HL Deb 14 September 1956 vol 199 cc859-904

11.5 a.m.

LORD WINSTER rose to call attention to the situation in Cyprus; and to move for Papers. The noble Lord said: My Lords, my chief interest in raising this Motion today is my anxiety, I am sure shared in all quarters, about the Island of Cyprus and the people of Cyprus. At the same time, I cannot say that this is not a Party matter—at any rate, speaking for myself I do not see it as being not a Party matter, because it seems to me that the approach on this side of the House is radically different from the approach on the other side. I am quite sure that the Conservative Party are equally as anxious for a settlement as we are, but they go about trying to get one in a way which we consider misguided and marked by a slight tinge of a "hangover" from the old nostalgic colonial days. There is a difference of mentality in the approach of the two Parties to this question, and it is my belief at any rate—I cannot speak officially for my Party—that it is the Conservative mentality in this matter which goes so far to preclude the reaching of a settlement.

The Government may feel that this House is being faced with another debate on the subject of Cyprus rather soon after the last one, and after the gruelling two days of debate which we have just had I cannot say that I am entirely surprised by a certain poverty of attendance this morning. Nevertheless, I think that we are entitled to a progress report on the subject of Cyprus, and when I look at this long list, almost two foolscap pages of incidents in Cyprus—the melancholy list of punishments which have been inflicted; of curfews, clubs closed, and collective fines, evictions, raids, concentration camps, imprisonments, whippings—all the more do I feel that we are justified in asking for a progress report.

There have also been some developments since the last debate. For instance, there are the Grivas diaries. I have complete trust in the good faith of the Colonial Office in this matter, and I am perfectly certain that the right honourable gentleman, Mr. Lennox-Boyd, with whom I have the pleasure of some acquaintance, would not for one moment dream of giving publicity to anything if he were not quite satisfied of its authenticity. But there are one or two things I feel I must say about this matter. In view of outside opinion which will be expressed, I am a little surprised that we have not heard of these diaries being put under expert examination. Their authenticity is sure to be questioned—that is why I make that remark. I also feel that there has been too long a delay in publishing the full version of these diaries. If I may ask the noble Lord who is to reply to satisfy my curiosity on one point, may I inquire whether these diaries are in manuscript or in typescript? I think it is important to have that particular point cleared up.

Apart from those matters, I do not really think that these diaries greatly affect the situation. They really tell us nothing new. They most certainly will not impair the Archbishop's authority. Greek Cypriots regard a militant priest as being quite right and proper; in fact, in Western lands I have heard of chaplains who have tucked up their cassocks and gone into action with the troops. But in any case, the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, said on July 25 that we had been aware during the recent negotiations with the Archbishop, of his complicity in the campaign of terrorism; so that I do not feel, while I recognise its importance, that the publication greatly affects the actual facts of the situation. In the case of the troubles in Ireland, at the end of a campaign of terrorism there, we most certainly negotiated with men whose hands. in the good old phrase, were "dripping with blood".

Another new development has been the landing of French troops in Cyprus. All I will say about that matter is that it will most certainly not ameliorate the situation in Cyprus or make it any easier to arrive at a settlement. The landing will be resented not only in Cyprus but in the Levant, especially in Syria, and generally it will not please the Arab States. Then there is the question of the truce offer by E.O.K.A. I believe that I am not alone in feeling that that matter was clumsily handled; that possibly an opportunity was let slip—an opportunity which at least should have been probed with more imagination than was shown. In any case, it was a cardinal mistake to believe and to act as if the offer of the truce marked the collapse of E.O.K.A. Those are some new incidents which have occurred; but apart from that, what progress is there to report?

The Government's policy, as stated by the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, and the noble. Marquess, Lord Salisbury, is really only a shadow of a policy, and a very poor thing at that. I have been re-reading the statements of Her Majesty's Government, and it seems to me that the policy boils down to this: to by-pass the Archbishop in the matter, to put down E.O.K.A., and, when that has been accomplished, to negotiate with some mythical Greek-Cypriot moderates who will then make their appearance. How has this apology for a policy been getting along? The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, indicated some doubt about the degree of support which the Archbishop now enjoys among the Cypriots. What tangible indications arc there that the Archbishop can be by-passed or that his influence is diminishing? What progress has been made in suppressing E.O.K.A.? I think it must be nine months or so since the Governor of Cyprus announced that the net was closing around E.O.K.A. But E.O.K.A. has just burnt down the house of the Commander-in-Chief, so it looks to me as if there are some pretty fair rents in this net which we are attempting to cast around E.O.K.A.

Then as to the moderates, when are these people going to peep out of the holes in which, at the present moment, they seem to be so deeply dug? I am not so disposed to put a great deal of trust in men who "pop up" only when there is no danger in doing so, and I am very sceptical about these moderates, on whom I shall have something to say later. There have been stories, too, that E.O.K.A. was losing its grip, and that informers were now coming forward and beginning to give the terrorists away. Is that the case? How many incidents have there been of such informers coming forward with really valuable information? As to these moderates, upon whom the policy of Her Majesty's Government seems so largely to hinge, if the former Greek members of the Executive Council were not moderates, what were they? But they all resigned long ago. Lawyers in any community represent a moderate element—their profession inclines them to moderation. But the Bar Association in Cyprus has formally declined any idea of negotiation over the Archbishop's head. Business men surely should be on the side of law and order: they surely want a settlement. How many Greek-Cypriot business men have conic forward and indicated any support for the policy of Her Majesty's Government?

Dealing with this matter the noble Lord. Lord Lloyd, said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 199 (No. 123), col. 218): Our best hope continues to lie in private negotiation with the parties concerned. What exactly is meant by that? With whom do Her Majesty's Government hope to negotiate privately? With whom are Her Majesty's Government negotiating at the present moment?


My Lords, if the noble Lord will forgive me for interrupting him, may I say that f think he has quoted that particular passage a little out of context. My recollection is that I was referring to international negotiations with Greece and Turkey. I think I was talking on whether this matter should be brought to the N.A.T.O. Council, and I said that I myself did not think our best chance lay in that course.


My Lords, I gladly accept that statement. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, will know that I am the last person in the world lo wish to misrepresent him. Nevertheless, I think my question still applies. If the remark was made on the international scale, with whom are Her Majesty's Government negotiating at the present moment? Do Her Majesty's Government really believe that they can achieve a solution over the head of the Archbishop, leaving him completely out of the picture? If so, I believe it to be a most mistaken belief, and one from which many mistakes stem. I doubt whether it is possible, because I do not believe that the Archbishop has in any way lost the confidence of the Greek Cypriots; and, as I have said, we need not think the Greek Cypriots will be shaken by these diaries, because the idea of a militant priest arouses no reproach in them. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, said, We shall continue to strive for a settlement. Of course, Her Majesty's Government would be failing in their duty if they were not to do so. There is no virtue in that. But exactly what form is the striving taking? I will quote again from the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd [col. 219]: We must continue our efforts to eliminate terrorism. But are Her Majesty's Government in any doubt whatsoever about what are the views of the Cypriots on self-determination?

Then we come to what is so frequently quoted at the present moment— the Mission of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Radcliffe. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, says that Lord Radcliffe has been asked to draw up a Constitution. Under the present conditions I believe that he has been sent on a sleeveless errand, just as I thought Mr. Menzies was sent to President Nasser on a sleeveless errand. But of course, as we know, Lord Radcliffe has not been met. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, threw out the suggestion that he had been boycotted because of fear to meet him. I am not entirely convinced about that. For instance, when I was in Cyprus the Attorney-General was a gentleman named Stetios Pavlides. He was a man who in every action of his life was swayed by conscience—I never knew a man who was so swayed by conscience in every particular. He was a man who was not to be influenced in any way whatsoever. Mr. Pavlides absolutely refused to enter into any talks over the head of the Archbishop. To suggest that that man is actuated by fear really is a most complete inaccuracy. I do not think it is wise to put down reluctance to meet Lord Radcliffe to discuss these matters to fear, and to leave out entirely any idea that it is due to conviction. I think that is a dangerous thing to say.

Then there is the—to my mind, at any rate—most extraordinary statement of the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd. He said (col. 220): … whether Lord Radcliffe meets the people in Cyprus … is not the object of the exercise … He has gone out … to see the Island for himself, and I do not doubt that he will produce a Constitution … on the right lines. If an architect were given a contract for designing a reactor you might as well send him out to Egypt to lock at a pyramid because that is another large building. The idea that it does not matter whether or not Lord Radcliffe meets the people in Cyprus; that all that matters is that he should go out and see the island and that then apparently he will be able to draft a Constitution which will settle all our difficulties, is what I call a crystal ball policy and nothing else. During his visit—please believe me, I am speaking with the greatest respect for Lord Radcliffe; he is a most eminent man deserving of our respect and confidence in every way, and I do not mean one word of disrespect to him—he saw the Governor, lie saw officials and he saw a number of Turks, all of whose views were already known from A to Z before he went out to Cyprus. He met some Greek mayors, it is true, but from these he got a flat refusal to discuss politics. They were apparently prepared to discuss drains and other municipal matters, but politics—no. How far has this advanced matters?

