HC Deb 27 February 1952 vol 496 cc155-6W
82. Sir H. Williams

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the purpose and the duties of the Commissioner-General for South-East Asia.

Mr. Lyttelton

The Commissioner-General is Her Majesty's Principal Representative in the Colonial and Protected territories in South-East Asia. He does not exercise any executive or administrative functions within these territories, but it is his duty to promote co-ordination of policy and administration between their Governments.

For this purpose he may convene conferences of the Governors and High Commissioners. He is required to advise the Secretary of State from time to time on the question of closer political co-operation between these territories. He represents the civil and political interests of the territories (as well as of Hong Kong) on the British Defence Co-ordination Committee, of which he is Chairman. In the sphere of defence—that is to say, the external defence of South-East Asia as a whole he thus has special responsibilities.

In the field of foreign affairs the Commissioner-General holds the personal rank of Ambassador, and in consultation with Her Majesty's representatives in the foreign countries of South-East Asia, is responsible for advising Her Majesty's Government on general problems of foreign policy in the area.