Oral Answers to Questions — Commonwealth Prime Ministers' Meeting

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 3rd December 1968.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr John Tilney Mr John Tilney , Liverpool Wavertree 12:00 am, 3rd December 1968

asked the Prime Minister whether he will propose the formation of a small Commonwealth peace-keeping force at the forthcoming meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to the reply which I gave to a similar Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. Archer) on 22nd October.—[Vol. 770, c. 1085–6.]

Photo of Mr John Tilney Mr John Tilney , Liverpool Wavertree

Is not a peace-keeping force urgently needed to stop the carnage in Nigeria? Would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that more than half the United Nations force in Cyprus, who have done such a wonderful job, is British and that if in the future we concentrate on Episkopi the other Sovereign Base Area at Dhekelia would make a first-class Commonwealth force base?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I agree with the tribute which the hon. Gentleman paid to what has been achieved in Cyprus, not least by the British Services out there. His question, however, refers to a standing Commonwealth peace-keeping force. We have made clear our willingness to participate in a peace-keeping force in Nigeria. The arguments against a permanent peace-keeping force would be much more difficult to overcome, because one could never envisage the peculiar circumstances in which it might have to be used.

Photo of Mr John Tilney Mr John Tilney , Liverpool Wavertree

asked the Prime Minister whether at the forthcoming meeting of Commonwealth Prime Ministers he will propose the adoption of a Commonwealth flag.

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I would prefer to wait until there is evidence of some general interest in such an emblem in the Commonwealth.

Photo of Mr John Tilney Mr John Tilney , Liverpool Wavertree

Since it is not easy to find either the money or the site on which to erect 28 flagpoles in other cities—that is, except in Parliament Square—would the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that a simple flag could represent all the colours of the spectrum?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

It would not exactly be a simple flag if it had to represent all the colours. In addition to the usual practice of displaying flags in Parliament Square, I would be happy to invite the hon. Gentleman in a month's time to Marlborough House, where there is no difficulty in accommodating even the flags of all the 28 Sovereign Commonwealth countries.

Photo of Mr Hugh Jenkins Mr Hugh Jenkins , Wandsworth Putney

Would not my right hon. Friend consider the possibility of such a flag, based on the tie of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association?

Photo of Mr Harold Wilson Mr Harold Wilson , Huyton

I would require notice of that question.