We know, and we have always known, that the Greek Cypriots will not look at any Constitution brought to them by Lord Radcliffe unless he has discussed it with the Archbishop and secured the Archibshop's agreement to what it contains. The plain fact is that Lord Radcliffe cannot draw up a Constitution which will meet the case unless he can have talks with people who now will not talk or with people with whom he is not allowed to talk—for I assume that there is no question of Lord Radcliffe being allowed to visit the Seychelles to have talks with the Archbishop about this Constitution. It all comes down to this: that Lord Lloyd's most concrete declaration of Government policy was to press on with all possible speed with…eliminating terrorism. To this end he stressed the importance of a flow of information to the Security Forces so that the more quickly shall we be able to press ahead with the introduction of a Constitution. The policy boils down to the suppression of terrorism Finally, Lord Lloyd told us (col. 221): … We shall continue to bend our minds … to … securing a lasting solution of this most difficult … problem. Applying your mind is no virtue: it is part of the job. So far, the bending of the mind, the application of it, has not resulted in anything. I remember a very celebrated naval captain who, after some appalling mistake during some evolution, had an officer come to him and say "I am very sorry sir, but I did my best." Captain Luigi Bayley replied: "I have no use for officers who do their best; I want officers who do the best." It is no good talking about "bending you mind "what mutters is whether you achieve the result or whether you do not.

With great respect, I submit that these statements made by Lord Lloyd marked no progress, disclosed no new ideas and failed to answer criticisms. And they got us precisely and exactly no nearer. I am sure also that the Government make a mistake in fencing about self-determination. if it is "out," then say so. Do not humbug about. They make another mistake in saying that terrorism must be wiped out before any negotiations can take place. They did not make that a condition of those negotiations which went on for three months. If negotiations could go on for three months while the agitation was in progress, I do not know why they should not be continued or restarted. I cannot remember—perhaps the noble Viscount Lord Stansgate can remind us—if a truce condition was made about the negotiations with Ireland. Did we say that we would meet the Irish leaders only if a truce was called?


As the noble Lord has asked me the question, perhaps may be allowed to say that, so far as my recollection goes, the charge against the Government of the day was that they were "shaking hands with murder."


There we are—there is the answer. The policy which is being maintained, in the words of Lord Lloyd (col. 211 of the OFFICIAL REPORT for July 25) is this: Our own position is well known. Cyprus remains essential for the maintenance of British interests and the discharge of British obligations both under N.A.T.O. and in the Middle East; it is related … to the protection of the oil fields. … We cannot accept any doubt about the availability of facilities in Cyprus as and when we need them…That is our position". The Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, has said in so many words that the situation is governed by British oil interests. So front both the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, and the Prime Minister, we have had a clear and frank statement that British interests and self-interest must decide the Cyprus issue.




That, at any rate, is how I read this statement, and I think I shall have considerable support for my view upon it. The Prime Minister no doubt regards Cyprus as an essential factor in his Suez policy. I think this frankness is commendable, but this statement makes nonsense of the statement of Mr. Macmillan, when he was Foreign Secretary, last December about "recognising the right of Cypriots to self-determination" because on the strength of this statement, so far as we can see, self-determination is "out." Why keep talking about it as if it were a possibility? I remember a story about a schoolmaster who used to impress upon parents that the diet in his school was most liberal. Perhaps it might be thought that a meal was sometimes a little insufficient, but there was always cheese on which the boys could fill up. The practice of this schoolmaster was to buy a new cheese at the beginning of every term. The cheese was put on the table, and the headmaster, with a stern aspect, used to point all round the table and say: "Cheese, cheese, cheese—does anyone want any cheese to-day? No-one wants cheese today; take it away". That is really what we are doing about self-determination. Self-determination is put on the table, but it is always taken away—there is no "cheese" for the Cypriots.

The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, described the position of the Labour Party in this matter in one respect as being that—I quote from col. 216: … in view of the fact that the Turkish people are in the minority in Cyprus … we should disregard the feelings of our Turkish allies … That is a travesty of the position taken up by the Labour Party in regard to the Turkish minority. While not agreeing that a minority should rule the roost or claim absolute equality with the majority, I myself, in speaking on this subject, have claimed over and over again that the Turks should have the fullest guarantees of their rights in every aspect of their community life; that they should have proportionate representation in the Legislative Assembly, and that they should have a proportionate number of portfolios in any Cyprus Government which is set up. In fact, I have gone further, and said that if it were felt to be desirable, I saw no objection, in the first stage of the Cyprus Government, to asking the United Nations to appoint a Minority Commissioner, so that we could be absolutely certain that in no respect at all was there any violation or infringement of the rights of the Turkish minority. So that to represent the Labour Party as saying that their view is that we should "disregard the feelings of our Turkish allies" is a travesty.

I also notice that the noble Lord said: … the Turkish … Cypriot representatives have — behaved with commendable dignity and restraint … the Turks … have not … sought to build up propaganda for their case … they have not shouted their case from the housetops. I cannot help feeling that there has been some failure to bring to the attention of the noble Lord a propaganda sheet which is being issued by the leader of the Turks in Cyprus. I do not know how often it appears, but it is sent to me regularly. I do not know whether the noble Lord has seen it.


My Lords, will the noble Lord forgive me for interrupting, but again he has taken what I said slightly out of context. Obviously there is nothing in terms of the vicious propaganda which is being conducted by Athens Radio. I know about the propaganda sheet, but one cannot compare it, in size or anything else, with Athens Radio.


I do not see that that meets the point I am making. I look at this sheet very carefully, because I am interested in the position of the Turkish Cypriots, and I see that this paper which is being published by the Turkish leader is full of grossly exaggerated demands. It continuously and with deliberate intention exacerbates the situation by inflaming national feelings, which for so many years happily had no place in the life of Cyprus. I am not prepared to say that it is as bad or as violent as the Greek propaganda that is issued, but I do say that it makes nonsense of the statement that the Turks have not sought to build up propaganda and have not shouted their case from the housetops.

I confess my surprise at what seems to me to be the subservience of the Government to Turkish views. It seems to me that the Government, while saying that we must try to get a settlement by general agreement, have agreed only with the Turks. It is the Turks who have had their way. The Government have accepted the Turkish view on points at issue. The noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, says: The gap between our Greek and Turkish allies is too wide to be bridged. It certainly will not be bridged by his saying: It does not matter if Turkey is strategically right or strategically wrong. The fact is that the Government hold, or at any rate appear to hold, the view that the Turkish view must prevail, that a minority must have its way. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury said: Any settlement must convince the Turks that change as the result of self-determination could be achieved without injury to the interests of the Turkish community. They have had repeated assurances to that effect, but they do not accept them, as I have pointed out earlier in my remarks.

My noble friend Lord Listowel has said, with complete truth: I think it is perfectly clear that Turkey will not agree either to self-determination or even to self-government for Cyprus. The Turkish paper I have mentioned certainly confirms that point of view of the noble Earl, Do the Government accept that position, that the Turkish point of view must prevail? If they do, let me tell them, with great respect, that they must give up hope of getting a settlement in Cyprus. I can see no substantial reason for submitting to Turkish pressure in this matter. I do not believe that any real danger to Turkey would result from Greek ownership of Cyprus, and I do not think that another country should dictate our policy, especially when it is doing so on behalf of a minority.

In that respect, I hope that the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, will not mind if I say that, while paying, great attention to the speech which he made on July 25, I do not fee that I can endorse the proposal that this matter should go to N.A.T.O. I do not feel that I can endorse it for several reasons, which I hope the noble Earl will feel have some substance in them. To begin with, I think that we really must do our own washing. With our centuries of experience of colonial rule, and with the genuine wish of our people behind the Government for a general settlement in Cyprus, I do not think we ought to have to go elsewhere for advice in this matter. In any case, I am not sure what jurisdiction N.A.T.O. has in the Middle East. I am not sure if the Middle East falls within N.A.T.O.'s sphere of responsibility. But I believe that to begin referring such questions to N.A.T.O. might well be the end of N.A.T.O., which was designed and organised and exists as a defensive precaution against Russia. If N.A.T.O. is to be called in to settle vexed political problems, it would have to give a decision in this case between two members—Greece and Turkey—and whatever decision it gave, it would probably result in one or other of the countries leaving N.A.T.O. I do not think that this is a matter which could properly be referred to N.A.T.O.

My concluding thoughts are these. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, agrees that Cyprus is now a Foreign Office affair. When the present Prime Minister succeeded Sir Winston Churchill, a French commentator said that a genius had been succeeded by a diplomat. We need not worry too much about that; what matters is whether the diplomat's diplomacy is good and, above all, whether it is successful. When I look at British foreign policy to-day, and its results. I feel that the Foreign Secretary is a sort of Nanki Poo, going about all over the world singing, A wandering minstrel I, a thing of shreds and patches. In all too many respects that is what British foreign policy is at the present moment. If Cyprus is an affair of the Foreign Office now, the Foreign Office has produced no policy for Cyprus which offers any hope of success. I think that that is because the Government are making two fatal mistakes. They are giving way too much to Turkish opinion, and they are believing that they can by- pass the Archbishop. Those are the two rocks upon which I feel British foreign policy is impaled at the present moment.

