HC Deb 05 August 1965 vol 717 cc1874-5
Q3. Mr. Boston

asked the Prime Minister what other proposed new Commonwealth bodies, apart from the Commonwealth Court, have been under discussion between Commonwealth countries; and what further consultations and steps are to take place on these developments.

The Prime Minister

The Commonwealth Secretariat and the Commonwealth Foundation. I would refer the hon. Member to the Agreed Memoranda on these two bodies issued with the Final Communique of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Meeting on the 25th June.

Mr. Boston

Does my right hon. Friend agree that, if the Commonwealth is to develop and flourish, it is important to make it far less London-based, and that as new bodies are set up there may be a case for centreing them on other Commonwealth capitals and making particular places the centres for particular things? Can he say whether he is having any discussions about this?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir. This was discussed at the conference of Prime Ministers. It was the general wish of all my colleagues that the Commonwealth Secretariat should be located in London, and that is where it will function. But apart from the organisations and bodies referred to in the Question and the Answer, I am sure that my hon. Friend will have noticed our plans for intensifying Commonwealth consultation, first of all, in economic affairs, including commodity prices and matters of that kind, and, secondly, in relation to bringing the planning departments of various Commonwealth Governments together so that we can all help one another with the development plans which each of us has.

Mr. Tilney

Can the right hon Gentleman say whether any discussions have taken place about the formation of a Commonwealth Police Force on the lines suggested by the Prime Minster of Canada and like-minded nations, so that those Commonwealth countries which are richer than we are can take some of the burden off us?

The Prime Minister

There was no discussion of this proposal. It was not before us this year partly because all my Commonwealth colleagues wanted to emphasise the importance of the United Nations in the matter of peacekeeping. If the hon. Gentleman is referring to the use of a Commonwealth police force to step in and deal with trouble, in so far as it is a question of recruiting in different countries for internal police forces, I think that this is a matter best dealt with bilaterally, for example between the Government of Canada and some of the other countries which might be involved.