HC Deb 17 November 1960 vol 630 cc59-60W
47. Mr. Grimond

asked the Prime Minister what communication he has received from Sir Roy Welensky since 1st November regarding the terms of reference of the Monckton Commission in so far as they relate to secession; and if he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

Messages between myself and Sir Roy Welensky on this and any other subjects are confidential.

In my speech of 1st November I explained the position of the British Government with regard to the Monckton Report. Sir Roy Welensky is perfectly justified in saying that I assured him that I would not alter the terms of reference which I gave to the House of Commons on 21st July, 1959. Nor did I alter them.

I refused to widen the terms of reference to allow the Commission to recommend whether the Federation should be carried on or dissolved. What the Commission have in fact done is to recommend that the constituent territories should be given an option to leave the Federation at a specified time or in specified conditions. They have done this in the belief that such an option would in fact strengthen the Federation. It is possible to argue that, in making this recommendation, the Monckton Commission went outside their terms of reference. But there can be no difference of view about the fact that, although pressed to do so, I did not alter the terms of reference.