HL Deb 25 July 1960 vol 225 cc660-700

3.18 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. I have it in Command from Her Majesty The Queen to acquaint the House that Her Majesty places Her prerogative and interests, so far as they are concerned with the matters in the Bill, at the disposal of Parliament.

I ask your Lordships' indulgence on two counts: one, that as well as moving the Second Reading I may be allowed to speak at the end of the debate, trying to deal with any points your Lordships may raise; and second, that I hope your Lordships will be able to pass this Bill through all its stages to-day. The reasons for this urgency are, of course, the approaching end of the Session and the very long negotiations which led to the final Agreement on July 1 between the Cypriot leaders, Archbishop Makarios and Dr. Kutchuk, on the one hand, and my honourable friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Governor for Her Majesty's Government, on the other. And of course, we must not forget the Turkish and the Greek Governments, who are also party to the documents and who also initialled them.

It is on this Agreement, as set out in Command Paper 1093, that the Bill is based. If your Lordships approve the Bill, then the Order in Council as laid down in Clause 1 of the Bill will enable the day of independence to be named. The proposed date is August 16, when the documents already initialled will be formally signed by representatives of the five parties concerned. On that day one and all will be able to forget the tragedies of the recent past and look forward to the Republic of Cyprus going forward on its own with the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots working in harmony to build an independent nation, with the fullest good will of the Governments of Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

When one recalls the efforts at finding a solution of this seemingly insoluble problem over the years and the solution that has at last been found, there is, it seems to me, no particular point in trying to judge who has won and who has lost.

The fact is, I believe, that none has done, so. The Greek Cypriots wanted Enosis; the Turkish Cypriots wanted partition, and we for a time wished continuing sovereignty. In the end, a compromise solution which holds great promise for the future has been hammered out, based on the two anchors of the Zurich and London Agreements of over a year ago. During the seventeen months since the signing of those Agreements there has been worked out not only those matters which primarily concern the Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities, but also, of course, those between the Republic-to-be of Cyprus and the United Kingdom in regard to the Sovereign Base Areas and generally; for example, the area of the Sovereign Bases, the defence rights and facilities, the status of the forces and administrative arrangements between the sovereign areas and the Cypriot Government. Perhaps it is unnecessary to go into detail on most of them, as they will be found in the White Paper, where Part III provides, as it were, an index to all these subjects.

I would say only two things: that our sovereignty over the Sovereign Base Areas is absolute and unrestricted, and that, from a military point of view, the rights and facilities granted are fully adequate for our needs, and indeed the valuable training areas allowed to us enabled us in the course of negotiations to reduce the required extent of the sovereign areas. It goes without saying that a tremendous amount of good will is necessary to ensure the smooth working of the arrangements, but I, for one, have no doubt that this will be forthcoming.

The mutual advantage to both parties is obvious. The Cypriot economy gets great benefits from the expenditure of the British troops, somewhere between £15 and £20 million a year; and we, for our part, get great benefit from the facilities which the Republic is going to make available to us. It is this mutual advantage and the will to make it work which augur well for the future. Furthermore, the very comprehensiveness and length of the Agreement, which covers so many items which might otherwise give rise to dispute, is also a matter for satisfaction; it illustrates the immense hard work and the value of the negotiations over the last months. The two Cypriot leaders, Archbishop, Makarios and Dr. Kutchuk, and the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies and the Governor have over the last months worked steadily and determinedly to reach understanding within the terms of the Agreements of London and Zurich. Naturally they fought, if one may put it that way, for their own particular interests, but always within the spirit and letter, of the Agreements. How much is due to them may be seen from the White Paper which makes possible the Second Reading of the Cyprus Bill to-day. It is quite clear that we should express our thanks to them.

Now let us come to the Bill itself. Clause 1, apart from enabling the date for independence to be set, also confirms the Constitution which has been worked out by a joint Commission of the Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Greeks and Turks. We were not represented or formally consulted on the Constitution, but those parts in which we have a special interest—for example, the position of the religious groups, the Public Service and those basic articles on which Her Majesty's Government is joint guarantor under the Treaty of Guarantee—are all satisfactory.

Coming to Clause 2 of the Bill, this defines the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia. In the White Paper the small-scale maps in Appendix V will, I hope, give your Lordships a sufficient indication of the extent of the areas. But for any who are anxious for greater precision an authenticated set of maps and photographs, as well as verbal descriptions, is available in the Printed Paper Office. I would only add that any of your Lordships who want to study them would be well advised to take a magnifying glass with you. I would make only two points on those papers. The villages and the Dhekelia power station, which are enclaves of Cypriot territory within the sovereign areas, will have special arrangements for access—and those are set out in Appendix G. Furthermore, the village of Akrotiri is too close to the main airfield to permit a special Cypriot enclave, so a scheme of resettlement has been devised for any of the inhabitants of that village who would so wish it. The exact boundaries will be demarcated by a Boundary Commission.

Clause 2 also provides that for the purpose of giving effect to arrangements with the authorities of the Republic Her Majesty's legislative powers in relation to the Sovereign Base Areas shall extend to persons or things outside those areas. But for this provision the extension or extent of such power might be in doubt. The seaports and the only civil airport of the island lie within the territory of the proposed Republic. The Sovereign Base Areas are not contiguous to each other. Arrangements have therefore been agreed with the Cypriot leaders in respect of movement of forces and goods and also in respect of the exercise of jurisdiction over the Service personnel in the Republic.

The Bill provides that under United Kingdom law the Republic of Cyprus will be treated in all respects as a member of the Commonwealth, and also provides for the termination of this state of affairs should it later be decided that Cyprus is not to remain within the Commonwealth. Clauses 3 and 6 of the Bill are the relevant clauses. These have been included in the Bill at the request of the Cypriot leaders, Archbishop Makarios and Dr. Kutchuk, following their talks with my noble friend the Leader of the House earlier this year—I think it was in January. We have, of course, been very glad to meet their request to include these provisions in the Bill, but noble Lords will understand that nothing in the Bill prejudges the question one way or another. If the Government of Cyprus should transmit an application for membership to Her Majesty's Government this would be a matter for decision not only by Her Majesty's Government but, as usual, by all existing members of the Commonwealth.

We now come to Clause 4, which deals with the question of nationality and of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies. Briefly, it provides for the withdrawal of citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies from certain categories of persons connected with Cyprus who either acquire citizenship of Cyprus or are given an unqualified right to do so by the terms of Annex D to the Treaty of Establishment. Broadly speaking (this is a most complicated set-up, as those who have studied the Bill or the White Paper will know) citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies who "belong" —and the definition of "belong" is to be found in the Annex—to Cyprus but are ordinarily resident in the Island at any time within the last five years will become citizens of Cyprus on Independence Day, and those who are ordinarily resident elsewhere in the Commonwealth, including the Sovereign areas, will remain citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies. I would only make one other point, which is that provision has been made to ensure that no one need be stateless as a result of the various arrangements made. Clause 5 of the Bill may provoke a tinge of regret in some of your Lordships as it abolishes appeals to the Privy Council. Clause 6 I have already touched upon.

Having briefly dealt with the matters which arise directly out of the Bill and its clauses, ordinarily one would stop. But there are, of course, other and very important questions which are closely related to the Bill and are dealt with in the White Paper. I have in mind, for example, the declaration by Her Majesty's Government on the administration of the Sovereign Base Areas, the matter of the Public Service, the position of minor religious groups, the financial help that we are to give to Cyprus, and also what is known as the cession question. Perhaps I might touch on this last point now. Appendix B sets out the draft of an exchange of Notes which confirms that Her Majesty's Government do not intend to relinquish their sovereignty or effective control over the Sovereign Base Areas and that therefore the question of their cession does not arise. Should there, however, at any time be a change, the exchange of Notes makes clear that it is understood that such sovereignty or control shall be transferred to the Republic of Cyprus.

Turning to the declaration of Her Majesty's Government on the administration of the Sovereign Base Areas, it is a unilateral declaration in which Her Majesty's Government have met the quite natural wish of the Cypriot leaders that so far as possible the daily life of the Cypriots in the Sovereign Base Areas and of those in the rest of the Island should be the same. The Republic will provide a wide range of public services and generally, so far as is practicable, the day-to-day life should be governed by the same rules. To ensure smooth working of this arrangement a Joint Consultative Board will be set up. For our part the Secretary of State for Air will be responsible for the administration of the Sovereign Base Areas, and the Air Officer commanding in chief, Middle Eastern Air Force, will be the administrator. In a word, I think the effect of this declaration is that a thoroughly common sense working of the problem between the two Sovereign Base Areas and the Island will be achieved.

