HC Deb 26 November 1958 vol 596 cc357-8
30. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs on what date the United Kingdom Permanent Representative on the North Atlantic Council indicated to the Council that Her Majesty's Government were willing to accept the extension of the composition of the proposed conference on Cyprus to include one of the Permanent Representatives on the Council plus a representative of the United States of America.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Her Majesty's Government informed the Secretary General on 25th October that they could accept his proposal to this effect. This acceptance was confirmed at the next meeting of the Council on 29th October.

Mrs. Castle

Does not the right hon. Gentleman's reply make it clear that the British Government did not notify their willingness to accept the alternative proposal for the composition of this conference, as outlined in the White Paper, until after the Greek Government, in despair at ever getting agreement on this point about the composition, hid already notified their inability to proceed with the conference? Is it a fact that the British Government did not accept the Greek Government's terms until after the Greek Government had turned down the idea of a conference?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

That is not correct. The United Kingdom Permanent Delegate was instructed to inform the Council Secretariat of the Government's decision on the morning of 25th October but, unfortunately, at that point he was in turn informed by the Secretariat of the terms of the Greek Government's decision not to proceed with the conference, as proposed by M. Spaak. I want to make it quite clear—as the hon. Lady knows—that the Greek Government have stated quite categorically that it was not the composition of the conference that they were worried about, and that they would not have come to a conference even with the composition finally agreed by the United Kingdom.