HC Deb 11 June 1958 vol 589 cc202-3
39. Mr. Shinwell

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what information there is in his possession regarding the attack on British vessels in Indonesian harbours and a British submarine in the Indian Ocean; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

The British tankers "San Flaviano" and "Daronia" were attacked from the air by bombs in Balikpapan harbour, in Indonesian East Borneo, on 28th April. The "San Flaviano" was set on fire and sunk. Some of her crew were slightly injured. The "Daronia" escaped without damage or casualties.

On 17th May, Her Majesty's submarine "Aurochs" was machine-gunned on the high seas in the Molucca Passage by an aircraft flying very high. The submarine suffered no casualties or damage.

In both cases Her Majesty's Ambassador at Djakarta made inquiries of the Indonesian Government, as a result of which Her Majesty's Government are satisfied that the action was not carried out by the armed forces of the Indonesian Government. It is presumed that the attacking aircraft were under the orders of the Indonesian dissident forces in North Celebes.

Mr. Shinwell

Does what the right hon. Gentleman said about the attack on the British submarine also apply to the sinking of the tanker in an Indonesian harbour? Are we to assume that Indonesia disclaims responsibility for that also?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

That is the case.

Mr. Younger

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether in the Government's opinion there is still danger to British shipping? What advice, if any, has been given to British shipping in these waters?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

As a result of the bombing of the "San Flaviano," the Shell Company suspended its tanker service to Balikpapan and evacuated wives and families from its installations there to Singapore. British shipping generally has been avoiding East Indonesian ports in view of the risks involved.