Turning now to the Public Service, the normal arrangement, when a territory becomes self-governing or independent, is the inclusion of a Public Officers Agreement between Her Majesty's Government and the territory concerned. The provisions normally occurring in such an agreement are set out in the schedule to Annex E. The terms of the schedule are whenever possible related to the Public Service provisions of the Constitution of the Republic. Her Majesty's Government are satisfied that the two together—that is the complementary provisions of the Treaty of and the Constitution—properly safeguard the interests of officers for whom the Secretary of State has a special responsibility.

So far as the smaller religious groups are concerned, Appendix E of the White Paper summaries the safeguards for the Armenians, the Maronites and the Latins. In addition to formal constitutional safeguards, such as the Bill of Human Rights, and so forth, the two Cypriot leaders, who have shown great understanding in this matter, have given an assurance that in respect of educational and cultural matters these groups need have no fear that they will be at a disadvantage in the future allocation of public funds. Her Majesty's Government realise the anxieties that have been felt by the groups, but trust that the arrangements will form the basis by which the three groups can play their full part in the Republic without losing their identity.

On the financial settlement, Appendices R, S and U of the White Paper, set out an exchange of letters. Briefly, Her Majesty's Government will provide the sum of £12 million over the next five years, and for future five-year periods the amount of any aid is to be determined after full consultation with the Republic, in addition there are certain other commitments for particular purposes, and these include a special grant of £1½ million to the Turkish Cypriot community. I believe that the £12 million grant is generous, and rightly so. Cyprus is achieving independence with no financial reserves and without any working balance. The Island's economic development can go ahead only with the help of external aid, and, with all the foregoing in mind, the intention is to pay no less than £4 million of the £12 million during the first year, to get things off, as it were, to a good start.

My Lords, it only remains for me to express my thanks and tribute to all those concerned not only with the recent and successfully concluded negotiations but, perhaps more important, to all those whose. work has made the present possible. It is a little difficult to know how far back to go, but I know that my noble and gallant friend Field Marshal Lord Harding of Petherton has in mind to say a few words, and perhaps the first tribute is due to him in the difficult task which he carried out, that of restoring law and order. Then came his successor, Sir Hugh Foot, the present Governor, to whom I feel very special thanks are due; for he arrived at a moment of the greatest difficulty, and by his courage. Clear. good will and persistence he did much to lead things to the present happy conclusion. Of course with the Governors come all those of the Public Service and Administration who have served so well during this time and without whose help none of these things would have been possible. My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a.—(The Earl of Perth.)

3.39 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Earl introducing this Bill asked for two indulgences. The first was that he should be allowed to speak twice. I am sure the House will gladly give him that indulgence, if it may be called an indulgence. The second was that we should agree to pass this Bill through all its stages to-day. There I feel some hesitation. I suppose that we must—it is probably unavoidable. But I should be glad if the noble Earl could say what harm would come if the further stages were taken, say, on Thursday.

We in this House are accustomed to being denigrated—we have been very much denigrated, in the last few days, In the Press. But is it really necessary to denigrate ourselves? This Bill has gone through another place. It has had its normal procedure. Is it really necessary for us to say that its coming here is a pure formality; that, although it is a difficult and complicated Bill, one which requires the closest attention, we are not going through it but are to accept it, so to speak, on the nod? I hope that out of self-respect we shall have the opportunity of looking at this Bill and of putting down some Amendments if we so desire. I can assure the noble Earl that there will be no desire on the part of any of us to put down Amendments which would go to the root of the Bill. But we might feel that we could conceivably improve it in certain respects.

The noble Earl will admit that this is not an easy Bill to follow. I have tried very hard and I must confess that at the end of the day I am not a lot wiser than I was at the beginning. The noble Earl gave us a very free paraphrase of the Bill, and while I understand what it is all about, and its intention, I must confess that I cannot relate the language of the Bill, with all its references to Statutes which are not available to most of us in our homes, to the language used by the noble Earl; and I must accept what he says as being a true description of the Bill. Moreover, as the noble Earl himself said, the Bill is based upon Cmnd. 1093, with its 222 pages, 22 Schedules and 8 Annexes, all of which require very careful study. I say this because I believe that unless it is absolutely essential to do so, it is a mistake to ask the House to pass this Bill through all stages to-day. If it is essential, then we must reluctantly accept.

I am sure that we all approach this Bill with the dominant feeling of relief and thanksgiving. We are all happy that this miserable chapter in our life and our relationship with Cyprus is now, we hope, closed, and that we may look forward to a much happier relationship between our two countries. But without wishing to be unnecessarily controversial, I must say to Her Majesty's Government that they must accept a considerable measure of responsibility for the unhappy years which have Passed and which, we hope, have now come to an end.

The demand for independence goes back a good many years. I suppose that the earliest phases of that were in 1931, when troubles broke out in Cyprus and had to be put down; but on the who[...]e there have been peace, contentment and harmonious relationships between the two communities there—the Turks and the Greeks—for centuries. Those relationships lasted until 1954, and I believe it is correct to say that in that year an unfortunate impression was created by what I consider was an ill-timed speech, to the effect that there could be no question of any change in the sovereignty of Cyprus at any time. I am not sure whether the word "ever" was used but I am giving a free paraphrase of what was said. It was directly as a result of that statement that disorders began to break out in Cyprus.

Although this attitude was later modified and we accepted self-determination in principle, we still made, I think, the vital mistake of never being prepared to name a specific date. The furthest we went was to say that at some time and in certain conditions there might be self-determination. Your Lordships will remember that that was the main issue on which the discussions between ourselves and Archbishop Makarios broke down—the fact that we were not prepared to say that in a certain number of years, whether it was one, two, three or seven years, the Cypriots could look forward to self-determination. Another mistake we made was to seek to impose the partition plan on the Island. This aroused further dissatisfaction and even violence. It is also felt that Her Majesty's Government played up the differences between the Greeks and the Turks, which by that time had been increased, by giving undue support to the Turks; and this, also, delayed a settlement. The settlement eventually came as the result of the good sense of Greece and Turkey in coming together, each of them making sacrifices from the point of view of the other without our being represented at the talks between those two countries. I hone that all this will soon be history, and I do not propose to say more on the subject except this: that it would be sheer folly if we did not try to learn the lesson from all this and to recognise that we did go wrong, and where we went wrong.

I am not one of those who regard any Government of whatever complexion as being infallible. Governments of all Parties make mistakes, and in my view it would be sheer folly not to recognise that we did make mistakes—and many mistakes—in our dealings with Cyprus. The lesson stares us in the face. In the last 100 years no nation fighting for its independence against outside domination has failed to achieve it in the long run, sometimes peacefully, more often, after self-determination has been refused, by violence. In the latter case events have followed a regular pattern: violence, terrorism, imprisonment of the leaders, their martyrdom, their eventual release and their assumption of leadership of their community. This has been the pattern which has emerged in the case of Cyprus. After all, most of us have had to learn the lesson that the world has changed since the enunciation of the doctrine: "What we have we hold". I hope that even the most dyed-in-the-wool imperialist in this House has learned that lesson.

And so this Bill is before us to-day, which formalises a settlement which does credit both to the Cypriots and to ourselves. It is the result of hard negotiations, and I would pay tribute to those whom the noble Earl has mentioned and, if I may, also to Mr. Amery for his patience in securing a successful issue. I felt inclined, before I made a closer study of this Bill and of the White Paper, to criticise the undue delay, as I thought, of the negotiations and of the rather tough line that he appeared to have taken throughout. But after reading this White Paper with, as I have said, all these appendices and annexes and the enormous amount of detail that has had to be agreed upon, I can well see that it required a great deal of patience and time, especially in dealing with a person who is undoubtedly, with all his qualities, a very tough negotiator. So we have our bases and the Cypriots have their independence, and the terms are set out most meticulously but in quite a complex way in the Bill and in Cmnd. 1093.

