HC Deb 19 July 1960 vol 627 cc400-21

11.15 p.m.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

I beg to move, in page 1, line 24, at the end to insert: (c) there shall be no power to use nuclear weapons from the base areas in Cyprus without previous agreement with the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus. I am looking forward with some interest to see how the Government propose to oppose the Amendment. What I am asking for Cyprus is exactly the same kind of agreement that the Prime Minister has been trying to negotiate for this country. Throughout this debate there has been almost a conspiracy of silence about the real purpose of the bases in Cyprus. During the Second Reading debate I put a question to the Secretary of State for the Colonies asking him to explain the purpose of the bases. This is an expensive little Bill, although nothing seems to have been said about it. We are paying £40 million for a settlement in order to get the bases in Cyprus for certain purposes, and there has been a great deal of criticism of the proposal, especially in the columns of The Times, which has described the Bill as the £40 million "golden handshake" with Archbishop Makarios.

What is the purpose of the bases? The Amendment assumes that that purpose is to carry on a nuclear war. If it is, I maintain that the people of Cyprus are entitled to have a say in the conditions under which such a war should come. I know that Mr. Randolph Churchill is very unpopular with hon. Members opposite, but he sometimes lets the cat out of the bag, and he has said about Cyprus what he said about Suez. He has explained that the real reason for the Government's determination to hang on to Cyprus is that they require the island as a possible base for an attack or counter-attack upon the Soviet Union. He has said that the bases are necessary so that the bombers can go from Cyprus to bomb the oilfields of the Caucasus. He has also said that the strategy is that the bombers shall go from Cyprus to destroy certain big industrial centres in the Ukraine.

That is the background to the Amendment. I am asking that the Government of this new Republic should be given some say in the future possibility of the destruction of their island. That is not an unreasonable request. When the American bases were established in this country there was a definite arrangement between the then Prime Minister and the President of the United States that this Government should have a say before a declaration of war was made. That fact has been emphasised in the negotiations that have ben going on recently. The Prime Minister is at present negotiating with President Eisenhower for a possible admendment of the agreement relating to American bomber bases in this country. Apparently, the whole House agrees that it is reasonable that the people of this country should be consulted before this country is used as bombing bases for planes going over the U.S.S.R. because that would involve retaliation. If bombing planes went on an attack, or counter-attack, to try to destroy the oilfields of Baku or the industrial centres of the Ukraine, we could depend upon it that there would be retaliatory action.

That was exactly the possibility that the Suez group envisaged at the time of that debate. The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies remembers the argument to Captain Waterhouse. I remember an historic debate when we decided to go to Cyprus at the beginning We can read it in HANSARD Reports for July, 1954. Then the hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friends were completely opposed to going to Cyprus at all. Captain Waterhouse made an historic speech, which I supported. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why historic?"] I shall explain to the hon. Member. The right hon. Member who said we must go from Cyprus to Suez was the right hon. Member for Woodford (Sir W. Churchill). At that time the Under-Secretary for the Colonies was not looking as satisfied as he is today. I remember Captain Waterhouse's argument. Here it is——

The Chairman (Sir Gordon Touche)

Order. I think the hon. Member is getting rather far from the Amendment.

Mr. Hughes

I am arguing, Sir Gordon, that nuclear warfare is possible from Cyprus and that the newly established Republic of Cyprus should have a say in the matter. That is the purpose of my Amendment. The whole argument when we went to Cyprus ranged about the possibility of nuclear warfare. The hon. Gentleman remembers it quite well. The argument of the right hon. Member for Woodford at that time was that it was quite impossible in the hydrogen bomb age to argue for the retention of the base at Suez. I remember vividly the argument of Captain Waterhouse, who said that one hydrogen bomb on Cyprus and it would be like a disappearing atoll; Cyprus would be a hole in the sea.

Mr. Callaghan

And the hon. Gentleman agreed.

Mr. Hughes

And the accomplice agreed. Now, today, he is defending what at that time he opposed. The argument of the Suez group at that time was that if they had to go out of Suez because of the fear of the hydrogen bomb it was a stupid thing to go 500 miles nearer to the place from which the hydrogen bomb might come. These are the realities behind the possibilities of a base in Cyprus—that it might be used in a nuclear war. Cyprus is just as much entitled to think in terms of the possibility of being destroyed by one hydrogen bomb coming from one rocket somewhere in the Soviet Union as we are to be anxious about bombs coming to this country.

