HC Deb 26 October 1953 vol 518 cc2419-20
19. Mr. R. Harris

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs in view of the proposal of the American Secretary of State made in a speech to United Nations Organisation on 26th August, 1953, that serious consideration should be given to amendment of the United Nations Charter when it comes up for revision, what steps Her Majesty's Government are taking to support the proposal that the whole of the 1956 session should be given over to consideration of charter revision.

Mr. Nutting

Article 109 of the Charter provides that the tenth annual session of the General Assembly, 1955, shall consider calling a conference to discuss revision of the Charter if no general conference of the members of the United Nations has previously been held. If the General Assembly decides to call such a conference, Her Majesty's Government will certainly wish to contribute to its work. I imagine, however, that the conference would meet independently of the regular annual session of the General Assembly.

Mr. Harris

May we take it, therefore, that Her Majesty's Government are giving consideration to the problems that may arise from the revision of the Charter, and that they will bring their proposals before this House sometime early in 1954 so we can consider the matter?

Mr. Nutting

In answer to the first part of the supplementary question, the answer is, yes, but I cannot promise at what stage we shall bring any proposals before the House.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Can the Under-Secretary promise us that we shall have in writing what Her Majesty's Government propose to put before the United Nations by way of revision of the Charter, so that public opinion in the country may consider and debate it before the Government act?

Mr. Nutting

I am not quite sure of the constitutional position in these matters, but I will certainly take note of the suggestion of the right hon. Gentleman.

Sir H. Williams

Does not my hon. Friend agree that if the United Nations devotes the whole of 1956 to the discussion of its rules, it will do less harm to the peace of the world than if it has its ordinary meetings?

20. Mr. R. Harris

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will examine the proposals for United Nations Charter revision agreed upon in August, 1953, at the Copenhagen Conference of the World Association of Parliamentarians for World Government, a copy of which has been sent him.

Mr. Nutting

Yes, Sir.