In my view—I can give only my opinion; and no doubt others have different opinions—they will be forced in the end to negotiate with the Archbishop, or they will have to abandon any hope of a settlement and continue to rely upon force. I confess, that I have long doubted—and I have said so in your Lordships' House—whether the Government can reverse their policy in Cyprus. I believe they are too deeply committed to their mistakes; that they have "dug in" too firmly in their wrong course; and I hold the opinion—I do not say this from a Party point of view—that only with a change of Government in this country shall we be able to make a new approach to the problem in Cyprus. I understand the mirth of the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, at that remark, but, as I say, I do not say it from a Party point of view, but from the point of view of getting a settlement in Cyprus.

The Government reject all advice which is given them. The noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, merely reiterates the idea of the elimination of violence; of Lord Radcliffe's Mission; of accepting the principle of self-determination, for what that is worth; and he always says that suggestions which have been made will he carefully considered. But there has never been the ghost of a sign anywhere of any result of that consideration leading to anything. The fact is that Government policy in Cyprus has now become a military policy; the idea of any political policy has been put into deep-freeze. I have always held the view, while holding the present Governor in the greatest respect as a soldier, that the appointment of a military Governor was a mistake.

What are the prospects of that so-called policy? If the Government suppress terrorism, no automatic solution will follow. It will be a long time before they succeed, and sparks will continue to fly long after they have suppressed the main conflagration—if, indeed, they succeed in doing so. The moderates will not appear, and the Archbishop will still be there, with the Church behind him. I recall that when, in a speech, I protested against the exiling of the Archbishop, I said that the Government were in a cul-de-sac, in Cyprus and were running their heads up against a brick wall. To that the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, replied that, on the contrary, far from their being in a cul-de-sac, the Government had removed a road block. I thought that rather below the form of the noble Marquess, because it is an extraordinary thing to remove a road block with the result that the traffic immediately stops. The traffic will not begin to circulate again until the Government have replaced this road block which they pride themselves on having removed.

Why cannot the Government negotiate with Archbishop Makarios? We are told that it is because the Archbishop is a bad character. But the noble Marquess, Lord Salisbury, has said that we always knew he was a bad character; and, in fact, I myself said in this House that he was a had character. Apparently we cannot negotiate with Nasser, because he is untrustworthy. We are getting "choosey" about whom we will negotiate with. But Khruschev—there is a fellow one can deal with: his hands are not dripping with blood; he has never shed any innocent blood; he has never told a lie; he is a good husband and good father, a pillar of the Church and a member of the Sons of Temperance. There is the sort of man we can negotiate with, but not with these other gentlemen; they are the "untouchables" of the British Foreign Office.

The policy of Her Majesty's Government is an affair of mistakes, of illogicalities, of a refusal to face facts; and, above all, it is a record of failure and of no progress failure in a matter in which public opinion is against them, and where world opinion is against them, too. Where is the support outside the ranks of the Conservative Party for the policy which the Government are pursuing in Cyprus today? What robs that policy of any hope of success is the fact that the Government are not living in the world of today, but largely in a world which has passed away for ever. Whatever other criticisms may be made against the Labour Party—and like most other human institutions it is far from perfect—


Hear, heara


Of course, perfection comes from the opposite Benches—the Labour Party holds the allegiance of great numbers of people, because it does understand that we are in a new world, where the old slogans have no more potency. That is why I believe that we are a safe guide in Cyprus, and not Her Majesty's Government. If the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, finds it so amusing, I look forward to listening to his defence of the Government policy in Cyprus, and to his account of what progress is being made there. I beg to move for Papers.

11.47 a.m.


My Lords, I am not the least surprised at the speech which the noble Lord, Lord Winster, has just made. It is typical of the sort of speech we had to listen to yesterday, and I should think that if anything w ill give a boost to the terrorists in Cyprus it will be their reading of that speech. The noble Lord spent most of his time in attacking my noble friend Lord Lloyd, and I will leave it to my noble friend to answer the many queries put to him. The noble Lord, Lord Winster, began by criticising the administering of certain punishments by the Government on the terrorists, and he referred to the types of punishment, such as hanging, flogging and so on. Does the noble Lord support the terrorist campaign? It certainly looks to me as if he is in favour of letting the terrorists get away with it altogether. I should like an answer to that question.


Certainly. As so often happens, the noble Lord has misunderstood what I said. I did not criticise the punishments. I held out a list of the punishments and enumerated them, and I said that that list must make everybody hope for a settlement in Cyprus. I spoke of it as a melancholy list of punishments, as it is, but I did not utter one word of criticism about them.


Naturally I accept what the noble Lord has just said. I think the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, would be the one to answer my next question. Was it not during his term of office that there was a question of self-determination and self self-government for Cyprus, to which his Government would not agree? Am I right in that? May I have an answer to that? I do not know whether the noble Earl heard what I said.


If the noble Lord wants to ask me a question, I think it should be in more specific terms as to exactly when and where.


I am sorry the noble Earl does not remember it, but I have a shrewd suspicion that that was the case. The noble Lord, Lord Winster, referred to the question of whether these diaries were forgeries or not. I take it that that is what he meant. He rather intimated that there was some possibility or probability that the diaries which have been recently discovered were forgeries.


My Lords, may I say that if the noble Lord is going to make these remarks, I think it is a great pity that he does not listen to what is said, or a greater pity still if he listens but cannot understand what is said. I was at the greatest pains to say that I had complete confidence in the good faith of the Colonial Office in this matter, and that I regarded Mr. Lennox-Boyd as a man who was incapable of putting anything out if he was not personally convinced of the truth of it.


I am glad to hear that. Then the noble Lord does not question the reliability of the diaries?


No. But I would be glad if the noble Lord would hear these things when they are said, and not afterwards.


I fail to understand what the noble Lord means, and I do not think anybody else understands it either. With regard to the question of the Cypriots and their support of the Archbishop, did we not have a very sad case the other day of a young lady who came over here and broadcast? She was a Cypriot who had lost her family. Very shortly after she had told us why she had come over here—her fiance had been murdered and her uncle was murdered. The noble Lord said something about the Arab States objecting to French troops being in Cyprus. Of course, noble Lords opposite always say that the Government have no support from people in this country. I believe the Government have complete support for what they are doing in Cyprus from all the people in this country, particularly those who have their sons and other people connected with them out there, who are trying to get rid of the terrible tragedy that is going on there.

I am sorry that I shall not have an opportunity of asking a question of a certain noble Lord as to whether, in view of these diaries, his opinion of Archbishop Makarios has not altered. But, surely, the noble Lord who has just spoken appreciated that Archbishop Makarios was removed from Cyprus by the Governor for reasons of which none of us has full knowledge. The Governor has stood up to a difficult situation, which I do not think has been made any better by the noble Lord's speech. Only the other day the actions of another priest were found to be detrimental to the chances of getting a settlement, and I understand he was arrested.


My Lords, it is really practically impossible to carry on a debate in this way. This is the last time, whatever the provocation, that I shall interrupt the noble Lord. But what I said about the Archbishop was that we need not think that the publication of these diaries will in any way weaken his influence with the Church in Cyprus, or diminish the respect of the Greek Cypriots for him. That is what I believe and hold to.


I thank the noble Lord for his further explanation. Now the noble and learned Lord, Lord Radcliffe, went over there, and it was explained why he went and what he was to do. He completed his tour and came back here. No doubt some results will follow from that very able man's investigations into this sorry matter. The noble Lord, Lord Winster, did not say, but rather intimated, I thought, that Cyprus was not, as far as I understood it, one of the world's centres of defence against general aggression. Of course, the word "Colony" is anathema to noble Lords opposite. It is not just a simple question of a Colony; it is an important centre of defence against aggression, and we have great responsibilities in that regard.

I am glad that my noble friend, Lord Lloyd, was able to disabuse the minds of the Opposition regarding propaganda, in that the propaganda from Athens for a long time has been perfectly appalling and cannot in any way be compared with the propaganda from Turkey. I am sorry the noble Lord, Lord Winster, does not like criticism of what he said. I have every right to hold my own opinion and to draw his attention to certain impressions on my mind as a result of what he said, and also certain impressions that I have that what he said would be a help to those who are not in favour of a settlement in this very serious situation. I hope that when he thinks over what he said and reads it, he will come to the conclusion that perhaps it would have been just as well if he had not spoken at all.

11.57 a.m.


My Lords, whether we agree or disagree, like the noble Lord, Lord Teviot, with the views expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Winster, we all respect his long personal experience of Cyprus in the position that gave him a unique knowledge of every section of the community, and we are grateful to him for giving us the opportunity of debating the matter to-day. I think your Lordships will agree that events of very great significance have happened in Cyprus since the House rose at the beginning of August. We are therefore obliged to the Government for giving us this opportunity, at our request, to review the important events that have taken place, and to express our opinions about fresh developments in Government policy.

We should also like to ask the Government—I have given the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, notice that I wish to ask some questions—for further information about their intentions in regard to the future. I should like, if I might, without wearying your Lordships, to remind the House about some of the things that have happened since we rose for the Recess. Your Lordships will remember that in the middle of August the E.O.K.A. leader ordered his followers to suspend their operations against us. This was the start of an eleven days' truce in Cyprus—the first peaceful interlude for the past eighteen months. When this began, Sir John Harding, the Governor, stated that he hoped that the situation might prove a turning point in the history of Cyprus, and a message of encouragement was. I think, sent to Cyprus by the Prime Minister. That gives us some idea of the importance which both the Governor and the Prime Minister attached to the opening of the truce in Cyprus.

