HL Deb 25 June 1964 vol 259 cc330-3

My Lords, I wonder whether I might interrupt this debate and repeat a Statement which has been made in another place on Cyprus. The Statement is as follows:

"By its resolution of the 20th June, the Security Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Force in Cyprus for a further three months. The Secretary-General thereupon invited the Governments which are at present contributing to the Force to continue to do so.

"We explained to the Secretary-General that, for reasons which are well understood, the British Government were anxious if possible to be relieved of this duty. U Thant, however, emphasised that the British troops were playing an essential part in the United Nations Force, not only by participating in the peace-keeping task but also by providing the logistic and other services for the Force as a whole. The withdrawal of our contingent would therefore seriously weaken the effectiveness of the whole operation. U Thant at the same time informed us that he had consulted the other Governments concerned, including those which are contributing contingents, as well as the Governments of Greece, Turkey and Cyprus, and that it was the desire of all these Governments that Britain should continue to participate.

"In view of the Secretary-General's strong representations and of the importance we attach to the United Nations Mission in Cyprus, we have, after careful consideration, agreed to contribute troops for a further three months, although on a somewhat reduced scale.

"Our contingent will be reduced to between 1,100 and 1,200 men and will be composed of one infantry battalion, a squadron of armoured cars, a contribution towards the Headquarters Staff and the troops required to provide supporting services.

"In agreeing to continue to participating in the United Nations force, we have made it clear that we expect the Cypriot authorities and the Secretary-General to take all possible steps to ensure that our troops are treated with proper respect and courtesy."


My Lords, I welcome this Statement from the noble Lord. We are very glad that the Government see their way to comply with the request of the United Nations and to retain our Force in Cyprus for a further three months. We also welcome the fact that, to a certain extent, we are reducing the size of that force. We hope that three months will see the end of the trouble. I am glad we are making a condition or, at least, making representations about the proper treatment of our force. I hope that comprises proper respect for the families of our men, their wives and other dependents, because in the past they have not had the treatment they are entitled to expect. I hope we are trying to get positive assurances as to their proper treatment.


My Lords, we from these Benches welcome the Statement. I think that is a complimentary Statement. It shows that we are needed in that part of the world but, in a sense, it is a bit of a back-handed compliment, because we are still expected to bear a great deal of the brunt. I appreciate the difficulties the Government are in and should like to support them, but I hope that, during the further three months, all necessary steps will be taken to try to persuade other nations to take more responsibility and relieve us of the duties we have undertaken at considerable inconvenience.


My Lords, I am obliged for what both noble Lords have said. I do not think I disagree with anything they have said.


My Lords, may I ask if my noble friend can inform us whether the Cypriot Government controls Grivas or Grivas controls the Cypriot Government?


My Lords, I think that I should prefer not to comment on that aspect until the situation is rather clearer.


My Lords, would my noble friend be good enough to confirm and state specifically that the British Government have agreed to stay in Cyprus under the United Nations, albeit on a diminished basis, without securing from the United Nations a new directive giving them authority to disarm Greek and Turkish irregulars, if necessary? Have we not come to any conclusion about this grave matter, seeing that General Grivas has arrived in Cyprus and is himself, so it appears, disciplining his own forces? Are we expecting him to do the job the United Nations ought to be doing?


My Lords, my noble friend will be aware that we made representations on this aspect of the matter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and he has given us an assurance that the Commander of the Force will interpret his terms of reference, which your Lordships will know, in a positive and vigorous fashion.


My Lords, in making this very generous offer to the United Nations, have the Government made any stipulation about the return of Major Macey and his driver, who have apparently been captured by the Greeks? If not, will they continue to press for some action in this regard?


My Lords, there has been no stipulation about that, but of course we are making every effort in every possible way to find out the whereabouts of Major Macey and Driver Platt. Unfortunately, so far we have had no success of any kind. We are now proposing to offer a substantial reward for information leading to the discovery of Major Macey and his driver and of those who abducted them.

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