HC Deb 24 June 1953 vol 516 cc1892-3
30. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the pronouncements by General Templer that the situation in Malaya has improved, it is the Government's intention to reduce the size of United Kingdom military forces in that Colony.

Mr. Lyttelton

Her Majesty's Government hope in the near future to reduce by one battalion the United Kingdom Forces in Malaya—which I must remind the right hon. Gentleman is not a Colony. As more local forces become fully trained and equipped further reductions of those forces may be possible, but Her Majesty's Government will remain responsible for the defence of Malaya against external aggression. It is their firm intention to discharge that responsibility to the full extent of their resources.

Mr. Shinwell

Yes, but in view of the frequent pronouncements of General Templer, the High Commissioner, which are of an optimistic character, indicating that there has been a substantial improvement, does the right hon. Gentleman content himself with the removal of one battalion out of more than 40 battalions, apart from other military ancillaries?

Mr. Lyttelton

The statements by General Templer, to which I think the right hon. Gentleman refers, relate essentially to the internal situation in Malaya. He must know, as I have said, that we are responsible for external defence and have to take into account such things as the situation in Indo-China.