HC Deb 26 November 1958 vol 596 cc334-5
2. Mr. Brockway

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs how the British delegate voted in the Political Committee of the United Nations on the resolution regretting the apartheid policies of the South African Government; and which delegates voted for and against the resolution and which abstained.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

In the Special Political Committee on 21st October, Australia, Belgium, France, Portugal and the United Kingdom opposed the resolution. The Dominican Republic, Finland, the Netherlands and Spain abstained from voting. Sixty-eight member countries voted in favour of the resolution.

I would ask the hon. Member to refer to United Nations document A/3962, a copy of which is in the Library of the House, for further details of the roll-call vote.

Mr. Brockway

I have already done that, and I listened to the debate on the Adjournment on Monday night. May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether he seriously takes the view, which was urged from the Government Front Bench, that the sixty-eight members who voted in favour of dealing with this matter had not got the welfare and stability of the United Nations in mind and that it was only the British Government and their miserable minority of four which had got that in mind?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I always thought that the main thing was to be right on this issue and not necessarily in a majority. A number of prominent people on both sides of the House have taken the view that this kind of debate is excluded under Article 2 (7) of the Charter.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

Will the right hon. Gentleman look at the question again in the light of the Convention on Human Rights adopted by the United Nations and to which we agreed? Does not that evidently make it a matter of international interest how a Government treat the people in that Government's own territory?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

Of course, as the right hon. Gentleman knows very well, there have been a lot of very long legal arguments about this point. I do not really think that I have anything to add to them today.