HC Deb 05 March 1952 vol 497 cc402-3
13. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will now make a statement on the information he has received from the United Nations as to the points of agreement that have been reached in the truce talks now proceeding in Korea and the points of disagreement that are still under discussion; and what the prospects are of complete agreement being reached at an early date.

23. Mr. Woodrow Wyatt

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to give full details of the issues on which there is still disagreement and which are holding up the signing of an armistice in Korea.

The Minister of State (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

The principle on which the neutral armistice zone shall be delineated has been agreed. The opposing commanders have agreed on a formula for recommending to their respective governments the convening of a political conference to negotiate a Korean settlement within three months after the signature of an armistice. A large measure of agreement has been reached on the arrangements for supervising an armistice and for the exchange of prisoners of war.

Apart from relatively minor points of difference, agreement has not yet been reached on four principal questions:

  1. (i) the repair and construction of military airfields after an armistice;
  2. (ii) the right of prisoners of war to choose whether or not they should be repatriated;
  3. (iii) the nomination by either side of nations neutral in the Korean conflict to provide inspection teams;
  4. (iv) the designation of ports of entry on either side at which neutral inspection teams shall be stationed.

Mr. Hughes

While thanking the Minister for that full answer, may I ask him whether there are any further questions still outstanding in addition to those mentioned in the latter part of the reply?

Mr. Lloyd

I think that the latter part of my answer covers the major matters of disagreement at present.

Mr. S. Silverman

Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman think of any precedent for the proposal, which is one of the four matters which he says are now in dispute, where the exchange of prisoners is being negotiated and where one side has sought to put into the negotiations some proposal about consulting prisoners as to whether they wish to be liberated or not?

Mr. Lloyd

I should like notice of that question.

Mr. E. Fernyhough

Can the Minister say whether it was with the concurrence of our Government that the military made a decision not to accept the Russian Government as one of the neutral observers, and does he not think that, in view of the need to try to get understanding between East and West, this is one of those matters upon which we could give way without in any way conceding any great principle?

Mr. Lloyd

The question of the nomination by either side of neutral observers is still in negotiation, and the less we say about it at present the better.