HC Deb 02 February 1949 vol 460 cc1655-6
14. Mr. Platts-Mills

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what requests have been received from the Netherlands authorities for the use by the Royal Dutch Airlines of the island of Mauritius as a base while the normal route across India is denied them by the Indian and Pakistani Governments; and what reply has been made.

Mr. Bevin

The Netherlands Government requested permission from His Majesty's Government for the use of Mauritius by Royal Dutch Air Lines for their air service to Batavia. In accordance with their obligations under the Chicago agreements relating to Civil Aviation of 1944, to which the United Kingdom and the Netherlands are both parties, His Majesty's Government have felt bound to accede to this request. The Netherlands Government have given His Majesty's Government an undertaking that no military personnel, arms, ammunition or warlike stores will be carried by aircraft using this route.

Mr. Platts-Mills

Does not the Foreign Secretary think it would be safer if we entirely forbade the use of this island to the Dutch, bearing in mind that our two sister members of the Commonwealth have done so, and that the British people do not like what the Dutch are doing in Indonesia?

Mr. Bevin

International agreements are international agreements, and under the Chicago agreements His Majesty's Government could not ban the Dutch from using this route unless they also banned themselves and the French. Those are the conditions laid down in the Convention. No sanctions have been applied on this matter, and we are averse from applying unilateral sanctions.

Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

Would not it be a friendly act to assist the Dutch Government in crushing the thugs, gangsters and Communists in Indonesia?

Mr. Mikardo

In taking this action, did my right hon. Friend have due regard to the necessity not to offend the Moslem Powèr of Pakistan, which he took into consideration so much in another connection?

Mr. Bevin

We informed them on this matter just as we informed them on other matters about which they felt deeply.