in writing, and they were published in a recent letter in The Times. I should like to ask the House to consider them.
The three principles of the Government, as I understand it, are that there should be self-government in Cyprus, that there should be adequate protection for the Turkish interest, and that there should be power for our country to carry out British commitments both to our own people and to our Allies. I think the suggestions I venture to make come within those four corners; but they go a great deal wider than anything which has been proposed so far on any side.
The Foreign Secretary said that no one so far had suggested that there should be self-determination for the Turkish minority in Cyprus. I do suggest that; and that is the difference between the proposals I venture to lay before the Committee and the proposals which up to now have formed the body of facts under discussion. I start with the proposition that, from the point of view of the Greek leaders, the demand for merging with the mainland is no recent thing. It is many years since, after the First World War, there were riots in Cyprus and the house of the Governor, Sir Ronald Storrs, was burned down on this very issue of Enosis. I do not think we shall get rid of that long standing demand merely by trying to talk it away. It is one of the fundamental factors of the situation which we have to take into account.
The next thing is that the first proposal—self-government in Cyprus—under present conditions clashes with the second—adequate protection for Turkish interests—and still more with the third—the power to carry out our British com- 1422 mitments both to our own people and to our Allies. I would go all the way with Her Majesty's Government on these points, which are vital points not only for the N.A.T.O. interest, but for the wider interest which goes beyond those covered by the N.A.T.O. alliance.
We have therefore to consider a geographical as well as a political situation. My suggestion is that Lord Radcliffe should have the power at any rate to consider partition, and I hope that on his next visit he would be reinforced by the actual presence of a boundary commission with power to delimit a Greek region, a Turkish region and an enclave or enclaves which would remain under British sovereignty. I know of all the objections to that.
The objections were put by my noble Friend the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) in a letter which appeared in The Times this morning. He cast doubt upon the use of the principle of partition under any circumstances in any continent, and he went so far as to plead in support of his case the continent of North America. Although he said that the Civil War had been won there against the principle of partition in the case of the Southern States, one has only to look at the map to see a line of partition running clearly across the American continent—it happens to be called the 49th Parallel—dividing the United States from Canada. As a result of a war to resist that particular piece of Enosis, the then United States eventually agreed to that line of partition across the continent of North America. It depended entirely upon the successful resistance by Her Majesty's Government, which still today opposes that principle. I think everyone agrees to the existence of that partition along the line of the 49th Parallel, unguarded on either side, without the slightest demur or difficulty.
We have to consider ad hoc solutions. I know all the arguments which can be used against it in this case, such as that the territory is too small and the populations too closely intermingled, that the British enclave would not be sufficient in size to carry the strategical necessities of our case. But I think that those fall into second place in comparison with the only other solutions which have been brought forward.
§ Mr. Elliot
That is certainly true, and that is why I say that the boundary commission would have to delimit these areas roughly in proportion to the populations of the island—an area proportionate to the Turkish population and an area proportionate to the Greek population—and, if necessary, there should be interchange of population carried out between those two areas.
§ Mr. Elliot
I know that the hon. and learned Gentleman does suggest a transfer of the Greeks between Cyprus and the mainland, but that goes a great deal further than even the most enthusiastic supporters of the British Raj on this side, and, I think, a great deal further than anyone on his side, has even ventured to consider. That interchange of population, if necessary, should take place within the island. The only alternative is either the solution put forward by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths), which is a date to be fixed for Dominion status, with the inevitable corollary of Enosis with the mainland—that is to say, a date for the cession of the island, or the suggestion brought forward in his letter by my hon. Friend the Member for Dorset, South, which is twenty years of resolute government.
§ Mr. Bevan
I understand that in the terms of the suggested objectives there is no division between the Government and the Opposition. The Government policy, I understand, anticipates self-government in Cyprus, leading later on, if Cyprus wishes, to complete Dominion status which, when it has evolved self-determination, might mean Enosis.
§ Mr. Elliot
I will leave the right hon. Gentleman and the Government to argue that case between themselves. I only say that, in my view, that does not correspond with the realities of the case.
§ Mr. Bevan
Surely we shall be at cross-purposes throughout the debate unless we are clear about that. All that we have heard from the Government so far is that, first, there are certain international complications arising out of Turkey's position and, secondly, because of the existence of lawlessness on the island, it is not possible to proceed with a degree of self-government at the moment. But I understand—I wish to be corrected if I am wrong—that the ultimate objectives are the same between the Opposition and the Government.
§ Mr. Elliot
The right hon. Gentleman must not drag me into the argument between himself and the Government. I am perfectly willing that the two should thrash the matter out between themselves.
I am trying to bring forward an independent contribution to the debate and to follow up the argument made so powerfully by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly, who said that it would be a great pity if either cause were identified with either side of the House. He threw out the very unworthy suggestion that Turkey might come to be regarded as the voice of the 1922 Committee. I reply that it would be just as great a pity if Athens Radio were regarded as the voice of the Labour Shadow Cabinet.
It is the very tone of the present argument, and of previous arguments, which makes me desire to bring forward a proposal which has not been brought forward by the Front Benches on either side. It may well be that, from the position of greater freedom and less responsibility enjoyed by back benchers, considerations may be canvassed which it would be very difficult for the Front Bench on either side to introduce.
I am saying, therefore, that the setting up of a Turkish region and a Greek region with a British strategic enclave would have the result, in the course of time, that, if the Greek region desired Enosis with the Greek mainland, it might have Enosis with the Greek mainland. That would involve automatically the Turkish region going into Enosis with the Turkish mainland. There, I think, we would find a possibility of counterpoise. The Turks very properly fear that an island off their shores should fall entirely under the sway of a Government several 1425 hundred miles away—and a Government which might well take up a very hostile position to them.
It certainly does not lie in the mouth of this country, which many times has resisted to the length of war the ports of the Low Countries falling into the hands of hostile nations, to neglect that argument. We should feel a certain affinity with the mind of a country if, not only one port but all its ports and coastline were to be dominated by islands in the possession of another and possibly hostile Power.
§ Mr. Elliot
If the hon. Gentleman would think of the other two offshore islands in Chinese seas and the attitude that we have adopted to them—and I think rightly—he would come a great deal nearer to the point at issue.
As I say, the suggestion which I am making will be, I am aware, not only distasteful but unpopular, and bitterly attacked—bitterly attacked, let me reassure hon. Members opposite, by hon. and right hon. Members on this side as well as on theirs—but some day or other somebody must make some suggestion which will do something to break the present deadlock. I suggest that, at the worst, what was called by my hon. and noble Friend the Member for Dorset, South the "carving up of the island" would be certainly preferable to the position in which we seem likely to remain for the next five, ten or fifteen years to come, as the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly suggested in the contribution he made.
I have every sympathy with the valiant and proven mettle of the people of Greece. I was brought up, as most people are in the country of Scotland, on the classical tradition, and with the utmost reverence and respect for the thought of those great people who, time and time again, have re-stated their position both in thought and in deed, both in ancient and modern times. But there is a feature in the Greek character of which I beg them to beware. The Greeks have a word for it——overweeningness—a danger of pushing the advantage too far. It has led them into disaster time and again, from the ancient days of the failure of the two expeditions to Syracuse, to the 1426 modern days of the crushing defeat at Eskishehr and the expulsion of the Greeks from Asia Minor.
I have no special reason to be friendly to the Turks; my own brother was killed by them on the bloodstained slopes of Cape Hellas. But I recognise the realities of the situation. Turkey has fellow countrymen only a few miles away, at present enjoying the status, mentioned in the Treaty quoted by the right hon. Member for Llanelly, of British subjects. They might find themselves very unwilling, as people have been in other parts of the world, to exchange the position of British sovereignty for that of any other sovereignty whatsoever.
I say that as long as these problems are not solved, this country is in peril in the struggle in which we are now engaged. My right hon. Friend the Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill), in one of those flashing phrases which are worth volumes of comment, once called this country the Great Amphibian. But if the Great Amphibian comes ashore and proposes to spend five or ten or fifteen years on shore, she is false to her own nature. We are a maritime country, and a maritime country is in peril as soon as it moves away from the sea; it is false to its very philosophy and whole being.
That is all the more so in the Mediterranean, the ocean of the city state, and of small enclaves on which forces are based and from which forces move freely about. It is not necessary to control a whole hinterland in order to have the strategic advantage of a base. Time and again strategic considerations have been wrecked and ruined by this policy of pushing in and trying to dominate the hinterland in the belief that only thus could bases be safe. It is from the sea that we get our strength. From the least possible interference rather than the maximum possible interference with other populations, especially with other European populations, do we obtain our strength. We were well advised even to give up Calais—Calais, which was mentioned, again, by my noble Friend the Member for Dorset, South. Would we have been stronger if we had attempted to hold the hinterland of France simply on the idea that thus alone could we preserve the security of the Channel?
§ Viscount Hinchingbrooke (Dorset, South)
My right hon. Friend has referred to me on several occasions, but this time he has delivered himself into my hands. He apparently now wishes to retain a British base on Cyprus, and yet says that we were right to give up Calais.
§ Mr. Elliot
The partition of the Angevin Empire, the Anglo-French Empire, has been accepted by two characters as different as Joan of Arc and Marshal Petain—
§ Mr. J. Grimond (Orkney and Shetland)
The right hon. Gentleman has said, in dealing with the reality of the situation, that it is important not to interfere too much with foreigners. Is there the least chance that either the Greek Cypriots or the Turkish Cypriots would agree willingly to be transported to different ends of the island? If there is not much chance of that, then should we, under his suggestion, have to send troops to the island and forcibly move the people hither and thither?
§ Mr. Elliot
Certainly not. I very much hope that they would not act in this foolish manner and bring disaster upon their own heads. I simply say that if they find the situation intolerable in either side of the island, they themselves can move within the island at their own free will, from one part to the other. I do not suggest, nor would anybody suggest, that we should now herd the Greeks into one part of the island and herd the Turks into another part. I merely suggest that we should draw a line and say, "If the Turks find conditions in the Greek part of the island intolerable, they have the right to move to the other side of the line. If the Greeks find the conditions in the Turkish part of the island intolerable, they have the right to move to the Greek part of the island." At any rate, it is a proposal by which some sort of change could be made rather than continue this business of chasing schoolboys up and down the streets of Nicosia.
We now have a period of comparative lull. This is the time to canvas and examine new proposals as well as old proposals. I see no chance of a final and permanent solution along the lines of the old proposals; and for that reason I have ventured to trouble the Committee with certain new proposals, which I put forward entirely on my own 1428 responsibility, well knowing that they will incur the fierce criticism and in many cases bitter hostility of nearly all my fellow Members of the House.
§ 5.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Francis Noel-Baker (Swindon)
I am sure that hon. Members in all parts of the House will have listened with respect to the feeling, the imagery and the imagination in the speech of the right hon. Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot), and if I do not follow him in detail in what he said, I hope he will forgive me. My reasons for that I will shortly explain.
With reference to his proposal about partition, I would say that, although I do not think that scheme will commend itself to many hon. Members, there may in fact be a case for some kind of separation between the municipalities—setting up, during the transitional period at least, separate Turkish and Greek municipalities in Cyprus. No doubt this is a matter which Lord Radcliffe has in mind at the present time.
The right hon. Gentleman referred to what he described as a Greek failing, . I should like to remind him of a very powerful modern Greek characteristic known as , of which some hon. Members will be very well aware and which neither the Government nor anyone else would be wise to ignore.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I am afraid that even to the acute Celtic mind of my right hon. Friend I should take a little time to explain in the English language exactly what this characteristic means. No doubt if I had the command of Welsh which he has, it would be a simple matter. It means, literally, a love of honour. It means that if we treat the Greeks in the right way, as friends, we get a wonderful response out of them, whereas if we antagonise them they can be the most awkward opponents for many years to come.
I make this speech with a degree of personal anxiety and also some embarrassment—personal anxiety because it is only thanks to the efforts of a very skilful doctor in filling me with penicillin that I am able to speak at the moment, 1429 and if my intervention in the debate collapses rather earlier than I intend it will be due to laryngitis and not lack of subject matter; and some embarrassment because, as I have explained to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, I intend in this debate to take a less neutral line than I have taken in the past. I think the Committee knows that in the last two debates at least I have been very careful to say nothing which I thought might antagonise any of the parties to the problem who might conceivably want to make use of my services again, as they did some time ago in the negotiations in Nicosia.
I am bound to say that, in view of the Prime Minister's statement last week—and my views are reinforced by the speech of the Foreign Secretary today—I find that the British Government's policy, or, at least, the tactics which for the next months will pass as their current policy in Cyprus, is very much opposed to my own views of what should and could be done, and I feel that I must speak more freely.
I think that all who heard the Foreign Secretary's spech, at least all those on this side of the Committee, must have been very deeply depressed. We feel with the right hon. Gentleman; we know that this problem has caused him very many awkward moments and much embarrassment. Nevertheless, I am bound to say that the general effect of his speech seems to have been to put the situation back, as far as the British Government is concerned, to where it was nine or twelve months ago. That section of his speech when he was talking about the principle of self-determination could have no other interpretation but that which will generally be given in Cyprus and elsewhere—that the British Government for the time being are not sincere in what they have been saying about the application of self-determination.
I think it is already plain that we on this side of the Committee wish Lord Radcliffe all possible success in the execution of his present very difficult mission. Unfortunately, the best we can hope for in the circumstances is that he will now produce proposals which could, and in our view should, have been made very many months ago, which could have been made far more easily then and with a far greater chance of acceptance. In effect, what he will do is take up the 1430 matter where it was left when the talks with Archbishop Makarios collapsed. Personally, I find it impossible to explain the delay and the utter lack of activity on the constitution which there has been since last March, except on the basis of a complete lack of policy and lack of decision on the part of the Prime Minister and the Government.
I am bound to say that when we hear about the Turkish objections and the rumpus, if I may use such a term, raised by the 1922 Committee, we see that what makes this Government tick is whoever barks loudest at any particular moment. No doubt if we on this side of the Committe exert sufficient pressure and if it becomes plain in the country that there is great feeling on this issue, we shall have another period of dithering and vacillation and then a new policy will be announced.
I am bound to say that, personally, I was greatly depressed, and I am sure my hon. Friends were depressed, by the fact that Lord Radcliffe said that it may take months before he completes his present task. In spite of what the Foreign Secretary told us this afternoon, that is very difficult to understand. After all, there are dozens of constitutions and draft constitutions in the files of the Colonial Office, we have had the benefit of months of negotiations and conversations between the Archbishop and the Governor and their advisers in Nicosia, and surely on the basis of all this preparatory work the main lines of the constitution—and, after all, that is all we need at the present time—could be produced in a matter of weeks or even days, and not a matter of months.
The Cypriots can hardly be blamed if many of them see Lord Radcliffe's mission in the present circumstances simply as one more delaying tactic in the absence of any practical policy or any genuine desire to reach a settlement on the part of the British Government. Nor can the Greek Cypriots be blamed if some of them, suspicious as they are naturally bound to be in present conditions, detect in Lord Radcliffe's offer of private informal conversations "with no confidences broken," as he says, an attempt to induce some of them to commit what others would consider to be acts of treachery in the absence of their elected leader, Archbishop Makarios.
1431 I must say that, reading the description of Lord Radcliffe's journey with the Governor of Cyprus to church last week, when he travelled in a bullet-proof car escorted by armoured cars, with the streets lined with troops, and men with rifles in the churchyard, I find it very difficult to understand how informal, private conversations are to be arranged. It may be that the great tact and experience of Lord Radcliffe will be able to overcome some of the obstacles put in his way by the Government. We, on this side, certainly hope that he will be able to do so. But there is one obstacle which, with the best will in the world, he cannot overcome until Her Majesty's Government have put right the biggest and most foolish blunder they have committed during the whole course of this affair.
On 2nd May, as my right hon. Friend said, the Colonial Secretary made it quite plain that, if I may quote his wordsNo constitution is likely to have validity or strength unless it is produced from genuine discussions by those who will be responsible for working it."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 2nd May, 1956; Vol. 552, c. 373.]If there is one thing that is absolutely certain it is that the chief person who will be responsible for working his constitution, if it ever comes into operation, is a man for whom I continue, despite all the violent and emotional attacks made upon him, to feel sincere personal good will—His Beatitude Archbishop Makarios III of Cyprus. Of course, the Secretary of State does not really believe that this problem can ever be solved without the participation and help of the Archbishop. He knows quite well that some time he must face the humiliation of recognising the Government's mistake and allowing the Archbishop to return in triumph to Nicosia.
I spoke just now of emotional attacks made on the Archbishop. To me it is very strange that the Archbishop's position in Cyprus should arouse such strong and wild emotions, amongst even some of my hon. Friends, as well as amongst many other people in the country. Apparently some people here cannot understand, and, indeed, resent and get very emotional about, the combination of the functions of Ethnarch and Archbishop in one person. These misunderstandings are evidently shared in Cyprus. Today, for example, there are reports in the Press 1432 of a written interview with the Governor—and I may say here that I continue to have the highest respect and admiration for the Governor. He apparently gave a written interview in which the Archbishop is attacked. His position as political leader of the Greek Cypriots is described as "anachronistic and out of keeping with modern ideas of democracy."
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
The hon. Member says: "Hear, hear." Of course there is something anachronistic and out of keeping with modern ideas of democracy in the political development of Cyprus. That is certainly true, and I must say that we and the Ottoman Empire before us have to take responsibility. If the head of the Church of Cyprus is at present, as he is, the only popularly elected leader and chosen spokesman of the Greek Cypriots, the reason is British Colonial, and before it Ottoman, policy, which so far has made it impossible for ordinary political democratic institutions to develop.
I know from my own personal conversations with him that the Archbishop himself, while today fulfilling a historical and traditional rôle, is one of the first to recognise that when democratic institutions are made possible in Cyprus the Church will inevitably withdraw from its political rôle, as it has done, except in periods of exceptional emergency, on the mainland of Greece.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The hon. Member will forgive my intervention, but I think I am right in saying that the right of election of bishops to the Church in Cyprus was restored by the Labour Government in the United Kingdom in 1947. In 1948 an attempt was made to bring about a constitution. Will the hon. Gentleman suggest that that particular Labour Party constitution failed because of the attitude of the then British Government, or because of the attitude of the people of Cyprus?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
If the right hon. Gentleman wants to lead me right away from the point I was making about the Archbishop and on to the merits of the Labour Party's offer of a constitution, I am very glad to follow. That constitution should, I think, have been accepted by the Cypriots. They would have been 1433 wise to have accepted it. The reason for their not accepting it was the very wide reserve powers which were written into that constitution at the time, and the reason for those wide reserve powers being written in was that in 1948 Greece was the victim of an all-out Communist onslaught supported by Albania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. In those circumstances it was perhaps not surprising that the British Government should have been a little hesitant.
Since then there has been a complete transformation in the Balkans and in Greece. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Of course there has been a transformation. Tito has quarrelled with the Kremlin and has made it up again. There has been every kind of change, and to anybody who knows the present political situation in Greece it is apparent that, of all the countries likely to go behind the Iron Curtain, Greece is the least likely.
§ Mr. John Hall (Wycombe)
Does the hon. Gentleman think that there is less chance now of Greece coming under the domination of a Communist Government than there was before?
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I was just saying that of all the countries of Europe, that least likely to succumb to the blandishments of Russia, or to come under the power of a Communist minority, is Greece. I hope that I had made that abundantly clear.
Before those two interruptions, I was trying to say that the Archbishop himself is one of the first to recognise that when normal democratic political institutions are possible on the Island of Cyprus the Church will revert to its normal rôle. But one cannot expect to by-pass the Archbishop at the present moment, particularly when, as a result of exiling him to an island in the Indian Ocean, his status, authority and prestige have been made enormously greater than ever they were before.
Yet this is the moment that Her Majesty's Government seem to have chosen to step up their personal campaign against the Archbishop. After the Archbishop was deported the Colonial Secretary had really very little to say about the reasons for it. No evidence was produced. The case made out by 1434 the Secretary of State was, I think, very thin indeed. There was talk about an arsenal in the Archbishop's palace, but that arsenal turned out to be a few disused eletric light bulbs in a garden some distance from the building. When I went to the palace and talked to some of the Archbishop's advisers they asked, "Do you really think that if we wanted to keep an arsenal in Cyprus we would keep it inside the Archbishopric, when we had known for the previous nine months that a raid was coming?"
The case was about as weak as that made out by the Home Secretary for the deportation of Archimandrite Mahairiots. The Home Secretary said that we would all be horrified by the document which he would put in the Library of the House of Commons. I must say that that document does nothing whatever to support the assertions that that priest had anything to do with the murder of British Service men or with terrorism in Cyprus. At all events, the Government did not make out a strong case against the Archbishop or against the Archimandrite when they deported them.
Now, when it has become obvious even to the Government that the Archbishop's return cannot be long delayed, is the time when, in their own interests and to save themselves further humiliation, even if now they did stumble upon something that they might think was to the discredit of the Archbishop, they should suppress it until he is able to answer the charges made against him. Yet only three days before the Prime Minister's announcement of Lord Radcliffe's mission the Acting Administrative Secretary sent to the Mayor of Nicosia a long letter containing the most violent and bitter attack that has yet been made on the person and motives of the Archbishop. Even if the Secretary of State himself believes these one-sided and misguided allegations he must know that the only posible result of publishing them will be further to rally support behind the Archbishop, and to make it absolutely certain that no Greek Cypriot in a responsible position would meet Lord Radcliffe for constitutional or other discussions of any kind in the absence of the Archbishop.
It may be that at the end of this debate the Secretary of State will announce in a triumphant tone that the 1435 Mayor of Nicosia is in fact going to meet Lord Radcliffe. The Mayor of Nicosia has made it plain that while he is prepared to discuss municipal government, he is not going to talk about any kind of political solution to the Island's problem in the absence of the Archbishop. Indeed, the Greek Cypriots and the Greeks in Greece can be excused for wondering whether it was not, in fact, part of the Government's plan to make the meaningless gesture of sending out a constitutional commissioner while ensuring that the result of his work could subsequently be dismissed because of the impossible conditions in which he was asked to undertake it.
The allegation has repeatedly been made that the main cause of the breakdown of the talks with the Archbishop was his failure—to use the Government's phraseology—"to denounce terrorism". But, of course, there is no foundation whatever for that allegation. Throughout the months of talks between the Governor and the Archbishop it was well understood—and the White Paper which was published after the deportation makes it abundantly clear—that the Archbishop was eager to make an appeal for the pacification of the island the moment a political settlement had been reached. In the same way, and at the same time, the Governor would have been prepared progressively to repeal his emergency regulations. It would have been just as ludicrous for the Governor to have been asked to repeal these regulations before a political settlement had been reached as it would have been to ask the Archbishop to make his appeal for pacification while the talks were still going on.
