HC Deb 05 April 1960 vol 621 cc179-80
27. Mr. C. Royle

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he has considered the communication received from the Federal Government of the West Indies in regard to action to be taken by Her Majesty's Government in connection with recent incidents in South Africa; and what reply has been sent.

Mr. Alport

Yes, Sir. In reply to their communication, the Government of the Federation of the West Indies have been informed that, while it is not the usual practice within the Commonwealth for one Government to comment or protest to another about the internal affairs of that Government, the United Kingdom High Commissioner in Cape Town is being asked to draw to the attention of the Union Government the feelings which recent events in South Africa have aroused in the West Indies.

Mr. Royle

Whilst thanking the hon. Gentleman for that reply, may I ask if it is not a fact that a multi-racial Government like that of the West Indies Federation have set an example to Her Majesty's Government in protesting to South Africa in the present circumstances?

Mr. Alport

I do not think that I could accept the point that the hon. Gentleman has made, but, of course, in these circumstances the Government of the West Indies have a perfect right to express what their views may be. The problem that arises in a case like this is one created by the long-standing conventions and understandings of the Commonwealth.