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Colonial Empire (Minister's Speech)

Volume 387: debated on Wednesday 17 March 1943

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asked the Prime Minister whether the views upon the future development of the British Colonial Empire expressed at Oxford, on 5th March, by the Secretary of State for the Colonies, represent the policy of His Majesty's Government?

Yes, Sir. His Majesty's Government are convinced that the administration of the British Colonies must continue to be the sole responsibility of Great Britain. The policy of His Majesty's Government is to plan for the fullest possible political, economic and social development of the Colonies within the British Empire, and in close co-operation with neighbouring and friendly nations.

Has not the somewhat truculent nature of the speech made at Oxford caused misgivings both in the United States and the Dominions, who had hoped to see the Atlantic Charter implemented in our Colonial Empire?

Does the Prime Minister still adhere to the principles of the Atlantic Charter?

Does my right hon. Friend's answer preclude the Government's consideration in future of the proposal relating to international mandates?

We should be opposed to the idea of condominions, which have always been found to bring about very bad results to the regions affected, but we naturally shall be in the closest touch and intercourse with our great Allies whose interests are closely connected with ourselves in some parts of the world.

Does the reply mean that the Dominions or member States of the British Commonwealth will also have a voice in the future of the British Colonies?

They already have a considerable voice in the future of certain Colonies which come in their regions.

Does the declaration mean that this country does not intend to give up its occupied territories at the end of this war as Germany will have to do?