HC Deb 14 September 1950 vol 478 cc1250-1
Mr. Clement Davies

(by Private Notice) asked the Prime Minister what instructions have been given, or is it proposed to give, to the United Kingdom representatives at the forthcoming meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations regarding the action taken by the Government of the Union of South Africa in incorporating South West Africa and regarding the opinion of the International Court of Justice with reference to the legal status of South West Africa and the continuing obligations of the Union Government under the mandate.

The Prime Minister (Mr. Attlee)

South West Africa was originally entrusted to the Government of the Union of South Africa under a League of Nations "C" class Mandate according to which it was to be administered as an integral portion of the Union. The question of the present status of the Territory was the subject of a recent advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. It is, of course, the general policy of the United Kingdom Government to support the authority of the Court and to accept its advisory opinions, but it would not be in accordance with normal practice to disclose in advance the actual instructions to our delegation to the United Nations General Assembly.

Mr. Davies

Is not it a fact that the Court at The Hague has declared that the Mandate is still continuing in full force, and therefore have not the Government the obligation to uphold that decision?

The Prime Minister

That hardly arises out of the Question, which was about the instructions that are being given. It would not be in accordance with practice, nor would it be desirable prior to a meeting of this kind, that instructions given to delegates should be published. I may say that I think that at the present time there is no resolution before the Assembly.

Sir Ian Fraser

Will the Prime Minister bear in mind the ready recognition, which seemed to receive the assent of all parts of this House, of the action of the Israeli Government when territory adjoining that country was recently incorporated by that Government?

Mr. A. Fenner Brockway

Is the Prime Minister aware of the very strong feeling among a large section of the population of this country against the forcible incorporation of South West Africa into the Union of South Africa without consultation with the people of that Territory?

The Prime Minister

That is, of course, a different question, and I naturally try to inform myself on all these matters.