HC Deb 13 April 1964 vol 693 c14
12. Mr. A. Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now agree to the publication of all papers and documents in the possession of Her Majesty's Government in connection with the Suez operations.

Mr. Mathew

No, Sir. As my right hon. Friend told the hon. Gentleman in answer to a similar Question on 26th November last, the general rule is that official documents are not normally opened to public inspection until they become fifty years old.

Mr. Lewis

But as, since then, the Prime Minister has said, "Let us have frank speaking", and, of course, the electorate would like to know all about it, may we have it before the election?

Mr. Mathew

The hon. Gentleman knows very well that there is this rule. It has been in operation for only a comparatively short time. I think that we had better give it a trial before we succumb to any modifications urged by him or anybody else.

Mr. Stratton Mills

At the same time as considering this point, will my hon. Friend consider whether he might include the Cabinet documents which resulted in the decision of the Labour Government to go ahead with the manufacture of nuclear weapons?