I was very glad that the noble Earl referred to the fact that although our sovereignty was absolute and unrestricted, which of course it is on paper, a tremendous amount of good will will be necessary if we are to arrange matters to the mutual satisfaction of the Cypriots and ourselves. Of course, that is perfectly true. In my view, however tightly we frame this Bill and the Treaties connected with it, and however absolute our sovereignty, it is a fact that the Cypriots could make a nullity of the whole thing if they should so desire. I am quite certain they have no such desire and that they will carry out this Treaty, as we will, faithfully and sincerely and with a desire to make it work. I was glad that the noble Earl emphasized—and I want to do the same—that good will is essential on both sides. There is, fortunately, as I have said, every reason to hope that we shall enjoy this good will, and I know that we shall play our part in so conducting ourselves as to make our relationship a success.

Now it is for the Cypriots to decide whether they wish to apply to join the Commonwealth. I should like it to go out from this House that we should welcome an application of that kind. I recognise that we alone cannot decide, but I should like it to be said that we, for our part, would give an unqualified welcome. There are, of course, problems. New freedoms in Africa arid elsewhere may create difficulties. This is the first time that so small a nation will be applying to join the Commonwealth. There will, in due course, be a large number of these members, if they join, and it may make the Imperial Conference difficult to manage; but I would rather not dwell on those difficulties at the moment. Let them join and let us find the solution in the principle of Solvitur ambulando. Let us not unduly anticipate our difficulties. May I conclude by offering our very best wishes to the people of Cyprus and our hopes that they will enjoy every happiness and prosperity in their newfound freedom.

3.55 p.m.


My Lords, I feel that this Bill is being somewhat unnecessarily rushed through, and that the House is being treated with scant courtesy in its being put down in this way to-day. It is not only a very important Bill, but, as the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, has said, a very complicated Bill; and it has not been at all easy, in the short time we have had to consider it, to determine exactly what some of the effects might be. Certainly there is one matter upon which, if I had had the opportunity, I should probably have put down an Amendment. It is not an important matter—I shall mention it in a moment—looking at the thing in the broad light of Cyprus, but it is perhaps of some importance in the narrower field with which it is concerned. But however important it may be, I have no opportunity whatsoever of moving an Amendment, and I really do not think that a Member of your Lordships' House should be put in that position. I feel that we should have at any rate an opportunity of amending a Bill of this magnitude if so desired.

I should like to congratulate all those who worked so hard to achieve this agreement. I feel that we all owe them our thanks, because I can quite understand, in a matter so complex as this, what a great deal of patience must have been called for on all sides, and not least from the Minister who conducted these negotiations. Our thanks are due to those who in the past few years, whether in the eminent position of the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Harding of Petherton, or whether in humbler positions, have maintained the peace of Cyprus and have established a position in which agreement could be arrived at. It is a great relief to all of us that the bloodshed is over and we can look forward to happy and peaceful times in the years ahead.

The plan set before us in the voluminous document produced by Her Majesty's Government is a very interesting one and a very ingenious one, and worthy of the part played in it by a prince of the Church. Whether it will work depends, of course, upon certain psychological and human factors. Even those of your Lordships who have not read the Report (and perhaps there are one or two who have not done so) will have heard the speech to-day of the noble Earl, Lord Perth, and will have been aware of the difficulties that are bound to arise. It is rather like three families sharing one small house, with a bathroom and kitchen in common. We all know that that is difficult enough; and so it is going to be here. It will call for a great deal of tact, and there must be a lot of give-and-take on all sides. But I think this Island, particu- larly, should be one where the Christian virtues, at any rate for Christians, should be uppermost, because it was to here, as your Lordships know, that St. Paul voyaged on his first missionary journey, accompanied by St. Barnabas.

The Constitution is that of an independent sovereign country except for two areas, and even within those two areas there are certain enclaves, as the noble Earl has pointed out. Cyprus may apply to join the Commonwealth later. In the meantime, as I understand it, she will be like the Republic of Ireland; that is to say, she will be treated as if she had joined the Commonwealth, although in fact she has not done so. I remember that in that case, when I moved the relevant Bill in another place, I said that this was a particularly Irish solution, and I think that that is true. However, it seems to have worked very well in Ireland, and I hope that it will work well in Cyprus. I should like to know whether Cyprus is likely to apply for United Nations membership fairly soon. If she does, I hope she will again follow Ireland's example. In one case, at an international conference someone asked an Irish delegate what were his instructions from his Government, and he said, "My instructions are to vote against the British on everything that does not matter." I hope that that will be the case with Cyprus.

In the meantime, my Lords, I should like to ask whether the Foreign Office or the Commonwealth Relations Office will handle the affairs of Cyprus. Although, of course, naturally and willingly, we have given the noble Earl, Lord Perth, as we always do, the facility of speaking again, I must say that, as there are so many Commonwealth Relations matters concerned, I, for one, should rather have liked to hear the noble Earl, Lord Home. on this matter. I suppose that the noble Earl, Lord Perth, in reply, will not be able to inform us whether we are likely to have Lord Home at the Commonwealth Relations Office much longer; whether there is any truth in the rumour that he is likely to go to the Foreign. Office. Speaking as one who takes a great interest in the. Commonwealth Relations Office. I must say that I should be very sorry to see him go from the C.R.O., because in my opinion he has done a very good job there, and his relationships with the Commonwealth have been very happy. No doubt he will be able to handle foreign affairs equally well.

Now these so-called enclaves are called "Base Areas", but they are not bases at all in military terms. As I understand it, a base is a safe position from which an army is able to invade enemy territory; upon which it depends for supplies and reinforcements; to which it sends back its sick and wounded; and upon which it can fall back in case of reversal. None of these things applies to Cyprus. No army could use Cyprus in any of these ways whatever. In fact, when they did try to use it in some of these ways in the case of Suez, it was, of course, a most unfortunate experience. Indeed, General Keightley, in his dispatches, said that the main limitations to the Suez operations—apart from the United Kingdom Government, of course—were the lack of harbours, anchorages or landing craft "hardy", and the shortage of airfields in Cyprus. From that description of Cyprus, therefore, it does not seem to be very promising as a base.

In fact, these places, as I have said, are not bases at all, although they are called so in the Bill. They are not military bases: they are landing fields, staging posts and airfields—very important ones, it is true. These landing fields and staging posts are essential, as I understand it, for the task of the Royal Air Force in the Middle East—a task which is essential not only from the United Kingdom's point of view, but also from the point of view of N.A.T.O., and equally essential from the point of view of Turkey, of Greece and of Cyprus. I think it is most important that this factor should be clearly understood by all these parties, and that it should also be understood by the United Nations; in other words, that these landing facilities are not purely, entirely, or even mainly, for the United Kingdom; they are for N.A.T.O. as a whole—that is to say, to enable us to carry out our responsibilities to N.A.T.O. Even the United States, I think, might realise that this is not a case of colonialism, which is a gibe they are so prone to throw at us.

Turning now to the economic future of Cyprus, I think the Island is obviously now not viable. In fact, during the next five years the United Kingdom tax- payer is to provide £12 million, apart from certain other payments, for the benefit of Cyprus. That is to enable the Island to balance its budget. After that, for further periods of five years, probably, the United Kingdom Government will also be helping Cyprus to balance her budget. We do not know what the figures are going to be because they have not been decided, and in fact will not be decided until those five-year periods arise. But, obviously, Cyprus must do everything possible, and will want to do everything possible, to stand on her own feet. She needs a realistic plan for development, and a determined and sustained effort to put that plan into effect. I feel that one of the many tragedies of the disputes during the last few years has been that the concentration in this country and in Cyprus has been so much on military, political and constitutional matters, instead of on economic matters, and on the necessity of having a proper economic basis in Cyprus. The Island is not rich in natural resources, and there is an ever-expanding population, which means that such resources as there are are constantly being eroded.

Some time ago I was having dinner in a West End hotel, and the waiter was even more incompetent than usual. He aroused my interest in that regard, and I asked him how long he had been a waiter. He said that he had not been a waiter very long, but that he had been a farmer in Cyprus. I said to him, "What are you doing over here instead of being a farmer in Cyprus?", and he said, "There is nothing in Cyprus; I cannot earn a living there, so I must come here and become a waiter in London." One could understand his lack of skill, in those circumstances, though not doubt he was a very skilful farmer.

