HC Deb 06 July 1953 vol 517 cc860-1
48. Mr. Benn

asked the Prime Minister if he will make a statement as to the policy of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the threat to peace constituted by the war in Indo-China which matter is on the agenda for the forthcoming meeting in Washington.

Mr. R. A. Butler

Her Majesty's Government have very much in mind the importance of Indo-China to the defence of South-East Asia, but I have no formal statement to make at present.

Mr. Benn

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an undertaking that there will be no alteration in British policy towards Indo-China without its being indicated beforehand to the House of Commons.

Mr. Butler

I can give no general assurance of that sort at this stage. If I had a statement to make indicating there was an alteration with which the House should be acquainted I should make it now. I can only say that this matter and its importance will be discussed in the talks in Washington, and, no doubt, the House will wish a full report of those talks when my noble Friend returns. I can only give the usual assurance that the House will be kept informed of any major trends of policy undertaken by the Government.

Mr. A. Henderson

Will not the right hon. Gentleman, on behalf of the Government, at least welcome the statement about Indo-China that was recently published on behalf of the Government of France?

Mr. Butler

I have not received any formal communication from the French Government of the steps taken by the French Government. Therefore, I can make no official statement; but Her Majesty's Government have been interested to see those developments.