§ 2.36 p.m.
§ LORD HAILEY
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 whether, since the point is not covered by the Plowden Report, they will now take steps to reassure the people of the British dependent territories that, in spite of the merging of the Colonial Office with the Commonwealth Relations Office, and the subsequent amalgamation of the latter with Her Majesty's Diplomatic Service, the Secretary of State for the Colonies will still continue to represent their interests, should they conflict with those of the countries with which the Diplomatic Service of the future will have relations.]
§ THE MINISTER OF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH RELATIONS AND FOR THE COLONIES (THE MARQUESS OF LANSDOWNE)
My Lords, I am glad to have this opportunity of affirming that neither the creation of the Diplomatic Service nor the merger of the Colonial Office with the Commonwealth Relations Office will derogate from the functions at present discharged by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. The Plowden Report did not recommend that after the merger of the Colonial Office with the Commonwealth Relations Office the merged Department should be amalgamated with the Foreign Office. It will remain a separate Department, and 448 the Secretary of State in charge of it will continue to be responsible for the administration of the overseas dependent territories and to represent their interests in matters of international concern.
§ LORD HAILEY
My Lords, I am much obliged to the noble Marquess for his reply.