HC Deb 23 April 1958 vol 586 cc934-7
9. Mr. P. Williams

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what further discussions are taking place with foreign Governments over the future of Cyprus.

12. Mr. Donnelly

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now make a statement on the progress of his negotiations with Greece and Turkey regarding the future of Cyprus.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

I cannot yet add anything to the Answer which I gave on 2nd April to the hon. Members for Bristol, South-East (Mr. Benn) and for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mrs. L. Jeger).

Mr. Williams

Does not my right hon. and learned Friend agree that the time has now arrived when this matter should be returned completely to the Colonial Office?

Mr. Lloyd

I thought it was common ground in all quarters of the House, even my hon. Friend's quarter, that there were certain foreign countries involved in this matter, Greece and Turkey. Therefore, it cannot altogether be regarded as a colonial problem.

Mr. Bevan

When are we likely to have a statement from the right hon. and learned Gentleman on the progress of the negotiations? With whom are they taking place at the moment, and in what venue?

Mr. Lloyd

I realise that in this matter the Government have received a great deal of tolerance and patience from both sides of the House, but there are certain factors, which are well known—I do not want to mention them today unless I have to—which do affect the timing of any statement. Therefore, I must ask the House still to be patient for a little time.

Mr. Bevan

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman give no idea at all to the House as to when he will feel himself in a position to make a statement?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that certain statements have been made publicly which will refer to one of the matters which I have in mind. I would rather not add to them.

Mr. Donnelly

Is the Secretary of State aware that the information I have is that there have been no talks with Greece since the right hon. and learned Gentleman visited Athens, and that there have been no talks with the Turks since the right hon. and learned Gentleman was in Ankara? If this is true, does not it disclose a monstrous situation and is not it a fact that the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his colleagues have been misleading the House?

Mr. Lloyd

What the hon. Gentleman said is not true. He knows as well as I do that shortly after I made my last statement to the House the Greek Government fell.

Mr. Bevan

In view of that juxtaposition, does the right hon. and learned Gentleman propose to make a statement about the Soviet Government?

However, does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that at least one contribution which could be made towards the pacification of the island and towards the prevention of a recurrence of violence would be the feeling there that the House of Commons was taking possession of the problem rather than neglecting it? Is not it therefore desirable to expedite a statement as much as possible?

Mr. Lloyd

In regard to the first part of the right hon. Gentleman's supplementary question, I was not quite certain whether the wish was father to the thought. Perhaps I should say that the Greek Government fell on the issue of electoral reform.

I entirely agree that it is desirable that the statement should be made as soon as possible.

26. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what proposals were put before the Greek and Turkish Governments in January in connection with the Cyprus problem; and in what way the proposals were unacceptable to the Governments concerned.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

As I explained in answer to earlier questions, I cannot add anything to my statement to the House on 18th February.

Mr. Robinson

If the Secretary of State is satisfied that these were reasonable proposals, why has he been so reluctant to reveal any details whatever about them? Is he aware that the Government have got themselves into the position of now being regarded as accepting a Turkish right of veto on any solution?

Mr. Lloyd

As I have pointed out, shortly after I made my statement the Greek Government fell, and certain constitutional processes have been taking place. It would be most unwise at this moment to launch any proposal which might have any chance of success.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

When the right hon. and learned Gentleman makes his forthcoming statement, will he tell us what Her Majesty's Government's proposals were?

Mr. Lloyd

I certainly think that when the forthcoming statement upon Cyprus is made it will be right for the House to be told the various stages which have been gone through.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Do I take the Foreign Secretary's answer to mean that he will tell us what the proposals were in January? Is not it most desirable that they should be published as the Government in the end have to settle with the Cypriots and Parliament must ratify what they do?

Mr. Lloyd

What I think the right hon. Gentleman must do is to wait until the statement is made. If he then does not think it is adequate, he can criticise it.