One paragraph in the Acting Administrative Secretary's lengthy and rather undignified letter deserves special comment. The Mayor of Nicosia was told, on the authority of the Governor, that it was "deliberately misleading" to suggest that the reason for the Archbishop's deportation was to enable other persons to come forward and co-operate with the Government. If that is so, the Colonial Secretary and a whole series of right hon. Gentlemen opposite are guilty of deliberately misleading the House of Commons, because at the time the Archbishop was deported they told us that it was hoped 1436 that one of the results would be that moderate elements would come forward. We are looking round and wondering where those moderate elements are now. Indeed, there is no more moderate element than the Archbishop of Cyprus himself. Instead of trying to build him up into a bogy man, the Government ought to be thankful that they had there a nationalist leader with whom it would be so easy to co-operate and with whom one could get such effective results in the future.
Last week a newspaper interpreted one of the Prime Minister's references to the Archbishop as a "delicate new overture to the Archbishop." It has been suggested that if the Archbishop—and I think the Colonial Secretary made the point recently—were now to denounce violence, a new situation would be created. Are the Government really suggesting that in his present place of exile, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, watched, guarded, followed and cut off from all communication with his friends, the Archbishop is in a position to make an authoritative statement of any kind?
In exiling the Archbishop, the Government explained that they were seeking to remove his influence from the affairs of Cyprus. That influence can only be reasserted, as it will undoubtedly be reasserted, and with immense effect, on the day that the Government acknowledge their mistake and give back the Archbishop his freedom, and not before. Unless and until that happens, Lord Radcliffe's mission, however sincerely and skilfully undertaken, can at best be nothing more than a preliminary move, which, in our view, ought to have been made many months ago.
Meanwhile, the Governor and our troops in Cyprus, as well as the Cypriots themselves, will be confronted with constant outbreaks of violence and disorder.
Almost everyone concerned deplores the use of violence and force. Certainly we on this side of the Committee deplore the use of force in this matter, whether it comes in the form of threats and blackmail from Turkey, killing and bomb-throwing in the streets of Nicosia, or the unpleasant and dangerous tasks which the Government are asking our troops to perform on the island and which, for the most part, they are carrying out with great patience.
1437 On the subject of the use of force, unfortunately supporters of Eoka in Cyprus can point to some awkward facts. For years before they started their campaign in April last year, the Government went on saying "Never". Six months after the Eoka campaign began we had the tripartite Conference here in London. After three months more of the use of force, the Government said that they accepted the principle of self-determination. Four more months of the use of force, and the Government prepared a plan for granting self-determination within a fixed date, and it is only because of the threat of force from Turkey that that plan has been abandoned.
We deplore the use of force, and, whatever suspicions there may be in the mind of the Colonial Secretary, so does the Archbishop and his friends. Violence is a symptom, not the cause, of the present political deadlock on the island. Until that deadlock is ended, violence will continue to be a grim feature of life in Cyprus.
§ Mr. R. Brooman-White (Rutherglen)
We appreciate the hon. Gentleman's special knowledge, particularly as a result of his dealings with the Archbishop. He has said that everybody deplores the use of force, including the Archbishop. It seems to us odd that the Archbishop will not say so. While the hon. Gentleman makes the point about the Archbishop having been removed to the Seychelles, many of us thought that a possible explanation of the Archbishop's silence was that he was under pressure from terrorist groups and was in danger. Now he can be in no danger. It would be helpful if he would make a statement deploring force, as the hon. Gentleman said.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I have covered that point. All I can do to help the hon. Gentleman further is to repeat that the Archbishop and his friends, like everybody else, deplore the use of force in Cyprus. They see in the use of force a symptom and not a cause of the present deadlock. The moment the deadlock is resolved, the necessity to use force by any party will automatically disappear. I have no doubt that the Archbishop is as anxious as anybody else to take advantage of a settlement to make an appeal for the pacification of the island.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I should like to be allowed to get on with my speech in my own way, and I am sure the hon. Gentleman will understand my point of view.
The Prime Minister and his colleagues have feigned a shocked indignation when anybody has suggested that the British Government or the Conservative party have encouraged the intransigeance that comes from some quarters of Turkey. It is difficult to believe that this intransigeance has not been welcomed by many Members of the party opposite, and has not provided from time to time a convenient excuse to the Government, if only for justifying their running away from a policy in the face of pressure from the 1922 Committee.
In a recent debate the right hon. Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Maclay), who was in his seat a moment or two ago but has now left, described his discussions with the Turkish delegates at Strasbourg. He said that they told him that if Britain attempted to transfer the sovereignty of Cyprus to Greece, Turkey would fight. The right hon. Gentleman gave no hint that he viewed this Turkish attitude with disapproval. Certainly, the encouragement which is being given by hon. Members opposite to some of the wilder things which have been said by the Turks is a very grave disservice to this country and a great hindrance to the solution of the problem.
§ Mr. Godfrey Nicholson (Farnham)
My right hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, West (Mr. Maclay) did not say that Turkey would fight. He said that he was told that the Turks would fight, meaning the Turks in Cyprus.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
The inference from the speech was that the Turks in Turkey, encouraged by their Government, would fight. At all events, I hope that this extremist nationalist language will not be used in Ankara or by the Turks in Cyprus. I am certain that one of the first victims of the collapse of the Eastern flank of the North Atlantic Treaty would be Turkey herself. We are getting near to a collapse of that kind at the present time. It is doubtful whether the joint headquarters in Smyrna will be able to go on operating there much longer. Certainly our troops in Cyprus are not much use 1439 for the purpose for which they are needed, as General Templer made quite clear only a few days ago.
If the eastern flank of N.A.T.O. collapses, that will be the beginning of the end of the Bagdad Pact. If that happened, Turkey would once again find herself completely isolated, a situation from which she was desperately anxious to escape when first she joined N.A.T.O. a few years ago. I am therefore quite certain that it is not in the best interests of the Turks to use either threatening or blackmailing language in this matter.
A number of comparisons have been made from time to time about the relative merits of the Greeks and the Turks as allies of this country. I very much hope that that is a line of talk which will now be abandoned by everyone interested in this problem. It is not a question of weighing up the relative merits of allies or deciding who is in the best position to blackmail one. What we must do is to create a situation in the Eastern Mediterranean where the Greeks, Turks and ourselves, and the other freedom-loving countries, can co-operate for the mutual benefit and advantage of all.
I am bound to say at this stage of the debate that I feel profoundly depressed. Nobody could have been encouraged to hope for very much in the immediate future by the speech of the Foreign Secretary. We hope that the Colonial Secretary will have something a little more encouraging to say to us by the end of the debate. I am sure that he is fully conscious of the immense damage which is being done to the prestige, influence and good name of this country all over the Levant, the Middle East, and, indeed, throughout the world, by the present situation. It is gravely harming British and Commonwealth interests. It is hurting and undermining our good friends, and we have still many in Greece, in Turkey and in the rest of the Eastern Mediterranean. Day after day, it is costing the lives of British Service men and civilians, and of Cypriot men and women.
Ever since the catastrophic "Never" was used in this House, to which hon. and right hon. Gentlemen have referred in their speeches on a number of occasions, we have had the conviction that the present Government do not really know how to find a way out of this present 1440 deadlock, and a growing suspicion that because of various pressures exerted on him the Prime Minister does not at the present moment want to find a way out. We earnestly hope that we are wrong. We hope that Lord Radcliffe will be able to find the beginning of a solution to this problem, and that we shall be given a little more reason for optimism before the right hon. Gentleman finishes his speech today.
§ 5.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Julian Amery (Preston, North)
May I, at the outset, congratulate the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker) on his doctor? He was, I think, in very good voice. There seemed little sign of the ill-health from which he has been suffering, and we all hope that he will be fully recovered very soon.
I cannot, however, add my congratulations to him for his speech. Of course, the hon. Member is quite right in suggesting that the important problem is to reach a political settlement, and about that I shall have somethnig to say a little later. All I will say now is that I am quite sure that we shall not reach a settlement by doing what is the implication of his remarks, that is to say, by accepting Archbishop Makarios' terms as they were put to us not very long ago.
I should like, first, to refer to some of the remarks made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies). He began by deploring the remark made by Lord Colyton, then Mr. Hopkinson, that there were certain territories of the Commonwealth which could never hope to have sovereignty. I would remind him that almost exactly the same thing was said about Malta; and, in the opening paragraphs of the Report of the Round Table Conference, of which he was a signatory, those comments are repeated. The right hon. and learned Gentleman also gave us an interesting dissertation on the Lausanne Treaty, pointing out that under that treaty Turkey had abdicated any further right or interest in Cyprus. But I think it would be wrong to deduce from what he said on that score that Turkey no longer had any interest in the consequences of the Lausanne Treaty. It was, after all, a package deal, and the Turks, in handing over Cyprus to us, were entitled to assume that this transfer was 1441 being made in the context of an international framework which would endure, and that if the balance of power in the Eastern Mediterranean which was foreseen in the Lausanne Treaty were radically upset, then they would, of course, have a further interest, if not in exercising rights in Cyprus itself, at any rate in protesting against any change in the general circumstances resulting from the Lausanne Treaty.
There is another consideration here, also. The Greeks were signatories of the Lausanne Treaty, and they recognised—and, as the Foreign Secretary pointed out earlier, Mr. Venizelos confirmed it—that Cyprus was annexed to the British Commonwealth. Therefore, the Greek Government in intervening at U.N.O. on behalf of Cyprus, or on behalf of certain elements in the Cypriot population, is itself in breach of the Lausanne Treaty. Thus, the whole of this negotiation, worked out very painstakingly at the end of the First World War, is put in question now that the future of Cyprus has been put in question.
I would not myself rest our refusal to apply self-determination to Cyprus at this time on the attitude of the Turks, at any rate not mainly on their attitude. I would rest it rather on Britain's obligations and interests in Cyprus. As I see them, those obligations are the Bagdad Pact, N.A.T.O. and the tripartite guarantee to restrain aggression between Israel and the Arab nations. The interests are our oil resources in the Middle East, and Commonwealth communications through the Middle East.
As I see it, to defend those interests and fulfil those obligations, full and unfettered possession of Cyprus is necessary, whether Turkey is there or not. But this is where the Turks come in. To fulfil those obligations and to defend those interests successfully, we depend very largely upon the Turkish alliance. It would be a death-blow to N.A.T.O. in the Eastern Mediterranean, perhaps more serious even than what was suggested by the hon. Member for Swindon a moment or two ago, if the revision of the Montreux Conference controlling the Bosphorus and Dardanelles, which is due quite soon, were to go wrong. In the circumstances, we have a duty, in considering how we are to defend our own interests in Cyprus and in that area, 1442 to have regard to the interests of our Turkish allies.
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) said that we must not take sides between Greeks and Turks. I agree with the principle of what he says, but I am bound to say that I find it a little difficult to apply at the present time. I have not heard that Radio Ankara has been blackguarding this country. I have not heard that the Turkish Press has been accusing us of outdoing in Cyprus the worst excesses of the Nazis. I have not heard that Turks in Cyprus have been attacking our troops, shooting them in the back, or throwing bombs at them or at their women and children. It is a little difficult to say that we must hold the balance even and treat the two just the same. One of them is on our side—
§ Mr. Amery
We have had proof in the last few days in incidents which have occurred in Cyprus, and also in the Greek broadcasts delivered over Radio Athens, in contrast with those delivered over Radio Ankara.
I believe that we owe a great debt to the Turks. They find themselves in a very difficult economic position. It would have been very easy for them to shelter behind us, to say, "Carry the onus before world public opinion of defending our interests in Cyprus; we shall sit quiet and try to get some more dollars." It would be even more unworthy for us to shelter behind them. The truth in this matter is that their interests and ours are the same. I, for one, therefore salute the staunch and resolute spirit they have shown in the defence of those interests.
I could wish that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Llanelly had extended a warmer welcome to the Radcliffe mission. Though there was some misunderstanding in the Press about it, I think we all recognise now that Lord Radcliffe did not go to Cyprus to mediate or to negotiate. His task is to give constitutional expression to the Government's intention to make an offer of self-government to the Cypriot people. He does not need, for this purpose, to see either Archbishop Makarios or, necessarily, other leaders in the island. What 1443 he needs is to get the atmosphere of the island. [An HON. MEMBER: "He will get that."] It is easy to laugh, but this matter is a little more important than some hon. Members seem to appreciate. A constitution, when it is offered—and I am sure we all hope that it will be—must appeal to the imagination, as well as to the interests, of the people to whom it is offered.
I do not believe that in Cyprus we are up against the kind of fierce and intractible nationalism that we have met in some other parts of the world. We are dealing primarily with the frustration of a small community, proud, and justly so, of its ancient civilisation and irked, perhaps understandably, by some of the less imaginative aspects of colonial rule. The weakness of the Winster constitution, as I see it, was that it was rather typical of the stereotyped Colonial Office or machine-made constitution which is offered all round.
The hon. Member for Swindon was wrong in saying that he hoped Lord Radcliffe would hurry with his task. The important thing is to find a new element which will appeal to the Cypriot people. I believe that the Winster constitution might have had a very different result in the circumstances of that time—our prestige was very high in the Eastern Mediterranean then—had it been accompanied by an offer of dual citizenship as between Cypriots and Greeks and Cypriots and Turks.
§ Mr. F. Noel-Baker
What I said was that I hoped that Lord Radcliffe would hurry in producing the main lines of the constitution that it was proposed to introduce.
§ Mr. Amery
I do not want to argue the point with the hon. Member, but he did use the expression "stereotyped" and he said that there were in the Colonial Office plenty of stereotyped patterns for constitutions. I believe that it would be a great mistake simply to take one from a drawer and put it forward. We want to look for something a little more imaginative.
It has been said, perhaps with some truth, that no constitution is likely to be accepted in Cyprus unless we can show what has been called "the light at the end of the tunnel". The right hon. Member for Llanelly, today and on one 1444 or two previous occasions, has proposed that the light at the end of the tunnel should be a declaration that self-determination will be granted after a specified term of years. A settlement based on those terms would, I have no doubt, be accepted at once by Archbishop Makarios, by Colonel Grivas and by the Greek Government. It would be accepted because it would involve practically unconditional surrender to the Greek demands.
We on this side have refused that policy, for very good reasons. First, no one can really pretend to see ten years ahead in politics. If it is wrong to grant self-determination now, nobody can say for certain that it is right to give it in ten years' time. Besides, as the hon. and learned Member for Northampton (Mr. Paget) indicated earlier in the debate, once we make it clear that we are going, our control of the police and of the Administration would crumble away. If you are going to go, you have to go quickly. It is no good saying that you are gonig in ten years' time.
You can, of course, set a term of years to an offer, but it is very difficult to take our stand on a term of years. Years are not a principle. If we were to say that we were granting self-determination after ten years, what would be our position if the Greek Government said that they accepted the offer in principle provided we shortened the term from ten years to five, or from five to two? Even if we did get agreement, what would be our security? We had a Treaty with Egypt. It was supposed to run for twenty years. Ten years had not passed before we were faced with demands for its revision and foreshortening. Can we trust the Greeks to keep their word any better than the Egyptians did? They are in breach of the Lausanne Treaty even now.
Self-determination after a specified term of years means, at the end of the day, that any bases we retained in Cyprus would be held by treaty right alone. The history of bases held by treaty right makes rather melancholy reading. There were the Irish Treaty ports. We were compelled to part with them just before the outbreak of the last war. We had the greatest base in the world in Suez by virtue of our agreement with Egypt, but we were compelled by terrorism and American pressure to cast it away. We 1445 still have bases in a Commonwealth country, in Ceylon, but the right of using them is likely to be taken from us.
Our American allies, rich and powerful though they are, have not had a much happier experience. One would have thought that a base in Iceland, held by agreement with the solid Scandivanian people of that island, would be safe enough, but the Americans do not look like holding it. Nobody has done more —they have done a great deal too much —than the United States to help Morocco to separate from the French, and become independent, but the American bases in Morocco are in danger. Nobody has done more than the United States to bring measureless wealth to Saudi Arabia. Yet the Americans at present hold their base at Dharan on a tenure extended from one month to another.
We dare not run that risk in Cyprus. Whatever anyone may think of Cyprus as a base, we have to admit, to paraphrase the words of my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal, that it is the best base we have.
§ Mr. Amery
The fact that we cannot afford to hold bases in Cyprus simply by treaty right has been recognised by implication by some of the more serious students of the Cyprus question in the party opposite. The hon. Member for Swindon, although he did not say anything about it today, and a former Under-Secretary of State for War in the Labour Government, Mr. Wyatt, have both advocated that self-determination should be given to Cyprus but that a base, or British bases, should remain under British sovereignty. I shall have something to say later on the merits of this proposal. I mention it now only because the fact that it has been put forward by the hon. Member for Swindon and by Mr. Wyatt seems to me to provide some confirmation that they, at least, have come to the conclusion that a base by treaty right is not enough.
§ Mr. F. Noel-Baker
I was trying to produce a possible solution which would be acceptable in present circumstances to the hon. Member's right hon. Friends on the Government Front Bench as well as to the Greeks and to the Turks. Of 1446 course, it was not an ideal solution. I and, I think, most of my colleagues would have been happy with a base on Greek territory eventually, after a period of ten or fifteen years, but with things as they were I thought that a solution on those lines might have been acceptable to the Government Front Bench.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I thought it was a practical idea. The point is perfectly simple. There are all kinds of curious people, with curious ideas, involved in this problem. I was trying to find some thing which would suit all these very varied people. I did not think it was an ideal solution but I think it is a possible one, and so does the hon. Member.
§ The Temporary Chairman (Mr. James H. Hoy)
I remind hon. Members that there is a considerable list of Members who desire to take part in the debate. If there are fewer interruptions, we might have more speakers.
§ Mr. Amery
I bow to your advice, Mr. Hoy, and will not, therefore, pursue that controversy. The point has been made sufficiently.
Another light at the end of the tunnel has been suggested by the Leader of the Opposition. Last Thursday, he put forward the proposal that we should refer this matter to N.A.T.O. I should have thought that N.A.T.O. was not the international organisation primarily concerned. I know that we and the Turks and the Greeks are members of N.A.T.O., but I should have thought that the importance of Cyprus, at least to us, was much more in respect of our oil resources in the Middle East and in respect of the Bagdad Pact and of the tripartite guarantee to Israel and the Arab States.
In any case, whether we like it or not, we have to recognise that the N.A.T.O. Treaty does not extend to the Middle East, and, unfortunately, Anglo-American 1447 co-operation, which is fundamental to the good working of N.A.T.O., does not extend to the Middle East, either. I find it difficult to understand how anybody in the position of the Leader of the Opposition—how anybody who has seen the American attitude over Palestine, over Abadan and over Egypt—could seriously stand at the Front Bench opposite and advocate referring the question of Cyprus for decision to an American-dominated organisation.
There is, besides, such a thing as responsibility. The proposal of "passing the buck" to N.A.T.O. reminded me very forcibly of what, I think, will always remain as the one big blot on the otherwise impressive record of Ernest Bevin. That was his decision to throw the mandate of Palestine at the United Nations, thus placing the responsibility on to somebody else. [An HON. MEMBER: "What would the hon. Member have done?"] I certainly would not have done that. I should have stayed there and tried to see the thing through, according to whatever solution seemed best in the circumstances of the time. What Mr. Bevin did led, and led inevitably, in my view, to the war in Palestine and its consequences, which we often debate here.
Tme proposal made by the Leader of the Opposition reveals a split mind, a type of split mind which is often encountered in the party opposite. I may be misconstruing the objects and the proposals of the right hon. Gentleman, but I cannot help feeling that, although, in a curious way, he finds it very hard to say we should stay in Cyprus for the defence of British interests, he would be quite prepared to stay in Cyprus if N.A.T.O. were to say that we should stay there. I think he is quite prepared to stay there in the defence of N.A.T.O. interests.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
What my right hon. Friend said last Thursday was after the Prime Minister's statement. The Prime Minister had said that there were international issues here. My right hon. Friend suggested that those international issues ought to be raised in N.A.T.O., because the consequences of not raising them and settling them might be the disintegration of N.A.T.O.'s eastern wing.
§ Mr. Amery
I was asking for clarification of that, because it seems to me very important that a man who aspires to be the Prime Minister of England should remember that N.A.T.O. is important to us in so far as it can further the interests of the Commonwealth, but that we must not sacrifice the interests of the Commonwealth merely to please an organisation to which we are allied.
What is our alternative on this side of the Committee? The Government's position, as I understand, is this. They have accepted the principle of self-determination, but they have not been able to discover the conditions in which it could be applied. They have made considerable efforts to discover those conditions. There was, first, an attempt to discover them with the Greeks. There were the negotiations with Archbishop Makarios, paralleled, as I understand, by consultations with the Government of Greece at the time. Those failed. Having failed on the Greek side, the Government turned to the Turks, and there have been consultations with the Turks. These, also, have yielded no results.
The second set of negotiations has only confirmed the result of the first set. We have to recognise, therefore, that at present the conditions do not exist in which self-determination can be applied. The principle of self-determination for Cyprus is, therefore, at the moment, academic.
§ Mr. Bevan
The hon. Member is not quite right there. As we understand, there was an agreement reached with Makarios except for three quite narrow points, and, therefore, that was not in issue with the Cypriots, but in issue with the Turks. What the Minister has said over and over again is that it was not possible to carry on the negotiations because the Archbishop did not come out against lawlessness on the island.
§ Mr. Amery
If I remember aright, in the speech which my right hon. Friend made on that occasion he mentioned, I think in some detail, the three points on which the negotiations broke off, but he also said there were a great many other 1449 reasons as well, and, beyond that, there was the general fact that it was not found possible to place confidence in the word of the Archbishop.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
As it was my speech, and as I was negotiating with Archbishop Makarios, perhaps I may be allowed to remind the Committee that I certainly said that the talks broke down on three specific points, which I mentioned. I also said that if I had stayed two or three days, although we might possibly have got those issues resolved, three more issues would have come from the fertile mind of His Beatitude.
§ Mr. Amery
I am faced with two interpretations about what my right hon. Friend said, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) will forgive me if I accept my right hon. Friend's own interpretation of what it was he said.
We are faced with a deadlock. We have, on the one hand, the British and Turkish position that we cannot apply self-determination at the moment. We have, on the other, the Greek position that self-determination should be applied as soon as possible? Where do we go from here?
