HC Deb 19 January 1965 vol 705 cc27-8
Q5. Sir Richard Glyn

asked the Prime Minister how often, and when, he met heads of British Commonwealth missions during his recent visit to the United States of America; and whether he informed them of his meetings with the President of the United States and of the proposals made then that affected the British Commonwealth of Nations.

The Prime Minister

I met the Commonwealth representatives once, on 8th December. In addition, on 9th December, I met Commonwealth High Commissioners in Ottawa. It is not usual to disclose particulars of the discussions which take place at such meetings.

Sir Richard Glyn

Will the Prime Minister bear in mind that the Commonwealth is an association of sovereign States entitled to be kept fully informed of any proposals that might affect their future? Is he aware of the dissatisfaction among members at the lack of information passed through to them during his recent visit to America, and can he undertake that, in future, he will adopt a more helpful and acceptable procedure in this matter?

The Prime Minister

I was, in fact, in North America for exactly three days—two days in Washington and one day in Ottawa—during which period, naturally, a great deal of time was taken up with talks with President Johnson. During those three days, I had one meeting with all the Commonwealth representatives in Washington and another meeting with all the Commonwealth representatives in Ottawa, which enabled me to discus with them not only what I was talking about in Ottawa, but what I was talking about in Washington. I fail to see how I could have done much more, unless I had just cancelled the meetings with President Johnson.