§ 7.17 p.m.
§ Lord SPENS rose to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are ready to take a lead in helping to restore normal conditions to Cyprus. The noble Lord 880 said: My Lords, six months ago I knew nothing special about Cyprus. I knew that we had British bases there; that it is an island which many people like to visit; that there had been serious troubles between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots, culminating with a landing of Turkish troops who are still there; and that there had been an archbishop who was both priest and political leader, but who had recently died. I believe that that is about all the "man in the street" knows about Cyprus.
§ Then, last November, I was asked to take an interest in what was happening to the Turkish Cypriots. I was invited to visit the Turkish Federated State of Cyprus. I spent four very full days there in December and I subsequently wrote a report which I have circulated to many of your Lordships here. The last debate on this subject took place on 14th June, 1976, when the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, asked a somewhat similar question to the one that I ask tonight, although his question was directed primarily at action through the United Nations. Nearly two years have passed. There has been economic stagnation on the island and the problem is still with us, although there are signs that further talks may get under way soon. I must, therefore, be careful what I say tonight, but I want to make it clear that the views I shall express are my own opinions as to how things may develop and may be helped to develop.
§ Unlike the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, I believe that we must look into the past in order to understand what is likely to be acceptable for any final settlement. I do not intend to delay your Lordships very long with this matter, but I want to mention very briefly five points. First, as stated by the noble Lord, there is the feeling of total insecurity by Turkish Cypriots as the result of the attacks on them in 1963, 1967 and 1974. Secondly, there is the failure of the Government of Cyprus to deal with the refugee problems of the Turkish Cypriots. There have been 25,000 refugees since 1963, and the fact is that that Government refused to supply the building materials required to rehouse those refugees but instead declared the materials to be of strategic importance and therefore prohibited. Thirdly, there is the ruling by the Government of Cyprus in 1964 which stopped the registration of any transfers of land to Turkish Cypriots. 881 Fourthly, there is the breakdown of the Constitution from 1964 onwards and the failure of the Guarantor Powers to prevent that happening. Fifthly, there is the fact that in July 1974 there were five days of brutal massacres of both Turkish and Greek Cypriots by Greek extremists under Sampson before the Turkish Army arrived to stop the fighting.
§ Let me examine those five matters very briefly because they are most important. The first is the insecurity of the Turkish Cypriots. That was adequately covered in the debate two years ago, but it must now be realised that that insecurity has vanished and, therefore, any final solution must not be such as to bring it back for Turkish Cypriots. They are now sitting behind a wall of 30,000 troops and are secure.
§ Secondly, there is the refugee problem of the Turkish Cypriots since 1963, which nearly trebled in 1974 with some 65,000 refugees to be resettled, many of them having been made refugees three times over during those 10 years. The failure of the Government of Cyprus to help them since 1963 does not now incline Turkish Cypriots to make more sacrifices to help Greek Cypriot refugees. Thirdly, there is the refusal since 1964 of the Government of Cyprus to allow registrations of property transfers to Turkish Cypriots. How can we now expect them to get very excited about Greek Cypriot property rights?
§ Fourthly—and I think that this is the most important of the five points that I have mentioned—there is the failure of the three Guarantor Powers to carry out their guarantee to preserve the 1960 Constitution. This rankles very deeply with Turkish Cypriots who regard the present Government of Cyprus as an unconstitutional Government and therefore illegal, especially when it holds itself out and is apparently accepted internationally as the lawful Government of the whole Island.
We accept our role as a Guarantor Power and that guarantee, set out in Article II of the 1960 Treaty, reads as follows:
Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom, taking note of the undertakings of the Republic of Cyprus set out in Article I of the present Treaty, recognise and guarantee the independence, territorial integrity and security of the Republic
of Cyprus and also the state of affairs established by the Basic Articles of its Constitution".
That all comes in the same paragraph. The undertaking of the Government of Cyprus referred to in that paragraph, as set out in Article I of the Treaty, reads:
The Republic of Cyprus undertakes to ensure the maintenance of its independence, territorial integrity and security, as well as respect for its Constitution".
How can Her Majesty's Government continue to regard the present Government of Cyprus as the legal Government when almost every Basic Article in the 1960 Constitution has been broken and in particular Basic Article No. 182, which reads
The Articles or parts of Articles of this Constitution set out in Annexe III hereto which have been incorporated from the Zurich Agreement dated 11th February, 1959, are the Basic Articles of this Constitution and cannot, in any way, be amended, whether by way of variation, addition or repeal"?
That is the situation of the Constitution of 1960. It has been broken almost completely by successive Governments of Cyprus. There are no Turkish Ministers in the Government as suggested in one of the Basic Articles; there are no Turkish Members in the Legislative Assembly which is another of the Basic Articles; there are no Turkish public servants, which is another of the Basic Articles; and there is now no constitutional court to decide whether the Constitution is right or not.
§ My fifth point was about the five days of slaughter before the Turkish Army came in. During that time Greek extremists, led by Sampson, were slaughtering the supporters of Archbishop Makarios as well as the Turkish Cypriots, and burying many of them in mass graves. Turkish Cypriots now believe that the great majority of the 2,000 missing Greek Cypriots went missing during those five days and that the Turkish Army has no responsibility for them.
§ So much for the past. Although the overall situation has not changed very much, a number of developments have occurred which must affect any final solution. I think that the most important was the final meeting between Archbishop Makarios and Mr. Denktash on 12th February 1977 in the presence of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Organisation, at which four guidelines 883 were agreed between the two leaders for the negotiation of a final settlement. These guidelines read as follows:
- "1. We are seeking an independent, nonaligned, bi-communal Federal Republic.
- 2. The territory under the administration of each community should be discussed in the light of economic viability or productivity and land ownership.
- 3. Questions of principles like freedom of movement, freedom of settlement, the right of property and other specific matters, are open for discussion taking into consideration the fundamental basis of a bi-communal federal system and certain practical difficulties which may arise with the Turkish Cypriot community.
- 4. The powers and functions of the Central Federal Government will be such as to safeguard the unity of the country, having regard to the bi-communal character of the State".
§ Since 1976 some 65,000 Turkish refugees have now been re-settled, many of them in properties formerly owned by Greek Cypriots. I do not believe that the Turkish Cypriot authorities will ever agree that these people should be turned out from their homes once again. Other happenings include the death of the Archbishop and the recent changes of government in Turkey. With regard to the former, perhaps we may hope for a less intransigent attitude to a final negotiation; that is certainly likely to be the case in regard to the change of government in Turkey.
