HC Deb 02 May 1956 vol 552 cc371-2
38. Mr. Ede

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has yet set someone to work to draft a constitution, along the lines of the correspondence between the Governor of Cyprus and Archbishop Makarios, to serve as a basis for ultimate renewed negotiations.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Before I last went to Cyprus, and in the hope that agreement would then be reached on the restoration of law and order, and a start made on constitutional discussions, I asked Lord Radcliffe if he would be prepared to act as Constitutional Commissioner in the island. He very generously agreed to do so. Negotiations in Cyprus, as the House well knows, broke down. It then became clear that the paramount duty of the Government, to which all else had to be subordinated, was the restoration of law and order.

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. The offer in the White Paper which still stands provides a framework for a constitution, and we are of course studying how this could be elaborated once discussions are possible.

Mr. J. Griffiths

May I repeat my earlier question? When the Governor is over here, will the right hon. Gentleman consider whether it is possible to reopen negotiations with the Ethnarchy?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I can only repeat the answer I gave previously to the right hon. Gentleman.

39. Mr. Wade

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will take immediate steps to make the details of Her Majesty's Government's present proposals for a new constitution for Cyprus more widely known; and whether he will broadcast the same to the people of Cyprus.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

The proposals are embodied in the correspondence, published and widely circulated here and in Cyprus, in the White Paper, Cmd. 9708. The hon. Gentleman is probably not aware that the Governor drew attention to these proposals in a broadcast to the people of Cyprus on 5th March.

Mr. Wade

Would the right hon. Gentleman explain what positive action is being taken now, apart from the use of the Armed Forces, which, I believe, are being called on to perform a task which is almost impossible? If Her Majesty's Government have formulated proposals which go a long way towards meeting the desire for self-determination, what steps are being taken to make these known day by day to the people of Cyprus?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I have already answered three or four questions more or less on that subject. The proposals in the White Paper were widely known throughout Cyprus and, had the Ethnarchy been anxious to bring about a settlement, they could have been made even more widely known through the various sources which the Ethnarchy commands.

Mr. Hastings

Is the right hon. Gentleman making full use of the radio to inform and remind the people of Cyprus of the terms on which Her Majesty's Government are prepared to open negotiations again?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

Of course the radio is in constant use for bringing home to the people of Cyprus the very wide measure of self-government which we have offered, but I will look into the particular suggestion which the hon. Member has made.