HC Deb 19 May 1960 vol 623 cc1474-5
32. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations what consultations he has had with representatives of the Commonwealth concerning suitable joint celebrations on Commonwealth Day to mark the significance of the Commonwealth as a multiracial society founded on racial equality.

Mr. R. Thompson

None, Sir, for the reasons given by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer in reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Islington, East (Mr. Fletcher) on 3rd May.

The significance of the Commonwealth as a multiracial association was emphasised in the communiqué issued by the Commonwealth Prime Ministers at the end of ther meeting last week.

Mr. Swingler

Would the Undersecretary of State reconsider this suggestion? Does not next Tuesday provide a first-class opportunity for making clear throughout the Commonwealth and the world that the Commonwealth, as an association of independent nations, depends upon the recognition of racial equality and the rejection of policies based on racial discrimination?

Mr. Thompson

Yes, Sir, but one of the problems here is that Commonwealth Day is not observed officially in any member country of the Commonwealth other than the United Kingdom, and I think that the emphasis given at the end of the communiqué to this very point, to which the hon. Member referred, is a sufficient statement of the importance attached to it.