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Cyprus (Future)

Volume 530: debated on Wednesday 21 July 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he has considered the effect on the security of the Eastern Mediterranean of the refusal of Her Majesty's Government to discuss the future of Cyprus with our allies the Greeks; and if he will therefore reconsider his decision.

The security of the Eastern Mediterranean is naturally one of the factors which Her Majesty's Government have taken into account in their consideration of this matter. As regards the second part of the Question, I have nothing to add to the reply given to the hon. and learned Member on 19th July.

Is it not a fact that British prestige in Greece is rapidly falling—[HON. MEMBERS: No."]—as a result of the failure of Her Majesty's Government to deal with the Cyprus question? [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Does not the hon. Gentleman remember what Gladstone said in 1897? If he does not, may I remind him that he said that he hoped that Cyprus would very soon become a Greek island.

We are now living in 1954, not 1897, and so far as the hon. and learned Gentleman's allegation that British prestige in Greece is falling is concerned, it is completely untrue.

Would not the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that, as it is intended to expand the base in Cyprus as a result of removal from Suez, it would be as well to ensure in advance that the same political conditions which made an end of the base in Egypt do not occur in Cyprus? Is it not a good idea, instead of evading questions in this rather inane way, to give some thought to the future of Cyprus?

The hon. Gentleman has entirely missed the point. Cyprus is British territory.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his saying that this is 1954 is the most direct and accurate answer that we have had from the Government today?