HC Deb 10 March 1960 vol 619 cc615-6
15. Mr. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in view of the constant loyalty of the Maronite community in Cyprus, especially during the last few years, and in view of the fact that the Radcliffe Report recommended that they should have at least one seat in the suggested Parliament, if he will endeavour to obtain some security for them in the new constitution; and if he will grant them the small sum they have requested from the British Government.

Mr. Iain Macleod

Her Majesty's Government have made proposals for safeguarding the constitutional position of the smaller religious groups, including the Maronites. As regards the second part of the Question, I have received a request for a grant, which I am considering, but my view is that I can best serve the interests of the Maronites by providing adequate constitutional safeguards for them.

Mr. Teeling

I appreciate what my right hon. Friend has said, but would he bear in mind that this is a very hard-up community—it consists of very poor people whose educational problems will be very difficult? All they are asking for is £80,000.

Mr. Macleod

Yes, I understand that, but I think that it would be wiser for a smaller community to seek parity of treatment within one of the larger communities, because there is at least a danger that, if a small grant is made to one of the groups, such as that to which my hon. Friend refers, it may be taken as satisfying its needs, and it might not then share in what is possible for the rest of the island.

Mr. Brockway

On a point of order. Mr. Speaker, I tabled a Question on the subject of Cyprus, and I heard from the Colonial Office that the Foreign Office is now replying to all Questions on Cyprus.

My Question was, therefore, transferred to the Foreign Office. As a result, there is no opportunity for me to ask it today. May I ask for clarification of this position between the Foreign Office and the Colonial Office?

Mr. Speaker

Yes, I should like to look into what the hon. Gentleman says. Something may turn on the actual terms of the Question, which I have not seen. I will make some inquiries, and let the hon. Gentleman know.

Mr. Brockway

Thank you, Sir.

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