HC Deb 11 June 1952 vol 502 cc189-90
28. Mr. Swingler

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will now publish a White Paper on the composition of the United Nations Command in Korea, and the powers and responsibilities of British commanders.

Mr. Eden

No, Sir. As the House will be aware, Lieut.-General Bridge-ford, Commander-in-Chief of British Commonwealth Forces in Korea, is responsible to General Mark Clark as United Nations Commander, and to the Australian Chiefs of Staff in Melbourne, on behalf of all the Commonwealth Chiefs of Staff involved, for the administration of the Commonwealth forces in Korea. The Commander of the Commonwealth Division is under General Bridgeford's administrative command; operationally, he is subject, through the Commander of the Corps to which his Division is attached, to the orders of General Van Fleet, the Commander of the United States Eighth Army, and through him to the United Nations Commander in accordance with the Security Council's resolution of 7th July, 1950.

Mr. Swingler

In view of the widespread anxiety about the fact that we have not been represented at the truce talks or on the control of the camps and that we are not represented on the commission of inquiry into the events in the camps, would it not be desirable to lay before the public the plain facts about the bodies on which we are represented in the United Nations Command in Korea and where the British Government can exercise some influence over what is done?

Mr. Eden

The chain of command is quite clearly laid down; it has existed since the beginning of operations in Korea when it was laid down in the lifetime of the late Government, and it still exists. All along we have had liaison with the United Nations Command through Air Vice-Marshal Bouchier. Whether or not any additional suggestions for further liaison may be forthcoming as a result of the visits which are now taking place I would rather leave over until Field-Marshal Alexander's return.

Mr. Noel-Baker

While we recognise the compelling reasons for the original arrangements which were made in Korea and the very great services rendered by the United States to the whole of the United Nations, will not the Foreign Secretary consider whether the time has come when, as a matter of principle, we ought to consider having an integrated U.N. Command as we have for N.A.T.O.?

Mr. Eden

I would rather await Field-Marshal Alexander's report. We have, of course, considered these matters, but we have, frankly, been reluctant to interfere with the command arrangements which were originally laid down. We have to bear in mind how very preponderant is the American share in the losses and the fighting, but I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that his point has not been absent from our minds.