§ Mr. Braine
asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the outcome of his official discussions with the Prime Minister of Malta last week.
§ Mr. Lyttelton
Yes. Apart from Malta's emigration programme, the main subject discussed was Her Majesty's Government's offer to transfer responsibility for handling Maltese affairs to the Home Secretary. The talks on this subject were exploratory. The Prime Minister indicated that, although he appreciated the spirit in which the offer had been made in the hope of meeting Maltese aspirations, he did not understand it to be one which, by itself, affected either the financial relations of the Island with Her Majesty's Government or the present Constitution. He said that he attached importance to changes in both these respects, and he hoped that Her Majesty's Government would agree in principle that changes were necessary.
He added that after further consultations on his return to Malta, his Government would reply to the offer of transfer 87W to the Home Office, and at the same time put forward certain proposals on the other matters mentioned. He was told that Her Majesty's Government would consider these proposals wheal they were received. The talks were conducted throughout in the most frank and friendly spirit.
I reported the results of the discussions on emigration matters in reply to a question on the 2nd June by the hon. and learned Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Hector Hughes).