§ 12. Mr. Warbey
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what steps he took to ascertain the views of the Government of India before he issued a statement welcoming the action of the United States Government in granting military aid to Pakistan.
Her Majesty's Government have been informed of the views of the Governments of India and Pakistan on the United States Government's proposal to grant military aid to Pakistan. This information was fully considered before Her Majesty's Government formulated their own views.
§ Mr. Warbey
Will the right hon. Gentleman be a little more forthcoming? Will he not confirm the fact that the Foreign Office spokesman issued a statement welcoming the granting of American military aid to Pakistan and its acceptance by the Pakistan Government? Will he agree that the Indian Government expressed strong dissenting views? Why does he go out of his way to snub the greatest nation in the Commonwealth? Would it not be far better at least not to take sides between India and Pakistan in this matter?
I do not think anybody except the hon. Gentleman would think that the Government have gone out of their way to snub anybody in this connection. This is in any case a matter for the Secretary of State for Commonwealth 1719 Relations, but, in any event, I am not in a position to make public as Foreign Secretary arrangements between Commonwealth countries. The Foreign Office spokesman said in reply to foreign correspondents that,The Government were in favour of enabling a fellow member of the Commonwealth to make an increased contribution to the defence of the free world.I do not think anybody would take exception to that statement.
§ Mr. Warbey
Now that the right lion. Gentleman has added a little more, will he make it clear that the Government welcomed the decision of the Pakistan and American Governments, and will he also take note of the fact that a good many people think that uncommitted nations in Asia should not be forced to join one of the two existing military camps?
So far as I know, nobody has been forced to do anything, and I do not for a moment propose to make any pronouncement for or against the free action of any other member of the commonwealth.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
Has not the Prime Minister of Pakistan made it plain that this is purely to enable Pakistan to join in defence against unprovoked aggression, and do not Her Majety's Government desire to extend the system of collective security against aggression where-ever it can be done?
That has been our position throughout, and I do not think it could have been more clearly or more tactfully stated than it was by the Foreign Office spokesman.
§ Mr. Gordon Walker
Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that Her Majesty's Government must be particularly careful in matters in which two Commonwealth Governments are involved?
Yes, of course, and we have been careful in the statement we have made. I do not think we could have said less and, on the whole, I think it was wise not to say more.