HC Deb 11 June 1959 vol 606 cc1153-4
6. Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he is now able to make a further statement about the future of the Southern Cameroons; and what alternatives Her Majesty's Government wish to be offered to the people of the Southern Cameroons when they decide on the future constitutional status of their country.

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

No, Sir. Her Majesty's Government continue to hope that the political leaders in the Southern Cameroons will reach agreement on the questions to be put in next year's plebiscite before the matter is dealt with by the United Nations General Assembly this autumn.

Mr. Mallalieu

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, to say the least, it is very important that all practical alternatives should be put before the people of the Southern Cameroons? If there be no agreement among the political parties locally, is it not the duty of the right hon. Gentleman to use his influence with Her Majesty's Government representative at the United Nations General Assembly in a certain direction, and would not the best direction be to say that all practical alternatives should be put to the people?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

I think it is generally agreed that integration as a separate region with Nigeria would be one choice. The difference is whether the alternative should be joining the French Cameroons or a Trusteeship for a further period before the final decision. The hon. Gentleman knows well enough that the final decision does not rest with Her Majesty's Government alone and it is important that we should, if possible, get agreement in the Southern Cameroons which would strengthen our hand in attempting to secure the best possible result by friendly effort.

Mr. Tilney

Would not my right lion. Friend agree that if the people of the Southern Cameroons are unable to make up their minds and wish to vote again in about five years' time, they should be given that opportunity?

Mr. Lennox-Boyd

That is probably so, but it is very important to get agree- ment in the Southern Cameroons if that be possible. The Government would be prepared for a period of continuing Trusteeship. There are also disadvantages in this course which are not lost on the leaders in the Southern Cameroons.

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