§ These are points of progress. However, during this period, the so-called Government of Cyprus has taken some extreme actions to the detriment of the Turkish Cypriots by declaring the ports of Famagusta, Kyrenia, and Karavostassi and the new airport at Ercan to be illegal ports of entry to the Island. Because that so-called Government continues to be recognised internationally these declarations are taken seriously by other governments.
I have here a copy of the translation of a letter circulated by what I think is the Dutch equivalent of our Shippers' Council to all its members and dated 31st October 1977. It reads in translation:
I herewith inform you that the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has drawn the attention of the Dutch Government to the fact that, in spite of the Resolution of the United Nations regarding the termination of foreign intervention
in Cyprus and the withdrawal of all foreign troops, still about 40 per cent. of the Cypriot territory is being held occupied by Turkish troops.
In connection herewith, the Cypriot ports situated in the relevant area Famagusta, Kyrenia, Karawastassi, will remain closed to all ships, cargo and persons and the use of these ports will be considered illegal and be punished accordingly".
How can a government which has no authority over 40 per cent. of the island make such a declaration?
§ The Turkish Cypriots are working very hard to revive the economy of their area and are determined to do so, despite all attempts by the Greek Cypriots to prevent them. They are enthusiastic and capable, but they need help. They are very short of foreign currency because the Central Bank is on the Greek Cypriot side, and, even when they get a share of any foreign aid, they do not benefit from the use of the foreign currency. There are British banks in the north, but they will not perform a proper banking function because of their fear of reprisals by Greek Cypriots against their branches in the south.
§ I am still awaiting a reply from the Minister for Overseas Development—and I do not expect the noble Lord the Leader of the House to know anything about this—to a letter which I sent direct to the Minister on 16th January, suggesting that there was a precedent for giving aid directly to the Turkish Cypriots and not through the so-called Government of Cyprus. This is written into the 1960 Constitution in regard to certain Turkish municipalities, of which Famagusta is one. I shall not go into details about it. Sufficient to say that the interim reply from the Minister says that I raised a number of legal points which are under consideration. Need it really take so long as from 16th January to 8th March? I do not know. Meanwhile, Famagusta itself is in urgent need of assistance on matters of refuse disposal and water supply; needs which, if they are not met very quickly, may well lead to serious epidemics this summer.
§ I give one final fact before I come to the possible solutions to this problem. It is a fact that I believe should be very strongly stressed and it is this: apparently there has never, throughout the period of Cypriot independence, been a commercial partnership between any Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot principals. My Lords, just think about that. There they have been, living side by side for years, 885 and yet they have never got into such a relationship as to become partners in any economic venture, not even in the professional field of medicine.
§ A final solution could be achieved quite quickly, provided both parties—and I emphasise "both"—were ready to compromise from their present positions, the Turkish Cypriots by giving up some of the territory they occupy and the Greek Cypriots by giving up their claims to return to their properties in the north. I believe that the sticking points on the side of the Turkish Cypriots are these: first, they will not ask any of their resettled refugees to move again; secondly, they will not allow many Greek Cypriots to establish themselves in the north of the Island. On the other hand, they may well be persuaded to hand back Varosha to the Greek Cypriots—and that is an area with some 40 hotels and, I believe, 4,000 dwelling houses which are empty at the moment and going to rack and ruin for lack of maintenance—provided satisfactory arrangements are made for the security of the Turkish Cypriots in the Famagusta area.
§ But, primarily, they will only agree to a settlement on the basis of a semiautonomous Turkish Cypriot administration for the north of the Island, which, inside a loose federal structure, will hand over very limited powers to a future federal government, and those powers will chiefly be involved with foreign affairs. It is no use the Minister of State, Mr. Frank Judd, advising Mr. Denktash—as he was reported as doing in Monday's Daily Telegraph, although it may be an erroneous report— "not to stake his claims too high on the administrative aspect".
§ That is what this negotiation is all about. Turkish Cypriots will not go back to the 1960 Constitution. Even Makarios agreed that the future organisation should be a "Bi-communal Federal Republic", and nothing short of that will satisfy the Turkish Cypriots. Nor, I believe, will they compensate Greek Cypriots for any losses of property—they have lost enough of their own over the years in the south: 103 villages in 1963. But they will compensate foreign owners of properties in the north. On the other hand, I believe that they want to remain independent of Turkey and to be 886 relieved of the pressures arising from the presence of a large Turkish Army on their part of the Island.
§ I come now to the basis of my Question, and I do so with the knowledge that there is still, despite our failures as a Guarantor, a very large fund of goodwill towards us among Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus. I believe that our responsibilities towards Cyprus are nearly, if not quite, as great as they are towards Rhodesia. After all, we took over Cyprus from Turkey 10 years before Cecil Rhodes was granted his charter to start the settlement of Rhodesia; and although there has been no UDI in Cyprus, there has been a monstrous erosion of the 1960 Constitution which we had guaranteed to maintain.
§ Moreover, we are still enjoying, as one Cypriot told me—I cannot remember whether he was a Turkish Cypriot or a Greek Cypriot—the fruits of our sovereign bases. I should like to see our young and energetic Foreign Secretary go on his travels again, as soon as the expected offer from the Turkish Cypriots has been studied. I believe that pressure from us—the third party to this affair—might well tip the balance towards reaching agreement on a solution. And who knows, there might even be the opportunity for the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Carver, to take on a role similar to that of his appointment in Rhodesia; namely, to preside over a transitional period while a new federal Government is being established and Turkish troops withdrawn.
§ Meanwhile, there are actions which I should like to see Her Majesty's Government take, irrespective of any negotiations, which may, and probably will, drag on for a long time. I should like to see Her Majesty's Government declare that the airport at Ercan is free and should be recognised internationally, provided that it meets international standards, which I believe it does. Similarly, I should like to see Her Majesty's Government declare that the sea ports in the north are open to shipping of all countries; in other words, to declare that the present Government of Cyprus have no jurisdiction in the north.
§ I should like to see some immediate sent to Famagusta, using if necessary course I suggested in my letter to the 887 Minister for Overseas Development; treating it as a Turkish municipality under the 1960 Constitution. I should like to see the British Council and relief organisations told that they can deal directly with the Turkish Cypriot Administration. Finally, I should like to see Her Majesty's Government warn the present Government of Cyprus that, unless they drop their hostile actions against the north, and if they procrastinate too long in the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government will withdraw recognition of that Government.