I hope, therefore, that all parties to the Agreement will concentrate on economic development, and that they will apply their minds to the possibilities of tourist development. For many years I have felt, in the case of both Cyprus and Malta, that we have not touched the fringe of tourist development. From this country last year 30 million people had a holiday, the greatest number in history. A considerable proportion went overseas; and, as time goes on., with larger aircraft and with more economical running of aircraft, it will be possible for many more people to go such distances as Malta and Cyprus are from the United Kingdom for their holidays. I would suggest to those who have these matters under consideration, both in Cyprus and in Malta,. that they should look into the possibilities of a very big tourist drive for those two Islands. I believe it would pay, because they are beautiful Islands, and they have everything for tourists except the facilities for getting there.

Finally, I should like to mention two other points. First of all, I join with the noble Earl in regretting that appeals to the Privy Council are no longer to be made from Cyprus. This is the sort of territory where I should have thought it most important that there should be an outside court of appeal. There will be these various communities, and the difficulties over the so-called bases, and I should have thought that this was the sort of territory from which, above all other, there should be an appeal to some quite independent outside authority. I think it is a great pity that the parties have not been able to agree that appeals should continue to go to this great Court—and it is, indeed, a great Court—the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council.

The second point (and this is the one on which I should have liked to put down an Amendment, though, as I said it is a comparatively small point) is that, on reading this Bill and the Nigeria Independence Bill, both of which arrived on Saturday morning, I noticed that in the Schedule to this Bill there was not, as there is in the Schedule to the Nigeria Bill, a provision for membership of, and contribution to, the Commonwealth Institute. Now I am a Governor of the Commonwealth Institute, and I believe that it is a remarkable institution—not because I am connected with it, but because it is of itself a remarkable institution. So far as I am aware, it is the only institution in the whole of the Commonwealth which is contributed to, and partly paid for, by all Commonwealth members; and that is something that I am sure all of us in this House want to encourage. But there is no mention of it in this Bill. It would seem to me (looking at it, as I say, with very little chance to go into the thing) that Cyprus will not be able to make a contribution, and will not be able to continue membership of the Commonwealth Institute. If that is so, I deplore it; and, again, if I had had the opportunity, I should have put down an Amendment. But perhaps the noble Earl when he comes to reply will tell me that I am wrong, and that for some other reason it was not necessary to put it in.

My Lords, I welcome the appointment of Mr. W. A. W. Clark as the United Kingdom representative. He has had some difficult assignments in his time. The last one was when he "squared up" the difficulties over the Maldives islands —the Island of Gan, another staging post. He might almost be called the C.R.O. "troubleshooter". He will, at least, have one thing in common with Archbishop Makarios—they both have beards; and that, no doubt, will be a matter of joy to them both. We wish Cyprus well and have every confidence in her future; and, like the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, I hope that she will remain a member of the Commonwealth community of nations.

4.10 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to open my remarks by paying a very warm tribute to the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. Mr. Julian Amery, and to the Governor of Cyprus, Sir Hugh Foot, for the patience, the skill and the courage which they have both displayed in bringing about a settlement of the Cyprus dispute, in the form of this Treaty which is before your Lordships' House this afternoon and which I most heartily welcome. I should like to go further and take this opportunity to pay a final tribute to all the men and women who have served in the civil administration, the police and the armed forces in Cyprus during the past six years under difficult and often dangerous conditions. And to them I would add the civilians of all communities—and I think that they are more numerous than some would admit —who gave their support to the Government of Cyprus and to Her Majesty's Government in their search for a settlement of this dispute.

I very much appreciate the generous references that have been made to myself by the noble Earl, Lord Perth, and by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, but it was the courage, the endurance and the forbearance shown by all these countless and nameless men and women to whom I have just referred, that paved the way for the agreement which we all so heartily welcome to-day. I only hope that those who tragically suffered the loss of relatives and friends in Cyprus feel, as I do, that their sacrifice was not in vain. I am convinced that the settlement which is incorporated in the Bill that is now before your Lordships was worth the working for and worth the waiting for, and I trust that all those who have been directly concerned in the affairs of Cyprus over the past six years feel the same.

In various quarters criticisms have been raised against the settlement, mainly on two counts: first, that it could have been achieved considerably earlier—some have said as much as four years ago, and one speaker in another place claimed that it could have been got even earlier than that; and secondly, doubts have been expressed about the value of the military facilities in Cyprus that are accorded to us under this Treaty. In fact, it has been said by several speakers in another place that they are valueless. I submit that these criticisms are not supported by the facts. I say this in all sincerity because I firmly believe it, and not in justification of anything that I may, or may not, have done myself when I was directly involved in this business. I am fully satisfied that this Treaty in itself is a vindication of the policy pursued by Her Majesty's Government throughout this dispute. Of course, mistakes were made. And perhaps the greatest mistake was the failure in the very early stages to realise that this problem was essentially an international and not a colonial problem, and that a lasting settlement was attainable only by first getting agreement between the Greek and the Turkish Governments on the future international status of the Island of Cyprus.

Here I should like to digress for a moment to challenge, with respect, the history mentioned just now by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin. In my reading of history the demand for independence by Cyprus is a very recent one—in fact, as recent as the time of the London-Zurich agreement. The demand before that was not for independence but by the Greek Cypriots for Enosis, which means the union of the Island to the Kingdom of Greece, and not for Cyprus to be set up, as it is to be set up now, as an independent sovereign State. That demand for Enosis goes back a very long way. It goes back before 1931, which I think was the date mentioned by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, to 1878, when we first went into Cyprus and Sir Garnet Wolseley was met on arrival at Limassol by the request from the Bishop of Kitium that, now the British had come there, we should support them in the demand for Enosis—not independence. It is, I say with respect, nonsense to say that Archbishop Makarios and the Greek Government had given up the aim of Enosis in 1956, much less earlier, as was claimed by one speaker in another place the other day. If anyone has any doubt on that point, let him study, as I have done, the public statements of Archbishop Makarios, going right up to just before the signing of the London-Zurich Agreement. His words speak for themselves on that point.

It is true, of course, that at an early stage he dropped any reference to Enosis and made his demand one for self-determination, with its wider and more popular external appeal, but in doing that he knew, as anyone else who knew Cyprus must have known, that the application of self-determination to Cyprus on an island-wide franchise and on a simple majority basis would have ended only in Enosis, just as surely as night follows day. It was only when, in the latter part of 1958, the Greek Government and Archbishop Makarios finally came to realise that Enosis was unobtainable and the Greek Government found that it was in grave danger of being completely isolated in N..A.T.O. through pursuing the aim of Enosis, that Enosis was finally abandoned as a political objective. And I submit that it was primarily because the British Government refused to be frightened or intimidated that that abandonment of Enosis eventually came about and so set the stage for the agreement which is before your Lordships' House to-day.

Equally, it was not until the Turkish Government, frightened by developments in Syria and Iraq, came to the conclusion that they must come to terms with Greece, and that it was bad enough to have hostile neighbours on one flank and in the rear but it would be intolerable to have hostile neighbours on both Flanks and the rear, that they were conditioned for compromise on the question of Cyprus. It was most unfortunate—unfortunate and unhappy—that this had to be; that there was no short cut; but I am certain that when the events of those difficult and dangerous years come to be seen in full perspective, and when history comes to be written, it will be recognized that if Her Majesty's Government had run away from their responsibilities as the sovereign Power in Cyprus between the outbreak of violence in April, 1955 and to-day; if they had given way to the Archbishop's unconditional demand for self-determination or to the Turkish demand for partition—if either of those two things had happened—there would have been a general conflagration in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, the full extent of which is, in my opinion, incalculable. I am absolutely certain on that point.

Now I should like to turn to the other criticism that has been made of this Agreement: that the military facilities in Cyprus are not worth having. That, in my opinion—and I speak professionally now—is not so. I should like to explain why I say that and why I say it emphatically. I do not suppose that many of your Lordships would disagree with me when I claim that in present circumstances we still need the capability of being able to intervene in the military sense in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Middle East, either in support of the right flank of N.A.T.O. or C.E.N.T.O. (as the Baghdad Pact is now called), or in fulfillment of our obligations to other friends and Allies in that part of the world, or, in the last resort, to protect our own interests and to rescue our own nationals if they were in danger. If we are to retain that capability—and I believe we must—then the facilities that we are to enjoy in Cyprus under this Treaty are not merely valuable, but indispensable.