The hon. Member for Swindon and Mr. Wyatt have proposed what would be, in fact, a kind of partition of the island, Britain taking some small part for a base, the Greek Cypriots some other part—the main part—joined, if they wished, to Greece. My right hon. Friend the Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot) has taken the proposal a little further. He has said that if the British are to receive an enclave of their own and if the Greeks are to receive the greater part of the island, then the Turks should also have a part. He has carried self-determination to its logical conclusion.
1450 His plan would, of course, involve exchanges of population; but these, I suppose, have been a feature of Greco-Turkish relations for a long time. Thrace and Istanbul might become involved as well. I beg the Committee to realise that this plan is not impossible, however distasteful. No one who remembers the horrors of the partition of the Punjab or of Palestine would wish to inflict them on Cyprus, but this is where rigid adherence to the doctrine of self-determination leads. The Greeks must recognise that they can no more get all of Cyprus than the Hindus could get all of India or the Arabs all of Palestine.
What, then, are we to do? The first step, I believe, is to create the climate of compromise. This means to bring the Greeks to understand that there cannot be self-determination for Cyprus in the foreseeable future. To do this we have, first, to convince our friends and our foes alike in the island and in the Eastern Mediterranean that we mean to stay in Cyprus and that those who try to put us out are biting granite and will break their teeth.
For this we have to restore law and order and to enforce respect for constituted authority. We on this side of the Committee have often said that the restoration of law and order is the precondition of a settlement. We have said that not because it is wrong to negotiate under duress, but because the Greeks will not abate their claims until they are convinced that they cannot hope to enforce them.
I hope myself that when we discuss these matters again, as, no doubt, we shall during next Session, there will be some progress to report in the restoration of law and order. Meanwhile, I do not think that there is much to be gained by negotiating simply for negotiation's sake. It is well to negotiate up to the last minute, but once fighting begins it is dangerous to parley, because those we are fighting, knowing that negotiations are taking place, will think and hope that they can influence the negotiations by their use of force.
All the same, it is important that we should use these months not merely for restoring law and order but for thinking ahead, thinking what it is to be offered to Cyprus in the hope of a settlement. 1451 The Radcliffe mission is, of course, the essential element here. It will draw up a scheme so that we can let the people of Cyprus know what they may hope to expect from us, but there still remains the question of showing some light at the end of the tunnel.
I think it is very dangerous for anyone like myself on the back benches—anyone who is not playing the hand—to make proposals, but I would with great diffidence make a suggestion about what the ultimate status of Cyprus could be. I agree very much with what Mr. Nehru said in Bonn the other day, that self-determination cannot be applied without regard for other considerations. We are moving, as the Prime Minister said in a speech, I think last week, into a world where interdependence should be the watchword rather than independence, and I wonder—I put this very tentatively to the Committee—whether the sane solution of this problem does not lie not in a transfer of sovereignty from Britain to Greece, or from Britain to Greece and Turkey, as partition would imply, but in a merger between Britain, Greece and Turkey.
I will not attempt today to put before the Committee detailed proposals. I have worked some of them out, but I think it would be hopelessly premature to mention them now. It should not, however, be beyond the wit of man to find a scheme whereby Greece and Turkey could be associated with us in the development and administration of Cyprus. The Cypriot people would then become not a bone of contention between Greece and Turkey, but a bond of union between Greece and Turkey and between both those countries and the whole of the British Commonwealth.
I say the whole Commonwealth because nothing is more striking in this controversy than the support which the Commonwealth Prime Ministers, despite their varying ideology, gave in the published communiqué to the policy which Her Majesty's Government have pursued towards Cyprus. The two leading Asians of the Commonwealth, Mr. Nehru, in Bonn, and Mr. Mohammed Ali, in Ankara, have given even more forceful support. They know—what the party opposite choose to turn a blind eye to—that the unity and strength of the 1452 Commonwealth still depend on the effective maintenance of Britain's main bases overseas.
I can see the strong nostalgic appeal to hon. and right hon. Members opposite of trying to work up another Midlothian campaign over Cyprus. It may be politically attractive to try to exploit Gladstonian shibboleths like self-determination. I still hope, however, that right hon. and hon. Members opposite will show the responsibility in this matter which they showed when they were in office and that we can join together to try to find a means of keeping Cyprus permanently as a bastion to defend the Commonwealth against the dangers that beset us all round.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ Mr. Kenneth Robinson (St. Pancras, North)
The tentative solution to the Cyprus problem offered by the hon. Member for Preston, North (Mr. J. Amery) seems to me to involve going a very long way back to the days before Her Majesty's Government had accepted the principle of self-determination for Cyprus. The hon. Member made it perfectly clear that he did not believe in self-determination for Cyprus, that he felt that, in order to fulfil our obligations and to defend our interests in the Middle East, the full and unfettered possession of the island was necessary. Therefore, in that he disagrees with what the Prime Minister said very clearly a week ago today. In these remarks—and it is known that the hon. Member is not alone in his views on this matter in the Conservative Party—
§ Mr. Robinson
I was drawing from the last utterance of the Prime Minister on this subject, and I had assumed that he had moved forward a little from the speech to which the hon. Member has referred. Last Thursday was the first positive affirmation of this principle in connection with Cyprus.
The hon. Member has stated that in his view the nationalism in Cyprus is not 1453 of the intractable kind which we have come to know elsewhere in the world. I would remind him that it is becoming much stronger and more intractable with every day that passes, with the imposition of collective fines, imprisonment without trial, curfews and executions. I do not think that the hon. Member will have any doubt in the future that this is a rather violent form of nationalism and that it is the result very largely of the actions of Her Majesty's Government.
The Foreign Secretary accused my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) this afternoon of not having made a very helpful speech. The Foreign Secretary's own speech this afternoon was more than unhelpful. It was a positively dangerous speech. It seems to me that he, too, appears to have moved from the position taken up by the Prime Minister last Thursday, and it is the most dangerous thing in the world to introduce confusion in this matter of self-determination just at the point where we thought we had achieved a measure of clarity. The Prime Minister said that the application of this principle in the case of Cyprus was something that we must consider in the future, but today the Foreign Secretary seemed to think that we could not even say that the principle would definitely be applied to Cyprus, but only in certain circumstances. Therefore, his acceptance of the principle of self-determination is purely abstract concept.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
This has been said more than once. Therefore, I would remind the hon. Member that what I said today was, "We have declared ourselves willing to try to work out conditions in which it might be possible to apply that principle to Cyprus in the course of time and in such a way as not to create greater problems and cause greater dangers."
§ Mr. Robinson
That is going back on the definite statement that the principle will be applied at some time in the future and in certain circumstances. The right hon. and learned Gentleman only says that it may be possible perhaps in the future. I hope that the Colonial Secretary, in winding up the debate, will clear up this ambiguity.
On 14th May we were offered a crumb of hope by the visit to this country of Field Marshal Sir John Harding for con- 1454 sultations on every aspect of this problem. When the visit, which was to last a week, stretched to three weeks and longer there began to be some hopes that a new approach was being made to the problem. Some of us wondered whether it was possible that Her Majesty's Government had at last appreciated the futility and the barrenness of their policy and were ready to depart from the wholly negative policy of merely restoring law and order. Sure enough, we had a series of inspired leaks in the Press which sketched out a new plan for Cyprus. The first was in The Times. One by one, the political and diplomatic correspondents vied with each other to provide their readers with circumstantial details of the new plan. The only contradiction that I could detect was about the precise number of years within which Her Majesty's Government were prepared to implement self-determination for Cyprus.
This, of course, was good news for those of us who had been pressing for a change of policy and a new deal in Cyprus. We knew that there would he difficulties and that there would have to be negotiations which would involve bringing Archbishop Makarios back from exile but, having gone that far, we thought it inconceivable that the Government would not be prepared to go further. On the whole, we thought that this was good news. Indeed, it seemed to us too good to be true. That is exactly what it has turned out to be because, having conceived this plan, Her Majesty's Government then took a step which I can only describe as either fantastically stupid or disingenuous, not to say dishonest.
I believe that it was the former, and I think that subsequent events bear out that interpretation. Her Majesty's Government submitted their plan to the Turkish Government, not for consultation but for their approval. I ask the Colonial Secretary what answer the Government expected. What could they expect of a Government which, as recently as last September, had declared themselves at the London Conference flatly against any change of status in the island?
What had happened since last September to suggest that the Turks might be a little more amenable on this occasion? As far as I can see, the only thing that happened was that the internal situation of Turkey had disastrously deteriorated. 1455 So much so, that a good deal of opposition has had to be suppressed and something like an authoritarian régime established.
What is better in a situation like this than an external issue by which the Government can divert the attention of the people from the problems which they are incapable of solving, an issue with a chauvinistic appeal such as this has for the Turks? It is the classic situation which we have seen in Egypt, in Persia and in many other countries. Of course, Mr. Menderes turned the plan down out of hand, and Her Majesty's Government, no doubt with the encouragement of the hon. Member for Preston, North and his hon. Friends, meekly accepted the position and withdrew the plan. We have now reached the situation where a Turkish veto is accepted by Her Majesty's Government, and where the Turkish Government can wreck any solution to the Cyprus problem which is acceptable to all the other parties involved.
I know that fears have been expressed—and I think that by implication the Government have accepted them—that in the event of the people of Cyprus in the future opting for Enosis, the Turks would take military measures and occupy the island. Even if this were feasible, which I do not believe for a moment, it must be obvious to the Turkish Government, as it is to everybody else, that such an action in response to a legitimate, freely negotiated settlement could only be condemned as aggression by the United Nations.
It would not only be that. Quite apart from the United Nations, it would be aggression by one N.A.T.O. Power against another N.A.T.O. Power, and that would oblige all the other Powers in N.A.T.O. to come to the defence of the victim. I cannot believe that Turkey would be so rash or foolish as to embark on a military adventure of that kind in any circumstances, so let us not pay any further attention to the threats and blackmail to which we have been subjected by Turkey in the last few weeks and months.
To do what we believe, and what the Government apparently believed a few weeks ago, to be the right thing in Cyprus would not be favouring the Greeks against the Turks. On the contrary, to 1456 permit a Turkish veto on such a settlement would most emphatically be favouring the Turks against the Greeks. That would be dictation by a minority, and that is precisely the position into which Her Majesty's Government have got themselves.
Like my right hon. and hon. Friends, I am in favour of every reasonable safeguard being written into any constitution that may be drawn up for Cyprus. There are those who say that written safeguards of this kind are worthless. I will say only two things on that. Whatever the value of written safeguards I believe that there are two real safeguards which the Turks in Cyprus can enjoy. First, the Greeks and Turks have lived amicably on this island for centuries until a few months ago, and wherever they have come together they have lived amicably for a period of thirty-five years following the Treaty of Lausanne. Secondly, there are much larger Greek minorities in Turkey than there are Turkish minorities in Greece.
Now a word about Lord Radcliffe's mission to Cyprus and the constitution which he is required to draw up. I, too, am very disappointed at the statement that many months will elapse before he comes forward with proposals. I want to know why there need be this delay. In the course of the previous debate the Colonial Secretary said, in winding up:Work is being done here, and I am having talks from time to time with Lord Radcliffe, while a great deal of work is being done in my own Department on the matter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th May, 1956; Vol. 552, c. 1750.]If that is true, the preliminaries should all be cleared away, and there is no reason why we should have to wait months, or indeed many weeks, before a constitution can be drafted.
I know that Lord Radcliffe has not yet had any terms of reference, but we have been told that he is required to draw up a liberal constitution. I hope, therefore, that we can make some assumptions from that. Of course, it would not be a liberal constitution if it denied to the people of Cyprus the right to determine their future. I hope that there will not be any repetition of past mistakes by putting forward proposals which specifically exclude the elected assembly from discussing and deciding the future of the island.
1457 Equally, it would not be a liberal constitution if it did not provide for a Greek elected majority based on universal adult suffrage. Since there has been some equivocation in this matter by different members of Her Majesty's Government, speaking with different voices at different times, it would be as well to know where the Government stand now on this matter.
I want to take the Committee back to the Tripartite Conference of last September on the question of an elected majority. The present Chancellor of the Exchequer said at that time that the constitution would provide for an assembly with an elected majority, a proportionate quota of seats being reserved for the Turkish community. A short while later the right hon. Gentleman the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs said at the United Nations that there would be from the outset an assembly with an elected majority, a proportionate quota of seats being reserved for the Turkish community.
That is fairly clear and fairly satisfactory, but when the Governor began negotiations with Archbishop Makarios those words about a proportionate quota of seats for the Turkish minority were suddenly dropped. When the Archbishop asked for a clarification of what the Governor meant by an elected majority, he was told that the Governor could not tie the hands of the constitutional Commissioner as to the manner in which the elected majority would be constituted.
That is obviously a step backwards, but that is not the end of the story. When the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary was taxed with this in the debate of 14th March, he said:… I was not prepared to say, before we could see the picture as a whole, the Greek elected members would swamp in the Lower House all others, nominated and Turkish elected representatives alike."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 14th March, 1956; Vol. 550, c. 512.]The use of the word "swamp" is curious there when one reflects that the Greek Cypriots constitute over 80 per cent. of the population of the island. In view of these various changes of formula, it is not surprising that a solid wall of suspicion has been built up in Cyprus about the good faith of Her Majesty's Government. To be acceptable to the Cypriots, therefore, any constitution must be absolutely unequivocal on the point of an elected majority proportionate to the national groups in the population. I need 1458 hardly add that any constitution not acceptable to the majority of the Cypriots would be utterly worthless and useless.
We have been told in the Press, and no doubt the Colonial Secretary will mention it, that Lord Radcliffe has had talks with Dr. Dervis, Mayor of Nicosia. In The Times today these were described as a personal success for Lord Radcliffe. I think the Committee should know that about six weeks ago, on 1st June, all the elected Greek mayors and deputy mayors conferred together at Nicosia Town Hall. At the conclusion of the meeting Dr. Dervis was authorised by them to issue a declaration. The declaration contained seven paragraphs, the seventh paragraph of which opened with the following words:We declare that we will never participate in any negotiations concerning the island's political future and reaffirm that there can be no possibility for the solution of the problem so long as His Beatitude is held down in forced confinement.I think it is unlikely that Dr. Dervis has changed his views very significantly in the intervening few weeks. After all, this is still the position of the entire Greek Cypriot population. There has been no diminution in the Archbishop's prestige in the island since his exile, although no doubt the Government hoped there would be such a diminution. It has been very much to the contrary. Even the Central Committee of Akel, the Communist Party in Cyprus, is demanding the release of the Archbishop and his fellow exiles.
At the other end of the scale, Sir Paul Pavlides, who, for nine years, enjoyed the confidence of Her Majesty's Government as a member of the Executive Council until he resigned last September, has stated that there is no Greek Cypriot other than Archbishop Makarios who has any representative capacity, or who carries any authority, or who would be willing either now or in the future to negotiate with Her Majesty's Government. He went on to say that this attitude has nothing whatever to do with intimidation or fear of reprisals from E.O.K.A. or anybody else.
My hon. Friends and I ask whether the Government now have the courage to acknowledge the blunder which they made in exiling the Archbishop? I find it very difficult to believe that full and proper consideration was given to that step at the time. It seems to me that it had all 1459 the signs of an impulsive decision made in a moment of exasperation, and, I think, very probably regretted since. According to the Colonial Secretary, in his statement at the time, it was a step taken in the interests of restoring law and order, and, as we on these benches warned the Government, it has been a signal failure in that respect.
In the four months since the Archbishop's deportation, there has been more violence and more deaths of Britons and Cypriots than in the previous twelve months, since the time that violence began in the island. Despite the repeated optimistic statements made from Government House and elsewhere, we are no nearer restoring law and order in the island than we were at the time the Archbishop was exiled. I ask the Government to bring the Archbishop back from exile, preferably to London, so that he may confer here with Lord Radcliffe, the Colonial Secretary and others and thrash out a solution to the problem.
Will the Colonial Secretary answer some of these questions in his winding-up speech? Will he tell us what is the attitude of Her Majesty's Government towards this Turkish veto? Will he tell us what is their present view about the constitutional provisions for an elected majority?
I ask these questions, but I am beginning to despair of the right hon. Gentleman's winding-up speeches in our colonial debates. The technique which he adopts may have been effective once, but it is beginning to wear a little threadbare. He gabbles through his material at breakneck speed, hardly pausing for breath between the sentences. He may reply to one or two minor points which have been raised in the debate, but nearly all the major points are left unanswered. He usually has one particularly odoriferous red herring which he drags across the trail. When he sits down exhausted, the problems have been neatly sidestepped, and no more. Even if the dutiful cheers of the Government back benchers create the illusion of a minor Parliamentary triumph, the problem remains and the solution is as far off as ever.
This will not do this time. The problem of Cyprus has become a festering sore in the British Commonwealth. It is 1460 poisoning international relations, undermining our influence and weakening our moral standing in the world. We cannot let it drift on, as the Government have let it drift on for the past few months. The time has come for a frank acknowledgement of past errors and a bold initiative for the future.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ Mr. R. Brooman-White (Rutherglen)
I do not want to follow the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson) into that part of his speech in which he dealt with the question of constitutional developments. I think the debate as a whole may tend to make Lord Radcliffe's task more difficult, and I feel that a detailed discussion and exchange of views across the Committee at the moment would be untimely and unwise. There is, however, one point which he raised upon which I must comment before I come to the main part of my speech. I will be as brief as possible because many other hon. Members wish to speak.
The hon. Member for St. Pancras, North referred to the Turkish veto, a phrase which is becoming current in the debate. The right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) said he would deplore any tendency for hon. Members to take a pro-Greek or pro-Turkish attitude. I entirely agree, but I am bound to say that the tenor of the speeches from the benches opposite has made it extremely difficult not to take what would appear to be a pro-Turkish attitude, simply in order to give some balance to the debate.
When hon. Members opposite speak of a Turkish veto, they mean, in effect, that the Turkish Government would not agree to a certain solution, which, if it is to be effective—and the right hon. Member for Llanelly fully recognised this, implicitly if not explicitly—must be a quadrupartite solution. Any solution in Cyprus which is to work must be broadly acceptable to the people of Cyprus, to the British Government, to the Greek Government and to the Turkish Government. If it is not broadly acceptable to the Turkish Government it will not work; and if it is put to the Turkish Government and they say that it is not broadly acceptable to them, that means that it will not work. Hon. Members 1461 may call that a Turkish veto, but there is also the possibility of a Greek veto, and British veto and a Cypriot veto. What is essential is to reach some measure of agreement between the four main interested parties. It does not seem to me that we serve any useful purpose to throw around emotional catch phrases, or political slogans, like "bowing to the Turkish veto", when all we really mean is that we canno[...] on a certain point get the agreement of one of the four interested parties all of whom must be in agreement if [...]ealistic solution is to be found.
Coming to the main point I wish to make, it was because of the great difficulty of finding [...]a solution broadly acceptable to the four parties concerned that the Labour Government, when in office, failed to solve this problem; and, up to the present, we, too, have failed to solve it.
I hope that in reading the report of this debate—and it will be carefully read abroad—those who are concerned in Greece and in Cyprus will not read more into the speeches of hon. Members opposite tha[...] perhaps hon. Members opposite would wish. Surely hon. Members opposite do not want to give the impression that today they would be any less responsible, if they were in office, in meeting their obligations and dealing with this problem than they were in 1951? Surely today they would be no more negligent of the legitimate interests of the Turks and no less willing to have due concern for the strategic interests of the United Kingdom. Indeed, because of the situation in the Middle East, those strategic interests are perhaps more pressing today than ever before.
In other debates, hon. Members opposite express great anxiety and speak with great feeling about the dangerous position of the State of Israel. We are signatories to the Tripartite Guarantee. Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite know perfectly well that if British military action were called for by any set of circumstances that might arise in the Middle East, that action would mainly be based on Cyprus. They also know that if we are dependent on Greek good will to take that action, it would be extremely difficult for the Greek Government of the day to allow anything to be 1462 done from territory under Greek sovereignty that would be contrary to Egypt's wishes, because of the position of the Greek minority in Egypt. That is an unpleasant but definite fact which hon. Gentlemen opposite, if in Government, would certainly have to weigh today as they weighed it in the past.
The only new factor which has been introduced into the situation since hon. Gentlemen opposite were trying to solve this problem, as we are now trying to solve it, is terror.
§ Mr. Desmond Donnelly (Pembroke)
Would the hon. Member say that another new factor is the departure from Suez?
§ Mr. Brooman-White
If anything, that makes our base in Cyprus more important and militates for rather than against maintaining the status quo in Cyprus.
The only real change in the political situation in the island, and in the situation between the Greek and Turkish Governments, is due to the impact of terrorism. One would hope that hon. Gentlemen opposite would be no more willing to accept an argument simply because it is forced to their attention by terror than we would be, or any other responsible British Government would be.
The main point with which I want to deal is how this terrorist situation in Cyprus has arisen. I do not take as despondent a view of the situation as do some hon. Members opposite—and I profoundly hope that I am right in my opinion. I believe that the terrorist situation in Cyprus is artificially inspired and sustained from outside, and that if the pressure from outside, that is to say, from Athens, were removed, terrorism would rapidly abate.
My reason for that feeling is based on a visit I paid to Cyprus just before the trouble started in the Summer of 1954. At that time I had the opportunity, as had many hon. Members from both sides of the Committee, of talking to officials and other people in the island. People who were there about that time will agree that the unanimous opinion on the island among those who should have known was that no serious outbreak of violence was likely to occur. That was the opinion before the events of the autumn of 1954 not only of civil servants 1463 on the island—though that is not an opinion one would write off lightly. Certainly hon. Gentlemen opposite would not say that a civil servant is right only when he is in Whitehall and that the advice of colonial civil servants is prone to be wrong. But, in this instance, it was also the opinion of prominent Philhellenes, and all those best qualified to unde[...] Greek mind and point of view.
It was their opinion that there would probably be political disturbances in the autumn, when schoolchildren who had been on holiday in Athens went back to school. They had been steamed up by propaganda in Athens, and it was thought that they might throw stones and that someone might have to turn a hosepipe on them. That was, in effect, about all that happened, though it was a little more serious than was expected, and some tear gas had to be used.
§ Mr. Brooman-White
The reason given in the island was that children had been to Athens on summer holiday and had been subjected to intensive political propaganda.
§ Mr. Brooman-White
They were invited and the trips were organised. I am coming to that issue.
