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It is now five months since we called the Government to account for the failure of their policy for Cyprus. During the time that has elapsed since we last debated the matter in the House, no one can pretend that the Government's policy has been transformed from one of unrelieved failure into one of glorious success.
Indeed, if the theme of the last debate was the failure of the Government's policy, I think that the theme of this debate might be the failure of the Government to have a policy, because our complaint today must be that during the last five months the Government have approached the problem by means of a series of negotiations, without taking any positive or constructive action to lower the tension in Cyprus, or to bring together the elements in the population which have to live together if the island is to pursue its future peaceably.
It has been suggested that we are, perhaps, asking for this debate at the wrong moment, and that the Government are, though tardily, engaged in some discussions. They have had months to conduct discussions. They have had at least since March to hold any conversations which they wished to hold. With whom are conversations taking place? There are no conversations with the Greeks, none with the Turks. Archbishop Makarios has not been brought into discussions.
All that has happened is that the talks which we are now told that the Government are having are talks between the Colonial Secretary, on the one hand, and the Government's servant in Cyprus, on the other. Of course, it is very proper that Sir John Harding should be consulted about any decisions on the future of Cyprus, but I cannot think that it is embarrassing to the Government—at least, it ought not to be embarrassing to the Government if they know their minds and speak with a united voice—to have a discussion about the matter in the House of Commons when they are discussing with their own servants what the next development in their policy is to be.
Within a matter of three weeks the House will be rising for the Summer Recess. We shall be away for three months and there will not be an opportunity to question the Government, for what satisfaction that may be. I am bound to say that all we secure from the Colonial Secretary when he answers our Questions is a series of what the Manchester Guardian calls "elegant evasions." He has not carried this matter forward one iota since the end of March.
It is because of the failure of the Government to take an initiative in this matter that we believe it proper to bring it to the attention of the Committee today and to try once more to secure a statement from the Government of their policy. If we cannot get a statement from them, at least the country will know that they are unable, even yet, to state their views and the public will realise that they are unable to speak their mind because their mind is divided, because they are a Government who are not of one mind. At least, the country will know where we stand on this issue.
Since the middle of March, there has been a truce in Cyprus and, thank God, there has not been a single political murder. But we have had nothing but indecision and drift from the Government. They have failed to take advantage of the opportunity which the cessation of violence presented. All they did was to give E.O.K.A. an opportunity to regroup. They gave Archbishop Makarios propaganda material. They gave him an opportunity of stating his case throughout the world. They themselves took not a single positive political step towards bringing a period of pacification and a measure of constitutional reform to the island.
Let us, shortly, review what has happened since we last debated the subject on 19th February. A month later, E.O.K.A. offered a truce on condition that Archbishop Makarios was released and that negotiations with him were resumed. There is no doubt that E.O.K.A. had been somewhat savagely mauled by the 20,000 British troops stationed in the island. Indeed, it would be surprising if it had not been, and that may have influenced E.O.K.A.'s approach to the offer. Nevertheless, the offer was made and the Government immediately found themselves confronted with the need to make a reply, divided though they were on the problem of Cyprus and the question of the Archbishop's release.
Through the Colonial Secretary the Government made an offer. They said that if Archbishop Makarios would make a clear, public statement calling for the cessation of violence by E.O.K.A., a new situation would be created. As anyone might have foreseen, the Archbishop evaded the issue in his reply. Of course he did. The Government are dealing with Archbishop Makarios, not with a single cleric. I do not know whether the Government fully appreciated that they would not get the appeal necessary from him. Lord Salisbury did.
The Archbishop made a very clever reply. He said that he would appeal to E.O.K.A. to declare a cessation of all operations if the British Government would show a spirit of understanding by simultaneously abolishing the state of emergency. He threw the ball back into the Government's court. He said that he would appeal to E.O.K.A. to cease violence if the Government would repeal the state of emergency. He laid clown a number of other conditions—that talks should he resumed directly between the British Government and the Cypriot people, that he should be allowed to return to the island, that an amnesty should be granted for all political offences. All those conditions were quite outside any concessions which the Government intended to make.
The Colonial Secretary therefore came to the House of Commons at 3.30 one afternoon and, without telling us one word of what was in the Archbishop's reply, announced that the Government had decided to release him. He said:
The Archbishop has now made a statement, copies of which will be available in the Vote Office when I sit down.
He dared not have issued it before he sat done, because of his back benchers. He went on:
While Her Majesty's Government cannot regard this statement as the clear appeal for which they asked"—
it was not a clear appeal, it was clear defiance of Her Majesty's Government—
nevertheless they consider that in present circumstances it is no longer necessary to continue the Archbishop's detention."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 28th March, 1957; Vol. 567. c. 1355–6.]
There is no doubt that in this respect and to this extent Lord Salisbury was right when in his letter of resignation to the Prime Minister he said that the, Archbishop had deliberately refrained from responding to the appeal to cease violence. He said:
On the contrary, he has imposed a condition so far-reaching that the Government have to state quite frankly that they cannot do whir he asks …he will be able to edge us along from point to point, with increasing injury to that close and confident relationship with Turkey which should, to my mind, be the main basis of British policy in the Middle East at the present time.
Lord Salisbury said that while remaining a full supporter of the Government on every other issue, he would, therefore, resign. He was right to do so, because the Government had released Archbishop Makarios without getting from him any of the conditions about appeals which he should have made and which they said he must make if he were to be released.
The Prime Minister had already said that it was an act of statesmanship and that we had shown generosity and magnanimity. The Government thought that they would meet a similar response from the Archbishop. With whom did they think they were dealing? It is not magnanimity, it is not generosity to lay down conditions upon which one proposes to act and then to run away from them. That is not generosity, but weakness and, of course, the Archbishop recognised that it was weakness. The Colonial Secretary discovered, as many other gaolers before him have discovered, that it is far easier to lock up a man than to find a good reason for releasing him if he will not recant. The Archbishop was becoming an embarrassment in the Seychelles and the Government wanted to get rid of him and get him away from those islands.
I follow the Colonial Secretary in that respect, but if one goes as far as that, what is the point of the release, if it is not followed up? Why did the Government leave the situation in that suspended state? If the Government were willing to put themselves in a position where they were ready to lose one of their most prominent supporters and ready to risk a division in their own ranks—it is well known that a number of Conservatives see exactly eye to eye with Lord Salisbury on this matter—having carried out this act of statesmanship, the next and most practical step was to pursue the matter by holding talks with responsible spokesmen of the Cypriot people.
One course or the other is logical—either to keep him there and sit on the people of Cyprus, or to release him and bring him into conversations. But to release him and give him the platform that he has in Athens at present, so that he can spread about all the allegations that he may do, without any answer from the British Government, because they are unable, unwilling or too inert to take the initiative, seems to me to be getting the worst of all possible worlds.
I do not understand why the Government are so "choosy" about Archbishop Makarios. Why do we draw the line at him? There are plenty of other people to whom the Government have been willing to talk and make up to. If I read the Press aright, at present discussions are going on which will bring the British Government and Colonel Nasser together. Why can we stomach Nasser and not be able to treat with Makarios? Looking at it from the Government's point of view, what is the essential difference, if British interests and the interests of the people of Cyprus are involved? Their flabby inertness over the last few months has rightly earned them the condemnation of their own Right wing and everyone who believes that progress should be made in this constitutional impasse.
The have seized upon every statement that the Archbishop has made in order to show how intractable he is. They say, "Look at his attitude about future discussions. He writes to us and says, by way of a letter to the British Ambassador in Athens, I am ready and willing to take part, on behalf of the people of Cyprus, in bilateral talks.'" The Government then get on their high horse and say, "Bilateral talks with the Archbishop? Oh, no. Of course not. There are other and wider interests which have a right to be consulted. We are not going to indulge in bilateral talks with the Archbishop. We have to take into account many other interests."
I do not know what other hon. Members thought this statement meant when they read it originally, but I assumed that the Archbishop meant bilateral talks about the internal future and self-government of Cyprus. If the Government had been in earnest about trying to secure a settlement in Cyprus, why did not they take the trouble to find out what the Archbishop meant, instead of indulging in a long-range shouting match with him? They have a whole phalanx of Foreign Office officials in Athens at their disposal—a whole galaxy of stars.
Anyone could have found out, through the medium of the Greek Foreign Office—even if they could not talk with the Archbishop himself—what he meant by bilateral talks. But no one found out—or if he did the Government did not tell us. I have a strong and shrewd suspicion that the Government did know, but it was left to the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Viscount Lambton) to interview the Archbishop and to tell us, last week, what was in his mind on this issue.
The noble Lord was Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Foreign Secretary until he resigned because of his disagreement over the Government's Suez policy, and I think that no one will doubt either the noble Lord's ability or courage. The noble Lord asked the Archbishop a number of questions and received answers to them. I quote the following:
(Q) Do you consider that your present position is not weakened by your insistence
on bilateral talks? (A) What I meant by bilateral talks is that the talks should be between Cyprus and Great Britain, that Greece and Turkey should not take part.
(Q)You are prepared that the Turkish minority should join in these limited talks? (A) But certainly, they are part of the people of Cyprus.
(Q) To what degree would they participate? (A) Of course, it would have to be in a proportionate degree; they must not have the same say as ourselves as they would veto all our suggestions.
Why should not the Government have found out that that was the Archbishop's attitude? Or did they know and not want to act upon it?
I will ask the Colonial Secretary very straightly this question: is he ready to enter into negotiations with representatives of the Greek Cypriots—of whom I have no doubt that Archbishop Makarios would be one—and representatives of the Turkish Cypriots in London, or at any other convenient place, to settle, if possible, or, at any rate, to commence negotiations about, the constitutional future of Cyprus? That is a question about which, when they decide their policy, we have a right to an answer from the Government this afternoon. It is a simple question and they should be able to tell us the answer.
Unless the Colonial Secretary gives a clear and categorical affirmative answer that he is ready to discuss the future of the island with the Greek and Turkish Cypriots he is guilty of the grossest had faith, because for months we have been led to believe that he needed only a cessation of violence in the island to enable constitutional progress to be made.
Every one of us in this House must have drawn that inference from the Colonial Secretary's speech. Four months have gone by and not a shot has been fired—and not a word of invitation has been spoken by the Colonial Secretary to these people to come to London and have talks. Why not? This is part of our indictment of the Colonial Secretary.
The second request that I wish to make to the right hon. Gentleman and to the Government is that they should disabuse themselves, or, at any rate, some of their supporters, of the ridiculous notion that partition would be any solution to the problems of Cyprus. On 19th December last the Colonial Secretary—and here I am paraphrasing his words—said that partition, to him, would be an extremely distasteful act of policy, and that it was the last measure to which he would turn. But he has not gone far enough. It is not enough to say that it is the last act of policy if all else fails; he should say that it is not within the realms of practical politics. Surely we do not need any historical or political parallels to convince this or any other Government that partition will not be a solution in Cyprus, any more than it has been in any of the other territories in which it has been tried.
Right hon. Gentleman. I would not deprive him of that privilege. It is the only one that he is likely to get. He is never likely to be a member of a Conservative Front Bench again.
I know that it was his brain-child and I know that he has a great affection for it, but does he really wish us to debate the issue that partition in Ireland has been a success, or that the state in which Palestine has been left has been an unmitigated success? Does he say that what has happened in Kashmir as a result of partition has been a great success? Surely these are matters beyond dispute.
The only matter for discussion this afternoon is when partition is to take place. Unless the hon. Gentleman and his friends understand that, the debate is unreal.
I think that what I have had to say had sufficient justification, in view of the statement that it has brought forth from the right hon. Gentleman. I can assure him that he will meet a very great deal of dissent not only from this side of the House but from his own side if that is his view. It is a terrible tragedy that a man who knows so much and is so wise about so many things should be so stupid and childlike about the issue of the partition of an island like Cyprus. He is doing no service to his Government, or to the people of Cyprus, by advocating this proposal.
I am sorry, but I must push on. I have given way to one interruption. Let me have my say now and I will give way later on.
I have said all that I wish to say about the subject of partition, namely, that the Colonial Secretary should rule it out completely from all our discussions. I now come to another unrealistic matter, in which the Government surprise even me. I am glad that the Minister of Defence is here.
I refer to the question of the future of Cyprus as a strategic base. Here is an island, a Colony, which, quite clearly, we did not keep to ourselves because it brought us no material trading advantages. We held Cyprus because we were told—Sir Anthony Eden told us—that it was essential to our oil supplies and to cover our lines of communication in the Middle East. We were told more. When the Greek Cypriots said that they were willing to allow the British a base on the island, what was the Government's reply? They said, "A base on the island is not enough; what we need is Cyprus as a base, not a base on Cyprus." For three years we were told this.
Indeed, the money that the Government have been pouring out will bring tears to the eyes of any Chancellor of the Exchequer who today is grubbing round for a few hundred thousand pounds in an effort to see what economies he can effect. No less than £12½ million have already been spent or committed in the last three years—am I right?—to translate Cyprus into a base, and now the Minister of Defence returns from Cyprus and his other visits in the Middle East to say that what we really need in Cyprus is not an island as a base after all; what we need is a couple of airstrips so that atomic bombers may fly off in pursuance of our defence against the U.S.S.R.
No, but I am interpreting it exactly. The Minister of Defence is quite capable of interrupting again to deny what I am saying. Is he, in fact, saying—does he wish to deny it—that he does not any longer want Cyprus as a base and that all he needs is a base on Cyprus? Because that was the substance of the interview which he gave on television, which I myself watched.
I think that the hon. Gentleman was referring to a television interview which I gave in which I dealt with the question of the location of the Middle East Headquarters, which is quite a different thing.
We shall see how far it is a different thing when the Government's new defence policy finally becomes an accomplished fact.
Meantime, I adhere to my view that what we are witnessing is a strategic somersault by the Government which will throw away £12½ million, already spent or committed in Cyprus, because the right hon. Gentleman will make his base in a different area. I challenge the Minister of Defence, when the statement is made, to try to deny it then. He knows the conclusion to which he is coming. Look at the folly of it.
The Government, in three years, have brought Greece and Turkey to the edge of war. They have strained our relationship in N.A.T.O. and they have strained the Bagdad Pact [Laughter.] Yes, they have strained the Bagdad Pact nearly as much as their folly over Suez did. I do not know which hon. Members opposite would prefer to have as being the prime cause for any weaknesses in the Bagdad Pact; whether it was their stupidity over Suez or their folly over Cyprus. Both have been very contributory factors.
For three years the Government have repressed the island, which is under a military dictatorship, and now they tell us, "It was all for nothing; what we need is a couple of airstrips. We intend to remove the base, abandon the money and the headquarters that have been built there."
The Government are guilty not only of a great waste of public money, not only of straining our relations with our allies unnecessarily, but are guilty, so far as the people of Cyprus are concerned, of sacrificing their hopes as free men to choose their own Government for the sake of an apparently non-vital British strategic base. That seems to me to be the height of folly and of madness.
This island has lived for two years under a state of emergency. There are at this moment in the gaols men who have been sentenced to death, but the sentence has not been carried out. I joined with a number of hon. Members on both sides of the House in appealing to the Governor not to carry out these sentences. I am grateful to him for listening to our appeal. I am certain that the course he took was the course of statesmanship and wisdom, and I do not believe that he will regret having suspended those sentences.
There are many other matters. There are still nearly 1,000 men and women under detention in Cyprus. A charge has not been brought against them and a prosecution has not been heard. They are behind barbed wire and, so far as I can tell, they are likely to remain behind barbed wire. What do the Government intend to do? How long is this situation to continue before they release more than a handful? I believe that 25 have been released, but there are nearly 1,000 subjects languishing behind barbed wire today. We wish to know from the Government what they intend to do about this situation, which is doing the name of Britain no good anywhere throughout the world.
I want to mention another matter. That is the constantly repeated allegations of brutality on the part of certain of the British security forces. I have read a great deal of what has been said by Archbishop Makarios and other organs of Cypriot and Greek opinion, alleging atrocities against some of our own security officers. It did not make pleasant reading.
Maybe no one in this Committee believes him—maybe no hon. Member opposite believes him—hut there are plenty of people throughout the world who will believe many of these atrocity stories.
I want to state my own position. It is very simple. My hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) and my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) have themselves been to a gaol in this country in which they have seen men who alleged that atrocities have been committed and that they have been subjected to brutal treatment in the course of obtaining information.
Let me say quite clearly that I am certain that Sir John Harding would not tolerate this treatment if he were aware of it. At the same time, these allegations are so numerous, and have been so widespread, that it is simply nonsense for the Government to say, "Sir John Harding has denied them we accept that denial and that is the end of it."
That is not the end of it. These stories can reverberate around the world. I will quote from the most recent of them. On 29th June, an inquest was held into the death of Nicos Georghiou at Limassol by the coroner, Mr. Morgan. He was on the last published list of wanted men. He had been given an E.O.K.A. code name "Botsaris". He was arrested at Sarandi and subsequently died, aged 37. There seems little doubt that he was a member of E.O.K.A. I want to quote from some of the evidence given at the coroner's inquest.
Dr. Clearkin was the Government pathologist. He is an Englishman, and said in the evidence he gave that there were no definite signs of physical injury or pneumonia, but that there was purulent fluid in the bronchial tubes. There was no abrasion or damage to the brain, but an internal haemorrhage had occurred without internal disease. He added that the injury must have been caused by an outside agency, but he could not say when. It could not be caused by a towel tightly tied around the skull. The death was unnatural.
This was the expert pathologist, giving evidence. Bruises in the head were sufficiently severe to have caused the injuries to the brain, perhaps by bumping the head against a hard object. Dr. Clearkin said that with this type of cerebral haemorrhage symptoms would develop within a matter of hours. The coroner returned a verdict that the cause of death was intercranial haemorrhage
occasioned by some unknown external agency of which there is no direct evidence.
Can supporters of the Government sit comfortably in their seats in the light of that factual description?
Of course he might have banged his head against a wall. That is possible; it is also at least possible that there were some people who wanted to secure evidence from this E.O.K.A. suspect and endeavoured to get it by violent means, by banging his head against a wall.
I believe that in view of all these allegations we have reached a stage in this matter at which the Government owe it to the good name of the British people to have them investigated. I have had letters from an English superintendent of police in Cyprus denying that the British policeman would ever indulge in such practices. I am sure he is right. I do not believe a British policeman—the London "bobby" we know—does indulge in these practices, but he is not all the Cyprus Police Force.
My hon. Friend the Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson) put a Question the other day to ascertain how many members of the security and police forces, whilst nominally of British nationality, were nevertheless recruited from other countries, having served in other police forces. There is quite a considerable number of them.
The next request I want to make of the Government is this. I believe that it is in the interests of us all that an impartial inquiry should be held into allegations such as these so that the truth may be ascertained and proclaimed—
The noble Lord ought to bring himself up-to-date on this. There has been a long succession of these allegations in which neither he nor I know the truth. There must be 20, 30 or 40 of them. We say the position has 1een reached at which an impartial inquiry should be held, instead of leaving it to the denial of the Governor on the spot.
The position of the Governor is now being called into question. Sir John Harding has carried out the desires and policy of the Government for a long period. His name has been associated with a period of warfare and violence in which he has been in command of the British troops and has endeavoured—he has now succeeded—to bring it to an end. At least, it has been brought to an end partially by his efforts. It has also been brought to an end—let the Government make no mistake about this—because E.O.K.A. voluntarily declared a truce.
It is necessary to give the Government a reminder about this, because they misjudged the, situation in August, 1955, when they assumed that E.O.K.A. was beaten and called for surrender terms. The only result was that E.O.K.A. took up arms again. I am desperately anxious—I hope that laughter from the other side of the Committee will not put the Government off—that the Government should not misjudge the situation at this time, although E.O.K.A. was much more badly mauled before the current truce than it was in 1955.
We have now reached the stage at which it would be more advantageous to the future of Cyprus to replace the Governor by a civilian, a civilian who would have some knowledge of political matters, because, if the shooting part of the operation is now over, we want to get into the saddle someone who is really able to judge political issues as a politician. I do not think that I should even object to an ex-member of the Government Front Bench going there. It would be more likely that he would understand the political thinking that is going on in Cyprus at present than would a soldier who, however brave, has had no contact with political matters in the past. I believe it would be in the best interests of us all if Sir John Harding were to give up his post and be replaced by a civilian.
I beg the Government not to be obsessed by the attitude of the Turks to the extent that they apply a veto to any forward moves the Government themselves may want to make. This was Lord Salisbury's great pride. I would remind the Committee that in his letter of resignation he said that he believed that the mainspring, the main basis, of British policy in the Middle East should be a
close and confident relationship with Turkey.
Of course, there is no one here who does not want to see a close and confident relationship with Turkey.
Every one of us here would like to see that relationship with the Turks, who are linked to us both by treaty and by many friendships, continuing, but we really cannot allow them to blackmail us—or anyone else for that matter. We simply cannot afford to put the Turks into a position in which, by using 20 per cent. of the population of Cyprus, they are able to stop any forward move for the remaining 80 per cent.
If we have a duty, our major duty, clearly, must he with the overwhelming numbers of the population in the island. The Government have badly underplayed their hand with the Turks by allowing them to believe that they have only to raise opposition to what is taking place and what is proposed by the Government for the Government to say, "We cannot strain the ties of the Bagdad Pact or the ties of N.A.T.O. any more; we must yield to the Turks". I do not believe that such yielding ever pays in the long run.
It would be far better for the Government to say to the Turks now, "We want to see the Turkish minority in Cyprus properly safeguarded. We believe that the clauses that were written into the draft constitution by Lord Radcliffe give adequate protection to the Turkish minority. Whether the Radcliffe constitution is finally adopted or not, we—the Government—will see that such protection, or similar protection to that laid down by Lord Radcliffe, is enjoined upon the Greek Cypriots." In parenthesis, I believe that, if the Government said that, they would find there would not be objection from the Greek Cypriots.
If the Government were to take that line with the Turks, I believe they would find that they would solve more problems for themselves than they would create. I simply cannot believe that the Turkish Government value their relationship with us, their membership of the Bagdad Pact and the N.A.T.O. alliance, so lightly that they are willing to throw all this overboard in the face of the most solemn guarantees from the British Government about the treatment of the Turkish minority because, if they did throw them overboard, it would be shown that we had been clinging to a very fickle ally by mistake.
The policy of the Government, in so far as it is based on a desire to please the Turks and not to offend them, is not only doing the Government an injustice, but is doing the people of Cyprus a great injustice. We are saying to them, "Our interests are such, our relationships with Turkey are of such a character, that we must not give you your freedom. Because we wish to please Turkey, because we wish to avoid any strain on our alliances, you must not have the elementary right of free men to choose your own Government. You may not have the right of free men to build up your own institutions and to choose your own associates. All these things are to be subordinated to the interests of Britain in her relationship with Turkey." A policy based on those considerations is bound to fail.
At the end of last week, on behalf of my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, I told the House of Commons that the Government were not in a position to make a statement about Cyprus. I said that when my right hon. Friend was in a position to report any progress he would most certainly come to the House. It was against the background of that information that the Opposition still decided to have a debate this afternoon.
I make no complaint; it is the time of the Opposition; but I am sure that the Committee will not expect this afternoon, so soon after what I said last week, to have a policy statement from Her Majesty's Government. [HON. MEMBERS: "Is there a policy?"] If hon. Gentlemen opposite would listen a little more to what we say from these benches they would not fall into the error of believing that Her Majesty's Government have no policy. [HON. MEMBERS: "What is it?"] I hope to outline something of what the Government have done and what we are intending to do, if hon. Gentlemen opposite would wait. It will be better if I try to frame my remarks around the speech which the right hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) has just made.
I listened very carefully to all that the the hon. Gentleman had to say. When we strip away the usual trimmings and some of the window-dressing there seem to be four main points in what he put to the Committee. The first concerns what he called the "failure" of Her Majesty's Government to have a policy. He said that Her Majesty's Government have not gone far enough, but should promote a conference here in London, or somewhere else.
The second point was that we should hold an impartial, judicial inquiry into the allegations of maltreatment of detainees in Cyprus. The third point was that it was time another statement were made on the strategic position in Cyprus; and the fourth point, if I remember it rightly, was that partition should at all costs be ruled out of our thinking. Perhaps I might start by saying something about the allegations of atrocity.
Though I well appreciate that this is a matter in which the whole Committee has an interest, it goes wider than this Committee. This is not the main object of the debate this afternoon, or the main problem with which Her Majesty's Government and all other people are concerned, but I would like to deal with it first. I was glad and interested to hear that the hon. Gentleman did not necessarily associate himself entirely with the allegations that were made. He merely said that they had been made and that, therefore, we ought to have an inquiry.
I would ask the Committee to look at the sources of these accusations. By and large, the accusations have been made either by actual members of E.O.K.A., or by people who are under the influence of that organisation. We all here know that these outlaws have shown themselves utterly indifferent to all civilised principles. They stopped at nothing: terrorism, destruction and, of course, murder. This is a campaign designed to discredit the forces of law and order. It could hardly be expected to pay scrupulous attention to accuracy; indeed, some of the allegations are of the wildest nature. None the less, Sir John Harding and the authorities in Cyprus have investigated all concrete charges and, in the few isolated cases where duty has been exceeded, disciplinary action has been taken.
The other sources of these allegations is Archbishop Makarios himself. He has been spending time recently in Athens giving prominence to a list of what he calls "atrocities". For any man who claims to be a responsible statesman deliberately to promote a smear campaign is serious enough, but for a leading figure of the Church to do so without assuring himself first of all of the facts is to throw all responsibility to the winds.
How can the Archbishop do other than rely on second-hand information? He has had no opportunity of testing the information simply because he has not been to Cyprus for over a year. [Laughter.] If Hon. Gentleman opposite are going to laugh at this they have failed to see the whole point. Nobody can argue with me that the allegations made by this prelate have anything but foundations of secondhand information.
