Oral Answers to Questions — Colonial Territories

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 11th May 1959.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough 12:00 am, 11th May 1959

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if, in the light of the decision of Ghana and Guinea to invite African States to establish a basis of union, he will initiate discussions with Governments responsible for the administration of Colonial Territories in order to facilitate the union of such territories on the achievement of independence when their Governments so desire.

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

I have nothing I can add to the Answer which I gave the hon. Member on 2nd March. Once a State has achieved independence, questions of its union with other States are strictly its own responsibility.

Photo of Mr Fenner Brockway Mr Fenner Brockway , Eton and Slough

Will the Minister discuss this matter with his right hon. and learned Friend and with the Secretary of State for the Colonies in order to foresee the difficulties which are now arising in the whole Continent of Africa where territories which used to accept imperial rule are now appealing to international considerations? In view of the fact that many European countries are involved. would it not be desirable to foresee this situation and have the discussions suggested in the Question?

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that, when the circumstances are propitious, Her Majesty's Government will make a point of confidential discussions and consultations with other friendly Governments.

Photo of Mr Kenneth Younger Mr Kenneth Younger , Grimsby

Are we to understand from that reply that there are no continuing discussions with France, in particular, about this large network of territories, the majority of which are still not independent and are under French or British rule? Is the Minister aware that there is a great deal of disquiet among many people interested in West Africa at the lack of co-operation there appears to be between the British and French Governments?

Photo of Mr John Profumo Mr John Profumo , Stratford-on-Avon

I do not think that there is any lack of co-operation between the two Governments concerned. This is much more a matter for my right hon. Friend the Colonial Secretary, but I think I should be right in telling the House that these consultations go on the whole time. I thought that the hon. Gentleman had something rather more than that in mind.