HC Deb 27 June 1956 vol 555 cc467-9
22 Mrs. L. Jeger

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies (1) what decisions have been reached with Sir John Harding about the future of Cyprus;

(2) what proposals he is now considering for the re-opening of negotiations on the future of Cyprus;

(3) if he will consider calling a round table conference in London on the future of Cyprus to which leaders of the Greek and Turkish communities might be invited to meet with representative Members of both Houses of Parliament.

37. Mr. Awbery

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has now completed his discussions on the situation in Cyprus; what terms he is prepared to accept; what is the difference between his demands and the Cypriots' offer; what representatives of the Cypriots he is prepared to meet; and if he will take the initiative by stating that he is prepared to meet them at any time so that the bloodshed can be brought to an end.

74. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on his discussions with the Governor of Cyprus.

76. Mr. Grimond

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what fresh instructions have been given to Lord Radcliffe over the drafting of a constitution for Cyprus.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

My colleagues and I had a full exchange of views with Sir John Harding, who returned to Cyprus on Friday. This covered both matters of administrative detail and general policy. The important policy questions will be the subject of a Government statement at the appropriate time. As the Governor said on his return, there are no points of disagreement between us.

Mrs. Jeger

Can the right hon. Gentleman assure the House that the "appropriate time" to which he refers will be very soon? Is he aware that there has been a large number of conjectural articles in the Press, and that there is a great deal of anxiety both in this country and Cyprus which it would help to resolve were an official statement made soon?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I have nothing to add to my reply except to repeat that the appropriate time will be the appropriate time.

Mr. Bevan

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he is not the only judge of what is the appropriate time—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]—and that we have exercised great patience in this matter? It is now some considerable time since we had a debate and while I know that there are delicate matters of negotiation involved, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we are anxious to bring these negotiations to a head as quickly as possible in order to save any more loss of life and denigration of the British reputation?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I hope that the right hon. Gentleman is also anxious to bring the negotiations to a successful as well as an early conclusion.

Mr. Patrick Maitland

Meanwhile, can my right hon. Friend alleviate widespread anxiety by giving us an interim assurance that there is no question of truckling to violence? Can he give a further assurance that British policy will not be dependent on the virility of foreign Powers?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I can give my hon. Friend a complete assurance on both those points.

Mr. Awbery

Is the Minister aware that, so far as Cyprus is concerned, at some time, somewhere, somebody, must meet somebody else and negotiate a settlement? Will the Minister bring these two together in order to stop this slaughter going on any longer?

Mr. Shinwell

Referring to the right hon. Gentleman's observation about the appropriate time for making a statement, may I ask whether that appropriate time will be before the Recess? If it is not, difficulty may ensue, and, after all, hon. Members are entitled to know what is happening?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I do not think I am taking too great a risk if I assure the right hon. Gentleman that I believe that to be true.

Mr. Speaker

Mrs. Castle.

Mr. Awbery

May I have an answer to my question?

Mr. Speaker

Order. I have called the next Question.

28. Mr. Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why he will not agree to asking the United Nations to hold a referendum in Cyprus to ascertain the views of the islanders on the future of this island.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Because I do not believe that the hon. Member's suggestion is one which, as he implied in a Question on 6th June, would be a means of bringing peace and tranquillity to Cyprus.

Mr. Lewis

May I ask the Minister whether, if he does not think the idea contained in the Question is a good one, he can in fact suggest a better method?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I have nothing to add to my earlier statement.