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Cyprus

Volume 531: debated on Wednesday 28 July 1954

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Port Development

38.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies the policy of Her Majesty's Government about creating a new port in Cyprus; and where this is likely to be situated.

My right hon. Friend fully appreciates the importance of port development in Cyprus and, at the request of the Government of Cyprus, advisers from the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation are undertaking a survey of the flow of trade through the ports in the island. They will advise the Cyprus Government what developments, if any, are desirable. It is therefore too early to reply to the second part of the Question.

When conducting the survey, will the Government pay special attention to the fact that there are in Cyprus a large number of historic buildings of unexampled beauty and interest, and will they take care to see that so far as possible nothing is done to spoil these ancient buildings?

Will the Minister bear in mind that the decision to proceed with the deep water port at Cyprus will not only bring great benefit to the Colony, but will also be a clear indication to our friends there that our interest in the Colony is an abiding one and not merely a passing one?

Yes. At the same time I think that we must await the report of the committee of inquiry.

Enosis Movement

50.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what he estimates to be the volume of support in Cyprus for the Enosis Movement; and what measurable opposition there is to it among the people of the island.

I understand that there are many shades of opinion. The movement is certainly widely supported in the Press and from the pulpit, but there is strong opposition from a not inconsiderable part of the population of the island.

Would the Minister not agree that it might be possible to get a definite answer to this question if the Government would consider holding a referendum of their own?

The holding of a referendum or a plebiscite is not a piece of political machinery which fits in very well with British ideas, but in any case I would ask the hon. Lady to await the statement which I propose to make at the end of Questions.

Would the Minister say whether the Government, if they are going to return to the Front Bench, are going to give some attention to the problem of Cyprus and not wait until it explodes in their hands like the Suez Canal base and then have to go out of the Chamber again?

If the hon. Gentleman had listened to the very last answer which I gave, he would have heard me say I was going to make a statement at the end of Questions.