HC Deb 20 June 1951 vol 489 cc514-5
48. Air Commodore Harvey

asked the Minister of Defence if he will make a statement on the recent staff talks which took place in Singapore.

Mr. Shinwell

The talks took place in Singapore from 15th to 19th May and enabled the British Commanders-in-Chief in the Far East to have an exchange of views on defence problems in South-East Asia with military representatives of the U.S.A. and France. General de Lattre de Tassigny was the head of the French Delegation and Vice-Admiral Struble. United States Navy, was the head of the United States Delegation. Military observers from Australia and New Zealand attended the discussions.

Governments were in no sense committed by these talks. They were, however, most useful and a report, which has been prepared as a result of them, is being studied.

Air Commodore Harvey

Is the right hon. Gentleman satisfied that the representatives from Australia and New Zealand were given full facilities to state their point of view at this conference?

Mr. Shinwell

They were not formally brought into the consultations, but they are being informed of what transpired.

Commander Noble

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether any such meeting has ever taken place before?

Mr. Shinwell

I could not say.