HC Deb 28 June 1956 vol 555 cc692-4
48. Mr. Grimond

asked the Prime Minister what further proposals Her Majesty's Government have for a settlement in Cyprus and the improvement of relations between this country, Greece and Turkey.

55. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the present policy of Her Majesty's Government in regard to Cyprus.

The Prime Minister

I have no statement to make on this subject today.

Mr. Grimond

While it is essential to stop terrorism, can the Prime Minister give a further assurance that he will not wait until terrorism has ceased before making some new move in the situation? Will he further bear in mind that an added complication seems to be the endless speculation that goes on as to what is happening in the Colonial Office—and, indeed, in the Conservative Party?

The Prime Minister

As regards the internal aspects of the Cyprus question, the hon. Gentleman knows well that after months of negotiation we made an offer which we, and many others, regarded as fair and reasonable but which, most unfortunately, was rejected. The international aspect of the situation is a matter on which I regret I cannot at present make a statement.

Mr. Bevan

Has the right hon. Gentleman any idea when he will be able to make a statement, because there is, as he knows, very great anxiety and, as the hon. Member for Orkney and Shetland (Mr. Grimond) has just said, it is desirable to put an end to speculation as soon as possible?

The Prime Minister

Nobody could take exception to that Question. I wish to make a statement as soon as I can, but, the House will understand, if international negotiations are going on it will be wise to give them any possibility there is of their making some progress. When I feel that either they have arrived at, or are not going to arrive at, some result, I think it would be clearly the Government's duty to report to the House at once. All I can assure the right hon. Gentleman is that we shall not create undue delay in making any statement.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Can my right hon. Friend confirm that it is out of some concept of national strength that the Government are seemingly proposing an international solution to the problem of Cyprus? Does he recall that even France, which was ravished and occupied during the war, has retained her sovereignty to the extent of offering a solution to her North African problem on national lines? Does he realise that doubts in all these grave matters are causing us acute anxiety?

The Prime Minister

I cannot go beyond what I have said. The international aspect of this matter is one which has to be discussed between Governments, and from time immemorial the responsibility for that rests on Government and this Government certainly intend to discharge it.

Mr. Bevan

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that quite recently the House was sharply divided on this matter on a Motion of censure moved by Her Majesty's Opposition? Whilst there is speculation all around week after week, does he not realise that we cannot ourselves fail to speculate, if there is so much continued delay?

The Prime Minister

I think it is perfectly true that there is bound to be speculation when there are international discussions of this character going on. I regret it, but it is quite inevitable. But it would equally be great folly on my part to make an interim statement while those discussions are going on. I do assure the right hon. Gentleman that as soon as I am in a position to do so, I shall naturally wish to tell the House everything I can.

54. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Prime Minister if he will discuss the problem of Cyprus with the Commonwealth Prime Ministers.

The Prime Minister

It is not the practice to disclose the individual topics for discussion at Commonwealth Prime Ministers' meetings.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Prime Minister not aware that one of the Prime Ministers attending this Conference has had a long and distinguished record in opposing terrorism? Mr. Nehru was for seven years in prison for opposing terrorism. Would not the Prime Minister take advantage of the occasion of Mr. Nehru's visit here to get some good advice on solving the question of Cyprus?

The Prime Minister

I think there have been various experiences by various countries in this respect; and, so far as I can remember, at the last United Nations meeting India did not vote against the course which we are pursuing in Cyprus.