HC Deb 07 February 1955 vol 536 cc1539-40
37. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what further progress he has made in respect of the situation in South-East China.

Sir Anthony Eden

As the House knows, the Chinese Government have refused the invitation which was tendered to them by the Security Council to participate in the Council's discussion. The invitation had been supported by nine members including the United States. Her Majesty's Government much regret both the matter and the manner of this decision. They remain concerned at the situation and their aim is still to stop the fighting before it can spread any further. Her Majesty's Government are in close and constant touch with other interested Governments, especially those of the Commonwealth, but I am not yet in a position to say what further action we intend to take.

Mr. Sorensen

Does not the general question offer an opportunity to the Foreign Secretary to explain the previous situation, and may I ask him whether he appreciates that the operative word is "progress" and, in those circumstances, can he assure the House that progress is being made?

Sir A. Eden

I should have thought that would have been derived from the announcement in today's Press.

Captain Duncan

Does my right hon. Friend realise that, although we on this side of the House have been very quiet this afternoon, he has the full confidence of this side?

Mr. Strachey

If the Foreign Secretary cannot make any further statement now than that which he has given in his answer to my hon. Friend, what would he think of a foreign statesman who at the time the Germans were in occupation of the Channel Islands had said, "Of course these Channel Islands undoubtedly belong to Britain, but Britain will be guilty of causing a war if she attempts to reoccupy them?"

Sir A. Eden

The right hon. Gentleman, as a member of the late Government, knows perfectly well all the circumstances in respect of these islands, and I think that he should, if I may say so with respect, support the Government at a time like this in not being willing to say what they are doing so long as they are in the midst of negotiations.

Mr. A. Henderson

While appreciating that the right hon. Gentleman cannot say very much at the moment, can he reassure the House on this one point, that the presence of the Commonwealth Prime Ministers in London has made it advantageous to consult them on this very difficult topic?

Sir A. Eden

It certainly has been most advantageous and these discussions are not yet concluded, as the right hon. and learned Gentleman knows, which is an additional reason why I think I am justified in asking the House to show some forbearance today.