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Strategic Action (Commonwealth Consultation)

Volume 531: debated on Monday 26 July 1954

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will give an assurance that the final passage of the statement on seeking the direct agreement of Commonwealth Governments on occasions of the highest strategical importance, made by the Prime Minister on 8th May, 1946, remains the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

The statement made by the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition on 8th May, 1946, should be read as a whole. That statement continues to represent the policy of Her Majesty's Government.

May I ask my right hon. Friend whether that applies to the final part of the text and, therefore, whether we have sought and obtained direct agreement with the Commonwealth Governments before taking action in regard to the proposal now before Egypt to withdraw all our forces?

I think my hon. Friend has been informed that the Commonwealth Governments have been kept most fully and closely informed at every stage of these long negotiations, which have now extended over a period of years. That is our usual method of dealing with these matters. If any Commonwealth Government has any point it wishes to raise at any time it is fully within its power to do so; but it must speak for its policy. We cannot speak for its policy here.