Consultations

Oral Answers to Questions — Cyprus – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th January 1964.

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Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East 12:00 am, 30th January 1964

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what consultations he has had with Commonwealth countries with a view to their assisting the British troops in Cyprus.

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

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what conclusions were reached at the London conference on the future of Cyprus.

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

After the opening session of the Conference I held a series of separate meetings with the representatives of Greece and Turkey and of the two Cypriot communities, with a view to finding a common basis for the discussion of the problem.

Although the approaches of the two communities remained radically different, some useful progress was made on a number of points.

However, it soon became evident—as was expected—that the task of reaching agreement was going to be difficult and protracted. In the meantime the situation in Cyprus has been growing extremely tense, which inevitably increases the danger of a renewal of the earlier disorders.

In these circumstances we felt it desirable that the present peace-keeping force should be enlarged by the participation of additional countries. Negotiations to this end are now proceeding. I hope the House will forgive me if I do not go into greater detail at this juncture. I will make a further statement as soon as practicable.

Photo of Mr Arthur Bottomley Mr Arthur Bottomley , Middlesbrough East

Whilst recognising the need for some international force to assist in keeping the peace in Cyprus, may I ask the Secretary of State to direct his mind to my Question, which asks what consultations he had with the Commonwealth?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

All possible sources were considered.

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

Has the right hon. Gentleman had endorsement from Cyprus of any arrangements which have been made for an international force? Particularly, will he say whether this matter has been discussed with U Thant, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, with a view to getting United Nations authority for any steps which are taken?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

I have been in fairly constant touch with all the Governments concerned, but I have not yet had a formal reaction from the Government of Cyprus about this proposal. With regard to the United Nations, as the hon. Member knows we have throughout wanted to keep the United Nations fully informed about the state of the problem and of the situation in Cyprus. As evidence of that, we have arranged with the Secretary-General to have a representative in Cyprus, General Gyani, who is there as this moment.

Photo of Mr William Yates Mr William Yates , The Wrekin

Having seen the matter at first hand, may I ask if the Secretary of State will please convey to the High Commission in Cyprus the thanks of this House, as well as to the Army, for the work they did in exemplary and prompt fashion in December last year?

Photo of Mr Duncan Sandys Mr Duncan Sandys , Wandsworth Streatham

I am sure that will be appreciated.