HC Deb 05 May 1960 vol 622 cc1232-3
10. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement about the progress of the Federation of the West Indies and the nature of the criticism and complaint made by the Trinidad Government against the Federation.

Mr. Iain Macleod

The constitutional progress of the Federation depends essentially upon whether the political leaders of The West Indies can resolve the differences which emerged at the Conference of West Indian Governments last September. I understand that this conference is to be reconvened in the near future.

During the past few months the Premier of Trinidad has made public statements criticising the Federal Government for lack of co-operation with the Trinidad Government on various issues, particularly the revision of the United States Bases Agreement, the development of direct Trinidad-Venezuela relations, and the delay in achieving independence. The Prime Minister of the Federation has broadcast a reply to these statements.

Mr. Sorensen

Is it not true that one of the criticisms made by political leaders in Trinidad is that the existing Federal Constitution does not allow for the advent of independence such as has been achieved in other ex-Colonial Territories? In the right hon. Gentleman's judgment, is that true or not?

Mr. Macleod

I do not know whether that particular criticism is true or not. What I hope to see is the reconvening during the summer of the Government delegations to discuss independence. I hope that we can move fairly swiftly thereafter if agreement is reached there.

Forward to