I want to finish this point. Not only is the Archbishop's information second-hand, but it is information which comes at second-hand either from those whose consciences, as the Archbishop has known, have set no limits whatsoever to their activities, or from people who have been made the tools of terrorism.
Indeed, some of the Archbishop's allegations are manifestly absurd. I will take one case and explain it to the Committee. The Archbishop, in the document which he has produced and spoke on the other day, alleged that a certain Miss Loula Kokkinou
had her front teeth knocked out by a blow from a sadistic torturer.
The dental and medical records in Cyprus show that this lady has lost only one of her teeth and that this was extracted a long time before she was arrested.
I wanted to continue and complete that point before the hon. and learned Gentleman interrupted me. It bears out what I am asking, which is: how can the Archbishop, not having been able to see and talk to these people, seek, a man in his position, to promote a campaign of this sort without doing what every hon. Member of this Committee has to do before he brings something forward, namely, satisfy himself of the facts?
Surely that is the whole point. We are in no better position than anybody else, but we know that a number of allegations have been made. We do not know whether they are valid or not, so let us investigate them.
The hon. and learned Gentleman is going a little too far. All I was doing was to explain that we have information from two sources, E.O.K.A. and the Archbishop, who speaks without assuring himself of the facts.
We have been told of accusations by certain Cypriot prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs. I know that some hon. Members have taken a personal interest in this matter, but I ask hon. Members to put themselves in the position of anybody who really had been through maltreatment, and torture. When entering a prison would not the first thing he to complain to the prison authorities, to show the marks on their bodies—[HON. MEMBERS: "No."]—and to co-operate with the prison doctor to prove what the allegations were?
We have been to the prison this morning. We discovered that the chief medical officer of the prison had made a most meticulous examination of these men. I hope that there will be a later opportunity to deal with matters that are in doubt between myself and the Colonial Secretary. It is on the record. What must also be put on the record is that some of these men were threatened with gaol in this country as something worse than had happened to them in Cyprus. They were men coming from a war area to a country where they would not be able to speak the language, where they were examined, and where their bruises were put on record. To ask them to do more than that is outside the laws of ordinary psychology.
I am sorry that the hon. Lady did not wait for me to finish my explanation.
I ask hon. Members: what would be the normal thing to do if one had suffered brutality? In this case, some of the prisoners concerned, whatever they were told about this country and about British prisons, have been in this country over six months, some of them getting on for a year, as the hon. Lady knows very well. At no time did they make any complaints about brutality until, in fact, this campaign of alleged atrocities built itself up, and then they came forward. When, as a result of that, they were by the prison medical officer if they could be examined again, they said, "Is this in connection with the inquiries by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, in which case, no; we do not want to have any examination."
I am not prejudging this at all. I only want to show the Committee how these allegations have spread, and, of course, I accept that false reports fly faster than a defence. I should be more inclined to support the suggestion for an independent inquiry if I could see any hope that it would take place in conditions which would enable the truth to be established. We here in this Committee are thinking of a judicial inquiry, and we imagine the calm and free atmosphere of an English court room, but, alas, that is not the case in Cyprus today.
The inquiry would take place against a background of secret fear and intimidation. Any Cypriot who wanted to come forward and tell the truth would certainly have to ask himself how palatable that truth was to E.O.K.A., and, if he did, he would be marked down as a traitor and risk a bullet or a knife in his back, a fate which has befallen large numbers of his own compatriots on the merest suspicion of helping the police.
Hon. Members may remember that when Lord Radcliffe published his constitutional proposals, Cypriots were afraid to come forward and answer his invitation to discuss them simply because it had been declared by E.O.K.A. that it should not happen. How much greater would be the fear of telling an investigating body something which might give the lie to E.O.K.A.'s carefully worked up propaganda campaign? Or even the fear of refusing to give false evidence to the inquiry at E.O.K.A.'s behest? Whatever we did, whatever pledge of secrecy we gave to witnesses, they would still fear that their names would become known, and, I suggest to hon. Members most earnestly, the only results of such an inquiry would be to provide a perfect forum for E.O.K.A. to repeat and elaborate allegations which nobody would dare to come forward and contradict.
Therefore, my right hon. Friend could not make himself responsible for such a travesty of justice, and that is why he declined to arrange for such an inquiry. Several times he has given assurances that all specific allegations will be investigated by the Cyprus Government, and that, when he is able to do it, he will place detailed comments on the outcome of the inquiries in the Library.
May I proceed to what I call the main issue?
Before the hon. Gentleman proceeds, may I ask him a question? He has said that prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs had refused a new medical examination. Is he aware that the reason they have refused that is that they had a previous examination and that his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies said in this House that, as a result of that examination, there were no marks, bruises or anything else suggesting injury or ill-treatment upon them? Is he aware that it was because of that statement, which is denied in the medical records of the men who made the examination, that these prisoners say, "We are not going to have a further examination when the truth is withheld from the House of Commons"?
I am grateful to the hon. Member, even though he interrupted, for making that clear. This will enable my right hon. Friend to reply to the argument which the hon. Gentleman is making when my right hon. Friend winds up the debate. There is a conflict, and the hon. Gentleman has not clearly understood what my right hon. Friend said, but my right hon. Friend will make it perfectly clear in his winding up speech. There is no doubt about this at all, but I would prefer to leave it to my right hon. Friend to do himself.
I was about to proceed to say that we have been accused of dragging our feet by a series—I think the hon. Gentleman said—of negatives, without any positive action. It seems to me that the very reverse is true. All the initiative has come from us, and nothing but intransigence from those who seek to represent the people of Cyprus. The truth is that, as the hon. Gentleman said, the Cypriot people themselves are not in a position to speak freely for themselves, because they are living in terror of their lives. At the risk of detaining the Committee, I think I should repeat for the sake of the record what Her Majesty's Government have done in recent months on this problem.
I go back to last December, when we put forward draft constitutional proposals for the island, which had been conceived by Lord Radcliffe and gave a wide measure of self-government to the people. The Greek Government turned them down flat. When, following the United Nations Resolution, Lord Ismay, then Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, offered his good offices for mediation in the dispute, Her Majesty's Government accepted at once. Again, there was no favourable response from the Greek Government.
I was saying exactly what my words mean, and the hon. Gentleman will see that when he reads my words. No favourable response has been received from the Greek Government, and that is absolutely incontrovertible. Alas, that is the case. I do not want to make it the case; I wish it were not so, but it is the case. I know that the hon. Gentleman is interested in the point, but I think that if he looks at my words later he will find that they represent the facts.
Following the success of the security forces in Cyprus, Her Majesty's Government decided that it was no longer necessary to detain Archbishop Makarios, and so, with a desire to ease tension—and I think I should make this point—and also in the hope that, once he was free, he might play the part of leader which he professed to be, the Archbishop was released. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East made considerable play with this point. It sounded to me as if he disagreed with what the Government did. He appeared to disagree with Her Majesty's Government because the Archbishop was expected to make a statement, and, because, when he did not, we let him out none the less.
I remember the hon. Gentleman telling the Government that it would be quite wrong to make the Archbishop make too many promises, because that might stop him coming out. Do not let us have any argument about that. He is out, and the Committee knows the reason why the Government took that decision. The tragedy is that, so far, the Archbishop has not taken a single constructive step on behalf of his weary people. Rather has he seemed to care more for his own personal position.
The next point is that the Governor of Cyprus arranged a generous safe conduct for Colonel Grivas and his colleagues. There was no respose. The Governor of Cyprus proceeded to relax certain emergency regulations, and, in particular, those affecting offences punishable by death. This has been met only by the poisonous campaign about atrocities. All this was done in the spirit of the United Nations Resolution, although it has only led to charges by the Greeks and Archbishop Makarios that we paid no attention to it whatever.
The hon. Member suggests that we should break through the present deadlock and issue invitations to a conference, but the Government have shown by their record that they have always been ready to confer with the Cypriots and the Greeks and Turks. I take the hon. Member's proposal to be that we should invite Archbishop Makarios and the representatives of the Cypriots to discuss with us either the Radcliffe constitution or else the future of Cyprus generally. We have already said that if there were to be such a conference with representative Cypriots, Archbishop Makarios could be invited among others, and this remains Her Majesty's Government's policy today.
But what is the present position? The Greek Cypriots have the fear of E.O.K.A. assassination hanging over them because the Archbishop has not said a word to the terrorist leader—
It will be awkward for other hon. Members if I do not finish a sentence before giving way to an interruption. I was about to say that the Greek Cypriots still live in a fear of assassination and that the published views of Archbishop Makarios on the Radcliffe proposals are perfectly clear.
The hon. Gentleman quoted from a recent interview in a London newspaper, and according to this, Archbishop Makarios declared that the Radcliffe proposals were unworkable and that neither they nor any amendments could ever be accepted by the Cypriots. When asked about his alternatives the Archbishop refused to make any suggestions, and if the suggestion is that the invitation would be to discuss the future of Cyprus, the Archbishop has made it perfectly clear, in his letter to the Prime Minister and subsequently, that Turkish Cypriots could not take part, at any rate on equal terms, and that, in effect, the discussions would have to be bilateral ones with him.
I only wished to ask whether it is the fact that the latest communication from Archbishop Makarios makes clear that he never expected to be the sole negotiator and that he would be glad to come as one of a group representing Cyprus.
If the hon. Lady turns up the record, she will see what I was trying to say. It is correct that the Archbishop said that he does not expect to be the only person at this discussion. But he has indicated that he would want to discuss the general problems first, and, when they were all settled, then the minority Turkish Cypriots could be brought in to discuss limited problems. It is clear that that is what he suggests doing, and I call that bilateral discussions. Her Majesty's Government have always said that all the representatives must come, representatives of all sections in Cyprus—
—and I want to tell the Committee that I, and my right hon. Friend, too, should be delighted if reason prevailed and if there were conditions in which we could get down to sensible talks with representative Cypriots, on the details of the Radcliffe proposals. But while terrorism hangs over Cyprus, and Archbishop Makarios stonewalls and appears determined to gain Enosis by hook or by crook, I do not think that it is reasonable to say that Her Majesty's Government are dragging their feet by not calling a conference on this subject with the Cypriots. None the less, the exact opposite of what the hon. Gentleman tried to indicate to the Committee is, in fact, happening. That is to say. Her Majesty's Government have not been content to allow matters to rest, although the last hopeful initiative to be taken in this matter was that taken three months ago. The Government are again looking into the possibilities of taking some further initiative.
The hon. Gentleman asked me a question about the strategic position of Cyprus, and perhaps I may answer it now. When my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence has completed his examination of the strategic position as affecting Cyprus, we shall certainly be prepared to make a statement. But I cannot go further today than to assure the Committee that any changes in our assessment of the military facilities we need in Cyprus will be taken fully into account during the current talks.
The hon. Gentleman also asked me to give a specific assurance that partition should be ruled out altogether of any of the possible solutions to the Cyprus problem. I think he said that it was not within the realm of practical politics. The Committee will remember that what my right hon. Friend said in December was that, if and when self-determination is exercised by Cyprus, there must be the possibility of self-determination for each of the two major communities, and thus the option of partition cannot be ruled out. I readily agree that partition of this relatively small island would not be an ideal solution, but, nevertheless, it is a possible consequence for which provision must be made among any studies which we make about the future of Cyprus.
I am sure that the Committee will join me in hoping that Sir John Harding will have a complete and speedy recovery. I understand that he hopes to be out of hospital by the end of this week. After he has had a few days' rest the discussions can proceed. In all these discussions, the Governor and Her Majesty's Government will certainly do all they can to achieve a solution acceptable to all concerned. There are a good many solutions which, as in the past, have been canvassed and mooted. Some of them, in my opinion, do not stand up to scrutiny, but others of them may perhaps contain the germ of what may be a workable solution. It would be quite unsuitable to make any further comment now, except to say that neither Her Majesty's Government nor the Governor will fail to take into account any proposal which has been, or may be, made, and at a suitable stage my right hon. Friend will make a fresh statement.
By their actions Her Majesty's Government have shown their desire for our Colonial Territories to advance towards self-government. Not only Ghana, but Malaya, Singapore, West Indies, Nigeria and other territories, all in various stages of advance, bear witness to this. But in formulating the future of any of our dependencies, there are certain inescapable responsibilities which rest on the shoulders of any Government of the day. These include being satisfied that the plans will allow of internal peace and tranquillity and that they will not be in obvious conflict with the facts of history and geography. We shall not, of course, depart from these principles in our consideration of the future of Cyprus.
If some hon. Members are disposed to think that our progress in solving the Cyprus problem is slow, I beg them to remember that we are not just dealing with constitutional progress along the normal colonial pattern. We have here to solve some highly intractable international problems in which two of our allies have positions which it is very difficult to harmonise. Meanwhile, there are, I think, two possible actions which could do much to help to bring the Cyprus problem more swiftly to a happy end.
The first of them is that if Colonel Grivas and his colleagues were to accept the safe-conduct offer, the result would be that Cypriots could live and speak their true thoughts again without fear. Thus, I believe that we could make some real headway with consultations about a constitution. After all, the United Nations Resolution spoke of the requirement of an atmosphere of peace and freedom of expression. With the lifting of one little finger Archbishop Makarios could bring this step about. He has already had over three months to do so, and in the absence of a lead by him to Grivas, I can only presume that it suits his personal aims to have a smouldering E.O.K.A. organisation gagging and terrorising his unfortunate countrymen.
At the end of last week, when we were discussing the Federation of Malaya Independence Bill, the right hon. Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) made a dramatic appeal to the leaders of Communist China to end the terrorism in Malaya. He was quite right when he said that by lifting a little finger the Chinese leaders could stop all that. Equally, if he wished, Archbishop Makarios could produce the same effect in this difficult situation. We must hope that this can be brought about, because I am sure that the Committee would agree that it would create a great effect.
The other action concerns hon. Members opposite. I believe that it is widely thought, especially in Greece, that, were the Labour Party in office, it would grant immediate self-determination to Cyprus. Personally, I do not believe this represents the official Labour Party policy—
There is no reason at all why the Under-Secretary should give any credence to these rumours, or should recount to us what he has read in the Press, because he must be as certain as I am that our line is to be taken from what has been said in the House. Our position has been made clear time and time again, but I will repeat it once more for the hon. Member's benefit, although there should be no reason to repeat it unless he wants to make mischief with the Turks or anyone else.
We believe that there should be a period of self-government during which political parties should be allowed to grow up in order that there may be the growth of political freedom and the expression of opinion in Cyprus, with full understanding that at the end of that period of self-government the Cypriots should have the right to determine their own future. The length of the period of self-government must clearly depend upon a number of factors, but it would be a con- siderable period. I have said that, and others have said it, on more than one occasion, and the hon. Member has no right to cast any doubts on it now.
I am very grateful to the hon. Member, because he has made the whole point which I was trying to develop. He stopped me in the middle of a sentence, but I should be wasting the time of the Committee if I did not say that I believe—and my hon. Friends will bear witness to this—that there are large numbers of people, particularly in 'Greece, who hold the view that if a Labour Government were in office they would give immediate self-determination to Cyprus.
The hon. Member must feel very nervous about this. I am not attacking him. I wish he had waited until I had finished.
What I am saying is that as long as Archbishop Makarios or any others who are parties to this problem believe that there is a chance of a Government being formed in the United Kingdom which might take that action I have mentioned, then our negotiations are bound to be bedevilled by a "let us wait and see" attitude. There can be no question about that. I am, therefore, grateful to the hon. Member for what he said, and if the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F, Soskice) is to speak on behalf of the Labour Party I should like him to make it perfectly clear beyond any shadow of doubt that a Labour Government would not rush into this if they were in office.
I am just finishing my speech.
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman is prepared, on behalf of the Labour Party, at least to reinforce what his hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East said, which has been helpful, that it is not the policy of the Labour Party—
It is not clear enough, and if the right hon. and learned Gentleman would reinforce what his hon. Friend has said, I believe that he would make a contribution towards a solution of this problem which we all so much desire to solve, and I believe that this debate would then have had a very valuable result.
Before the hon. Member sits down, may I deal with that point? If he asks me to make that assertion, then I gladly make it straight away. I repeat the terms which were used by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan). There cannot be the least doubt about it, there never has been the least doubt about it, and what the hon. Member is trying to do is to manufacture a doubt.
So far, this has been a most disappointing debate. The Government have said nothing at all which will reassure opinion either in this country or in Cyprus. It seems a long time ago since a very simple question was put to the Government: do they want Cyprus as a base or do they want a base in Cyprus? Even that elementary point has not been cleared up.
My right hon. and hon. Friends have made it clear that if there were a Labour Government there would be a radical difference in our political and other relations with the people of Cyprus, because they would know that we were profoundly anxious to bring about a settlement which would safeguard the interests of minorities in Cyprus and which would permit free elections in Cyprus. They could then look forward, with those safeguards, to their independence.
I do not wish to raise those wider issues today, for I wish to give my time to certain specific matters on which absolutely clear and unambiguous speaking on both sides of the Committee could help. I refer, first, to the question whether prisoners who are in the charge of British guards are or have been tortured. I am not speaking about the rough and ready exchanges of open warfare. We make every allowance for the fact that in battle and where there is an atmosphere of terror on both sides dreadful things can happen.
But it is quite a different matter if, at some point in the fighting, a man or a woman becomes a prisoner. There are international laws and standards of behaviour which should bind us in honour when dealing with the treatment of prisoners. This issue of how prisoners are treated is being watched very carefully by our own people, by those on all sides in Cyprus, and by the prisoners themselves and their friends and relatives. We shall be doing a very great disservice if we do not try to get certain points clear this afternoon.
I want to begin by asking the Colonial Secretary a question. On 4th July, the Home Secretary, in answer to a Question which I put to him, said:
…I have to give the medical opinion as given me by medical persons, and whilst the hon. Members may have many talents, I am not aware that they are of the medical profession."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th July, 1957; vol. 572, c. 1298.]
The right hon. Gentleman was referring to my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) and myself. It was a clear statement from the Home Secretary that he had received a medical report from Wormwood Scrubs stating that the prisoners from Cyprus, to use the words of the Colonial Secretary on 27th June, had
no marks, bruises, or anything else suggesting injury or ill-treatment …"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th June, 1957; vol. 572, c. 387.]
I should like to know what medical authority informed the Home Secretary or the Colonial Secretary. If the right hon. Gentleman can answer that now it would help me a great deal. Was it the medical officer from Wormwood Scrubs or was it another doctor who authorised a member of the Government Front Bench to say that there were no bruises or scars on those prisoners which could have been caused by improper treatment?
I will answer the hon. Lady now, although I will deal in any detail required, both with the general charges and with specific allegations, when I wind up the debate.
Clearly, in this matter both my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and I take full responsibility for what we say in Parliament or elsewhere, but, naturally, in matters of this kind we are advised by those whose job it is, amongst other things, to examine prisoners on their entry into Wormwood Scrubs. I have myself seen the principal medical officer and I have written statements from the two medical officers who examined all these prisoners in the two batches in August last year and February of this year. I propose to read their letters at the close of the debate if it seems desirable to do so and the Committee wishes.
We have heard that statement from the Colonial Secretary This morning, in the presence of the Governor of Wormwood Scrubs, the Assistant-Governor, the chief medical officer of health, one of the doctors and two of my colleagues in the House, I asked a question of the medical officer and the doctor present.
I asked, were there, as alleged, marks, scars and bruises on those men when they came into the prison? I asked this question of the doctor about one prisoner in particular, whose back was very noticeably scarred. The doctor said that he had examined this prisoner when he came in, but did not remember seeing any scars. Later, the chief medical officer of health joined the conference—he was not present when the doctor made that remark. He turned up the record of this prisoner, and read out that he had marks and scars—
If I may say so without disrespect, this is one of the difficulties we had when rather similar charges were made over Kenya. We ranged from the general to the particular, and back again to the general. If the hon. Lady would say which precise prisoner she is speaking of, it would enable me to identify the story, or the alleged story.
The name of the prisoner was Renos Kyriakides. I apologise for my pronunciation, but I will give the Minister the exact spelling later.
This prisoner was examined by the doctor on arrival. I should like to know whether, when a doctor is brought forward to give evidence in the presence of three hon. Members of this House who are trying simply to find out the truth, he would have access to the record he had originally made of the prisoner before attending this morning's conference. I would think it very strange if he did not have access to the document.
Nevertheless, he came along, and the first statement we got from him was that he could not remember seeing any scars or bruises on this prisoner. Half an hour later the chief medical officer of health joined the conference, and read out that on examination of this prisoner there were marks or scars on him. Therefore, let us be clear of one thing. There are marks and scars on this prisoner as alleged. I am not talking about the cause of them—and of marks on other prisoners. Some on the face, some on their back or chest, or on their feet—but one thing is clear. There are marks and scars on those men.
Perhaps it will help if, here and now, I say that Renos Kyriakides was brought into Wormwood Scrubs on 28th August, 1956. I must say that it seems quite astonishing that until a campaign was organised by Archbishop Makarios no notice has been drawn to this case. The note taken when he came into Wormwood Scrubs was that he had a healed gunshot wound on the right shoulder—and, after all, we are dealing with people who had been in arms in the forests and elsewhere in Cyprus—but that there was no muscle wastage. That was written down at the time by the prison doctor. I would repeat that Renos Kyriakides was one of those who came in first, in August of last year.
Incidentally, the chief medical officer told me that until this campaign started there was the utmost co-operation from all the prisoners, and the best possible relations between prisoners and the prison staff and doctors, and there was no suggestion but that they were perfectly ready to talk frankly and freely with the doctors, in whom they had entire confidence. It is only now, when a campaign is being waged by Archbishop Makarios to try by this sort of method to do what he has failed to do by arms in Cyprus, that the prisoners are taking this line.
I do not in the least object to that interruption by the Colonial Secretary but, with all due respect, I do not think that he has clarified the points that I was seeking to make. The first point that I have made is that there are scars on those men, and I have mentioned those who were present at this morning's conference.
Secondly, I asked the chief medical officer, and the doctor present, what, in their view, was the cause of those scars. They agreed that they could have been caused in many different ways. I asked them if they could entirely rule out that they were caused by ill-treatment—
—Will she, in fairness to the prison doctors concerned, and to our troops and others in Cyprus, identify everybody separately when making specific charges? Otherwise, it is quite impossible for me to do my duty by people who are being challenged in this way.
I do not think that the Minister had any reason to think that I had left the case of Renos Kyriakides. I am still dealing with him, because I think that it is very much better to deal with a specific case and get the facts of it clear, rather than to generalise and leave everything in a blur.
Perhaps I may now proceed. The chief medical officer of health and the doctor made it quite clear, in the presence of the Governor, the Assistant-Governor and others this morning, that those scars could have been caused by ill-treatment. They did not say that the scars were caused in that way, but they took a point of view entirely different from that expressed by the Home Secretary, when he bludgeoned the Opposition with the rather tart remark that we were not doctors, that he was being guided by medical opinion, and that the advice of doctors was that those scars could not have been caused by ill-treatment. That is why I ask who those medical authorities were, because they most certainly were not the chief medical officer of Wormwood Scrubs or the doctor who was present this morning.
Perhaps I may say, incidentally, that I am very grateful to the Home Secretary for the courtesy and the speed with which he has answered the request of the prisoners that other hon. Members and myself should go to see them. We are also grateful to the Governor for all his courtesy, and I am satisfied that the prisoners have no reason at all to be suspicious of the chief medical officer of Wormwood Scrubs. What has caused the mischief is not anything that the doctors have said or done. The mischief has been caused by the Colonial Secretary. Though there was an excellent relationship between the prisoners and the Governor—and that excellent relationship remains—there was also an excellent relationship between the prisoners and the doctors—
I am grateful to the hon. Lady for giving way. Perhaps, after all, this is the best way of dealing with the matter. I had not made a statement when the hon. Lady first began to make these charges. How, then, could the attitude of the prisoners at Wormwood Scrubs have been caused by something I had said? I have not made a statement about it, because these charges were made for the first time by the hon. Lady and by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway).
Let me read again the sentence in the statement of 27th June which has caused so much trouble at Wormwood Scrubs. It reads:
No marks, bruises, or anything else suggesting injury or ill-treatment were noticed on any of these men…"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th June, 1957; Vol. 572, c. 387.]
It was after that statement was made that the prisoners said, "We have these scars and bruises, but we read that in the British House of Commons the Colonial Secretary says that we do not have them." They assumed, therefore, that false evidence had been given by their doctors, and I am very glad that those doctors have been completely exonerated. I hope that my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough and myself are also exonerated, because we are all now agreed that those prisoners have scars, and that those scars could have been caused by ill-treatment. As that can no longer be denied, why are the Government resisting an independent inquiry?
The Under-Secretary took great pleasure in reciting a case in which a lady was supposed to have had her teeth knocked out, and now he says that he can prove that this evidence was false. If he can prove false evidence in one case, would it not be wonderful to widen the scope of inquiry and would we not all be delighted if false evidence could be proved in all those cases? No one on this side of the Committee has done anything more than say that there are prisoners in Wormwood Scrubs who are scarred and who allege that those scars came from having been beaten up. They have given the names of witnesses, and we want an inquiry to be made. Therefore, I ask that we should stop this nonsense of slandering the whole of our forces out in Cyprus because the Government are trying to cover up for a few thugs in their midst.
Another thing that disturbs me when I go into this evidence is that I find that quite a few of the security men are not British. Quite a number of them are Turks. Some of the worst allegations of abuse relate to members of the security force who are Turks and not British at all. I have read statements to the effect that some of them were formerly German army men. I should like these matters looked into, because I start with the assumption, which we all share, that the ordinary British fellow, when he is serving abroad, is almost a model soldier. There is no such thing as a model soldier, but I think that the whole world will agree that the British are not brutes. They are not given to beating up.
If the Government thought that the average British soldier, be he an officer, or in the ranks, a Regular or a member of the security police, was a thug and a sadist, I could understand why the Government would be afraid of an inquiry, but if the Government agree with us on this side of the Committee that it is an exceptional psychology that does this kind of thing, why cannot we have an inquiry? This is very serious. This is a case of helpless prisoners in our custody being ill-treated. If the Committee will bear with me, I want hon. Members to know just how serious these statements are, by reading out part of a full statement that has been given by Nicolas Loizou.
