HC Deb 10 July 1957 vol 573 cc357-9
21. Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he has considered the proposals for the establishment of a permanent United Nations force which were forwarded to him on 18th April, and which he discussed with an all-Party delegation on 2nd July, 1957; and whether he will make a statement.

23. Mr. Beswick

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what consideration he has given to the proposals for a permanent United Nations police force, submitted to him on 18th April and drawn up by a commission under the chairmanship of Lord Pakenham; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

Yes, Sir, I have read with great interest the proposals of the Federal Union Commission for the establishment of a permanent United Nations force, to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers. Copies of these proposals are available in the Library of the House. This report contains some useful ideas and suggestions. I welcome it as a valuable contribution to the solution of a difficult problem.

So far as the Government's position is concerned, I have stated before that it is my hope that something of a permanent nature may develop from the present United Nations Emergency Force. We have to face the fact, however, that the establishment of a force on the lines proposed by my hon. and gallant Friend would require a wide measure of international agreement. I do not think that that agreement would be forthcoming at the moment. A good deal of further educative and explanatory work is necessary. I hope, therefore, that my hon. and gallant Friend and those associated with him will continue to canvass their ideas.

Vice-Admiral Hughes Hallett

While thanking my right hon. and learned Friend for that reply, may I ask whether he is aware that it will greatly encourage those who were concerned in drafting the proposals? Further, is he aware that, when the time is ripe for this proposal or similar proposals to be made before the United Nations, he can count on the support of a large number of people in this country, irrespective of party?

Mr. Lloyd

I thank my hon. and gallant Friend for that remark.

Mr. Beswick

While also expressing appreciation of what the Foreign Secretary has just said, may I ask if he agrees that the educative work which is necessary in the United Nations can also be carried on by a representative of Her Majesty's Government? Is not it now necessary to conduct a campaign throughout the world, and to make the Soviet Union, if it is the dissident element in this matter, really face up to the proposal and so make its position known to the rest of the world?

Mr. Lloyd

I do not disagree generally with what the hon. Member has said, but I still think it is better for the Government not to put forward precise and specific proposals at the moment. There is a great deal of preliminary work to be done in educating many countries about it.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

Before the Foreign Office takes steps to encourage the formation of this international force, would it take expeditious steps to secure that the policy of the United Nations conforms more to British interests?

Mr. Lloyd

It will be our purpose to see that the policy and procedure of the United Nations conform with the purposes of the Charter, which are to preserve peace—which is certainly a British interest—and to see that international contracts and obligations are upheld—which is also a British interest.

Mr. E. L. Mallalieu

What are Her Majesty's Government doing to contribute to this work?

Mr. Lloyd

I have repeatedly said that I favour the principle of an international police force and it is much better, after I have given that general statement, that a kind of exhaustive study should be made by independent bodies. There are matters of wide disagreement among various bodies. A lot of people in this House would not agree with every detail of these proposals. It is much better that they should be studied and thought about by private organisations and individuals.