HC Deb 06 December 1954 vol 535 cc594-6
35. Mr. Baird

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs why instructions were given to our representative at the United Nations to condemn the Chinese People's Government because they have punished United States spies.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Sir Anthony Eden)

I cannot for one moment accept the hon. Member's reference to "United States spies," and I endorse the words of my right hon. Friend the Minister of State condemning the Chinese action. The facts are that 11 of the men concerned were airmen in uniform shot down on military operations on behalf of the United Nations during the Korean hostilities. As such, they should have been repatriated on the conclusion of the Korean Armistice. The Chinese action in holding them back is a direct violation of the terms of the Korean Armistice Agreement.

Mr. Baird

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Americans have set up an espionage centre in Formosa and that spies are sent into China every month from the centre? Furthermore, why was it necessary to make this particular attack without knowing all the facts? Surely the word of the Chinese Government is just as good as the word of the American Government.

Sir A. Eden

These airmen were acting in exactly the same way as some of our own airmen, and they were shot down. They were in uniform. It is not allowable for any nation, which wishes to act by civilised standards, to treat officers, N.C.O.s or men in uniform as spies and to deal with them in the way they have been dealt with by the Chinese Government. On behalf of Her Majesty's Government, and, I think, on behalf of all civilised nations, I deeply deplore this conduct.

40. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what representations have been made to Her Majesty's Government by the Government of the United States of America for Britain to participate in an air and naval blockade of China and what reply has been given to these representations.

Sir Anthony Eden

The hon. Lady is presumably referring to recent statements in the United States about the use of a blockade as a means of securing the release of the United States airmen imprisoned in China. The answer is, "None, Sir."

Mrs. Castle

While welcoming the Foreign Secretary's reply, may I ask him if he will resist all American pressure, either direct or through the United Nations, on this country to join in any economic pressure on China? Will he for a change try the policy of giving China help for economic reconstruction by enabling her to get the goods she needs, which is the best way to peace in the Far East?

Sir A. Eden

I would not have thought that Her Majesty's Government had been backward in trying to come to an arrangement with Communist China. Indeed, it is well known to the House that we recognised Communist China a great many years before she was good enough to recognise us.

Mrs. Castle

The Foreign Secretary has deliberately dodged the first part of my Question. It referred to the United Nations, before which we understand America wants to bring her case about the American airmen and press for economic pressure. I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, in those circumstances, he would refuse to take part in such a practice?

Sir A. Eden

I have answered the Question the hon. Lady put on the Order Paper—no representations of such a kind have ever been made by the United States to us. If they are made, I will consider the answer which will be given; but I am not prepared now to answer a hypothetical question.