Is the case of Renos Kyriakides the only case which the hon. Lady wants to pursue after personal investigation of the alleged injuries? It would help to get at the facts if the hon. Lady would say what cases she investigated herself, instead of bringing out some special pleading which, after all, we have not heard before, about cases which may not be identifiable unless she gives me details of what she has seen herself.
The Colonial Secretary will be very glad to know that I am now going on to make some comments about a case that I personally investigated. The prisoner is in Wormwood Scrubs, and considerable particulars about this
prisoner, Nicolas Loizou, have already been given to the Colonial Secretary. This is the second case that I am now raising of men who are in Wormwood Scrubs. They are identifiable. The full statement that has been made by this prisoner reads:
I was arrested during the military operation of 4th October, 1956. Immediately after my arrest soldiers took off my shoes, tied my hands with thin rope, took from me my money which only amounted to 5s., my gold watch valued at about £2 and my cigarettes. Then they isolated me from my other comrades and I was handed over to two agents, one Turk and one Greek, the latter named Theophanis Louca, who started kicking me fiercely in front of the soldiers.
Afterwards, the soldiers took me away barefooted for about one and a half miles to a place where they lifted me into a military vehicle and transported me to the military camp of Ambrosia. In this camp the soldiers tied my eyes tightly and they also tied my hands with a special thin rope under my legs and they pulled me by the hair on the rough and rocky ground. At the same time, they hit me with butts and kicked me. They dragged me before an Englishman with civilian clothes. Then they unfolded the bandage off my eyes and I found myself inside a room in the centre of which there was a desk.
The Englishman with civilian clothes asked me my name and age and I told him. They did not ask me any other questions. At that moment, soldiers headed by an R.M.P. sergeant of the Parachute Regiment entered the room. By order of the man with the civilian clothes they stretched me on the desk and started to hit me with a rubber club, the length of which was half a metre, on the back and breast. Afterwards, they stretched me on the ground…"—
It seems to me that what my hon. Friend is now reading is causing great amusement to the hon. Member for Shipley (Mr. Hirst). Some of us who are taking an interest in this are wondering what is funny about it.
I apologise for reading such a long quotation, but as we ought to be specific, and as this is a statement which has been made by a prisoner in Wormwood Scrubs, who is identifiable, it is in the interests of British justice that I should continue to read this, because if this behaviour, which is so un-British, has occurred, the Colonial Secretary should want to prove that it is not true, instead of merely denying it. Denial is not proof. All we want on this side of the Committee is to uphold our honour by either proving that it is untrue or, if it is true, by showing to the world that if this thing does happen inside a British prison camp we know how to deal with it in the British House of Commons.
The prisoner went on to say:
At one moment they threw me violently on the desk with the result of injuring my left foot near the toe. This incident was repeated two more times at intervals during the first day of my arrest. About 9 p.m. on the same day they took me before two English interrogators who threatened to execute me and I told them to kill me so that I could free myself from the torture. They answered that they would kill me but not immediately. They would make me die slowly by different methods.
On the next day the same and worse tortures were inflicted. They started again to beat me and pull me by the hair, as a result of which I was injured in various parts of my body. I had been so tightly tied with rope that both my hands were injured and the one on my legs was caused the previous day when they threw me on the desk. During the evening a military doctor passed and gave me a cursory glance. I asked him to bandage my wound and he answered that it would come all right in time.
When the doctor left soldiers took me again and they started to hit me again with a special apparatus on the knees and the face. At the same time, I felt inflammation on parts of my body. Such an apparatus was turned on the uncovered part of my face and caused me burns. The scar was clearly visible for three months. The other scars caused by the special apparatus are still existent on the left leg. Simultaneously, they knocked my head on the wall and my head was bleeding from many wounds. After this I was given water to drink. I was feeling horrible pains from my wounds and they continued to beat me at intervals.
The evening of the third day of my arrest they set free my hands for the first time. I was two more days in this camp On the sixth day of my arrest they took me before the police superintendent, who through an interpreter, was trying to bribe me with a sum of £5,000 to £10,000 to make false and incriminating statements.
I think that the money amount is wrong; he means in their currency. He went on to say:
When I refused his bribe he answered that my tortures would continue. On the eighth day of my arrest…"—
May I ask the hon. Lady this question, because it is important to get this right? She said that she was dealing with cases in which she had herself investigated wounds or scars, or whatever it may be. She has read out a long document all of which is very derogatory, to put it mildly, of the conduct of British troops, although she goes out of her way to say that she does not intend to censure British troops. We have heard nothing about wounds which she may herself have seen. The prison record of this man, who was examined when he came in, shows that no scars or bruises were noted. This paper, which was given to me, was signed by the principal medical officer, who passed it to the Governor, when he asked for a report quite recently. No scars or bruises were noted at the time. I understand today that there was some sort of slight scar on the wrist of this man, Nicolas Loizou, which, he said, was due to the fact that he had been hung up by a rope or something of that sort.
This is the very first time that this story has been told, this statement of what he said happened to him in Cyprus. He has been in Wormwood Scrubs since last February. The relations between the doctors were nothing but friendly. No signs of scars or bruises were noted, but I understand that today, when certain hon. Members went to see him, there was something which could conceivably have been caused by a rope some time ago.
I would remind the Committee that we are not dealing with kid-glove types but are dealing with people who lead very rough lives, and that there was a tremendous amount of fighting between the prisoners themselves in Cyprus before they arrived here, and I do not accept that these wounds were caused by actions by our own troops.
I am not asking the Secretary of State to accept this statement. I am not asking him to reject it; I am asking him to inquire into the facts. The prisoner whom we examined today has those marks on his wrist, and they could have been caused in the way he suggested. We are not as dogmatic as the Secretary of State, and ask only for an inquiry. If the Secretary of State is so sure of his own ground, why will he not have an investigation into the facts? This side of the Committee and the whole world are puzzled why, if he is so sure, he will not have an investigation.
The right hon. Gentleman will notice I have given several names. This prisoner has given the name of Mr. White and other names which I have read out.
On a point of order. Everybody understands that there are reasonable courtesies in the House, and that hon. Members usually give way when asked to do so, but does there not come a time when the usage is abused, and would it not be more convenient if my hon. Friend were allowed without further interruption to complete her speech? As for the Secretary of State, he will have ample opportunity to reply to the debate.
Let me take one point at a time. I would remind the hon. Member for Nelson and Colne (Mr. S. Silverman) that we are in Committee, and that different rules of order apply when we are in Committee. If the hon. Lady gives way to the right hon. Gentleman or to anybody else, that is her business, and it is not the business of the Chair to curtail such intervention.
I thank the hon. Lady for giving way. She may have noticed that I am wearing the tie of the only regiment which has been mentioned in this statement which she has read out, the Paratroop Regiment, to which I am very proud to belong. That statement which the hon. Lady has read out mentions a sergeant of the Paratroop Regiment and the treatment of prisoners. I wonder if the hon. Lady, when she took this statement, took any steps to find out whether any troops of the Paratroop Regiment were there, because, quite frankly, I cannot believe that anyone of the Paratroop Regiment would behave like that.
I am in the process of doing what the hon. Gentleman wants done. I am now in the process of taking steps to find out how far these statements are true or untrue. I do not know of any more serious way of finding out than coming to the Government, coming to the Colonial Secretary, putting these facts before him, giving as many names of witnesses as I have, and asking him to go into the matter, and find out the rest of the facts, and report back to the Committee.
I come to the last paragraph, which is very important. It states:
On 19 10 '56 (fifteen days after my arrest), I was taken to Nicosia Central Prison. On 22 10 '56, they permitted our lawyer to see us for the first time. To the judge, Mr. Ellison"—
I presume that he could be identified—
who came to the prison to renew the order for my remand, I complain about the tortures inflicted upon me and asked to give him a written statement about this. The judge refused, alleging that it was not his duty. Then I asked him to see my wound. He refused again. Together with Mr. Ellison were present Police Superintendent White, the Attorney-General, Mr. Gosling, a Greek police inspector and an interpreter. They answered that later they will ask the police to see us and take our complaints in writing. On 22 10 '56, Superintendent White visited us with a sergeant of the Special Branch, as it seems to me. They read to us our charge and after our insistence they wrote about four to five lines about what we suffered. This statement was read before the court during our trial. On 22 12 '56 I was sentenced for life. Forty-six clays later I was transferred to Wormwood Scrubbs prison.
I have read the last paragraph because it is very specific. It gives names, it gives addresses, it gives places. It also helps to answer the question asked by the Under-Secretary of State, why had those men not complained before? They had complained. I will leave the matter at that. I would rather have two cases thoroughly investigated than go on with many more. The question has been asked, why did those men not immediately when they arrived in this country make indignant protests? These men in Cyprus did make their protests. Some of them got as far as court. Some of them got a little of their evidence considered.
These men thought when they were in Cyprus that when they were being sent to an English jail they were being sent to a place where they would be worse treated, not better treated. It is one of the sweetening factors in this whole miserable business that those prisoners who have been sent to this country speak so highly of the treatment they are now receiving in Wormwood Scrubs.
I therefore beg the Government not to allow this kind of statement to go around the world unanswered. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] It is going round the world. It is there now. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] If you have not heard it, if there is a stain on your reputation and you want—
I accept your correction, Mr. Nicholson.
If there is a stain on the reputation of an hon. Member or of an institution in this country we should not try to run away from it. We should be the first to ask for an inquiry. So I hope the Government will stop this miserable business of dodging. It was the Colonial Secretary's statement, which, at the very best, was ambiguous, which began this deep suspicion between the doctors and the prisoners. I hope that not only the prisoners but the people of Cyprus and the friends and relatives of those prisoners will know that they are in a prison in this country where they can trust their doctors and their Governor. I hope that when the Secretary of State replies to the debate he will make no more slick debating points and no more ambiguous statements but will tell us whether he does or whether he does not intend to hold a full, free and serious inquiry into these charges.
I am glad to have the opportunity of following the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) because I had the good fortune to accompany her and the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway) this morning down to Wormwood Scrubs to see some of the Cypriot detainees who had made various allegations and complaints about ill treatment when they were arrested by the security forces in Cyprus.
The hon. Lady and the hon. Member for Eton and Slough had been there before. They were, therefore, better acquainted than I was with the stories and with the individuals concerned. I should like to endorse straight away what the hon. Lady said about the courtesy shown to us and the facilities given to us by the Governor of Wormwood Scrubs and by the medical officers. In particular, I should like to endorse what she said about the care with which the Cypriot detainees are examined by the medical officer upon their entry into the prison. To give the impression that when the Cypriots are brought in they are subjected only to a cursory medical examination in a rather hasty and off-hand way would be totally unfair to the doctor concerned and completely untrue.
All sorts of allegations, of course, have been bandied about during the last months or so by Archbishop Makarios and others about the rough handling of Cypriot terrorists when they were arrested in Cyprus. I hope that I shall not be misunderstood if I say that I am a little surprised that quite so much credence should be given to these allegations in some quarters. I wonder sometimes whether we in the Committee, or indeed the public outside, can appreciate the background and the circumstances which prevail in Cyprus, in which the security forces have been operating and in which they have been endeavouring to seek out and arrest and exterminate the E.O.K.A. terrorist forces. I need a great deal of convincing that the British troops and others engaged with them have not behaved with their usual almost unbelievable restraint in face of provocation.
As my right hon. Friend has said, it is not a kind of kid-glove task to go into the mountains or into a remote village as part of an operation to arrest three or four terrorists who think nothing whatever of shooting a soldier whilst he is out shopping in the streets with his wife or of going into a hospital and shooting a patient. The terrorist when caught does not come very quietly. He does not walk up to a soldier or a security officer, as one would walk up to a policeman with a driving licence or an insurance certificate when one has parked the car in the wrong place, and say, "I am sorry." All sorts of people are liable to get bruises and scratches and worse. When fighting in the mountains of Cyprus I should be surprised if everyone did not get bruises and scratches on their bodies.
When I went with the hon. Lady and the hon. Member for Eton and Slough to Wormwood Scrubs this morning to look at some of the scars and other abrasions which the detainees alleged they got at the hands of the security forces, I was very surprised indeed that they had not complained earlier. If I had been arrested by the security forces in Cyprus over a year ago and had arrived in England with a dislocated shoulder or a cut lip I should have said to the medical officer, "Look what the brutal, licentious soldiers have done in Cyprus. It is up to you to do something about it." But months went by, as far as I can discover, before any complaint of that kind was made at all.
I am not, of course, a medical practitioner and neither is the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock, nor the hon. Member for Eton and Slough. When a layman looks at bruises or scars or scratches or a cut lip or at a toe-nail that has grown again, it is very difficult for him to say how the wound, if that is the right expression, was caused. That brings me to the first point in the hon. Lady's allegations. The hon. Lady took my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary to task for saying that
No marks, bruises, or anything else suggesting injury or ill-treatment were noticed on any of these men, and no complaints of such ill-treatment were made at the time of their entry into Wormwood Scrubs."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 27th June, 1957; Vol. 572, c. 387.]
I do not think that one can possibly blame the prison doctor who examined them and made that report for saying that there was absolutely nothing to suggest that any of the marks on any of these men, including the marks we saw on them today, were due to ill-treatment at the hands of the security forces. They could have been caused by a hundred and one things. If one went into the street in any city or even a village in this country and took fifty men at random and had them examined by a doctor I should be very surprised if the doctor did not see as many bruises, abrasions or scratches on their bodies as can be seen today on the bodies of these detainees.
I am sure that the hon. Member will agree that we asked the chief medical officer and the doctors present if these scars and bruises could have been caused by improper treatment and they said that they could have been caused by that or any other means. They could not rule it out. [Laughter.] Surely, hon. Members opposite are sufficiently concerned about this. No one on this side of the Committee has said that they were caused by ill-treatment, but it must not be said that any medical report rules out the possibility that they could have been caused by ill-treatment.
I do not think that the hon. Lady will disagree with me. I am not trying to get into a controversy. The point I made was that if a detainee arrives in Wormwood Scrubs and goes before the prison doctor and makes absolutely no complaint about any ill-treatment, and he has bruises on his back or a toe-nail off or a cut on his lip, there is no reason why the doctor should go out of his way to say that a particular bruise might have been caused at the hands of the security forces. He might just as well say that it was far more likely to have been caused by falling downstairs or by a hundred and one other things.
I have not had time to read the whole of the memorandum produced by the detainees, to which the hon. Lady referred, but I notice that it contains a request to my right hon. Friend in the course of which the detainees say:
…we did not accept examination by the doctor…and asked for an examination by a doctor of an independent committee of inquiry…
All I can say is that if the doctor of such an independent committee of inquiry were to make a hindcast about the causes of the bruises and other injuries that we saw today he would be a man of quite remarkable capacity if he could say how an injury was caused, perhaps many years ago, when it is absolutely impossible to discover whether it was caused by a rifle butt or by falling downstairs or by falling out of a truck.
I think the hon. Member will find that the resistance of the prisoners to being medically examined again by the prison doctors arose from the belief that what was said by the Secretary of State could be interpreted to mean that the doctors thought that there were no scars or bruises. We on this side of the Committee are doing our best to restore their faith in the prison doctors.
Yes, but surely the hon. Lady would agree that one would have assumed it reasonable that if one were a Cypriot detainee, burning with indignation at the treatment received in Cyprus, one would not wait until the wounds alleged to have been received were almost invisible before making a complaint. One would want the prison doctor and everybody else to examine one's back or front or toe-nails as soon as possible after the alleged injury, instead of waiting for several months. However, I do not want to pursue that argument.
Now I will pass from the particular, so to speak, to two of the more general points made in the course of this debate. I was interested to learn from the lips of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) of the specific terms of the Labour policy for Cyprus. Frankly, there have been so many statements made by the party opposite, in varying degrees of responsibility or irresponsibility, that one could almost take one's pick. Now, however, we have had the statement from the Front Bench, which perhaps will be reaffirmed by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) when he closes the debate for the Opposition, that it is a period of self-government followed by self-determination.
May I ask him to deal with one point to make certain that there is no further misunderstanding either in this country, or in Greece, or in Turkey? When it is said that there is to be a period of self-government in Cyprus followed by self-determination, self-determination for whom; for Greek and Turk? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman say if it is to be self-determination for the Greek section of the population and not for the Turkish? Will he say that it is to be self-determination for Greek and Turk alike? If so, he is saying that the policy of the Opposition, should they come into power, is partition. That is the inevitable conclusion of self-determination within a given period.
Frankly, I do not believe that the Cyprus issue, bristling as it is with every conceivable complication, is a simple colonial issue. Even the United States does not believe that any longer. I do not believe that it is even solely a strategic issue, although of course Greece and Turkey belong to N.A.T.O. and Turkey, in addition, belongs to the Bagdad Pact. In a sense there is something far more drastic and vital to the issues with which we have to deal in Cyprus than either the question of how fast an island colony can develop politically when there is a minority and a majority who desire different things, or of that island's position of strategic importance in the Mediterranean, 40 miles from Turkey and about 600 from Greece.
What I am frightened of as a result of all that has been happening in the last three or four years, for which the party opposite must bear some responsibility, is that embers which have been dormant for many years are now beginning to be rekindled. All the age-old conflict between Greek orthodox and Moslem can flare up, causing frightful bloodshed among both Greeks and Turks, and bad feeling between Greece and Turkey. Yet on all other issues, geographical, strategic and so on, they ought to be as closely knit as possible.
The Greeks, for their part, have not been very helpful. Fond as I am of Greece, and I have many Greek friends, they have said "No" to almost every proposal put forward by Her Majesty's Government or by anybody else. They said, "No" to the Radcliffe proposals, or as good as "No". They have said that they do not want partition. I think they fear that partition might lead to war with Turkey. "They gave a dusty answer to the suggestion that N.A.T.O. should try to achieve some compromise. In fact they have said "No" to everything except the one thing to which the Turks will not agree at any price, that is, Enosis. In other words, the Greeks want 100 per cent. and in the world we live in we just do not get 100 per cent.
I am frightened that if the Government were to make a hasty or a false move now, much Greek and Turkish blood might flow. I am certain that if some of the less responsible views of the Opposition were ever brought into being, if any of their wilder policies became the policy of the Government, much Turkish and Greek blood would flow.
I do not think anyone on this side wants to put forward a policy which would result in Greek or Turkish blood flowing, but I can assure the hon. Member for Windsor (Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe) that there are policies which have been adumbrated from the benches opposite which are far more likely to lead to such a result than anything put forward by the Opposition. I am thinking especially of the suggestion of partition, which has been universally condemned from these benches. It is one of the most dangerous possible solutions of this problem. I shall be interested to find out, if possible by the end of this debate, exactly where hon. and right hon. Gentlemen opposite stand on partition. We have already had two rather contradictory statements. One was from the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, who said that while the Government still regard it as a possibility, it would be, nevertheless, a most unfortunate necessity. Whereas the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Kelvin-grove (Mr. Walter Elliot), who, I believe, was the first person to fly this partition kite in the House of Commons, has said that the only matter we are to discuss today is how long it will be before partition is introduced.
May as Secretary of State put the mind of the hon. Gentleman completely at rest by saying that our view is that it would be unfortunate if the island were divided but that if there were to be self-determination it would have to be on the basis of self-determination for the Greeks and for the Turks, and that is the policy of Her Majesty's Government?
Possibly the right hon. Gentleman would go a little further and tell us what advice he has had from the Governor on partition? I understand that the Governor has had an inquiry made, that a report has been produced, that it is in the Colonial Office now, and that the report comes down heavily against partition as a solution of the problems of that island. Would the right hon. Gentleman like to tell us now that this is the case—or perhaps he would like to tell us in his winding-up speech. I wish the Government would have the courage to say here and now that partition is not an acceptable solution. I wish they had the courage to tell the Committee, and also the Turkish Government.
The speech of the Under-Secretary was a very barren one indeed, and he said nothing that could conceivably contradict the charges of my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) that the Government have no policy for Cyprus. The most the hon. Gentleman was able to indicate was that now, and for the next week or two, a number of possible solutions will be considered by the Government and Sir John Harding in London. The charge remains that for nearly four months since the Archbishop was released no initiative of any kind has come from Her Majesty's Government.
I sometimes wonder, first, why the Archbishop was ever exiled. I hope that the Colonial Secretary will tell us precisely what he thinks he achieved by the one year's exile of Archbishop Makarios. Having been exiled, I am beginning to find it difficult to understand why the Archbishop was ever released. Since his release, the Archbishop has been in Athens, and there has been no official —or, as far as I know, unofficial—approach to him on behalf of the Government for the resumption of negotiations.
The Government are operating under a dangerous and precarious truce in Cyprus. Admittedly, the E.O.K.A. forces have been inactive since the Archbishop was released, but the hunt for the terrorists goes on. It may be that the right hon. Gentleman is correct in saying that E.O.K.A. is defeated and disintegrated and that that was the reason why it asked for a truce in the first place, but there was a call for a general strike in Nicosia recently and, according to my information, which conflicts somewhat with a reply given to me by the Colonial Secretary, the response to it was 100 per cent.
The recent White, Paper dealing with allegations of brutality, which was published by direction of the Governor of Cyprus, still claims that E.O.K.A. has the people of Greece in a grip of terror. One cannot have it both ways. Either E.O.K.A. is defeated and disintegrated, in which case there is no barrier whatsoever, even on the Government's own showing, to a resumption of negotiations, or it was a genuine offer of a truce for the purpose of facilitating negotiations. However, in my view the opportunity for those negotiations is dwindling. I believe there is a possibility, to put it no higher than that, that the truce might come to a sudden end. I believe that if one or two of the Cypriots now lying under sentence of death were executed there is a distinct possibility that the whole business of violence and terrorism would start up again.
It is not enough to say that the Archbishop does not make any constructive suggestions. He wrote the Prime Minister a letter which I thought was unusually conciliatory in tone, but there was certainly nothing conciliatory about the reply which he received from the Prime Minister, for it can be described only as a smack in the mouth.
The Archbishop is living in a villa just outside Athens, and he has been left there without any official contacts since his release from the Seychelles. He has been giving a number of Press conferences which have been reported, and in some cases misreported, in great detail. I admit that some of the things the Archbishop has either said or is alleged to have said have not been entirely conciliatory. At the same time, I believe that while they allow this situation to drift on the Government are wholly in default under the United Nations Resolution which calls for a resumption of negotiations in a peaceful atmosphere. The "resumption of negotiations" can refer only to direct negotiations between Her Majesty's Government and the representatives of the Cypriot people, and there has been no move of any kind in that direction in the last four months.
My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East referred to the allegations of ill-treatment and brutality by certain members of the security forces in Cyprus, and my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) and the hon. Member for Windsor devoted their speeches to a specific aspect of the matter. It is no good the Government merely writing off the allegations of ill-treatment as E.O.K.A. propaganda. If they have not heard the gravest concern expressed by responsible British observers in Cyprus, I can only surmise that they have been closing their ears. I have certainly heard from many responsible people that they are not at all happy about the situation in respect of the security forces. I do not think that even the Colonial Secretary would regard Mr. John Clerides, Q.C., as a spokesman for E.O.K.A., and yet he has been unremit- ting in his attempts to obtain a general impartial inquiry into the charges. It may be that charges are entirely fabricated—that is within the realms of possibility—and hon. Members on both sides of the Committee will hope profoundly that that is the case, but it is just no good the Government of Cyprus merely producing a White Paper and saying that in its view the charges cannot be substantiated.
There are some rather extraordinary things in the White Paper. Paragraph 16 states the reasons why the Government are unwilling to have an independent inquiry. It says:
…a public inquiry would play into the hands of the detractors of Government and do more harm than good; not because Government has anything to hide, but because it would tend to focus attention on these malicious allegations, which is exactly what E.O.K.A. and its supporters want.
That is roughly what the Under-Secretary said this afternoon.
However, I cannot believe that an inquiry in Cyprus could not be conducted in such a way that witnesses would be prepared to come forward and speak the truth. Indeed, if the fear of intimidation of witnesses is the main reason against having an impartial inquiry, how do we stand about the investigations which have already been made by the Government? A fortiori, the witnesses would be more frightened of talking to the Government than to an independent judicial inquiry. Are we to assume that all the investigations—as a result of which the Governor is satisfied that there is no foundation for the allegations—have been made without any consideration of the facts that could be brought forward by Cypriots? Have the investigations been anything more than a questioning of the men who have been accused or of the men who have been in contact with the prisoners alleged to have been ill-treated? It is difficult to see how they could have been more than that.
The White Paper lists seven cases over the ten months from September, 1955, to June, 1956, in which prosecutions have been brought against members of the security forces. The White Paper is not explicit on the point, but I think these are prosecutions brought by the authorities. In four cases the defendants were acquitted or bound over, and in three cases they were sentenced or fined. Rather significantly, no case since June, 1956, is quoted, but hon. Members know that the really serious charges began to be made, at least by the more impartial observers, only about November or December of last year, and that it is within the last six months that people both inside and outside Cyprus, and hon. Members of this House have been seriously worried about the matter.
There are places in which the White Paper is astonishingly disingenuous. In paragraph 10 it says:
…one would have expected to find a large number of private prosecutions being instituted against individual police or military officers for assault or similar injuries.
However, since 26th November is has been impossible under the new emergency regulations for a private prosecution to be brought against a member of the security forces without the fiat of the Attorney-General. To make a statement like that in an official Government White Paper, expressing surprise at the absence of private prosecutions, without at the same time mentioning such a relevant fact, is palpably dishonest.
Paragraph 12 begins:
A very large number of Police officers accused of such monstrous conduct are in fact members of the United Kingdom Police Forces whose traditions of restraint and humanity have long beer the admiration of the civilised world; and it must appear unlikely that such men, with their years of training and experience, should on arrival in Cyprus apparently turn into typical members of Hitler's Gestapo….
