§ 51. Mr. Ridsdale
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will make a statement on his visit to Pakistan and India.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
I am grateful to the Pakistan and Indian Governments for their invitations, which enabled me to visit their countries so soon after becoming responsible for British relations with Commonwealth countries.
I especially welcomed the opportunity to discuss major international issues with members of the Pakistan and Indian Governments. The warm welcome I received in both countries was reinforced by the frankness and candour of our discussions.
§ Mr. Ridsdale
Whilst welcoming what the right hon. Gentleman has done to improve relations with the sub-continent, may I ask him why, on landing in Bombay, he took the opportunity to run down my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell)? Is this true?
§ Mr. Stewart
I had to curtail my visit and was unable to visit Bombay. I was on several occasions asked my opinion of the views of the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, South-West and I gave them.
§ Dr. Gray
I congratulate my right hon. Friend on persuading Mrs. Gandhi to attend the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference. Was he able to improve British-Indian relations during his truncated stay? Was he able to make any further arrangements for East African holders of British passports who wished to do so to settle in India when they are of Indian origin?
§ Mr. Stewart
The Prime Minister of India expresses a hope that she will be able to attend the Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference. I believe that my visit was useful in improving relations between Britain and India. The question of East African holders of British pass- 872 ports who are of Indian origin was raised in our discussions. We did not conclude any formal agreement about it but the Indian Government have been helpful and I think they will continue to be so.