HC Deb 23 February 1949 vol 461 c1854
48. Mr. Gammans

asked the Minister of Defence if he is satisfied that the British military mission in Burma is fulfilling any useful purpose; and what instructions have been issued to them to prevent their being involved in a civil war.

Mr. Alexander

The British Services Mission have done, and are doing, useful work in the difficult conditions now prevailing in Burma. The directive issued to the Head of the Mission provides that its functions are purely advisory.

Mr. Gammans

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what good work the Mission can possibly be doing in a country which is in a state of chaos? What guarantee can he give the House that the Mission will not be involved indirectly, if not directly, in a civil war against the Karens?

Mr. Alexander

As regards the last point, the actual wording of the directive to them provides that they are in a purely advisory capacity. As to the first part of the supplementary question, I am quite satisfied that in the difficult circumstances the Mission is faithfully and properly carrying out our agreement with the Burmese Government.

Colonel Gomme-Duncan

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whom the Mission are actually meant to advise?

Mr. Alexander

Under the agreement with the Burmese Government they advise the Burmese Government.