To ensure that we have the military facilities, quite apart from the necessary forces that we need to carry out the tasks I have mentioned, we require—and here, if I may say so, I am not being wise after the event; I am repeating what I said in public over two years ago—first, an operational air base with its associated radar and communications System. This is a point made by the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore. The base in Cyprus is not a base in the old-fashioned and generally accepted sense of the term. Its primary purpose in future will be as an operational air base. This is provided by the undisputed right that under the Treaty we shall enjoy over the air base Akrotiri, and the right to use the airfield at Nicosia for operational purposes in an emergency. That provides for the first requirement, and that is fully covered by this Treaty.

The second requirement is living room for a small land force of all arms, what is now generally described as an Army fire brigade—living room which will also serve as a transit and assembly area in case of need. That is provided for under the Treaty by the Dhekelia Cantonment with its associated training facilities, which is the second of the Sovereign Areas marked on the map. The third requirement is a Command Post with its associated communication system and intelligence network. That is provided for under the Treaty by Episcopi, which is physically joined to the first Sovereign Area which comprises Akrotiri Air Base and Episcopi Command Post.

Those are the requirements, and they must continue to be in Cyprus. They are covered by the Treaty. For reasons which your Lordships know well, they cannot be produced or provided anywhere else in the Eastern Mediterranean. Malta and Libya are too far away, and their use is precluded because they are required for other purposes in the Central Mediterranean. There are no vacant airfields or other military installations going begging in Turkey; and, in any case, it would cost millions of pounds and take several years to produce there what we have in Cyprus, even if the Turks would agree to our doing so. It is a case on the military side of getting the best we can in Cyprus or of going without. The facilities that we are given under the Treaty may not be ideal in all respects, but they are far better than going without. I have studied them carefully, and, if I may give a professional view, I consider them to be adequate for our needs. I should like on that score again to offer my congratulations to Mr. Julian Amery for the patience and determination with which He has succeeded in securing these facilities for us. The time may come when they are no longer needed, but that, in my view, is still a very long way off. For the foreseeable future they are indispensable to our system of defence, and I would strongly urge that succeeding British Governments should make quite certain that they are not whittled away.

There are two other points that I should like to make. The first is to appeal to Her Majesty's Government to keep a watching brief, so far as international practice permits, over the interests of minorities in Cyprus and to be prepared to help them in case of need. I have in mind particularly the small British community that will remain in Cyprus and the Maronites. I personally have no doubt that the Turks will be able to look after themselves. As regards the British community, I was very glad to get a letter a few days ago from a prominent British businessman who intends to remain in Cyprus, in which he wrote: I feel that our future in Cyprus is as well assured as we can expect it to be. This has allayed the anxieties that I had on that score, and I should like to offer my congratulations to all concerned on what they have been able to achieve, not only in the way of agreement, but also in the confidence that they have created in the British community that will remain there.

I am not so happy about the Maronites. Last week I had a cable from their Bishop, whom I know quite well, in which he expressed bitter disappointment over the refusal of Her Majesty's Government to make a special grant of money to his community. He appealed to me to press for reconsideration of this decision, or, at least, to try to persuade Her Majesty's Government to wipe out the Cyprus Government loan of £37,000 odd, which, if my memory serves me correctly, was made to the Maronite Community to help them to put their property in Nicosia to better and more remunerative use. My Lords, the loyalty —1 might say the devotion—of the Maronite Community to the British Crown is well known and is something that I can vouch for personally. The Maronite Community certainly deserves well of the British Government. But, at the same time, I can see the force of the argument put forward by the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies in another place the other day, when he said that …it would not be in the best interests of the Maronites to receive separate assistance at this stage. There is substance in that argument; and I am encouraged by the words "at this stage". But I am not convinced that the argument applies equally to this question of wiping out the loan to the Cyprus Government to which I have referred, and I would ask Her Majesty's Government whether they would give further consideration to seeing what could be done to help in that respect, if not now, perhaps later on. In any case, perhaps the noble Earl, when he comes to speak again, will help, if he can, by giving a reply which contains some hope and comfort to the Maronite Bishop.

I must apologise for speaking at such length, but I have nearly done. I now come to the last point that I wish to make. I should like to join with all those, both in this House and outside, who have spoken warmly and sincerely in wishing peace and prosperity to the new Republic of Cyprus. I say that myself most sincerely. It is a lovely Island and, left to themselves, the people of the Island, of all communities, are friendly and hospitable; and I wish all of them peace and prosperity in the future.

The Treaty which brings this new Republic into being, as two previous speakers have pointed out this afternoon, is a complicated Treaty, and certainly patience, forbearance and goodwill will be required in putting it into effect. In particular, I think there must be very good relationships between our own armed forces in the Base Areas and the authorities and the peoples in the rest of the Island. That, I think, will be crucial to the success of this settlement.

There were those who said in the past that the stern, and necessarily stern, measures which had to be taken by the security forces in Cyprus during the emergency would have created an atmosphere of bitterness and hatred that would never be wiped out. I have never shared that opinion, and to substantiate my view I should like to quote to your Lordships from a report which appeared in The Times of June 13 this year. I have paraphrased it slightly for the sake of brevity. It says: At the request of the Cyprus football authorities, three British officers officiated as referee and linesmen at a needle football match at Nicosia stadium between a politically right-wing club of Famagusta, which has the backing of many former Eoka men, and a left-wing Nicosia club, which is supported by all Communists in and around the capital. The request to the British followed a full-scale riot last week at Larni Larnaca stadium when the left-wing Nicosia team clashed with the local right-wing club. Twenty people were injured, and in Limassol, a week before, a bomb was thrown in another football political clash. The match in Nicosia passed without incident, the left-wing team winning by five goals to two. The referee, a British Army officer, and the linesmen, two R.A.F. officers, were spontaneously cheered by the Cypriots for the manner in which they controlled the situation. I submit that that report, about an incident which happened slightly over a month ago, gives proof, if proof be needed, that the reputation of the British Armed Forces in Cyprus for fair play stands as high as ever it did, and it gives reason to hope for the future.

Finally, may I repeat that I firmly believe that the settlement contained in this Treaty is vindication of the policy pursued over the past six years by Her Majesty's Government; that it provides us with military facilities that are adequate for our needs and indispensable to our strategy, and that it should, and I pray will, give consolation to the relatives and friends of those of our fellow countrymen and women who lost their lives in Cyprus that their sacrifice was not in vain.


My Lords, before the noble and gallant Lord sits down, could he say whether, from the defence point of view, he is satisfied with the port facilities which are given under the agreement?


Yes, my Lords. As the noble Earl, Lord Perth, and others of your Lordships have already pointed out, the whole of this agreement depends on good will. Given good will, the facilities provided under this Treaty in Famagusta for the transport and transit of British military stores and equipment, and the use of the roads and other transportation facilities, will, in my opinion, be adequate to serve our purpose.

4.35 p.m.


My Lords, in rising to make a few comments in this debate, I am mindful of the fact that for some time now I have maintained that those who have not had the privilege of a personal, intimate knowledge of conditions in Cyprus should say as little as possible. It is only because we are to-day, in this Bill, saying farewell to a Colony that, as an ex-Colonial servant, I thought it might be of interest to say how a Colonial civil servant looks at this result.

I know that it requires considerable temerity for anyone to speak after the noble and gallant Field Marshal. But as in the course of his speech he took what I might almost call a colonial servant's attitude towards some of these questions, I am emboldened to say just one or two things which occurred to me in this respect. I am sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, is not here at the moment because, if I noted him correctly, he delivered a homily to the British Government, and said he hoped that they would learn the mistake of imprisoning political leaders, and so forth, who were destined ultimately to take high position. Having myself exercised some of these powers in the past, may I suggest to the noble Lord that these men, the embryo leaders, were not imprisoned because they were political leaders: they were imprisoned, strangely enough, because they broke the law of the land; and there is no real reason why an embryo leader should be exempt from the normal penalties, or why those responsible for law and order should suspend their responsibilities in favour of such aspiring leaders. I thought it worth noting that in passing.