I am sure that everyone, both here and in Cyprus, hoped that this truce might indeed be a turning point in the history of the Island. That depended on how we reacted to it. In our view on this side of the House, the truce should, in any event, have been regarded as an opportunity to reopen negotiations, which might have led to a friendly settlement. It satisfied—I am sure the noble Lord opposite will agree about this—the main condition laid down by the Government for the reopening of negotiations, namely, the ending of violence. If the noble Lord will be patient with me I will qualify what I am saying in a way that I think he wants me to. Of course no-one expected an immediate initiative on the part of the Government to reopen negotiations: that clearly would have been reasonable. It was not unreasonable for the Government to wait for a short time, for two or three weeks, say, to make sure that the truce was the genuine article and that violence was not going to start again, either with or without the consent of the E.O.K.A. leaders.

But the Government refused to wait, even for a very short period of time, because, as it appears to us, they were not primarily interested in a negotiated settlement. The truce could have been made an opportunity of this kind, an opportunity for conciliation with Cyprus, and used for a fresh attempt to secure a political agreement. But the Government were determined to use the truce not to reopen negotiations but as a means of crushing the rebels in Cyprus. I Instead of announcing, as they might have done right at the start, that, if the truce proved genuine, talks would begin with Cypriot leaders, Sir John Harding was instructed by the Government to publish his terms for the surrender of E.O.K.A. These terms were not unreasonable if they had been addressed to defeated men. As your Lordships will remember, the guerrilla fighters were asked to give themselves up, with their arms and ammunition, and they would then have a choice of returning to Greece, if Greece would receive them, or indefinite imprisonment in Cyprus. Only those would be prosecuted who could be charged with crimes of violence against the person. Those, roughly, were the terms that were offered. But, unfortunately, the E.O.K.A. rebels did not feel in the least as though they were defeated, and were not at all in the mood for unconditional surrender. Their reply to this offer was "Come and take us," and a threat to end the truce unless the demand was withdrawn.

Looking back on these events, I think we are entitled to blame the Government for two serious mistakes of policy, one in the field of politics, the other in the conduct of the military operations in Cyprus. The first and most fatal mistake was not to use the suspension of violence to try again for a political settlement, and to wait and see whether such an effort could not safely be made. The second mistake, that in the field of military operations, was to ask for unconditional surrender at a time when the rebels were very far from accepting defeat. There must be something extremely wrong with military and police intelligence in Cyprus. I hope that that matter will be looked into, because the capacity of the rebels to continue their resistance appears to have been seriously underestimated. The complete lack of realism in this demand for surrender is shown by the fact That not only did no-one surrender—not one man has come in, and the surrender offer ended last night—but the E.O.K.A. leader was able to retaliate by terminating the truce. As we are all sadly aware, arson, murder and attempted murder are now again daily incidents in the life of Cyprus.

There is one other event, to which the noble Lord, Lord Winster referred, which happened during the truce period that I think should not be passed over without comment, and that is the publication by the Government of extracts from the captured diaries of E.O.K.A. leaders. The authenticity of these diaries has been challenged in Greece and Cyprus, but will assume, with the Government (I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Winster, that we attribute the utmost good faith to the Government in this matter), that they are genuine. Nevertheless I regard their publication at this moment, when most people are still hoping that we may start negotiations with the Cypriot leaders, not perhaps immediately but as soon as the position makes it possible, as another grave error of political judgment, because now it will clearly be impossible for the Government to negotiate, or even to discuss with Archbishop Makarios the Radcliffe Constitution.

As the noble Lord, Lord Winster, has rightly pointed out, whatever we may think in this country there is no doubt that most of the Cypriots still regard the Archbishop as their leader; and no Constitution will work in Cyprus without the popular backing that his approval would give. Whatever we may think, Archbishop Makarios is a national hero in Cyprus, and the disclosures that have been made certainly have not altered the regard that is felt for him by his own followers. It is no use thinking that we can put him into cold storage, so to speak, and get a workmanlike Constitution. We cannot do it. The Government seem to have learnt nothing from the lesson of Ireland. They have forgotten, as the noble Lord, Lord Winster, pointed out, that in the end we had to negotiate a settlement with the Sinn Fein leaders, in spite of their record of violence against us and many of their fellow Irishmen.

The timing of the disclosure of these extracts from the Grivas diaries has a bearing on the Government's motives for publication. I hope the noble Lord will tell me if I am wrong. These extracts were published shortly before the ending of the truce by the E.O.K.A. leader. It therefore looks as if the Government were anxious to avoid being blamed by public opinion, here or in Cyprus, for the resumption of violence because they refused to take the opportunity to reopen negotiations. The object appeared to many people to be to put the blame squarely on E.O.K.A., by showing that the Archbishop was a bad man with whom no self-respecting Government could deal. I venture to think that, if that is the case, the Government appear to be much more interested in their own prestige than in a settlement in Cyprus.

I should like to ask the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, one or two questions about the Grivas diaries. I apologise to the noble Lord, Lord Winster, for I unfortunately missed the first few sentences of his speech and I do not know whether he has covered these points. However, I should like to ask the Government whether, since only certain passages in these diaries chosen by the Government have hitherto been published, they would make available, in translation of course, the whole of these diaries, or as many of them as have been captured. If so, can a copy be placed in the Library of your Lordships' House? I know that they are very long, but it would be interesting for us to be able to see in their context some of the passages that have been quoted. Apart from that, it seems to me only fair to those who have been incriminated by the publication of these diaries that the whole of the evidence should now be disclosed—and more so in view of the fact that the Government do not intend to put on trial in a court of law those who have been incriminated.

The result of this failure on the part of the Government to take advantage of the truce in Cyprus is that we are now confronted by an even more difficult situation in the island than we had earlier in the summer. Acts of violence are reported almost every day, and the Cypriot population are even more bitter and anti-British, because, whatever we may say and whatever the merits of the case are, they attribute the return of violence to British policy. Your Lordships will notice from The Times this morning that the British community in Cyprus are becoming acutely critical of the failure of the authorities to cope with this terrorism: in the view of The Times correspondent terrorism is getting worse, and there is no improvement there. I am afraid that in this atmosphere it will be even more difficult than it has been in the past to get a settlement in Cyprus based on the Radcliffe Constitution.

I am sure the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, will believe me when I say that I have made these criticisms only because I have been responsible in my time for our colonial policy. I am deeply anxious that our policy in Cyprus should be as successful as it has been in most other parts of our Colonies; and it is for that reason, and not for any Party reason, that have criticised what the Government have done.

My Lords, to my mind, the one ray of hope in this really tragic situation is the prospect of success for Lord Radcliffe in the task of preparing an acceptable Constitution for the island. No one, I am sure, on either side of the House, doubts that Lord Radcliffe himself will execute brilliantly whatever instructions in this matter are given him by the Government. But whether or not he succeeds in drafting a Constitution acceptable to the Cypriots, and which can be worked by the Cypriot population, must depend on the policy of the Government, both at this stage and after the draft Constitution has been completed. At the moment, I think we are very much in the dark about Government policy, and I should like to ask the noble Lord who is to reply some questions, of which I have given him notice. His reply will enable us to judge whether the Government are, in fact, giving Lord Radcliffe a reasonable chance of success in the affair, on which everything, from the point of view of the long-term future of Cyprus, depends.

First of all, I would ask the noble Lord whether we can be told if Lord Radcliffe has now been given his terms of reference; and if so, what they are. The fact that those terms of reference would be given when Lord Radcliffe returned from his visit was disclosed, but we do not know whether the terms reference—policy directives—have been given to him. We do not know, of course, whether the Government feel in a position to disclose them if they have been given, but I hope that these terms of reference about the broader outline of the Constitution will at least include three things: a Greek-speaking elected majority in the Legislature, adequate safeguards for the Turkish minority, and no limitation of powers for the new Cypriot Government incompatible with the management of its domestic affairs. This last point is all-important. because I am certain that we shall wreck this Constitution if we allow a misguided view of our own strategic considerations to make a mockery of internal self-government for Cyprus.

The second question I should like to ask is this. Can the noble Lord say whether Lord Radcliffe is returning to Cyprus in the near future, as has been reported in the Press; and if so, what will be the precise purpose of this second visit? Is it merely to collect information, which I understand was the object of his previous visit, or is it to discuss with people on the spot the proposed Constitution, or proposals that he has made in the draft, so far as it has gone?

My next question to the noble Lord is this—I am afraid I did not give him notice of it. but I am sure that it is a matter that he has considered and that he will be able to answer. Will the Government be willing to try again to persuade Ankara that the Turkish Cypriots should be told, or invited, by their own Government, at least to give way about self-government for Cyprus? I am not talking of course, of self-determination, which is a matter much more difficult for the Turks to accept: I am talking only about internal self-government. As the noble Lord, Lord Winster, pointed out, up to now the Turks have been equally obdurate about self-government and self-determination. I hope that another diplomatic approach will be made. But if this effort is made—if the noble Lord asks the Foreign Office to do this and it is done—and the effort fails, I hope that the Government will not allow a minority, whose rights will obviously be protected by law under the new Constitution, to stand in the way of self-government.

