HC Deb 03 February 1966 vol 723 cc1265-6
7. Mr. Fisher

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether it is still the policy of Her Majesty's Government to grant independence to South Arabia, either as a Federation or as a unitary State, by 1968; and whether she has yet received the report by Sir Ralph Hone and Sir Gawain Bell on the Federal Constitution.

11. Sir P. Agnew

asked the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, as the result of the recent visit to London of the delegation from the Federation of South Arabia led by the Minister by External Affairs, progress has been made in devising a new constitution in preparation for the independence of the Federation and providing for the accession to the Federation of the Eastern Protectorate States; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. White

The Ministerial delegation from the Federation of South Arbia recently in London came for financial discussions. During the talks the Federal Ministers told us that their Government expected to receive later this month the report of Sir Ralph Hone and Sir Gawain Bell, whom it had appointed to advise it on future constitutional development. My noble Friend informed the Ministers that the British Government were eagerly awaiting the publication of the report and meanwhile had no constitutional proposals of their own under consideration. It remains the policy of the British Government to bring the whole of South Arabia to independence as a single Sovereign State by 1968.

Mr. Fisher

Can the hon. Lady say what practical steps her Department is taking to try to reconcile the views of the Aden politicians and the Protectorate Rulers so that South Arabia can go forward united to become an independent country?

Mrs. White

The object of the investigation into the constitutional proposals initiated by the Federal Supreme Council includes Aden as well as the Protectorate and, therefore, we hope that these proposals will meet the needs of all the territories of South Arabia,

Sir P. Agnew

In view of the growing power and influence of Saudi Arabia, as evidenced by the activities of King Feisal, is it not of special importance that the Government here should press on with achieving a stable solution for South Arabia which will leave it to take its full share in the life of the Southern Arabian Peninsula?

Mrs. White

We very much hope that these proposals will be the basis for an agreed constitution which will have that effect.

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