I was about to give a touch of local colour which impressed me. One of the people who should have known most about Greek feeling, a very distinguished Greek scholar and poet—I will not mention him by name, but he is known to many hon. Members—he had indeed been a lecturer at a Greek academy, took me to a central square in one of the charming seaside villages on the island. He showed me there a tree called, "The Tree of Forgetfulness." It was said that anyone who drank under that tree forgot whatever worries he had. But the point was that on a wall behind that tree was an Enosis slogan, "We will shed blood for the freedom of the island," or something of the sort. He had been shown that by one of the leading Greek Cypriots on the island the day before, with the comment from the Cypriot "This is not an atmosphere that breeds violence."
1464 The fact is that in the summer of 1954, everybody had got it wrong. Just before violence broke out, everyone best qualified to know thought that there would be no violence. What was the new factor which had been introduced which all the pundits had left out of account? It was action from Athens.
I agree that Enosis has a long history, but it has never been a violent history. It is true that somebody burned down the Sir Ronald Sto[...] Library after the 1914–18 war, which may have been a cultural loss and unpleas[...] for Sir Ronald, but, in the political terms of the Eastern Mediterranean, it could scarcely be counted as a wave of terrorism[...] Enosis has long been a national aspiration, but it was not backed by violence, because previously violence had not been actively instigated and inspired from Athens.
Latterly, and this is the new factor, the Athens Government, for political motives, started to turn on the heat. They started in the autumn of 1954 and the pressure grew rapidly. During the summer of 1954 they excited some schoolchildren, as I have said, and that autumn there were minor riots. A little later, in December, there were further more serious riots. Then in January, 1955, we intercepted a ship carrying guns to the island from the Greek mainland. One may assume that others got through. A few months later Radio Athens started to incite violence. In April bombs were thrown and, for the first time, real terrorism started.
The people who were organising that violence may be of Cypriot blood or of Cypriot antecedents, but they were people who have spent their lives in metropolitan Greece. They are Greek ex-army officers, trained and hardened in the school of Greek mountain warfare, in fact very largely trained by us in the war resistance groups, fighters with hard experience against the Germans. Incidentally, by and large, they are people of extreme right wing nationalist opinion themselves, which the hon. Lady the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. L. Jeger) most certainly would not share. They were tough guerilla leaders, adventurous and soldiers of fortune. These people when they have got into the island have been backed by the propaganda of Radio Athens and have stirred up and used certain Cypriot 1465 youths to whom they make the appeal of adventure and patriotism. Hot-headed Cypriot boys may throw the bombs; but the inspiration, the pressure and the whole impetus of this movement have come from Athens.
§ Mr. Bevan
I have been following the hon. Member's narrative with very great interest. He said that before the summer of 1954 everything in Cyprus was comparatively peaceful and nobody was bothering very much, except that now and again they were tearing out each other's hair. Suddenly, the schoolchildren came home from Athens indoctrinated by what they had been told and Radio Athens started to turn on the heat and the difficulties started after the summer of 1954. I am just pushing that further and asking why Athens started at that time.
§ Mr. Brooman-White
I think that the reason is not that there was a sudden outburst in the Greek mainland of a new interest and sympathy for the island, but the internal, extremely complex workings of Greek politics. Before that, there was somewhat similar agitation about the Northern Epirus. Indeed, that agitation recently started up again in Athens, but the agitators were told to pipe down, because at the moment priority one was Cyprus. The Greek Government were swayed largely by internal political pressures and manœuvres, not by any new-found love for the Cypriots or new-found concern about their welfare. If these had been their motives, they would surely have said more about it in the past.
§ Mr. Brooman-White
The right hon. Gentleman says, like Turkey. I must not detain the House for too long, but I would like to reply that the Turks have shown remarkable restraint. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, North (Mr. J. Amery). The Turkish Government's political and economic difficulties have persisted for a considerable time. It would have been extremely easy for the Turkish Government to have played up the situation as have the Greek Government, but they have not done so. 1466 There has been no comparable propaganda in Turkey.
There was an occasion in September, 1955, when a Turkish mob took the law into its own hands after some Turks had lost their lives in Cyprus. This mob was vigorously suppressed by the Turkish Government, after carrying out riots. These were not Government sponsored riots. The amount of damage done in the riots in Istanbul and Smyrna, amounted to 150 million dollars. That may be an indication of the feeling in the streets, but not of the Government's attitude.
§ Mr. M. Philips Price (Gloucestershire, West)
Is it not a fact that the two political parties in Turkey are in agreement upon this matter, although they put each other's members in prison in respect of internal political matters?
§ Mr. Brooman-White
Yes. They are in agreement in this matter. They have not been playing up this situation, as the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North alleged. They are most certainly not making capital out of it, as the Greek Government are, for internal political reasons. It would be a mistake to think that the violence is deeply rooted in Cypriot feeling, or that Cyprus is necessarily a cause to which Greek politicians, whatever their political outlook, are wedded. Though one must admit that the longer the violence persists the more the people who have been condoning it or aiding and abetting it become implicated. If it goes on much longer there is a danger that the tail may begin to wag the dog. The politicians in Athens may find it harder to call a halt when they want to. Indeed, there is reason to suppose that may be beginning to worry some of them. I hope it is.
I believe, nevertheless, that the situation is taking a turn for the better, and that is mainly because the people of Cyprus are becoming heartily sick of the present situation. The recent successes of the security forces in Cyprus have been largely due—as are all successes of security forces—to better information. Better information is being obtained only because the security forces have received more assistance from the local population, and they have received this assistance to a large degree because sensible people, and in particular the wives and the mothers who find their husbands or 1467 children being drawn into this trouble, and being influenced or blackmailed by terrorist leaders, are having enough of it, and are wanting to see law and order restored. They want to take the next step towards a more rational approach to the problems of their country, and the Eastern Mediterranean as a whole.
If I am right in that connection, there is only one other thing that I wish to say in conclusion. The first stage which must be achieved is the restoration of law and order. Hon. Members opposite cannot ignore the fact that constitutional advance cannot take place while terror persists.
§ Mr. Brooman-White
I must not be drawn into a discussion of those matters. I have already been talking for longer than I had intended. If the right hon. Gentleman thinks that the present atmosphere in Cyprus—with murder and violence occurring daily—is compatible with the reasonable development of the constitutional status of the island, I can only differ from him.
Given a change in the attitude of Athens, and a growing willingness in the island to co-operate in the restoration of law and order, I believe that we can move into a new phase. What hope does one see for this? I believe that if constitutional government were to be worked for a period of time it would produce a very different atmosphere and a different set of circumstances. Everybody who knows the Cyprus situation knows that political discussion—largely because of the pressure of the Church—has been carried on solely in terms of Enosis, and not of local welfare. As soon as we have established a constitution, I believe that people will begin talking in terms of welfare and of the political problems affecting their immediate standard of living, the education of their children, the development of their farms and so on. In this way, I think that we shall produce a very much more stable and realistic public opinion.
That in itself will help us to take the next step forward. It may contribute to easing the legitimate Turkish apprehensions. Equally, a more stable situation 1468 in the Middle East as a whole would lead to an easing of our own misgivings about our communications, while the development of aircraft of longer range may reduce, though not entirely remove, our own strategic demands upon the island—the things we must have in our own interest.
I believe that with the passage of time we may arrive at a much more tranquil and realistic situation, in which we can profitably enter into the kind of discussions which may lead to a final settlement, perhaps on the lines which were put forward very tentatively by my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, North, that there should be some novel system of tripartite control; some new experiment towards which we are all groping, of new patterns of international co-operation which may solve those problems of the world which can no longer be solved in a purely national framework. Such a step may become practical politics in the future.
Meanwhile, I implore hon. Members opposite not to give the impression that a change of Government in this country would necessarily mean a sudden change of policy towards Cyprus, or a departure from the principles they rightly supported when they were in office in the past. That would only impede the constitutional development of the island. It would be an invitation to the terrorists to continue their campaign. I am sure that that is not the wish of the Opposition, and I hope that nothing is said in this debate which would imply that it is so.
§ 7.7 p.m.
§ Mr. George Jeger (Goole)
We have had many debates upon Cyprus, but until today I have not taken part in any of them. I have listened carefully to the arguments put forward and, by questioning, I have tried to elicit the facts. As a result, many Cypriots in London have sought me out in order to give me information. So far as I know, I have no Cypriots in my constituency, and so have no constituency interest in the problem. I have no need to support any particular point of view in order to catch votes.
So far as possible I have tried to disentangle the exaggerated passions which have been exhibited by hon. Members on both sides. As my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) 1469 said, we are in great danger of taking sides. Indeed, hon. Members on both sides have taken sides in one way or another. But I have noticed that, amongst all the passionate differences which exist in this Committee, there has been a certain drawing together among Members. The Government, for their part, have accepted the principle of self-determination, and some hon. Members on this side are now beginning to condemn violence in Cyprus as a matter of principle. That is something that many of us would be very pleased to hear more forcibly expressed.
For a very long time the Government have proceeded by way of a series of confused attitudes, and have now adopted a new one, of being in favour of self-determination. We should welcome the fact that Lord Radcliffe has gone to Cyprus to try to frame a new constitution which will bring peace to that unhappy island, but the Government have been very late in this matter. They know that as well as anyone else. We are entitled to ask why they did not send out Lord Radcliffe a year ago. This would have saved much trouble and many lives, both of British Service men and Cypriot civilians.
The hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. Brooman-White) said that until a year ago there had been no violence in Cyprus, and that the campaign for Enosis had previously been relatively peaceful. I believe that is true. If one looks at the monitoring reports available from the B.B.C. and the Colonial Office one finds that, just over a year ago, some visitors went to Cyprus and pointed the moral to the Cypriots that, in the past, Britain had conceded nothing to peaceful agitation but only to violence. That may provide some key to the change which occurred in the situation in Cyprus fifteen or sixteen months ago.
The people there were told that history had shown that Britain always yielded to force. That naturally encouraged them to participate in the use of force, which was undoubtedly inspired largely from outside, as the hon. Member for Rutherglen has said. That explains the use of violence, but it does not excuse it. That explains the terrorism and murder carried out by Greek Cypriots. Unfortunately, encouragement was given to such actions by some people in this country. But that does not excuse, even if it explains, the 1470 incitement to violence and murder by the Greek radio and Press. It does not excuse, even if it explains, the foul distortions by the Greeks in the minds of the children of Greece and Cyprus, as well as in those of adults.
I suppose that other hon. Members as well as myself get flooded with propaganda from Greece and Cyprus. I have here a letter sent to me by some schoolchildren in Athens, which tells me that they have decided to write to me after some speeches which they have heard from their headmaster and teachers. They talk about Britain, on the one hand, killing 19-year-old boys, and the Cypriots, on the other hand, revenging themselves by killing double that number. They refer to this troubled Greek island fighting for its independence, the island where they have to give up singing children's songs in order to cheer for freedom, where they are hanged if they proudly despise their tyrants.
Another item of Greek propaganda comes from the Bishop of Lemnos in Athens, who talks about Britain holding down "all-Greek Cyprus" in slavery. This sort of propaganda is very distasteful to us, but to pass it by and say that we must disregard it, or consider it all as part of a logical and natural struggle of a proud people for independence, is, I think, going a little too far. It was to that matter that I referred when I talked about the passsions that inspired people to violence and complicated and confused the issue.
If there is such tyranny in Cyprus, which is a question about which I know nothing, because I have not been there, let us have a look at what has happened to those who are tyrannised over by British rule. I attempted to discover by means of a Question a little while ago what happened to those "slaves" in Cyprus who are clamouring for independence and fighting against "British tyranny." On 27th June, I found out from the Secretary of State for the Colonies that, since the violence started in January, 1955, up to April of this year, a little over 7,000 people, obviously fleeing from "British tyranny" in Cyprus, left the island.
It is interesting to see where they went. No fewer than 5,700 came to this country. One went to Greece. If they are fleeing from British tyranny, it would be 1471 interesting to know exactly what they hoped to find when they came to Britain. From inquiries from Cypriots whom one meets in Britain, who one asks if they are really suffering from British tyranny, if they want to be British or if they really want to be Greeks, I must say that those who come to see me giving me details of their lives and telling me stories in confidence, are afraid of violence and intimidation. They are afraid of what other Cypriots here may do to them if their names are revealed. I get the impression that this agitation for unity with Greece is very largely inspired by Greece itself, which is using violent agents in Cyprus in order to intimidate the rest of the population and put its own national point of view forward.
I have had stories from Cypriots here in London that they have been forced by threats to contribute to the fund alleged to be for the liberation of Cyprus. They tell me that they are visited by two people, whom they really do not know, but whom they think they might be able to recognise, who produce a penny note-book and a pencil and say "How much are you going to contribute to the Cyprus fund?" When these Cypriots ask which Cyprus fund it is and for what purpose the funds are to be used, they are looked at in what one might call the Jack Spot or Billy Hill manner, and they are told, "We know you have relatives in Cyprus, and you had better contribute something," and they do, being intimidated into doing so.
We should like to know now what happened to the money. I asked a Question about how this money was used in the recent discussion on the administration of the Home Office, when my hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson) stated that the money collected by the Archimandrite who was deported is still lying in a bank in this country. My hon. Friend stated that on 2nd July. I should like to know whether that money is still lying in a bank here in London, or whether it is indeed being used for the purpose for which the Archimandrite said he was collecting it, that is, the relief of distress amongst the victims of British tyranny in Cyprus, and particularly those imprisoned without trial.
1472 No one would grudge the money if it was really going to such a charitable purpose, but it seems to me, with my knowledge of politics that goes a very long way back, that quite a lot of that money would find its way to those engaged in the political propaganda that is not very far removed from the Communist Party of this country. There are some Greek Cypriots in this country who are engaged in furthering the policy that is being pursued so violently by some Cypriots in Cyprus, and I think they can roughly be divided into three sections.
First, there are the Communists, anxious to smash N.A.T.O. and destroy British power in the Mediterranean, which is merely one angle of Communist world policy. Another lot would be supporters of the Greek Orthodox Church who carry out their rigid instructions, and they are allied with a collection of Greek military toughs, who are well trained in fighting methods, some of which they learned from our troops during their opposition to the Nazis and in the liberation of their own country. This is a strange alliance between three sets of people with diverse interests but one objective, and that is getting rid of British influence in the Mediterranean and the annexation of Cyprus to Greece.
Occasionally in London we have a demonstration by the resident Cypriots in favour of the freedom of Cyprus, and I have looked back at the newspaper descriptions of these marches, which are very colourful, carried out by people in uniform and costume, to see exactly what sort of marches they are. I have been able to gather that about 200 took part in them—not really large demonstrations, but staged as demonstrations against British tyranny. I gathered also from those who take part in political activities in the areas where Cypriots mainly live in London that 200 would be just about the number of Communists among the Cypriot residents in London.
It would be difficult to estimate their real strength unless we took a plebiscite of all Cypriots in Britain, in conditions of secrecy, to find out exactly how many support the policy carried on so violently in Cyprus. I suggest that a newspaper, say the News Chronicle, might organise a Gallup poll among the Cypriots to discover how many of them are in favour of the policy being carried out in their own 1473 country, and how many of them, holding that in abhorence, really wish to remain here as British subjects, integrated into the British way of life and living here peacefully and free from intimidation and threats of violence.
Reference has been made, and I think it must inevitably play a large part in our deliberations on the question of Cyprus, to the views of the Turks. I do not think we can ride roughshod over their point of view. I think they have been acting very patiently and with great restraint, and, if we wish to ascertain the view of our Allies the Americans, we find that the New York Times of last Sunday, in a leading article commenting on the attitude of the Turks, saying this:It would be highly dangerous to underestimate Turkish determination or to believe that Ankara is bluffing. Everyone in close touch with the Turks—and that includes Americans—is convinced that Turkey would react very strongly if the British gave in to the Cypriots and Greeks and tried to reach an agreement without Turkish consent. There seems to be little doubt that the Turks would take military measures.This is not an irresponsible remark by an irresponsible American. The New York Times is a paper of repute and this is a leading article to which, I think, we should give due regard.
A few days ago, reference was made to the Turks being "parvenu allies." I consider that one of the most insulting remarks which could be made. It has been remarked here today that they are exercising blackmail over us. So far, I can be very pleased indeed that the only things the Turks are using are words, and not bombs or guns—
§ Mr. Jeger
I think that my hon. Friend has only just arrived in the Chamber. Had he wished to take part in the debate, I am sure that he would so have arranged matters.
At least, these "parvenu allies", as they are called, are not shooting our soldiers in the back, or killing women and civilians, as our traditional ally, Greece, is doing. And if we are going into the question of "parvenu allies", as a member of the Labour Party I must say that I am very suspicious sometimes of the "parvenu allies" that we have found amongst us.
1474 Let me turn to Archbishop Makarios. I think that one of the most stupid blunders committed by the Government was the deportation of Makarios to the Seychelles. Had I been in charge of that branch of affairs, I should have let the Archbishop get on the plane to Athens that he was about to board, and let him land at Athens, but not let him return to Cyprus. Athens would have been his spiritual and political home. He would have been made a laughing-stock by being condemned to remain there. He would have been a nuisance to his Greek compatriots and he would not have been the martyr which I am afraid the Colonial Secretary has made him.
I am interested to see that now the Greek authorities in Cyprus are saying that there is no solution without Makarios; that they will not discuss a political constitution with Lord Radcliffe until Makarios returns. It seems a peculiar inversion of the position that whereas the Conservative Government have retreated from the use of the word "never", Greek Cypriots are making use of this word "never", and have adopted it with regard to Makarios—they will "never" negotiate except with Makarios. It would seem that the cult of the individual Makarios has extended into Greece in an alarming way. I thought that the line was altered, and that now the cult of the individual was out-of-date. It is about time that the Greek Cypriots, and their friends, heard of the new line and dropped the cult of the individual.
I agree absolutely with the Colonial Secretary when he says that Archbishop Makarios could alter the situation tomorrow, if he would denounce violence. I have always wondered how a gentleman of his position in his own country, and in such an important branch of religion, could stomach the violence being done in his name, under his nose, without raising his voice against it. It seemed to me an entirely unworthy position for him to take up. Whether he was concerned about losing caste or not; whether he was concerned that his words would be listened to or not, I think that it was his moral duty to denounce the use of violence, come what may. His friends in this country should use their influence on him to utter that denunciation now; to appeal for law and order and the 1475 cessation of killing in Cyprus, and they should do so themselves.
Meanwhile, I welcome the move of the Government in this matter, and I think that the quicker we can get a new constitution framed to give self-government to Cyprus, the better it will be. I am under no illusion about the self-determination side of it. I think that self-government must include the right to self-determination, otherwise it is not self-government. And I am under no illusion whatever about the period during which self-government will operate before self-determination comes into effect. I think it could be measured in months, not in years. I think we should face the fact that self-determination will immediately result in the Greek annexation of Cyprus.
In that way, of course, we shall lose the possession of Cyprus and therefore it behoves us, simultaneously with the adoption or offer of a new constitution, to take such steps to safeguard our many interests in Cyprus and those of our allies as is possible while the position is still flexible and fluid. So I think that undoubtedly we must take steps to bring Cyprus under the control of N.A.T.O. as a military base. We must get rid of the burden, which is being borne only by ourselves, of the military occupation of Cyprus, and share that military burden with other N.A.T.O. Powers, so that we do not have the full burden and responsibility. In that way, too, we should be sharing the treaty obligations with other nations and so have a political settlement which would be widespread, instead of a dual one only between ourselves and Greece.
Thirdly and lastly, and most important of all, such a settlement on a military basis with N.A.T.O. would bring in American interests. I think the Greeks would hesitate long indeed before antagonising American interests. We know the internal financial position of Greece, just as we know that of Turkey. We know that in both cases American generosity and help is greatly valued, and not easily would be thrown away by either of those countries. While it is still possible, while it is still feasible and acceptable, we should strengthen N.A.T.O. and give it this political job of work to do by handing over the military bases in Cyprus 1476 and sharing the responsibility ourselves in that way.
No debate of this kind should go on without some reference to our troops in Cyprus. That is an omission which I have noticed and which has been apparent in this and previous debates, and it is one which I deplore. I said earlier that I have no constituents who are Cypriots, but I have constituents who are soldiers serving in Cyprus. I have seen their letters and spoken to their parents. From what I have seen and heard, I know that our troops in Cyprus are exercising the greatest restraint under great provocation.
When one sees one's comrades being shot, it is not easy to exercise restraint and not carry out reprisals. When it is apparent that there is no co-operation from the local inhabitants it is difficult not to get angry and behave in a way in which one would not behave at home. But our troops are exercising great restraint. We should pay a tribute to them for that, and to their good spirits and courage and the way in which they are discharging a most unpleasant duty. Perhaps on that note of agreement in the Committee we might pass on to further agreement as to the future constitutional position of Cyprus.
§ 7.28 p.m.
§ Mr. Gilbert Longden (Hertfordshire, South-West)
I hope that I shall not embarrass the hon. Member for Goole (Mr. G. Jeger) if I say that I, at any rate, listened to his speech with great pleasure, and that I believe it is the first breath of fresh air and common sense that we have had from the benches opposite during this debate.
It so happens that in my pocket I have an example of one of the incitations to violence of which the hon. Gentleman spoke. He said, I think truly, that the Cypriots had been told that British Governments of whatever complexion conceded only to force. In my pocket there is such an incitation from one of his hon. Friends. As I did not give the hon. Gentleman notice, and as he is not in his place in the Chamber, I shall not cite it. All I will say is that I hope that the hon. Gentleman's conscience is extremely heavy.
§ Mr. J. Griffiths
The hon. Member is making a very serious statement, made about an unnamed Member, that he has 1477 incited to violence in Cyprus. A charge of that kind against Members of Parliament, of whom there are more than 600, ought not to be made. I wonder whether the hon. Member sought to inform the hon. Member that he intended to say all this.
§ Mr. Longden
I have just informed the Committee that because I had not given the Member notice I had no intention of quoting the hon. Member or of using his name.
§ Mr. Longden
Because of the statement made by the hon. Member for Goole. I will give the name to the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) if he wishes and I will show him the incitation afterwards. If he does not agree that it was tantamount to an incitement to violence, I shall be very surprised.
The Rev. Llywelyn Williams (Abertillery)
Everybody will be suspect.
§ Mr. Griffiths
The hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West has referred to the fact that he has in his possession a statement which, he says, was made by an hon. Member of the Opposition and which is tantamount to incitement to violence in Cyprus. Is not that a serious charge against an unnamed Member of the House, and is it within the rules of order to make a charge of that kind?
