HC Deb 30 November 1953 vol 521 cc749-50
24. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will instruct the representative of Her Majesty's Government at the United Nations General Assembly to support the resolution asking that all member States should express their views on the question of Charter revision.

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

The resolution to which the right hon. and learned Gentleman refers was amended before its adoption by the Legal Committee and now no longer calls upon member States to express their views. The question of instructing Her Majesty's Government's representative does not, therefore, arise at the present juncture.

Mr. Henderson

Would the Foreign Secretary tell the House why the British representative on the Sixth Committee, on 3rd November, voted against the resolution proposed by the Netherlands and New Zealand asking that by 31stMarch, 1955, all member States should indicate their preliminary views on Charter revision? Why should the British representative have voted against that resolution?

Mr. Eden

Because we thought that in present circumstances it was not, perhaps, the best possible moment to try to table our views about the revision of the Charter.

Mr. Beswick

Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that no one was asking us to table our views? What had been asked was that we should indicate what views would be tabled before a date in 1955. Is this not a matter on which we should be encouraging the greatest discussion and thought among Government members and the general public?

Mr. Eden

Yes, I am all in favour of thought, but the question was whether it was wise to table our thought at the present time or in the immediate future, and I am inclined to think that it was more wise not to.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Is my right hon. and learned Friend right or wrong in thinking that the date was in March, 1955?

Mr. Eden

I do not think that that would unduly modify my view. The point was whether we should now make public our views about revision. My own view is that we should do a great deal of thinking about the Charter, but that we should not be wise to publish our views.