I am glad to know that there is a Left wing in Cyprus which realises this. I remember that Archbishop Makarios came to address a meeting in Committee Room of this House before this controversy became serious. He explained then that he was not against a base in Cyprus. That satisfied some hon. Gentlemen, but it did not satisfy me. I asked him, "As an Archbishop, why are you in favour of a base in Cyprus?" His reply was, "I am in favour of a base in Cyprus for precisely the same reason as the Archbishop of Canterbury is in favour of a base in Britain". My opinion of the Archbishop as a Christian went down and my opinion of him as a politician went up.

If I was in Cyprus today, I would not be a supporter of Archbishop Makarios. I would be a supporter of the Left wing, which has said, "We are not in favour of having British bases here, because the possibility is that the British might get engaged in a nuclear war, which will not be in the interests of the people of Cyprus. The result might be the destruction of the island".

The people of Cyprus are entitled to say, "Before you start on any of these adventures, you should consult us. Before you press the button, the Republic of Cyprus is entitled to be concerned about its future". I do not see how anybody in these islands can possibly object to my Amendment. The hon. Gentleman believes that there is a possibility of a hydrogen bomb attack on Cyprus. There are air-raid precautions in Cyprus. In the last six years they have spent the gigantic sum of £253,000. It is not very much. It is a very small amount compared with the expenditure on suppressing terrorism.

When the Republic is set up we should come to an agreement with the Government of Cyprus similar to that we have with the United States of America. Many hon. Gentlemen will have seen the picture in last Sunday's Sunday Times of an American officer with two keys hanging round his neck. He was to turn the key to give the warning for the rockets. I want there to be a similar arrangement with Cyprus. If the American officer here is checked by a British officer before the final twist of the key, before the island is destroyed, the people of Cyprus are perfectly entitled to say that, if there is a British officer on the island with keys, there should be an officer of the Republic of Cyprus.

Mr. Marsh

In view of the Constitution, there would have to be three keys.

Mr. Hughes

I shall not go into the constitutional complexities of the argument. There is no answer to my argument. If there is one, I should very much like to hear it. I expect my Amendment to receive the unanimous support of the Committee.

Mr. Brockway

I want to take advantage of the Amendment to make a very serious appeal to the Secretary of State for the Colonies to give us an assurance upon this matter. He knows that there is great doubt and anxiety among the people of Cyprus at this moment about how these bases are to be used. So far as one can understand, the bases are of little value, except for air purposes. There is no deep harbour there. For air purposes they will be of little value, unless they are used for nuclear purposes.

I want to ask the Secretary of State if he can give the Committee and the people of Cyprus these assurances—first, that the bases will not be used for the maintenance of stocks of nuclear weapons; secondly, that these bases will not be used as a centre for the dispatching of missiles with nuclear warheads and, thirdly, that before they are used for this purpose, as is suggested in my hon. Friend's Amendment, a representative of the Republic of Cyprus will be consulted.

11.30 p.m.

I appreciate that there is one difference between the British bases in Cyprus and the American bases here. The bases in Cyprus will be on land under British sovereignty. I beg the right hon. Gentleman not to justify a failure to consult with the people of Cyprus upon that technical ground [HON. MEMBERS: "It is nothing to do with them."] It is a small island and if British bases on that island are used for the dispatch of rocket missiles with nuclear warheads, inevitably it will bring destruction to all the people of Cyprus whether they live in areas of British sovereignty or not. It is a matter of sheer honour that our Parliament and our Government should have consultations with representatives of the Republic before those bases are used for that purpose.

Mr. J. Amery

The hon. Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) has moved an Amendment which proposes that there shall be a veto on the part of the Republic of Cyprus on the use of certain weapons in the sovereign base areas, or that they should have, as it were, a key to the cupboard. The hon. Member prayed in aid the opinions of my friend, Mr. Randolph Churchill. I yield to no one in my affection for Mr. Churchill, but I would rather interpret the policy of Her Majesty's Government myself than accept an ex parte assessment by the hon. Member of what Mr. Churchill said on the subject.