§ The Deputy-Chairman (Sir Rhys Hopkin Morris)
I listened to what the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Mr. G. Longden) said. I have nothing to do with what hon. Members say. The hon. Member must be responsible for any statement that he makes. He alone is responsible for that.
§ Mr. Griffiths
If the unnamed hon. Member has, as the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Mr. G. Longden) alleges, made a statement which is an incitement to violence, it would be a criminal act for which he would be punishable. Is it in order for statements 1478 of that kind to be made? While the hon. Member is unnamed, the charge rests on all of us.
§ Mr. Silverman
Surely the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Mr. G. Longden) is committing an abuse of his privileges as a Member. He knows, apparently, the name of the hon. Member whom he has in mind and he says that as he did not give the hon. Member notice and the hon. Member is not here, he will not say who the hon. Member is. Therefore, he leaves every hon. Member of the Committee under a suspicion which he feels absolved from clearing because he did not give notice and because the particular Member is not here. If that is not an abuse of his privileges, I do not know what is.
§ The Deputy-Chairman
My only concern is whether the hon. Member has committed a breach of order. So far, he has not committed a breach of order.
§ Mr. Silverman
Surely it is a breach of order to make a charge in circumstances in which one feels oneself precluded from proving it.
§ Mr. Stewart
The purpose of the hon. Member in using the phrase was to attach a smear to as many hon. Members on this side of the Committee as possible. Is not that a purpose which abuses the rules of order by making a general and untruthful accusation against a large number of Members?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
Hon. Members may disagree, and violently disagree with that, but it is not a breach of the rules of order.
§ Mr. Stewart
May we take it that it is in order to make a wholly unjustified accusation against an unspecified number of Members, an accusation which the hon. Member concerned does not and cannot substantiate?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
I gave no such ruling at all. I am only concerned with what the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West does so far as the rules of order are concerned. I am not concerned 1479 with his personal opinions. The only thing I am concerned with is whether he has committed a breach of order and, so far, he has not done so.
§ Mr. Silverman
Now that we have had this discussion, would it not be proper for the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West to withdraw the charge until he can prove it?
§ The Deputy-Chairman
That is a matter for the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West himself and not for the Chair.
§ Mr. Longden
Matters would not be much improved by my withdrawing what I have said, but I am sorry that I brought this in. I purposely did not mean to mention it and it was only because the hon. Member for Goole accused members of his own party with having said these things to Cypriots that I mentioned that I have an example in my pocket at this moment.
§ Mr. Silverman
The hon. Member does not want to descend to the level of my hon. Friend the Member for Goole (Mr. G. Jeger).
§ Mr. Longden
I should very much like to be able to make a speech like that which the hon. Member for Goole has just made. The whole Committee is in his debt, because many of the things I wanted to say were covered by it and my speech will be the shorter.
I would like to point out to the right hon. Member for Llanelly that it is not a matter of a pressure group in this instance or of the Suez or any other "rebels." The whole of this side of the Committee is behind Her Majesty's Government on this issue. I draw a very big line between the Suez episode and the Cyprus episode for the simple reason that in the case of Cyprus the issue of sovereignty is involved and in the case of Suez it was not. That makes all the difference. If we are in a place under the terms of a lease which is due to expire—and which, in Suez, would have expired this year—there is a very great difference. In Cyprus, we are there by every legal and juridical right.
It is shocking that most hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite should have altered their views so much on Cyprus 1480 from the time when they were in office. Tributes have already been paid to the responsible measures that they then took. Merely because a few people have pulled a few guns in Cyprus it appears that the right hon. Member for Llanelly and most of his hon. Friends are running away.
§ Mr. Longden
They would have Her Majesty's Government and this country run away, too. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Well, it would appear so to me.
A word on the principle of self-determination. When the present Chancellor of the Exchequer was Foreign Secretary he categorically stated that self-determination was not a principle of universal application. When we look at the Report on Malta, to which my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, North (Mr. J. Amery) referred, we find the same thing. I endeavoured to interrupt the right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) to ask him whether he did not put his signature to this phrase:Having regard to the special circumstances, we are obliged to reach the conclusion that the road to full self-government is blocked.Today, the right hon. and learned Gentleman, with less than his usual courtesy, refused to give way. If he were in his place now I would ask him whether the road to self-government is also blocked in Cyprus. At any rate, it would appear to indicate that the principle of self-determination is not, in his opinion, of universal application.
As to Enosis, can we bring ourselves to believe that this cry of "Enosis" is genuine and heartfelt? For reasons which have been admirably stated by the hon. Member for Goole, I do not think so. The Archbishop, as the hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker) has said, is not only an Archbishop. People in this country who talk about Archbishop Makarios think about the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, but they are thinking about very different kinds of office. Archbishop Makarios is primarily a politician. He would not have much to gain if Cyprus were united with Greece.
What about the Cypriot Communists? What would they gain by being united to a country in which their party is banned and proscribed? They have this to gain: I believe I am right in saying that they 1481 have candidly said that they hope to convert metropolitan Greece to Communism.
As to the Cypriots themselves, it so happens that I looked up the figures which the hon. Member for Goole has just given, of Cypriots fleeing from British tyranny. I found that out of 7,300 who left in the 16 months up to April last more than 7,000 came to Britain and the Commonwealth, and one went to Greece. I am, therefore, driven to the conclusion that this is an artificial conspiracy hatched by a few people with widely differing and all unworthy motives and maintained by terrorism. Even if it were genuine, is the attitude of our old ally, Greece, to be excused?
We have been told that love of honour inspires the Greeks today. In my view, their efforts to persuade the world that they are entitled to Cyprus is the biggest ramp in modern history except, perhaps, the Italian claim to Abyssinia. Cyprus has never in the whole long course of its varied history belonged to Greece and in the Treaty of Lausanne Greece herself acknowledged that the sovereignty should pass to us. If there were to be any revision of that Treaty I think that the only honourable course for Her Majesty's Government to take would be to return Cyprus to Turkey. The attitude of Greece today is quite as hostile to this country as if she had declared war upon us, and that might have been the more honourable course. It will be a very long time before the British people will forget Athens radio.
Unless we are prepared to pack up and to abandon our commitments and our responsibilities as a great Power—and it is not only British interests that will be served if we remain in Cyprus; it is because it is a British interest that it is also the interest of the whole free world—we must have a base there upon which we can rely. Therefore, I maintain that the only solution must be to set out to do what Her Majesty's Government are now trying to do, which is to eradicate and, if necessary, to extirpate the terrorists and then get down to introducing, and working, a liberal constitution. I cannot see why it should be considered to be impossible by so many right hon. and hon. Members opposite that terrorism should be stamped out and that thereafter the Cypriots, of whom there 1482 are many hundreds and thousands of good will, once they are freed from fear, should be persuaded to collaborate with us in the happy future of the island.
§ 7.42 p.m.
§ Mr. Desmond Donnelly (Pembroke)
The hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Mr. G. Longden) compared the claim of Greece to Cyprus with the claim of the Italians to Abyssinia. I would point out that there was a slight difference in that the Abyssinians did not want to join Italy. I do not think that situation can be compared in the same way. I point out that because I do not want to make any more reference to the monstrous and irrelevant speech of the hon. Member. I do not think that it is worthy of consideration.
What we are considering is the record on Cyprus of this Government. It is quite irrelevant to discuss the situation before the Conservative Government came to power, because the situation in the Middle East and in Cyprus was quite different. What we have to consider is the events of the last three or four years. In the Greek mind, those events began with the Prime Minister's visit to Greece on his convalescence. I absolutely agree that when the matter was raised with Mr. Papagos, the Prime Minister was quite right in saying that he could not discuss it on a convalescent holiday, but in the Greek mind that left a mark which is still part of the bedevilling element which exists in the situation today.
Where this situation really began in the present story was in the withdrawal from Suez. It was then that Cyprus became important and immediately after that we had the famous Hopkinson statement, which came within the same week. If ever a Government had a duty it was at that time when, having decided to come out of Suez and go up into Cyprus as an alternative base, their duty was to win the loyalty of the Cypriot people, but, instead, they gave us the Hopkinson statement. There were widespread repercussions in Cyprus, and what my right hon. Friend the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) said then has been borne out in the last few years.
The hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West will recall that quite a few other things have happened. We had the period of agitation and the launching of 1483 Eoka in April, 1955. Then it was more of an advertising campaign with the dropping of a few bombs and a certain amount of pressure was applied. The British Government got worried and called the Tripartite Conference, which, I believe, they announced on 30th June, 1955. We had the failure of the Tripartite Conference. I am not making any complaint against the Government about the circumstances in which it failed, but, following the failure, Field Marshal Harding went to Cyprus as the new Governor and a new situation was created.
The new situation was that Field Marshal Harding began to have private talks with Archbishop Makarios about trying to reach a settlement. Instead of continuing those private talks in a manner in which he could successfully have created conditions—I am choosing my words carefully—in which the Archbishop could have negotiated on our terms, there were a number of actions taken which prejudiced the Archbishop's position vis-à-vis the Cypriots. One was the imprisonment of trade union leaders and the prescribing of Akel which, I agree, contained some Communists. I concede that it may have been Communist-dominated. It was also anti-clerical. But it was quite wrong and very naïve to imagine that just because they happened to be anti-Archbishop Makarios he would be able to do anything other than stand up for them when they were placed in gaol. That was an example of the very worst way to create conditions in which it would be possible for the Archbishop to negotiate.
Then we had the declaration of the emergency and the visit by the Secretary of State and the end of the negotiations. The right hon. Gentleman went out when there was very near agreement, but it all fell through. Finally, there was the deportation of the Archbishop. Following that we were told, as someone pointed out earlier, that new people would come forward once the Archbishop was out of the way. Then it would be possible to do something about establishing contact with people in Cyprus who could negotiate without that difficult and tiresome person prejudicing the whole of the negotiations. It was an extraordinarily naïve assumption of the Government that that could ever happen. Surely the Government realised at that time, if they had 1484 any idea of the situation in Cyprus, that the principal effect of the deportation of the Archbishop was to create a pedestal for the Archbishop on their own blockheads. That is what is all means and that is the situation today.
There has been no new policy forthcoming immediately following the deportation of the Archbishop, although one would assume that the Government would have had something ready. Finally, we had the return of the Governor, a number of pressures, and then the Government realised that the situation could not remain as it was. Therefore, they made their secret proposals to Turkey, which were turned down. We have had all this long series of vacillation, negotiation and hesitation by Her Majesty's Government.
I say to the Colonial Secretary today in view of that record the Opposition is absolutely right to censure the Government in the Division tonight. There has been no record, in modern government, of more culpable ineptitude in this century. The damage is not only done to right hon. Gentlemen opposite, but to the good name of this country and to the whole of the free world. That really is the very grave charge we make against Her Majesty's Government tonight.
Having said that, I think what we have to do is to look at the situation as it is now and to be constructive about future proposals, because we are all in this together as a country and we are all in it as part of the free world. First, there is the possible suggestion—and, as far as I could gather from his speech, nothing else is in the Foreign Secretary's mind—of sitting still and waiting for Lord Radcliffe, for many months. Clearly, that cannot go on; this situation cannot last for many months. The second solution which has been put forward is this suggestion of referring the matter to N.A.T.O. It has some advantages and attractions, but I agree that there are certain administrative difficulties which would make any British Government think twice about referring the matter to N.A.T.O.
Thirdly, there is the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot) that we should partition Cyprus. That is not a realistic suggestion in the situation which exists in Cyprus just now.
1485 Fourthly, there is the suggestion of the hon. Member for Preston, North (Mr. J. Amery). I have a great admiration for the hon. Member for Preston, North. He is very much one of the best of the hon. Members who sit on the benches opposite, and a great improvement on many of the dreary mediocrities who sit above the Gangway. Nevertheless, the hon. Gentleman must realise that one cannot create a condition of compromise by talking about teeth and granite; the teeth will simply break. They will be our teeth. His hopes are really nothing more than romantic aspirations.
Is there any other alternative? That is a question to which the Committee must address itself. What is the ideal solution? Here I do not think there is any difference between the two sides of the House of Commons, certainly so far as the Government Front Bench and my hon. Friends on this side are concerned. If we accept the solution which the Government peddled to the Turks, and which was turned down, we would like to see self-determination within a named period. So far as I am concerned, I would like to see a British base retained there.
Further, there is no question, whatever the hon. Member for Hertfordshire, South-West may say, that we on these benches wholeheartedly condemn terrorism; there is absolutely no question about that, and it was a most unworthy charge which he levelled in the Committee this evening. I absolutely agree, as I am sure do my hon. Friends, that there ought to be guarantees for Turkey as well. We are not anti-Turkish on this side. The real problem as regards Turkey is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Leicester, South-East (Captain Waterhouse) and those who are now becoming known as his party of "young Turks". That is the only "pro" element in the House of Commons at the moment. As far as the rest of us are concerned, we are absolutely agreed that we are pro-liberty as well as being pro-British.
There is another matter about which I think we are all agreed, namely, that in the intervening period we would like to see, if it be possible, a liberal constitution with a Greek elected majority, which will in time, obviously, raise the question of self-determination. It is all part of the same problem.
1486 There are those four points; self-determination at the end of a period; a liberal constitution preceding it; guarantees for Turkey in the meantime; and, of course—I quite accept it—the stamping out of terrorism.
There are many difficulties in the way of this ideal solution, as I at once acknowledge. The first concerns Turkey. I accept that Turkey has a very strong case and has real reasons for being concerned about the future, with a hostile Cyprus off her shores. We must be prepared to face that. On the other hand, the Turks have no right to dictate to this country, to the people of Greece or the people of Cyprus; they have no right to apply a veto, and certainly the way to secure their support is not to go cap in hand, as the Government have done with their policy, and make the whole world think they are not prepared to face the consequences of their policy and are hiding behind the Turks. This praise for our great new ally Turkey makes me wonder whether it is not really an attempt to sugar the pill of bitterness because the Government have not the courage to face the consequences of their own policy.
The second difficulty is, of course, the problem of terrorism, and this is the one thing where I join my hon. Friend the Member for Goole (Mr. G. Jeger). I join with him in paying tribute to the British Forces in Cyprus in the difficult job they have had. It is, after all, the responsibility of the House of Commons that they are sent there, and we all have a measure of responsibility in this matter. Every death which takes place in Cyprus is the responsibility of this House, and we cannot evade it. We can do no other than pay tribute to the men we have sent there, and give them our fullest support in the policies which they are implementing on the orders of this House. We cannot evade our responsibilities.
The third difficulty comes from the Archbishop himself. The Colonial Secretary knows that he cannot accuse me of being pro-clerical. I am against Ethnarchies and priests of all kinds, especially in politics. Nevertheless, we must face the reality of the situation, the legacy of the Ottoman Empire and the whole history of that part of the world. The background to these events is that the political leaders are the religious leaders. It is not we, it is not even the Cypriots, who have created this special 1487 position of Archbishop Makarios. It is Her Majesty's Government. I personally cannot see any solution to this problem ever in the future unless Her Majesty's Government face the fact that at some stage negotiations with Archbishop Makarios will have to take place. There is no evasion of that.
There is a fourth difficulty, the problem of securing the co-operation of our American friends. I personally feel that they have not been as forthcoming and as helpful in this matter as they might have been. The American Government has for some time and to some extent evaded its responsibilities in this part of the Mediterranean. We cannot hope to get a solution which will create confidence in the Turkish mind without American co-operation. We must have the courage and determination to press this point upon our American allies in the same way as we pressed it very forcibly upon them earlier in the year when dealing with the problem of Israel and Egypt. It is not just our position but N.A.T.O. that is at stake.
There is a fifth difficulty, and here I find a great deal of common ground between the Government Front Bench and myself. This fifth difficulty is caused by the party opposite behind the Government Front Bench. I have in mind the right hon and gallant Gentleman the Member for Leicester, South-East and his "young Turks". The real truth of the matter is that the right hon. and gallant Gentleman and his Friends are going around in the second half of the twentieth century in a kind of pressurised diving bell, breathing only the air of the first half of the nineteenth century. I warn the right hon. and gallant Gentleman that the air is running out and that asphyxiation faces him very soon. What he imagines to be the situation no longer exists.
The longer we continue with that kind of policy, the greater will be the diplomatic defeat which the British nation will suffer when we have to give in at the end. The longer the right hon. and gallant Gentleman leads his hon. Friends in their extraordinary gymnastics of burying their heads in the sand, exposing vulnerable posteriors to the rest of the world, the sharper will be the pain when the rest of the world applies penal propulsion to 1488 their posteriors. Perhaps the right hon. and gallant Gentleman will now appreciate the full consequences of his actions and the image they conjure up. Perhaps he will now realise what we are talking about, when the matter is put to him so very graphically.
Meanwhile, what shall we do? This is the real challenge which faces us. Of course, we welcome Lord Radcliffe's visit to Cyprus. We say that it should have taken place long ago, but we wish him well. We are only concerned lest Lord Radcliffe's mission be used as a stalling device. We wish him well only if he is going there on business and to transact effective business.
I entirely support the suggestion made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) that, when Lord Radcliffe comes back, conditions should be created in which he may consult Archbishop Makarios, also. There is no alternative to that. It would make all the difference in the world to Lord Radcliffe's mission in Cyprus, and all the difference in the world to the climate of opinion there, if the Colonial Secretary had the courage to announce that tonight. That is what the right hon. Gentleman must face up to.
There is another matter, and one which must be taken further. It is not only a question of Lord Radcliffe or of Archbishop Makarios. As has been acknowledged in one form or another by all of us, except the Edwardian mugwumps, the situation also has international implications. The international implications are that we must draw in the Americans and get them to help us in giving guarantees in the difficult situation which faces Turkey. I agree that the Turks have a case.
I therefore make a second proposal to the right hon. Gentleman in addition to the proposal made earlier by my right hon. Friend. The corollary is that we should have a quadripartite conference, bringing in the Americans, to try to secure guarantees, with the British Government stating their view and what they think should be the ideal solution. Unless we draw in the Americans, very soon the whole of N.A.T.O. in the Eastern Mediterranean will be shattered. If that happens, the British Government will have a heavy burden and responsibility 1489 to face, not only before our own country but before the rest of the world as well.
Now, I want to say a word about what may appear to be three apparently irrelevant aspects. The first is the handling of this problem all along. The Colonial Secretary is directly responsible for Cyprus. On some occasions, many of us have admiration for some of the things that the right hon. Gentleman does. On other occasions, our admiration is more tempered and our criticism more radical. On the other hand, I believe that on occasion he has made a genuine effort to try to secure a solution of this problem.
Then, of course, the Foreign Secretary comes into it; but, thirdly, there is the Prime Minister. Whenever a statement of great magnitude is to be made on Cyprus, it is the Prime Minister who comes to the House to make it. It is the Prime Minister who is quite ready to receive the bouquets of the right hon. and gallant Member for Leicester, South-East, but he is never here to face the debate and the brickbats that come after on Cyprus. We have tabled Question after Question to the Prime Minister, and they have been referred to the Colonial Secretary. The Prime Minister really must face the fact that the responsibility is his.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
The hon. Member knows quite well that when my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made the statement on behalf of the Government, a week ago, he faced not only bouquets, but brickbats. The Opposition have tonight put down the Vote of my Department and the Vote of the Foreign Service, and it seems appropriate that he and I should be the Government's spokesmen on this occasion.
§ Mr. Donnelly
It may be partly appropriate, but not entirely.
Questions have been put down from time to time to the Prime Minister, but they have been referred to somebody else when the fate of Cyprus is concerned. I am glad that the Colonial Secretary has reminded me that the Foreign Office Vote is in question also, for I had been under the illusion that one reason why the Foreign Secretary had been asked to speak in the debate was that the Prime Minister was anxious that we should be reminded of his existence. I thought that 1490 that was the sole reason for the right hon. and learned Gentleman's appearance in this debate.
The main burden of responsibility rests upon the Prime Minister. I am not charging either the Colonial Secretary or the Foreign Secretary with personal irresponsibility in this matter. What I am saying is that the Prime Minister has not done his job by his Ministers. He has not given the Foreign Secretary a free enough hand in this matter. He has been treating him as a kind of bell hop, and that is just not good enough for the country at the moment. If ever we needed a Foreign Secretary, now is the time.
It is the Prime Minister whose conduct is most in question when we go into the Division Lobby tonight, because it is his final responsibility that is involved. It was the then Mr. David Lloyd George, I think, who said in the early days of the Prime Minister's glittering career at the Foreign Office that he was the best advertisement that the Fifty Shilling Tailors ever had. All I would say is that he is looking very shop-soiled as far as his policy has been presented to the Committee tonight. [HON. MEMBERS: "Cheap."] It is not cheap; it is true. His policy is very shop-soiled. It is a sad thing that he has cheapened the good name of the country.
§ Mr. Donnelly
Hon. Members on the other side really must learn to take it.
There are two other points to be borne in mind. The first is the implications of Cyprus for the free world. International politics are moving more and more from the period of negotiation from strength to, first, economic competition and, secondly, political competition. In my view, for the rest of this century international affairs are more likely to be a kind of American presidential primary. The race will not be for the Californian delegation to the Democratic Convention but will be for the Indian, African and uncommitted delegations to the United Nations. We must get our platform 1491 planks quite right, and Cyprus is one of the rottenest planks in the free world platform today.
The second thing I would say is that in the history of empires and of great peoples, there are nearly always two points of decline. One is when the conflict between the perimeter and the centre reaches breaking point and the empire fragments. The second is when the people themselves feel that they have achieved security and rest back on their oars and the world passes them by. This country faces both those challenges simultaneously, now.
The situation in Cyprus is very relevant to the first of those points. The one original idea in our political history this century, showing that this country can cheat history was the granting of freedom to certain countries of Asia and the creation of the new concept of Commonwealth. It is profoundly regrettable that in the last three or four years that great and golden name that had begun to shine has now started to look very tarnished in the eyes of the rest of mankind.
§ 8.8. p.m.
§ Captain Charles Waterhouse (Leicester, South-East)
The hon. Member for Pembroke (Mr. Donnelly) spoilt a rather interesting and amusing speech by some extremely unnecessary references to my right hon. Friends on the Front Bench. One is accustomed to give and take in the House of Commons, but there are some things which are not said, and the hon. Gentleman with his long experience in the House and his great facility for expressing himself—a far greater facility than I have—knows perfectly well that what he said was not within the ordinary run of Parliamentary debate.
The hon. Member paid me rather a compliment. I have been in the House quite a long while, and it is rather nice to think that I can still be considered as a "young Turk" with my head in the sand and my posterior in a diving bell. That shows an agility of which I might well be proud.
