HC Deb 26 May 1960 vol 624 cc663-4
15. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Minister of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will take steps to invite British Commonwealth countries to a further Commonwealth Conference to resume consideration of the inconclusive talks in London recently on the subject of human rights and liberties.

Mr. R. Thompson

No, Sir. In any case, I cannot accept the hon. Member's description of what took place at the recent Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Meeting.

Mr. Hughes

Does not the Minister agree that the Commonwealth Conference is one of the most constructive links in the Commonwealth, and that the recent conference was largely frustrated by a concentration on one particular problem, which was left unresolved? Would it not, therefore, be a beneficial thing, in the interests of Commonwealth solidarity, to enable the Conference to reassemble to resolve that particular problem, as well as other outstanding problems?

Mr. Thompson

I would certainly accept all that the hon. and learned Gentleman has said about the importance and prestige of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, but it is not for us alone to reconvene this body. I do not see that it is up to me to put any fresh gloss on the communiqué which ten of the world's most distinguished men agreed to at the end.

Mr. Fernyhough

If the hon. Gentleman cannot accept my hon. and learned Friend's version of what took place at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference, would he accept the version of the Prime Minister of Ghana or that of the Prime Minister of Malaya?

Mr. Thompson

I am concerned with the communqué, which I think is a very reasonable document to rest on.

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