The hon. Member asked why we need the bases. My right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence has made plain in the House that we need them essentially for three reasons, to fulfil our obligations to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, to fulfil our obligations to CENTO and to uphold other British alliances and interests in the area. In the time in which I have been a Member of Parliament the hon. Gentleman has not shown himself a great supporter of these causes.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

We should still be in Suez.

Mr. Amery

I could comment on that. I ask the hon. Member to recognise the logic of our position. If we base our policy on N.A.T.O., CENTO and other British alliances and interests in the area, we must reserve to ourselves the means of fulfilling our obligations. Of course, it is plain that in the sovereign base areas we shall be deploying units of the Royal Air Force and the Army in an age when nuclear weapons are becoming increasingly the decisive weapons of the Armed Forces. Until effective provisions for general disarmament have been made, if ever they are. I can see no ground for limiting our freedom of action or, to put it in other words, limiting our ability to fulfil our obligations and discharge our responsibilities. The hon. Member made plain that he supported the opponents of Archbishop Makarios and the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) did the same. I have no doubt that the Archbishop will see for himself what a broken reed the Left-wing elements of this country are to lean upon.

The hon. Member for South Ayrshire suggested that we were facing in this matter the same problem as my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister had been discussing over the American bases in this country. I will not seek to pronounce on the bigger problem, but there is a very big difference here. These sovereign base areas in Cyprus are retained—and I stress the word—under full British sovereignty.

The hon. Member for Eton and Slough asked certain questions about the bases. I do not dispute the legitimacy of asking these questions, but under the terms of the Treaty it is for Her Majesty's Government and this House of Commons, and this House of Commons alone, to decide the use that should be made of the bases. It is on that ground that I ask the Committee to reject the Amendment.

Mr. Callaghan

We are grateful for the explanation which the Under-Secretary of State has given us. He has made clear what he has in mind, and, indeed, what the Minister of Defence has in mind, for the use of these bases. There are certain questions which I want to put to the hon. Gentleman, because my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) has asked questions which may be troublesome but which nevertheless will be increasingly asked.

I do not share with my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire the view that it is our job either to side with Archbishop Makarios or to be opposed to him in the matter. I certainly would not say that it is our job to be on the side of the Left wing parties in Cyprus. There is to be a general election in Cyprus, and it will be a very difficult one. It would be wrong for this House of Commons to say that it is on one side or the other in any general election that is to be fought.

However, I say to the Under-Secretary of State, to the Government and to hon. Members opposite that the sort of questions which my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire has asked are bound to be asked by the Cypriot people. They really will not be content with the reply which I thought the noble Lord the Member for Dorset, South (Viscount Hinchingbrooke) muttered, that it is nothing to do with them. If I may say so, that does credit more to the noble Lord's logic than to his common sense.

After all, if people are to be in that island, knowing that it is to be a base for nuclear stocks, they are bound to ask questions, whether the matter is anything to do with them or not. If they find that under an agreement that has been concluded they have no legal right to quarrel with it, then they will soon find other reasons for doing so.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

The alternative is not to have a Constitution.

Mr. Callaghan

I quite agree. But the noble Lord has not voted against Clause 1. He has agreed to Clause 1. I therefore presume that he is in favour of the Constitution. I agree that the noble Lord is more logical and more faithful to his beliefs than is the Under-Secretary of State. There was a time when they used to hunt together, and the comment which the noble Lord has just made was certainly the opinion held by the Under-Secretary of State three years ago. At least the noble Lord has the virtue of consistency.

The trouble with which we are faced is that we are to have a Constitution. The hon. Gentleman has recommended it to the Committee and we have accepted it. We cannot push these ideas under the rug. These questions will be asked increasingly if we are to have bases in areas like this, where the people in whose country they are have no control over what use we make of them, although the weapons of nuclear war are of such a character that they can be obliterated. This is one of my objections to the sort of base and to the type of agreement that has been concluded, not that I wish to overturn it now.

