HC Deb 07 March 1968 vol 760 cc645-6
Q1. Sir Knox Cunningham

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of his conversations with the Prime Minister of Canada, he will now consult the other Commonwealth countries and issue an invitation for a Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Conference to be held in London early in the summer in order to discuss Commonwealth and world problems.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Harold Wilson)

I would refer the hon. and learned Member to the Answers I gave to a supplementary question by the hon. Member for Haltemprice (Mr. Wall) on 13th February and to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Hull, West (Mr. James Johnson) on 15th February.—[Vol. 758, c. 1149–50, Vol. 758. c. 412.]

Sir Knox Cunningham

Will the right hon. Gentleman try to get a conference called at a very early date, and will he put forward for discussion at that conference such matters as the troubles in Nigeria, a settlement in Rhodesia, and the public relations of the United Kingdom with India and Kenya?

The Prime Minister

As I said in answer to the previous Question which I quoted, what is on the agenda is a matter for collective agreement by the 25 or so Prime Ministers concerned. Consultations are going on at the moment about the timing of the conference, and other arrangements. I have no doubt that all relevant matters affecting the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth's attitude to world affairs will be discussed.

Mr. Henig

If such a conference takes place, will my right hon. Friend consider putting forward the proposal that Commonwealth countries should cease to supply arms to the parties involved in the Nigeria conflict?

The Prime Minister

As my hon. Friend will be aware, I have been in touch with a number of Commonwealth Prime Ministers about this, and my right hon. Friend has had continuing contact with the Nigerian problem. I do not think that it would help at this stage to go further into what has been said and done in these consultations.

Mr. Heath

Can the Prime Minister say what discussions are going on now between the Government and Commonwealth Governments about the Commonwealth Immigrants Act? If there is not general agreement about a Commonwealth Conference, will he consider holding a meeting at a lower level than Prime Minister to examine afresh the whole concept of United Kingdom and colonial citizenship, and so on?

The Prime Minister

I think that that is an important suggestion. As the right hon. Gentleman will be aware, my right hon. Friend has been in close touch with the Commonwealth Prime Ministers most directly concerned, and, indeed, so have I. We will consider whether this is a matter for discussion at or in the surroundings of a Commonwealth Conference, or whether some other meeting ought to be held.

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