HC Deb 19 February 1958 vol 582 cc1179-80
1. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if, in view of the renewed unrest on the borders of the Yemen and the Aden Protectorate, he will propose that the United Nations should appoint a commission to settle the frontiers between the two territories.

31. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he is now able to make a further statement upon his discussions with the Yemen Government regarding the dispute between the borders of the Aden Protectorate and the Yemen.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

It is a matter for regret that Yemeni attacks on areas in the Aden Protectorate close to the Yemeni frontier have been resumed. It is Her Majesty's Government's contant endeavour to bring about peaceful conditions on this frontier, and I do not rule out the suggestion by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Mr. Brockway). It will be recalled, however, that a de facto frontier was established by the Anglo-Yemeni Treaty of Friendship of 1934, and further that in an Exchange of Notes of 1951 the Yemeni Government agreed, among other things, that certain disputed parts of this frontier should be demarcated by a joint Anglo-Yemeni commission. The Yemeni Government have shown no willingness to discharge this obligation, and in the discussions with Yemeni representatives in London in November last it was not possible to make progress in this respect.

Mr. Brockway

Whilst welcoming the statement that the proposal for a United Nations commission is not ruled out, may I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman whether, in view of the repeated incidents on this frontier and the fact that there is some dispute as to where the actual frontier is, he does not agree that it would be desirable that there should be a clarification through the United Nations?

Mr. Lloyd

That is a possibility to be borne in mind.

Mr. Johnson

Is it not now obvious that, since Colonel Nasser is moving into the Yemen, our difficulties will pile up? Does not the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that a commission has been sitting for nearly seven years and that the Yemeni did not agree to, or even recognise, the boundary line? Has the Foreign Secretary consulted the sheiks and the sultans of the Protectorate and sounded them about their scheme some time ago of federating in the light of this attack over the Yemen border?

Mr. Lloyd

On the first point which the hon. Member makes, I certainly agree that those are factors to be borne in mind. The latter part of his supplementary question should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies.