Union of South Africa (Prime Minister's Visit)

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Works – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th April 1960.

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Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Bromley 12:00 am, 5th April 1960

I fully accept what the right hon. Gentleman says, but he must also recognise the heavy responsibility which lies upon the Government, perhaps largely upon me, in this matter. I think it has been made clear already that the agenda of the formal conferences is fixed by the conference itself. There are certain traditions about it, but, as I saw from a statement made by the Premier of the Union a few days ago, that does not preclude us from using what influence we can to steer what we believe and hope is a right course in a good direction. That is quite different from taking an action which would be to precipitate a crisis in the Commonwealth. Britain has a great responsibility here, and what I want to do is to use the Commonwealth and see it grow, but so to steer a course that we are able to preserve in full the structure which has been built up and to see that we do not err in precipitate action which might have very dangerous results.