Unreality will soon be completely realistic and the Government will see in five years' time that they will have to say something more to us. Take CENTO. I do not know for what those initials, stand, but they include Iran, Pakistan, Turkey. [An HON. MEMBER: "Not Iraq."] No. I cannot remember what the other countries are, but it is those three. [An HON. MEMBER: "Do not forget the United Kingdom."] I will not forget the United Kingdom. If we want a base for CENTO purposes, would it not be better to have one in one of the CENTO countries which is on the spot rather than have it in Cyprus? [Interruption.] The Under-Secretary may hold a different view. We are getting used to this conversion. But there is strong military opinion about this base which says that it cannot be reinforced, supplied, defended or evacuated. This is not just my view. It is the view of one of the most eminent military authorities in this country today.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

What is his name?

Mr. Callaghan

He is a very distinguished field marshal who would not be unknown to the noble Lord. I shall be prepared to give him the name privately.

This is a view which is held in high military quarters. Do the Government believe that the country is getting value for money if such an opinion can be held by someone who has fought with considerable distinction for his country in the last war? If we are going to use these bases, they should surely be in territories where the Government concerned have control over them and accede to their use.

I appreciate the psychological difficulties of the Government and of hon. Members opposite. But suppose we were starting with a clean slate in the Middle East. Suppose nobody had ever said the word "Never". Suppose we had never evacuated Suez. Suppose that we had insisted that we should have a base in Cyprus. Do hon. Members opposite believe—I do not believe they do—that with a clean start we should choose Cyprus on which to put a base?

The Temporary Chairman (Sir Norman Hulbert)

The hon. Member is going rather beyond the Amendment. He appears to be speaking to the Question "That Clause 1 stand part of the Bill".

Mr. Callaghan

I am sorry, Sir Norman. I agree that I did get a bit wide of the Amendment. I did not want to return to this subject, and I thought we might have cleared up the whole matter now.

The Temporary Chairman

Is it the wish of the Committee that we should discuss the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill," as well as the Amendment?

Mr. Callaghan

I would undertake not to inflict a second speech on the Committee.

Does the Committee think that if we had a clean slate we would choose Cyprus voluntarily as a base? That seems to me to be a serious question which the Committee ought to consider. It is not an island which is naturally fitted or suited for the purpose of a base. Yet it is to this island that we are committing the major part of our defence effort and output in the Middle East. We are entitled to hear a little more from the Under-Secretary than we have heard about these questions.

The Under-Secretary says that we should use it for essential British purposes in the Middle East. What has he got in mind? When we went into Suez we theoretically had the right to use a base in Libya, but such was the state of local opinion that we could make no use of it. We had to give an undertaking to the Ruler and the people of Libya that we would not use that base for the purpose of the Suez operation. When he says that we are going to use this for British purposes, is he saying that if the Government felt it right to launch an invasion on a Middle East territory to defend vital British interests—I suppose they might feel this was necessary at some time—they would be able to use these bases even against the will of the Cypriot people? Would they not be much more likely to find themselves in the same position that they found in Libya?

Somebody is going to say how unpatriotic the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East is. I expect that we shall get another speech from the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke). But the unpatriotic questions we ask now, hon. Members opposite answer in five years time.

11.45 p.m.

It used to be very unpatriotic to say that self-determination would come to the island of Cyprus. But the Government now come and recommend it to us. It used to be very unpatriotic to say that Archbishop Makarios was the only man who could speak for the Greek-Cypriots. The Under-Secretary took the view that one had only to deport the Archbishop and new men would arise. He said so in a speech. He said, "Get rid of the Archbishop," and hon. Members opposite will remember waving their Order Papers when he was deported. The late Mr. Aneurin Bevan said that one would have thought we had won another Trafalgar. It was unpatriotic at that time to suggest that those new men would not arise. The hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely made the same speeches five years ago. But they did not arise, and the Government dealt with the Archbishop.

All the unpatriotic questions being asked on this side today will have to be faced by the Government in the next few years, so they had better make up their mind to it now. It is not unpatriotic to ask hon. Members opposite to free themselves of part of their psychological trauma about the island of Cyprus and to consider the question as it actually stands, and there is no sign whatever so far that we are so doing in relation to the bases. The word "sovereignty" is flung around the Chamber as though it means that the Conservative Party has salved its soul and that, because sovereignty is retained over the bases, they can recommend the Agreement to the Committee.

