HC Deb 26 November 1958 vol 596 c340
4. Mr. Harold Davies

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs what he has done as a co-Chairman of the International Commission in Vietnam to facilitate the exchange of letters, postcards and telegrams and other postal exchange between North and South Vietnam.

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

The co-Chairmen of the Geneva Conference of 1954 continue to perform certain limited functions, principally as a matter of administrative convenience, but have no responsibility in matters of this kind.

Mr. Davies

While the whole House, and I think the nation, are grateful to the Indian, Canadian and Polish representatives on the International Control Commission for helping to keep the peace in their difficult task there, may I ask if the right hon. Gentleman, as representing a Government which is a member of the Commission of which the Foreign Secretary is co-Chairman, realises that there is no chance of peace and unity unless natural communications can develop? Is not he aware that the Bamboo Curtain between North and South Vietnam is much more rigid than the so-called Iron Curtain in respect of the movement of personnel or letters between families there? Surely, something can be done about this position, instead of letters having to go via Paris or Hong Kong?

Mr. Ormsby-Gore

I would certainly agree with the hon. Member that we all ought to do what we can to restore normal relations between North and South Vietnam, but I would point out that we are not members of the International Commission. We still have certain responsibilities as one of the original co-Chairmen of the Geneva Conference in 1954, but I repeat that neither as co-Chairman of that Geneva Conference nor if we were, in fact, a member of the Commission, would we have any right to interfere in this particular matter.

Back to