HC Deb 04 November 1958 vol 594 cc766-8
46. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Prime Minister to what extent he intends to proceed in present circumstances with the partnership plan for Cyprus.

The Prime Minister

I have already made it clear that we shall proceed quietly and unprovocatively with the arrangements contemplated under our policy for Cyprus as announced on 19th June and modified on 15th August.

Mr. Robinson

Was not the Prime Minister's stubborn insistence that this plan must go forward largely responsible for the failure of M. Spaak's efforts at conciliation? Would the Prime Minister, who is skilled in the use of words, tell us how one imposes a partnership plan?

The Prime Minister

If, in regard to the first part of the supplementary question, that is the hon. Gentleman's honest judgment of the efforts which I and my colleagues have made in recent weeks, I am afraid I shall not be able to convince him. I do not believe it is the judgment of the majority of the House, of this country or, certainly, of our allies in N.A.T.O. In regard to the second part, of course one cannot impose an opportunity. One can only offer it.

Major Legge-Bourke

In view of the fact that the 15th August statement was made during the Recess, and in view also of the two important structural changes that were made in the seven-year plan, would my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister consider having the statement published in the OFFICIAL REPORT?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, I will arrange that.

Mr. Callaghan

May I come back to the White Paper which the Government issued? As I read it, there seems to be little difference between it and the proposals put forward procedurally by M. Spaak, and later by other members. Has the Prime Minister any intention or hope of coming back to a N.A.T.O. conference here in order that we may make further progress?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. It was a very great disappointment to me and to Her Majesty's Government that the conference was not agreed. As I think was made clear, there was agreement on what was to be the substance, and there was very practical agreement about the composition and the procedure of the conference. For reasons which I appreciate, the Greek Government did not feel able to enter into the conference at that time, but I look upon this proposal as adjourned, and I hope that it may be taken up again at a convenient moment.

Following is the statement:

On 19th June, 1958, the Prime Minister presented to Parliament a statement of the policy which Her Majesty's Government intend to pursue in regard to the Cyprus problem for a period of seven years. This policy was explained by the Prime Minister to the House of Commons in broad terms and its outline and main practical features were described in the Parliamentary Statement of Policy of 19th June, 1958 (Command Paper 455). As Parliament was informed, the policy has been the subject of friendly and confidential consultation and discussion within the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. In the last few days the Prime Minister has had the opportunity of personal meetings in Athens and Ankara with the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey, which have enabled him to acquaint himself at first hand with the views of their respective Governments.

After the most careful consideration of the views expressed to him by the Prime Ministers of Greece and Turkey, and in the light of the advice tendered by the Governor of Cyprus regarding the situation in the Island, Her Majesty's Government have decided to proceed to give effect to the policy as announced to Parliament in the following manner:

An Order in Council has already been approved authorising the preparation of electoral rolls in the Island. This is expected to take two or three months. Meanwhile, in accordance with the spirit of the decision whereby the communities are encouraged to order their own communal affairs, the Governor will where local circumstances make this desirable authorise the establishment of separate Greek and Turkish Cypriot Municipal Councils. When the electoral rolls are complete it will be possible to hold elections for the two Houses of Representatives. The preparations for the elections should involve consultations between the Governor and leaders of the two communities. If, as Her Majesty's Government earnestly hope, violence ceases, this will make possible the return of those at present excluded from the Island in order that they may play their part in these electoral processes and in consultations on the details of the system of representative government and communal autonomy set out in the statement of policy. As soon as the Houses of Representatives have been elected, they will be asked to elect their representatives to the Governor's Council, which will then become the authoritative body to deal with all matters not specifically devolved upon the Houses of Representatives or reserved to the Governor at his discretion.

With regard to the representatives of the Greek and Turkish Governments as proposed in the statement of policy, Her Majesty's Government feel on reflection that the representatives of other sovereign powers could not suitably sit as members of the Council under the chairmanship of the Governor. It would be more correct to regard them as specially appointed representatives of their countries with direct access to the Governor and such other facilities as they need to carry out their functions. Accordingly Her Majesty's Government invite the Governments of Greece and Turkey to appoint their representatives with effect from 1st October.

The establishment of this system of communal assemblies charged with certain specific functions and of the Governor's Council charged with other more general duties does not exclude and should, with general good will, facilitate the development of some form of representative institution serving the interests of the Island as a whole.

As regards the proposal for dual nationality, it does not appear that there is need for urgent action on this matter. Further inquiries have revealed that any special provision of this kind would require carefully devised legislation in view of the complexities of international law. It is, therefore, wiser to defer action pending the consideration of the legal and other aspects.

Finally, Her Majesty's Government appeal with confidence for support from all concerned for the two major concepts which underlie their policy. The first is a period of calm and the cessation of violence in the Island. The second is the deferring for a period of seven years of any final solution without prejudice to the future or to the views and aspirations of any parties concerned. At the same time such a period cannot be a period of stagnation. Her Majesty's Government feel that the form of growth and development which they propose is one suited to the needs of the moment, and in conformity with the two principles which appear to be generally accepted by all concerned.

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