As far as I am aware, no one has levelled any charges against any British uniformed policemen in Cyrus, or against members of the Criminal Investigation Department. The charges have been levelled almost exclusively against the Special Branch officers and special interrogators.
Indeed, there are about half a dozen names which crop up time and time again in these allegations. The names are sufficiently well known to those who are in touch with events in Cyprus to make it unnecessary for me to repeat them here. If those men are innocent of those charges, it is totally unfair to them to deny them an opportunity of clearing their names, which can be done only by an independent inquiry.
Before the hon. Member leaves the point about private prosecutions under the Attorney-General's fiat, may I say that it is only fair when accusing the Government of dishonesty to tell the House whether, and if so how often, private prosecutions have been sought where the Attorney-General's fiat has been refused.
The conduct of the Government in Cyprus towards Greek Cypriots over the last twelve months has not been such as to give them the sort of confidence which would encourage them to go to the Attorney-General and seek permission for a private prosecution.
I was saying that if those men are innocent they should not be denied the opportunity of clearing their names before the eyes of the world. If, on the other hand, they are guilty of ill-treating prisoners who have been in their care, then I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock that, in the interests of our reputation as a Colonial Power, they should get the punishment due to them.
Leaving aside those allegations, I want to refer to the strategic value of Cyprus. We have always argued from these benches that the value of Cyprus as a base has been exaggerated by Her Majesty's Government. We have said that its military value, quite apart from the disadvantage of having a strategic base in the middle of a hostile population, is not high. As I said in the last debate on this subject, I believe that the Chiefs of Staff reported in those terms to the Labour Government in 1947. It is now being admitted on all sides that that is the fact, that Cyprus as a base is no longer necessary to the interests of this country, and that a base on Cyprus might be of sufficient value if it were a N.A.T.O. base.
The argument for staying in Cyprus has gone. It was the only argument that ever made any sense, apart from the dissensions in the party opposite. However, the Government still show every sign of staying in Cyprus.
Will the hon. Member not concede that a base in Cyprus is important at any rate for safeguarding our commerce? Does he not agree that if that base is to be a N.A.T.O. base it will necessarily be under American influence, if not control, and that it does not always happen that our interests are the same as those of the United States in non-N.A.T.O. matters?
Is it not a fact that there are submarines in and around the Mediterranean, some of them now owned by Egypt? Is it not possible that those submarines might attack our commerce at some time? The fact that they have not done so in the last ten years does not mean that they will not.
If hostile action of that nature occurred and N.A.T.O. did not take counter-action, then hon. Members opposite have been placing very much more reliance on the North Atlantic Treaty than it deserved.
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East that one very necessary action before any satisfactory solution can be reached in the Cyprus problem is a change of Governor. [An HON. MEMBER: "A change of Government?"] A change of Government would be another very healthy move towards a solution, but I regard that as a little more remote. A change of Governor has become necessary because the personality of Sir John Harding is in itself an obstacle to a solution. [HON. MEMBERS: "Disgraceful."] I am very sorry if hon. Members opposite think that that statement is disgraceful, but Sir John Harding's actions in Cyprus, his conduct of the negotiations with Archbishop Makarios, do not suggest that he is the right person to resume negotiations with representatives of the Cypriot people.
He has had an extremely distinguished military career, to which I have paid tribute before and gladly pay tribute again. I believe that he was reluctant to go to Cyprus because it was obviously a difficult job. It was always primarily a political and not a military job. If there is to be any hope for the future, it must be an entirely political job in the future, and for that reason I support my hon. Friend in asking the Government to appoint a civilian Governor of Cyprus as soon as possible.
The Committee is pursuing two separate lines of investigation, one into the conduct of the administration of Cyprus; and the much more fundamental one of how the difficult situation in Cyprus is to be brought to an end. I do not wish to speak at length about the administration of Cyprus. We have heard arguments and counter-arguments. It certainly seemed to me that the statement of the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) could be interpreted in a way other than the one she chose. I will go no further than that.
We have all had experience of these difficult situations. I remember when I was a young Member the terrible situation with the Black and Tans in Ireland. I remember as a senior Member having the honour of being sent to Kenya as head of a delegation which considered amongst other things the conditions of imprisonment of the Kikuyu Mau Mau offenders, since those conditions had been in question. When we were investigating those matters, we were content, and on our return the House of Commons was content, to take the evidence adduced in British courts and by local British inquiries. There was no demand then for some super-inquiry over and outside the administration of the Governor himself, and certainly not outside the régime of Parliament. I will go only as far as that.
In these difficult situations accusations and counter-accusations—and, indeed, examples of very rough treatment— occur on both sides. Anyone who reads an ordinary American detective novel will come upon many allegations against the police forces there which are quite as severe as those brought against the forces in Cyprus. The hon. Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson) said that these accusations were being brought only against special investigators and special officers. I listened to the statement read out by the hon. Member for Cannock, as made by one of the prisoners at Wormwood Scrubs, which went into detailed accusations not against a special investigator or inquiry agent but against a member of the Parachute Regiment. That is what we have heard with our own ears here.
A British uniform is involved, whether worn by one of Her Majesty's troops or by a policeman. In fact, the accusation is perhaps even graver if it is made against uniformed troops—if it alleges that they have tortured somebody who has surrendered—than if it is made against members of a police force. It is now conceded by the hon. Member that this was an allegation of brutality made in specific terms against Europeans who had only recently been transferred into the island. I think that no greater accusasations could be launched.
All this, however, arises out of the situation in which we find ourselves, and it is to that fact that we should pay attention today. There is no doubt that these grave matters of administration should be ventilated in the Committee, but the Committee should not turn its main attention to this when there is this other general problem with which we are faced and which distresses us all, and to which we are all anxious to find the best solution.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) said that the Government should discuss the future of the island with the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, which caused my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe) to ask him what he meant by discussing the future of the island with the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Are the Opposition willing to discuss the future of the island with both? That is a question to which neither the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East nor the right hon. and learned Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) made an adequate reply. The hon. Member said, "We are willing to discuss the affairs of the island on the basis, first, of a period of self-government and ultimately the concession of self-determination."He went on to say—at which point I ventured to interrupt him, as I did the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North—"But we rule out the suggestion of partition altogether."
That means that no question of sovereignty can ever be offered to one section of the island. That is the position which the right hon. and learned Gentleman and his party take up. I do not call that discussing the future of the island with the Turkish and Greek Cypriots, nor can anybody else. The Opposition will discuss it with the Greek Cypriots on the understanding that after a certain time they are to have 100 per cent. of their demand for self-determination. It would be nothing else than that—offering them an unrestricted right to the full 100 per cent. Enosis with Greece for the whole of the representation of the island to be conducted in Athens and not Cyprus, with the minority having no say in the matter and being unable to exercise any right of sovereignty whatever.
That is not negotiating terms. How can the right hon. and learned Gentleman contend that he is willing to discuss the future of the island with the Greek and Turkish Cypriots? That is why I am uneasy about the debate today being conducted on the lines of this demand for immediate action, which I understand the Opposition are putting forward. Immediate action means that we are discussing the date of partition of the island, and nothing else. Negotiation with Makarios means the setting up of the Makarios line. It can mean nothing else. What does the right hon. and learned Gentleman contend that it means? He will say to Makarios, "Come and negotiate. You shall have the last word in everything. You shall have first a period of self-government"—in which some pretty rough things might well be done because, as the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North has just said, the E.O.K.A. organisation is still there, under the surface.
When the hon. Member suggested that there would be no difficulty in getting testimony freely from anybody in the island upon these atrocity stories he subsequently knocked the bottom out of his own case by saying, only a little while ago, that a general strike had been called by E.O.K.A. which was immediately 100 per cent. effective. Does the hon. Member think that an organisation which can demand and get assent to a 100 per cent. strike is an organisation which, in any country—even this country—would enable a free and unfettered testimony to be given upon such matters as these? I do not think that he can claim that for a moment. Therefore, after a period in which self-determination under a majority rule continues over the whole island, the island, upon a majority vote, is to have an unquestioned right to join itself to the mainland of Greece.
That is not a realistic proposal to bring before the House of Commons at this stage. It does not correspond with the facts. The setting up of the Makarios line in the island would be something that I should deplore from the bottom of my heart; but it is the alternative which has arisen out of the proposals which the Opposition are now making. If we enter forthwith upon these negotiations on the terms as stated by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East and reiterated by the right hon. and learned Member, we shall be discussing the setting up of the Makarios line. That is what I intended to indicate when I intervened in the speech of the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East.
If a period of time can be found for reflection, and for the assuaging of these terrible passions which have been roused, it may be that some solution which is neither one nor the other can be found. No one would be more glad than I. I am not a partitionist for its own sake. But these accusations of brutality and atrocity—this cul de sac into which we appear to have got—is a position from which we must escape. I am not a protagonist on its own merits of the partition of Ireland, of the severance of the Four Counties from the rest of Ireland. But I was in the House at the time when we suffered the anguish of the endless debates and clashes between the two sides—when the accusations made against British uniformed troops were made just as freely then as they are now.
We have to get out of that cul-de-sac somehow. It is no use the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East saying that we can brush this off, and that Palestine, Ireland and India all prove the impossibility and unwisdom of partition. Supposing that partition had not occurred in these cases. India would still be in a turmoil and a fury between Hindu, Moslem and British, with accusations and counter-accusations still going on; we should still be debating the question of Ireland monthly, and sometimes weekly, with accusations of exactly the kind that we have just heard, and Arab would still be fighting Jew in Palestine with Britain involved at every step. That was so, at the time when all Palestine was under British Mandate. I remember bitterly the desperate position in which we then were.
It is not enough merely to say that partition is a bad solution. Of course it is a bad solution. But what is the alternative? That is what we are entitled to ask hon. Members opposite.
Will my right hon. Friend say a word on the subject of British people in Cyprus putting up with the troubles that have ensued and believing—as we hope—that they will die down in time, as in Kenya and some other Colonies—Malaya, for example?
I should be perfectly willing to discuss that, but I think that we need to find a certain degree of assent and agreement in some part of the island to that solution. If we can find that—and it may be that by delay, or still more by contemplation of the terrible alternatives we can secure that—again I should be willing; but to continue indefinitely a position in which the name and reputation or our country is admittedly impaired, and without the possibility of escaping from it in any way whatever, I do not think myself is a realistic solution to bring before the House of Commons at this stage.
My hon. Friends who will discuss this matter on this side of the Committee will no doubt carry that solution further. I admit that I am not only in opposition to the whole of the party opposite in the solution that I am suggesting, but in opposition to a great proportion of my own party. When I launched the suggestion originally, it was against the unanimous opposition of my own party, including the Front Bench. But things are what they are, and the consequences will be what they will be. Do not let us deceive ourselves. This solution has come further into the picture now because of the intransigence of Makarios, and for no other reason. It is Makarios who is wielding the axe of partition; if the axe falls it will be Makarios who has brought it down, and the line on which the axe falls will be the Makarios line. Only one man will be responsible for it.
I simply say that if there is a better solution, then, for the love of Heaven, let us pursue it, bring it out, examine it here, and, if possible, secure it. I speak as a passionate phil-Hellene: I love and admire the Greeks more than any other people, except my own people, in the whole of the world. In the Mediterranean, I place them high above the Romans, great as the achievements of Rome were. In the arts and philosophy of Greece, no man of science, or of medicine, can name the name of Greece without a reverence and respect far above anything the Romans ever deserved. As to nationality, I am perfectly willing to adopt the statement of one of the greatest Greeks. Venezelos, who, when asked the definition of a Greek said, "To my mind a Greek is a man who feels like a Greek, who talks like a Greek, and who wants to be a Greek".
But that obviously does not apply to a Turk. The statement that was made just now by the Opposition is a statement that makes it necessary to take into account that there are people in Cyprus who do not feel like Greeks, do not talk like Greeks and do not want to be Greeks. To suggest that these people do not exist has no kind of relationship to the facts of the case at all.
My sentence is at an end and my speech is at an end also. I am doing my utmost to be as swift as I can. The question of partition has been brought up. It seemed that the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East was, if I may use the phrase, attempting to "jump the gun"—to assume that everyone had ruled this out of account. I was anxious to show that one of the possible facts of the case is, certainly, an area in Cyprus great or small—it may be very small indeed—in which Turkish sovereignty should be exercised if an area in Cyprus were brought into existence where full Greek sovereignty were exercised. Those who are asking for one are automatically asking for the other also. This is a contention which I venture to lay before the Committee, as I have done on other occasions. If we can find a solution which is neither the one nor the other no one will be more happy than I.
Is not the hon. Gentleman being a little modest in his estimate of who is responsible for partition? He suggested that Makarios was responsible? Did not the right hon. Gentleman himself first convert the Secretary of State for the Colonies to that idea and then did not the Secretary of State for the Colonies convert the Turkish Government to that idea?
I think that the hon. Gentleman has really exaggerated what I can do, and my power, either in the House or in the world. To suggest that I could convince Her Majesty's Government here, and through them the Government of Asia Minor, is putting the achievements even of the most influential back bencher a little high. I am merely stating that we should recognise the facts. If Makarios had held out his hand and said, "Come, we will go forward together", we might have got something done but, until he does that, partition is in fact the only solution.
What is striking is the contrast between the last sentence of the main speech of the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Walter Elliot) and his interruption earlier in the debate. He ended his speech by saying that he would be very glad indeed if some solution could be found other than partition. I am sure the Committee will remember how startled we all were by the right hon. Gentleman's interjection earlier, when he said that the one and only question which really ought to he debated was when partition should take place—
I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should be taking this pessimistic view. He seemed to suggest that when there were people in an island of different race, origin and religion it was impossible that they could ever work together. Coming from a right hon. Member who represents a Scottish Division, I was very much surprised by his argument. We seemed to have lived together amazingly well in this House for 250 years. Here also there are two religions and the Monarch on ascending the Throne has to take two separate oaths to protect the religion of Scotland and that of England. We seem to have carried on extremely well.
I am sure we all agree with a great deal of what the right hon. Gentleman said. We are wondering if there will come an end to these debates. They have been going on, as the right hon. Gentleman mentioned, in regard to Ireland and the Colonies and so on for at least 180 years. Challenges have been thrown from one side to the other and accusations made, but ultimately we have had to arrive at a settlement. A settlement has been arrived at in the long run, even when there is a difference of race. Am I to understand that the right hon. Gentleman would quote the case of Canada? No one would suggest for a moment that the one and only solution there would be partition.
Surely, again, the right hon. Gentleman would agree that that would be a matter entirely for the people of North America and not one in which he should be the dictator and say that what we have decided in the House should be accepted once for all and for ever. I am anxious to see how we can bring an end to these disputes.
It has been said from the other side of the Committee that this is no longer a mere colonial matter, that it is not even a strategic matter. But above all, surely, it is a matter which concerns the people of Cyprus more than anybody else in the whole world, and one hears so little about their point of view. Cyprus is their home, and has been for thousands of years. It is their future which is at stake. They are the people most concerned, and they are the pople we should consider primarily and almost entirely.
Having got so near to them some time ago when the Secretary of State and the Archbishop were together in Cyprus, why has the matter remained not only unsettled but in such a state that they seem to be getting further apart? As I understood it—the right hon. Gentleman will correct me if I am overstating the case—there was an agreement that there should be a constitutional Government formed; that it would be on a universal suffrage; that when the Parliament was elected it would be perfectly obvious who should form the Government of the day and that they would be responsible for all domestic matters within Cyprus. There was agreement that there should be a complete guarantee of fair treatment for the minority and that, for the time being, the responsibility for foreign affairs—the defence of the island—would remain with this country and that the time would come—the amount of time was unsettled—when, having had experience of government, the island would be able to determine what should be its future, whether it should be completely independent or joined with anyone else.
It was along those lines that they were discussing the matter, and then came the exile of the Archbishop to the Seychelles. Since then he has been released, but he is not allowed to go back to Cyprus, and here we are still waiting for the settlement that everyone is anxious to see.
The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies seemed to be expecting that the first step should be taken by the Archbishop. Why? Surely it is not merely the Archbishop with whom we are concerned. We are concerned about all the people of Cyprus, whether they be Greek or Turkish. It is their future we are considering. Why, therefore, should we say that this is a sort of game where someone has to take the first step? Why should not the first step be taken by the Government? The Government should say, "We got very far when last we were debating this matter. Why cannot we now take up the matter again?" The Government should say, "We are anxious to get a complete settlement."
I agree that a conference should not be confined to the Archbishop or even to his advisers. If it be necessary and desired, let the representatives of the Turkish minority come by all means. Let it be a round-table conference, where there would be plain speaking and everyone would do his best to express his views about what is required for a fair settlement which would mean a permanent settlement. Surely that is what we are all anxious about. I suggest that there should be a complete cessation of all recriminations from both sides. Let there be an open invitation to come along to see whether we can settle this matter. I suggest that there should he no preliminary conditions laid down by either side, but that we should meet round the table prepared for an open discussion with only one object in view, that of a fair settlement of this matter once and for all.
It has been mentioned time and again by hon. Members in debates on this matter that what hurts more than anything else is that our own good name is at stake. The people of this country have deserved so well of humanity. They have a wonderful record which has been enhanced during the last few years. It was recognised what had to be done in India, Pakistan. Ceylon and Burma, and there is the right hon. Gentleman's own record with regard to Ghana, Nigeria and Malaya. Whenever we mention those matters and we ask also that freedom should be restored to certain satellite States in Europe, the finger of scorn is pointed at us and people say, "Look at Cyprus."—[Interruption.]. I beg the Government, and specially the right hon. Gentleman—
The noble Lord is quite wrong. I am not making an analogy. It is a charge which is being thrown out. It is not justified in any shape or form, but it is made. Let us remove every cause of suspicion or any opportunity for making such a charge. Our record is so fine. Do not let hon. Members think for a moment that I would not challenge any such charge brought against us, but it is being brought—
In view of what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has just said, may I ask what he seriously thinks would happen to the Turkish minority were it left to the tender mercies of E.O.K.A.?
Surely I made that quite clear, and it was part of the discussion going on between the Archbishop and the Secretary of State, namely, that there should be complete safeguards for the Turkish minority—not merely an undertaking given to us, but an undertaking given in such a way that the question could be tried at the International Court at The Hague. We have already had experience of an undertaking being given to us alone and when we asked that the undertaking be carried out—for example, in South Africa—we were challenged. I understand that in this case everyone was prepared to go further and say it should be an undertaking given not merely to Britain but in such a form that we could be certain it would be carried out, or otherwise punishment would follow.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has twice referred to what he understood was one aspect of my talks with Archbishop Makarios. For the record, and in the interests of historical accuracy, I must make it clear that there was never at any stage the slightest discussion on my part with Archbishop Makarios, or any suggestion on my part, about the timing of the application of the principle of self-determination. We discussed the principle as a principle, but never its application. I have made it quite clear on behalf of the Government that now our view must be that if self-determination is to be applied it must be equal self-determination for the Turks as for the Greeks. The right hon. and learned Gentleman is rightly sensitive about our good name in the world, but I cannot believe that our good name would be enhanced were we to dismiss as light the fears of our great ally, Turkey, whose interest is not by any means confined to the minority but exists because of geographical considerations.
The right hon. Gentleman will remember that I did say that there had been no discussions about timing, but that the principle of self-determination should be accorded. I recognise, as did the right hon. Member for Kelvin-grove, that the Turkish voice should he heard at the round-table conference. The Government want to see this matter settled, as we all do; the right attitude for them to adopt is to send out an invitation to all concerned saying, "It is necessary to settle this matter", and that they should come to a round-table conference here in London. The right hon. Gentleman should make a statement tonight that that is the Government's intention.
If he did, it would give great relief not only to this Committee and to the country, but to the Commonwealth as well.
The right hon. and learned Member for Montgomery (Mr. C. Davies) said that the good name of this country would be blackened by the Government by taking no action in Cyprus. Surely he realises that the Radcliffe constitutional proposals give the majority of elected members to the representatives of the Greek Cypriot people, while recognising the rights of the Turkish minority. In other words, they do just what the right hon. and learned Gentleman is asking for. He ought not to say, therefore, that the Government have done nothing.
If we were to accept the apparently attractive suggestion made by the right hon. and learned Gentleman, that representatives of Greek and Turkish Cypriots should come to a conference here in London, does he think that those representatives would dare to express their real views? Let the right hon. and learned Gentleman remember that there is still terrorism in the island even though it is now driven underground. They are also bound to be affected by their mother countries, Greece and Turkey, the latter having said that she cannot risk the island of Cyprus becoming Communist, as it might do if it fell under Greek sovereignty.
The majority of Greek Cypriots really believe that if a Socialist Government came into power in this country at the next General Election two years hence Enosis would be accorded to Cyprus within the following four or five years. I hope that the important statement that has been made in this Committee today will be noted in Cyprus and that this belief will be somewhat shaken by today's statement made from the Opposition Front Bench. This is why the the Cypriots refuse to consider the Radcliffe proposals with any degree of reasonableness. I hope that the idea of immediate Enosis has been rebutted by the statement made twice today from the Opposition Front Bench. [Interruption.] The belief to which I refer is that if a Socialist Government came in this country they would accord Enosis to Cyprus within four or five years. I understand that suggestion to have been rebutted.
The Opposition spokesman said—the hon. Lady who has just interrupted me can check it in HANSARD tomorrow—that the period of probation would have to be of a considerable length. I referred to four or five years, approximately. If the Greek people expect to get Enosis within four or five years from a Socialist Government obviously they are not going to try to co-operate with Her Majesty's Government now. I reafirm that a very important statement has been made by the Opposition in this Committee today.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) who led for the Opposition, started by discussing the value of Cyprus as a base. Cyprus has never been regarded as an alternative to Suez. It was only to be a command headquarters and to accommodate a brigade group. That is quite a different matter from the scale of the Suez base. In the new defence set up the probabilities are that the main army reinforcements will be in East Africa. I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman will agree with this. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East thought that Cyprus should accommodate an airstrip, but I suggest it is vital as a base for our strategic air force for the protection of the Middle Eastern oil. Modern history has proved that we cannot use a base unless we have sovereignty over it.
As to agreement with our allies in N.A.T.O., Turkey and Greece have a right to be considered in this matter of Cyprus. Turkey is an essential ally because of her strategic position in the world and her loyalty to us in the Bagdad Pact. We must remember that she fears, and has a right to fear, being surrounded by Communist States. She has Communist Russia to her north and she fears that the rest of the satellites in the Balkans would follow a Russian lead. Greece and the island of Cyprus might also go behind the Iron Curtain or at least go much further to the left. Turkey has the right to defend her strategic interests.
If some of the more extreme views voiced by Members of the Opposition in the past were to become a fact and Enosis were accorded, or there were any idea of its being accorded, within a few years after a Socialist Government assumed power in this country, it would merely mean exchanging the bullets of E.O.K.A. for the bullets of Volkan. The position of the British Government and of British troops would not be one whit the better. We should still have terrorism in Cyprus and possibly a civil war on our hands.
Why is Greece so interested in Cyprus? I believe that the main reason is emotional based on expansion coupled with exploitation. Cyprus has become a matter of party politics in Greece. The Opposition in Greece will no doubt use the presence of Archbishop Makarios in that country to overthrow the present Government of Greece if there were any sign of that Government trying to reach a reasonable accommodation or compromise with Her Majesty's Government over the position of Cyprus. That is what makes the position of the Greek Government so difficult. I believe they would try to reach a compromise solution if only they were allowed to do so by their internal party politics. Even in this country we know how difficult settlements can be when party politics gets involved with our strategic rights and interests. It is fair to say that the Greek Government can have no policy on the matter of Cyprus. They may wish to come to a reasonable agreement but they know it cannot be so because of the strength of the Opposition backed by the Archbishop's propaganda machine.
I turn to the suggested alternative of the N.A.T.O. solution. What this means I have not yet been able to find out. Does it involve handing our sovereignty over the island to N.A.T.O.; or does it mean a three-fold partition with the British enclave containing the base being handed over to N.A.T.O.? That to me is not a solution but simply an abnegation of British responsibility. I should like my right hon. Friend to answer this question, although I do expect he will not be able to do so. What is the United States doing in this matter? The influence of the United States in the Middle East has not always been to the advantage of this country. The best gesture the United States could give towards the furtherance of good Anglo-American relationships would be to back Her Majesty's Government's solution to the Cyprus problem by their acceptance of the Radcliffe constitution, as the fairest compromise between the conflicting differences of opinion.
With regard to E.O.K.A., a tribute should be paid, and has indeed been paid, to the present Governor of Cyprus, who already has his place in military history. We shall pay tribute to his leadership of the troops in Cyprus who have already taken the bite out of E.O.K.A. This is a great achievement and I believe that in so doing the Governor has retained the respect, and, in many cases, the affection of the Cypriot population, by the way he has undertaken and handled his incredibly difficult task.
When we consider the question of atrocities—I will not detain the Committee by going into details—we must remember that Archbishop Makarios maintains a propaganda organisation in this country, indeed in this very city. It is a pity that certain hon. Members opposite appear to give rather a lot of consideration to the outpourings of this propaganda machine. I would also remind the Committee that one of the two English-language newspapers in Cyprus, the Times of Cyprus, is financed by Greek interests and is printed on printing presses belonging to the Archbishop. Her Majesty's Government closed down his propaganda machines when terrorism became rampant but the presses are now hired by the Times of Cyprus from the Archbishop for, I understand, the sum of £20 per month. Now the Times of Cyprus is printed on these presses belonging to the Archbishop and financed and backed by Greek money—not Cypriot-Greek but Greek money.
Is the hon. and gallant Member suggesting that the Times of Cyprus is influenced in its policy by the fact that certain interests meet the cost of its machinery and printing establishment? If so, what newspaper in the world is not influenced by those who finance it in a similar way?
