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Dependent Territories

Volume 955: debated on Thursday 3 August 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will stipulate the latest dates by which the remaining British dependent territories will have become independent so as to facilitate the most orderly hand-over and to enable those persons likely to constitute the successive Governments of certain of these territories to make contingency plans for any post-independence regional federations where this is desired.

It is not possible to stipulate dates for the independence of the remaining British dependent territories, apart from Tuvalu which will become independent on 1st October 1978, because the majority have not indicated a wish to move towards independence. It is our policy to assist the independence of our dependent territories in accordance with the wishes of the inhabitants but not to force independence on those which for reasons of their own do not seek it.