HC Deb 21 February 1963 vol 672 cc616-7
9. Mr. Chapman

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations whether he will now invite the Prime Minister of Trinidad to come to London in order to settle by personal discussion the misunderstandings which have arisen in connection with the financial aid which was offered on independence and was refused by Trinidad.

Mr. Tilney

We are at all times glad to see other Commonwealth Prime Ministers in London. But they are busy people, having much to do in their own countries, and our High Commissioner at Port of Spain is always at Dr. Williams' disposal.

Mr. Chapman

Is not this most unsatisfactory? Does the Answer mean that since Trinidad became independent six months ago there has been no progress in solving these tangled problems of the financial settlement on independence? Does it mean that there have been strained relations between ourselves and a member of the Commonwealth for six months? Are the Government to do nothing positive by way of invitation to get Dr. Williams to accept an invitation to discuss it man to man and get it settled, as we ought to do, inside the Commonwealth?

Mr. Tilney

I believe that these matters are best dealt with through diplomatic channels. I do not agree that relations between the two countries are bad. We have a number of reservations about statements made in the recent White Paper published by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, but we doubt if it would help relations between the two countries if we were to contribute to a public altercation. If the offer had been accepted, Trinidad would have been able by now to place orders in this country to the value of £1 million.

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