I entirely agree with the hon. Member. I am not saying that it should not be so. I am merely pointing out that it is so and that the leading articles of the Times of Cyprus, which are sometimes taken as gospel by hon. Members opposite, need not be so taken because the paper is backed by Greek money and produced on the Archbishop's presses. That is the point which I am trying to make, and I hope that I have made it.
I do not wish to detain the Committee for very much longer. To my mind there are two alternatives—the Radcliffe constitution and partition. Like my right hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Mr. Walter Elliot) and many others, I do not like partition, and surely we can agree that the Radcliffe constitution offers a reasonable compromise. I think it unlikely—and I ask my right hon. Friends to take note of this—that, under the present conditions in Cyprus, Greek Cypriots will come forward now or in the next few months and state that they will work the Radcliffe constitution. Nevertheless, I believe that if this constitution were imposed and if the people of the island were told, for example, that the Radcliffe constitution would come into effect in three months' time and that every British subject over twenty-one would have a vote on the island, we should get an elected Government even if it consisted only of the Turks, the Communists, the Armenians and the British. I believe that the Greek Cypriots would then immediately jump on to the band-wagon.
Bearing in mind the Middle-Eastern mentality and the history of this part of the world, we must not expect people to come forward to work the constitution in the existing difficult conditions on the island. We must say, "This is what we have decided, this is the solution, and this is what we shall do." In view of what hon. Members opposite have said today, it seems probable that the Opposition would go quite a long way with Her Majesty's Government if they took such a decision.
As I have said previously to the Committee, it is extremely difficult to contemplate partition in Cyprus. It is extremely difficult to contemplate dividing an island twenty-four times the size of the Isle of Wight. Incidentally it is twenty-four times the size of the Isle of Wight, not six times as was stated by the Times of Cyprus in its issue of 1st July.
Nevertheless, partition is a possible alternative which has been recognised by some hon. Members on both sides of the Committee. If we come to such a solution, let there be a division three ways—one part to the Greeks, one part to the Turks and a British enclave covering British bases and under British sovereignty. I think that would meet the stated desires of the three motherlands, Britain, Turkey and Greece, even though it might be disastrous to the people of Cyprus. [Laughter.] Hon. Members may laugh, but I think that such a solution could be disastrous, because both Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots tell me that this alternative solution could eventually lead to war between their motherlands. They may be right or they may be wrong. Their motherlands seem to want partition; certainly Turkey seems to want it. Perhaps they think that the propaganda pressure in this country is causing Her Majesty's Government to think again and possibly to yield to the Greek demands. I hope that they will find, after reading the Official Report of this debate, that their fears are groundless.
I believe that we must make a decision on the problem of Cyprus and that we cannot let it drag on too much longer In my opinion, the right decision would be to say that on a certain date the Radcliffe constitution would come into effect. I believe that if that decision were backed by the leaders of the Opposition we should be well on the way to a solution of this intractable problem which would enable Cyprus eventually to become self-governing within the British Commonwealth and which would bring together those ancient allies, Britain, Turkey and Greece.
May I have your permission, Major Anstruther-Gray, to make a correction in an important name which I used during my speech? I do not want the wrong name to appear in HANSARD.
When I referred to the first of the Cypriot prisoners whom I interviewed at Wormwood Scrubs this morning, the Colonial Secretary quite properly intervened to ask me to give his name. I looked at my notes and gave it as Renos Themistokli Kyriakides. I apologise for misleading the Committee. The name was in fact Athanasios Costa Sophoclous. I should be very glad if that correction could be made.
I was horrified by what the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove (Mr. Walter Elliot) said about partition. It seems to me that a point which has been overlooked in all the discussion about the partition of Cyprus is that the position in Cyprus is quite different from that in other countries where partition has been attempted, for example, Palestine, Ireland and India. In no part of Cyprus is there a Turkish majority. In all parts of the island there is a Greek majority. In other countries where partition was carried out there were parts where the national minority had a local majority. That is not the case is Cyprus.
I am therefore quite certain that if partition took place and if part of the island were allocated to the Turks, it would at once cause war. The Greek majority in the parts proposed to be handed over to Turkey would fight rather than permit the Turks to come in, because they would be frightened of what would happen when the Turks arrived. Possibly there might be an exchange of population, but before that could be attempted there would be war.
If the Greek majority in the parts proposed to be handed over to the Turks were to fight the Turks, then they would be backed by their mother country, because the nationalist feelings mentioned by the hon. and gallant Member for Haltemprice (Major Wall) are so strong in Greece, on the part of both the Government and the Opposition, that no Greek Government could sit still and see a Greek majority, in parts of Cyprus which were to be handed over to Turkey, fighting against the Turks without themselves being compelled by public opinion to intervene. I am therefore certain that partition would mean a war between Greece and Turkey.
Despite what has appeared in the Press, in my view public opinion is much stronger in Greece than in Turkey. The Greeks are much more politically minded. They argue and discuss all these questions in the market-place and they force their Government to follow the line which they wish to be followed. That may also be the case in Turkey in large towns such as Istanbul and Izmir, but the great mass of the population of Turkey live in villages scattered over a wide area and have little or no interest in political questions. They accept a lead from their Government. Consequently, if the Turkish Government do not wish for war they have in their hands the propaganda to prevent war.
Yes, but the Turks are nowhere near as politically minded as are the Greeks. Consequently, even though the politicians in Ankara might adopt such an attitude, if the Turkish Government were prepared to resist them the great mass of the people would follow the lead of the Government rather than that of the politicians. The opposite is the case in Greece, where the mass of the people are politically minded, where they argue all these questions in the market-place and where I am certain that public opinion would force the Government to follow a certain line of action even though the Government wanted to take a different line.
We must remember that only 17½ per cent. of the population in Cyprus is Turkish. Hon. Members opposite have said that self-determination must mean self-determination for the Turks as well as for the Greeks.
They own a high proportion of the land certainly, but is it to be said that l7½ per cent. should have the right to dictate to 80 per cent.?
What is likely to happen to a partitioned country? Let us follow this argument elsewhere. In the Commonwealth, we are at present moving towards self-government in many countries of mixed population. We are just passing legislation to give home rule to Malaya. That is a country of three peoples—Malays, Chinese and Indians. The whole possibility of self-government depends on all three working together, but there is a very substantial element of Chinese who do not like the proposals that are put forward. If they take a very strong line, are we to agree that there must be some kind of partition of Malaya?
Again, what is to happen to some of the other Commonwealth territories, such as Mauritius, where we have Indians and French, or Fiji, where we have Indians and Fijians? Are we to carry through partition in such territories? If so, where is the possibility of creating viable economic units of self-government? If we are to move towards self-government in the Commonwealth, we have to accept the idea that we must find proper economically sized units.
That being so, it is even more absurd to try to partition a small island like Cyprus. Suppose we applied partition to the, Channel Islands, where part of the population still speak the old Norman French and sometimes resents the English immigrants? If they were to take a very strong line, would we agree to partition there? Obviously, it would be absurd. Therefore, I would say that it is right and reasonable to give the 17½ per cent. Turkish minority certain rights and safeguards, with which I will try to deal a little later but to rule out partition.
On the, strategic point, the Turks have been arguing that they cannot allow an island off their south coast to be occupied by military forces which might be a threat to them. I would say that that could be met by insisting on neutralisation of the island, apart from bases that might be held there by this country or by N.A.T.O. And if the Turks raise this question of military danger and the need to add part of the island to their territory they are fishing in very troubled waters, because if, as a result of partition, there is war between Greece and Turkey they will not be the only people to be involved in that war.
A Power so far forgotten in these discussions is Soviet Russia. Would not Soviet Russia intervene in such a war? The Turks would do well to remember that the only important territory which formerly belonged to Tsarist Russia and to which Soviet Russia lays claim is the territory of Kars at the other end of Turkey. As I say, that used to belong to Tsarist Russia, and there are, therefore, historical reasons which can be used as a basis of a claim to it by the Russians.
South of the Caucasus is the State of Armenia in the Soviet Union, which has developed over the last 35 years or so, into which have moved the Armenian population from all over the Middle East. That State is now very densely populated, and, on the whole, prosperous, but having filled up all the Armenian territory inside the Soviet Union, there is a growing demand to get some of Turkish Armenia added on historical grounds and to enable expansion to take place. If trouble arose between Greece and Turkey, that situation might well be exploited by Russia.
There is also the question of the Straits which, again, might be overlooked. The Russians have always wanted to control the Straits, and dislike Turkish control of those waters. It is interesting to note that the first time in modern times that the Russians intervened in this part of the world, in the days of Catherine the Great, they pressed the idea of putting a revived Byzantine Empire in control of the Straits. After Greek independence, the Russians, very mistakenly from their point of view, abandoned Greece, became pan-Slav, and wanted to control the Straits themselves.
Let us look elsewhere at Russian ambitions recently. They pushed Poland to the Oder-Niesse line—from their point of view a very successful strategic and political move, because, to defend those frontiers, Poland has to seek Russian assistance. Had the Russians adopted the idea, as they still might, of putting Greece in control of Constantinople and the Straits, Greece would be dependent on Russia to maintain these territories, and Russia might succeed in permanently making Greece a real satellite by putting her in charge of the Straits.
The Turks would, therefore, be very unwise to fish in troubled waters and to raise this question of Cyprus partition for strategic reasons. They might provoke a conflict which would undoubtedly bring Russia into the picture, and Russia coming into the picture has quite a number of strong cards that she might play against Turkey in such a case. That should be borne in mind, not only by the Turks, but by hon. Members when thinking of the possible future of the Middle East—
Then do I understand the hon. Member's argument to he that we should continue to hold Cyprus as a bastion of Turkey against Russia, for which it was originally handed over by Turkey to us, as he has sketched out a very interesting strategic point?
I do not think that at the moment, with modern weapons, Cyprus is very much use for such a purpose, but I think it would be unwise of the Turks to try to take steps which might risk a war between themselves and Greece, in which they would not be the only people taking part.
I turn to my solution. Cyprus for long was part of the Ottoman Empire, and not only there but in other parts of that Empire there was a system of rule by which large units of people had wide measures of self-government. The Orthodox Greeks in Cyprus had their millet with wide powers of self-government; in fact, the Archbishop has his strong traditional position because, in the past, he was elected to represent the Greek community there to the Turkish rulers. Why should not the opposite be introduced? Let us have a Turkish millet with very wide powers over the Turkish population in the island; powers guaranteed to them by any peace arrangements. They could run their own schools and institutions and have full citizenship in every way, but with rather special privileges if they belonged to that community.
I should have thought that reasonable guarantees could he given to the Turkish minority by which they could govern themselves over the whole of the island without partition and without tearing up their roots and their rights. That could be written into the local law and into international law, and if we continued to keep a base, either British or N.A.T.O., in the island, those forces would be there to see that the Turks had their rights, and full justice. I think that something along those lines would be the right solution; keeping the Greeks and Turks there, and giving the Turks full self-government through a millet system but remaining part of the general community, and with far more extensive powers than the Turks have at present in Western Thrace or the Greeks have in Constantinople or in other parts of Turkey. The Government should seek some solution on those lines, ruling out partition, but not ruling out giving reasonable safeguards and self-government in the island to the Turkish minority.
I find myself in a surprising measure of agreement with much that has been said by the hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker), and I hope that he will understand it if I defer until later the remarks I had intended to make on partition, rather than follow him at once. I can then keep more readily to the sequence of ideas that I have in mind.
I for one am grateful to the Opposition for allotting one of their Supply Days to this subject. I believe that in a period when policy is being formed we have a right to express our views, and certainly any minority which may be in the House has not only a right but a duty to give warning of the position in which it may find itself. However, we gathered from the opening speech of my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary of State that although there is apparently in mind the germ of an idea for a solution to the problem, none the less the strategic reappraisal is not yet completed and we are assured that whatever is done will not affront the internal peace and tranquillity of the island.
One is at least relieved to know that much, in view of the very widespread Press reports that have been circulating for many days, uncontradicted and, I suspect, in certain quarters encouraged. At any rate, these Press reports have had the effect of softening up opinion in the country and in this House.
The whole subject of atrocities is inseparable from a problem of this character. With a problem of this sort set practically in the Balkans—anyway, half way between the Balkans and the Levant—it is inevitable that there should be atrocity stories and, if I may put it without disrespect to hon. Members opposite who have taken great trouble to look into these matters, atrocity-mongering. Atrocity-mongering is a normal weapon of politics in that part of the world. Anyone who, like myself, has worked there as a staff correspondent of The Times for some years on end will know that one is flooded all the time with atrocity stories of every sort from every party in whatever Balkan or Levantine country one is working.
The real problem to which we should be giving our minds tonight is this. Here is the first occasion since the completion of the Suez débacle in which we as a Committee have been looking at the practical application of the Defence White Paper. We should pose this question quite brutally to ourselves: are we ready to protect our foreign trade, our living standards and our Commonwealth lines of communication, or are we prepared to abdicate that? Are we prepared to say that it is not worth spending 20,000 troops and a quarter of our strategic reserve, and behind some facade of N.A.T.O. arrangements place ourselves and our interests under the protection of others?
That is the basic issue that we have got to face. First, what is our own British interest in Cyprus? It is important to us in protecting our access to raw materials and markets. Hon. Members may argue that it is irrelevant, but then they must prove that it is irrelevent. I believe that is the way in which we have to look at it. We are discussing this matter in the context of certain very important international engagements having been torn up. I allude to the Suez Canal Convention of 1888. We are looking at it in the context of the Bermuda Conference and all sorts of projects alluded to in the communiqué at that time about new pipe lines in the Middle East whose safety is to be guaranteed by treaty. We have to look at this in the context of the enforcement of treaties when they are liable to be broken. We have to consider what protection we, Britain, would be prepared or able to give to our own sea lifelines —let us say, tankers and merchant ships.
Just because for ten years our merchant ships have not been attacked on the high seas we are in no way justified in forgetting these things. We do not know who our enemies are going to be. Many people are obsessed by what I call the Russian bogy. Some people even try to work up the Russian bogy. One thing that is obvious is that military alliances are not very long enduring, because enemies change. We are today the allies of Germany—only 12 years after being their enemy. Very shortly we may also be allies of Japan. It is only a matter of a few years since we were allied to Russia. Therefore, in looking at our interests we must distinguish between our own inherent interest and any temporary military alliances which we may have in any quarter.
It is not only a question of oil. Hon. Members sometimes perhaps overlook the vast quantity and various types of commerce, with countries that we are bound to, which pass through the Mediterranean. Inward bound there are Indian manganese and tin; Malayan tin, bauxite and rubber; Australian wheat, zinc and wool; Pakistani jute and cotton East African chrome and Indonesian rubber. All of those make jobs for our people and help to ensure our standard of living and are basis to the welfare state. Then there are Burmese rice, Mauritian sugar and so on. Outward bound there is our own export of capital goods of one kind and another—metal goods and cars, capital goods for Australia, India, Pakistan and the Persian Gulf. It is commerce on which we live and on which our capacity to deal with inflation depends. Protection of that commerce is vital and critical to our national policy.
It is against that background that I ask myself what is the present estimate of the importance of Cyprus. We gathered from the intervention of my right hon. Friend the Minister for Defence early this afternoon that whether or not there is ambiguity in the White Paper, at least the reappraisal of Cyprus has not yet been completed. That was the re-assurance given by the Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies. But an appraisal was made a year ago by Sir Anthony Eden, and in his speech at Norwich he said:
The United Kingdom's vital interest in Cyprus is not confined to its N.A.T.O. aspect.
He went on to say:
Our country's industrial life and that of Western Europe depends today, and must depend for many years to come, on oil supplies from the Middle East. If ever our oil resources were in peril, we should be compelled to defend them. The facilities we need in Cyprus are part of that defence. We cannot therefore accept any doubt about their availability… there can be no question of this country yielding over any essential element in the defence of its legitimate and vital interests. Examples of this are the Persian Gulf, Cyprus and Aden.
I want to ask the Government to bear those distinctions in mind, and to take the first opportunity of reaffirming them because the White Paper by comparison is somewhat ambiguous. The White Paper refers to our interests in the Persian Gulf in this way:
In the Arabian peninsula, Britain must at all times "—
mark the words "at all times"—
be ready to defend Aden Colony and Protectorates and the territories on the Persian Gulf for whose defence she is responsible. For this task, land, air and sea forces have to be maintained in that area and in East Africa. In addition, Britain has undertaken in the Baghdad Pact to co-operate with the other signatory States for security and defence, and for the prevention of Communist encroachment and infiltration. In the event of emergency, British forces in the Middle East area would be made avilable to support the Alliance. These would include bomber squadrons based in Cyprus capable of delivering nuclear weapons.
The distinction is that as far as the Gulf is concerned we have an absolute, direct, independent, distinct British obligation, whereas, so far as one can judge from the White Paper, that is not asserted with regard to Cyprus. That is the source of one of the anxieties which harrow me and my hon. Friends who, with very great reluctance, found themselves compelled recently to take the most unpleasant step of refusing the Parliamentary Whip, while, of course, remaining loyal, enthusiastic and active members of the Conservative Party.
The question, therefore, which one must answer is, what sort of base is necessary to our interests in Cyprus? That, presumably, is being considered in the reappraisal which is now being made. Only a little more than a year ago, in May, 1956, there was issued a second edition of this document, a copy of which I have here, which was distributed officially to the troops in Cyprus. It is entitled, "Why we are in Cyprus." I can only conclude that that document was meant to inform and illuminate the troops, to encourage them in their hardships, so that they might at least know what they were fighting and suffering for. I read in that document—and I hope we shall know before Parliament rises for the Summer Recess whether this statement is repudiated or not:
If we cede sovereignty over it"—
that is, Cyprus—
we can only have our base in this area on sufferance by Treaty or lease.
It goes on:
The Island is so small that it would be extremely difficult to have a military island within an island. We need to be able to ensure in the last resort, e.g., control of communications, ports, and facilities scattered over the Island.
I would point out in parenthesis that, if we were thinking of Cyprus as a base for an aerial delivery of nuclear weapons, we cannot transport by air to an airfield everything which an airfield needs. The document continues:
We need a base on British territory, not one leased from a country which does not share in our obligations, and might not even approve of our policy in respect of them. Already Greece is under pressure from certain Arab States in some aspects of her Middle East policy.
It therefore follows from this document of only a year ago that we need sovereignty over Cyprus for our own interests and that we cannot rely merely on a base which is in some way subject to the by your leave of others, whether allies whose interests are in other directions, or the nearest neighbour, Greece or Turkey. If these conditions still hold good—and we have a right to be told before Parliament rises for the Summer Recess—our mere participation in a N.A.T.O. base could not be adequate to our interests.
The debacle of Suez showed very clearly that whatever our alliance with the United States may be against Communism, when it is recognised as, as it were, directed from Russia, the alliance still apparently turns into obstruction and even hostility when we are protecting our own interests. Of course, these conditions preclude reliance upon a base which is any way under foreign sovereignty.
Since the Minister of Defence came back from his tour there has been a Press conference which was widely reported, and it became easy to conclude that the Government are very seriously considering transferring the principal Middle East base to East Africa, to Mombasa. I feel bound to point out, in relation to Suez and the protection of our sea lanes in the Eastern Mediterranean, that whereas Cyprus is only 300 miles from Suez, Mombasa is 2,500 miles.
Anyone who is going to argue that we can protect our sea lanes in the Eastern Mediterranean by aircraft from Mombasa ought to have a look at the map. Cyprus is only about a thousand miles from the Persian Gulf and Kuwait, but that same sheikdom is 2,500 miles from Mombasa. If it is argued that we have no over-flying rights over the countries between, that argument seems unsatisfactory because we have both Turkey and Iraq as partners, whom we boast about as partners in the Bagdad Pact. Moreover, if it be argued that we cannot protect our sea lanes in the Eastern Mediterranean from Cyprus, and if it be also admitted that Mombasa is too far away, Malta is likewise too far away. To protect our sea lanes in the Eastern Mediterranean, we simply must be in Cyprus.
What are the solutions to the local Cyprus problems? Here I come back to what was said by the hon. Member for Dagenham. I am sorry he has had to slip out. Even if it is old ground, it is as well to go over it again and to reaffirm that there is nothing absolute about the right to self-determination. Otherwise hon. and right hon. Members opposite would have agreed Malta was entitled to it, whereas the Round-Table Conference did not so agree. If there were some absolute, inalienable right to self-determination, the great Powers would not have forbidden Austria to exercise that right. If there were an absolute, inherent right to self-determination in the law of nature, then the League of Nations in its heyday of idealism in 1922 would not have denied it to the Aaland Islands in the Baltic. Burke said that in politics there was uncommonly little room for abstract principles. But if hon. and right hon. Members opposite continue to insist on an abstract principle of self-determination I would remind them of the pressure on Greece from the Slays to the north and their claims to access to the Aegean.
If self-determination is to be applied logically it can lead only to partition. This argument was put convincingly by the hon. Member for Dagenham, and with so much of what he said I agreed. Partition in Cyprus can lead only to a Greco-Turkish war.
Here is one of the great frontiers of the world, the frontier between Christendom and Islam, a frontier which for the past 1,500 years has witnessed atrocities, a frontier which can blow up any day, a frontier which blew up not so long ago when in Constantinople there were those hideous riots with Turks chasing Greeks through the streets and looting their properties. It is a frontier which is in turmoil all the time. Why is it that the Turks are now claiming that there should be some inquiry about what is going on in the Dodecanese under Greek rule? This is not a static, stable frontier. It is a tense frontier, and, as I said just now, has been so for the best part of 1,500 years.
If we partition this tiny island, with a population no larger than the City of Edinburgh, there will be atrocities, and the atrocities of which we have heard today will be as nothing to what those will be. And what will happen in the island will also happen in Greece and Turkey, for once a thing like that starts we cannot stop it spreading like a prairie fire.
Here again I come back to what the hon. Member for Dagenham said. If it once starts and there is trouble with the Christian community in Constantinople, only a fool can imagine that the Russians will be blind to the temptation to come in to protect the Christian minority. Russia, even since the Communist revolution, has claimed the right to protect the Christians of Constantinople.
When the Patriarch is installed, the Russian Consul-General in Constantinople still takes part in the ceremony in order to assert Russia's traditional right. If the Greeks and the Turks are set against one another and the trouble follows the frontier between Christianity and Islam, it will bring Russia to the Straits as sure as anything. Surely, if that is not appreciated by the Foreign Office, which is usually fairly far-seeing in these matters, let us hope that my words tonight are read in the State Department in Washington.
I believe, therefore, that self-determination, since it would lead to partition, is "out" and not practicable. Now we read of the project of some kind of N.A.T.O. consortium. One cannot expect an authoritative denial now of the stories that are going round, because they are in the nature of rumours. But stories are going round that we are threatening partition in order to belabour the Greeks, while the Americans are talking to Turkey with money, and that together we are saying to the Greeks and the Turks that it is worth their while to come in and try some third solution. Whether we are trying to bully or bribe I do not know, but it is certainly true that the whole world has been filled with rumours in recent days that a so-called N.A.T.O. solution is in mind.
If hon. and right hon. Members on this side of the Committee, and members of the Government, raise their eyebrows when some of us suspect American pressure, where do these stories come from? Some of them come from Whitehall—any newspaper man knows that—and others come from Washington, or they come from Washington first and a newspaper correspondent asks Whitehall whether there is anything in them and then they are given encouragement. There is a strong American stench about this idea of a N.A.T.O. consortium.
Would it solve the problem? Would three or five Powers be able to accomplish in this tiny island what one Power cannot do? Would a N.A.T.O. force, or a United Nations force with Mr. Hammarskjoeld in charge, somehow accomplish in Cyprus what we cannot? Only if this is an American intervention, behind an international N.A.T.O. facade with the whole weight of America behind it. And that is the sort of intervention of which some of us are particularly afraid.
Do we imagine that the idea of Enosis will die down in a day because N.A.T.O. takes over, or that the anxieties of the Turks will evaporate from one day to the next? And what about the question of the civil servant in Cyprus? There are in the service thousands of Greeks and Turks alike who have been loyal to us. They have backed us and have been loyal to the Crown. What will their position be? I hope that these matters will be borne in mind and that we shall have clearer answers when the time comes and policy is enunciated. I pray that that policy will not be the idea of a N.A.T.O. consortium.
I was impressed by my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Haltemprice (Major Wall) who argued cogently that the chances of self-government on the Radcliffe basis were better now than they had been. I agree, thanks to the rather unexpected intervention of the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) who opened the debate, because whatever may have been the authoritative policy of the other side of the Committee, it has been widely believed in Greece that if the Labour Government got into office Enosis would come about within a few years. Therefore, I hope that the B.B.C. and everybody will blazon abroad what was said from the Front Bench opposite today, which I take to be a helpful contribution towards a settlement of our problem.
I have a different approach. I do not believe that at the end of the day even the Radcliffe constitution carries the full answer, unless the people of Cyprus know where they are going, where they can expect to go and also where they can expect not to go. We are bound to recognise that there is a strong Hellenic aspiration to be associated with other Hellenes. There is an equally strong Turkish aspiration to be associated with other Turks, in addition to Turkish geographic and strategic considerations. There is a conflict between the nationalism of the nineteenth century and the altogether twentieth century project which we are concerned with building—a Commonwealth of nations, an association of Commonwealth citizens which straddles a quarter of the earth's surface and includes 650 million people. The contrast is between nineteenth century nationalism and what we are trying to build in the world.
How can they be reconciled? I believe that it is possible, on a quite different plane, to get a reconciliation by means of a dual nationality. The idea was put out years ago. It was studied and pigeonholed. I believe that if the real end-product of the Radcliffe constitution was a system whereby Greeks domiciled in Cyprus could enjoy Greek and British nationality together, and Turks correspondingly, there would be an inducement to them to live in Cyprus and make it one of the most flourishing places on the globe. The whole project of trying to unite with national states elsewhere would disappear, and we should see a vision of the Expanding Commonwealth taking place before our very eyes. That is my dream. We should not fix our eyes exclusively to the issue whether a particular linguistic, cultural or religious group should attach itself to a particular national State across the water.
