§ 10. Mr. Townsend
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the current situation in Cyprus and the Government's policy on this matter.
§ 36. Miss Richardson
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement on the present situation in Cyprus.
Mr. James Callaghan
With our partners in the Nine, Her Majesty's Government are working actively for a resumption of the intercommunal talks on a substantive basis. Although no progress was made in the meeting between Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash in New York in September, there is general agreement that this is the best forum for progress towards a settlement.
§ Mr. Townsend
What representations have the Government made to the Turkish Government about the settling of Turkish families from the Turkish 1575 mainland in Northern Cyprus? What are the Government doing to try to ameliorate the plight of some 200,000 Greek Cypriote facing their second winter in the refugee camps?
Representations have been made to the Turkish authorities on the matter of refugees, and I believe that answers have been given to the hon. Gentleman on it. The best prospects for a settlement of the Greek Cypriot refugees is that Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash should come to an agreement on the matter. I know of no other way that is likely to yield results.
§ Mr. Atkinson
Does my right hon. Friend recall the days when he was in opposition and was an advocate of Parliament as a whole, rather than the Executive, taking the major decisions in foreign affairs? How does he account for the fact that on 12th November in the United Nations the United Kingdom will be moving towards an altogether different concept in Cyprus, without the authority of Parliament, and that there is now every indication that we are moving towards a recognition of the Turkish zone in the island?
I do not recognise either the description of what I used to say in opposition or any contradiction with what I now do. I have always recognised that it is the responsibility of the Government to take executive decisions in these matters and that it is for Parliament to exercise its function of oversight, challenge, censure or even, occasionally, support.
§ Mr. Rees-Davies
Will Her Majesty's Government consult the American Government to see that very soon the refugees have proper housing? Grants should be given to enable the refugees to have prefabricated housing. President Makarios would like the refugees to be under proper cover this winter, and it could be done. That is the humane aspect.
My second question is to ask how long the right hon. Gentleman thinks it will be before there will be forthcoming from Ankara—from Mr. Demirel, supported by Mr. Ecevit—proposals of some concessions in Cyprus, if they are forthcoming at all. If they are not forthcoming fairly soon, how long are we to wait before 1576 exerting international pressure on the Turks?
The Government have been in the lead on this matter throughout. There is no other country that has done more to assist the refugees in Cyprus. I do not have the figures at my disposal, but I think that I can legitimately claim that the House and country have met their responsibilities. I shall certainly have discussions with other countries, including the Community and the United States, to see whether a combined effort can be made to deal with the plight of the refugees. That might even relieve us to some extent. I saw them in the depths of last winter and their plight is not one that I would want anyone to experience. There is constant communication with the Turkish Government. I cannot say when they are likely to put forward proposals. The exchanges that go on are confidential, but they are continual.
§ Mrs. Jeger
Although I agree with my right hon. Friend that it is important for the talks to go on, does he agree that any real settlement must go far beyond the competence of Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash and must be a matter of international affairs? Can my right hon. Friend tell the House a little more about any conversations or discussions that have been proceeding with the United States or the Turks, or with the committee set up by the Commonwealth Prime Ministers at Kingston some months ago, to try to reach a political solution to this problem?
I had discussions with Mr. Caglayangil, the Turkish Foreign Minister, in New York on 25th September. The Prime Minister and I had discussions with Mr. Karamanlis, the Prime Minister of Greece, and Mr. Bitsios when they came to London about a fortnight ago. Both of them know our views clearly, which is that although we recognise that Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash are the prime executives in this matter, considerable influence can be exerted by the Turkish and the Greek Governments. I agree with my hon. Friend about that. We believe that this is the right way to pursue the matter. We shall continue to do so in this way. The Commonwealth experts have also met on two occasions.