§ I believe that, if Her Majesty's Government were to take these actions, it could safely be left to the enterprise of the Turkish and Greek Cypriots to bring about an economic recovery in Cyprus. I therefore beg leave to ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are ready to take a lead in helping to restore normal conditions to Cyprus.
§ 7.43 p.m.
§ Lord NEWALL
My Lords, this is an opportune time for the noble Lord, Lord Spens, to ask this Question because I believe a great many people are wondering whether the Government are indeed going to take a lead in helping to restore normal conditions to Cyprus. The noble Lord clearly told us of many of the problems of Turkish Cypriots in his view, but I will not follow the exact detail of his argument.
The land called Cyprus is an island which has been placed by geography at the crossroads of the civilisations of Europe, Asia and Ancient Egypt where races have always met yet have never really mingled. Those are the words of Sir Harry Luke, an ex-Governor of the island, who went on to say that it has the longest political and cultural history of the British Commonwealth, longer than Malta, Ceylon or India, and of course it has had over 30 different rulers and régimes since 1184.
Historically, I think it is true to say that the Turks and Greeks have had a natural hatred for one another, so it is naturally difficult to get them talking together. In more recent times, murders, burnings, rapes and lootings, especially by extremist groups, have taken place and have affected not only Greek and Turkish Cypriots but also the British soldiers, whose rôle was purely to keep the peace between the rival factions within Cyprus. I think it is true 888 to say that faults can be laid at the door of both sides and of course locally some of the crimes have been given importance out of all proportion to their seriousness due to the often rural community nature of many of the local inhabitants and the personal implications for individual families. There are very few families who have been spared all problems.
The Greek Cypriots have always been in the majority and Enosis, or union with Greece, has been an undercurrent of feeling which has occasionally erupted with rival Greek factions being strongly in evidence. I think everybody knows that, in 1959, in Zurich, a major decision was made by the three Powers guaranteeing the island's future, but who knows now what that piece of paper is worth? The Guarantors knew then of the difficulties when they signed and the British certainly realised that their rôle was as a buffer between two antagonistic nations. Since that time many things have happened. There has been the long period of minor aggression between the two sides with possibly the Greek Cypriots as the more energetic ones, continually doing things to discourage and annoy the Turkish Cypriots who were in a permanent minority, and this policy was to prove unacceptable in the long run. Then, when Mr. Sampson organised his coup, it became apparent to the Turkish Cypriots that their somewhat limited aspirations were at stake, and so the Turkish troops were called in.
The Turkish invasion has naturally been scorned by the whole world, and although the Turkish Cypriots, backed by vast forces of Turkish troops, now hold about 40 per cent. of the island, their prospects for international currency, aid, tourism, air travel and even trade by sea are, to say the least, very limited. This inconvenience could, one would hope, be a stimulus and incentive towards the bargaining table, but so far it appears that, although the Greek Cypriots have offered several concessions, the Turkish ones are still awaited. However, after all this time, it is gratifying to find that the Turkish plan is being looked at by the Turkish Prime Minister now with a view to its being made public at the United Nations very soon.
But it is almost a year since the last Greek Cypriot proposals, and the permanent displacement of 200,000 Greek 889 Cypriots from their property leaves some balance to be redressed. No doubt a solution will be very hard to find, for both sides will find it hard to swallow due to the years of conflict and the bitter feelings between them. Both sides are being very obstinate about recognising the other's veiwpoint. The Turkish Cypriots are more worried about their own security than almost anything else, and perhaps this is because they are more by nature the tillers of the land and have not the regular know-how to set up a business quickly in a new area. Their distrust of the Greeks is of very long standing.
There are many people who say that the Greek Cypriots have brought the situation on themselves due to their consistent harrying of the Turkish community over a period of years. Even though I believe there is some substance in this accusation, I feel that the matter goes a great deal deeper, and it is no good raking continuously over the past. A situation exists now and, so long as one bears in mind the main historical innuendoes, that present situation is the one that we must deal with. Otherwise, the historical factors can sometimes blur the problems which we are facing today.
Apart from the domestic problems which may or may not affect other countries, there are various external factors which must be considered. There is NATO, our ultimate bulwark against communist aggression. The Eastern flank has been put in jeopardy by the conflict between Greece and Turkey and, of course, between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots. This is no trifling matter; it has a distinct bearing on the ultimate growth of our potential enemies and a bearing on our own defence structure and it must not be underrated. Secondly—and here I am looking at the problems and rights of many people, not least the British nationals who have lived or have property in Cyrpus—there is the weighty problem of compensation, which is essentially one of property. It is a problem which must necessarily take second place to the problems of settlement and the main problem of basic agreement between the two sides in Cyprus.
When it is agreed what the compensation is, there is the problem of the currency in which the payment will be made. Some people think that the Turkish currency 890 is a little bit spongy, and yet this is one of the most likely currencies that will be used. Her Majesty's Government have a clear duty to establish the facts so that the many individuals involved will get proper financial compensation which they deserve. Then there is the EEC agreement on trade with Cyprus and the duties and levies involved. It can be said that the Council of the EEC has been dilatory in its recommendations, but it has been very difficult to make decisions in the current situation.
So perhaps I can come to the good news. I am sure that all Members of this House have welcomed the forthcoming talks this Friday and Saturday between the Turkish and Cypriot Prime Ministers in Montreux. We are all aware of the great void left by the death of President Makarios last August, and of course there have been varying interpretations put on the talks between President Makarios and Mr. Denktash. But at least they were talking and we hope that there will be more frequent discussions in the future between the opposing factions.
We must also welcome the discussions only last month initiated by my noble friend Lord Bethell between the Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders in this country and hope that some really positive results will be forthcoming from that in the near future. But surely as one of the Guarantor Powers we have an obligation to do something positive while the other two guarantors are so far apart. We are in a position of sorting out, as a kind of uncle, the problems of two rather spoilt children, and as such we have a duty to give a very strong lead. During the past 12 months there have been many informal discussions and visits by both private individuals and the odd Minister, but they have all taken place very quietly. What are the possibilities of making more of a public display of interest, shown throughout the Western World, in the repercussions of any long-term lack of agreement between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots? If we were to propose our recommendations more forcefully, would we not make the two sides realise that we have their interests at heart and want a solution as soon as possible. It is certainly not a Party matter, because all people want a solution even if there are different ways of finding one.
