HC Deb 18 February 1959 vol 600 cc349-50
17. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on recent diplomatic negotiations concerning the future of Cyprus.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Her Majesty's Government hope to be in a position to make a statement shortly and I would ask the hon. Member to be good enough to wait until then.

Mr. Robinson

While we are all profoundly hopeful that a solution will be found on the basis of independence in Cyprus, may I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman appreciates that a solution on these lines could have been found four years ago if Her Majesty's Government had not always insisted on maintaining British sovereignty over the whole island?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I do not think that is a true statement of the case. Anyway, I assure the hon. Member that we wish to make a statement as early as possible and I think that if a final statement cannot be made, an interim statement will be made this week on the present state of the negotiations.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Will the Minister of State draw the attention of the Foreign Secretary to the very important letter in The Times by Sir William Hayter two days ago?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I have no doubt that the Foreign Secretary has already read it.

Mr. J. Eden

Can my right hon. Friend say anything further at this stage about the bases? Can he bear in mind, for example, that our use of them in the long term might be more securely guaranteed if we were in the position of a freeholder rather than that of a leaseholder?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I have already said that later this week a statement will be made on the present state of the negotiations.

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