HC Deb 28 October 1959 vol 612 cc205-6
Mr. F. Noel-Baker

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether he will make a statement on the situation arising from the suspension of the talks on the new Constitution for Cyprus.

The Secretary of State for the Colonies (Mr. Iain Macleod)

Following the arrest of the three Turks on 18th October, on charges of attempting to import and being in possession of explosive substances, Archbishop Makarios instructed Greek Cypriot members of the Joint Constitutional Commission in Cyprus to cease work.

The House will, I am sure, join with me in welcoming the fact that the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot communities are calling on their people to surrender any arms or explosives in their possession, and in hoping; that the proceedings of the Joint Commission will shortly be resumed.

Mr. Noel-Baker

I think that my right hon. and hon. Friends on this side of the House will certainly wish to be associated with the welcome which the Secretary of State gave to the statement by the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he is aware that the suspension and the reasons for it gave rise to very grave anxiety among the peoples of Cyprus, who were settling down remarkably well and progressing towards normality, and among British United Kingdom citizens, including British Service men and their relatives? Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether he hopes that both the talks will be shortly resumed and the reasons for their suspension finally removed?

Mr. Macleod

I certainly hope that the talks will be shortly resumed. We are not ourselves on this Joint Commission, but anything that we can do to facilitate an early resumption of the talks we shall be very glad to do. I am also aware of the anxiety to which the hon. Member referred, and no doubt that was in the minds of the leaders of the communities when the statements were issued.