But if the kind of thing I have in mind is to be achieved, surely certain conditions are absolutely essential very soon. The first is that there should be much greater freedom of movement between Greece and Cyprus. That depends on calming down the security situation and easing restrictions. That should be our first goal. It is perfectly certain that that cannot be accomplished unless we make it abundantly plain that we have no intention whatever of abandoning our sovereignty over Cyprus, let alone turn part of the realm of our Sovereign over to some international alliance which may evaporate altogether. In addition, it is essential that we should aim at an emphatic reaffirmation, by the three Powers most closely concerned, of the Treaty of Lausanne.
I have said that no doubt it will be denied that there is any American pressure in this matter at all. But let us face it. The partition of Palestine—and we have Ernie Bevin's word for it in effect—was the work at the end of the day of the Americans. The Americans got us out of Abadan. The Americans got us out of Egypt in 1954. The Americans stopped us when we tried to go back last autumn. For better or worse, it was they who stopped us. The Americans got us out of Port Said. The Americans got the Royal Navy into civvies, and even when we were humiliated to that extent, the Americans got the Royal Navy sent away from Suez. It is obvious that the Americans stand behind the claims of Saudi Arabia in regard to the Buraimi Oasis.
In January my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister broadcast to this country words that came as a balm and a solace when he said:
We won't be parted from the Americans but we won't be satellites.
If there is any kind of arrangement now in Cyprus that means our abdication, even if it is behind an elegant N.A.T.O. facade, it will be said up and down this country, whether we like it or not, that we have become an American satellite and submitted to their pressure.
A small number of us recently declined the party whip because we were unable any further to support our Government's foreign policy in the Middle East. We found it going from bad to worse, and there seemed to be no sticking point. At the moment it seems to be in the process of reformulation. But in the event of my hon. Friends and myself supporting the Government tonight in the Division Lobby, I hope they will not conclude from this that we mean to give them carte blanche to go ahead with this N.A.T.O. project or with partition.
We will not back abdication, even if it is wrapped up in a sort of N.A.T.O. mantle. We shall not back a surrender of the Queen's sovereignty, least of all to a transient military alliance. We shall not back exposing loyal Government servants in Cyprus to the vengeance of others. We shall not back trusting others to defend our commercial sea lanes. We believe that just as Abadan was the signal for Suez so Suez has been the signal for Cyprus, and if we quit Cyprus, we quit the Mediterranean, and no amount of sterling will hold Malta against the lure of the dollar.
We believe in general that the Welfare State cannot survive, nor can inflation be mastered, if our trade routes are in jeopardy and if we recoil from defending them. Above all we believe in the words of the Prime Minister at a meeting in the Central Hall, Westminster, on 29th September, 1949:
A great nation should be like the eagle; it should be able to look, without flinching, into the sun, to see and recognise the truth; to fix the goal; and then to go straight towards it, without those crooked turns and devious routes so dear to timid souls.
Until the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Lanark (Mr. Patrick Maitland), to which we have just listened, I had thought there was very much in the speeches from the other side of the Committee to which those of us on this side would assent, particularly the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Mr. Walter Elliot), who seemed to be tackling the subject from his usual wise angle, except for certain things which he said about partition. Although there have been certain murmurings from the more fusty recesses of the Tory back benches, it was not until now that we have been treated by the hon. Member for Lanark to the authentic voices of Lord North and George III.
There was one thing which the hon. Member for Lanark said with which I agreed, and that was that the part of the world we are discussing today is one which goes in for atrocity-mongering to a very large extent. We all understand that this is so. I will not labour the atrocity point because I know no details, apart from what I have heard today, but having had a very great shock as a young Member of the House of Commons, when I was in my middle twenties, of hearing a Government Department white-washing something that was wrong, of which I was convinced I had given them proof, I am always bitterly suspicious when I hear Government spokesmen plausibly denying at all costs, and refusing inquiry into, allegations of atrocities or misconduct on the part of Government servants.
I do not hold myself out to be an extraordinary person, I am a most ordinary back bencher, but I am impressed if a Government say, "We do not think there is any truth in this, but we will have the best investigation into it that we can." I know that in this case it may be said that terrorism in Cyprus may prevent a proper investigation. Well, they have quoted from their own investigation already and so it seems to me that the Government have taken that argument away from themselves.
I want the Government to make the best investigation they can. It is open to the person in charge of the investigation to say, "I was not able to investigate this because of terrorism in the island"; but at least the Government should not hide behind that argument. An investigation should be made as soon as possible in order to clear our good name. Not one of my hon. Friends says that he believes these allegations: but they say these things are being said, they are being believed. In those circumstances I feel that the least the Government can do is to set up the best inquiry possible, in spite of all the obvious difficulties in the way of it, which we fully understand.
I submit that the gravamen of the charge made by us on this side of the Committee against the Government about Cyprus is that although they may have made little nibblings here and there, they have done nothing substantial to solve the problem of Cyprus, at any rate since the release of the Archbishop. I submit that it is not open to the Government, particularly to the Colonial Secretary, to come down to the House of Commons with a song in his heart, or even with a grin on his face, about Cyprus.
The right hon. Gentleman reminds me of the time when in a Committee room upstairs the Irish party was meeting because of the Parnell divorce. The meeting was being held in Committee Room 14 and Parnell was to meet his followers. It was the first time after the bombshell had dropped upon them all. After the meeting Tim Healey was asked, "What did the chief look like?" He replied, "Ah, the chief looked as though it was we who had committed the adultery." That is precisely what the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary looks like when he conies here. He looks as if we had created the mess in Cyprus, whereas he has been in charge all this time and things had been growing steadily worse.
Did the right hon. Gentleman not say a few years ago that terrorism was on the point of stopping, yet it went on and on? Then there was the temporary suspension of violence when the E.O.K.A. people said that it was only temporary and they were waiting to see what the Government would do about it, and the Government did practically nothing. So violence broke out again. Now we have another uneasy truce. We are anxious that this opportunity shall not be lost, and that something shall be done now to ensure that the parties are brought together. By parties I am thinking not only of Archbishop Makarios but of the Turkish Cypriots too.
In spite of the previous speech, I want to know why the Government are hanging on to Cyprus. We have heard the opinion of the hon. Gentleman. As far as I can see, he wants to buy oil with bombs. He wants to have a Cyprus base in order to bomb the countries of the Middle East into giving us oil. That is a lovely idea, I suppose, from the point of view of the century he represents—
I am always delighted to remind the hon. Gentleman of earlier centuries, but all I was trying to say—perhaps I did not make it clear—was that if we are to protect our sea lanes we must have places from which to protect them.
I apologise for interrupting, but I am anxious to follow the hon. Gentleman. In asking that question is he suggesting that if this matter were left to him he would cede Cyprus at once? Is he chastising the Government for hanging on to Cyprus? I do not understand the reason for the question.
I have asked a question and have been given no answer. I have been answered by another question, which I will myself answer. Of course not. No one from this side of the Committee has suggested, certainly no one from our Front Bench, that we would immediately cede Cyprus. I will come in a moment to what we would do with Cyprus. Indeed, that has already been stated in far better language than I could use.
There seems to be a suggestion coming from the Tory back benches that the object is to protect our sea lanes and to enable us to bomb people into giving us oil. I should like to know the Government's attitude towards that. Do they think we can bomb people into giving us oil? It would be interesting to hear their views. According to the hon. Member for Lanark, we must have a base to protect our sea lanes. There was a time when we could have had a base in the Mediterranean, in a staunch, friendly country—Israel. That would have prevented all this trouble coming to the Middle East and would have kept the peace there. However, the opportunity was thrown aside by the Government. We have had the Suez fiasco, and it is now somewhat doubtful whether Israel would regard us with favour as an ally.
I want the Government to say what interest we have in Cyprus which is not also a N.A.T.O. interest. Surely the Suez affair has shown that the Cyprus base is no good for protecting our oil or anything else. Let us hear from the Government what they hope to get by remaining in Cyprus. I submit there are no interests there which are purely British interests. There are N.A.T.O. interests. In the light of the castigation of international bodies and the evident glee shown on the Tory benches when someone suggested that N.A.T.O. or U.N. would be short-lived, I want to know what the Government think about the suggestions made from the Tory back benches.
Ought we not to hand over our interests to this extent, and say that we are not desirous of keeping the sovereignty over Cyprus unless N.A.T.O. wants us to? I should be prepared to do that. The Under-Secretary looks puzzled. What is the difficulty in N.A.T.O. giving an expression of view that it might be a good thing if we gave up the sovereignty and handed it over to an international body?
I do not think I am looking puzzled. I am sorry if my face gives that impression. Is the hon. and learned Gentleman suggesting that if N.A.T.O. said that it did not want us to continue our sovereignty we should give it up without being certain that what happened after that was something with which we could honour the obligations that we have to the people of Cyprus?
No one would ever say that we could be certain of anything in this world, but we could take steps to make it reasonably possible to achieve what we want to achieve in Cyprus, which is fairness for majorities and minorities. That could be achieved in a number of ways. My hon. Friend the Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker) suggested one way. Handing over control to N.A.T.O. is another way. There might be a condominium between us and Greece or between us, Greece and Turkey. These things should be the subject of talks, but we are not having any talks. I do not believe that this is such an intractable problem as some people make out. If the parties were approached together, all these possible solutions could be discussed.
I am not one to ignore the rights of the Turks in this matter. Also, I am not thinking only of the Turks in Cyprus. We cannot look at Cyprus on its own; it is part of the frontier between Islam and Christendom, and has been a cockpit for hundreds of years. We cannot look at one part and say that there shall be complete and absolute self-determination there. I have studied self-determination as well as I can, and I believe that the principle, rightly expressed, is that any people ought to have a right to self-determination provided that they can exercise that right without being an undue nuisance to their neighbours. If they cannot exercise that right without putting the whole area into a turmoil, that is a case where, in the interests of the peace of the world, self-determination should not be granted. I am not saying that that is so in this case, but it is the sort of question that one may have to discuss very seriously. I certainly would not say that the Turks in Turkey or the Cypriot Turks have no rights in the Cyprus question; they have every right to be consulted, just as the Government have consulted them in the past.
What I am really interested in is that there should be discussions. As the right hon. Member for Kelvingrove said, our name has been dragged through the mud. It is continuing to be dragged through the mud, and people will level accusations against us as long as it can be said with any plausibility that we exercise imperialistic rights in Cyprus to which we are no longer entitled. I am anxious that the Government should lose no opportunity now of getting the parties together before our name is further besmirched.
There was much in the speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mr. Patrick Maitland) which surely all of my hon. Friends, even if they do not go all the way with him, could well admire, but in his introductory remarks he made a point purely on a procedure matter of timing with which I must differ. He said he welcomed the debate now. It was with a feeling of depression that I heard there was to be another Cyprus debate. This was not because I feared that the Government would suffer in the debate. It was because experience shows that whenever hon. Members opposite—I am not denying their honesty of purpose—make speeches here which are taken in Greece to indicate that if and when the Labour Party returns to power there will be Enosis or self-determination of a sort leading to Enosis, it makes the Greeks more demanding and more recalcitrant than ever. It also makes the Turks, in their turn, even more recalcitrant and more difficult for our Government to deal with.
The problem of Cyprus is already difficult enough for many reasons arising out of geographical and historical causes, but those difficulties have been added to time after time by expressions of view by the Opposition which have encouraged the Greeks not to help to make a settlement during the lifetime of the present Administration.
I suppose the hon. Member is proceeding on the assumption that if he and his hon. Friends say something often enough it is bound to be true. If he had been present this afternoon he would have heard—he could also have heard it in previous debates; it was stated by my right hon. Friend the Member for Llanelly (Mr. J. Griffiths) as long ago as 1954, before this trouble broke out—what the policy of the Labour Party is. The hon. Gentleman ought to know it quite well by now. I ask him to desist from repeating this falsehood.
I decline to desist. I was about to say that almost the only exception was part of the hon. Member's speech today. I have been here since the beginning of the debate except for one short interval. I decline to withdraw a single word of what I have said, that it is widely believed among the Greeks—no hon. Member opposite can deny this—that their chances of obtaining Enosis or self-determination of a sort leading to Enosis will be improved on the return of a Socialist Government here.
It is exactly the proposition that I am making. I have spoken of self-determination of a sort leading to Enosis and obviously I do not think that would give the Turkish element an equal right of self-determination with the Greek element. It may be awkward for hon. Members opposite to accept this, but it is on record that it is widely believed in Greece and among Greek-Cypriot circles that the return to power of the party opposite will lead to an application of self-determination leading to Enosis much more quickly than the Greek-Cypriots can hope to obtain under the present administration.
I have already given way twice on this point. The hon. Member will have an opportunity to speak later. He speaks quite frequently. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) may not like what is being said—
In that case, I suggest that the hon. Member keeps quiet and permits me to continue my speech.
From start to finish this has been one of the problems which has bedevilled the prospects of any settlement of this situation. We have heard from the hon. Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson) that in 1947 there was already a report from the Chiefs of Staff to the effect that Cyprus was useless as a military base for our purposes. Why, in that case, did the party opposite four years later formally decline to consider any sort of negotiated settlement with Greece about Cyprus? We have been bitterly criticised for obduracy, but four years after that damning report the then Government, now Her Majesty's Opposition, were sending notes to Greece saying that in no circumstances whatever would they discuss a change of sovereignty for Cyprus and saying that Cyprus must remain under the British Crown. That attitude was maintained until hon. Members opposite went into opposition, since when they have hounded the Government for a rapid application of self-determination to Cyprus.
We have not yet been told what form this self-determination will take, and I hope that the Opposition will be specific about that. Can it be definitely asserted that Her Majesty's Opposition believe that when self-determination comes it will be on an over-all basis and not on a racial basis with equal opportunities for Turkish and Greek Cypriots? We are entitled to know the answer to that question.
Some hon. Members opposite have said that they are in favour of over-all self-determination, not permitting the Turkish minority to take steps which might lead to partition. They have said that in those circumstances the United Kingdom ought to give minority safeguard guarantees. I ask hon. Members opposite who advocate that what value safeguarding guarantees for the Turkish minority can be once we have abdicated our sovereignty and Enosis has taken place so that the island is part of Greece? Do they suggest that in the breach of such guarantees we should return by force to safeguard the Turkish minority? If not, what possible value would a British guarantee be when we were no longer in a position to enforce it.
I must confess that the more one considers the problem the more one appreciates that if ultimately there is self-determination leading to partition there is a grave danger of racial strife and a grave danger of a Greco-Turkish war. On the other hand, one appreciates that if one permits or encourages self-determination on an over-all basis, without giving opportunities for self-determination to the Turkish minority, one is also asking for a Greco-Turkish war.
I warn hon. Members opposite, with all the sincerity in my heart, that such a policy of overall self-determination would be unacceptable to Turkey, whatever guarantees might be offered by the Greek-Cypriot majority. That is not exaggerating the position. To advocate a policy which is absolutely unacceptable to one of the two other Powers concerned is to be totally unrealistic. In those circumstances, although partition may one day be the only one of these grim alternatives which will be acceptable, I still hope that, if passions are allowed to die down and if this matter does not increasingly become part of the cockpit of British politics, it may be possible to return to some sort of status quo with the acceptance of the new constitutional proposals.
Those proposals are not final and delimited. It is easy to criticise and not so easy to make constructive suggestions, but the Radcliffe proposals at least provide a basis. At the same time, I am sure that they will not satisfy either the Greeks or the Turks unless they include the ultimate safeguards which both countries desire. If those proposals are to be successful too, I feel we will have to go considerably further towards allaying nationalist fears by reverting to some earlier ideas, too soon dispelled, of dual citizenship and an executive council representing British Greek and Turkish interests.
In this way, it might be possible, if the two parties can be induced to appreciate where a continuation of the present struggle will lead, for British sovereignty to continue, with Turkish or Greek influence exercised where those interests are concerned. That seems to be one of the only possible solutions. Without such a solution, present circumstances are bound to lead sooner or later to internecine strife between the Turkish and Greek-Cypriots, whether or not there is partition. At the moment, I do not see any solution other than a continuation of the British position with greater Greek and Turkish representation at executive, and more local representation at lower political levels.
At the same time, even that proposal does not stand much chance of success if the Turks believe that in two, three or four years' time there may be a change of policy with self-determination permitted or encouraged on an over-all basis and leading to Enosis. With that idea and those considerations in mind, while Hey Majesty's Government will perforce have to continue with the present policy of British sovereignty over the island, they should make it unequivocally clear, not only in the House of Commons, but in a binding international obligation to the Turks, that if and when self-determination should become necessary and Britain has to abdicate responsibility, it will be on a basis which will provide the Turks with an opportunity for self-determination of their future equal to that being offered to the Greeks.
Of course it means how they will be governed, but at what point is it decided who decides who is to be governed by whom? Unfortunately, there are two racial and religious elements in the island—as in Ireland there are two religious elements—and that difficulty cannot be resolved merely by overall self-determination. It just is not applicable in the present circumstances to imagine that the Turkish minority or the Turkish Government are prepared to accept the idea of self-determination for the island as a whole leading to Enosis. Anybody who goes to Turkey and talks to Turks must realise that that is an absolutely plain fact and a reality with which we have to deal today.
We have heard a good deal about the needs of the Greeks, the Turks and the Cypriots. I reiterate that we should recall, especially at this time, what are our own British interests. It was rightly said by my hon. Friend the Member for Lanark (Mr. Patrick Maitland) that in thinking of a solution we should not entirely neglect to consider essentially British interests, military, strategic or economic; otherwise we shall have to abdicate our whole position as a leading Power—and that is not merely a jingoist term; it is because, we are a leading Power that we can maintain our trading communications across the world and maintain our standard of living. When considering the solution of the Cyprus problem, therefore, it is essential for hon. Members on both sides to dwell a little upon purely British interests.
I do not pretend to be a military strategist. I do not know what are our strategic needs in the Island. But I say that when the Government are clarifying our strategic interests and the way in which to safeguard them they should not put forward reasons on any other basis but the absolute truth of our strategic needs. They should not, for instance, be misguided by the argument which is so often heard, that because the Suez episode was in some respects a failure and that Cyprus was not successful then from a military standpoint, it is necessarily of no military use. It may well be that the preparations in regard to Suez were not such as to equip the Cyprus base for the purpose for which it was ultimately used. But do not let us think that because it was not successful before, it could not be successful in the future.
When I hear talk about moving our base to East Africa I become somewhat nervous. I was looking up my correspondence only this afternoon and I found that I wrote to the Ministers concerned four years ago, pleading the case for a base in East Africa and much less dependence upon Cyprus. I put forward what I thought to be an awful lot of convincing arguments why it would be better for us to centre our military interests in East Africa and to cut down in Cyprus and elsewhere. I received long and authoritative letters from Her Majesty's Ministers giving an awful lot of good reasons why it was utterly impossible to consider a base in East Africa, and why we must stick to Cyprus. If Her Majestys' Government go into reverse and take up what, in all humility, I may call the Bennett position of four years ago, I hope that they will give me some convincing reasons for doing so, otherwise I shall not know whether to believe what they said four years ago or what they are saying now.
In my few remarks I have deliberately tried not to make matters more difficult. I must ask hon. Members opposite to believe that if, even unwittingly, they give the impression in Athens, or to Archbishop Makarios, that somehow or other the Greek Cypriots and Greece will get a better deal under a Labour Government—[HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."]—at the expense of the Turkish minority and the Turkish Government, they will make it almost impossible for my right hon. Friend to carry on any sort of successful negotiation to settle this dispute. I should have thought that that was a matter which was above all party considerations, and that we were all determined to bring this sorry chapter to a happier conclusion as soon as possible.
I should like first to associate myself with the remarks which the Under-Secretary of State made, regretting the illness of Sir John Harding. Whatever may be our disagreements, we all appreciate that he has been doing a difficult job, under a very great strain, and we are sorry that now that he has come to London for important talks he has been taken ill. I did not feel that the Under-Secretary was quite justified in the implied reproof which he administered to the Opposition about the timing of the debate. It was hinted that had we postponed the debate a little longer the Government might have had something more to say.
I have been a member of the House for only just over three years, but I have tried to follow the Cyprus debates very closely. For one reason, there are in my constituency many Cypriots who have made their homes in London. I have been to Cyprus; it is a country which I know and love. I have therefore followed these debates very closely. Rereading them, time after time I find that the Opposition have been asked by the Government not to press them and not to hurry them, because something was just at a delicate point of negotiation, or something was just about to happen.
In fact, we have been thanked and congratulated by the Colonial Secretary for our attitude. Even I have been congratulated by the right hon. Gentleman for my moderation on one occasion in opening a debate in the House. I certainly do not think that the Government have any right to complain about the use we have made of our time today.
During the three years in which I have followed the debates in the House—three years during which the present Government have been in complete control of the situation—what has been happening in Cyprus? To begin with, 337 people have been killed and over 1,000 wounded, some of them maimed for life. I remember that when I first took part in the debates in this House there was no violence and no bloodshed in Cyprus. The Government could not say, "There must be law and order," or "We must deal with E.O.K.A. first before we can talk about the new constitution". At that time, the Cypriots were asking peaceably for their rights, as they saw them, and no progress was made. Now we have a tragically changed situation.
I was in Cyprus before the emergency began, and I have been there since. As one who has witnessed the dramatic tragedy of the change in the situation in that island, I cannot but feel deep grief and regret. It is absolutely useless now for hon. Members opposite to talk about the possibility of self-determination taking any other form than Enosis. Nothing has done more to increase the power of the Enosis movement in Cyprus than the policy of the present Conservative Government. Nothing has done more to make talk of dual citizenship absolutely unacceptable and impossible. I have seen an island which was populated by easy-going friendly, essentially pro-British people changed in this short time to an island where Britain has lost innumerable friendships, has lost respect, and where people have lost faith in our good intentions. I think that is a great tragedy.
We have spent a considerable time in Committee today trying to deal with some of the more dramatic charges which have been made concerning the atrocity allegations, and I shall not take up any time on that subject. I should, however, like to remind the Committee just a little of what this has meant to the ordinary people of Cyprus.
It is not merely a question of those cases which have been high-lighted in debate which demand our attention. We should remember the way in which the emergency has completely distorted the ordinary, everyday life of the people. One thousand of them are still in detention camps without trial. Let us not forget that these are not E.O.K.A. terrorists who have been caught and charged with offences. They are men and women who have not been brought to justice. What has happened to their families? When one talks to their wives and children one realises the sudden poverty into which they have been plunged by the fact that the breadwinners have been put behind barbed wire. Then there is not enough to eat, and all sorts of family problems arise. What effect does that have on the Cypriot attitude to Britain?
We have closed their schools. Fortunately now that policy has been dropped and all the schools are open. We have been responsible for the policy of judicial whipping of children. That brutality has now been stopped, but do not let us think that it has been forgotten; it will never be forgotten. The fact is that in the twentieth century we cannot, without an element of totalitarianism, hold down a country against the will of the people who live in it. We in this country do not like being associated with a totalitarian regime. Whatever inquiries are made into the allegations, we shall have to face the basic facts of the situation, which is that we are trying to govern a people against their will. These people have seen money spent like water on the emergency. They have seen £7,500,000 spent at a time when money is desperately needed in Cyprus t when their vineyards are parched for want of irrigation and the hills flattened by erosion; when there is a complete lack of higher education, so that most of the young men and women turn automatically to Athens because that is the place where they can get the higher education which they need and which so many of them desire.
There is one point to which I should like an answer regarding the allegations and the findings of the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the Council of Europe. Nothing is more serious in the whole of this sorry story than the bad relationship of this country with other member countries, both of the United Nations and the Council of Europe. It is a shameful thing that we, who stand for the most precious values of civilisation, should have to be arraigned by the Human Rights Sub-Committee of the Council of Europe because of our behaviour in Cyprus. That Committee has wound up its deliberations and has decided to ask the Government to allow it to send an investigation team to Cyprus. The Governor has refused, and the Colonial Secretary has supported that refusal, to allow a judicial inquiry such as has been asked for. We should know what reply the Government propose to send to the Council of Europe.
If we are saying to the Council of Europe that we will not accept its request, I cannot see what the Government are hoping for in this really tragic situation. Very soon after the emergency the Government sent a soldier to act as Governor. Later our hopes were raised because of their new endeavours—they sent a judge, and he came back. Now we must press the Government about their intentions for the future. In my submission it is absolutely unfair for the Colonial Secretary to suggest that it is impossible, or that Archbishop Makarios has made it impossible, for talks with him to take place. There is nobody else with whom we can talk. I have said before, and I repeat tonight, that I am the last person to want Archbishop Makarios to be the only person engaged in such talks. I have suggested—the suggestion has never been dealt with seriously by the Minister—that a team from Cyprus might be created in which the six mayors of the main towns, who are elected by the people, should be members. At the moment they happen to be three Communists and three Nationalists. They could form the nucleus of such a team.
It is easy to find difficulties. It is easy for the Colonial Secretary to say that Archbishop Makarios has laid down impossible conditions. Surely it is the job of statesmen so to deal with the difficulties that the parties are brought together. One cannot help but feel that if the will existed to get these talks going the talks would start. Why cannot the Arhcbishop and other Cypriots be invited to London without our laying down, or allowing them to lay down, in detail what should be the procedure? Surely the first thing is to get the people together and to get the talks going. The fact that there has been a complete failure to achieve this is the greatest of the indictments we must bring against the Government tonight.
I, with others of my hon. Friends, wonder what purpose was served by exiling the Archbishop. I know Cyprus fairly well, and so far as I can see the main thing achieved by exiling the Archbishop has been to give him an even bigger halo and to put him upon an even higher throne. He is, in fact, now in the strongest position that he has ever been in the whole of his archbishopric. There is now, because of the policy of the Government, nobody who stands the chance of competing with him in authority or prestige. The Archbishop has been greatly strengthened by the policy of the right hon. Gentleman, and must be regarded as acceptable as representative of the Cypriot people.