There was one remark made by the hon. Member that I was glad to hear. He said that at least he and many of his colleagues took a thoroughly British view of this matter. As long as we can take a British view, we will not have any 1492 serious quarrels between us. It is when one section or the other thinks that its opponents have ceased to take that view that heat is engendered and the Parliamentary machine works less smoothly than it should.
The hon. Member said that the Turks have no right to dictate in this matter. Of course they have no right to dictate, but is it really the Turks who are the initiators of dictation? The Turks did not start this trouble. They did not start the agitation. If there is any dictation at all, it is dictation, not even by Greece in the first place, but by the Greek Church and its representatives. The hon. Member said he would be the last person in the Committee to try to encourage or support agitation by a Church. I think that, by and large, history proves that the less the great Churches of the world interfere in politics the better it is for the subjects who live in the countries in which the Churches exist.
Everybody who has spoken in the debate has given some account of the history and the background of this matter, and I am not going to be an exception. I am again going to remind the Committee that, when right hon. Gentlemen opposite were responsible in 1948, they laid it down perfectly clearly that any constitution given to Cyprus must provide that the legislature must not even discuss the status of Cyprus within the British Commonwealth. That was only eight years ago, not very long ago. I would remind the Committee, too, of what was said by Lord Chandos when he was Secretary of State for the Colonies, speaking from that Box in what has come to be called the Hopkinson debate, because it was started by the noble Lord, Lord Colyton, making a statement which was very disagreeable to right hon. and hon. Members opposite.
Lord Chandos, speaking as the spokesman of the Government, used these words very clearly and repeatedly:Eastern Mediterranean security demands that we maintain sovereign power in Cyprus. …" "That is expert opinion. …" "There cannot be any going back on expert opinion in this matter."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th July, 1954; Vol. 531, c. 549–50.]That statement was made very seriously on behalf of the Government, the Government we on this side of the Committee supported, and only two years ago. If it 1493 was the expert opinion then, it is hard to see how that expert opinion can have altered now.
I do not mind at all talks on things happening in the distant future. In politics there is no such word as "never." The word "never" has no meaning. People come, people go; ideas come, ideas go; what is impossible today may be quite possible and even desirable a few years hence in changed circumstances. So do not let us quarrel over the word "never." What I urge is that on no account should a term of years be given to the period in which self-determination is possible.
My hon. Friend the Member for Hertfordshire, South-West (Mr. G. Longden) drew what was, in his view, a distinction between this controversy and the controversy over Suez. The difference, he said, was that here we were dealing with British territory and in Suez we were not dealing with British territory: Egypt was not British territory, and we were dealing only with a treaty. Let us examine that for a moment or two.
Let us bear in mind that Egypt, after the First World War and after the defeat of the Turks, became British territory. We then gave Egypt independence, and we had the Egyptians' agreement to maintain garrisons in certain places and to maintain certain rights on the Suez Canal. They were given freely. They were given almost with acclamation. There is no doubt about it at all. Very soon, however, doubts began to arise, and we were assailed because we had those reservations. In 1936 we made another treaty. That also was a treaty freely negotiated, and it was a treaty to last for twenty years, giving us rights to have our bases in Egypt. Within ten years that treaty, too, was assailed, and it was assailed with such vigour that we decided that we had to evacuate Egypt and to make a new treaty with Egypt.
When we did that we had very definite reasons for so doing. The Committee will recollect clearly the debate there was upon it. I myself took a different view. That does not matter. However, both sides of the Committee, hon. and right hon. Gentlemen on both sides, have to bear the responsibility for what has happened, and I will ask them now to weigh in their minds, when they are pushing the Government to make a change 1494 elsewhere, whether or not the expectations that were held out to them then, when we left Suez, have or have not eventuated: whether the position in Cyprus is materially safer from the hydrogen bomb than the base on Suez, whether the strategic reserve, which was one of our main reasons for the withdrawal from Suez, has been built up in this country to a satisfactory size, whether the economies which were to have flowed from the change have eventuated, and whether we have today a very fast and obvious friendship with the Egyptians, that friendship which was to have been one of the major advantages of that change.
We have to decide whether we have those four advantages, or whether we have really jumped out of the Egyptian frying-pan into the Cyprian fire, whether we are today in at least as bad a position, on all those counts, as we were then. If we give ourselves an affirmative answer to that, then I think we can urge my right hon. Friends to stand firm in the line which they have indicated today, in spite of the arguments which have been adduced from the other side of the Committee and by some on this side, too.
It may be said that if we had stuck fast on Suez we should about now have come to the end of the treaty. It is perfectly true that the twenty years would have expired this month or next. There would have had to have been an appeal eventually to N.A.T.O. or to U.N.O. I do not know which way the decision would have gone, but at least certain advantages would have flowed from that, and real advantages, too. Perhaps the most important of all would have been that treaty rights would have been upheld. There would not have been the breaking amidst violence of a treaty solemnly negotiated. There would have been several thousand Sudanese, now dead, who would still have been alive in the southern Sudan. Exactly how many thousands we do not know. That loss of life is one of the tragic things which flowed from that action. I think that it is almost certain that General Glubb would still have been in command of the Arab Legion, and that is a very important matter from the point of view of Middle Eastern peace and tranquillity. I am perfectly certain that the French would have been in a far better position in Algiers.
1495 Most important of all, we should not have placed Colonel Nasser on a completely undeserved pedestal and should not have given him power to do the whole Western position in the Middle East a great deal of harm. He is a man about whom we have different feelings. I myself think he is a man of straw, whom we have made by our mistaken policy, and I think that the sooner he is deflated the better from the point of view of the whole Western set-up in the Middle East.
It is for all these reasons that I again urge my right hon. Friends—and I hope they need now no urging—to stand firm for a little bit. It is not always necessary to be moving to a new position. The position in Cyprus is improving. From various sources on both sides of the Committee we have heard first-hand accounts of this improvement. Accounts of the same sort have come to me. I have not had myself the advantage or disadvantage of meeting Archbishop Makarios, as so many other hon. and right hon. Members have, but on the other hand I have read, and carefully read, the statements made by the Government, and I accept them as being true.
I hope that no account will be taken of the suggestion made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot) that there should be partition of Cyprus. That seems to me one of the wildest things that could possibly be suggested. My right hon. Friend said in his letter to the Press that "at the end of the day" it had to be adopted in India. But it was not the "end of the day". Long before the end of the day, half a million people were dead and 12 million homeless. Partition in India certainly did not bring tranquility. It may or may not have brought an easement of our immediate troubles, but do not let us imagine that the Indian day is over in that large political sense.
I believe there are no short-cuts in these matters, that we have to see these things out and that we have to grit our teeth and go through with them. I do not hear the smallest murmer of discontent from any of our fighting services in Cyprus. They have their tails right up, and will keep them up as long as they feel that Her Majesty's Government have a line and will go through with it.
1496 Mr. Justice Streatfeild said yesterday in passing sentence in cases of violent assault in London,These things are a disgrace to modern life in this great city … common sense prevails in the end and law and order in the end is always re-established.I believe that what Mr. Justice Streatfeild said here in London is equally true in Cyprus. I believe that if Her Majesty's Government will hold to their line—and I think that they will—they will soon get about them in Cyprus a body of vigorous opinion giving them the support that they need. Once they get that, we shall move on to the constitution of which my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has spoken.
We must find some means of putting our point of view over to the people of Cyprus and to the people of the Middle East. I am sure that our propaganda is gravely at fault. I have given my opinion of Colonel Nasser, and I will not mince my words. He pours out a flood of dirty lies over his various media of propaganda, and we have no adequate means of counteracting them. It gives me a sense of terrible shame also to think that lately the French have had to accuse us of harming them through broadcasts from Cyprus. The Foreign Secretary has said, quite rightly, that he has no direct control over that, but it is really not good enough. If the charge that the French have made is true, we ought to take control so that it cannot be said that we, who have just complaints about broadcasts from Athens and other places, are harming our friends in Algeria.
I am glad that Her Majesty's Government have come out firmly on this line. I want to tell the Committee how relieved I am that self-determination is still a thing in the comparatively remote future. [Laughter.] I do not know why hon. Members opposite laugh at this point, because the whole object of my remarks this evening has been to point out that self-determination must be in the comparatively remote future. I do not believe that it is possible, for the reasons I have given, to give self-determination while we have the necessity of a base in Cyprus. When that necessity is passed let us give self-determination but do not let us put ourselves again in the well-nigh impossible position 1497 of trying to hold a great base in a country which is both against us and under a foreign government.
§ 8.27 p.m.
§ Mrs. Lena Jeger (Holborn and St. Pancras, South)
The right hon. and gallant Member for Leicester, South-East (Captain Waterhouse) has at least the virtues of honesty and sincerity, although what he says is quite unacceptable to most of us who, if I may say so with respect, feel more conscious of the contemporary issues that we have to face. At least, the right hon. and gallant Member was honest enough to say that he drew the conclusion from what the Foreign Secretary has said today that self-determination was a subject for the remote future. I think that that is the conclusion that the people of Cyprus will also draw from what was said from the Government Front Bench, but for them it will not bring the comfort that it has brought to the right hon. and gallant Member for Leicester, South-East. Time is not always on our side in these things. Time is rather like the fruit of the medlar tree, which frequently has a habit of going rotten whilst one is waiting for it to get ripe.
§ Mrs. Jeger
The right hon. and gallant Member emphasises the importance of correct timing in all these matters.
The right hon. and gallant Gentleman also referred to Labour Party policy in 1947 and 1948. It should be said again, and once and for all, that it is no surprise to most people in the country and in this Committee to know that Labour Party policy has changed since 1947 and 1948. There is no virtue in not changing one's mind, in never learning from history, and in refusing to learn from a situation that has to be tackled in a different way if one is to succeed. It comes ill from hon. Members opposite to criticise the Labour Party on the grounds that, after having given careful thought and examination to the complexities of the situation, it has reached a conclusion which is different from that which it held a few years ago. The Observer remarked last Sunday that the present Government have changed their minds over Cyprus five times this year.
1498 Unfortunately the changes in Government policy in Cyprus have not been towards making a more realistic or a more hopeful issue result from this difficult situation. The hon. and gallant Gentleman referred to the comfort it would give the troops to know that the Government are standing firm for a little bit. That is very cold comfort to our troops in those difficult mountain areas faced with what is essentially a political problem which cannot hope to be solved by military methods, and which this Parliament has no right to send soldiers to solve.
The hon. and gallant Gentleman also said that he was glad the Government have a strong line and that they will go through with it. I wonder if that is a fair assessment of the situation? On Thursday last it seemed that the Government had a line which involved the recognition of the right of self-determination for the people of Cyprus. This afternoon, however, the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs came to the Committee, hedging around this principle with many precedents of non-applicability, suggesting to the Committee that though it was a good principle, there were circumstances in which it might not be expedient to apply it.
Nothing could be more cynical. Nothing could be more calculated to create distrust and loss of confidence in Cyprus at the beginning of Lord Radcliffe's mission than the speech of the Foreign Secretary. Because everything that the right hon. and learned Gentleman said this afternoon underlined the fear which many people in Cyprus have put to me and to other hon. Members, that the British did not really mean what they said about the issue of self-determination.
What the situation in Cyprus needs above all at the present time is some measure of confidence, some restoration of belief in the good faith of our country. Certainly nothing that has been said from the Government benches today will help that feeling in any way or will be of any assistance to Lord Radcliffe in the task that has been put upon him.
As far as his mission is concerned, I hope that Lord Radcliffe will have some opportunity to see the problem at first hand and then to come back and put his conclusions at the disposal of the Government. After that I hope that the Government will take some notice of what he 1499 says. I do not believe that the Government are really short of information about the situation in Cyprus. I cannot believe that, with all the long years of experience there, the many visits there have been both of the Colonial Secretary himself and of officials. Certainly it is a serious reflection on our intelligence services if it is information which the Government need about the Cyprus situation.
That brings me to certain rather cynical conclusions which I hope can be dispelled. If Lord Radcliffe is to be in Cyprus without any terms of reference, one wonders exactly what the Government have in mind. As regards constitution-building Lord Radcliffe is a technician. There are certain fundamental decisions about that constitution which are political and which the Government alone can take.
For instance, it is only the Government that can decide whether this constitution will be so drawn as to inhibit any future discussion of sovereignty, as was true of the 1947 constitution, which was unacceptable. It is for the Government to decide whether the Greek Cypriots are to have an elected majority. It is not fair to abrogate responsibility to a third party on what is essentially a political issue. If the Government do that, there are many people in this country who will feel that this is just another device to use up time, to fill in this rather difficult interval when Parliament is just about to go into recess and the United Nations will be meeting in a few months' time—just a gesture that something is being done.
It is a very comfortless gesture when we hear that we cannot expect to have any report from Lord Radcliffe for several months, particularly to the families who have men fighting in Cyprus. Every month that the situation is unresolved means the death and injury of more British soldiers and of Cypriot civilians, more bitterness, more repression. What we need and what we have not had in this debate is a sense of urgency. How can hon. and right hon. Gentlemen sit back and say, "It is quite right. This is complicated. Lord Radcliffe must have several months to look about", when this may mean life and death to many people about whom we are talking in such a leisurely way this afternoon? If 1500 he needed months for the task, Lord Radcliffe could have been in Cyprus months ago. He could have been there a year ago. There has certainly been nothing new in the situation which has made it easier for him to go at the present time; indeed, it is to the contrary.
The hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. Brooman-White) contrasted the attitudes of the Turks and the Greeks in the present situation, and said that the Turks had behaved much better than the Greeks because they had not been agitating to get their way. The Turks do not need to agitate to get their way when the Foreign Secretary does exactly as they tell him. Indeed, even a gentleman who sometimes supports the Conservative Party wrote an article in the Spectator last week entitled "Our Turkish Foreign Secretary".
I wonder why the proposals which were put to Turkey were not also put to Greece. Was the Foreign Secretary afraid that the Greeks might accept the proposals and that the Turks would then be left out on a limb and be in the position of appearing to be intransigent and unco-operative? What has happened to the Foreign Office if its intelligence service is so bad that the Foreign Secretary could ever have believed that the proposals which he put forward would be acceptable to Turkey? Surely it was pure bluff and nonsense. The Government must take the right decision over Cyprus and then say to the Greeks and the Turks, to both if necessary, "A plague on both your houses. We are going to do what we believe is right in this situation."
We have been given a lot of history in our debate. I would only say that I do not think our history lessons went far enough back. The House was not, however, reminded that the Turks were in Cyprus only as a result of their conquests in the sixteenth century during the expansionist period of the Ottoman Empire. A queer foreign policy will result if it is based entirely on historic conquests. That seems to invite all sorts of strange claims dating back to Henry V and our rights in Burgundy, to say nothing of the rights of certain conquering countries during the last war. Except in the extraordinary situation in which the Government find themselves, we should never think of using past conquests as an argument for conferring eternal rights in any part of the world.
1501 It seems to me that the trouble with Turkey is that she has been caught in a sort of Crimean war stance and she cannot quite get out of it. She is still looking at the situation as if it were ossified and as if by the twentieth century there had not been any changes. Turkey's real problems—I say this modestly because I have not visited that country—are internal at present. We know that she is going through a terrible period of inflation and that she has economic and social difficulties and difficulties in raising her standard of living. Some contribution has already been made in that dirction, but Turkey has a long way to go in achieving what is regarded in the middle of the twentieth century as a suitable standard of living for her people.
The challenge to peace in the Middle East and the challenge to Turkey comes not so much from the military expansionism of Russia as from the challenge of ideas, the challenge of the Communist ideology to every country where there is poverty, hunger and great disparity in the extremes of the standards of living of the people.
I should have thought that there were countless examples in the Middle East from which Her Majesty's Government might have learned, but this Government, which cites history to its own purpose, is very bad at learning from it. I wish the whole conflict could be seen more in the light of a conflict of ideas, which is really the only war that makes sense in the middle of the twentieth century. Hon. Gentlemen on both sides of the Committee have been talking about bases and whether we should have leased bases or sovereign bases, which all seems to me to be outworn and an echo from the past. That is not what today's clash is about. The sooner that is realised the better.
We have been told that we have to keep Cyprus and keep troops there because we want to buy oil from the Middle East. I may be over-simplifying the situation, but I cannot understand what that means. If Middle East countries refuse to sell us oil, will we send soldiers from Cyprus to go and get it? I should have thought that the whole question of oil supplies in the modern world must rest on proper trade and economic arrangements between the countries concerned. It is anachronistic 1502 to talk about the need for bases in connection with our oil supplies.
In the Middle East we should be looking for a wider association of the peoples. I should like to look far into the futures of Greece and Turkey. There are so many Greeks in Turkey and so many Turks in Greece that at some time it may be possible for those two countries to come into some closer degree of co-operation, perhaps with a joint capital at Constantinople and local capitals at Ankara and Athens. They have many problems in common and a great deal which they would do well to discuss with one another.
Even within the narrow strategic terminology which some hon. Members have been using, Turkey would be much safer if there were a friendly Greece. The best guarantee for Turkish safety is in an improved understanding and an improved relationship with Greece and a strong N.A.T.O., if Turkey really believes in the terminology of military strength. I cannot see how the Turks have anything to gain from prolonging this unsettled situation in the Middle East. I am sure that there has been gross exaggeration of Turkish objections and that a great deal of the trouble which we are now experiencing from the Turks in Cyprus and Turkey itself has been created by the Government who are now confronted with a sort of Frankenstein monster with which they do not know what to do.
The Foreign Secretary therefore has to come to the House humiliated and confessing that he cannot do something because it would upset the Turks. Both Greece and Turkey have used Cyprus to distract attention from their own difficult domestic situations. Our concern in this Committee must be primarily for the people who live in Cyprus, for the Greeks and Turks who live on the island, rather than for those outside on each mainland who are, as it were, battling above the heads of the Cypriot people. One of the most remarkable features of Cyprus is the amity which for many years has characterised relations between Greeks and Turks in Cyprus itself. The Greek and Turkish communities are so much more amicable in their relationships with one another than one would imagine from the kind of propaganda which comes from Greece and Turkey.
1503 We must concentrate on the existence of that basic amity to try to develop it and to meet every demand for minority protection, which, of course, is just and fair. A few years ago it would have been more possible to have met the demand. The Greeks know that although the Turks in Cyprus are in a minority, there are more Greeks in Turkey than there are Turks in Cyprus. The hostages are on the other side.
The trouble is that we are in a situation where we are trying to carry out in the Middle East a unilateral British policy which is quite out of date in the modern world. There can be no unilateral British policy in the Middle East and the sooner we face up to that the better.
We have had some assurance that things in Cyprus are getting better. When the Governor was over here, he suggested that the terrorist situation might be improving. There does not seem to be very much evidence that those hopes will be borne out. I wish there were, because this is an impossible situation, which we must all deplore.
I very much resent suggestions made by hon. Members opposite that some hon. Members on this side do not condemn and deplore the terrorism which has occurred in Cyprus. That is most unfair and quite untrue. When speaking to people in Cyprus from the Archbishop downwards, I have deplored terrorism and tried to explain to these people what a difficulty it creates in regard to public opinion in this country, apart altogether from the humanitarian considerations involved. But they have several answers, one of which is, "You say that it just needs the Archbishop to speak up against terrorism for terrorism to stop. It is not only for him to say one word; what about your Government saying the one word which could change the situation in Cyprus, and which would deal with the causes of terrorism?" Young cynical men often say, "But you did not take any notice of us when we asked you quietly to listen to us." It is not easy to answer that.
National feeling gathers momentum as it goes, and the longer this situation continues the fiercer it will get and the more difficult it will be to deal with. It is very unrealistic of hon. Members opposite to say that the terrorists are just a small 1504 group, unsupported and unrepresentative, and that the mass of the people are against terrorism.
§ Mrs. Jeger
I think that the mass of the people are against terrorism, but the unrealism comes when, having said that, we cement into solidarity the mass of the people of Cyprus with the terrorists by our policy of mass fines, communal punishment, and curfews in the towns. We are punishing the whole population and, at the same time, saying to them, "We know that it is nothing to do with you, and that these terrorists are just a gang mixed up with the Greeks and that you do not want to have anything to do with them." That is an untenable position to adopt towards people whom we are, for instance, confining indoors.
This may seem a small point to hon. Members opposite, but I would point out that it is very hot in Cyprus in the summer. Tonight it is probably about 35 degrees Centigrade there. Many of the families are large, and houses are often small. I wish that for one moment we could think of the physical discomfort, to the point of exhaustion and ill-health, which is inflicted upon these families in the curfew towns, when not even the children are allowed to move out into the fresh air between the curfew hours. All these communal punishments are building up such a feeling against us that the difficulties which we are creating for ourselves are becoming immeasurably greater than they need be.
I have already said that we have had a lot of history for one day, but I want to make one more historical point which has not yet been mentioned. I wish that hon. Members opposite would read the history of Crete, because it is not entirely irrelevant to this question. In Crete there was a similar situation, with the existence of a Greek and Turkish population. The Treaty of Berlin, in 1878, which first brought Britain into touch with Cyprus, confirmed that Crete should remain Turkish. Crete went through all the difficulties of an Enosis movement. The Greeks wanted to be joined to the mainland. After international intervention a self-governing state was set up in 1898. We know that it did not last. It just did not work out, and in the end Crete 1505 became part of Greece. It was one of the inevitabilities of history.
It was from Crete that the leader of the Cretan people, Venizelos, came, eventually to become the Prime Minister of all Greece. There proved to be no justification for the fears that the change of sovereignty in Crete would worsen the British military situation in the Middle East. Anyone who recollects the Greek campaign of the last war knows what a heroic part the island of Crete played in Allied fighting in the Middle East. There, enosis of Crete with Greece is almost completely forgotten and treated as irrelevant. I hope it may be looked up with some success.
I want to make a few constructive suggestions. I hope that the idea which has been put forward of a conference in London will be treated seriously. The mistake of the last London Conference on Cyprus was that no Cypriots were invited to take part in it. There were Greeks and Turks and representatives of this country, but no Cypriots, and what we have to try to achieve now is a conference in which the people of Cyprus can be represented. I do not want only to see Archbishop Makarios here. I should like to see a fairly well attended round-table conference, to which we could invite the mayors of the towns in Cyprus. At least before the next election takes place in Cyprus, there are three Communist mayors and three anti-Communist mayors, so that we could not be accused of political favouritism. I hope the trade union leaders will also be associated with the attempt to find a solution, even though they would have to be released from prison before they could come.