Every hon. Member knows, and the Colonial Secretary said so clearly, that we cannot use these bases unless we have the consent of the people. We have got sovereignty. Legally we can do so, and yet everyone knows that we need the consent of the people because of the nature of the bases and the size of the territory over which we are operating. It really is the job of the House of Commons to look at this issue and to ask the most searching questions of the Government about how these things are likely to turn out. In five years' time it may be we shall be reading this debate all over again when we come to the next set of negotiations about the continuation of the bases. It is costing now £13½ million to £14 million, and in terms of value to the taxpayer I wonder whether we are getting value for money. I am sure that we would never have chosen Cyprus. I doubt whether it is worth £14 million a year to us. I say to the Under-Secretary that these questions which have been put from this side are bound to be asked by any intelligent people who have to sit down and think about these problems.

Mr. Brian Harrison (Maldon)

I believe that the hon. Gentleman made some mention of £14 million a year.

Mr. Callaghan

I am sorry, I should have said over the period of five years. And at the end of that five years a fresh agreement will have to be negotiated and we shall have to consider whether it is worth while again.

I would not, for the reasons I have given earlier, support my hon. Friend (Mr. Emrys Hughes) in the Division Lobby on this Amendment. [HON.MEMBERS: "Oh."] Hon. Members opposite are now betraying their sense of irresponsibility, If they really believe that at this stage the House of Commons should seek to alter an agreement that has been entered into they are betraying a sense of irresponsibility when a general election is about to be fought out on this. But it is our job to point out the weaknesses, to ask the Government whether they have faced those weaknesses, and to invite them to state what their conclusions are.

Mr. Marsh

One gets the impression on this issue that the sovereign base areas are nothing more than probably the most expensive Government face-saver the British taxpayer has ever had to pay out for. It is difficult to find any practical purpose behind them.

During the course of the speech that my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes) made in moving his Amendment, several hon. Members opposite were murmuring "It is no business of theirs" when he referred to what was to happen in the sovereign base areas. If that were true in fact as it is in theory, many of the difficulties would disappear, although there would still be difficulties left behind. There are the practical difficulties in maintaining the areas, feeding them with supplies and so forth. I believe it was said at one stage that there would be 20,000 troops held there in those circumstances.

The most serious problem, however, is that there is nothing which evokes a more hostile reaction, principally because of fear, among a local population than the nuclear weapon. It frightens ordinary people more than anything else.

Sir Douglas Glover (Ormskirk)

Is that a personal opinion of the hon. Gentleman, or does he suggest that it is a general fear?

Mr. Marsh

I should assume that few people would be particularly joyful about the existence in the vicinity of a nuclear base which would, presumably, in any country be the first object of attack by any enemy in close proximity. Even people who would support wholeheartedly the existence of nuclear bases would, surely, not claim that the local population round about had any reason to feel particularly happy and secure at the prospect. There is, perhaps, a great deal of mystique and myth surrounding the subject, but it does engender more fear than anything else. It evokes more fear than does the idea of an ordinary conventional unit of military forces in the neighbourhood.

If that is so, and if it is also a fact, as I believe it is, that these bases are of no value without the existence of helpful public opinion among the Cypriot people, I should imagine that a nuclear weapon base would be the last kind of base to have in an area where the population would immediately be opposed to its existence.

Mr. John Biggs-Davison (Chigwell)

Does the hon. Gentleman think that, when the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot leaders entered into the London and Zurich Agreements. with the support of the communities for whom they stroke, they were so naive as to suppose that the British bases. which formed the essential part of those Agreements. would he used merely for bow and arrow practice?

Mr. Marsh

I should have thought that any hon. Gentleman opposite who was lulled into the belief that there would be no effective weapons and no effective means of warfare apart from nuclear weapons would be lapsing into very dangerous military thinking. Quite apart from that, we come back to the central point that, as the Government themselves have said, in this context one cannot have an effective base without the co-operation of the local population. Earlier, in a jocular question to my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire, I suggested that if we were to have the type of machinery which we have in this country for controlling bases, where we have two keys, three keys would be needed in Cyprus, one for the Turkish interest, one for the Greek interest and one for the British interest. While that was intended as a jocular remark, it remains true, nevertheless, that, in a country which has a great complexity of interests, a nuclear base would be the last type of base one would want in such an insecure background.

