HC Deb 25 October 1954 vol 531 cc1593-4
43. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what answers have been received from the Governments of India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Burma and Indonesia to communications regarding the proposed regional defence organisation for South-East Asia.

Sir Anthony Eden

As the only communications which have been received are confidential, the hon. Member will not expect me to divulge their contents.

Mr. Brockway

Will the right hon. Gentleman confirm that most of these Governments have strongly opposed this proposal? If that be the fact, is it not very dangerous to lose the goodwill of these Asian Governments regarding the defence of Asia?

Sir A. Eden

We did have very full discussions with these countries before the Conference, and, as a result, I believe that the Manilla Treaty, in its final form, relieves many of the apprehensions felt by the four countries not represented, as well as by Pakistan, which was represented.

46. Sir R. Acland

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will make a statement on the outcome of discussions about a South-East Asian security treaty.

Sir Anthony Eden

Yes, Sir. Her Majesty's Government welcome the conclusion at Manilla on 8th September of the South-East Asia Collective Defence Treaty. By making plain the resolve of the parties to co-operate in upholding the security, welfare and independence of the countries of the area, this Treaty supplements the work of pacification and stabilisation begun at Geneva. It provides, in the Treaty Council, the means of making this co-operation effective, and it allows for the eventual participation of other countries. Her Majesty's Government will play their full part, as soon as the Treaty has been ratified and entered into force, in the work to be done under its provisions.

Mr. Warbey

Can the right hon. Gentleman give the total population of the Asian nations which have adhered to the Treaty, and the total population of the Asian nations which have not?

Sir A. Eden

Not without notice.

Mr. Silverman

Can the right hon. Gentleman explain to the House how the cause of security in South-East Asia is advanced by a treaty to which nearly all the nations of South-East Asia refuse to adhere?

Sir A. Eden

Not "nearly all" Mutual defensive arrangements cannot really be considered harmful by any nation, least of all by those who practice them themselves.