I must ask Her Majesty's Government three questions, of which I have given 891 prior notice: first, what have they done to pursue positive discussions between Greek and Turkish Cypriots? Secondly, what are they doing to promote active relations between Cyprus and the EEC? Thirdly, what steps are they taking to encourage the Greek Cypriot Government to initiate a system of channelling aid for the benefit of both communities? We all know that it is useless to dictate to either side, but in the final analysis any solution relies on the good will and responsible bargaining and concessions of both sides before anything can move at all. This climate is certainly one which must be developed carefully and with great tact.
Perhaps the many official visitors to this island have been too polite and too concerned with fact finding rather than spelling out strongly the possible outcome and consequent problems if the situation is not sorted out very soon. We eagerly await the comments and answers of the Lord Privy Seal who will hopefully tell us of the lead which we are taking and will take when it is clear, after this weekend, that there is some form of agreement between the Turks and the Greeks. If this happens, we look to the Government to spell out loudly and clearly that any discussions are very welcome and offer to play a major role in settling the muddled affairs of Cyprus.
§ 7.54 p.m.
§ Lord BANKS
My Lords, the House is indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Spens, for raising this important matter this evening. I have also had the privilege of reading the very interesting report which he prepared after his visit to the Island. I am sure that the noble Lord will forgive me if I say that in the course of his remarks he appeared to lean rather heavily on the Turkish side of the argument. I do not myself wish to support one side or the other. I believe it is true that the Turkish Cypriots have many grounds for complaint in the period before 1974, but there are certain facts which we cannot ignore; for example, the noble Lord complained that there were no representatives of the Turkish Cypriot minority in the institutions of government, but in December 1963 the Turkish members of the House of Representatives withdrew; in January 1964 the Turkish Vice-President resigned. They may have 892 felt that they had very good reasons for taking these actions, but one can scarcely complain of lack of Turkish representation in the institutions of Government if, of their own choice, they have withdrawn from them.
We cannot ignore the fact that there was a Turkish invasion in 1974 which resulted in the occupation of 40 per cent. of the territory of the Island, and that, although the Turkish Cypriots represent only 18 per cent. of the population, this invasion meant the introduction of troops numbering 40,000, of whom some 30,000 still remain. Then there has been an economic stagnation in the zone occupied by the Turkish forces, and this has been recently underlined in articles in the Financial Times and the Guardian. Also, and I do not think there is any doubt about this, there has also been some introduction into the Turkish-held area of people from Turkey who were never before residents of Cyprus. There has been a rigid partition of the Island and virtually a separate State established. Then there is the question of refugees. There have been refugees on both sides, but it is estimated that there were 200,000 Greek Cypriot refugees.
It seems to me that the problems remain largely the same as they were when we discussed the matter on 14th June 1976— nearly two years ago—at the instigation of the noble Lord, Lord Caradon. These are the issues as I see them—as I saw them then and as I think the House saw them then. What amount of land should the Turks give up? What amount of land will they give up? How many of the refugees can be re-established in their homes? How distinct will the two communities be? Will there be any intermingling between the communities which seems desirable in a State if it is to remain a unified State? How rigid will the Turks be about that? Will there be a unified economy? Will it really be one country? We know that the concept of a bi-zonal communal federation is accepted, but how much power will there be at the centre? What about the balance at the centre? Will there be parity, as I believe the Turks would like, although they have only 18 per cent. of the population, or will there be some other distribution?
Two years ago we spoke of the European Economic Community and the Commonwealth 893 playing a significant part, and the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, agreed that this was a desirable outcome. Perhaps the noble Lord the Leader of the House will be able to tell us, as indeed he has already been asked, how far the United Kingdom, the Nine and the Commonwealth have been able to work together to seek a solution since we last debated this matter.
Dr. Kurt Waldheim, Secretary-General of the United Nations, has continued his efforts. In January/February 1977 the new guidelines which the noble Lord, Lord Spens, read out were established and there were talks between Archbishop Makarios and Mr. Denktash. In the sixth round of communal talks which followed between 31st March and 17th April 1977, a Greek plan was put forward on behalf of the Greek Cypriots which suggested that 20 per cent. of the territory of the Island should be in the administration of the Turkish community, and a map was produced showing the views of the Greek Cypriots as to exactly where the boundaries should be and where the 20 per cent. of the territory should be. They reckoned that 120,000 of the refugees could go back under Greek Community control as a result of their plan, and that the others could either go back under Turkish rule, or remain where they were, with compensation.
On the other side, the Turks spoke of a federation by evolution, as indeed did the noble Lord, Lord Spens—a very loose kind of association, the exact nature of which has not yet been specified. According to Archbishop Makarios—and I do not think that this has been denied—the Turkish Cypriots wanted to retain 32.8 per cent. of the territory, as against the 20 per cent. which the Greek Cypriots suggested they should have. But there was no Turkish map showing exactly where the Turkish Cypriots thought the boundary should be. There was no clear indication of the powers that they thought the federal government should have when the new bi-zonal federation was established.
However, since that time—and I think it fair to say that discussions petered out because of the lack of a concrete Turkish plan—there has been a general election in Turkey, and a change of Government, and in recent weeks we have had the promise from Mr. Denktash to let the 894 United Nations and Dr. Waldheim have their new proposals. I understand that these proposals will be available any time now. There has been some talk about the possibility of a breakthrough here, and indeed I hope that that will be so. But I notice that both the Greeks and the Greek Cypriots are, inevitably, doubtful at this stage that these proposals will show any advance on the position which has been taken up previously by the Turks. But at any rate, we are promised that the proposals will be concrete.
There is a fear on the part of the Greeks, both in Cyprus and in Greece, that the United States Government may be prepared to persuade Congress to ratify the US-Turkish Defence Agreement before the terms are known, and I feel that that would be unfortunate. But Mr. Denktash has been in Ankara, and shortly before that President Kyprianou was in Athens, and as the noble Lord, Lord Newall, has reminded us, the Greek and Turkish Prime Ministers are to meet this coming weekend. One cannot stress too strongly the importance of a rapprochement between Greece and Turkey as a background to the possibility of a settlement in Cyprus.
Rapprochement is also desirable in the context of NATO, and I think that it would be necessary before enlargement of the EEC takes place and the Government of Greece is participating in political co-operation with the other members of the Community. So we must hope that this meeting this weekend will show the beginnings of an agreement between the Greek and Turkish Governments.