In this Bill Cyprus gets its freedom for the first time in history. It has always stood, as it were, at the crossroads of destiny; and conquerors going one way or the other have so often made Cyprus a halting place or a jumping-off place. But if ever there was a time when we ought to try to forget the past and look only to the future, I think this is it; and I should be the last to dwell—and I do not propose to do so—upon anything that has happened in the past. The one thing one notices chiefly about Cyprus and its history is that the domestic problems of the Island have always, and especially in recent times, been obscured by international questions of great complexity and of a changing nature.

In passing, I should like to pay my own humble tribute to the security forces and the civil servants who have been coping with circumstances which, if I may say so, presented problems outside the normal training that either the security forces or the civil servants had received. I think, too, it is a mistake to distribute too much praise or blame for the mistakes and misunderstandings of recent years, when one policy after another has gone down in ruins before an emotional approach to what was essentially a practical problem having its roots deep in centuries of history. Cyprus, as the noble and gallant Field Marshal said, has suffered from being a focus of international interest.

May I say here, also in passing, one thing about membership of the Commonwealth, the hope of which has been put about to the people of this Island. I do not think that I would entirely follow the noble Lord, Lord Silkin, in saying, "Let us leave this question until after the smaller countries have become members". I believe that there is sitting at this moment a Committee which is considering this question of where we are going to draw the line—if we are going to draw one at all—between size and population; whether, in this case, an island with a little more than one-third of the population of, say, Jamaica, should be entitled to become an equal member of the Commonwealth. I am not decrying Cyprus or its people, but I am trying to say that it will alter the form of the Commonwealth association. It will mean, perhaps inevitably, the regionalisation of the Commonwealth: the various regions would have their own meetings, while the main meeting would be that of the bigger and more representative Commonwealth members.

The problem in Cyprus seems to be (and this is, I suppose, the chief benefit which it is hoped will come from the Bill) to create a Cypriot nationality. That is the point, surely, about the Greeks giving up Enosis, the Turks giving up partition and the British giving up sovereignty. That is intended, I suppose, to leave an Island where the people can at long last look after the interests of their own people in that Island. The welfare of the Cypriots should now come first, a thing which has only too often in history not happened. This leaves the land clear for the development of local patriotism, and at last it gives Cypriot patriotism a local habitation and a name. It would be easy, I know, to pick holes in the present agreement, to hint at faults here or dislikes there, but that would serve no good purpose. There are obvious weaknesses. One is the immense amount which depends on good will, and in the absence of good will, as most speakers have recognised, there will be difficulty to make the Agreement work at all.

Like everybody else, I most warmly wish this Island peace, happiness and prosperity. This is the end of the chapter of colonial rule, as I said, and it is the time, perhaps, when one should pay tribute to the high qualities of brain and the courage which has inspired the last two holders of the chief governing posts of the Island. The noble and gallant Field-Marshal added laurels to an already great reputation. He restored law and order and created the conditions which enabled his distinguished successor, Sir Hugh Foot, with the great patience, skill and courage which have already been mentioned several times to-day, to build upon the foundation made possible by the noble and gallant Field-Marshal. Cyprus has been a terrible example of what befalls a Colonial Administration when it becomes the cockpit of international rivalries, when reason is submerged by an emotional approach to every question which cannot be properly settled until that emotion is eliminated. One of the great possibilities of the Bill before us is that it will, as it were, deflate the Cyprus question of a great deal of this emotion, and so I join with everybody else in hoping that at long last Cyprus will now enjoy peace and happiness and prosperity which it surely deserves.

4.45 p.m.


My Lords, may I say at once, on the question of time given to the consideration of this Bill, that I must say that my noble friend Lard Silkin has a very great deal on his side when one comes to look at the Bill. I have read very carefully the speech of the Secretary of State for the Colonies in another place, and I have read the Bill right through. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said that he had a possible Amendment he would have liked to move on a not-too-important matter. But if only the noble and learned Viscount who sits on the Woolsack had been present I should have liked him, with the permission of the noble Earl, to construe for us, from legal into everyday language, Clause 6 (2), because I have never in my long Parliamentary life come across such a piece of draftsmanship as that.

It is possible that many of your Lordships have not read it, so I am going to read it to you—and remember that there is not a full stop in it from beginning to end. An Order in Council under this section may provide either that all the provisions of Section three of this Act and of the Schedule thereto (except in so far as they relate to the areas mentioned in subsection (1) of Section two of this Act) shall cease to have effect or that those provisions shall continue in force to such extent and subject to such modifications as may be specified in the Order, may make such adaptations or modifications of any Act (other than this Act) in force at the making of the Order or passed before then and coming into force thereafter, or any instrument having effect under any such Act, as appears to Her Majesty in Council expedient for the purposes or in consequence of the Order, and may contain incidental, consequential and supplemental provisions. Can anybody tell me what all that is about, or exactly how the subsection is to be divided up? Apart from the one at the end, there is not a full stop in it. You can sit down and study it and then refer back to see what happens as a result. I think it is the most extraordinary piece of Parliamentary draftsmanship I have ever seen. As a member of the House of Commons interpolated the other day, I wonder what that will look like in Greek and Turkish.

I feel that we ought to have had some time in Committee on this Bill, which is of such legal importance. It is not that we might have wanted to move a large number of Amendments ourselves, but surely we could have got experts in the Legislature to put the Bill into something like understandable English as well as something that was legally viable. That is what I feel about that particular subsection. I wish very much that it could have been possible for us to have had, say, one day confined to Committee and Report stage of the Bill.

However, I can understand that, with the things that had to be done so that there may be no further delay in coming to the date of the executive taking over by the Republic of Cyprus, with the Parliamentary Session ending at the end of this week, and there being still more Business to come from the other place up to your Lordships, it is not possible to have a separate day on this Bill.

I do not propose to say much on the Bill at this stage, because it is quite probable that there will be later debates when we come to the end of this period in which the Republic is being started and legislation passed. The Legislature in Cyprus will have to come to certain decisions, and it may then be possible to have a debate of a different character from that which we are having at present. But, from a purely political point of view, I must say that I feel that the Government have been far more clever in their home politics than they have been with regard to their foreign and colonial politics. For example, if the Election of last year had not been staged upon a specially prepared and boosted economy in regard to home administration, and if major attention had been given to foreign and colonial policy, then I think the result of the Election would have been very different indeed.

We have heard tributes paid to capable Ministers—for example, to Mr. Amery, who has been in charge of what, admittedly, were difficult and tricky situations. But in regard to both Suez and Cyprus, Mr. Amery never displayed any sort of hesitation when he was putting his views before Parliament and the country as to what he thought, (a) about the Suez Agreement to which the Government came, or (b) whether there should be any question whatsoever of having anything but complete British control over the whole of Cyprus from beginning to end. I am delighted that he has changed his mind. It seems to me, judging from the speech of the noble and gallant Field-Marshal that he, too, has changed his mind a little.


If the noble Viscount will permit me to say so, I have changed my mind. The change is not due to change of personalities, as was alleged or claimed in another place, but to a change of circumstances. The circumstances that have changed are in the military field and the political field in the Middle East. If I am in order in explaining the position at some little length, may I say that when I went to Cyprus I was among those who believed that we needed the use of the whole of the Island of Cyprus for military purposes for an indefinite period. The change that took place was, in my view, based on a change of political conditions that existed in the situation in the Middle East towards the latter part of or during 1956, such as the abrogation of the Anglo-Jordanian Treaty and the firm adherence of Syria to a group from which there was no possibility of getting any facilities, and the course of events in Iraq.

All that meant that the original strategy, which was, in case of need, to support the Baghdad Pact by the deployment of substantial land forces in Northern Iraq, was no longer a realistic possibility; and that meant that there was no need for having large-scale land forces, or the means of supporting them, or delivering or deploying them, in North East Iraq after that period. That was what made Cyprus of primary importance as an air operational base and only of limited importance for land forces. That was the big change that took place in circumstances—it was not a change within our control—during the course of 1956 and early 1957. That was what made me change my mind.


My Lords, I do not know exactly what was the date when the noble and gallant Field Marshal's mind was finally changed, but I should have thought that the articles in the Daily Express must have been after 1956.


My Lords, if the noble Viscount will permit me to say so, I have not claimed in anything I have written since I returned from Cyprus that we still needed the whole of Cyprus for military purposes for an indefinite period. I have never said that.