Even at this late stage, very few people have any real idea of what the Government want in these particular bases and why this spot is so important. The size of the bases has varied and the arguments for and against them vary. We have now reached the stage when we are entitled to ask what the purpose behind them is. A great deal has been paid in money and lives for them, and if we are to have bases for purely military purposes, the Committee ought to be persuaded that they are absolutely essential. If they are to be retained for purposes of nuclear weapons, the Committee ought to be assured that they can fulfil that function without causing more danger than they can possibly alleviate.

Sir D. Glover

I had not intended to intervene until I heard some of the arguments which seem to me to be so far from the truth. This situation as compared with many of our other bases and negotiations appears to be confused in the mind of the hon. Member for Cardiff South-East (Mr. Callaghan). It is totally different in that in Cyprus the problem was that the majority of the Cypriot people were Greek and wanted to join the mainland of Greece as one sovereign country, whereas the minority, the Turks, objected that they should not do so.

Both Turkey and Greece are part of the free Western world alliance of N.A.T.O. It therefore seems to me that after these very long negotiations, and having reached an agreement by which they will have their sovereignty, the situation is totally different from that in Egypt and elsewhere, because the national interest of the Greek-Cypriots is for the independence of mainland Greece, and that of the Turkish-Cypriots is for the independence of mainland Turkey, while their own private domestic interest is for the independence of their island.

I cannot, therefore, see why there should be any objection now or in the future to this Agreement. I agree with the hon. Member for Cardiff South-East that in these matters it is very difficult to look into the future, but this Agreement starts with a far fairer wind because the interests of the people of the island are bound up with the N.A.T.O. alliance, and, therefore, with good will on the part of the two communities, they will favour our bases now that their own sovereignty has been agreed to.

They will have the same objectives. They will want both the Greek and Turkish nations to remain independent, and their own interest is in the inviolability, and strength of the N.A.T.O. alliance. For these reasons, I believe that they will give our bases the fair wind without which, I agree, they could not be very successful. I believe that the bases in Cyprus will serve a very valuable N.A.T.O. rôle in the years to come and will receive support in the island itself.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

I am surprised that I have not had any support from the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely (Sir H. Legge-Bourke), because he recently rose in his seat to urge the Prime Minister that the control of the bases for nuclear weapons should not be in the hands of military people but in the hand of politicians. All that I am suggesting is that there shall be no power to use nuclear weapons from the base areas in Cyprus without previous agreement with the authorities of the Republic of Cyprus. I listened carefully to the Under-Secretary of State's speech, but he did not come anywhere near discussing the Amendment. It is true that on one occasion the question of nuclear weapons did arise in this discussion. It has also been referred to in the leading, article in The Times. Here I am asking for the Republic of Cyprus only what the hon. and gallant Member for the Isle of Ely has been asking for the British people. I cannot understand why he will not come with me into the Division Lobby.

Amendment negatived.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That the Clause stand part of the Bill.

Mr. John Stonehouse (Wednesbury)


12 m.

The Deputy-Chairman (Major Sir William Anstruther-Gray)

On this Question, I said to the hon. Member that it was understood that we would have a full debate on the previous Amendment. I thought that it was understood that the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill", would be accepted without debate, though with a Division if need be.

Mr. Stonehouse

It was not understood by hon. Members on the back benches on this side of the Committee that we would not have an opportunity to return to some of the questions not dealt with in the discussions on the Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for South Ayrshire (Mr. Emrys Hughes).

Mr. Callaghan

It was my intention, when I said that I would not inflict a second speech on the Committee and therefore you, Sir William, let me go rather wide, that we should try to conclude our discussions on the Amendment. I cannot bind any hon. Member, but that was certainly my intention.

Mr. Stonehouse

I did not inflict any speech on the Committee during the discussion on the Amendment because I understood that there would be a discussion on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill." I understood my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East to say that he would not speak on the Question now before the Committee, but I wish to speak on it.

