§ The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)
With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, I wish to make a short statement—
§ Mr. C. Pannell
On a point of order. Mr. Speaker. Can you tell us how many more statements we are to have, and whether there is any limit on the tolerance of the House in this matter—whether there be three or 30?
§ Mr. Speaker
I can answer the first part of the hon. Gentleman's question. There are no more statements to follow. The second part is a matter for the House.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I wish to make a short statement on my recent discussions with the Turkish and Greek Governments about Cyprus.
The House is familiar with the main factors of the situation affecting the three Governments. I sought, during my visits, to establish common ground on which to base a settlement which would also be acceptable to Greek and Turkish Cypriots. I have come back from these talks with the firm belief that in spite of all the difficulties this is possible. Further discussions are necessary and I propose to start them urgently. In the meantime, all measures necessary to preserve law and order will be taken.
I should add that I was greatly helped in Ankara and Athens by the presence and advice of the Governor of Cyprus.
§ Mr. Bevan
Is the Foreign Secretary aware that while we on this side welcome the fact that urgent discussions are to take place, nevertheless we cannot exempt the Government from a very large share of the responsibility for the deterioration 1050 of the situation in Cyprus over a number of years? Will he tell us what form these discussions are to take, and whether he has any idea when he will be able to make a further statement?
§ Mr. Bevan
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that, within recent months particularly, we on this side have exercised a very great deal of restraint on this matter? We have not asked for debates when we could have done so on several occasions. Is it not necessary, for the sake of peace on the island, that some idea should be given as to the form the discussions are taking, because we do not want another outbreak of violence?
§ Mr. Lloyd
The right hon. Gentleman. I am sure, is aware of the facts. The new Governor was appointed early in December. He spent some time in the island, and then came back to report. Since that time, we have been engaged in the discussions with the two Governments concerned. As I have said, I would ask the tolerance of the House on this matter [Interruption.]—continued tolerance, if hon. Members like—because I think that, despite all the difficulties, there is a chance of finding common ground. I should have thought that all quarters of the House would have liked that.
§ Mr. Biggs-Davison
While we are grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend that these further discussions are to be conducted urgently, could we have, perhaps, some indication of when they are likely to be completed, having regard to the possible effects of continued uncertainty on our soldiers and administrators, and on all our fellow subjects in Cyprus? Have not recent events on the frontiers of Egypt and the Sudan confirmed the necessity of fully and resolutely maintaining the British position in the island?
§ Mr. Donnelly
Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman say that should, in the last analysis, these discussions fail, Her Majesty's Government are prepared to make clear that they are ready to make their own policy, and to stand by it?
§ Several Hon. Members rose—