Now there is a new Prime Minister in Turkey. He suffers in one sense from the disadvantage that he was the Prime Minister who launched the invasion, but he is freer now to take a more conciliatory line. His political position makes him freer to do that, and perhaps for the very reason that he was the Prime Minister who launched the invasion he has the authority now to take a conciliatory line, and I very much hope that he will. I hope that there will be the same conciliatory line on the other side, too. To reach agreement will not be easy, but I hope that the United Kingdom, in conjunction with our partners in the EEC, in NATO and in the Commonwealth, will make every effort by quiet, persistent 895 diplomacy to effect reconciliation and understanding between Greece and Turkey, and between the two communities who must live together in this small, but strategically situated island.
§ 8.5 p.m.
§ Lord HYLTON
My Lords, as has been said already, the House is very much indebted to the noble Lord, Lord Spens, for raising this question of Cyprus, and I should like to offer him congratulations at raising it and at a very appropriate moment. I really do admire his timing. The noble Lord has done another service: he has stated very clearly, and very succinctly, the Turkish case, or the case of the Turkish Cypriots. To my knowledge this has not previously been done in your Lordships' House, and the noble Lord has fulfilled a real need. The noble Lord, Lord Banks, has done quite enough by way of answering him on certain points.
I should like to take a rather different line, and examine what should be our own approach to these very difficult questions, and similar very difficult questions, which affect not only Cyprus, but other nations and other situations of conflict as well. I want to look at what our approach should be as members of a House of Parliament, equally as members of Government, or indeed as diplomats, or simply as members of the public who are committed to the cause of peace.
I should like to start with a quotation from the trial of Dr. Beyers Navde, a South African who was put on trial under one of the numerous repressive statutes in existence in that country. In answer to a question, he replied:No reconciliation is possible without justice, and whoever works for reconciliation must first determine the causes of injustice in the hearts and lives of those who feel themselves aggrieved. In order to determine the causes of injustice a person must not only have the outward individual facts of the matter, but as a Christian you are called to identify yourself in heart and soul, to live in, to think in, and to feel in the heart, in the consciousness, the feelings of the person or persons who themselves are aggrieved".That gives us a good starting point because we have to do a work which affects both the mind and the heart. Objectively, we have to study what the situation is; why are there grievances? We have to understand the facts. We 896 have to understand, also, how each party to the conflict sees and understands those facts. So our approach has to be both objective and subjective. I feel that, we are in addition, called upon to love both sides as persons. We should certainly hate and detest the crimes and atrocities—one might say the sins—that have been committed in the course of a long drawn-out conflict. But unless we can love both sides, we have no chance of acting as reconcilers.
So, if that is our approach, what else is needed? I suggest that in the country in question, Cyprus, there is a great need of a change of heart. When we last debated this matter the noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, spoke of "implacable nationalistic animosities". Those are the things that need to be left behind. I suggest that there has to be a turning away from fear, and hatred, and all the things that produce those emotions, in the direction of hope and of friendship. I fully accept that such a change of heart may take quite a long time yet to come about, and so that in the interim other things are necessary as well.
I suggest that we need a political approach and a determined effort to make a long-term plan for the future of the Island. There have been a number of suggestions made as to how a long-term plan might be devised. The noble Lord, Lord Caradon, has suggested a United Nations conciliation mission which would meet all sides, study the question and finally report back to the Security Council. That might be one method. Another method might be to set up a working party among the three Guarantor Powers, with perhaps the possibility of outside, co-opted members. The noble Lord, Lord Banks, has already touched on a number of the points which would have to be incorporated in a long-term plan. These include the Constitution, the question of territory and the question of economics. If one were thinking of the matter in an Irish context, one would be talking about cross-Border co-operation.
In the making of a plan, I hope it will be accepted that the Treaty of 1960 imposed no legal obligations on the three Powers: it simply gave them a legal right, after consultations, to act in such a way as to restore the status quo ante-1963. It is indeed uncertain whether the status 897 quo can now be restored as it was 15 years ago. I think we have also to accept that intercommunal talks have been going on, coming off and going on again for some 14 years. One may ask oneself: Did the parties really desire a solution in those intercommunal talks? We do not know. I think we can take it for granted that the negotiators themselves desired to reach a solution, but what constraints were placed upon them? So, if we accept those two factors about the nature of the talks we have had so far, the lack of a definite agenda and timetable, and the weaknesses of the Treaty of 1960, we still need a long-term plan that is capable of being modified and adapted to suit the particular requirements of the local interests.
There is another point which needs urgent attention in the interim—it has already been referred to tonight—and that is the question of compensation. I suggest that the very fact of assessing compensation will do a lot to defuse the situation, and will provide an incentive towards agreement. Who needs, or who may need, compensation? The Turks, who have had to move out from the south; the Greeks who have had to abandon their homes and properties in the north; and in addition, of course, the British residents. It occurs to me that the experience of the 1920s may be relevant in this context, because those years saw rather massive exchanges of population between Greece and Turkey which, in the end, were accepted by both sides. It may well be that an international assessment panel and some method of collecting compensation monies into a central, perhaps internationally-administered, fund and then paying them out, may be desirable.
Those, then, are my two suggestions for the interim. What of the longer term? I suggest that we need to have a vision of the future—a vision of an island of great beauty whose inhabitants have a most wonderful spirit of hospitality, but where one finds at the present time two very deeply wounded communities. Out of those wounds we must look to seeing in the future an independent, free, re-united Cyprus. We must look forward to the day when Greeks and Turks will live together again in what one might call symbiosis, as they have done in many places from the late 16th century to the present day. One may hope again to see mixed villages and mixed towns. It is our 898 earnest wish, I think, that Christians and Moslems should discover their common allegiance to the One True God; and, if one may press St. Paul into service in this debate, I think we must say with him, as he did in his letter to the Ephesians:For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition …; having abolished in His flesh the enmity; that He might create in Himself of the twain one new man, so making peace; and might reconcile them both in one body unto God through the Cross; for through Him we both have our access in one spirit unto the Father.".
§ 8.16 p.m.
§ Lord BROCKWAY
My Lords, I think those of us who have listened to this debate may be inclined to take the fatalistic view that there is an irreconcilable division between the Cypriot and Turkish populations. I am reminded of a visit to Cyprus—my first—very many years ago. I then heard of the harmony which there had been among the Cypriot, the Greek and the Turkish populations on the Island; of how, in the villages, in the heat of the day, Turkish and Greek families would rest together in the shade of trees; and how their children, Greek and Turkish, would play around them. My Lords, historically that is not so far away. It was very near to the time when the conflict for their independence began between the Cypriot people and the British Armed Forces.