The Deputy-Chairman

The Chair is put in an awkward position. Certainly, as the understanding went with the Chair, it was that the whole debate was taking place on the Amendment, and that there would not be a second debate on the Question, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

I thought that that was the understanding of the whole Committee, but if that were not so in the case of the hon. Member, perhaps it would be right that he should make his speech. If that be allowed, it is very difficult to restrict the debate further. The Committee has been misled into accepting a state of affairs which was not in fact the state of affairs which is developing now. I would hope that the hon. Member would allow me to abide by the understanding—which I believe was the understanding on both sides of the Committee—and put the Question.

Mr. Stonehouse

With respect, Sir William, I should like to have an opportunity to make just a few points on Clause 4—[Interruption.]—on Clause 2——

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. I think that the hon. Member will have every opportunity of making a speech on the Question of Clause 4 standing part of the Bill.

Mr. Stonehouse

The specific points I have to raise are in relation to Clause 2. I shall also be speaking, if I should catch your eye, Sir William, on Clause 4. There were several points that were not raised on Clause 2, and I have been sitting patiently for the past two hours for an opportunity to speak on the Clause. I shall not refer——

The Deputy-Chairman

Order. Before allowing the hon. Member to develop his speech, I must say to the Committee and, in particular, to the hon. Member, that it will be impossible for the Chair to accept these agreements between the House or Committee as a whole if individual hon. Members are not prepared to abide by them. The rest of the Committee was quite clear——

Mr. Stonehouse


The Deputy-Chairman

It was understood that full debate would take place on the Amendment, on the understanding that it could go beyond the Amendment, and could include the substance of the debate on the Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill". That was on the understanding that the Question on Clause 2 would be put without debate, but with a decision, and a vote, if necessary.

Mr. Ross

On a point of order, Sir William. This was not understood at the start of the debate on the last Amendment at all. It arose only during the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), when he seemed to your mind to be going wide of the actual Amendment. I would content that, according to the strict rules of order, on the subject of the Amendment, we could not possibly discuss the whole Question "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."

The Deputy-Chairman

The hon. Member is quite correct. It was because it would have been impossible for the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) to have made on the Amendment the speech that he was making. I was not in the Chair myself, but I was in the Committee and heard what was going on. It was because the Chair, for the convenience of the Committee, allowed the hon. Member to develop the whole argument, going beyond the Amendment, and then allowed the rest of the Committee to continue the debate in that sense, that we are in our present position. If the hon. Member insists on continuing his speech it is very difficult for this Committee, and for the occupant of the Chair, to carry on in a manner of good faith which is for the convenience of all concerned.

Mr. Stonehouse

My point is in relation to a question raised in the Second Reading debate last Thursday. A very important question was then asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Mr. Driberg), and the Under-Secretary's answer was that the bases in Cyprus are under the full sovereignty of the United Kingdom, and therefore the question of how the base areas would be used——

Mr. Biggs-Davison

On a point of order, Sir William. In view of the difficulty in which the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) is putting you and the Committee, would it not be possible for him to address these remarks on Third Reading?

The Deputy-Chairman

In reply to that point, of order, I do not know what the hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Storehouse) proposes to say, but I should have thought that it was not asking too much of an hon. Member to suggest to him that he should try to avail himself of another opportunity, rather than to put the Chair, and the whole Committee, in the awkward position in which he is now putting us.

Mr. Stonehouse

I do not wish to delay the Committee very long, but I want these specific questions to be cleared up. We raised them last Thursday, when the Under-Secretary, although he still had three minutes before the end of the debate, chose not to reply to them. This is in relation to the use of the bases in Cyprus. We understand that these bases are to be used only by United Kingdom forces. In fact, the Agreement, in Annex B, Part II, Sections 2 and 3, on pages 21 and 22, quite clearly indicates that these base areas are for the use of United Kingdom forces only. The Agreement goes out of its way to refer only to the Armed Services of the United Kingdom.

As I indicated at the end of the debate on Thursday, Section 4, paragraph 2 of this Annex provides that the use of the air space over the Republic of Cyprus shall be limited to United Kingdom aircraft. Paragraph 2 refers to the use of United Kingdom military aircraft flying in the air space over the territory of the Republic without restriction. Surely this quite clearly gives the Republic of Cyprus the opportunity of objecting to the use of its air space by any other country than the United Kingdom. The particular question addressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Barking to the Under-Secretary——

Mr. Callaghan

On a point of order. There is a deliberate attempt to prevent my hon. Friend from being heard. Whatever may be the opinion of the Chair—or the Committee—of my hon. Friend's speech, he is at least entitled to be heard.