We should also ask the Governor to stop these collective punishments, which do nothing but create a sense of injustice among people who may themselves want to be dissociated from terrorism, but who are being forced into an association with it by the collective nature of the punishment inflicted.
I also want the right hon. Gentleman to see, before the end of the summer holiday period, if we cannot get schools open again. There are over 50,000 school children running about in Cyprus, and they have been running about for months, not going to school at all. I cannot see what contribution that is making to the 1506 restoration of law and order. What I am sure of is that the whole future of these children will be prejudiced. I, therefore, hope the right hon. Gentleman will consult the Governor and get these schools opened again.
There is one other practical point. I wish the right hon. Gentleman would suggest to the Governor that he should stop whipping children as a punishment. In answer to a Question, I was told that 118 children had been whipped by court orders in Cyprus. There are many views on corporal punishment, but I cannot see what morality there is in inflicting on children in another country a punishment that we would not accept for infliction on the children of this country. I am told, as I was often told, by hearty British officers in Cyprus that "six of the best" never did them any harm when they were boys, and we ought to look what fine men they are now.
To me, that is just indicative of the gap between the English and any understanding of the Greek people, because it is a fact that in Greek schools corporal punishment is forbidden and is not used at all. Among these children, far from this hearty public school attitude to whipping that some here have, there is a feeling that this is a most barbarous indignity; that we, the British, who stand for great traditions, should have to resort to this punishment in the present situation in Cyprus is something which I personally find very shameful. If hon. Members find that funny, I can only say that I do not share their sense of humour.
We have had several debates on Cyprus, and during the course of them the situation in the island has deteriorated. The Government have procrastinated, lives have been lost, and we have had today so far no contribution to an improvement in the situation. I therefore ask the Colonial Secretary when he replies to give some measure of encouragement, to give to the families of the men who are in Cyprus some reason for hoping that the Government have at last realised that there must be a change in their policy in Cyprus. Nothing has ever been gained in the history of this country or of any other by postponing the inevitable, and it is inevitable that the people of Cyprus will get the freedom they want. The sooner they get it, the better for everybody.
§ 8.55 p.m.
§ Mr. Aneurin Bevan (Ebbw Vale)
As I was sitting here, waiting to speak, I had a vagrant thought. Looking across at the Colonial Secretary, it may surprise hon. Members to learn, for one brief, fleeting moment I likened him to the Greek Atlanta—although I did not compare myself with a Greek athlete trying to catch him. For some months past, the right hon. Gentleman has appeared to me as though he were becoming more and more uncertain about whether he would reach the Summer Recess before we reached a debate on Cyprus. In the meantime, he has been throwing down a number of apples in the hope that we might not be able to catch up with him in time.
We have had the debate, and at first I thought that the two sides of the Committee, to some extent, got closer together than they have been for some time past. It is true that there have been a number of recriminations. The party opposite, the Prime Minister and the Colonial Secretary, tried on a number of occasions to distract the House of Commons from the main burden of the case before us by making references to declarations by the Labour Government. But as that has been countered by the fact that the Government themselves had to run away from their statement of 1954, we on this side of the Committee thought that we might call it a deal. Having modified to a substantial extent, and even withdrawn, their statement that there never could be any change in sovereignty in Cyprus, the Government may wish to get down to the task of seeing whether we can find a solution without those recriminations which were making no contribution at all to illumination.
Before I come to the main burden of my case, may I say that I deeply deplore the terrorism in Cyprus. I deplore very strongly indeed the loss of life. It can give no one here any satisfaction. On the contrary, it must cause deep repugnance and a revulsion of feeling that so many young lads in Cyprus are going in danger of their lives every day, and that many are losing their lives. That is not a situation which hon. Members on this side of the Committee have commended at any time. But I would like to remind hon. Members opposite, and the Foreign Secretary—who is becoming as glib as his right hon Friend 1508 in this matter—that when he gets up, over and over again, to deplore the nature of the speeches made here, he must realise that to the people of Cyprus the corollary of trying to settle their quarrels by the methods which we deplore is that we ourselves, in the House of Commons, should articulate their grievances properly.
The democratic process is a substitute for civil war. Therefore, it is complete nonsense, and dangerous, ridiculous nonsense, for the Government and their supporters continually to attempt to rebuke us because what we say may have the effect of inflaming passions in Cyprus. The fact is that unless the people of Cyprus can be brought to believe that their grievances will be remedied by this House of Commons, there is nothing left for them but to try to remedy their grievances by actions of their own.
Surely, anyone who has seen Bernard Shaw's "The Apple Cart" will recall the argument between the king and the trade union leaders in which the king said that he believed in democracy because it was one of the most effective ways of letting off steam. What hon. Members opposite want to do is to close the safety valves—and then they deplore the fact that they are opened up somewhere else. So let us have no more of that.
Were I a Cypriot, an ardent Cypriot patriot, I would at this moment try to stop all further intimidation and acts of violence in Cyprus—at this moment—not only because it is the proper thing to do but because it would, at present, be the most ingenious thing to do. If we could bring the Cypriots to stop violence the Government would be stripped stark naked of any further excuse for not proceeding. That is the situation to which we have been brought, in this debate. The Government change their tune and change their policy so often that it is clear to the national that the Government have no policy at all. All they can do is to plead that they cannot surrender to violence. So I beg and pray, if my voice has any influence at all outside this country, especially in Cyprus and Greece, that they will stop any further violence, because then the British Government will have to talk sense for the first time on Cyprus.
1509 I would repeat what was said by one of my hon. Friends; I hope that the Colonial Secretary really will try to answer the debate. We are so tired of his frequent galumphing through at the end of the debate, babbling from one incoherent sentence to the other, in the hope to reach 10 o'clock before he gets into any embarrassing polemical situation.
I should like an answer to this question: suppose violence ceased in Cyprus, and that proposals which have been canvassed were accepted by the Cypriots and the Greek Government, but not accepted by the Turkish Government. What would the right hon. Gentleman do? We understand that certain proposals have been made. In fact, after the last debate, when we discussed the exile of Archbishop Makarios, and after the execution of the young men, it was quite clear that there was a considerable revulsion of feeling in the country. Even hon. Members supporting the Government were anxious for a new point of departure.
I took the view, which I expressed, that if we were to get away from the past it was essential, we having destroyed the negotiators and having created a climate of opinion in Cyprus in which conference discussion was impossible, that we should make declaration of a plan sufficiently attractive and liberal to enable intimidated or timid Cypriots gradually to attach themselves to it.
So long as there were no proposals that could be supported by moderate Cypriots, so long were they bound to be silent. Having rejected the other proposals that had been partially accepted by Archbishop Makarios, the only thing left to do was to publish a statement of liberal intention, bordering on a constitution, which would be broadly acceptable to most of the Cypriot people. Having done that, there would be something to which people could attach themselves, something which Cypriot opinion could accrete around, but until that was done nothing could happen.
I thought, and so did some of my right hon. and hon. Friends, that what the Government were doing was preparing a plan of that sort. Indeed, we were given to understand that the presence of Sir John Harding in London, especially his long stay here, was because such a plan was being elaborated. It seemed to us 1510 that, apart from getting Archbishop Makarios back into conference, that was the only way it would be possible to rally Greek and Cypriot opinion behind some sort of sensible solution to this problem.
What happened? A plan was made; we do not know what it was. That is the first thing to remember. The House of Commons is meeting this evening in complete ignorance of the plan that was rejected by the Turkish Government.
§ Mr. Craddock
I am much obliged to the right hon. Member for giving way. His own Government suggested a very liberal constitution to the Cypriots and so has this Government. That is the course that should be followed.
§ Mr. Bevan
I am trying to address a reasoned case to the Committee. To keep on talking about what happened in 1948 and 1951 is really not being grown up at this moment. If I am wrong, perhaps the Colonial Secretary will tell us.
We understand that a plan was presented to the Turkish Government. The Prime Minister said so last Thursday. It is to be presumed that when the plan was made it was a plan that the Government hoped would commend itself to the Greeks as a whole. Otherwise, it was no use making it. We do not know what the plan was. The Prime Minister said that, having tried the Greeks before, he was going to try the Turks now. He tried the Turks and he himself said he made no headway there, but he did not present the plan to the Greeks—why not?
If one is trying to make a tripartite agreement one ought to try to see with how many parties one can get agreement. It surely would have been a proper diplomatic essay to have tried to get the Greeks on our side, even if we could not get the Turks. Even if that left the Turks in diplomatic isolation, what would be wrong with that so long as they knew they were in isolation? If we could have two legs of the tripod formed we might then get the other. The hon. Member for Preston, North (Mr. J. Amery)—I do 1511 not know whether he was speaking on behalf of the Government, whether he was expressing a wish, or what he was doing—said he was delighted that the Government were going to grit their teeth and stand like granite. It looks more like a mass of Turkish delight.
We have been watching the Government. As the Observer has been saying, they have had five different policies for Cyprus in one year. [Interruption.] The Prime Minister said they might have some more. Of course, we know that. The trouble with the Prime Minister is that he had one heroic period—only one. He resigned on one occasion. It is not quite certain whether he was partially propelled by Mussolini's boot, but he resigned on one occasion and he has been living on that ever since. What was the argument then? The argument over Abysinnia then was that we had to accept the dictatorship of the Italian navy in the Mediterranean. This was the argument; this was the surrender. Now we are having a surrender to Turkey. The House of Commons has not even been told what the surrender was about. We do not know what the proposals were that Turkey turned down.
Having been told the extent of the agreement or disagreement reached with Archbishop Makarios, is the House of Commons not entitled to know the extent of the agreement or disagreement reached with Turkey? Why should we be in the dark about that? How can we discuss these matters in the House of Commons, how can the Cypriot people be expected to engage in the discussion rather than in the fighting, if vital matters of this sort are kept secret? I should have thought it was essential to an intelligent discussion of these matters that we should know how far the Government had moved.
Our fears have been aroused once more by the speech of the right hon. and gallant Member for Leicester, South-East (Captain Waterhouse), because he told us that he was delighted to know that the Government had now decided to put Cypriot self-determination somewhere in the remote future. [HON MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] That may be the case. It may be that the Government have now decided once again to "rat" on their previous declaration. We are told by rumour that one of the reasons why the Turkish 1512 Government did not accept the proposal was because Her Majesty's Government had put in a time limit. Is that right?
If we are not to be told what proved to be unacceptable to the Turkish Government, is Lord Radcliffe to be told? If he is to prepare a constitution, or make recommendations for a Cypriot constitution which he hopes may be acceptable to us and to the Cypriots, ought he not to be told what was unacceptable to the Turks? Is Lord Radcliffe going to be told, because, if he is not, then, of course, he is working in the dark? If he is to be told and it is to be hinted to him that proposals of that sort need not emerge from him because they will be turned down by the Turks and that their action will be endorsed by the Government, then Lord Radcliffe is operating under a blue pencil from Turkey. It is, therefore, essential that Lord Radcliffe should be told because, otherwise, we are again going to blunder from one difficult condition to a worse one.
I put it again to the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary, and I shall want an answer to it. Has Lord Radcliffe been told, and, if he has been told, has he been informed that he can ignore the proposals and make what other proposals he likes, whether or not they will be acceptable to the Turks? If he has not been told, then, of course, we may find ourselves, when he makes his recommendations, in an even worse situation than we are at present.
My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition made a suggestion the other day, a suggestion which, in the circumstances, we thought a perfectly sensible one, that the N.A.T.O. Powers should be brought into consultation. I should like the right hon. Gentleman to listen if he will, because he replied on that occasion. My right hon. Friend asked that the N.A.T.O. Powers should be called in, not to decide, but to be consulted.
What is the nub of the argument here as we understand it? On a previous occasion, I said that the Government did not seem to be able to make up their minds whether we wanted Cyprus as a base or a base on Cyprus. If we wanted merely a base on Cyprus, that has always been obtainable. There is no denying that 1513 anywhere in the Committee. If we wanted Cyprus as a fortress of a N.A.T.O. alliance, it has always been attainable, and attainable in a political framework acceptable to the Cypriots and to the Greeks. Let us dispose of that. All the arguments that our major strategical interests require that we and our Allies should have a base on Cyprus have long ago been met.
The hon. Member for Preston, North put the other side of the case tonight. He said that, unfortunately for us, a base on Cyprus, a N.A.T.O. base in which we would play our part, is not all that we require. We require a base there which we can activate in accordance with our own strategical interest in the Near and Middle East. Is that not the argument?
§ Mr. Bevan
It has been hinted by the Prime Minister that we have our interests in the Middle East which are not necessarily those of the United States. I must confess that if that were the argument which is seriously being advanced from the other side of the Committee, and I were a Russian hostile to Great Britain, I should laugh my head off. What are we being told? We are being told that we are in alliance with the United States and all other Western European countries in order to hold back Russian aggression. We know, everybody knows, that if we cannot have access to Middle Eastern oil for any reason whatsoever, this part of N.A.T.O. collapses. Yet we are being seriously told that the United States has not got any interest in that collapse. That is the argument.
If we needed to activate the Cyprus base in order to make sure of Middle Eastern oil for Great Britain, that is an American interest equally with British interests, and the interests of the whole of Europe. I should have thought, therefore, that the argument that we should now call in the N.A.T.O. Powers in order to make sure that the Cyprus base is available to us is an incontrovertible argument. It is part of the whole concept of modern defence. But the hon. Member and his hon. Friends behind him are apparently considering unilateral defence of English interests in the Middle East.
I ask hon. Members, seriously, how can we believe that the N.A.T.O. alliance is an effective shield of defence for the 1514 Western Allies when that shield could be broken, apparently, because we would be denied access to Middle Eastern oil, and the rest of the Western Allies would not enable us to activate the N.A.T.O. base in Cyprus to defend those oil interests? That is what we are told. I should myself have thought that if that is the argument seriously being advanced, the Russians must be very amused, because it proves to them conclusively that Anglo-American antagonism over Middle Eastern oil is more important than the maintenance of N.A.T.O. alliances in the West.
I do not believe that. What has really happened is that the Government have badly muddled the whole business. They have not thought out their strategy, and they have not been able to apply their minds to it because they have wobbled around under pressure from their diehards. I am told—with what truth I do not know—that one of the reasons why the Prime Minister has been absent during this part of the debate is because he could not bear to look at the embarrassment in which he has put his colleagues sitting behind him. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] If it was not so, the truth could easily be revealed to us if the proposals for Turkey were revealed to us. I am told that the Colonial Secretary was anxious to put a date in those proposals—
§ Mr. Bevan
—for self-determination, and that the reason why it was not persisted in was pressure from behind. The hon. Member for Preston, North wanted a granite-like front for the Government. I do not know whether the Government Front Bench is wood, with the granite behind, or is granite with the wood behind. That was what we were told.
I hope that Lord Radcliffe will be successful. There is no advantage in this situation in Cyprus going on indefinitely. One of the reasons, I suggest to hon. Members opposite, why the situation is being exacerbated is because not sufficient attention is being paid to the economic foundations of the N.A.T.O. alliance in the Eastern Mediterranean.
When Greece is spending 33 per cent. of its budget on arms, with an equal percentage coming from the N.A.T.O. alliance, when 24 per cent. of its budget is being spent on arms by Turkey, with 1515 an equal contribution largely from the United States, and when inflation in Greece has risen by 34 per cent. in the last year, we are gravely afraid that one of the reasons why there is so much agitation about Cyprus in those two countries is that they are seeking distractions in an external quarrel from their internal economic difficulties.
Anyone who has studied The Times leading article today will realise that it is not sufficient to try to base the strength of the West upon a naval and military alliance alone, and that so long as some of the countries belonging to that alliance are in dire poverty, so long as they are distracted by political dissensions at home arising from a failure to solve their economic difficulties, there is always a danger that they will engage in counter-propaganda and create atmospheres in which we cannot solve problems like Cyprus.
That is a further reason why we consider that this matter should be considered by the N.A.T.O. Powers, for some different element must be brought in. Even if the Government cannot bring themselves to do that now, even if their pride will not allow them to do it, I hope that they will enable Lord Radcliffe—I should like to have the Prime Minister's attention; I know this trick very well—to make his proposals freely. The Prime Minister is being extremely discourteous. I am trying to put to him a question to which I want a reply from his right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary.
Is Lord Radcliffe to be allowed to make his proposals freely? If he cannot meet representatives of Cypriot opinion in Cyprus, will he be allowed to meet them in London? If they find it difficult to see him there, will facilities be given for him to see them here? Will he be absolutely and perfectly free to make any kind of recommendation which he thinks is proper in the circumstances, without any pressure or influence by the Government? Will those recommendations be known to us, as the others were not made known, when they are made?
All we can say for ourselves on this side is that we shall do nothing at all to make the consequences of the Government's blundering worse than they really 1516 are. We hope that the people of Cyprus will realise that perhaps they have many friends here who will be able to give a rather more civilised judgment on their problems than they have yet heard from that side of the Committee.
§ 9.25 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Alan Lennox-Boyd)
This debate has brought out clearly at least three facts. First, I would put the many-sided character of this problem, though judging by the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Ebbw Vale (Mr. Bevan) the many-sided character of it has still escaped him. Secondly, it has brought out the persistent efforts, both within Cyprus and internationally, of the Government to find a solution—the "unceasing efforts," as the Commonwealth Prime Ministers called these international efforts. I would once more stress that, quite apart from the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Communiqué, there have also been two remarkable speeches by the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan since the Conference, speeches which have a very direct bearing on the central issue which the Government have had to decide.
The third theme which has run through this debate and which has, I think, been stressed in a number of outstanding and hopeful speeches from both sides of the Committee, is the need to look as far as we possibly can to the future rather than to the past, the past including even 1950 and 1951, and to work for well-being in Cyprus and for a solution compatible with the Western interests in the Middle East.
Hon. Members made some slight interruption when I said that by burying the past we could bury also 1950 or 1951. I would beg them to remember that my purpose in quoting the attitude that the Socialist Party took when it was in Government and not in Opposition was not to throw discredit on the Opposition. If it has done so, then there may be some guilty consciences abroad. The purpose was to draw attention to the fact that there is no tailor-made solution for this intractable problem and that when Governments of very different political sympathies have been confronted with broadly the same problems they have continued to come to the same inevitable conclusions. One of the reasons, I 1517 believe, above all others why there is difficulty in getting a state of calm and understanding in Cyprus is the belief that if there were in the future a Socialist Government in Great Britain—[HON. MEMBERS: "There will be."}—then the policy of that Government would follow the line that the Socialist Party is taking in Opposition. As I do not believe either the likelihood of a Socialist Government or the probability, even if there were, of their following the line the Socialist Party is now taking, I think it is important that the Cypriots should be as completely as possible disillusioned on that score. One of the results may well be to introduce a better note of realism in the settlement of current difficulties.
The right hon. Gentleman said that it is not enough to stake the defence of the West on treaties alone—or words to that effect. I entirely agree with him that settlements other than treaties are essential if we are to bring about tranquillity in the Eastern Mediterranean. But I must confess that I remain continuously puzzled by the inability of the right hon. Gentleman and of some, though by no means all, of his hon. Friends to understand the main strategic considerations which compel Her Majesty's Government and our Turkish Allies to look at this problem somewhat differently from those who are passionate advocates of enosis or self-determination.
It has been said often, and it is a fact of geography which no amount of rhetoric can alter, that Cyprus is only 40 miles from Turkey, but I venture to think that to a large number of National Service men and others who have gone recently to serve so gallantly in Cyprus this fact will have come somewhat as a surprise. If they have been following current controversies and controversies over the last few years, they may well have been entitled to imagine that Cyprus was an off-shore island of Greece instead of an off-shore island of Turkey. [An HON. MEMBER: "The Channel Islands."] An hon. Member asks me what about the Channel Islands. The destiny which the Channel Islands have chosen is a very wise pointer to the destiny which Cyprus, if left to herself, may well decide to achieve.
These facts of geography cannot be altered, not even by the maps sent out from Athens for use in Cypriot schools. I have one in my room if hon. and right 1518 hon. Members will care to look at it. From that ingenious form of map drawing, the conclusion might well dawn on some people that Cyprus was alongside the southern coast of Greece and well to the west of Crete. I missed much of the speech of the hon. Lady the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. Jeger), as I think she is missing at least some of mine. She is probably looking at her speech. I wish that she would also look at her geography.
The hon. Lady asked me to look at the history of Crete, of which I know something. I ask her to look up the geography of Cyprus and Crete and their relative positions and to realise that the conclusion that can be come to in the case of Crete without serious detriment to Turkey would be quite impossible in the case of Cyprus. It is the fact that Cyprus is the only remaining off-shore island of Turkey that is invested with a particular significance. The facts that lead to this conclusion in the minds of the Turks may not be there for ever. Circumstances may change, but they are there now, and it is with the present that we have to deal.
The right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies), who sent me a message to say that he would not be here until a little later, argued very forcibly that juridically Turkey had abandoned all her claims to Cyprus. That is so, of course, but the right hon. and learned Member left out of account altogether the emotional and strategical reactions of the Turks to any proposal that might conceivably lead to a change of sovereignty. Juridically the right hon. and learned Gentleman is quite right. Equally juridically there is no doubt whatever about the right of Her Majesty in Cyprus, but that does not stop agitation as to whether we should remain in Cyprus or not. If juridical considerations can be set aside in the case of sovereignty in Cyprus, the right hon. and learned Member should not cling to them overmuch in the case of Turkey's interest in Cyprus as well.
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, North (Mr. J. Amery) that Turkey, to use a very unpleasant modern phrase, entered into the Treaty of Lausanne in the belief that it was "a package deal." This is an inescapable fact that cannot be disregarded by any responsible Government. 1519 There is no question of a Turkish veto. We have done our utmost to search for a solution, and we do not intend to abandon the task of searching for a solution. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said in his statement in the House on 12th July,Unfortunately, this has not yet been found possible."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th July, 1956; Vol. 556, c. 600.]To judge by some, but again not all, of the speeches which have been made in the House of Commons, Her Majesty's Government ought to settle this problem, not on its merits and not on the facts of history, geography and strategy, but on the outbreak of terrorism and violence in Cyprus and the undoubted inconvenience, indeed, disaster in many cases, to individuals that this is bringing. If this is so, it is about time that we abdicated all our responsibilities in the world.
