§ 23. Mr. A. Henderson
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now make a further statement on the situation on the Lebanon-Syrian border in view of his discussions on this matter with other Governments.
§ 27. Mr. Stonehouse
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what requests have been received from the Government 411 of the Lebanon for arms and military intervention; and what is the intention of Her Majesty's Government in relation to these requests.
§ 29. Mr. Swingler
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will make a statement on the consultations between the United States Secretary of State and British representatives on the Lebanon situation on 15th June.
§ 31. Mr. Donnelly
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he will now make a statement on Her Majesty's Government's policy in the United Nations towards the Lebanon-Syria dispute in so far as it affects world peace.
§ 33. Mr. Grimond
asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what reports have been received from the Secretary-General of the United Nations concerning the situation in the Lebanon; and if he will make a statement on the situation in the Middle East.
§ Mr. Selwyn Lloyd
As a result of the submission of the matter to the Security Council, United Nations observers have been sent to the Lebanon and are attempting to operate there.
Before he left New York, the Secretary-General circulated a report, dated 11th June, on the implementation of the Security Council Resolution. A copy of this is available in the Library. I had a talk with Mr. Hammarskjold on 18th June when he passed through London. I assured him of our full support in implementing the Security Council Resolution. We await any recommendations he may put forward as a result of his visit to the Middle East.
With regard to arms, I have nothing to add to the Answer my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydfil (Mr. S. O. Davies) on 11th June. No request for military intervention has been received from the Government of the Lebanon.
The answer to the Question asked by the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Swingler) is, "No, Sir."
§ Mr. Henderson
Can we have an assurance that the Government will not participate in any military intervention in the Lebanon except upon the direct authority of the Security Council or the 412 General Assembly and following conclusive reports from the United Nations observers who are at present in the Lebanon that there has been a direct attack upon the Lebanon by another country?
§ Mr. Henderson
I am asking the Foreign Secretary something quite specific this afternoon. I am not asking whether his assurance refers to the legal interpretation of the Charter but whether, in fact, the Government will give an assurance that they will not participate in any military intervention without the direct authority of the United Nations. I am asking whether he will give an assurance that they will not participate in any military intervention in the Lebanon except upon the direct authority of the Security Council or the General Assembly.
§ Mr. Lloyd
I have given a very carefully considered Answer—[Interruption.] I do not believe that any Government would answer this Question differently. I do not think that it is profitable to consider various hypothetical possibilities, but what I do assure the House is that we will give full support to the United Nations operations that are going on. I think that that is the constructive way to approach the matter. And I tell the House absolutely frankly that we will do everything we can to make the operations a success, because I think that they are the only effective way to secure peace in the Lebanon.
§ Mr. Bevan
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that, following his last statement, he will have the full support of this side of the House? But in view of the statement of the Minister of Defence and the Foreign Secretary's answer this afternoon, there is now a most undesirable ambiguity about the situation. Is it not a fact that our position is that the body responsible for interpreting the obligations of members of the United Nations under the Charter is the United Nations authority itself and not individual nations? If individual 413 nations themselves interpret what the Charter means, or what international law means, we have gone away from collective security back once more to unilateral action. Therefore, why will not the right hon. and learned Gentleman give an undertaking, so as to remove all doubts, that the Government will not act in the Lebanon except on authority given either by the Security Council or by the United Nations General Assembly?
§ Mr. Lloyd
The right hon. Gentleman is not correct. For example, action under Article 51 is the responsibility of the individual Government—collective self-defence. There are certain circumstances which are not covered by the formula of acting only under the authority of the United Nations. I have given a very carefully considered answer on the legal aspect of the matter. As to the reality—the practical policy of the Government—we are going to give the fullest possible support to the present United Nations operation.
§ Mr. Lloyd
Article 51 is one of the matters involved. For example, the President of the Lebanon has just said today that he would not ask for military intervention outside the framework of the United Nations. He also talked about Article 51. I maintain that no person in my position would depart from the formula which I have given.
§ Mr. Grimond
While welcoming the statement by the Foreign Secretary that he intends to support the United Nations up to the hilt, may I ask him to make clear that he will not countenance any intervention in the Lebanon which is contrary to the decisions of the United Nations or is due to internal causes and not external causes?
§ Mr. Stonehouse
Is the Foreign Secretary aware that suspicions have been aroused on this subject because apparently right hon. Gentlemen and hon. Gentlemen opposite have not yet realised 414 the folly of Suez, and that if our troops were used, even in a successful intervention, this would invite immediate economic reprisals which would be disastrous for that small country? May I further ask what steps he can take to inform the House before our troops are used?
§ Mr. Swingler
The Foreign Secretary's answer to Question No. 29 was "No". Are we to take it that there is truth in the Press reports that military conversations have taken place in Washington between United States and British representatives? There have been widespread reports in the British Press that conversations have taken place. Whether he likes it or not, is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that many people are recalling the military build-up and manoeuvres that preceded the Government's decision to intervene and make war in Egypt and are apprehensive because they recall the losses that this country sustained as a result of intervention, and that——
§ Mr. Speaker
The House cannot compel Ministers to answer. It is unfair to other hon. Members to hold up Questions indefinitely.