Mr. Stonehouse

In what circumstances can the bases in Cyprus be used other than by United Kingdom aircraft or United Kingdom Forces? In an earlier speech the Under-Secretary referred to the use of the bases for N.A.T.O., CENTO and other of the British alliances. In view of the importance of these alliances it is curious that no reference is made to them in Annex B. We are therefore left with the question in our minds: what would be the situation if the United States wished to use the bases and airfields on the island for reconnaissance, and wished to use the air space over the territory of the Republic for its own aircraft? Do we not understand from a careful reading of Section 4, paragraph 2 of Annex B that the Republic would have to he consulted about the use of its air space by aircraft other than those of the United Kingdom?

As has been said in earlier speeches, the use of the bases will depend on the good will not only of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus but also of the Cypriots themselves—and not only the majority of the Cypriot people but even a minority. If a minority objects to the use to which these bases are being put they can put the operation of those bases in jeopardy. It is therefore essential to have clarification about political consultation between the United Kingdom Government and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus to the extent to which the bases are to be used.

I would also ask the Under-Secretary to consider the question of Cyprus's membership of N.A.T.O. Is the Republic to be admitted to N.A.T.O.? If so, will it have a part in determining the policies of N.A.T.O., and therefore some part in determining the use to which the bases will be put, as an aspect of the N.A.T.O. alliance? I apologise to you, Sir William, for the earlier misunderstanding, but I thank you for the opportunity to make these points.

12.15 a.m.

Mr. Charles A. Howell (Birmingham, Perry Barr)

On a point of order, Sir William. May I call your attention to the fact that there is not a quorum of Members present?

The Deputy-Chairman

It is my opinion that, looking through the door, I can see a full complement of hon. Members.

Mr. Howell

Is it in order, Sir William, for people outside the Bar to be counted as being in the Committee?

The Deputy-Chairman

Yes, that is so.

Mr. J. Amery

In view of what you said earlier, Sir William, I shall make my remarks on this Clause very short. The hon. Member for Wednesbury (Mr. Stonehouse) asked me two or three questions. The last he asked was about the admission of Cyprus to N.A.T.O. He will realise that that is not a matter on which I can pronounce. It is a matter for the Republic of Cyprus to decide whether it wishes to join and for the N.A.T.O. Powers collectively to decide whether they would accept the membership of the Republic.

The hon. Member repeated a question he raised at the last minute of the debate on Thursday—or, he would say, that it was in the last two or three minutes—basing himself on Annex B of the Treaty. I think he is in some confusion on the matter. Annex B relates to the facilities which the United Kingdom will enjoy on, or from, the territory of the Republic. It relates to the use of ground facilities in the Republic, including a very wide range of facilities. Where the territory of the Republic is concerned, the arrangement is plainly one between the United Kingdom and the Republic, although it is one which is guaranteed and underwritten by the Greek and Turkish Governments as well. Annex B does not relate to the use of the sovereign base areas. That is the distinction, and I think that is the cause of the confusion in the mind of the hon. Member.

The hon. Member for Wednesbury, the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan), and other hon. Members who spoke earlier on the Amendments, stressed the importance of the good will of the people of the island. We have always taken the same view that the good will of the people of Cyprus is extremely important to the successful operation of the bases. I believe that there are more reasons for expecting that good will in the case of Cyprus than in the case of many bases we have had in the past. There are strong economic reasons, including the expenditure of the Services in the island, amounting to between £15 million and £20 million a year. There are political reasons, which my hon. Friend mentioned earlier. There are links with Greece and Turkey, both of which are members of N.A.T.O. and one of which is a member of the CENTO alliance.There is also the very long-standing tradition of friendship which, in both communities and the United Kingdom, has grown and survived the emergency and troubles of the last few years. Finally, for what it is worth, and I do not exaggerate it, at the end of our discussions there was an atmosphere of good will in the island of Cyprus which I think surprised all of us in all three delegations which had been working on the problem. This, I think, is a good augury for the future.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause ordered to stand part of the Bill.