How did the conflict between the two peoples begin? I would say that, first, it was a result of the armed hostilities before the independence of Cyprus was gained. That conflict began to divide the people of Cyprus. You had, on the one hand, the Greek population declaring for Enosis and for unity with Greece; and, inevitably, as a reaction, you had the Turkish population antagonistic to that very idea. Independence came—the Zurich Constitution; a Constitution which permitted a great deal of Turkish participation in the government of the Island.
President Makarios governed Cyprus. All who met him must have appreciated his stature; his character, his strength; but he represented the Greek element in that Island. And I think that this must be acknowledged as we look back to that period: that, under his administration, the spirit if not the letter of the Zurich Agreement for the participation of the Turkish population was denied. I think one has to recognise that that was 899 one of the contributions to the present situation. Then came violence, violence not instigated by the Government but by extreme forces which, even here, in opposition to the Government. The noble Lord, Lord Spens, has referred to a massacre; but the killing was not all on one side. I do not think that anyone can say that what happened justified the Turkish invasion. I think that that has been condemned by all who deny the right of an external Power to intervene by armed force in an internal situation.
My Lords, does the noble Lord agree, even when that external Power was one of the three Guarantors of the 1960 Constitution?
§ Lord BROCKWAY
My Lords, I should have thought that the very fact that Turkey was one of the three Guarantors should have meant that before Turkey took that action there should have been discussions and agreement with the Greek and the British Governments, who were also Guarantors of the integrity of Cyprus.
My Lords, I am not trying to put the point of view of one community against the other; and I have to recognise that although it is deplorable that that comparatively small Island, with all the history of its past to which the noble Lord, Lord Newall, referred, should be divided, I think we have now to accept, if we are to be practical, that some division will have to take place. I would say that the present lines between the Turkish community and the Greek community are absolutely impossible. That 18 per cent. of the population should have 40 per cent. of the territory of that small Island is inconceivable as any permanent solution.
The noble Lord, Lord Spens, referred to a large part of the port of Famagusta. At this moment, it is as though the neutron bomb had fallen upon Famagusta. I have been there. Almost its entire population was Greek. Now there is no population at all. Streets are empty, houses are empty, shops are empty, hotels are empty; it is a city without people. And the people who lived there were Greek. It is quite impossible to think of lines of demarcation in Cyprus 900 which will exclude Famagusta from the Greek population.
My Lords, there will have to be a redrawing of the lines between the Turkish and the Cypriot populations if there is to be any final solution of that problem. I deeply hope that the talks which are now proceeding may bring about a solution. I should not be honest if I did not say at once that I am doubtful about it. I think that that solution must be one where, for a time at least, one must accept the division of the Island, a federal relationship between the Turkish and the Greek parts of that Island, with a good deal of autonomy on both sides.
I hope that these talks will bring about that result; but I conclude by making the proposal which the noble Lord, Lord Caradon, made in his speech in this House when we last debated this issue. He suggested that the United Nations should send a mission to Cyprus, a very authoritative mission, representing the leading Powers of the West, representing the leading Powers of the East, representing the neutral nations of the world—at the highest possible level, a level which could not possibly be ignored—to go to Cyprus and, in Cyprus, to meet the representatives of the Greek population, to meet the representatives of the Turkish population; and to seek to bring about an agreement and to go back to the United Nations Security Council with recommendations for a solution of that problem.
My Lords, we are supposed to have in Cyprus a United Nations peace-keeping force. If one had a mission of that character with a report which was endorsed by the Security Council, surely that peacekeeping force might be utilised in order to bring about the solution which was proposed ! I believe that that is the constructive answer to the present problem, and I hope that Her Majesty's Government will seriously consider it.
§ 8.28 p.m.
§ Lord BOURNE
My Lords, I do not often have the pleasure of following the noble Lord, Lord Brockway. It is usually the other way round. But, in view of the fact that it is very nearly two years since Cyprus was debated in this House, I think that we all ought to be very grateful that my noble friend Lord Spens introduced the subject.
901 He made the position absolutely clear. He said that the basis of the 1960 Treaty of Guarantee was, 1, 2, 3: Enosis, out! Taksim, out!—that is, the division of the island—and that Cyprus should be united and independent. The noble Lord, Lord Caradon, said also that he thought that people who had served in Cyprus—I served there for a year, and he had done so twice—owed some sense of obligation to the people of Cyprus and that we ought to speak in these debates. At that time we all accepted Lord Caradon's principles; but unfortunately the Treaty of Guarantee lasted only 14 years. It had a pretty rocky time because Makarios worked secretly for Enosis. It is now a dead letter and so are Lord Caradon's principles.
Going back to the question of living together, Greek and Turkish Cypriots have lived together for hundreds of years, but they never, as the noble Lord, Lord Spens, quoted, set up a single commercial partnership together. That was a remark written by a barrister of Grays Inn. In his report he mentioned that and I take it that we all agree. It was a most significant statement. Makarios, when taking the Oath on becoming Archbishop of Cyprus in 1970, said hewould never waiver from our policy of annexing Cyprus to Mother Greece.He did not achieve it, unfortunately, before he died. No wonder that the recent history of Cyprus is littered with massacres on both sides—horrible massacres. Any plan, to my mind, which involves going back to living alongside each other is out. Nikos Sampson tried to turn out Makarios in a coup, and if it had not been for the Turkish invasion he would have declared Enosis; but, unfortunately, he did not.
I believe that any agreed plan must ensure two things: one, the Greek Cypriots have to give up Enosis as a basis of their ideas; and two, the Island must be divided. The noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, in his winding-up speech in the debate two or three years ago, said that federation was coming our way. Most people agreed.
There are four ways of achieving this aim. One is the EEC. I think that the noble Baroness, Lady Elles, favoured them. They have had a bad time recently and I personally do not think—although they do other things quite well—that they 902 would suit here. Secondly, NATO, with 25 years' experience, will never give up Akrotiri and they will never give up the British sovereign bases. Thirdly, there is the United Nations. My Lords, we have had plenty of resolutions from them and nobody takes the slightest notice. Fourthly, there are the inter-communal talks. Of these four, I would suggest the inter-communal talks are the best hope. But there is one proviso: they seem to have been going along at what I would call a leisurely rate. I am delighted to hear of the meeting of the Prime Ministers which is to take place in Switzerland shortly.
