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Security And Constitution

Volume 720: debated on Thursday 18 November 1965

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2.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, if he will make a statement about security and the constitutional situation in Aden.

4.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, what plans he has for constitutional progress in the South Arabian Federation.

8.

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies, if he will make a statement concerning the possibility of renewed political advance towards independence for Aden and the South Arabian Federation.

Although the security situation in Aden State has improved in recent weeks, there have been further terrorist attacks during the last few days. No appointments have yet been made to the Advisory Council for Aden State for which provision was made in the Aden (Temporary Provisions) Order, 1965.

The Federal Government have appointed Sir Ralph Hone and Sir Gawain Bell to advise them on liberalising and improving the Federal Constitution. Their report is expected early in the New Year. We hope that this will lead to a speedy resumption of constitutional progress.

Meanwhile, my noble Friend the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies is visiting South Arabia to study the problems of the area, and to have discussions with the High Commissioner and other authorities there.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that one of the causes behind the present situation is the continued support given by certain members of his own party to the Adeni politicians in their resistance against the Federal Government? Will he make it clear again that power is to be handed over to the Federal Government and that it is up to the political parties in Aden to co-operate with the Government?

I know of nothing to substantiate the allegations in the first part of the supplementary question. As to the second part, the constitutional position is perfectly clear.

Will the right hon. Gentleman tell the House, in the general context of the security of Aden and the Federation, what is the situation on the Yemen frontier, and does he have any view about possible improved relations when a new coalition Government emerges in that country?

Improved relations with the Yemen is a matter which the hon. Gentleman should put to my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary. At the moment the situation is rather easier and we hope that it will continue so.

As both my right hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Mr. Sandys) and the right hon. Gentleman the present Secretary of State have promised the Federation independence by 1968, and as the right hon. Gentleman has now had to go back to direct rule—I do not complain of that at all—could he give some idea of what his plans are for bringing Aden Colony and the Federal rulers closer together as a necessary lead-in to independence in 1968?

I appreciate what the hon. Gentleman says. I think that all of us regretted the need for the suspension of the Constitution. It has, however, produced greater stability in the area and we must hope that when the report of Sir Ralph Hone and Sir Gawain Bell is available it will be possible to start fruitful discussions between the Federal Government and Aden, which is, of course, a part of the Federation.