§ 7. Mr. Channon
asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what progress has been made in recent weeks towards a solution of the Cyprus problem.
§ Mr. Bottomley
As I told the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) on 24th November, we await the report of the United Nations mediator.
On 27th November, Señor Galo Plaza gave Ministers an account of the progress of his mediation. He was told that we were prepared to assist him in the promotion of any solution likely to prove acceptable to all the parties concerned. As regards our sovereign bases, it was pointed out that they have never formed part of the Republic of Cyprus and are not involved in the present dispute; and that we could not conceive of a solution which would not provide for British base facilities.
§ Mr. Channon
The right hon. Gentleman's remarks about sovereign bases will receive general acceptance at least on this side of the House, and we are grateful for them, but can he tell us anything at this stage about what is likely to be the future of the British forces on the island? As I understand it, the mandate for the United Nations force expires on Boxing Day. Is it likely to be renewed, and what does the right hon. Gentleman say about the finance provided by Great Britain, as we have already spent 3½ million dollars on this fruitless attempt so far?
§ Mr. Bottomley
We hope that the United Nations mandate will be renewed. If it is, we shall accept our obligations as a result.
§ Mr. Sandys
Is the Minister aware that his statement that the Government intend to retain British bases in Cyprus will be welcomed and that we are all very glad to know that this is one of the commitments which the Government do not intend to abandon?
§ Mr. Emrys Hughes
I was told yesterday that the Cyprus base had cost this country £200 million under the previous Administration, £20 million a year. Are we to take it that the present Government will carry on the policy of the previous Government?