HC Deb 28 April 1952 vol 499 cc1007-8
24. Mr. Noel-Baker

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the fact that the Burma Government has not accepted the proposal for a commission of investigation, he has yet decided to lay the recent activities of the Chinese Nationalist troops on the frontier between Burma and China before the Security Council.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Nutting)

No, Sir. Her Majesty's Government consider that further initiative in this matter lies for the moment with the Burmese.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is it a fact that these Chinese Nationalist troops recently made an armed raid on Chinese territory? In view of the great dangers resulting from that, what action is Her Majesty's Government and the United States Government taking to get General Chiang Kai-shek to order the withdrawal of his troops from Burma as the Burma Government have demanded under the Charter of the United Nations?

Mr. Nutting

As I have repeatedly told the right hon. Gentleman the Burma Government themselves have declined to take any action with the Security Council in regard to this matter, to avoid increasing the tension. In his Question the right hon. Gentleman asked whether we would lay this matter before the Security Council. I can only say that we agree with the Burma Government that to do so would increase the tension.

Mr. Arthur Henderson

Is it not a fact that the Burma Government are today conducting armed operations against the forces of the Chinese Nationalists with a view to ejecting them from the territory of Burma? If that be so, has the position not now got beyond the point of investigation to the point when the Security Council should ask the Chinese Nationalist authorities for an explanation of the presence of these troops in Burmese territory?

Mr. Nutting

The right hon. Gentleman is speaking from unconfirmed reports which have appeared in this morning's newspapers. I should prefer to make no comment about that until those reports are confirmed. As to the question of investigation, my right hon. Friend has already offered a fact-finding commission; but that offer has not been taken up by the Burma Government.

Mr. Woodrow Wyatt

Has the Foreign Secretary consulted the Burma Government about this matter, because we have a special relationship with Burma? Does he not realise that, in the end, the only practical action which can be taken is for the American Government to approach General Chiang Kai-shek and ask him to withdraw his army?

Mr. Nutting

We are in touch with the Burmese Government on this and many other matters.

Mr. Noel-Baker

As the facts have now been established, can the Minister say whether or not we have taken any effective action with regard to General Chiang Kai-shek?

Mr. Nutting

The facts are far from established. Reports of the number of troops involved vary from 5,000 to three or four divisions.