HC Deb 23 November 1960 vol 630 cc1107-9
9. Mr. Healey

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has considered the report issued on 2nd November by the United Nations High Commissioner in the Congo; and if he will make a statement.

20. Mr. Stonehouse

asked the Lord Privy Seal what action he proposes to take in the United Nations arising out of the Dayal Report on the situation in the Congo.

26. Mr. Dugdale

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether he has considered the Report on the Congo issued by Mr. Hammarskjoeld on 2nd November; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Heath

The United Nations debate on the Congo has been adjourned. If and when it is resumed we shall have to consider to what extent the Report is still relevant to the circumstances then prevailing. In the meantime there is no action for us to take on the Report, which was transmitted by the Secretary-General for information.

I had Mr. Dayal's Report in mind when I spoke about the Congo on 4th November in the debate on the Address. I have nothing to add to the statement which I then made.

Mr. Healey

Can the Lord Privy Seal tell us whether Her Majesty's Government endorse the very serious allegations made in the Report about the behaviour of Belgian citizens in the Congo, allegations which were endorsed by the Indian Prime Minister in his Parliament a few days ago? Can he tell us, if he does endorse these allegations, what steps Her Majesty's Government are taking to discourage Belgium from allowing these men to stream back into the Congo?

Mr. Heath

It is a large Report with a large number of statements in it. I could not make any general covering remarks about it. I made plain on 4th November in the debate what we believed to be the position. It is that Belgian citizens have a part to play in the Congo. The real problem is to match assistance which can come from those individual citizens with the assistance being provided by the United Nations, and we are hoping that that can be brought about.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the Lord Privy Seal aware that all reports confirm that the Belgians were guilty of criminal negligence before independence and are now attempting to gain control of the Congo through stooges? If any aid is to be given to the Congo from Belgium it must be through the United Nations. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that Parliamentary representatives have been prevented from meeting by Colonel Mobutu's men, and that one of the prime objectives of U.N.O. policy must be to ensure that elected representatives are allowed to meet?

Mr. Heath

I cannot accept the hon. Member's remarks about what the Belgians are trying to do at the moment. On the constitutional position, I have always made it plain that we believe that one of the first needs must be to try to get a constitutional organisation to emerge with which the United Nations can carry on negotiations.

Mr. Dugdale

Does the Answer to the original Question mean that the right hon. Gentleman disputes what was said in the Report? Does he not agree with it? Has he a different view?

Mr. Heath

What I said was that there are a large number of statements in this Report and, in question and answer, I cannot say that I accept every statement made in it or challenge particular ones.

Mr. Healey

Is it not the case that the Report lists a very large number of actions by Belgian citizens in direct contradiction of the tasks of the United Nations forces in the Congo? While agreeing that it is desirable that Belgian citizens in the Congo should co-operate with the United Nations, is there not every day fresh evidence that Belgian citizens are frustrating the United Nations in the carrying out of its task not only in Katanga but in Leopoldville itself?

Mr. Heath

If Belgian citizens do not carry out the law, of course they are liable to the same as everyone else; but I cannot accept the all-embracing statement that Belgian citizens are going there to frustrate United Nations action, because there are also tributes being paid to the work which Belgian citizens are doing in the Congo.

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