§ 2.45 p.m.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government to make a statement on the discussions between the Prime Ministers of the Federation of Malaya and the State of Singapore on the proposed new Constitution, and the position arising on the British military bases in Singapore.]
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR COLONIAL AFFAIRS (THE EARL OF PERTH)
My Lords, the Prime Ministers of the Federation of Malaya and of the State of Singapore have discussed between themselves the terms on which a political merger between their two countries might be arranged, if such a step were to be agreed upon by all the parties concerned, including the British Government. The position of the British bases in Singapore in that event is one of the matters which have to be considered in connection with these proposals. As has already been announced, the Prime Minister of Malaya is coming to London next month to discuss the 548 constructive proposals (which Her Majesty's Government welcome) which he has made for a political association involving also Brunei, North Borneo and Sarawak.
§ LORD SHEPHERD
My Lords, may I thank the noble Earl for his reply? I will not press him any further this afternoon in view of the visit of the Prime Ministers, but may I ask him whether he will impress both upon the Prime Ministers, and also on his noble friends, that a speedy solution to this problem would be in the interests of all parties?
§ THE EARL OF PERTH
Yes, my Lords. I will certainly draw the noble Lord's remarks to the attention of my colleagues. Of course, a speedy solution must depend on the satisfactory working-out of various circumstances.