My final question is this. I know that the Government believe, I am sure, sincerely, that moderate leaders will spring up in Cyprus as soon as violence is stamped out. We think it highly improbable that such people will come forward. If they do appear, I think it is pretty certain that these moderate leaders will be men of straw. I am sure the Government will agree that no-one can foresee now whether or not this will happen. But let us assume that the Government are thinking about the future and are planning their policy, as they should do. Supposing the Government are mistaken, and there is, in fact, no-one with whom to negotiate, what happens next? Will they impose a Constitution on Cyprus? It is quite clear that if they did not impose it, it would become a dead letter, even if the offer were technically kept open, as has been the case in regard to earlier Constitutions.

I think that if the Government reflect on these three possible courses —negotiation with men of straw, imposition, or complete failure to restore parliamentary government in Cyprus. they will see that the only course of action ultimately will be to negotiate with the representative leaders of the Cypriot people. I am sure that it will have to come back to that in the long run. I am sorry that it has been made more difficult by recent policy, I should like to impress upon the Government that, in the long run, coercion is no substitute for agreement. It is because we think it possible that the Government have made an insufficient effort for agreement in the past six weeks that we are expressing this criticism now. And it is because we all want a settlement in Cyprus, and because, whatever our personal views may be, it does not appear that there is likely to be a General Election in the near future—no-one can foresee the outcome of a General Election—that we devoutly hope the Government will put the major emphasis of their policy for Cyprus on securing a political settlement.


My Lords, before the noble Earl sits down, as he has asked a number of questions may I ask whether he means the House to understand that he considers that coping with terrorism is exactly the same thing as surrendering to it completely?


No: certainly not. I am obliged to the noble Earl for his question. Coping with terrorism is putting an end to it. But what I have urged is all the more necessary because, the surrender offer has been a complete failure and not one terrorist has surrendered.

12.17 p.m.


My Lords. I had no intention of taking part in this debate, but I came to listen to it as the situation in Cyprus is one in which naturally I feel the deepest interest; and as I listened to the noble Lord the mover to the Motion I felt that it was imperative that someone—some Back-Bencher preferably—should rise and comment specifically on some of the statements and the assertions which he made. I made some notes as he went along and I think I have them correctly.

To begin with, he spoke about the difference of mentality in approach. Of course, I would not deny a difference of mentality in approach, but I greatly deplore his statement that this was essentially a Party question and that there was this difference on the one side of Socialist mentality arid on the other of Conservative mentality. Without myself being a Conservative, I can only say that my mentality, which I suppose has been influenced by a lifetime of experience in colonial administration, and of trouble as well as peace in colonial Administrations, rejects completely the approach which was made by the noble Lord the mover of this Motion.

One part of his approach to this question which I deplored was the use of synonyns—he referred to the Archbishop, always as "the militant priest." The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, also referred to the Archbishop, and stressed the fact that he was a national hero among the Cypriots. That does not matter to me essentially. What does matter to me and my approach to this question is that he is little better than a multiple murderer. We were told by the noble Lord, Lord Winster, that the Grivas diary made practically no difference and that it tells us nothing we did not already know. I believe that is over-stressing the position a little, because surely what the Grivas diary did was to destroy forever the very prevalent opinion, which was strongly held in some places, that Archbishop Makarios was a moderate leader and that one could negotiate with him on that basis. In passing, the noble Lord deplored the fact that French troops had been allowed to land in Cyprus. May I again deplore this mental approach. Why is it so wrong that, for reasons which have been gone into over the last two days, none of which I shall recapitulate, we should afford to one of our Allies the simple facilities which a friendly Administration might be expected to afford to another from whom, in certain emergency situations, it might expect help?

The noble Lord criticised the manner of dealing with the truce offer. What was wrong with the way in which it was dealt with? The terms which were offered to the guerrillas, or rebels, or whatever one may like to call them, were surely perfectly reasonable. They were defeated men, as we all know. Let us abandon these pretences. We know very well that the truce offer would not have been made except under the mental duress of knowing that they were losing, that they were fighting a losing fight and that opinion was turning against them. The next thing I wish to deplore in the speech of the noble Lord was his reference to the moderates. I do not want to use offensive words, but my first inclination was to describe his reference to them as a covert sneer. He asked, "If there are moderates why do they not come forward?" Again, why cover up the truth in this way? The noble Lord must know as well as I do that more than half of the men who have been murdered in Cyprus have been Cypriots—their own fellow countrymen. Why were they murdered? Because they were moderate men who would not subscribe to murder, that method which was becoming prevalent. I think it is therefore regrettable that one should not state these facts in all their naked and unpleasant truth.

Again it is asked: Why must we pay so much attention to the Turks and their attitude? Surely, it is said, the Greek Government, or the Cypriot Government when it became independent and therefore presumably Greek, could be trusted to deal with them and there could be adequate safeguards. Do let us again look at the facts. What are the facts of Western Thrace and the Dodecanese and the way in which the Turks have been treated by the Greek Government for undertaking to give to the Greeks a fair deal such as they themselves have not had? I am going no further than that. but at least it is a position which ought to be taken into account. We ought to try to understand the attitude of the Turks. Nationalism and self-determination are all very well, but when they are used by another Power as a means for territorial aggression—and that is what Greece is doing—there must surely be some limit set and we must take into account this perversion of what might otherwise be a very good principle.

The noble Lord, Lord Winster, made reference to what he called "this Turkish propaganda sheet." I also have seen that sheet and cannot subscribe to the accusation that it contains gross exaggerations, and so on. I thought it an extremely fair attempt to bring before an ignorant public—and most of us in this country are relatively ignorant of these things—the true facts which so greatly affect the situation. There is no gross exaggeration in constantly reiterating that Cyprus is forty-three miles from Turkey and commands the southern ports of Turkey whereas Greece is 700 miles away; or that Cyprus in the past was for 350 years a possession of Turkey and that never in modern or past history has it been a part of Greece. Surely those are things which should be understood. Trying to understand the Turkish in this way is surely not yielding to Turkish pressure; it is allowing the facts of the situation to be taken into proper consideration.

The noble Lord who moved this Motion said that though this was not a Party view, in order to get a proper attitude towards the situation in Cyprus there had to be a change of Government in this country. One is getting accustomed to this habit of first of all saying something and then contradicting it in the next sentence. Of course, we can get a settlement of any difficulty at any time if we are willing to surrender to murder, to abandon our friends and jettison all the principles in which we have been brought up. Of course we can get a settlement, and I would never deny it. But I should not have thought that any great Party would like to have it stated that those are the principles, that that is the difference in mentality, and that they are willing to compromise in any circumstances. There must somewhere be a point at which we stand and say we will not compromise. I personally have never been able to view with equanimity the idea of negotiating with men whose hands, as the noble Lord the mover said, are "dripping with blood". I do not think one should negotiate with murderers, whether it be in Cyprus, in Kenya, or, for that matter, in Malaya. That is a principle on which I have always stood.

The point in the noble Lord's statement which I thought was most wrongheaded was the suggestion that what was happening to Cyprus today was military policy, not political policy. Who got us into this mess in Cyprus? Was it not the politicians and the civil servants? The situation is that Her Majesty's Government have to call in a distinguished soldier and then let him stand there and have all these things said about him; and even the noble Earl, Lord Listowel, prefers to take the word of the correspondent of The Times rather than that of the Field-Marshal who is doing this difficult job. I deplore this attitude. As noble Lords may know, I have snent quite a part of my life in responsible positions throughout the Empire and I have always said to soldiers and sailors: "When I have to call in your heir, it means that I have failed and that there is a breakdown of the civil administration." And that is what we have been seeing so much in modern times: we have been seeing the breakdown of law and order and of civil administration. And at least part of the blame for that must be directly attributed to the spreading of undigested principles by noble Lords and others (I do not mean noble Lords in person) who occupy positions in the Party of the Opposition. This reckless irresponsibility is a thing which I think one must deplore.

The noble Lord, Lord Winster, said that the trouble was that the Government refused to face facts. It is so difficult to argue or to debate on those lines. because what the Government are doing is precisely that: they are facing facts. What I so deplore about the conduct of people whose honesty I do not for a moment doubt—as in the case of the noble Lord the mover of the Motion—is that they think that a slogan evolved in the study is a substitute for some knowledge of how to apply good principles to human relations. And I would again deplore the statement made concerning the Conservative Party. The Conservative Party should be left out of this I, personally, would put on the other side against the noble Lord men who have some practical experience of administration and of responsibility in this world, in whatever walk of life.

There is a tendency in some quarters to say that those who differ from you are slaves of old slogans which have passed out of date. I am not ashamed to say that I still believe in some of the old slogans, some of the slogans which up-hold loyalty and honesty and standing up regardless of opposition for what one thinks one knows to be right. Surely that is the final test. There are some things in that connection upon which you cannot reasonably and decently compromise, Whether you arc an individual or a I earnestly urge this upon the House and upon the noble Lord, the mover of the Motion. Lord winster's experience in Cyprus, whatever may have been his previous experience in that type of administration, must have brought home to him that the things we stand for —I hope I shall not have to say "the things we stood for"—mean a great deal not only in Cyprus but throughout the world. And it is deplorable that in dealing with these questions in this House there should be a sort of veil drawn over that, and an attempt made (I regret to have to say this) to make Party capital out of difficulties which may be traced back probably to imperfect civil administration. I will not go further into the question of what may have affected that civil administration and made it inefficient.


