HC Deb 24 November 1952 vol 508 cc21-3
43. Mr. Emrys Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what instructions have been given to the United Kingdom delegate regarding the proposal for a Korean armistice, officially made by the Indian delegate to the United Nations on 19th November.

38. Mr. Yates

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he has considered the recent official proposals of the Indian delegation to the United Nations designed to break the deadlock over a return of the prisoners of war and end the war in Korea; and if he will take immediate steps to support the plan which provides a favourable opportunity for establishing peace in Korea.

54. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if Her Majesty's Government will encourage the most sympathetic consideration of the proposals by the Indian delegation at the United Nations for a possible solution of the prisoner of war problem in Korea and a basis for an early cessation of hostilities.

Mr. Nutting

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke in support of the Indian resolution in the Political Committee on 20th November and welcomed this initiative as a timely and constructive attempt to resolve the deadlock on the prisoner of war question, though he thought that some points required clarification.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Minister aware that we welcome this initiative, that we are gratefully indebted to the Indian Government and that we greatly appreciate the action that the Foreign Secretary has taken?

Mr. Sorensen

Is the Under-Secretary aware that appreciation is by no means confined to members of the Labour Party, but is widespread? May I ask whether the suggested amendments are serious or are of a quite secondary nature and, therefore, whether it is possible that we may see, through this plan, an end of the tragedy in Korea?

Mr. Nutting

I am sure that the whole House hopes that we shall see, through this plan, an end to the present war in Korea. As to the first part of the hon. Member's supplementary, the amendments or changes in the Indian proposal which my right hon. Friend would like to see in order to obtain a greater clarification, are in respect, first, of the position of the umpire—whether he should be a member of the Commission and Chairman of the Repatriation Commission—and second, in regard to the question of the disposal of prisoners of war who are not repatriated, how long they are to remain in the hands of the Commission and, later, how long they are to remain in the hands of those who will be discussing at the political conference the future settlement of Korea.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Can my hon. Friend confirm that the reported differences between the United Kingdom delegation and the United States delegation on the Indian proposals for resolving the deadlock have now been resolved?

Mr. Nutting

I understand that Mr. Acheson will be speaking this afternoon in the United Nations. No doubt the attitude of the United States Government will become clear from his statement.

51. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will recommend to the United Nations that the principle of no enforced repatriation in Korea, as supported by Her Majesty's Government, only applies to those prisoners of war who are in fear of their lives or their liberty and can give reasonable grounds for such fear.

Mr. Nutting

The policy of the United Nations Command in Korea is that force should not be used to repatriate prisoners of war who are in genuine fear of their lives or liberty. Her Majesty's Government endorse that policy.

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the Minister aware that some of my constituents are forcibly held in Korea, against their will, in the conscript armies there? Can he tell us whether an arrangement is to be made for them to be repatriated to this country?