HC Deb 06 July 1965 vol 715 cc1329-30
13. Mr. Webster

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what countries Lord Mountbatten visited during his recent mission concerning immigration.

Mr. Bottomley

Lord Mountbatten visited Canada, India, Nigeria, Jamaica, Trinidad, Cyprus and Malta.

Mr. Webster

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that we want to have as much agreement as possible in the Commonwealth on this very difficult and tricky subject? Next time such a difficult negotiation has to be conducted, would it not be a good thing to have somebody who is persona grata in one of the principal immigrant countries, which is Pakistan? Would it not be better if we had had somebody who could have been allowed to go to that country and discuss the matter on the spot?

Mr. Bottomley

The mission went to all the listed Commonwealth countries, including the one mentioned by the hon. Gentleman, except, as the hon. Gentleman rightly said, that Lord Mountbatten was not able to go to that country. The Permanent Under-Secretary at the Home Office, a very eminent and distinguished gentleman, went with the mission to Pakistan and brought back a very satisfactory report.

Mr. Fisher

When is a statement of the Government's policy on immigration likely to be made?

Mr. Bottomley

We hope in due course to tell the Commonwealth Prime Ministers what we have in mind. After that, we shall be in a position to state what the policy of the Government will be, and that statement will be made in the House.

Sir D. Renton

Is the Secretary of State really saying that the opportunity of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' presence in London was not used to tell them what the Government had in mind?

Mr. Bottomley

Discussions took place with the particular Prime Ministers concerned. As a result of the talks that we had, we are considering the policy which Her Majesty's Government will announce in due course.