Does the noble and gallant Lord still hold that view?


No, not after I came back. If the noble Viscount will permit me to do so, I will quote from a speech that I made in the City of London under the auspices of the Institute of International Affairs in, I think, July, 1958.


In fairness to the House, I think that the noble and gallant Field-Marshal had better let me look it up or show it to me. I ant quite willing to accept that, because I do not want the general procedure of your Lordships' House to be so interrupted especially for my benefit; I do not think that would be quite fair to the rest of the House. However, there can be no doubt as to what was the original view of the noble and gallant Field-Marshal at the time when he made his first declaration on it. I must say that in relation to the changing strategic circumstances in the world, I would not dare to proffer my view against such a high military authority as the Field-Marshal, or, indeed, any senior naval or air force officer. But we who have taken charge of the Defence Departments have picked up little scraps of knowledge and a tendency to think, here and there, as we have gone along.

From 1946 to 1950 I was Minister of Defence, and I had many discussions about the reasonable requirements that we might have in the world about bases and the like, and I had expressed to me from the Service Departments many opinions about the real value of Cyprus and the like. Circumstances must indeed have changed vastly from the conditions I heard about and the advice I got at that time. It may well be that we shall have a valuable staging post, or a fly-off or fly-in place for aeroplanes; but time will tell. He being so youthful, it is probable that the noble and gallant Field-Marshal may still be here to see it happen; I may not be here, but I prophesy that there will be little justification over the years for settling this particular policy from a military point of view. It certainly does not justify the attitude which has been taken by the Government over about seven years altogether and which has led to considerable bloodshed. What we have got out of it is very little indeed.

Having said that, I want to refer to the future. The future is the vastly important thing. The noble Lord, Lord Milverton, replied to my noble friend Lord Silkin regarding what my noble friend had said about the treatment of people in Cyprus—I refer to prisoners and the like. I think that all sides in Parliament, by and large, at all times fully support the maintenance of law and order. But what is always most upsetting to any freedom-loving Parliamentarian in this country is for people to be imprisoned for long periods without being brought to trial. I am sure that that was one of the principal things in the mind of my noble friend when he was speaking of what had happened in Cyprus. I hope that the House is going to pay careful attention to the warning my noble friend gave this afternoon about the lessons to be learned from Cyprus. We in this House have said from these Benches, again and again, that if only, when troubles arise, proper attention were paid to the real conditions and humanities in the territories we deal with, we should not find ourselves so often, as our own history proves (although I think we have treated our colonial possessions better than any other Power in the world has ever done) in the end having to cave in by shaking hands with murder—real murder. I could quote country after country within what was the British Empire which could stand such a description.

Now we have come to a concluded Agreement. To understand the Agreement, and the whole of the Appendices, tables and sections, is a job for an expert; and I doubt very much whether many Members of your Lordships' House, apart from those with expert experience in territories of this kind, have been able, even with patience, to get through the whole of the documents available in this matter. What really matters now is the spirit in which both parties to the Agreement act in the future. That is the thing which will really count.

The noble and gallant Field Marshal referred this afternoon to the personnel of our Services, whether civil or military, in the Island, but I think we in this House have not said sufficient this afternoon in tribute to the enormous work, and what was described by another Minister as the great imagination, as well as patience and encouragement, of Sir Hugh Foot through all these difficult times. It seemed to me that, while he was there, there was always some hope of coming to a settlement, and I am very glad indeed that the Agreement has been arrived at while he is still in office there. We are most grateful to all those who represented us in the Services, administrative and military. Considering what they had to contend with, I think there can be very little comment against the action of any one of them. They stood up to the most unfair types of attack, different from that for which their training had prepared them, very often from the most unexpected types of organisation; and it would have been forgivable had they broken out from military discipline in process of their duty. As an old Minister of Defence I should like to pay my great respect to the men and women in the Forces who maintained law and order for us during all the troubles.

Now they will have to live in the same Island, and reference has quite rightly been made to the need for good will in the future. I am afraid that the good will will not always be maintained without a memory. I very much hope that the memory of what has happened will be present in the minds of both our representatives who will be there, and of the representatives of the two other countries who have such an interest in the two races—the Greeks and the Turks; and I hope that, based upon those experiences, they will see that we have now reached a position where, both on economic and on security grounds, we can proceed with the greatest possible results if there is good will.

The membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation both of Greece and of Turkey is very important; and their consequent interest in the economic side of security, as well as the military side, is important, too. I believe that, if there is good will on both sides, Cyprus, which has been described as having almost nothing there, could be made a much more viable proposition than it has been up to the present. I do not know what the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, thinks about that matter. I have paid only one brief visit to the Island and I have not his knowledge of it. But from what I have seen of Cyprus products I agree with what he said, and especially about the possibility of developing the tourist traffic there. I hope, therefore, that our good will, expressed in the generous grant which has been made, will be continued and will be reciprocated by the Cypriot authorities.

I hope that when the time comes for the Legislature in the new Republic of Cyprus to consider whether or not it should apply for membership of the British Commonwealth—and it is entirely a matter for them whether or not they decide to do so—they will feel that any such application would be received by all the members of the Commonwealth with sympathy and with a genuine desire to be helpful along the lines I have suggested in economic and security development. If such an application for membership of the family of nations were to be made, whatever might finally come of it, I personally should be very happy indeed at all times to support it—and I am sure my colleagues would be. I hope that our last word upon the Second Reading of this Bill will end just there. We are very sorry for a lot of the things that have happened—and have happened from the initiation of both sides. We do not want anything but peace in the future, and I believe that, if we move to the future in that spirit, it will be possible for that peace and security to be obtained.

5.7 p.m.


My Lords, I regret, with others of your Lordships, the need to take this Bill through all its stages to-day, but I appreciate the understanding of noble Lords, and, particularly of the noble Viscount, Lord Alexander of Hillsborough, who have said they recognise the reasons which dictate that course. I feel the more satisfied about that because the noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, said that he might have wished to move an Amendment on a particular point, though I believe that I shall be able later to satisfy him that a provision in the Bill as it now stands covers the point he raised.

The other difficult task I have been set in this connection is in relation to Clause 6 (2) and if your Lordships wish I will try to take you through it. Very simply, it does three things. The first part of it says: An Order in Council under this section may provide either that all the provisions of section three of this Act and of the Schedule thereto shall cease to have effect,"— that means to say, the provisions which allow for membership of the Commonwealth would no longer persist and that Cyprus would therefore no longer be a member of the Commonwealth— or that those provisions shall continue in force to such an extent and subject to such modifications as may be specified in the Order". So that in some respects Cyprus may come within the ambit of the Commonwealth, but in regard to certain provisions, shall not do so. Secondly, it goes on to say that an Order in Council may make the necessary adaptations of existing laws. Lastly it says that an Order in Council may contain incidental, consequential and supplemental provisions. Thus the subsection does three main things, one of which has two possible applications. I am afraid that that is a somewhat amateurish explanation, but I hope that achieves the purpose of explaining just what is behind it.


My Lords, it makes this really clear to me: that four shorter sentences—quite separate sentences in themselves—dealing with the three points concerned would have made the meaning clear to the layman. Apparently it is especially reserved for treatment only of those who are at the Bar.


My Lords, I am sure that the Parliamentary draftsmen on these things are skilful and that we all owe a great debt of gratitude to them, and, perhaps we could leave it at that.

Before I come to various points raised in regard to the Bill, I feel that I must say one word in regard to the history of events of the last years and the interpretation put on them in particular by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin. I do not want to get into deep controversy on it, and I would say only that it was a very ex parte judgment on the events and one with which I could not possibly agree. For example, I feel very much with the noble and gallant Field-Marshal that one of the great problems here was that this was not a colonial problem, a problem between Cyprus and this country, but an international problem. The noble Lord, Lord Silkin, said that agreement was reached at Zurich between the Turkish and Greek Governments and we had nothing to do with it. Technically, it is true that we did not take part in the Zurich discussions, but to say that we had nothing to do with it, or that we were not preparing the ground earlier, would, I am sure, not be a right record of events.


My Lords, the noble Earl is doing what so many people do: they misinterpret the case I put and then answer something I never said. I never said that we had nothing to do with it. That would have been wrong. I merely said that we took no part in the discussions between the Greeks and Turks. That is correct. The noble Earl has confirmed it.


