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Transfer Of Sovereignty

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 7 May 1947

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asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what reply he has sent to the House of Assembly in Bermuda in answer to the request of that House that he should confirm that His Majesty's Government does not propose to offer the Colony to the U.S.A.

The Governor of Bermuda was authorised on 7th March to state that His Majesty's Government do not contemplate any transfer of the sovereignty of the British Colonies and Dependencies in the Western Hemisphere. Subsequently, the Bermuda House of Assembly asked for confirmation that His Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom have not the right to transfer the sovereignty of a British Colony unless the subjects of that Colony request it. The Governor has been asked to inform the House, in reply, that the cession of a Colony to a foreign Power would be a matter of the Royal prerogative, but that any instrument of cession would require the sanction of an Act of Parliament. In stating that a transfer of sovereignty by this means would be valid in law, the Governor has been asked to add that His Majesty's Government feel justified in stating that they regard it as inconceivable that any Government of this country would be willing to agree to any such transfer without the consent of the inhabitants of the Colony.

Will my right hon. Friend see that this answer receives publicity in Bermuda because of the fact that it is now generally believed that we intend to cede some parts of Bermuda to meet the American Loan? Only this week, I have read statements about it in the American Press.

We will give it publicity, because some disturbing statements have been made.

Will the right hon. Gentleman also see that it is given publicity among certain sections of his own party?