HC Deb 21 May 1968 vol 765 c278
15. Dame Joan Vickers

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements have now been made to ensure that the interests of the dependent territories will be safeguarded when there is no longer a Secretary of State for Commonwealth Affairs.

Mr. George Thomson

The arrangements for the merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices are still in process of formulation. It is the Government's firm intention to ensure that the interests of the Dependent Territories are fully safeguarded in whatever organisation is finally adopted for the new Department.

Dame Joan Vickers

I thank the right hon. Gentleman for that reply. Will he bear in mind that a large country such as the Falkland Islands and the Cayman Islands have of their own free will opted to remain with his Department? Will he see that there their interests are safeguarded?

Mr. Thomson

I can give the hon. Lady that absolute assurance. Nothing concerns me more as Commonwealth Secretary in the arrangements for this organisation than making sure that our dependent territories—and many will remain our responsibility for as far ahead as we can see—have their interests safeguarded in the new organisation.