HC Deb 19 November 1958 vol 595 cc1128-30
17. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how the British delegate voted on the proposal that the agenda of the Assembly of the United Nations should include membership of the Chinese People's Republic; and which nations voted for and against, and which abstained.

The Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Selwyn Lloyd)

The United Kingdom Representative voted in favour of a resolution that the Question of Chinese representation should not be inscribed on the agenda or considered during the current Session of the General Assembly. Forty-four votes were cast in favour of this resolution, 28 against and there were nine abstentions. Details of the voting are given in United Nations document A/PV.755 for 23rd September, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

Mr. Brockway

How long are the Government to be subservient to the American Government in this matter? Is it not logical that, since we have recognised the Chinese Government, we should seek that it should enter the United Nations? Is there any hope of a solution about Formosa or about any other question in the Far East as long as one-sixth of the world is excluded from the United Nations?

Mr. Lloyd

We have to consider the consequences of bringing this controversy into the United Nations at the present moment. Our judgment has been that for the time being it is better not to introduce controversy.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Do not the Government themselves reject the absurd fiction that the Chiang Kai-shek régime speaks for China? Until the Chinese Government have been received into the United Nations, are we not in plain violation of the Charter, which lays it down that China shall have a permanent representative on the Security Council?

Mr. Lloyd

However that may be, more than half of the members of the United Nations are in favour of postponing consideration of this question. The other day hon. Gentlemen opposite were cross with me for voting in a minority. Apparently they are now cross with me for voting in a majority. I still adhere to my view that we have to consider the stresses and strains to which the United Nations would be subjected if faced with this controversy at the present time.

Mr. Bevan

For years when there was no firing going on in Formosa and the offshore islands we took no action, except on one occasion when, I think, we refrained from voting at all. Now there is trouble we do not vote because there is trouble. In what circumstances envisaged by the Foreign Secretary could we advocate the entry of Communist China into the United Nations? Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman not aware that opinion in this country and in America is overwhelmingly against him on this subject?

Mr. Lloyd

What hon. Gentlemen opposite really have to consider is the effect upon the United Nations. It might not strengthen that body if it were to gain one new member or change of representation and lose many others.