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Commonwealth (New Members)

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 29 July 1954

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33.

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations what representations have been made and what consultations have taken place between Her Majesty's Government and other Commonwealth Governments with the intention of determining the most appropriate and acceptable means of accepting new members of the Commonwealth.

Does the hon. Gentleman not agree that this is a matter of some importance and should not be just laughed off? Membership of the Commonwealth of Nations is a very onerous and honourable position, and it should not depend merely on this country determining it but on the whole membership of the Commonwealth. Will he give a serious and constructive reply to this Question?

I quite agree with what the hon. Member has said about the importance of Commonwealth membership, and when the matter arises other Commonwealth members will be consulted, as was stated by the Prime Minister on 16th June, 1952.

Has not that already arisen in view of the possibility of two black Dominions ultimately coming into being and becoming members of the Commonwealth?

Will the hon. Member give an assurance that he himself and the Government will not be party to any settlement in which we have a two-tier system inside the Commonwealth, and that future black Dominions will be on an equal status with the present white Dominions in the Commonwealth?

As new problems of this kind may arise, and as it is obvious that they cannot be settled in a rush, when they do arise would it not be wise to have some preliminary consultations with the other Commonwealth Governments on the principles involved in this matter?

I will put the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion to my right hon. and noble Friend.