My Lords, if I may say so, a sentence standing alone like that has the implication that we bore no responsibility in the whole thing. But so long as there is no difference of opinion I am very happy.


My Lords, the noble Earl must not raise very many more points like this, because, as I said, there are a great many political issues about this matter. It is perfectly true that Enosis was dropped by the agreement in Zurich, but right through the earlier period, and afterwards, there was this demand for complete British control of the whole of the Island; and we rather felt that we were not being treated very honestly about it. I think he will remember that over and over again in this House the Opposition has abstained from raising debates when it was likely to interfere with the progress of negotiations for which we desired the best possible success.


My Lords, I certainly recognise what the noble Viscount has said in regard to their not raising debates. But I equally felt, and still feel, that the interpretation of events put forward by the noble Lord. Lord Silkin, was not something to which I could subscribe. There is one other thing to which I must make reference. That is. he referred to a statement made in July, 1954, and put the responsibility on that statement for the beginning of the trouble. He was referring, of course, to the statement made on July 28, 1954. by Lord Colyton—Mr. Hopkinson as he then was. I would ask your Lordships to look at the full record of that debate and at what the noble Lord, Lord Colyton (as he now is), said at the time. He said, in answer to a supplementary question [OFFICIAL REPORT, Commons, Vol. 531, col. 508]. …it has always been understood and agreed that there are certain territories in the Commonwealth which, owing to their particular circumstances, cannot be fully independent. He then went on to say, after one or two words: I am not going as far as that this afternoon". Then, a little later on in that same debate, the noble Viscount, Lord Chandos, who in those days was, of course, Colonial Secretary, and was then Mr. Lyttelton, said [Ibid, col. 550]. It is a most unlikely thing in any future we can foresee. I never used the term never and neither did my right honourable friend. I think it is very important, and I would ask your Lordships to look up the full record of that because I know it has been a matter of great misunderstanding. In respect of my noble friend Lord Colyton, I think it would be wrong if one felt that it was due to his statement that the trouble arose.


My Lords, if there is going to be any dubiety about how the feeling is on this point, I would say that I have looked up the passage already, and, so far as I remember, the noble Lord, when speaking in another place, was answering a question specifically on Cyprus. Although his answer was of a very general character, it was in answer to a question on Cyprus. And you can therefore understand the feeling that was likely to be created in Cyprus.


My Lords, I do not want to get into an argument—it is perfectly true that it was in relation to a question on Cyprus—and I equally do not feel I could leave unexplained the comment made by the noble Lord, Lord Silkin.

Now may I turn to one of the questions on which a good deal has rightly been said and upon which there has been a good deal of discussion? I refer to the question of the Commonwealth. I was asked whether I could give an unqualified approval on behalf of the United Kingdom to an application for membership if Cyprus should ask for membership of the Commonwealth. I feel that noble Lords would not expect me to do that to-day, because there is at present a Commonwealth Committee considering the question of what I would call the smaller territories. If we to-day gave unqualified approval, clearly that would be prejudging the whole of this study and, if I may put it this way, it would hardly be playing fair in the circumstances. So I feel sure that I should not be pressed on that.


My Lords, surely we are entitled to have a view of our own, whatever this gathering may decide. Is it going too far to say that we, speaking for ourselves, should welcome their admission?


My Lords, I think that when a matter is sub judice, if one expressed a view of the Government that would in fact be compromising a question that is under study on all sides.


My Lords, I hope that the noble Earl will allow me to intervene, as this is a very important point. Surely the question regarding any of these territories is not whether they should remain in the Commonwealth. We hope they will all remain. The question the Committee is considering is what shall their status be.


My Lords, I think the issue here is whether we should not give unqualified approval for full membership, as I understand it, in the same way as for the other present members. That is what I find myself unable, at this moment, in view of the fact that the Committee is sitting, to express any opinion upon. I am glad to confirm what Lord Ogmore thought: that for the time being (and this is one of the things laid down in the Bill) the Republic of Cyprus will go on as if it is a member of the Commonwealth; and that for the time being the Commonwealth Relations Office will continue to be responsible for relations between the Republic and ourselves.

Then a question, was raised about the Commonwealth Institute. The noble Lord, Lord Ogmore, pointed out that the position would seem to be different as between the Bill for Nigeria and this Bill. But the circumstances in which this Bill is operating are different. If he looks at Clause 3 (3) he will find it is stated that Her Majesty may by Order in Council make such further adaptations…in any Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom passed before the appointed clay, or in any instrument having effect under any such Act, as appear to Her necessary or expedient in consequence of the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus. If the Republic of Cyprus does become a full member of the Commonwealth, and we get a request from her to join the Commonwealth Institute, an Order will be made under this clause amending the Commonwealth Institute Act.

We have had very welcome tributes from all sides of the House, not only to my honourable friend the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, but more particularly to the others who have all played their part in the history of the last few years. I remember particularly the moving words of the noble and gallant Field Marshal about all those men and women who have played their part in that history, and I would once again repeat how much we owe to them. I was also particularly glad to hear from the noble and gallant Field Marshal his judgment on the military adequacy, if I may use those words, of our arrangements in regard to the bases, and also in regard to the Sovereign Base Areas themselves. Clearly, for me to add anything more to that expert opinion is unnecessary, and would also be foolish.

The noble and gallant Field Marshal asked about the position of the smaller communities. I very well understand their position; indeed, the British Government have been at particular pains to ensure that the smaller communities are taken care of. I can assure him that we will continue to keep a watching brief (I think these were his words) over the smaller communities, in so far as it is appropriate for us to do so. I do not believe that it is necessary for me to say more on this point, except that once again I refer to the undertakings given by Archbishop Makarios and Dr. Kutchuk in relation to these communities, and to say that I feel confident that those undertakings will be well honoured. I am also glad that British residents are happy at the provisions which have been made for them. The noble and gallant Field Marshal quoted a letter which he had had, and we, on our part, have had confirmation in the same sense.

If I may now turn for one moment to the economic question, which has been the subject of various comments this afternoon, I would first of all point out that the £12 million which is to be made available over the next five years is not, as it were, to meet the recurring budget of the Island, but is rather to enable economic development to proceed. I think one can reckon that, on the current figures, the budget will more or less balance as it is; but it is for the priming of the pump of economic development that this money will be useful, and it is for that purpose, in the main, that it is proposed to grant it.

I think it is worth while, my Lords, to consider the history of the Island from the economic point of view since we first took over 82 years ago. The great work that has been done by all the administrators in those 82 years—reafforestation; development of the roads; development of agriculture; the starting up of the mine once again (which, of course, is the basis of Cyprus's name); the educational facilities that are provided; the development of co-operatives, which I believe is unequalled anywhere else in the Colonial territories; and, indeed, all the things which have gone on, even, as it will be remembered, during the time of the troubles—has meant that to-day Cyprus has a standard of living which is, I believe, unequalled in any of the independent territories of the Mediterranean, with the obvious exception of France, and possibly also of Italy: I am not sure, even, in regard to Italy, but certainly in relation to all the other territiories in the Mediterranean, and particulary the territories in the eastern part. Under our administration over 80 years, the wellbeing of Cypriots and the standard of living in Cyprus has been led to a position which, as I say, is the highest in those parts. That, surely, is a great record of which we should all be very proud.

Now it remains for me, once again, to wish the Island well. As so many of your Lordships have pointed out—the noble Lord, Lord Milverton, and others —good will is the key. And I think that the history of the negotiations over the last months; of happenings such as that of the football referee, to which the noble and gallant Field Marshal referred; and the spirit, as shown by Archbishop Makarios and Dr. Kutchuk, which has gone into the working out of this Agreement, all give us confidence that good will will prevail, and will prevail in good measure. Independence is not an easy thing, but Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom all have a very special interest, and are clearly anxious to see that Cyprus independence will not fail; and I am sure that, with that knowledge, she will be able to go forward in the way that we should all want. My Lords, my last words in moving the Second Reading of this Bill are, on behalf of all your Lordships, I feel, to wish all the peoples of Cyprus prosperity and happiness.

On Question, Bill read 2a; Committee negatived.

Then, Standing Order No. 41 having been suspended (pursuant to the Resolution of July 14), Bill read 3a, and passed.