HC Deb 27 January 1947 vol 432 cc586-7
27. Brigadier Fitzroy Maclean

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Burma whether he is satisfied that the Burmese delegation attending the discussions with His Majesty's Government represents adequately the views of that important section of Burmese opinion which is opposed to severing Burma's connection with the British Empire and Commonwealth.

The Under-Secretary of State for Burma (Mr. Arthur Henderson)

In accordance with the terms of the invitation of His Majesty's Government the Delegation is composed of a representative group of Burmans from the Governor's Executive Council.

Brigadier Maclean

Is not that a nominated body, and will not His Majesty's Government wait until there have been elections in order to discuss these very important questions with elected representatives of the Burmese people?

Mr. Henderson

No, Sir. I am afraid it is not a question of waiting now. The Conference is taking place in London at this moment.

28. Brigadier Maclean

asked the Under-Secretary of. State for Burma if he will give an assurance that, during the present and forthcoming discussions with the Burmese delegation, no alteration will be made in our frontier areas policy without reference to this House.

Mr. A. Henderson

Yes, Sir. It remains a cardinal feature of the policy of His Majesty's Government that the inclusion of the frontier areas in a free and unified Burma, which they are anxious to promote at the earliest practicable date, must be dependent on the free consent of the frontier peoples.

Mr. Blackburn

Is it the intention of the Government to secure the agreement of the Karens and the other hill tribes who fought so gallantly with us during the war?

Mr. Henderson

I have just tried to make it as clear as possible that this must be dependent upon the free assent of the frontier peoples, who will, of course, include the Karens and the Chins.