HC Deb 02 July 1958 vol 590 cc1303-4
8. Mr. Awbery

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what proposals Her Majesty's Government intend to put forward at the United Nations with a view to amending the Charter in the light of the changes which have taken place in international and world conditions since the Charter was first agreed to.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

The present position with regard to Charter Review is that the General Assembly of the United Nations last October confirmed a decision of the Charter Review Committee that it should remain in being and report to the General Assembly not later than its 14th Session, that is next year. The decision of the Charter Review Committee which consists of all members of the United Nations was unanimous except for the Soviet bloc, which abstained. The Soviet position was that any change in the Charter could only be for the worse. That remains the Soviet position. Her Majesty's Government would like to see the Charter amended in a number of respects, but I think we have to face the fact that, as the Soviet Government have a veto on any changes, we are wise to postpone the Conference until there is some sign of a change in the Soviet attitude.

Mr. Awbery

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that his noble Friend the Earl of Home said in another place on 14th May that the Government would like to see a review of the United Nations Charter—the right hon. and learned Gentleman himself repeated that this afternoon—and that that would lead to better international justice? What do the Government intend to do now to press for a review of the Charter?

Mr. Lloyd

We are taking the wise course in waiting for a time because the Soviet Union, as a permanent member of the Security Council, has a veto on any changes. The Soviet Union said at the meetings of the Review Committee last year that she had every intention of exercising that veto and would not agree to any changes. We have to see whether we can arrive at a situation where the Soviet Union is likely to depart from that attitude.