HC Deb 18 June 1952 vol 502 cc1182-3
27. Mr. S. Silverman

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether Her Majesty's Government will call a conference of the Great Powers, including India and China, to consider all matters now threatening world peace in the Far East.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Anthony Eden)

Her Majesty's Government hope that there will be an armistice in Korea followed by discussions on the political settlement in that country. They consider that the most hopeful course is to try to settle the Korean question first and so prepare the way for the settlement of other problems in the Far East.

Mr. Silverman

While I am grateful for the tone of the right hon. Gentleman's reply, may I ask him whether it is not the case that the cessation of hostilities in Korea is now apparently at deadlock on one point on which a great many people are doubtful whether we are right, and it would be a great pity if a real discussion between all the parties most closely concerned on all matters at issue in the Far East were to be indefinitely postponed while this question of the prisoners on Koje Island is in a position of deadlock?

Mr. Eden

I am not quite sure that I accept all the hon. Gentleman's premises in that interesting supplementary. It is quite true that there is this problem of the prisoners of war which is holding up progress, but I am not without hope that some solution of that matter may ultimately be found, and I am quite sure that is the way we had better proceed, because if we can resolve that we can approach these other problems in a different atmosphere, and without resolving that I am afraid that other difficulties may be too great for us.

Mr. Fernyhough

When the right hon. Gentleman says that he hopes that there will be an armistice in Korea, does he not realise that many people in this country believe that the hopes would be brighter if the British Government had been directly represented at the talks now going on?

Mr. Eden

There are other questions on the Order Paper about that, and I would not myself say that was the only criterion we have to judge by.