HC Deb 31 October 1957 vol 575 cc382-3
26. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement on developments for a settlement in Cyprus.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. John Profumo)

At the beginning of August Her Majesty's Government took soundings of the Governments concerned with a view to a further attempt to arrive at a solution of the Cyprus problem. The subsequent exchanges took place over a period of several weeks. It was felt, however, in some quarters that the imminence of elections in Turkey and the prospect of the debate in the United Nations made it inappropriate to proceed further with Her Majesty's Government's initiative at that time. That view was not shared by Her Majesty's Government although the reasons for it were understood. Her Majesty's Government remain anxious to continue the process of confidential exchanges. Meanwhile they have noted with regret the unmistakable signs of recrudescence of violence by the terrorists. Any renewal of violence from whatever quarter cannot but be a very serious setback to progress towards a settlement and will be dealt with energetically and firmly.

Mr. Brockway

Is not it the case that the discussions to which the hon. Gentleman has referred are with the Greek and Turkish Governments and not with the people of Cyprus? In view of the fact that Archbishop Makarios has now offered to negotiate through a delegation representative of all the people, including the Turkish minority, and in view of the reduced importance of Cyprus as a strategic depôt, and the appointment of Sir Hugh Foot as the new Governor, which we welcome, is it not possible now to take steps to end this tragedy of two years which many of us feel is such a disgrace?

Mr. Profumo

On the subject of Archbishop Makarios, I have nothing to add to what my right hon. Friend said on 28th March. The discussions have been between Governments, but I repeat that Her Majesty's Government are ready to continue the initiative in the way we have already explained clearly to the House. I should like to take this opportunity of joining the hon. Gentleman in the tribute he has paid to Sir Hugh Foot and to wish him well, I believe on behalf of all of us, in the difficult task which lies ahead. Perhaps the House will not mind if I also take the opportunity, on behalf of all of us, to pay the warmest possible tribute to the work done by Field Marshal Sir John Harding.

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