HC Deb 17 March 1947 vol 435 cc12-3
17. Mr. Wyatt

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in how many instances the Dutch navy has intercepted British ships in Indonesian waters; what were the circumstances, and whether any protest has been made to the Dutch Government.

Mr. McNeil

There have been eleven reported instances of interception by the Dutch Navy in the Java Sea of British shipping carrying cargoes to and from Indonesian ports. According to our information the interceptions were made at or near the three-mile limit of territorial waters. The ships were subsequently escorted to Dutch controlled ports for examination of their cargoes, the journey usually taking place outside the limit of territorial waters. On 26th February and again on 12th March—in respect of the more recent incidents—the Netherlands Government were requested for an explanation and for an assurance that such incidents would not be repeated.

Mr. W. Fletcher

Is the Minister aware that protests have been made both by Lord Killearn and the Government of Singapore with the hope of clarifying the position so that proper trade between Indonesia and the rest of the world will take place? Will he take some other action rather than wait and see?

Mr. McNeil

I have already pointed out that we are not waiting to see. We have already twice asked for explanations of these incidents, and the reasons given in the answer to a previous Question, relating to the propriety of international action, apply in this case as well.

Mr. Wyatt

Has my right hon. Friend received any assurance from the Dutch Government that while they are investigating the circumstances the incidents will not be repeated?