I would apply the American system to them: lock them up until they have reached a solution. That is the way that the jeep was invented and it did not do so badly. We are still driving around in jeeps. The Turkish Government may shortly be submitting a memorandum, if Mr. Judd is to be believed. My advice to the Greek Cypriots is this; agree it and, if necessary, give way to the Turks. After all, the Turks have 30,000 troops and at least a squadron of tanks and they may decide to invade again. Then where would we be? I personally think the Greek-Cypriot case on a three-year basis is very much to be encouraged. I also recommend an independent president. The Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots never seem to agree about anything. They would have to agree if they had an independent Cyprus for a three-year period; then the United Nations Security Council could review the situation. This may be looking backwards towards the 1960 Treaty, but I think anything in that 1960 Treaty that is repeated is absolutely fatal. I think it is better to walk before you run.
§ 8.38 p.m.
§ Viscount SLIM
My Lords, I apologise for not putting my name down on the list of speakers in time for this debate. I will not delay your Lordships long. Cyprus is my second home—or it was—and I naturally have some views and feelings which may be helpful to your Lordships. When we speak, as many noble Lords have, about the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish Cypriot not being able to get on together, that is true in some respects. But, as has been said already, we mixed Greek and Turkish Cypriots together. 903 In our colonial days there, when we ran the country, we encouraged this separate development, not with the malice that goes on in other countries, but because it was more convenient. Moslem and Greek Orthodox could go their separate ways. The sad thing was, as the noble Lord, Lord Spens, said, that there was not even a single university, joint school or anything like that, to bring the two communities together.
If we have to look back—and the tragedy of Cyprus is that everybody looks back and not forwards—we must realise that that was part of our administration and the policy that went with it. Hindsight shows that perhaps it was not very clever. But the tragedy and the ravages that have taken place since bring me on to my second point, and here I speak for the British national who was left and suffered in the invasion. The harsh, brutal treatment—and I live, or used to, in the Turkish-conquered are a—by those invading armies was quite unnecessary. It was given to the Turkish Cypriot, to the British national and to anybody else who happened to be living there. It was quite without need. They did not actually have to conquer the bit of territory they wanted with 30,000 troops: it could have been done with a quarter of that number, even to make a show of force and to win.
I believe that, however much one likes to blame Athens or however much one likes to blame the Greek Cypriots—and there are wrongs on both sides—the Turkish Government today should be the first to make some gesture towards this compensation which several noble Lords have talked about. I would say this to the Turkish Government: "Your economy is not in a very good state. You are not alone in this, but yours in some ways is not even as good as others. If you want help and aid from around the world, you should make a commitment to see that this compensation, wherever it may be due, to whatever person of whatever nationality" —because a lot of Turkish Cypriots suffered too and so far the Turkish Government have not paid them any compensation— "should be assessed fairly and you should stand up and say that you will pay". I am not trying to blackmail them, but I am merely saying that in Ankara today they are 904 standing slightly with their hands out, wanting assistance; and that assistance should be given, in my view, with a few strings attached to it.
My Lords, I would say one further thing. I believe that the solution to the Cyprus problem—and I agree, as I think we all do, that there will be boundaries, partitions, and perhaps some loose form of federalism to come out of this—lies in the areas where these talks are to take place this coming weekend: it lies between the Turkish and Greek Governments. That is where the decision can be made. It is true that the Greek Cypriot, with all the schisms on him, can usually speak with one voice; but the Turkish Cypriot, I am afraid—and the Turkish Cypriot is my friend—today can speak only with the voice of Ankara.
We ask: What can the British Government do? In my view, the British Government should be seen to be in the arena and should be seen to support these talks, aimed at getting the Greek and Turkish Governments together. At the same time, as the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, has said, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots should be allowed to speak together unfettered. My Lords, thank you for allowing me to intervene.
§ 8.44 p.m.
§ Lord PEART
My Lords, I am in a sense a substitute. The noble Lord, Lord Goronwy-Roberts, would have replied to this debate but he is representing this country at a very important conference in Yugoslavia. However, I am a member of the Government and therefore must weigh my words carefully this evening. In this debate we have had a variety of views excellently put and we have had some very fine and moving speeches. I think that the noble Viscount, Lord Slim, in his short contribution, made a very fine plea for a better understanding of the situation and, following his long experience in Cyprus, naturally we take great note of it. I thought that the noble Lord, Lord Brockway, made a characteristically humane speech and put forward suggestions about the United Nations and the need to send a commission. Other noble Lords—the noble Lords, Lord Banks and Lord Hylton, and the noble Lord, Lord Newall, who spoke for the Opposition—made valuable contributions.
905 The debate was initiated by the noble Lord, Lord Spens, who is sitting next to the noble Lord, Lord Bourne, who made a characteristically succinct and clear speech. I would only say to the noble Lord, Lord Spens, that I thought he weighed heavily on one side, and I believe the noble Lord, Lord Banks, was right, not actually to chide him but to remind the House that he was really putting a Turkish case. It may be that he was there for I do not know how many days; I was there for a little longer, but I would not claim to be an expert. However, I have always carefully followed matters affecting that part of the world.
Over the years, in the Council of Europe and other places, I have taken a great interest in Cyprus. It is a lovely Island and I feel it is such a tragedy that it should not be an island of peace but just an island of beauty. I believe that we must achieve peace there and so I will first put broadly what I think is the right approach and give the Government's point of view. Naturally, noble Lords have expressed concern—indeed the noble Lord, Lord Newall, stressed this—at the continued lack of progress towards a just and lasting settlement in Cyprus. May I say that the British Government fully share this concern. The two communities in Cyprus have had to live for too long in the shadow of inter-communal strife. The suffering caused by the tragic events of recent years must be brought to an end as soon as possible. The noble Lord, Lord Brockway, was quite right to stress that. We must not tread the past.
The Government have acknowledged that Britain, for historic and other reasons, has a special position in Cyprus. We have therefore been closely involved for many years in the efforts to bring about a just system in Cyprus in which the two communities can live together in peace and can respect each other's legitimate interests. We had hoped that after the intensive negotiations which brought the Island to independence in 1960 we had arrived at such a system. Unfortunately this was not to be, and the Cypriots have been the victims of continuous inter-communal tension and recurrent violence ever since. In the various crises the British Government have exerted every effort to forestall violence and, in particular, in 1974 the then Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary, now the Prime 906 Minister, did all that was humanly possible to resolve the crisis by seeking the agreement of the parties to revise constitutional arrangements. Most regrettably, despite two conferences at Geneva, these efforts have not been successful; so I say to noble Lords that the present situation in Cyprus should satisfy nobody. The friends of Cyprus, and the Cypriots themselves, cannot allow Cyprus to drift towards an embittered division. The Government have, therefore, been engaged in intensive diplomatic activity in order to persuade the parties to get down to real negotiations. We shall continue to offer advice and encouragement whenever appropriate.
