HL Deb 18 February 1958 vol 207 cc791-2

4.10 p.m.


My Lords, with the leave of the House I will interrupt business in order to repeat a statement which has just been made in another place by my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary about his recent visits to Ankara and Athens. For simplicity I will use his own words:

"With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, I wish to make a short statement on my recent discussions with the Turkish and Greek Governments about Cyprus.

"The House is familiar with the main factors of the situation affecting the three Governments. I sought to establish common ground on which to base a settlement which would also be acceptable to Greek and Turkish Cypriots. I have come back from these talks with the firm belief that in spite of all the difficulties this is possible. Further discussions are necessary. I propose to start them urgently. In the meantime all measures necessary to preserve law and order will be taken. I should add I was greatly helped in Ankara and Athens by the presence and advice of the Governor of Cyprus."


My Lords, I am sure we are all obliged to the noble Earl for the statement he has made. I should like to know whether this is in answer to a question, whether it is a statement made by itself, separately, or part of a speech which is being made, and whether it is likely to be debated further to-day in another place. For my part, may I say at once that I have no particular comment to make upon it, except that I hope that the firm belief of the Secretary of State mentioned here really has some foundation. If that belief has foundation and he can make any further progress towards a settlement, I am sure we shall all be very glad.


My Lords, this is a statement by itself. There may be supplementary questions in another place in regard to it, but the statement stands by itself. It will not be the subject of a debate or part of a speech.


My Lords, I have little to add to what has been said by the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough. Naturally, we all wish the Government the best of good fortune in its further expeditions in this field. But I feel that the language in which this statement is couched is a little surprising. It is satisfactory to know that the Foreign Secretary believes that a settlement is desirable—he even thinks that it is possible. If it is not possible, it must be made possible. The most important announcement, I think, which the Foreign Secretary has made is that further discussions are necessary. This he says on February 18, 1958. We are glad to know that he has realised that further discussions are necessary, and I hope they will be proceeded with