As far as the Turkish Cypriots are concerned, it is interesting to note that one hears much more about racial strife in this Committee than in Cyprus. I wish a little more were said in the House of Commons about the hundreds of years during which Turks and Greek Cypriots have rubbed along together. I have seen in Paphos a district commissioner, a Turk, working with an assistant commissioner, a Greek, and with a mixed staff, all doing a difficult job well. I have dined in the house of a Greek Cypriot with Turkish guests on one hand and Greek guests on the other. Less said here about strife between them would mean that the position in Cyprus would become much quieter.
Since the emergency and since the present Government have been in power there has been a deterioration of racial relationships inside Cyprus which is quite unnecessary, and is not borne out by historical experience. The Government have created some kind of Frankenstein about the Turks, and now do not know what to do about it. In the process of talks with the Archbishop and other Greek Cypriots provision must be made for consultations with Turkish Cypriots. We should also have to bring in consultation with the United Nations and ask its help in guaranteeing minority rights to the Turks. That must be done.
We have heard in the Committee today the suggestion that a constitution should be imposed upon Cyprus. Previously the right hon. Gentleman has suggested that no constitution should be imposed. I hope that tonight we shall maintain that position because it is one of the few points on which he is absolutely right. A constitution cannot be imposed upon a people. The Government must work out some kind of plan, according to the shape that the future must take.
The present Governor of Cyprus has had to carry out very difficult tasks and impossible policies. I hope that the Government will see that the time is now over-ripe for demilitarising the situation in Cyprus. We are in a situation which must be dealt with politically. I say, without any reflection on the personal achievements of Sir John Harding, that it is essential that a new kind of Governor be appointed. It will be fair, because the Governor previous to him was asked to leave so that a military Governor might be brought in to deal with the military situation. Now it should be possible for the Government to make a further change.
My time remaining to speak is very short. I hope that, although rights of reprieve are entirely a matter for the Governor, the Government will use their influence to see that no more executions are carried out in Cyprus under the emergency regulations. Nothing will be more embittering and dangerous to a long-term settlement than further executions. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will agree to the request of the Council of Europe for members of an inquiry to go to Cyprus in order that the good name of those concerned may be cleared, and that, if there are people who are at fault, they can be dealt with in a fair and open way. Thirdly, I hope that Archbishop Makarios's last letter, which was sent through Mr. Rossides, will be answered quickly and affirmatively and that talks will be started on this difficult subject. I do not believe that any harm has ever been done by talking. We are now in a situation where we cannot afford not to hold those talks.
We hold this debate as the Summer Recess approaches. Our object in asking for a debate on Cyprus at this time is once again to endeavour to press the Government to give some indication that they have a policy for Cyprus.
We last debated Cyprus on 19th February, when we in the Opposition pressed the Secretary of State to bring Archbishop Makarios back into negotiations. Violence was then in full swing and the growth of communal tension was increasing daily, and we pressed upon the right hon. Gentleman that these things could not be brought to an end as long as the Archbishop remained in detention in the Seychelles.
The right hon. Gentleman accepted our advice. We were delighted when he announced on 20th March that the leader of the E.O.K.A. organisation had said that operations of violence would be suspended if the Archbishop were brought back, and we were also delighted when the right hon. Gentleman said that a statement, which he did not accept as fully satisfactory from his point of view, had been issued by the Archbishop and that orders had been issued in consequence to bring him back from detention in the Seychelles. We thought that the right hon. Gentleman was quite right, and we welcomed his decision, when he informed us on the same occasion that the Government had accepted the offer of Lord Ismay to act for the purposes of conciliation on the international plain between the Governments of the United Kingdom, Turkey and Greece in regard to Cyprus.
In giving him that advice to bring back the Archbishop—advice which he at long last accepted—we did not mean to advise that, having brought the Archbishop back, he should do no more in the matter. That was not the object of our advice. We advised him to bring back the Archbishop in order that progress might be possible by means of conversations between the people of Cyprus in the person of the Archbishop, who was apparently the only person in a position to represent them, and the right hon. Gentleman and the Government of the United Kingdom. In welcoming the Government's decision to accept the good offices of Lord Ismay, we made it perfectly clear that this should not be treated as a substitution for direct conversations between Her Majesty's Government and the people of Cyprus about the future constitution of Cyprus.
From that day to this, literally no progress has been made. The situation when the Archbishop came back and when violence ceased—and there has been no recurrence—seemed to have been transformed in the course of a few days, and I think we all had hopes, certainly on this side of the Committee and, I believe, all over the country, that the occasion had arrived for some real progress towards a solution of this desperate problem in Cyprus—a solution which at long last could put an end to a situation of growing danger, growing tension and growing emergency.
That was in March. From that day to this, as I have said, there has been no violence, but the Government have sat back in a state of complete and absolute paralysis, without taking a single step forward along the march of progress. From the Opposition benches, week in and week out, we pressed the Government by Parliamentary Question addressed to the right hon. Gentleman and to the Under-Secretary of State, asking them what steps they were taking. Every Question was met by the usual stonewall Answer. Weeks went by and, naturally, the anxieties of hon. Members on this side grew, as we suspected that, once again, the right hon. Gentleman was going to muff an opportunity.
On 8th May, my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) put a Question to the right hon. Gentleman, asking him whether he was prepared to take steps to invite representatives of the Greek and Turkish Cypriots to this country with a view to engaging in round-table conversations in order to formulate some plan of future action. I think that I really ought to read, to cite from HANSARD, the Answer which the right hon. Gentleman gave. He obviously knows it. It probably burns into his conscience—I hope that it does.
This was some eight or nine weeks after the Archbishop had come back, and when nothing had happened at the end of that period what he said was this:
We are always ready to receive views on the Radcliffe constitutional proposals.
That did not carry the matter very much further. He went on to say:
If there are indications of a general desire on the part of representative Greek and
Turkish Cypriots to discuss them in a constructive spirit, we shall be in a better position to consider the timing of such an invitation.
Anything nearer to a truism it is difficult to conceive. Naturally, if the Greeks and Turks were clamouring to come here, the right hon. Gentleman would be in quite a good position to decide when he would issue an invitation. He went on to conclude this momentous Answer, following a supplementary from my hon. Friend, by saying:
There should be no doubt in anyone's mind that we are quite ready to receive any comments which anyone may care to make on the Radcliffe proposals."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th May, 1957; Vol. 569, c. 957–8.]
What a masterpiece!
I wish that he would adapt the precedent to the actual situation that he is considering. He was dealing with a situation where urgent action was required, and if he applied a precedent appropriate to other circumstances that is really very little excuse. If that really expresses his attitude of mind he really is beyond praying for. Really, that sort of language might represent the attitude of mind of a mid-Victorian debutante waiting to be invited to go to her first dance. It reads like Mrs. Gaskell. The right hon. Gentleman should remember that we are in 1957—not in 1857—grappling with a desperate problem; with a problem which, at any moment, might again break into flame.
We are entitled to expect something better from the right hon. Gentleman. His policy, his own administration has brought about the present situation. He is not entitled just to lie back and do nothing. He should go out and make the running. I would say to him: if he really insists on lying flat on his back and waiting till some friendly guiding hand comes to point the, solution to him, why, before we know where we are we shall be right back in a fresh campaign of violence and the whole thing will have broken out into flames once more.
What is the position in Cyprus today? There is a kind of uneasy calm. Still over a thousand people are detained behind barbed wire, no charge having been made against them, and the right hon. Gentleman, when pressed, says that he can give no kind of indication as to when they will come out. Some of the more stringent of the emergency regulations have been cancelled. But our troops are still there. I gather from The Times today that they are at long last engaged in taking down the barbed wire entanglements which surround the old Venetian city of Nicosia. Everybody is glad to know that.
The Times correspondent says:
The opinion of leading Greek Cypriots is that there is little prospect of a solution so long as there is military administration in the island and so long as the British Government refuses to meet Archbishop Makarios.
There is an uneasy calm, everybody is waiting, nothing is happening; and amongst the people who are waiting, the right hon. Gentleman and the Under-Secretary are waiting as well—Heaven knows for what.
Today the Under-Secretary made what I thought was a quite masterly speech, if I may be allowed to say so. He spent half an hour saying precisely nothing in the most eloquent terms. It was an achievement which all Ministers who are pledged to inaction may well envy. Having delivered himself of the arguments which he thought proper to deploy, he led to a momentous conclusion, which I think again it is fitting to repeat as marking the complete bankruptcy of the 'Government's policy. This was the weighty sentiment to which, at the end of his formidable address, the hon. Gentleman arrived. He put it in these words, if I got them down correctly, and I hope he will forgive me if I did not. I certainly got the sense of them. This is the present position after all these months of waiting in this tense situation: "The Government are again looking at the possibility of taking some further initiative."
Meanwhile, the Archbishop did take an initiative. On 28th May, the Archbishop addressed a letter to the Prime Minister asking for what he described as bilateral conversations. As my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East pointed out, unfortunately the Government misunderstood him and did not take the trouble to find out what he meant, and under the misapprehension so created, wrote back in the name of the Government on 30th May declining all further conversations.
Hon. Members on both sides of the Committee who are interested will find the terms of that communication from Her Majesty's Government set out in the issue of HANSARD of 3rd June of this year, and I would recommend them to read it. It is all in keeping with the attitude which has characterised the right hon. Gentleman and the Under-Secretary of State throughout the tragic series of events which we are discussing this evening. I do not think I can ever remember a more stuffy and unconstructive Departmental composition. As a piece of dialectic, no doubt, it is impeccable, but really the right hon. Gentleman should understand that in presentday circumstances, something more is required. So the days go by, the weeks go by, and nothing happens. The only thing that we read of as happening is that the Archbishop with the Prime Minister of Greece, sits down, so we read today, to compose a fresh appeal to the United Nations against Her Majesty's Government.
That is the reason we have thought it necessary to bring this matter again before the Committee. We thought that it would be quite wrong, a dereliction of duty on the part of the Opposition, to let three months go by without making at least one more endeavour at long last to extract from the Government some indication of some purpose, some plan, some way, which they had conceived of going further along the path of some kind of a solution—and all we got tonight from the Under-Secretary of State, as the exordium of his remarkable discourse, was a frank confession that he had nothing whatever to say. That, I suppose, in different, perhaps rather more robust, language will be repeated by the right hon. Gentleman when I sit down.
That is what I would say as the first part of my complaint against the Government. We have often in the past had occasion to reproach the right hon. Gentleman for what we thought were violent and wrong-headed decisions, such as the deportation of the Archbishop, but it really is, I think, the first time that we have had to complain against him that he has, as it were, retreated into an ice box and frozen himself up. I hope that he will unfreeze himself, because if he does not, the heat of the situation, I can assure him, which is rapidly being generated every day, will pretty soon unfreeze him.
The second thing I would say is what my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East said before me, that I greatly hope that the right hon. Gentleman will put partition right out of his mind as being entirely impracticable, and a resort which, if the Government do use it, is bound to spell unhappiness, discord and friction for years to come. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will take a realistic view of this matter. We have the impression that he has a kind of genius for letting a situation slide from one difficulty to another. First, it was the continuance of violence. Now violence has come to an end. Then he erects a kind of bogy, as we think—this bogy of partition.
This people has lived for centuries in amity in Cyprus. No doubt the policy of the Government has given rise to intercommunal tension on a very serious scale; but to think it is practicable to take these people, who live in houses next door to one another, side by side in the villages and in the towns, who exchange hospitality and intermarry among themselves, to take them and by some transfer of population on a large scale, separate them into different communities, is really a proposal which is quite unthinkable and cannot possibly lead to any long-term solution of the problem of Cyprus. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will put it entirely out of his mind. It is utterly unrealistic.
It is something which the Government have thought up only in the last few months. When they first approached this problem I do not think they had the question of partition in their minds at all. I would ask the right hon. Gentleman, when he saw Archbishop Makarios, as he announced, on 5th March last year, and at long last, having gone back on the Government's previous attitude, agreed with Archbishop Makarios that self-determination was a thing which was not out of the question, although it was not at the time practicable, when he said that to Archbishop Makarios and when the Archbishop raised the question about the amnesty and the constitution and the Greek majority and so on, did the right hon. Gentleman—I would ask him to answer this question frankly when he replies to the debate: it would at least give him something to say—then have in his mind self-determination in the form of partition?
I do not believe for a moment that he did. What I believe happened was that at a later stage, when he discussed matters with the Turkish representatives, it entered into his mind for the first time that that was the kind of difficulty to be used, which he now uses again, as an excuse for failing to make further progress by the path of discussion with the Archbishop and representatives of Greek and Turkish Cypriots. I think that it is an excuse, and that he has erected it as a sort of bogy to justify himself in sitting back once more and letting the weeks go by. If that is really the right hon. Gentleman's attitude of mind, he is making a very serious mistake. This situation is far too tragic to allow of mistakes of that sort.
Hon. Members ask what we think of partition as part of self-determination. Let us look at the position of the population of this island. I understand that there are 2 per cent. of Maronites and Armenians. If there is to be self-determination, are they also to have partition of their 2 per cent. of the population? The whole thing in unthinkable. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will really take a strong line with the Turkish Government, if necessary, and put this thing entirely out of his mind. I hope that he will leave that obstacle out of his mind and realise that the time has come to go forward.
I am trying to ascertain the policy of the Government on this matter, but I will answer the hon. Gentleman. One must look at this in sensible, concrete, practical terms. We on this side of the Committee have said that it is our policy, and we repeat it, that there should be a period of self-government. During that period, political parties will grow, governmental institutions will develop, Cypriot Ministers will assume responsibility and gain experience of government. At the end of that period it is quite unthinkable that, if they have the interests of Greek and Turkish Cypriots at heart, they will ever think for a moment in terms of trying to split the country up into divided loyalties and broken friendships and divided lives, for that is what it would mean. I do not think that it is a practical proposition at all. I repeat what my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, South-East said to the Minister and appeal to the right hon. Gentleman to put the nonsensical idea of this solution of the problem entirely out of his mind.
I pass from that to the other topic which has been discussed a good deal in the debate. I want to reinforce the plea made to the right hon. Gentleman that there should be some sort of independent inquiry into the allegations of brutality that have been made. If they were simply allegations made by Archbishop Makarios I would agree at once that they were suspect. I do not associate myself, nor do any of my hon. Friends for one moment with the allegations that have been made. The point that we make from this side of the Committee is that they having been made and having gained currency, and having come from people of some considerable authority in the island—I refer, for example, to the former Attorney-General and Chairman of the Bar Council of the Cyprus Bar—and the allegations having spread round the world, it is only a matter of fairness to those against whom these allegations have been made to have their reputations cleared by an outside inquiry.
I accept at once that Sir John Harding detests anything of the sort. He is a brave and honourable soldier to whom that kind of thing would be anathema, but if an inquiry is made inside the military organisation which he commands, and not in public, that does not go far enough to reassure the public mind and the public conscience in this country and in Cyprus and in other countries that these allegations are wholly untrue.
There may be black sheep amongst the security forces—it would look as if there are. My hon. Friend the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee) described what she saw as markings upon a prisoner in Wormwood Scrubs today. She does not identify herself with the allegations. All that she comes here to say, and quite rightly says, because it is her duty to say it as a responsible Member of Parliament, is that there is something to investigate. For the right hon. Gentleman, with an airy wave of his hand, to say that this is all part of a campaign of vilification of British troops is, and he knows it is, wide of the mark and a wholly unjustifiable attitude from a Member of the present Cabinet.
I would press the right hon. Gentleman, as a matter of fairness to the British troops and to the British police—whom I am certain would have nothing to do with that kind of thing—to scotch these allegations, if they are wholly unfounded, by an inquiry in which the outside public will have confidence. There is the case of the inquest to which my hon. Friend referred today. As I understood him, the right hon. Gentleman himself said that one of the prisoners to whom my hon. Friend the Member for Cannock referred had got on his wrist a mark which might have been caused by a rope. If there was a mark of that kind, is not that a matter which should give some disquiet to the right hon. Gentleman, responsible for the administration of his Department?
I ask him, therefore, to think again on this question, and to see whether, as a matter of justice to people who have been impugned, some step should not be taken to subject these allegations to a form of inquiry which would carry general confidence, in order to weed out those few black sheep, if there are black sheep, who have done the kind of Black-and-Tan misdeed which we all dislike, and put an end to the controversy by facing the matter as he ought to face it.
In a leader today the Manchester Guardian said—may I have the attention of the right hon. Gentleman? I want him to understand why we are asking for this debate—that the Opposition had badly timed this debate. The reason the Manchester Guardian gave was that the writer of the article feared that we might be met with what the writer termed the "right hon. Gentleman's elegant evasions". I do not wish to be associated in any way with the choice of the adjective, but I appeal to the right hon. Gentleman not to face the Opposition too bleakly with the noun.
The House is going up in the course of a few days. We will not have the opportunity of voicing our opinion for some three months from today. I do not for a moment go so far as to accuse the right hon. Gentleman of waiting for the gong, but suppose circumstances should conspire against him so that it was impossible for him to make any statement as to Government policy until after the Recess started? Our position would be that we would be unable to criticise it, unable to oppose it, and we might find ourselves back in the autumn in a situation in which violence had broken out again, in which the whole position had deteriorated, in which any hope of contact by negotiation was broken, in which we were back again in the time when the Archbishop was deported.
That is why we feel that it is our duty in the Opposition to exercise the only right we have as Members of Parliament and, as I have said, once again to press the Government to know what they are going to do.
On the admission of the Under-Secretary, the right hon. Gentleman is waiting. On the admission of the Under-Secretary, practically, he has taken no steps, and certainly no step other than that to which I have referred today. I gather that the Government are prepared to consider whether an initiative should be taken at some time. What is the right hon. Gentleman waiting for? How long is he going to wait? He is not talking to the Archbishop. He has sent the Archbishop an uncongenial and uninviting reply, and since then nothing has taken place between them. How long will this go on? Will it be for weeks, or months, or years? If the right hon. Gentleman allows it to go on, does he not realise that the consequence will be that once again the situation will slide back into the chaotic anarchy which marked the period of the full swing of violence of E.O.K.A.?
I gather that there are already rumours that E.O.K.A. may be regrouping, that there have been some threats of a recurrence of violence. It would be a tragedy of the first order if the right hon. Gentleman, hypnotised by some considerations—whether or not divisions in his own party, I do not know; considerations about which we should like to know if he would only tell us about them—into frigid inaction, let slip the opportunity now created at long last by his act of repentance in bringing the Archbishop back and allowed the whole situation once again to decay.
It is for that reason that I beg the right hon. Gentleman to give us at least some kind of assurance that he has some plan in his mind to put an end to this waiting period. It was for that reason that we asked for the debate. I very much hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be able to give us at least some measure of satisfaction in response to our inquiries and thus allay our anxieties.
I am very grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Newport (Sir F. Soskice) for having sat down at precisely the time at which he had undertaken to do so. For the benefit of those right hon. and hon. Members who were not in the Chamber throughout the whole of the right hon. and learned Gentleman's speech, I would say that it was full of very colourful references to myself, and at the end the very lively pen-picture that emerged was of a Victorian debutante lying on her back in an icebox, a feat of which our grandmothers may have been capable but which would slightly puzzle some of their descendants.
The right hon. and learned Gentleman and the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East (Mr. Callaghan) spoke of what they termed my "elegant evasions", though the right hon. and learned Gentleman was less generous than his hon. Friend and moved to omit the word "elegant". I would remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman and the hon. Gentleman that the Manchester Guardian, from whose columns they said the phrase was extracted, said this morning:
If the Government really means to make an effort and to cut through the Cyprus tangle, we need not begrudge it today some of Mr. Lennox-Boyd's elegant evasions.
Her Majesty's Government are doing something to cut through the Cyprus tangle, but, as I have warned a number of people privately, and as the Under-Secretary has already warned the House publicly, today is inevitably one of the days for elegant evasion.
I cannot allow it to pass unanswered that in recent months we have not taken very considerable initiatives. Here, after all, we are dealing with the destinies of great nations, and we must allow for these matters to be seriously pondered in at least three capitals. It is out of the question for hasty conclusions to be arrived at; there must be the most mature consideration.
It was on 19th December, 1956, that we took the first of the more recent acts of initiative. On that day, on behalf of the British Government, I announced our acceptance of the proposed constitutional scheme drawn up by Lord Radcliffe. Incidentally, two or three days before that I had taken for a Colonial Secretary the unusual initiative—and I am grateful to my colleagues for allowing me to do so—of going to Turkey and Greece as Colonial Secretary in order to try to avoid any possibly over-hasty adverse comments about the Radcliffe Report being made in either country which might lead to the premature adopting of positions which both Governments might later have cause to regret—a considerable initiative
On 28th March, three months later, I announced that the British Government were prepared to accept the good offices of the Secretary-General of N.A.T.O. in international matters, and I also announced that we were proposing to release Archbishop Makarios forthwith—two very considerable acts of initiative on the international plane. I have no doubt whatever—and a very careful reading of my own correspondence, of newspapers and of the debate in another place on 11th April shows that this view is very widely held, often among people who were previously critical of Her Majesty's Government—that we have taken very considerable initiative and that it is now up to Archbishop Makarios, and others, to show some initiative themselves.
That is not to even things out, as if one initiative here must be followed by some initiative elsewhere, but to demonstrate as far as possible the good intentions of all with whom we have to engage in this matter and to justify us in thinking that a further move on our part could lead to profitable results. As we know, far from taking any such initiative, Archbishop Makarios has concentrated nearly his whole endeavour on inventing and then disseminating charges against the honour of British troops.
Of course, we are having discussions with Sir John Harding which have been unfortunately interrupted by his illness. Those discussions are designed to help us in an effort to find a further way of getting through the Cyprus tangle. I am glad that a number of tributes have been paid personally to Sir John Harding, both as a soldier and as Governor of Cyprus. On behalf of the British Government, I want to say that we value him as much as an administrator as in previous years we have valued him as a soldier. His wise, generous and tolerant handling of this extremely difficult problem is something which, I know, he will be prepared to leave to the judgment of history.
I have often heard Sir Ronald Storrs, a previous Governor, whom hon. Members like ourselves will know well, frequently described in the most flattering terms by many hon. Members. He was, of course, a well known philhellene and showed his devotion to Greece and to Greek ideals for many years. If anyone reads his masterly book, Orientations, he will see some of the remarks about him in 1931 when there were riots in Cyprus, and made about him in the Athenian Press:
A petty satrap, now Governor only in name, his hands dripping with innocent blood, dared no longer show his face outside the walls of his horse.
I think that Sir John Harding can take it himself. He knows of the trust of the Government and of the people of Great Britain and also knows, whenever they are able freely to express their opinions, of the affections, particularly in the countryside of Cyprus, of the humble people of Cyprus itself.
As I said earlier, I shall not be able today to add very much, if anything, to the statements about policy which I made previously on behalf of the Government in December and at the end of March. However, I entirely agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Mr. Walter Elliot) who said in his memorable speech that it is to the big and fundamental issues that we ought to address our minds.
One of the interesting things that has emerged from this debate is the resentment of Opposition speakers when they have been probed upon the question of exactly where they stand on this big issue of self-determination. They asked for the debate, and we are entitled to know where they stand. We are left with no knowledge at all, but with strong suspicions upon the question whether they themselves, if returned to office, would in fact put into operation, without any qualifications, a form of self-determination which was likely to lead to Enosis.
Throughout their speeches today, with one or two exceptions, it has been shown what remarkably little knowledge they have of the real feelings of the Turkish people and the things which cause them anxiety. Even the right hon. and learned Member for Newport spoke about the protection of minorities, and appeared to think that the only, or the main, consideration of the Turkish people and Government was anxiety for their minorities. Of course they are concerned about their minorities, but far and away more important to them is the proximity of Cyprus to the mainland of Turkey.
Hon. Members opposite, as is also the case with many people outside this country, show a singular inability to understand that it is not the problems of minorities but the historical, geo-political and strategic arguments concerning Cyprus—which the Turks regard as part of Anatolia—which really operate in the minds of the Turkish Government and people, and these great anxieties cannot be dismissed. Every time hon. Members opposite make the kind of speeches that some of them have made today they increase the pressure for partition as being the only safe policy to support, in the eyes of many Turks, and that increase of pressure brings with it a demand to advance the date upon which partition could be brought about.
This is true also of the other disparaging observations which hon. Members opposite let off from time to time—when they are slightly off their guard—about our Turkish allies. The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East referred to blackmail by the Turks. Even on the question of policemen the hon. Member for Cannock (Miss Lee), although presumably not intending to do so, used words which could later be used to suggest that Turkish policemen might be more likely to commit acts of cruelty than other people.
It is this sort of approach to these problems which is increasing the desire of the Turks to bring things to a head by what they regard as a policy which could be brought into operation fairly quickly and which, once having happened, would prevent a future Socialist Government in Great Britain from undoing it. I earnestly beg hon. Members opposite to remember that all the time. We find it particularly galling when we think that in all probability, if hon. Members opposite were returned to power, in practice their policy would differ very little from the present policy of Her Majesty's Government. I am quite prepared to await the judgment of history in that respect, although no doubt by the time they are in a position to try I shall be beyond the age when I shall really care.
The hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East said that we must not allow the Turks or anyone else to prevent the Cypriots from exercising their natural right to self-Government, and to decide their own future. There is no question of Her Majesty's Government allowing anyone to put a veto upon what we consider to be right. This applies to all Governments, allied and others. This is precisely why Her Majesty's Government cannot enter into bilateral conversations with Archbishop Makarios in the way that he demands. It is the Archbishop who is putting a veto upon the right of Turkish Cypriots to be fully consulted.
Hon. Members opposite will no doubt remember that when there was a Socialist Government in 1947 and 1948 and they proposed self-government for Cyprus it was then vetoed by the factions controlled by the Ethnarchy. Up to now that has been our experience also, and it would be their experience again if they had a chance once more to be the Government of this country. If it were not for the Archbishop and his supporters there would have been self-government in Cyprus long ago.
