HC Deb 04 April 1957 vol 568 cc574-5
46. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Prime Minister whether he considered with President Eisenhower the anti-subversive activities of the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation discussed at Canberra, with special reference to alleged Communist infiltration into trades unions, popular fronts and political parties in South-East Asian countries; and what international measures were decided upon in pursuance of these activities.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. This was not among the matters considered at Bermuda.

Mr. Zilliacus

Will the Prime Minister not bear in mind the danger that the measure referred to by Mr. Dulles at the Canberra Conference would, if participated in by Her Majesty's Government, amount to interference in the internal affairs of South-East Asian countries? Will he give an assurance that we will scrupulously observe the obligations of the Charter relating to non-interference?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir; I am very happy to have that statement of policy from the hon. Gentleman. It does him credit. But I would call his attention to the communiqué which was issued at the end of the S.E.A.T.O. conference under this heading, from which he will find that the activities of S.E.A.T.O. in this sphere are confined to member countries.

Mr. Gower

Has my right hon. Friend noted that this question appears to convey a very keen apprehension on the part of the hon. Member of the dangers of this kind of infiltration?

48. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Prime Minister what agreement he reached with President Eisenhower on Anglo-American co-operation in intelligence and anti-subversion activities in the areas covered by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, the South-East Asia Treaty Organisation, the Bagdad Pact and the Eisenhower doctrine; to what extent these activities are supported by our common anti-subversion defence obligations under these instruments; and whether he will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

No such agreement was concluded. Her Majesty's Government naturally exchange information from time to time with other friendly Governments; this is a normal practice between Governments. They also give any assistance they can to their allies in meeting any threat of subversion. But no additional arrangements were made between Her Majesty's Government and the United States Government at Bermuda.

Mr. Zilliacus

Is the Prime Minister aware that on 27th February the Minister of Defence stated that these obligations included the obligation to intervene by military force against any popular rising alleged by the rulers of any Bagdad Pact country to constitute Communist subversion? Will he not reconsider that obligation, which has aroused great anxiety in many quarters?

The Prime Minister

If the hon. Gentleman will put a precise Question on the Paper I will try to answer it. His supplementary question does not seem to arise out of the Question on the Paper.

Major Beamish

Has not the Labour Party set some healthy precedents in these matters by proscribing so many of the organisations which the hon. Member for Gorton (Mr. Zilliacus) supports?