HC Deb 21 July 1958 vol 592 cc16-8
26. Mr. Zilliacus

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in the light of the experience of United Nations observers in the Lebanon, he will give an assurance that before action by British forces is taken against subversion in the territory of a Bagdad Pact country, in pursuance of paragraph five of the Bagdad Pact Council Communiqué of November, 1955, the advice of the United Nations observers will be obtained as to whether the subversion in question is an internal affair of the country concerned.

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. D. Ormsby-Gore)

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 11th April, 1957, when he said that there was no provision in the Communiqué to which the hon. Member refers for armed intervention to deal with subversion. The question of the assurance for which he asks does not, therefore, arise.

Mr. Zilliacus

Is it not a fact that in the Defence White Paper of 1956 it was declared that Her Majesty's Forces are to be used in cases of subversion in Bagdad Pact countries? Is it not further a fact that precisely this plea has been made as the reason for British troops being landed in Jordan? Does the right hon. Gentleman admit that, under the Charter, there is an obligation not to interfere in the internal affairs of members of the United Nations and that the right to resort to force without the authority of the Security Council is limited to the event of an armed attack?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

The hon. Member has gone miles wide of the original Question. He asked about the terms of the Bagdad Pact. In the Communiqué to which he referred, the Governments in Council reaffirmed their intention to defend their territories against subversion or aggression and to promote the welfare and prosperity of the peoples in that region. The Communiqué said nothing about armed intervention to prevent subversion. There are many other ways of preventing it.

Mr. S. Silverman

Does the right hon. Gentleman realise what a very odd situation we have now reached, in which we have landed British troops in a country which is not a member of the Bagdad Pact in order to preserve it from attack from a country which is a member of the Bagdad Pact?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

As the hon. Member has said, Jordan is not a member of the Bagdad Pact and, therefore, this question does not arise out of the Question on the Order Paper.