If the Turks have fears, are these fears not fostered by the Archbishop's attempt to prevent their having a full say in their own future, not only as people who are an important minority but as people whose motherland is only forty miles away, while the mainland of Greece is many hundred of miles away from Cyprus?
The hon. Gentleman the Member for St. Pancras, North (Mr. K. Robinson) said that we were in default of the United Nations Resolution. I do not know whether he has been able to get a preview of the terms of the appeal of the Greek Government to U.N.O. I have myself not yet seen the authoritative text, but I understand that it may refer, first, to self-determination. This is purely conjecture, because I have not yet seen the proper text. If it does refer to self-determination, I hope that the Committee will remember that the issue on self-determination was not debated at U.N.O. in 1954–55 and a Motion in 1955 was not accepted.
I believe that the application to U.N.O. may charge Her Majesty's Government, as did the hon. Gentleman, with not carrying out last year's U.N.O. Resolution asking the parties to the dispute to resume negotiations. As pointed out here today and in the Press this morning, Her Majesty's Government are certainly not to blame that there have not been negotiations about this. I said on 28th March on behalf of Her Majesty's Government that we were prepared in principle that the good offices of N.A.T.O. should be used for mediation. The Turks also agreed and it is only the failure of the Greeks to give their acceptance that accounts for the fact that these talks have not already taken place.
Resumption in that context certainly did not mean precisely the same form of negotiation as has taken place before. It meant the resumption of talks with those people most likely to bring about a solution. It was, in our view, mostly likely that a solution on the international plane would come through the good offices of N.A.T.O., and it was because of that that we and the Turks promptly accepted that suggestion.
I believe, secondly, that it may be that the appeal to U.N.O. may refer to certain charges of atrocities which have been made by the Greek Government and by Archbishop Makarios. During the Assembly last year, the Greek Government cabled a list of accusations against British troops in Cyprus, but this list was not published. Our representative asked that either the list be published or that it be withdrawn. It was, in fact, withdrawn. I hope that hon. Gentlemen will remember that when they hear stories about present atrocities.
I have already referred to Sir Ronald Storrs, and I think that it would not be inappropriate to refer to him again. After the riots in 1931 when he was Governor of Cyprus he wrote later as follows:
It was allowed that the insurrection had been put down with a minimum expenditure of time, of force, of money and, above all, of human life. This did not prevent a tempest of denunciation of the brutal savagery of British troops and Cypriot police from breaking out in the Athenian, Greek Alexandrian and Salonika Press. The Balkans and the Levant are past masters in the craft of manufacturing atrocities and of smuggling them through any censorship or customs control. The editors accepted uncritically, augmented and published every fabrication they received …The measure of the virulence of these attacks was the measure of their defeat.
I venture to think that the same fate will befall this new form of campaign against the honour of our troops and security forces.
There are two allegations of charges at the moment with which I have to deal. They are the charges made by Archbishop Makarios at his Press conference, and by certain hon. Members in the Committee today. I promised that a statement would be laid in the Library as soon as it was ready but rather than wait until the full statement was ready—it will take a long time because some of the troops have left the island and many of the descriptions are so vague that the men may be indistinguishable—rather than wait until everything is ready, we have put the first statement in the Library today, as we arranged to do before we knew that there would be a debate today.
In the statement which has been laid in the Library I give certain answers and the Government of Cyprus give certain answers to the charges which have been made. I have been asked whether I would agree and whether the British Government and the Government of Cyprus would agree to there being a public inquiry in Cyprus into these charges. For reasons I have at length explained to the Committee already, it would be out of the question for there to be an inquiry of any kind involving the summoning of witnesses whose lives would be in danger if they were brought and gave evidence. I can only refer hon. Members to the White Paper of the Cyprus Government on this issue.
In the report I placed in the Library today I deal with two cases, one of which has already been mentioned, the case of Nicos Georghiou which was raised by the hon. Member for Cardiff, South-East. He was captured in January, 1957, and was placed in a cell of his own at Platres within about forty minutes after his capture. At about 2.30 p.m. on 23rd January, two days later, the guard noticed that he appeared to be unwell. He was taken to the R.A.F. hospital at Akrotiri and a brain operation was carried out, but unfortunately without success. Commenting on this case Makarios said that the autopsy showed that
the only possible explanation of the cause of cerebral hæmorrhage under the circumstances is serious injuries inflicted on the head. The necessary implication is that the death is the results of tortures.…
A more misleading statement cannot be imagined. There was also strictures for there being delay in the holding of the inquest. The only reason for the delay in completing the inquest—which was commented on in Tribune articles—was the request of Mr. Glafcos Clerides, a lawyer of Nicosia, for an adjournment to give him the opportunity to call additional evidence. The inquest was completed at the end of last week, the coroner giving the cause of death as
probably intercranial hæmorrhage and purulent bronchitis occasioned by some unknown external agency of which there is no direct evidence.
How this could possibly be, as the Archbishop said, an implication that it was the result of torture I am at a loss to know. It may perhaps have been caused, asTribune itself said, by "bumping the head against a hard object." I do not pretend to know how this happened—
I quite follow that, but the Secretary of State has referred to what the Archbishop said. We are dealing with what has been said in this House and the essential point is that the injury, according to an Englishman called as a witness at the inquest, must have been caused by external agency and a verdict brought in was that it was occasioned by some unknown external agency I am asking the Colonial Secretary if in fact this man was held in his own cell, so far as we know without anybody being able to get at him except warders and others, does not the right hon. Gentleman feel that there is a case here for probing further into the external agency which caused his death?
—and other people believe, and other sweeping conclusions to which hon. Gentlemen may come.
Another very important case to which I thought it necessary to draw the attention of the Committee is recorded in the report which has been put in the Library. This is the series of sensational charges made by the Archbishop about what he said was the torture of the Abbot of Makheras Monastery. I will not give the various statements of the Archbishop. The facts are, as the report will show, that a complaint on those lines, though less extravagant, was forwarded by Mr. Clerides three weeks after the alleged ill-treatment took place. Up to that time the Abbot had made no mention of any ill-treatment although he had had ample opportunity to do so. On the day he saw Mr. Clerides the Abbot had seen a senior Army officer and made no complaint whatever.
As soon as the complaint was received from Mr. Clerides the Abbot was interviewed by a senior police officer and said he had not asked Mr. Clerides to visit him and that before Mr. Clerides' visit he had no intention whatsoever of making any complaints. But when, however, it became known in Nicosia that he had been interrogated by the security forces, the Church had sent Mr. Clerides to see him; that the Church was very powerful and that he had to find some excuse for admissions he had made to the police regarding his association with the terrorists. There seems to be very little doubt that this unfortunate Abbot was driven into making statements with the truth of which he did not agree. I have hitherto refrained from saying who he was but, for obvious reasons, in view of the publicity given to what is said in this House, I have no option but to mention his name and the name of Mr. Clerides as well. There was no reference in the Governor's White Paper to the name of the Abbot, but I have no option but to mention it now.
In regard to Wormwood Scrubs, a number of charges have been made. I propose to circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT two very convincing letters that the Governor has received from Dr. Brown, chief medical officer, and Dr. Aspinall, the other medical officer of Wormwood Scrubs. I wish that time allowed me to read these long letters—one is long and the other is relatively short—but I will have these letters put into the OFFCIAL REPORT. I am at all times ready to be cross-examined on them. I have the utmost confidence in the integrity and powers of observation of these two devoted officers, and I accept implicitly the statements that they make in their letters to the Governor.
The hon. and learned Member for Brigg (Mr. E. L. Mallalieu) knows the rule very well. It is that if another hon. Member gives way the interruption is orderly, but if the other hon. Member does not give way the interruption is not orderly. It is not permissible for two hon. Members to be standing at the same time. The Secretary of State.
I hope that no hon. Gentleman is anxious, and that no intervention will have an effect, to prevent me from dealing with the cases raised by the hon. Lady the Member for Cannock (Miss Lee). She raised only two cases, one of the man Renos Kyriakides and the other of Nicolas Loizou in Wormwood Scrubs. After we had had an interchange in the case of Renos Kyriakides, the hon. Lady sent me a letter saying that she was in error in saying that the man she saw today was Renos Kyriakides. He was, in fact, Athanasios Sofocleous. I am grateful to the hon. Lady for so promptly correcting a mistake. I am sure she realises that where grave charges of this kind are being floated about we should be strictly accurate in every detail.
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he would be good enough to follow the example which I have set him by correcting at once the error in his statement that there was no sign of injury on these men.
I am about to deal with everything I have said, if time allows. The hon. Lady has suggested that we should deal with the two cases of Athanasios Sofocleous and Nicolas Loizou. We will drop for the time being the case of Renos Kyriakides. In the case of Nicolas Loizou, no scars were seen on reception by the doctors nor did he complain to the medical authorities. Today, this morning, he showed a mark on his left wrist which he said had been caused by a tight rope. Hon. Members will remember that he had been many months at Wormwood Scrubs. Dr. Brown notes that the mark is not very evident and says that he might easily have missed it if the prisoner had not mentioned it. The prisoner did not complain of it until sonic months after arrival; the implication is that the mark is slight and could have been caused by a wide variety of accidents.
I turn to the case of Sofocleous, which I think is the case to which the hon. Lady was referring this afternoon. He exhibited a sore over an eye and some small sore on his back. He said that his nose had been broken. The only things found during examination on his reception to the prison were trivial scars on the left knee end left back, and doctors confirm that this is so. I am conscious that the hon. Lady and her colleagues will wish to probe these cases further, and they will now have a chance to try to do so at Question Time, but I am fully satisfied that these are the true facts about the only two cases which she mentioned.
I urged the hon. Lady to give me more detailed information about prisoners whom she herself had seen. I wanted to know from her, for example, who were the people to whom her name was attached by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway)—for instance, the man whose arms had been broken, as the hon. Member said last week. Who were they? There was no reference to them today. There was someone with swellings on his body the size of a cricket ball. Who was he? There was no reference to him today. There was somebody with scars on his neck. There was no reference to him today.
The hon. Lady had all the time in the world. I was conscious that I prolonged her speech a good deal by asking her questions, but I did so in order to get her away from the general and down to the particular. I am so very conscious of this fact—I have had much experience of it in dealing with hon. Ladies in the House over Cyprus—that nothing pleases certain hon. Ladies opposite more than to engage in general charges and to run away when they are asked to specify the individual.
Today, fortunately, we have also had the benefit of a visit paid by another hon. Member to Wormwood Scrubs this morning—the visit by my hon. Friend the Member for Windsor (Sir C. Mott-Radclyffe); and we have had the benefit of hearing his observations. He accompanied the two other hon. Members to Wormwood Scrubs, and we were all very much interested in and enlightened by my hon. Friend's speech. I venture to think that it is not the first time in Parliamentary history that the addition of a third member to a party of two has helped to clarify vital issues.
I was also asked a very serious question about the Council of Europe, and because of the importance of the Council of Europe I think it is highly desirable that I should make a statement now. An hon. Member said that it was shameful that we should be arraigned before the Sub-Committee on Human Rights. Perhaps somebody will read that tomorrow and believe that it is a true statement of the facts. There would be no shame in this, because we regard it as a signal witness to our liberal views that we voluntarily extended the European Convention on Human Rights to Cyprus. There was no obligation upon us to do this. We did it because we are proud and confident of our administration in Cyprus and elsewhere. The shame falls upon those who have circulated false reports of the proceedings at Strasbourg. Many hon. Members will no doubt have seen reports in the Press which have emanated from Athens. I am glad to say that they are misleading in the extreme.
I regret that I cannot go further at present, but the House will understand me when I say that Her Majesty's Government respect their obligations to maintain the secrecy of the proceedings of the Sub-Committee, whatever others may do. It is unfortunate that this confidence should not only have been violated but that the violation should be inaccurate. I hope that hon. Members will think again before they adopt loosely charges from such a source.
I am conscious that there are a number of points with which I should have liked to have dealt, but time does not allow, and I think that hon. Members would have objected if I had asked for more than 35 or 40 minutes in which to conclude the debate. Cyprus is too im-
portant a matter to be made a party issue, and I am conscious that a number of hon. Members opposite agree with me. When we quote what they said when in power, and when they quote us, it is not to engage in recrimination, but because we genuinely believe—and I certainly do —that a Socialist Government would act more or less in the same way again if confronted with the same problem.
I hope that this debate when read carefully by those who see the meaning of what is said and of what is not said by a number of hon. Members opposite will lead to some curbing of the Greek and Greek Cypriot intransigents who at the moment are suffering under the mistaken belief that the Opposition if returned to power will adopt a policy more favourable to them. I do not believe this to be so, and I think that if that is firmly realised the chances of a solution become quite possible.
I am grateful to those hon. Members who have told me that they will be satisfied if I deal personally with the suggestions they have made, but I am very ready in the days that lie ahead of us before the House rises and on two Question days a week to deal with further questions that may be raised. I would ask hon. Members who would prefer to have all the information before they make up their minds to await the publication, which will be laid in the Library, of the answers to all these charges before doing so, and to ask whether the sort of charges now emanating from Athens are the sort of things likely to be done by their constituents or by ours.
|Division No. 163.]||AYES||[9.57 p.m.|
|Ainsley, J. W.||Benson, G.||Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth|
|Albu, A. H.||Beswick, Frank||Brockway, A. F.|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)||Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)|
|Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)||Blackburn, F.||Brown, Thomas (Ince)|
|Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)||Blenkinsop, A.||Burke, W. A.|
|Awbery, S. S.||Blyton, W. R.||Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)|
|Bacon, Miss Alice||Boardman, H.||Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)|
|Baird, J.||Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. C.||Callaghan, L. J.|
|Balfour, A.||Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S. W.)||Carmichael, J.|
|Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.||Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan)||Castle, Mrs. B. A.|
|Bence, C. H. (Dunbartonshire, E.)||Bowles, F. G.||Champion, A. J.|
|Benn, Hn. Wedgwood (Bristol, S.E.)||Boyd, T. C.||Chapman, W. D.|
|Chetwynd, G. R.||Jager, George (Goole)||Reid, William|
|Clunie, J.||Jeger, Mrs. Lena (Holbn & St. Pncs. S.)||Rhodes, H.|
|Coldrick, W.||Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)||Robens, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead)||Johnson, James (Rugby)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury)||Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, David (The Hartlepools)||Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Cove, W. G.||Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones, Jack (Rotherham)||Ross, William|
|Cronin, J. D.||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Royle, C.|
|Crossman, R. H. S.||Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)||Shawoross, Rt. Hon. Sir Hartley|
|Cullen, Mrs. A.||Kenyon, C.||Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.||Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.||Short, E. w.|
|Darling, George (Hillsborough)||King, Dr. H. M.||Shurmer, P. L. E.|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Clement (Montgomery)||Lawson, G. M.||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)||Ledger, R. J.||Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lee, Frederick (Newton)||Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)|
|Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)||Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)||Skeffington, A, M.|
|Deer, G.||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.)|
|de Freitas, Geoffrey||Lewis, Arthur||Slater, J. (Sedgefield)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Lindgren, G. S.||Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)|
|Dodds, N. N.||Lipton, Marcus||Snow, J. W.|
|Donnelly, D. L.||Logan, D. G.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank|
|Dye, S.||MacColl, J. E.||Sparks, J, A.|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||MacDermot, Niall||Steele, T.|
|Edelman, M.||McInnes, J.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)||McKay, John (Wallsend)||Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R. (Ipswich)|
|Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)||Mahon, Simon||Stonehouse, John|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Stones, W. (Consett)|
|Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)||Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S. W.)||Mann, Mrs. Jean||Stress, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)|
|Fernyhough, E.||Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.||Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.|
|Fienburgh, W.||Mason, Roy||Swingler, S. T.|
|Finch, H. J.||May hew, C. P.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Fletcher, Eric||Mellish, R. J.||Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)|
|Forman, J. C.||Messer, Sir F.||Taylor, John (West Lothian)|
|Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)||Mikardo, Ian||Thomas, George (Cardiff)|
|Galtskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.||Mitchison, G. R.||Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)|
|George, Lady Megan Lloyd (Car'then)||Monslow, W.||Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)|
|Gibson, C. W.||Moody, A. S.||Thornton, E.|
|Gooch, E. G.||Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)||Timmons, J.|
|Greenwood, Anthony||Morrison, Rt. Hn. Herbert (Lewis'm, S.)||Tomney, F.|
|Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. R.||Mort, D. L.||Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn|
|Grey, C. F.||Moss, R.||Usborne, H. C.|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Moyle, A.||Viant, S. P.|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Lianelly)||Mulley, F. W.||Wade, D. W.|
|Griffiths, William (Exchange)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby, S.)||Warbey, W. N.|
|Grimond, J.||O'Brien, Sir Thomas||Watkins, T. E.|
|Hale, Leslie||Oliver, G. H.||Weitzman, D.|
|Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley)||Oram, A. E.||Wells, Percy (Faversham)|
|Hamilton, W. W.||Orbach, M.||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Hannan, W.||Oswald, T.||West, O. G.|
|Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.)||Owen, W. J.||Wheeldon, W. E.|
|Hastings, S.||Padley, W. E.||White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)|
|Hayman, F. H.||Paget, R. T.||White, Henry (Derbyshire, N. E.)|
|Healey, Denis||Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)||Wigg, George|
|Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis)||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||WilKins, W. A.|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Willey, Frederick|
|Hewitson, Capt. M.||Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)||Williams, David (Neath)|
|Hobson, C. R. (Keighley)||Pargiter, G. A.||Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)|
|Holman, P.||Parker, J.||Williams, Ronald (Wigan)|
|Holmes, Horace||Parkin, B. T.||Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)|
|Houghton, Douglas||Paton, John||Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)|
|Howell, Charles (Perry Barr)||Peart, T. F.||Williams, W. T. (Barons Court)|
|Hoy, J. H.||Portland, N.||Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Hubbard, T. F.||Plummer, Sir Leslie||Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Prentice, R. E.||Winterbottom, Richard|
|Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.|
|Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Probert, A. R.||Woof, R. E.|
|Hunter, A. E.||Proctor, W. T.||Yates, V. (Ladywood)|
|Hynd, H. (Accrington)||Pryde, D. J.||Younger, Rt. Hon. K.|
|Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)||Pursey, cmdr. H.||Zilliacus, K.|
|Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Randall, H. E.|
|Irving, Sydney (Dartford)||Rankin, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.||Redhead, E, C.||Mr. Popplewell and Mr. Pearson.|
|Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T.||Reeves, J.|
|Agnew, Sir Peter||Elliot, Rt. Hon. W. E. (Kelvingrove)||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Aitken, W. T.||Elliott, H. W. (N'castle upon Tyne. N)||Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam)|
|Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)||Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn||Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)|
|Alport, C. J. M.||Errington, Sir Eric||Johnson, Eric (Blackley)|
|Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)||Erroll, F. J.||Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)|
|Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton)||Farey-Jones, F. W.||Jones, Rt. Hon. Aubrey (Hall Green)|
|Arbuthnot, John||Fell, A.||Joseph, Sir Keith|
|Armstrong, C. W.||Finlay, Graeme||Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot|
|Ashton, H.||Fisher, Nigel||Kaberry, D.|
|Astor, Hon. J. J.||Fletcher-Cooke, C.||Keegan, D.|
|Atkins, H. E.||Fort, R.||Kerby, Capt. H. B.|
|Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.||Foster, John||Kerr, Sir Hamilton|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)||Kershaw, J. A.|
|Balniel, Lord||Fraser, Sir Ian (M'ombe & Lonsdale)||Kimball, M.|
|Barber, Anthony||Freeth, Derail||Kirk, P. M.|
|Barlow, Sir John||Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.||Lagden, G. W.|
|Barter, John||Gammans, Lady||Lambert, Hon. C.|
|Baxter, Sir Beverley||Garner-Evans, E. H.||Lancaster, Col. C. G.|
|Beamish, Maj. Tufton||George, J. C. (Pollok)||Langford-Holt, J. A.|
|Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)||Gibson-Watt, D.||Leather, E. H. C.|
|Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)||Glover, D.||Leavey, J. A.|
|Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)||Glyn, Col. R.||Leburn, W. G.|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald||Godber, J. B.||Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.|
|Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)||Gomme-Duncan, Col. Sir Alan||Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)|
|Bidgood, J. C.||Goodhart, Philip||Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.|
|Biggs-Davison, J. A.||Gough, C. F. H.||Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.)|
|Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel||Gower, H. R.||Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)|
|Bishop, F. P.||Graham, Sir Fergus||Linstead, Sir H. N.|
|Blank, c. W.||Grant, W. (Woodside)||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. C. (Sutton Coldfield)|
|Body, R. F.||Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)||Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)|
|Boothby, Sir Robert||Green, A.||Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)|
|Bossom, Sir Alfred||Gresham Cooke, R.||Longden, Gilbert|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.||Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)||Low, Rt. Hon. A. R. W.|
|Boyle, Sir Edward||Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)||Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)|
|Braine, B. R,||Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.||Lucas, P. B. (Brentford & Chiswick)|
|Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)||Gurden, Harold||Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.||Hall, John (Wycombe)||McAdden, S. J.|
|Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry||Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H.||Macdonald, Sir Peter|
|Brooman- White, R. C.||Harris, Reader (Heston)||Mackeson, Brig, Sir Harry|
|Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton)||Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon)||Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)|
|Bryan, P.||Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)||McLaughlin, Mrs. P.|
|Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesfd)||Maclay, Rt. Hon. John|
|Burden, F. F. A.||Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)|
|Butcher, Sir Herbert||Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)||McLean, Neil (Inverness)|
|Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden)||Harvie-Watt, Sir George||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.)|
|Campbell, Sir David||Hay, John||MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)|
|Carr, Robert||Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.||Macmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel||Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)|
|Channon, Sir Henry||Henderson, John (Cathcart)||Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Henderson-Stewart, Sir James||Maddan, Martin|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir Winston||Hesketh, R. F.||Maitland, Cdr. J. F. W. (Horncastle)|
|Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)||Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W.||Maitland, Hon. Patrick (Lanark)|
|Cole, Norman||Hill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)||Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir R.|
|Conant, Maj. Sir Roger||Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenthawe)||Markham, Major Sir Frank|
|Cooke, Robert||Hill, John (S. Norfolk)||Marlowe, A. A. H.|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Marples, Rt. Hon. A. E.|
|Cooper-Key, E. M.||Hirst, Geoffrey||Marshall, Douglas|
|Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.||Hobson, John (Warwick & Leam'gt'n)||Mathew, R.|
|Corfield, Capt, F. V.||Holland-Martin, C. J.||Maudling, Rt. Hon. R.|
|Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)||Hope, Lord John||Mawby, R. L.|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O, E.||Hornby, R. P.||Maydon, Lt.-Comdr, S. L. C.|
|Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)||Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.||Medlicott, Sir Frank|
|Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)||Horobin, Sir Ian||Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.|
|Cunningham, Knox||Horsbrugh, Rt. Hon. Dame Florence||Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)||Moore, Sir Thomas|
|Dance, J. C. G.||Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)||Morrison, John (Salisbury)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Howard, John (Test)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Hudson, W. R. A. (Hull, N.)||Nabarro, G. D. N.|
|Deedes, W. F.||Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral J.||Nairn, D. L. S.|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Hughes-Young, M. H. C.||Neave, Airey|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D.||Hulbert, Sir Norman||Nicholls, Harmar|
|Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.||Hurd, A. R.||Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)|
|Doughty, C. J. A.||Hutchison, A. M. C. (Ed'burgh, S.)||Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Allan|
|Drayson, G. B.||Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'gh, W.)||Nugent, G. R. H.|
|du Cann, E, D. L.||Hutchison, Sir James (Sootstoun)||O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)|
|Dugdale, Rt. Hn. Sir T. (Richmond)||Hyde, Montgomery||Ormsby-Gore, Ht. Hon. W. D.|
|Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.||Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Duthie, W. S.||Iremonger, T. L.||Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)|
|Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-S-Mare)|
|Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)||Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)||Osborne, C.|
|Page, R. G.||Sandy t, Rt. Hon. D.||Thorneycroft, Rt. Hon. P.|
|Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)||Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N.|
|Partridge, E.||Scott-Miller, Cmdr, R.||Tiley, A. (Bradford, W.)|
|Peyton, J. W. W.||Sharples, R. C.||Tilney, John (Wavertree)|
|Pickthorn, K. W. M.||Shepherd, William||Turner, H. F. L.|
|Pike, Miss Mervyn||Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)||Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.|
|Pilkington, capt. R. A.||Smithers, Peter (Winchester)||Tweedsmuir, Lady|
|Pitman, I. J.||Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Pitt, Miss E. M.||Soames, Christopher||Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.|
|Pott, H. P.||Spearman, Sir Alexander||Vickers, Miss Joan|
|Powell, J. Enoch||Speir, R. M.||Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Price, David (Eastleigh)||Spence, H. R. (Aberdeen, W.)||Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)|
|Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)||Spens, Rt. Hn. Sir P. (Kens'gt'n, S.)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek|
|Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.||Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard||Wall, Major Patrick|
|Profumo, J. D.||Stevens, Geoffrey||Ward, Rt. Hon. C. R. (Worcester)|
|Raikes, Sir Victor||Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)||Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)|
|Ramsden, J. E.||Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.)||Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.|
|Rawlinson, Peter||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm||Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold|
|Redmayne, M.||Storey, S.||Webbe, Sir H.|
|Remnant, Hon. P.||Studholme, Sir Henry||Whitelaw, W. S. I.|
|Renton, O. L. M.||Summers, Sir Spencer||Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)|
|Ridsdale, J, E.||Sumner, W. O. M. (Orpington)||Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)|
|Rippon, A. G. F.||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Wills, G. (Bridgwater)|
|Robertson, Sir David||Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)||Wood, Hon. R.|
|Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)||Teeling, W.||Woollam, John Victor|
|Robson Brown, Sir William||Temple, John M.||Yates, William (The Wrekin)|
|Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)||Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)|
|Roper, Sir Harold||Thomas, P. J. M. (Conway)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard||Thompson, Kenneth (Walton)||Mr. Heath and Mr. Oakshott.|
|Russell, R. S.||Thompson. Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, S.)|