My Lords, I will not interrupt the noble Lord for more than a moment, but I should like to say just this. He was criticising speeches which have been made from this side of the House. I think he must have misunderstood them, for both Lord Winster and I made it perfectly plain that our criticisms of the Government's policy were not based on Party considerations. They were, to the best of our knowledge and to the best of our ability, objective criticisms of the Government for their past policy.


I would be the last to wish to misjudge the noble Earl, but I was particularly referring to the noble Lord, the mover of the Motion, who specifically said, in so many words, that this is a Party question. I know that the noble Earl did no more than say that in many ways he agreed with the noble Lord, Lord Winster. I would, if I may, express regret that the noble Earl should have thought that I was specifically referring to him.

12.36 p.m.


My Lords, just before the Recess we had a lengthy debate on Cyprus in which the whole of the policy of Her Majesty's Government was discussed and criticised, and therefore one would not normally have expected another debate on this matter so soon. But since then, as noble Lords have pointed out, there have been various developments, and it is these developments which are to a considerable extent the main topic of this debate. Therefore, I shall do my best to deal with those matters and to answer various points raised and questions which have been asked. In the normal way, I should have been content to deal only with the new matters that have occurred since we last discussed Cyprus so recently. But since the mover of the Motion, Lord Winster, has brought into the arena again the whole of the policy of Her Majesty's Government in this connection, a policy of which he did not seem to me entirely to approve —and he suggested, I thought, that on the last occasion I did not make a very good speech—I am afraid I shall have to deal with the whole subject again. I hope that on this occasion I shall make what will be in his view a better speech—though I do not suppose that I shall succeed in doing that. I shall have to say some of the things which I have said before, and perhaps say them rather more strongly than I said them then.

In the first place, I think it was a great pity that the noble Lord should have insisted that this was a Party matter. The noble Lord seemed to think that there was the Socialist Party, modern, streamlined, striding out bravely into a brave new world, and that we on this side were a collection of antiquated fossils, living in some sort of Victorian twilight. Does the noble Lord really think that that is true? He criticised me for saying that we had applied our minds to some facts. Does he not think that it is a good thing to apply one's mind to facts? I must say that it seemed to me a great weakness in his speech that he did not appear to have applied his mind to the whole of the facts of the situation. I agree that it is elementary to apply your mind to these matters but surely that is the first thing to do. I suggest that the noble Lord might start by applying his mind to some of the facts of the situation, for apparently he has not yet done so. As he has not done it, I will do my best to do it for him.

Although the noble Lord tried to make this into a Party issue, I believe that there is no difference between both sides as to the ultimate object which we all wish to achieve. The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, has confirmed that. All shades of opinion in this country are anxious to see a stable and peaceful situation in Cyprus and the Eastern Mediterranean. The question that divides us is how this is to be achieved. It always strikes me, as I listen to noble Lords opposite talking about Cyprus, that they seem to think that there is some magic formula, some easy way of solving the whole of this question, some easy way in which all the people involved—ourselves, the people of Cyprus, both Turks and Greeks, the Governments of Greece and Turkey—can reach a settlement of the Island's affairs. I am not without hope that that may come about. Where I profoundly disagree with noble Lords opposite is with regard to their idea that one can, out of the blue, produce a solution to one of the most complicated problems which I think it has ever been my misfortune to look at.

Of course, as my noble friend has said, one can always produce, or appear to produce, a solution by taking the people who are creating the most trouble at the time and giving them everything they want. That is the easy way out. That is the easy way taken by everyone who wants an easy and a quick solution. But that is not the way to get a real solution. I have no doubt that if we were to give way to the most extreme demands of the terrorists in Cyprus, violence in Cyprus would cease—for a time. But does the noble Lord opposite really think that it would cease for good? And does he not think there might then be a danger of communal riots on the other side? Has he really considered the wider implications of all this problem in the Eastern Mediterranean? It seems to me that he is trying to look at the whole problem as if Cyprus were isolated, which of course it is not.

I should like to state again the views of Her Majesty's Government on the issue of self-determination. They have been frequently stated in the past, but I would repeat them. We do not say that self-determination can never come about, in time, but that we do not believe it to be a practical possibility at present. I do not want to elaborate unnecessarily, because we went fully into this matter in our last debate, but I should like to quote to your Lordships something which was then said by the most reverend Primate the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, who has not been uncritical of Her Majesty's Government in this matter. Talking about reconciliation the most reverend Primate said [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 199 (No. 123), col. 222]: Reconciliation involves leaving alone for the present those things on which agreement is not possible, and concentrating on what admits of agreement. It means accepting facts which cannot yet be changed, and ceasing to argue about them—though, if that advice were taken literally. this debate would end after I had finished speaking. … It seems to me essential to drop, for the time being, all reference to the explosive term 'self-determination', simply because as things are and from the nature of he case there can be no agreement about it yet. The reasons which prevent agreement are known to everybody concerned—to British, Cypriots, Greeks and Turks. These reasons are capable of endless argument and dispute, but at the end they are still there. To bring them for further argument before N.A.T.O. or U.N.O. will not really lead to anything at all except more argument, much frustration and, at the best, some expedient which satisfies nobody. The facts cannot yet be changed. Then let us, in the interests of friendship, leave the subject alone. For the Cypriots, self-determination stands as their sole and final aim. Our Government recognise that, express sympathy with it, but make it clear that, for reasons beyond the control of British or Cypriots alone, it cannot be granted now. Those seem to me to be wise words. We cannot get a solution immediately, though we do not say that we shall not be able to get it eventually, so what is the use of arguing about that now? Let us get on with the things with which we can make progress.


My Lords, I am sure that the noble Lord appreciates that "self-determination now" is not the view of the Labour Party. I am sure that the noble Lord appreciates the policy of the Labour. Party in this matter, which is not in favour of immediate self-determination in Cyprus.


Perhaps I have not applied my mind sufficiently to the policy of the Labour Party. It seems to have changed from time to time. But I accept what the noble Earl says, and will come back to that point later.

It has been said that we shall never get agreement on self-determination. Of course it will not be easy. It will take time, patience and good will on the part of everyone, but it need not be impossible; and I do not believe that it will be impossible, ultimately. What I am certain of is that it will never be achieved if one party insists on demanding everything at once, immediately, and reinforces its demands by violence and terrorism. That, let us face it, has been the policy of E.O.K.A., backed by the Greek Government. I confess that I do not see how any progress is possible in such an atmosphere. The noble Lord, Lord Winster, asks, "Where are the moderates?" He said that if there were any. they were men of conviction and they would come forward. I have the greatest respect for the noble Lord—he was a gallant sailor, and I am sure he is a man of conviction—but if he knew that he was going to be murdered next day, would he come out? That is the situation. Any man who has the courage to get up and say a word different from E.O.K.A. is murdered. How can there be freedom of opinion for moderates? What room is there for compromise in a situation of that kind? That is what we are dealing with, and it is to that problem that the noble Lord should apply his mind.

The noble Lord says that the elimination of terrorism is a sterile military policy. But it is the essence of democracy and freedom. How can we have democracy or freedom, or any development in Cyprus, until we have eliminated terrorism? It seems to be assumed by some people that the activities of the E.O.K.A. command the almost universal support of Greek Cypriots: they represent this as a popular uprising. I do not believe that that is true. We know that the Cyprus terrorists are dominated by a small gang of desperate men, led by Greeks and actuated not by loyalty to Cyprus but by loyalty to Greece. That is the hard core, reinforced by bandits of a type traditional in the Mediterranean—think, for example, of Corsica. Sicily and Crete—desperate men who live on banditry and thrive in conditions of violence and lawlessness. If people really believe that this is a popular uprising, how do they explain the fact that a temporary suspension of terrorist operations on August 16 was greeted with relief and joy by all sections in Cyprus? Greek Cypriots. Turkish Cypriots and British security forces rejoiced together in the streets and cafés at the prospect of the restoration of peace and good will and prosperity. That is a fact, and it is my conviction that the people of Cyprus are heartily sick of violence. I think that it is a tragedy that the truce was so short-lived and that Grivas and his gang did not take advantage of the generous surrender terms offered.

I am quite unashamed to say that I do not believe that progress can be made in this matter until terrorism is eliminated. We shall not abate our efforts to remove the fear and violence which at present darken the lives of the Cypriot people. The noble Lord, Lord Winster, rather scoffingly asks, "What progress are you making?" and pointed out that they had burnt out General Keightley's house. But "one swallow does not make a summer." and one burnt house does not make a successful rebellion. I must ask your Lordships to believe that we are making progress.

I should like now to quote again to your Lordships, in order to give some indication of that fact, because there is no doubt whatsoever, as the noble Lord. Lord Milverton, has said, that this truce offer from E.O.K.A. was not an offer from strength. The Grivas diaries, which are being published, tell us many things besides the correspondence with Archbishop Makarios; and the conclusion reached by Grivas, in his report of June 1, 1956, which appears in the part of the diaries that will be published, makes it clear that he had come to the conclusion that he would not be able to impose a solution by force. He went on to say that nevertheless he was obliged to exploit politically the result of his terrorist activity. I consider that to be a highly significant confession by Grivas. He makes clear that political murder is now being perpetrated in the island by E.O.K.A. for no other purpose than the enforcement of political opinion, in the hope that it will produce pressure that Her Majesty's Government will be unable to resist.

