HC Deb 25 June 1951 vol 489 cc1005-7
Mr. Eden

(by Private Notice) asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has any statement to make about the speech broadcast by the Soviet delegate to the Security Council on Saturday, 23rd June.

Mr. H. Morrison

I am glad to have this opportunity to make a short statement on Korea on the anniversary of the attack on South Korea.

It has been and is the constant endeavour of His Majesty's Government to bring the fighting to an end and to promote a settlement by peaceful negotiation so that our Forces can be withdrawn and so that the people of Korea may themselves shoulder the responsibility of shaping their own future. It is regrettable that the efforts made by the Good Offices Committee in recent months have not met with any response from the other side.

Mr. Malik, in his broadcast in New York on Saturday, proposed a conference to discuss a cease-fire in Korea. In view of the failure of previous attempts any undue optimism would be unwise, but we welcome what we hope may be an indication that the Soviet Government is now disposed to support the efforts which we and other members of the United Nations have been making to bring the fighting to an end. His Majesty's Government are already actively studying ways and means of following up this possible opening. If, as I hope, Mr. Malik's suggestion was made with the sincere desire to bring about peace in Korea and if these sentiments are shared by the Chinese and North Koreans, then it may be possible to make progress in the direction we all desire.

It is appropriate that we should take stock of the position on this anniversary. The immediate objective of driving back the attacking forces to the general area from which the original act of aggression was launched has now been largely attained. Great credit is due to the United Nations Forces for the military success that has been achieved, in which our own Forces have played a gallant and distinguished part.

Our objectives remain the same: to limit the fighting to Korea, and to bring it to an end as soon as possible so that peace may be restored and the heavy task of repairing the ravages of war may be undertaken. Mr. Malik's broadcast, marred though it was by objectionable references to our own policy and those of friendly Powers, is important if it means that the Russians, and perhaps the Chinese and North Koreans, desire, as we most certainly do, to bring the fighting to an end.

For many months His Majesty's Government have been continuously engaged in consultations with other Governments towards these ends. Consultations taking also into account Mr. Malik's broadcast will proceed.

Mr. Eden

I do not wish to quarrel, nor do I think the House as a whole would, with the right hon. Gentleman's observations on Mr. Malik's broadcast, since that is obviously a matter on which the Foreign Secretary will have to consult his other principal allied colleagues. But would the right hon. Gentleman be good enough to assure us that when there has been opportunity for that he will inform the House of the position and the attitude of His Majesty's Government?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir. As soon as I can usefully give any further information to the House without complicating those discussions, I shall be most happy to do so.

Mr. J. Hynd

Will my right hon. Friend, when consulting his Allies in this matter, ensure that in the event of a ceasefire being arranged adequate arrangements will be made to ensure that the cease-fire shall be fully applicable among all the participants in Korea, including the South Korean forces?

Mr. Morrison

I think that if a ceasefire were arranged it must mean that everybody ceases fire, otherwise the fire will not cease.

Mr. Henry Strauss

Can the right hon. Gentleman supplement in one particular what he said? I think Mr. Malik's words were that discussions should be started between the belligerents. Is he aware who, in Mr. Malik's opinion, are the belligerents against the Forces of the United Nations?

Mr. Morrison

I could not answer for Mr. Malik without ample notice.

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