§ Mr. Kershaw
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proposals he has made for the future administration and government of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Miss Joan Lestor
Following the report of the Commissioner sent in 1973 to study the relationship of the Gilbert Islands and the Ellice Islands, Her Majesty's Government concluded that the Ellice Islands should be separated from the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony if a referendum of the Ellice people showed that the majority were in favour of separation and the Government of the Colony agreed to it
A referendum, conducted on a "rolling" basis, was held in August-September this year and was observed by a United Nations visiting mission. The result was 3,799 for and 293 against separation. There were 40 spoilt papers.
In accordance with paragraph 3 of the Schedule to the Ellice Islands (Referendum) Order 1974 the results have been reported to the Council of Ministers of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony, who have agreed to the separation of the Ellice Islands. I understand that a motion endorsing this decision will be moved at the meeting of the House of Assembly which begins on 25th November. Thereafter, Her Majesty's Government will hold discussions with representatives of the Gilbertese and Ellice people about, inter alia, the future administration and government of the Gilbert Islands and the Ellice Islands.