Therefore, I say that we have it quite definitely, not only from that source but from other sources, that the truce offer was conditioned considerably by the fact that the terrorists are losing out, and that they need a breathing space, which they hoped to get, to reorganise. I do not say that that was the only motive, but it was one of the motives behind it. I think it is an indication of the measure of success of the security forces and of the straits in which the terrorists find themselves. It must be remembered that it is not long ago since the terrorist leader himself barely escaped the grasp of the security forces—he lost his Sam Browne, his pistol and part of the famous diaries.

Those diaries (and I will deal with them in a moment) besides confirming our knowledge that Makarios and the Greek political leaders are closely implicated in terrorism, yielded a valuable haul of information about E.O.K.A. organisation and dispositions. I can assure your Lordships that the Governor and the security forces will not be slow to take advantage of that intelligence in future operations. Therefore I tell your Lordships that it is my belief that, provided we here match the skill and courage of the security forces with patience and perseverance, the days of terrorism are numbered. I should like to say once again how much we owe to the security forces, and what a wonderful job they are doing, and to pay tribute to Sir John Harding, who, under most difficult conditions, is doing a grand job with superb courage and, despite what noble Lords opposite say, I think, with great wisdom. As I say, we must eliminate terrorism first.

Then the noble Lord, Lord Winster, asks what is our policy. Well, if you are not immediately going to negotiate with the Archbishop (and I will deal with that point in a moment) the alternative policy is to go ahead with the Constitution, which is what we always said we were going to do. We are going ahead as quickly as we can to produce a Constitution to offer to the Cypriot people. In framing such a Constitution, naturally we should have preferred to have full and frank discussions with all the interests and communities concerned; but, for the reasons which I have already given—for the terrorism, for which it is no good blaming Her Majesty's Government—obviously we cannot have the discussions that we should like to have. However. I think it is quite unreal to think that because you cannot discuss a Constitution with everybody concerned, therefore, you cannot produce a Constitution, or you cannot produce a good Constitution. After all, there are a great many people in Cyprus who know the conditions well, and I do not agree with the noble Lord when he thinks that Lord Radcliffe's journeys out there are futile and fruitless because he cannot discuss or negotiate. I am prepared to say that if the noble and learned Lord had the opportunity, which terrorism has denied him, it would be better, but we must do the best we can. Lord Radcliffe is going out there again, chiefly to make further studies of the matters which he started to investigate last time. Whatever the noble Lord, Lord Winster, may think, I can tell him that Lord Radcliffe does not feel that it is in the least impossible to produce a Constitution in these circumstances.

The noble Earl, Lord Listowel, asked me what Lord Radcliffe's terms of reference are, and I am now in a position to give that information to the House. They are as follows: To make recommendations as to the form of a new Constitution for Cyprus which will be consistent with the following requirements:

  1. (a) that during the period of the Constitution Cyprus is to remain under British sovereignty;
  2. (b) that the use of Cyprus as a base is necessary for the fulfilment by Her Majesty's Government of their international obligations and for the defence of British interests in the Middle East and the interests o other Powers allied or associated with the United Kingdom;
  3. (c) that all matters relating to external affairs. defence and internal security are retained in the hands of Her Majesty's Government or the Governor;
  4. (d) that, subject to this, the Constitution is to be based on the principles of liberal democracy and is to confer a wide measure of responsible self-government on elected representatives of the people of Cyprus but is at the same time to contain such reservations, provisions and guarantees as may be necessary to give just protection to the special interests of the various communities, religions aid races in the island."
Those are Lord Radcliffe's terms of reference and, as I have already mentioned, he is again going out there in a few weeks before making his final recommendations for a Constitution. I believe I was asked how soon the final proposals would be ready. I am afraid that on that point I cannot give much information at the moment, beyond saying that we intend to push ahead with them as fast as we can.

Noble Lords will see from the terms of reference that the Constitution will be a liberal one, and it will, we hope—because it is our intention—give the Cypriots a wide measure of control of their own affairs. I am an optimist; the noble Lord opposite is a pessimist. I hope and believe that, once terrorism is eliminated and a calmer atmosphere prevails—I cannot help but hope this, because it seems to me common sense—the Cypriot people will begin to see how much they have to gain front a Constitution on these lines and how truly their interests lie in the direction of peaceful constitutional advance, and that in such a new atmosphere which may be created, responsible Cypriot leaders will come forward to discuss and help to solve the problems which face them. If we can get this first step back towards sanity, I believe that other things will follow. That is something which we cannot argue about in this House; we either believe it or we do not. The noble Lord opposite says that our policy is feeble and futile and that it has not got a chance of success, but I am afraid that I disagree with him. I think it will take time, and I am certain that it cannot happen without the elimination of terrorism. But I have no doubt that it has a chance of success, and I hope and believe that it will succeed.

Quite apart from the Constitution, I should mention to your Lordships that the Governor is doing his best in other ways to restore order by progress in Cyprus, and on September 1 he announced that, in the light of assurances from governing bodies, all schools which have been closed by official action will reopen. We hope that along these lines we may get forward in that field in which progress is possible. One thing I would say, and in this I echo what has already been said from this side of the House: if only we could persevere and give united support. our chances of success would be much greater. That is why I am so sad about the Party note. It is no good disguising from ourselves that the fact that our counsels here are known to be divided makes the task of the Governor, the Administration, the police and security forces much more difficult and dangerous.

I have restated, without any sense of shame, the views and policy of Her Majesty's Government. I should now like to deal with some of the criticisms which have been expressed by the noble Lord. His main criticism, as I saw it, was that this policy cannot succeed because the people will not accept any solution which is not endorsed by the Archbishop. His view, as I understand it—I do not think I am misrepresenting either of the noble Lords opposite; I think they both took the same view—is that since we have to negotiate with the Archbishop sooner or later, therefore the sooner the better. I think that is a fair representation of their policy. They went on to say—certainly the noble Earl said—that we missed a good opportunity in not seizing upon the recent truce offer by Grivas to resume negotiations with the Archbishop. I think your Lordships ought to consider and apply your minds to the prospects of what such negotiations would have held out.

First, let us consider the truce offer itself. The truce offer was an offer only to suspend E.O.K.A. activities in order that negotiations might be resumed with the Archbishop. There was no question of any renunciation of violence by E.O.K.A. Indeed, it was implicit in the statement that if Her Majesty's Government did not agree to the claims previously put forward by Makarios, violence would be resumed. I am bound to say that, although I take the point of the noble Lords opposite about Ireland, the information that has been gleaned from the Grivas diaries about the Archbishop is hardly of a character to make one any more anxious to negotiate with him.

I have been asked about the diaries, and I think I might deal with the subject. There is no doubt whatsoever about the authenticity of the diaries. They were in two lots and they came into our hands from two separate sources. They were both written in manuscript by the same hand. Those captured in the Troodos hills were found in association with a number of articles, which included a pistol, a Sam Browne belt and a cardigan, which not only appeared identical with those worn by Grivas in the photograph published at that time, but have subsequently been identified as his personal property by captured terrorists associated with him. Furthermore, many captured terrorists have declared the handwriting of the Troodos diaries, and the handwriting of other documents captured from time to time, purported to have been written by Digenis—that is the leader—to be in the hand of Grivas. Since then my right honourable friend has had the diaries subjected to a scientific examination by Doctor Wilson R. Harrison, the Director of a Home Office forensic science laboratory which specialises in the examination of documents. I believe he is the acknowledged expert on document examination, and his report has satisfied my right honourable friend beyond any doubt that the diaries were written by Grivas, the terrorist leader.

If your Lordships accept the diaries—and I think we must accept them then I think it seems perfectly clear that, far from being a passive spectator of E.O.K.A. activities, the Archbishop was in fact one of the directing heads of the organisation, and a man who more than anyone else has been responsible for the tragedy which has befallen Cyprus. Before I leave the subject of the diaries, may I say that the noble Earl asked one or two questions about their publication, and he also asked whether a full text could be made available in the Library. The diaries and the allied documents constitute a vast mass of material—I believe it runs to something like a quarter of a million words. Therefore it: is not possible for Her Majesty's Government to publish the whole text, on that ground alone. We intend to publish extracts, which I understand are about one-fifth of the whole text, and I hope it will be possible to publish those extracts not later than the end of the month. But it is not merely the volume of the diaries which makes the publication of the whole lot impossible; it is the fact that they contain a great deal of information and intelligence which is of operational value. I am sure the noble Earl would not wish to press at this moment for that sort of information to be made public.