I do not believe that hon. and right hon. Gentlemen who can follow, as I have unhappily to follow, the monstrous catalogue of crime now being perpetrated in the name of heroism in Cyprus, could really believe that we ought to abandon our responsibilities in the face of terror tactics of this kind. When hon. Gentlemen opposite talk about the persecution of children, and when I am asked by the hon. Lady the number of children who have been whipped in Cyprus in the course of the last year—a regrettable though inevitable innovation as I recognise it to be—[HON. MEMBERS: "Why?']—I wonder whether the hon. Lady and others who feel like her have followed also some of the incidents that have emerged in the course of the recent interrogation of school children in Cyprus; school children whose activities could have been, if not wholly prevented, at least considerably altered for the good had any action been taken by Archbishop Makarios or any other leader of the Greek Church.
I was reading yesterday of the interrogation of a schoolboy in Cyprus following an incident in which two soldiers were wounded, a 12-year old Cypriot child was killed and the bomb thrower was shot dead. The 12-year old boy said to the interrogator, "You do not know anything about throwing bombs. I am only in the fourth form. You learn about bombing in the fifth."
1520 The hon. Lady asked me when the schools will open again in Cyprus. I would say to her that the schools in Cyprus have been closed largely because of indiscipline amounting to anarchy. I hope they will be opened, and opened soon, but they can only be opened if provision is made to ensure that conditions like that do not arise again. I cannot seriously believe that any right hon. Gentleman responsible for our obligations and privileges all over the world would seriously suggest that we should surrender our strategic interests in the Middle East, and possibly the very survival of our Turkish Allies, to people guilty of the corruption of children to such an extent.
The hon. Member for Swindon (Mr. F. Noel-Baker), whose good offices in this matter I have frequently recognised, and whose personal generosity to me in Cyprus and elsewhere I also acknowledge, said tonight of the Archbishop that the Archbishop sees in the use of force a symptom and not a cause of deadlock. That is interesting but, if it were true, it would be a different situation. However, the truth which is forced on anybody who has access to confidential information, and whose duty brings him into daily touch with what interrogation is throwing up in Cyprus, is that the Archbishop does not see any such philosophical issue of that kind in the use of force. He sees, or saw, in the use of force an argument to try to get his own policy in its entirety. I ask hon. Gentlemen opposite to read carefully the recent voluminous record written into the Congressional Record of the United States, which shows his disingenuous explanations as to why he did not ask his followers to abandon violence.
The argument runs that it would lose the Archbishop his influence. As I said to him on the two occasions when I met him, separated by some months, to a prince of his Church leadership would appear to be better conducted in front of the Army rather than following behind, and to say that it would lead to a loss of influence seemed to me to show a very poor approach to the problems and obligations of leadership.
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I am afraid the real truth is that the Archbishop and others think that violence is a powerful weapon, and so they have not been prepared to abandon it. If some of the hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway opposite could come over to this side of the Committee and look at some of the nodding heads above the Gangway on their side, it would be very good for their education.
The hon. Member for Swindon also said that great harm was being done to the prestige of Great Britain throughout the world by the situation in Cyprus. He added that it was gravely harming Commonwealth interests. I have stated what the Commonwealth Prime Ministers said after they heard something of the problems and the efforts made, and I shall not refer to that again, but as to what world opinion is saying, I would ask the Committee to follow carefully what is really a very significant change of view now that more and more the facts and the magnitude of the problem are dawning on the Press of the world.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary gave certain quotations, and I will not repeat them. However, the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale rightly said how important it was to carry America with us in matters of this kind, though his method of doing it through the N.A.T.O. machinery or through some organisation of that kind would, in the view of the Government—I will come to that later if time allows—disrupt the organisation rather than help it. I would ask right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite very carefully to read—I will not quote them in detail—articles which appeared on 15th July in the New York Times, the New York Herald-Tribune and a number of other American newspapers, the conclusion of which was that they did not see how in present circumstances the British Government could possibly follow any other line than the line which they are following today. This represents a change.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite are entitled to say, "Well, if only you had acted differently, then the situation from which this may now be the only possibility of progress would never have arisen". However, the New York Times says:It is fruitless to argue today what the British might have done a year or two ago. 1522 No one can say with assurance that a solution was ever possible.I will merely draw the attention of the Committee to the articles and not take up time by reading them. However, they are well worth reading because they represent a very significant change of understanding now that the facts are becoming known.
The growing understanding of the nature of the problem in the United States is made all the more valuable in that it comes after the writing into the record of the United States Congress of a memorandum by the committee, working in the United States, of the Ethnarchy of Cyprus Council. Hon. Members will know that it is normal practice to write into the record voluminous statements, and it does not argue that they are necessarily in any way approved.
I would ask hon. Gentlemen to notice that the really interesting thing about the memorandum, which shows the level of comment in it, can be judged by the statement that the British Government have refused the Cypriots the right to run their own affairs, and that this is after steady efforts initiated by the Labour Government in 1948 and continued by this Government to have a self-governing constitution in Cyprus. I hope that the quality of the whole of that document written into the record will be judged, as it should be judged, by the inaccuracy in that one regard.
The debate has, naturally, turned in part on the problem of self-determination. There have been many speeches—again, not all from the other side—based on the bland, but quite unproved, assumption that the vast majority of the people in Cyprus want union with Greece. What they want, of course, is the recognition of the principle of self-determination. That has been fully granted, and last week my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister repeated that the principle of self-determination had been accepted by Her Majesty's Government.
But the application of that principle is quite another matter—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Of course it is another matter from our point of view, but I mean that it is another matter from the point of view of the average Cypriot. I was very interested in the remarkable speech of the 1523 hon. Member for Goole (Mr. G. Jeger). [Interruption.] I take it that he remains as good a member of the party if he says what he thinks as if he said what he was told to say by the right hon. Gentleman. He referred to the number of Cypriot immigrants into the United Kingdom. I will not go into those figures again—between 5,000 and 6,000 emigrated to the United Kingdom between January of last year and April of this year, while over the last five years the emigration figures to Greece were possibly five in 1952, possibly five in 1953 and 1954, none in 1955 and one so far this year.
That is an interesting illustration of their real views about where the sort of life that approximates to the life of ancient Greece can best be found in the modern world. I know that the hon. Lady the Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South and others will point to the plebiscite in Cyprus when 95 per cent. of the people voted in favour of union with Greece, but I remind the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) that that was the plebiscite brought by the Bishop of Kyrenia to Great Britain in August, 1950. Incidentally, that was the occasion when the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary refused to see the Bishop of Kyrenia and said that no useful purpose could be served because the attitude of Her Majesty's Government was well known.
After listening to the speech of the hon. Member for Goole, whose patient researches and confidences from a number of Cypriots in London gave him a clear indication of their real feelings, I am even more firm in my view that a large number, if not the majority, have never wished for union with Greece but have subscribed to it only because of threats and terrorism.
Two attempts were made on the life of a friend of many hon. Members and of people like myself who have known Cyprus for many years. I ask hon. Members to listen to this. The man in question was a prominent Greek Cypriot journalist, Mr. Wideson, who was a member of the Board of Larnaca School. A few months ago, as the hon. Lady for Holborn and St. Pancras, South knows, he was murdered. Just before he was murdered he wrote to the Commissioner in Nicosia: 1524I have always fought for freedom of thought, freedom of speech and justice. I am ready to make the supreme sacrifice in fighting for these principles and ideals. … There should be no leniency for the criminals and those behind the scenes. People should not be shot like dogs in the streets, in hospitals and their premises. Evil domination by force must be faced with greater force. The present situation cannot be tolerated any longer. …I am paying heavy prices for being pro-British and speaking my mind. Nothing will close my lips.The writer of that letter was cruelly murdered a few weeks afterwards. The hon. Member for Swindon said that the Greeks in Cyprus and elsewhere are actuated by , a love of honour. I find it difficult to believe that those who murdered this gallant man were actuated by love of honour.
We have once more heard the suggestion in the debate that a solution might be found by leasing bases from Greece, if, through self-determination, Cyprus became Greek territory. I will not go into details of the different propaganda methods being used by the Greeks to suit different audiences, of how when they are at U.N.O. or elsewhere they say that they would freely give us bases, but how, when they are discussing this with Colonel Nasser or people in the Iron Curtain countries, or certain Arab States, they take a very different view. All I would say is that I wholly share the view of my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, North and many others, that it will be well known by our N.A.T.O. Allies in future, no doubt to their cost, that leased bases, to put it mildly, are far from satisfactory.
I have been asked a number of questions about Lord Radcliffe's mission. I am glad that, towards the close of the debate, messages of goodwill to Lord Radcliffe in his arduous task came from hon. Members on both sides. Of course, Lord Radcliffe will be free to recommend as he thinks fit within the terms of reference that will be drawn up for him after he comes back—and, of course, those terms of reference will be disclosed to the House.
The right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale asked why it was that everything that has transpired in the course of the last few months between the United Kingdom and Turkey has not already been disclosed to the House. From his own 1525 experience of Government, I should think that he would know the dangers which might well arise if stages and incidents reached in confidential discussions between sovereign Powers were published, and how difficult it might then be to start the discussions again, possibly upon another line. Publication might well tend to lead people to take up rigid positions which would make a later solution all the more difficult.
A number of Members asked me why Lord Radcliffe did not go to Cyprus earlier. Some of them said that if only he had gone two or three months ago things would have been much better, and that it was a case of "too little and too late." We always intended that, if he were ready to go, Lord Radcliffe should go at the first opportune moment. Improvement in the security situation has justified us in asking him to go, and I very much hope that after this first reconnoitre to get the general atmosphere of Cyprus and have discussions with people about their ordinary work and not necessarily about political or international problems, he will be in a better position, with Her Majesty's Government, to settle upon the terms of reference which will lead us on to the next and very important stage.
I am afraid that time will not allow me to go in detail into all the other points which have been raised—although I take some exception to the general charge of the right hon. Member for Ebbw Vale, made rather sweepingly, that no effort whatever is made to pick up the points which arise in the course of debates, for I have done my utmost upon this and many other occasions to try to deal with every point.
The right hon. Gentleman asked me, as others did, about the Archbishop. Of one thing I am absolutely certain, that had the Socialist Party been in power in this country in the last year or so, to the number of people whom they have deported from territories overseas would have been added the name of Archbishop Makarios. What rôle the Archbishop can play in the future is for him to settle. I would echo the words of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, that if the Archbishop were to take action to denounce violence and terrorism a new situation would arise.
1526 My right hon. Friend the Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Elliot) gave us a very interesting dissertation upon partition, upon which I am sure he would not expect me to comment in any detail. I am sure the fact that people of his experience and distinction are turning their minds to a possibility of that kind shows the steps to which heedless advocacy of self-determination may well lead people in the future. I must say, however, that analogies based upon the situation in countries separated by the 49th Parallel, or in India, are not very accurate, bearing in mind the very small size of Cyprus.
I have already said that when Lord Radcliffe comes back we will let the House know the terms of reference that are finally agreed. I can certainly give him that assurance, and it is my wish, as far as we possibly can, to carry Parliament with us in all future stages of this business. I assure hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite that it is only because I know the difficulties with which they themselves were faced on this problem that I have from time to time been led to remind them of those difficulties.
Mr. Bevan: As some of the difficulties facing Lord Radcliffe in assembling opinion may be due to the fact that people will not come forward in Cyprus, if representatives of organised opinion, like the trade unions and people like that, would like to come to London to see him, would they be allowed to do so?
Mr. Lennox-Boyd: I will talk to Lord Radcliffe when he comes back about the next stage in Cyprus. He has undertaken a very onerous task, and I do not propose to anticipate any recommendations which he might make. When hon. Gentlemen opposite say that no one will ever come forward to talk with Lord Radcliffe or anybody else, these are the same people who a month or two ago were saying that no one would come forward to give the Governor and the security forces information in regard to the work of the terrorists. The truth is that information is now coming in, and that is the main reason for the immense improvement in the war against terrorism in Cyprus.
Our task must be to press on with the utmost vigour in eradicating terrorism and to do all we possibly can in the constitutional field consistent with our first and primary duty to restore law and order.
1527 We must never lose sight of the fact that we must strive for a long-term political solution, and we are willing to try to work out conditions in which it might be possible to apply the principle of self-determination in Cyprus in the course of time, and in such a way as not to create greater problems and greater dangers.
I am sure the Committee will not wish me to close—I have to sit down a few minutes before Ten o'clock in order to allow someone to move a Motion slightly adverse to myself—without thanking all those in Cyprus who are carrying out the decisions of the Government and of Parliament in such an exemplary way. To the Governor and to the troops under his command and all their families in Cyprus, the gratitude of this Committee is due, to the troops for their steadfastness and exemplary good humour, because the steady improvement in the situation and the better information now being received are, with their efforts, yielding very good results.
§ May I say to the troops that we in the House and Her Majesty's Government deeply resent the monstrous leaflets attacking the troops and their chivalry which have been produced in Athens, and that we share with the troops in Cyprus their fierce and just resentment at these calumnies? To all in the Civil Service and all in business in Cyprus, not forgetting the contractors, who are doing a splendid job in very difficult conditions, our thanks are due. If I may pick on one particular person, I should like to say that I think the example of Mr. Justice Shaw and the courage and tenacity he has shown will be an inspiration to future generations in this country, and I believe, when better times come, an inspiration also in Cyprus itself.
§ Question put:—
§ The Committee divided: Ayes 246, Noes 319.1531
|Division No. 266.]||AYES||[9.59 p.m.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Cronin, J. D.||Hayman, F. H.|
|Albu, A. H.||Crossman, R. H. S.||Healey, Denis|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Cullen, Mrs. A.||Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Daines, P.||Herbison, Miss M.|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Darling, George (Hillsborough)||Hewitson, Capt. M.|
|Anderson, Frank||Davies, Rt. Hon. Clement (Montgomery)||Hobson, G. R.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Holman, P.|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Davies, Harold (Leek)||Holmes, Horace|
|Baird, J.||Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Deer, G.||Howell, Denis (All Saints)|
|Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||de Freitas, Geoffrey||Hubbard, T. F.|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Delargy, H. J.||Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Benson, G.||Dodds, N. N.||Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)|
|Beswick, F.||Donnelly, D. L.||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)||Hunter, A. E.|
|Blackburn, F.||Dye, S.||Hynd, H. (Accrington)|
|Blenkinsop, A.||Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)|
|Blyton, W. R.||Edelman, M.||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)|
|Boardman, H.||Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||Irving, S. (Dartford)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.|
|Bowen, E R. (Cardigan)||Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Janner, B.|
|Bowles, F. G.||Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.|
|Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth||Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)||Jeger, George (Goole)|
|Brockway, A. F.||Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs, S.)|
|Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.||Fernyhough, E.||Johnson, James (Rugby)|
|Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)||Fienburgh, W.||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)|
|Brown, Thomas (Ince)||Finch, H. J.||Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)|
|Burke, W. A.||Fletcher, Eric||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)|
|Burton, Miss F. E.||Forman, J. C.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Kenyon, C.|
|Callaghan, L. J.||Gibson, C. W.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.|
|Carmichael, J.||Gooch, E. G.||King, Dr. H. M.|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A,||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.||Lee, Frederick (Newton)|
|Champion, A. J.||Greenwood, Anthony||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)|
|Chapman, W. D.||Grey, C. F.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)|
|Clunie, J.||Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)||Lewis, Arthur|
|Coldrick, W.||Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Lindgren, G. S.|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Hale, Leslie||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.|
|Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury)||Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Logan, D. G.|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hamilton, W. W.||Mahon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Cove, W. G.||Hannan, W.||MacColl, J. E.|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||McGovern, J.|
|McInnes, J.||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Swingler, S. T.|
|McKay, John (Wallsend)||Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)||Sylvester, G. O.|
|McLeavy, Frank||Probert, A. R.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|MacPherson, Malcom (Stirling)||Proctor, W. T.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Mahon, Simon||Pryde, D. J.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Pursey, Cmdr. H.||Thornton, E.|
|Mann, Mrs. Jean||Randall, H. E.||Timmons, J.|
|Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Rankin, John||Tomney, F.|
|Mellish, R. J.||Redhead, E. C.||Turner-Samuels, M.|
|Messer, Sir F.||Reeves, J.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Mikardo, Ian||Reid, William||Usborne, H. C.|
|Mitchison, G. R.||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.||Viant, S. P.|
|Monslow, W.||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Moody, A. S.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Watkins, T. E.|
|Mort, D. L.||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)||Weitzman, D.|
|Moss, R.||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Moyle, A.||Royle, C.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Mulley, F. W.||Shawcross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)||Short, E. W.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|O'Brien, Sir Thomas||Silverman, Julius (Aston)||Wigg, George|
|Oliver, G. H.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)||Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.|
|Oram, A. E.||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Orbach, M.||Skeffington, A. M.||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Oswald, T.||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Owen, W. J.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S)||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Paget, R. T.||Snow, J. W.||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Sorensen, R. W.||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Palmer, A. M. F.||Sparks, J. A.||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Steele, T.||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Pargiter, G. A.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Parker, J.||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R. (Ipswich)||Woof, R. E.|
|Parkin, B. T.||Stones, W. (Consett)||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Paton, John||Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Peart, T. F.||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)||Zilliacus, K.|
|Plummer, Sir Leslie||Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Popplewell, E.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Mr. Bowden and Mr. Pearson|
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Bullus, Wing Comander E. E.||Fisher, Nigel|
|Aitken, W. T.||Burden, F. F. A.||Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Butcher, Sir Herbert||Fletcher-Cooke, C.|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Campbell, Sir David||Fort, R.|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Cary, Sir Robert||Foster, John|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Channon, H.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Chichester-Clark, R.||Fraser, Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale)|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Freeth, D. K.|
|Ashton, H.||Cole, Norman||Gammans, Sir David|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Garner-Evans, E. H.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Cooper, A. E.||George, J. C. (Pollok)|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Cooper-Key, E. M.||Gibson-Watt, D.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Glover, D.|
|Balniel, Lord||Corfield, Capt. F. V.||Godber, J. B.|
|Banks, Col. C.||Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan|
|Barber, Anthony||Crouch, R. F.||Gough, C. F. H.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Gower, H. R.|
|Barter, John||Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Graham, Sir Fergus|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Cunningham, Knox||Grant, W. (Woodside)|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||Currie, G. B. H.||Grant-Ferris, Wg. Cdr. R. (Nantwich)|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Dance, J. C. G.||Green, A.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Davidson, Viscountess||Gresham Cooke, R.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Deedes, W. F.||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Gurden, Harold|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Hall, John (Wycombe)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Doughty, C. J. A.||Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.|
|Bishop, F. P.||Drayson, G. B.||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)|
|Black, C. W.||du Cann, E. D. L.||Harris, Reader (Heston)|
|Body, R. F.||Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)|
|Boothby, Sir Robert||Duncan, Capt, J. A. L.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Duthie, W. S.||Harvey, Air Cdre. A. V. (Macclesfd)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Eden, Rt. Hn. Sir A. (Warwick & L'm'tn)||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)|
|Braine, B. R.||Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Harvie-Watt, Sir George|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E.||Hay, John|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Errington, Sir Eric||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel|
|Brooman-White, R. C.||Erroll, F. J.||Henderson, John (Cathcart)|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.|
|Bryan, P.||Fell, A.||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)|
|Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.||Finlay, Graeme||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe)|
|Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Maclean, Fitzroy (Lancaster)||Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)|
|Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||McLean, Neil (Inverness)||Roper, Sir Harold|
|Hirst, Geoffrey||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)||Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard|
|Holland-Martin, C. J.||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)||Russell, R. S.|
|Hornby, R. P.||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)||Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.|
|Horobin, Sir Ian||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.|
|Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Maddan, Martin||Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R.|
|Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)||Sharples, R. C.|
|Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.||Shepherd, William|
|Howard, John (Test)||Markham, Major Sir Frank||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)|
|Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)|
|Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Marshall, Douglas||Soames, Capt. C.|
|Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Mathew, R.||Spearman, Sir Alexander|
|Hulbert, Sir Norman||Maude, Angus||Speir, R. M.|
|Hurd, A. R.||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)||Mawby, R. L.||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kns'gt'n, S.)|
|Hyde, Montgomery||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard|
|Hylton-Foster, Sir H. B. H.||Medlicott, Sir Frank||Stevens, Geoffrey|
|Iremonger, T. L.||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)|
|Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)|
|Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Monckton, Rt. Hon. Sir Walter||Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)|
|Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Moore, Sir Thomas||Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.|
|Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)||Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)|
|Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)||Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.||Studholme, Sir Henry|
|Johnson, Eric (Blackley)||Nabarro, G. D. N.||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)||Nairn, D. L. S.||Sumner, W. D. M. (Orpington)|
|Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)||Neave, Airey||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)|
|Joseph, Sir Keith||Nicholls, Harmar||Teeling, W.|
|Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot||Nicholson, Godfrey (Farnham)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Kaberry, D.||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)|
|Keegan, D.||Nield, Basil (Chester)||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)|
|Kerr, H. W.||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Thompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)|
|Kershaw, J. A.||Nugent, G. R. H.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.|
|Kimball, M.||Nutting, Rt. Hon. Anthony||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Kirk, P. M.||Oakshott, H. D.||Tiley, A (Bradford, W.)|
|Lagden, G. W.||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Lambert, Hon. G.||Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.||Touche, Sir Gordon|
|Lambton, Viscount||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Langford-Holt, J. A.||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Leather, E. H. C.||Osborne, C.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Leavey, J. A.||Page, R. G.||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Leburn, W. G.||Partridge, E.||Vickers, Miss J. H.|
|Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.||Peyton, J. W. W.||Vosper, D. F.|
|Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)||Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.||Pilkington, Capt. R. A.||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lbone)|
|Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)||Pitman, I. J.||Walker-Smith, D. C.|
|Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)||Pitt, Miss E. M.||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Linstead, Sir H. N.||Pott, H. P.||Ward, Hon. George (Worcester)|
|Llewellyn, D. T.||Powell, J. Enoch||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)||Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Lloyd-George, Maj. Rt. Hon. G.||Profumo, J. D.||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Longden, Gilbert||Raikes, Sir Victor||Whitelaw, W. S. I. (Penrith & Border)|
|Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.||Ramsden, J. E.||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)||Rawlinson, Peter||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)||Redmayne, M.||Wills, G. (Bridgwater)|
|Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)|
|McAdden, S. J.||Remnant, Hon. P.||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Macdonald, Sir Peter||Renton, D. L. M.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Mackeson, Brig. Sir Harry||Ridsdale, J. E.|
|McKibbin, A. J.||Rippon, A. G. F.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)||Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)||Mr. Heath and|
|McLaughlin, Mrs. P.||Robertson, Sir David||Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith|
|Maclay, Rt. Hon. John||Robson-Brown, W.|
|Original Question again proposed.|
Mr. F. M. Bennett (Torquay) rose—
|It being after Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.|
|Committee report Progress; to sit again Tomorrow.|