HC Deb 21 July 1958 vol 592 cc23-4
34. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether, in view of the success of the United Nations Observer Group in the Lebanon in preventing the spread of the conflict in the Lebanon, he will instruct Her Majesty's Government's representative at the United Nations to press for the establishment of a permanent United Nations observer corps.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

A permanent corps of observers might well be a useful asset to the United Nations but a proposal of this kind will need careful consideration in the light of current developments in the Middle East.

Mrs. Castle

But is it not clear that if the Government believe, in file words of the Prime Minister, that we are ready to withdraw from Jordan if the United Nations is in a position to take over, and in the words of the Foreign Secretary on his return from Washington, that we believe in "leaving it to U.N.O.", we ought to get ahead without further delay in placing United Nations observers on a proper basis and have a permanent corps instead of a scratch corps ready to co-operate in a Middle East solution?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I have already said that there is a great deal in what the hon. Lady has said.

Mrs. Castle

What is the hon. Gentleman doing about it?

Sir G. Nicholson

Is not reliance on a corps of observers, whether from the United Nations or anywhere else, rather a snare and a delusion? Surely its only power is to report on events after they have occurred, and it has no authority or power to prevent them occurring?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I agree that there are occasions when observers have a use and that there are certain occasions when they would not be sufficient.

Mr. Bevan

Is it not a universally accepted principle that what matters about a United Nations observer corps is not entirely its size but its physical presence?

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