HC Deb 15 November 1966 vol 736 cc223-4
Q6. Mr. Evelyn King

asked the Prime Minister what representation he has received from Commonwealth countries seeking to abolish the Commonwealth Relations Office and have its functions transferred to the Foreign Office; and what reply he has sent.

The Prime Minister

I have received no such representations.

Mr. King

Would the right hon. Gentleman take it from me, then, that representatives of no less than four African countries have made this suggestion, I think reasonably, because they resent foreign countries having access to the Foreign Office which they do not have? In particular, with the Common Market negotiations in view, they will want to make representations to those conducting negotiations in that matter.

The Prime Minister

Of course I will take from the hon. Gentleman anything which he states as a fact, but the Question which I was asked was what representations I have had. The answer is that I have not had any. I would not agree with the deductions which the hon. Gentleman draws from what was said to him, because I believe that many Commonwealth countries—not least African countries, but many others as well—feel that they have much more direct access to Government in this country through the Commonwealth Affairs Office and the Commonwealth Secretary than if they were, in each case, just one of perhaps a hundred Ambassadors and Ministers.