In addition, Britain is making, and has made for many years, a valuable positive contribution to the present uneasy peace on the Island, without which negotiations would be impossible. Britain supplies, at its own expense, a third of the strength of the United Nations peace-keeping force in the Island. Although we would naturally wish to see this burden, which is heavy in terms of both manpower and of finance, come to an end, we are fully aware of the value of this contribution to peace-keeping in Cyprus and that is why we have maintained this commitment for so many years.
We have made clear to the parties to the dispute that we are willing, together with our partners, to take any initiative which the parties consider would help towards a solution. But, if Britain is to exert a positive influence, it is vital that our policy is seen to be even-handed. We do not, therefore, believe that it would be helpful to put pressure on one side or the other, irrespective of circumstances. But, where appropriate, we shall certainly make clear to the parties our view of the direction in which progress lies.
However, it is important to remember that the two communities themselves must negotiate a settlement. It is they who will have to live with a settlement, and they must therefore agree to its terms. This will require a considerable measure of statesmanship and patience on the part of both sides. Both Greek and Turkish Cypriots must be prepared to make concessions in order to achieve peace and justice for their respective communities. Both must commit themselves to negotiations which will inevitably be pains- 907 taking, long and difficult. Only in this manner can lasting peace be achieved. No settlement could be lasting if it were imposed from outside, and lacked the commitment of both communities in Cyprus.
The Government therefore believe that the intercommunal talks, under the auspices of the United Nations Secretary-General, offer the best means of progress, since the talks bring together the two parties directly concerned. The Government therefore greatly welcome the efforts made by Dr. Waldheim to bring about the resumption of the talks. Britain in particular, and the international community in general, owes a great debt of gratitude to Dr. Waldheim for his perseverence at what must at times be a thankless task. But we believe that his painstaking efforts to persuade the people of Cyprus to agree on the terms of a just and peaceful settlement deserve our continued whole-hearted support and must end in success.
I know that the noble Lord, Lord Newall, asked me about this weekend's meeting between the Greek and Turkish Prime Minister, and I will deal with that.
Apart from the involvement of the Cypriots themselves, and of Dr. Waldheim I would add that, obviously, the mother countries of the two communities can also help towards a settlement. I am therefore pleased to note that the new Turkish Government has made clear its desire for early progress towards a settlement, and Britain looks forward with keen interest to the proposals which the Turkish side have undertaken to put forward. In our view, it is very important that these proposals should be constructive and detailed, so that they may lead to an early resumption of the intercommunal talks. It is equally important that, if such proposals are put forward by the Turkish side, the Greek side should react positively. Otherwise, another good opportunity for real progress will have been lost.
On the talks which are to take place, the Government welcome the meeting between the Greek and Turkish Prime Ministers, and hope that this meeting will pave the way for a resolution of the differences between Greece and Turkey. I think that all noble Lords, whatever their views and whatever their prejudices, will 908 hope that the talks which are now going on, and which will go on this weekend, will lead to success and rapprochement between the two sides.
I should like to say something at this point about the British Government's policy on recognition in Cyprus, which is an important aspect of our overall policy. We have been criticised in some quarters for having any dealings with the self-styled "Government"—and I am using quotation marks here—of the "Turkish Federated State of Cyprus" and its agents, since we do not recognise them. On the other hand, it has been said that the Government's policy is not realistic, given the present de facto situation in Cyprus.
I do not believe that either criticism is valid. The Government's policy on recognition is that, pending a settlement, we recognise only one Government in Cyprus, that of President Kyprianou, which is of course composed only of Greek Cypriots at present. But, at the same time, we consider that the Turkish Cypriot minority are entitled to have their legitimate interests respected; and British Ministers and officials have regular contacts with the leaders of the Turkish Cypriot community. This has enabled us, among other things, to urge the Turkish Cypriots to meet claims for compensation by British citizens in respect of losses during the Turkish invasion of 1974.
There are, of course, wider factors to take into account when considering the Cyprus problem. Apart from the distress which the lack of a settlement will cause to the people of Cyprus, there is a direct Western interest in preventing the Cyprus problem from continuing to fester. Otherwise, relations between Greece and Turkey, two of Britain's valuable allies in NATO, will continue to suffer great strain. It is important that Greece and Turkey should be able to resolve this difference, as well as the other differences between them, so that they can once again play a full part in the NATO alliance. For all these reasons, the Government believe that early progress towards a settlement is vital. We shall do all we can to help, but I repeat that it is for the parties involved to make a real effort to bring about a just and lasting solution, in the interests of all concerned.
909 I was asked one or two questions. The noble Lord, Lord Spens, asked about the Greek Cypriot embargo on Turkish occupied airports and seaports. May I say that under international agreements the use of Ercan Airport is not allowed, because it has not been designated by the Government of Cyprus. It is British policy to uphold these agreements to which we are a party. As regards the use of ports in northern Cyprus, the British Government's policy on trade with Cyprus is that that is a matter for the commercial concerns involved. Again, I was asked by the noble Lord, Lord Spens, about aid and about this being shared fairly between the two communities. As he knows, there is a modest programme of technical co-operation which includes support in education and natural resources. We also provide funds which enable some Cypriot students, both Greek and Turkish, to study in the United Kingdom. We believe that both communities should benefit in fair proportion from foreign aid.
The noble Lord, Lord Newall, pressed me on the question of compensation. May I just say that the Turkish Cypriot Compensation Commission was formally established on 12th January 1978, and its chairman has been named. The Commission is currently settling its detailed terms of reference. When these are announced, a circular letter will be sent to all those on our property register, advising them of the procedure to be followed in submitting their claims. My honourable friend the Minister of State, Mr. Judd, has recently returned from Cyprus where he has discussed the matter again with the Turkish Cypriots: and, also, we are continuing to impress upon them the need to deal quickly with these claims.
I could go on answering many detailed points. I will certainly write, as I always do, to Members who have raised specific points which I may have overlooked. But I think that this debate has been a good one. Here and there, there have been differences of emphasis, but all of us will wish the talks in Montreux well, and let us hope that we shall have peace again in Cyprus.