HC Deb 02 February 1954 vol 523 cc197-8
45. Mr. A. Henderson

asked the Prime Minister what consultations have taken place between Her Majesty's Governments in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand with regard to the future of the Commonwealth Division now in Korea; whether Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom will now propose that the Division be retained as a formation to constitute a Commonwealth contribution to United Nations defence forces; and, on this basis, whether they will earmark appropriate British units to serve with the Division.

The Prime Minister (Sir Winston Churchill)

We are in frequent consultation with the Governments of Canada, Australia and New Zealand about arrangements affecting the Commonwealth Division. I can make no statement at present about the future of the Division. I hope, however, that as long as the Commonwealth countries are making a contribution in Korea, a Commonwealth formation will be kept in being. If any proposals are made for constituting standing United Nations defence forces, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman has suggested, they will receive careful attention from Her Majesty's Government.

Mr. Henderson

Would not the Prime Minister agree that this Division has constituted a most valuable example of Commonwealth co-operation? In view of the importance of co-ordinating the defences of the Commonwealth countries would he bear in mind the importance of starting on this basis?

The Prime Minister

I am obliged to the right hon. and learned Member for drawing attention to what had already been in our minds but now receives more prominence through his exertions.

Mr. Noel-Baker

Will the Government take the initiative in trying to use this Commonwealth effort as a starting point for building up the system of collective security envisaged in the Charter? Will they further study the question of trying to get in future a more integrated United Nations Command under political control on the linesof N.A.T.O.?

The Prime Minister

I do not think there is any difference between us on the general theme.

Major Legge-Bourke

May I ask the Prime Minister to consider the possibility of Her Majesty's Government moving a Motion of appreciation of the work which this Division has done, so that we may put on record the enormous appreciation of the whole country of the work of the Commonwealth and the United Kingdom together?

The Prime Minister

Yes Sir, I am sure that will be carefully considered.