Suppose we did overcome our natural reluctance to negotiate with a man who is certainly an accessory to all these murders that have gone on. What I want to ask the noble Lord is, does he think that these negotiations would be any more successful than the previous negotiations? The Archbishop has never renounced violence, nor do we know of any evidence that he has changed his mind or is likely to be satisfied with anything less today than he was before. In fact, there is every reason, I suggest, to suppose that he will demand today at the point of a gun exactly what he demanded previously at the point of a gun. The only hope, I believe, of successful. negotiations with the Archbishop would be to accede to the demands for self-determination, either immediately or at a very early date, which he is almost certain to make. I have already said to noble Lords that the question of self-determination is one which transcends Cyprus: it affects, as we all know, the interests of the Greeks, the Turks and ourselves. I do not wish to pursue all the arguments as to why this self-determination is an impossibility at the present time.


May I interrupt the noble Lord? I am sure he recollects that the Archbishop, in the spring negotiations, was prepared to leave over the question of self-determination. The noble Lord may have fresh information about the Archbishop's views, but I was a little surprised to hear him say that the Archbishop would demand self-determination immediately or in the very near future.


I think it would be more accurate to say that the negotiations did not break down at that time on the issue of self-determination, but on other minor points. The difficulty was that when you tried to get closer to the Archbishop on one particular point, he immediately switched to something else. I think there is every reason to suppose that if you satisfied him on one point, he would then want self-determination now. That is, after all, the proclaimed aim of E.O.K.A.—let us face it. Therefore, I do not think that we can get any further at the present time, until violence has been eliminated, by further negotiations with people who are determined to use violence to insist on getting everything they want. We cannot obtain a solution on the self-determination issue if everybody is going to insist on everything he wants and resort to terrorism to achieve it.

The noble Lord suggested that in this matter we paid too much attention to the Turkish point of view. He said that it was "deplorable" that our policy should be dictated by another country. I do not think that that is a fair representation of the situation. The situation is that previously this part of the world was governed by an international Treaty, the Treaty of Lausanne. The Greeks wish to tear up that Treaty. But it is impossible to tear up Treaties that have governed parts of the world for as long as thirty years, and Treaties that have the merit of universal agreement, without putting something in their place. Therefore, it is no good saying that the Turks should think this or should not. The answer is they do think it, and we have to take account of their views. It is only by persuasion and by diplomatic negotiation, and not by one side insisting on having what it wants at the point of a gun, that it will ever be possible to get an agreement which will settle the Eastern Mediterranean. We must face that fact. Therefore, I believe that negotiations at the present time would achieve nothing.

For all these reasons I am sorry that I cannot agree with the noble Lord, Lord Winster, that our policy is the wrong one. Indeed, it seems to me that the only alternative would be to embark on his policy—which I understand is the easy way: "Give the terrorists what they want and let us hope we shall have peace." I do not believe, however, that that would get peace. On the contrary, I believe that it would create more problems than it would solve. Therefore, if this is a Party matter, as the noble Lord says, I think it is fortunate that it should be handled by those who are prepared to stick up for some of the principles which have made us a great nation and are not prepared always to take the easy way, in the hope of a quick solution.

1.12 p.m.


My Lords, I think the Motion has produced a useful and helpful result in throwing some light upon the attitude of the Government at the present moment. As regards the speeches which have been made, I do not think I need make lengthy reference to that of the noble Lord, Lord Teviot. All I can say to him is that I remember some story—I have not the exact words in my mind—of how, after a Minister in another place in the old days had stated the facts about something, a Member got up and said. "I do not understand the facts." The Minister replied, "I can only tell you the facts; I cannot give you the wits to understand them." It was perfectly clear from Lord Teviot's remarks that he had either not heard or had completely misunderstood the remarks which I made.


May I suggest to the noble Lord that he reads Hansard tomorrow? Then he will see the true gist of my remarks perfectly set out there.


I must reply "Tu quoque"that I hope the noble Lord also will read Hansard tomorrow morning—




—when he will see that he completely misunderstood the three passages in my speech upon which he interrupted me. I do not want to reply in detail to what the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, said but I should like to express to him my deep sense of gratitude for confirming so amply my statement that there is a complete difference between this side of the House and that side in the mentality of the approach to this problem, and also for confirming my statement that there are many people who are still living in a world which has passed away and who judge events by outworn slogans of the past.

Perhaps I may turn now for one or two minutes to what the noble Lord, Lord Lloyd, said. I begin by saying that it is always a great pleasure to debate with the noble Lord, whom I would describe as a happy warrior in debate, who thoroughly enjoys the exchanges. There is never the least malice in what he says; nor does he see malice in his opponent. But I certainly do not think that there is any easy way out of this situation. After all, the noble Lord will remember that I lived at close quarters with it for a very considerable time, and those wider considerations of which he so rightly spoke were my daily preoccupation.

I am quite sure that he will not think that I regard this as an easy problem to settle, but I think he agrees that, for practical purposes, self-determination is "out," at any rate for as far as one can see. As I said in my speech, I think frankness in that matter will be of help. It is just as well to let the people know where they stand in that matter. What I have said on that subject is that, if there is to be self-determination, there should be an indication that it will be at the end of a certain term of years, whatever is thought appropriate, and that the question of that self-determination will be debated, discussed and negotiated between a British Government and a Cyprus Government. I feel that in some way we must give a little precision to this statement that some day, some time, we will discuss negotiation. That is the suggestion I would make.

As regards the moderates, may I again remind the noble Lord that, at a time when there was no fear of murder at all, no moderates came forward. It is true that we had some Greek Cypriots on the Executive Council, but they, of course, were uneasy, and I think some of them resigned before the terrorists' campaign began. At any rate, the fact remains that, when the Island was peaceful and there was no terrorism, I never could get a "squeak'' out of any moderate in support of the proposals which I was putting forward on behalf of the Government. I am very grateful for what we have heard about the Grivas diaries. I think I have made it abundantly clear that I have never questioned the good faith of the Colonial Office or the Colonial Secretary, but while it is the case that the diaries have now been examined by a Home Office expert, I feel that the critics of their authenticity will say: "Oh yes, but he is in the same box with you." I wonder whether the idea of that Home Office expert being assisted by any outside and impartial expert was ever considered. I merely throw out that suggestion because I am so anxious that there should be no opening for criticising the authenticity for which the Government have vouched.

I was asked, why should new negotiations he any more successful than the old ones? Those negotiations, if I understand it aright. broke down on the question of the majority in the Legislative Assembly, not on the question of self-determination, I must say at once that I never could understand why that should have been a point of conflict. In view of the numerical superiority of the Greek Cypriot community in the Island, if there was to he an elected Legislative Assembly, it followed automatically that there would be a Greek Cypriot majority in the Legislative Assembly.


On a point of fact, I think the noble Lord is not quite accurate. My own recollection is that it was much more on the question of amnesty, and on one or two other matters, on which, primarily the negotiations broke down. But the real reason, surely, why the negotiations broke down was that as soon as we got to finality on any one of the subjects we were discussing, the Archbishop immediately switched to something else; he said, "Now, that it is fine, and therefore I must have this." There was no chance at all of any finality in the negotiations. It was on that, rather than on the specific detail which was being discussed, that the negotiations broke down. It was felt that we could never reach any final conclusion with the Archbishop.


I recollect that that was said. It was said by the noble Marquess and, without splitting hairs, I say that that is a very common feature of many, many negotiations which take place. But, at any rate, I would have removed one obstacle to agreement where I think we were on bad ground. I do not see how we could justly resist that claim of a Greek Cypriot majority in an elected Legislative Assembly. I would have got that out of the way, and then, if the Archbishop had shifted to other ground, he would have shifted to other ground and we should have had a good excuse for breaking off negotiations. But I think that was a slight pity.

As regards Turkey, all I say, quite briefly, is that there is a good deal of evidence (I agree that I cannot substantiate it at this moment) to show that there were certain proposals which the Government had it in mind to put forward. Soundings were taken with the Turks, and as a result of those soundings those proposals were either not put forward or were withdrawn. If that is true, I think that I am pretty well justified in what I have said—namely, that our policy in this matter has largely been determined by the Turks. Of course, I quite agree with what has been said about persuasion and negotiation and agreement with the Turks. The matter must be gone through with the Turks, but it must be gone through with the Greeks in equal measure.

My Lords, what it boils down to is this. I said that I thought we were in a position to ask for a progress report. We have heard from the noble Lord that there is progress in the campaign against terrorism, but that still leaves unanswered my point, that even if we entirely suppress terrorism, how much nearer have we got to a settlement, if we are trying to get it without the Archbishop? Progress has been made in the drafting of the Constitution by Lord Radcliffe. Again, I say, when we have got that Constitution drafted, how much nearer are we to getting it accepted, in face of opposition by the Archbishop? The people will still do what the Church says, and they will not accept a Constitution if the Church comes out against it. There is progress in regard to the reopening of schools. That I welcome; I think that is very satisfactory indeed. But that is the degree of progress which the noble Lord has been able to announce. I do not think it amounts to an enormous lot, and on two items, as I have said, although progress has been made, I do not think the progress offers any solution.

As regards policy, we know that there is no alteration at all in Government policy—they are still relying upon the suppression of terrorism and upon certain moderates coming forward with whom it will be possible to negotiate over the heads of the Archbishop and of the Church. There again, I do not feel that to be very helpful. Having elicited an account of progress and a restatement of Government policy, I feel that my Motion has served its purpose and, with your Lordships' permission, I now beg leave to withdraw it.

Motion for Papers, by leave, withdrawn.

House adjourned at twenty-two minutes past one o'clock.

Back to