HC Deb 18 February 1964 vol 689 cc185-6W
Q21. Mr. Bottomley

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement about the change of command of the British forces in the Republic of Cyprus.

The Prime Minister

The Commander of all British forces in Cyprus is Air Chief Marshal Barnett. Under him, the command of British Army units in the Sovereign Base Areas is exercised by Major-General Young, General Officer Commanding Cyprus District.

When a Joint Force of British, Greek and Turkish units was set up after Christmas to supervise the truce in the Republic of Cyprus, Major-General Young was appointed to command it. He thus held two posts, in both of which he remained responsible to Air Chief Marshal Barnett. The urgency of establishing the Joint Force made this necessary as a short-term arrangement, but it was recognised that if, in the absence of an early political solution, the life of the Joint Force had to be prolonged, it would be essential to appoint a full-time commander. This has now been done. Major-General Young is handing over the command of the Joint Force to Major-General Carver, and will concentrate on his duties as General Officer Commanding, Cyprus Diarist. I am sure that hon. Members on both sides of the House will appreciate that, with the situation in Cyprus as it is, both these officers and Air Marshal Barnett will have heavy burdens to hear. We owe a great debt to Air Marshal Barnett and General Young for the work they have already done.