HC Deb 21 February 1951 vol 484 cc1273-5
18. Mr. A. Fenner Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether his attention has been drawn to the landing of South Korean marines supported by a naval bombardment from American ships at Wonsan, 88 miles north of the 38th Parallel: and what action His Majesty's Government intend to take in view of their official pronouncement that the 38th Parallel ought not to be crossed again without full consultation with the United Nations, and, in particular, with those Member States whose Forces are fighting in Korea.

Mr. Ernest Davies

Yes, Sir. As stated by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister in his speech in the House on 12th February, His Majesty's Government are in close touch with the United States Government on questions connected with the 38th Parallel.

Mr. Brockway

Will the Minister bear in mind that on the last occasion when the United Nations troops reached the 38th Parallel, the offer of negotiations then was prejudiced by the advance permitted to the South Koreans, and will he keep that in mind in view of the landing now of South Koreans north of the 38th Parallel?

Mr. Davies

I cannot quite accept the interpretation put forward by my hon. Friend of the situation which arose at that time. Before crossing the 38th Parallel, an appeal was made by the United Nations, General MacArthur, and by members of the American and British Governments, for a surrender of the North Koreans or for negotiations, but there was no response.

Mr. Henry Strauss

Is not the question of the crossing of the 38th Parallel at. present governed by the United Nations' Resolution of 7th October, 1950? Does the Prime Minister's statement mean that His Majesty's Government are going to seek a modification of that Resolution?

Mr. Davies

The United Nations' Resolution stands, but statements have subsequently been made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, to which the hon. and learned Gentleman referred, by President Truman, and by General MacArthur. For the sake of clarity, I would point out that the present position is this. It has been made clear that where, for local tactical reasons, it may be necessary to make small incursions over the 38th Parallel, that would be considered a military matter, but that any substantial crossing of the Parallel would be a political matter on which consultation would take place.

Mr. S. Silverman

In view of the Prime Minister's recent statement, could my hon. Friend undertake that no British Forces will be allowed, except in the purely tactical sense to which he refers, beyond the 38th Parallel until agreement on the political aspects of the matter has been reached with our Allies?

Mr. Davies

The operations in Korea are by United Nations Forces, and action taken there will be a matter for the U.N. command representing all the nations providing the troops and materials for those Forces.

Mr. J. Langford-Holt

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether a report which has appeared today that His Majesty's Government have ordered British naval forces to cease operations north of the 38th Parallel is correct or incorrect?

Mr. Davies

I have no knowledge of that.

Mr. Philips Price

Can my hon. Friend say whether my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister or the Foreign Office were consulted, or even informed, before this action was taken north of the 38th Parallel?

Mr. Davies

No, Sir. The Press has described this as a raid, and we have no reason to believe that it is anything other than a raid. The troops have since been withdrawn.

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