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 William Warbey Mr William Warbey , Ashfield 12:00 am, 30th January 1964

asked the Prime Minister which regional agency has the responsibility for seeking a peaceful settlement of the dispute over Cyprus, in accordance with Articles 33 and 52–54 of the United Nations Charter.

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

The Treaty of Guarantee between Britain, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus constitutes a regional arrangement, rather than a regional agency, within the meaning of Articles 33 and 52–54 of the United Nations Charter. It provides for certain steps calculated to contribute to the maintenance of peace and security in the area.

Photo of Mr William Warbey Mr William Warbey , Ashfield

Now that the attempt to secure a purely pacific settlement of the dispute appears to have broken down, and enforcement measures in the form of outside military forces are contemplated, will the Prime Minister give an assurance that the Government will abide strictly by the terms of Article 53, which lays down that no enforcement action may be taken without the direct approval and authorisation of the Security Council? Secondly, in view of this, will the Prime Minister agree that it is the responsibility of the Security Council to determine that the composition and character of the forces introduced into Cyprus shall be such as to ensure a pacific settlement?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

The hon. Member is really making too many assumptions. First of all, he assumes that any attempts at settlement are at an end. Secondly, he assumes that we are contemplating enforcement measures. What we are aiming at is the introduction of an international force into Cyprus by agreement between the parties.

Mr. H. Wilson:

Is the Prime Minister aware that there will be widespread support for the idea of an international force as a stop-gap operation to keep the peace while other arrangements are being made? Is he aware that we would, at any rate, recognise the value of this not being a N.A.T.O. operation, for reasons that the right hon. Gentleman knows as well as we do—and I do not want to trespass on some very difficult negotiations; and that whatever countries are invited to serve in this very vital task of preventing tensions from flaring up on the island, the sooner it is possible to give that force a United Nations status—recognising the difficulties and delays involved in this—the better it will be for peace keeping, and the reputation of the United Nations?

Photo of Sir Alec Douglas-Home Sir Alec Douglas-Home , Kinross and West Perthshire

The right hon. Gentleman is aware of the difficulties here, because we have, of course, to get the agreement of Greece and Turkey as well as that of the Cyprus Government in these matters. We are trying, as he wishes—and as I think the whole House wishes—to organise an international force which will, so to speak, hold the ring while negotiations go on. I would rather not answer today the right hon. Gentleman's Question about the United Nations umbrella over the forces, if he does not mind.