HC Deb 23 November 1960 vol 630 cc1115-7
15. Mr. Warbey

asked the Lord Privy Seal what recent discussions he has had with the Soviet co-chairman of the Geneva Conference regarding the situation in Laos and Vietnam.

Mr. Heath

None, Sir.

Mr. Warbey

In view of the very grave disturbances which have taken place in South Vietnam and which are still taking place in Laos, in view of the failure to carry out the Geneva Agreement in those countries, and in view of the now admitted and clear American intervention in both those countries, is it not time that there were discussions about these matters? Would it not be a good idea to recall the Geneva Conference so that the terms of the Agreement can be carried out?

Mr. Heath

There is a disturbing situation there, but I cannot accept the contentious statements made by the hon. Member. No request has been received from any of the parties concerned for action by the co-chairmen.

Mr. S. Silverman

As the right hon. Gentleman admits what we all know to be true, namely, that there is a disturbed situation there, will he say to what extent the Government still accept any responsibility for the Geneva Conference and its decisions and whether they have abdicated all their functions as co-chairman of the Conference?

Mr. Heath

If the hon. Gentleman would like to table a Question on that point, I will answer it.

Mr. Silverman

The Question is on this point.

Mr. Heath

It is an entirely different Question. This Question is about the action of the co-chairmen. If the hon. Gentleman wants a full statement about our responsibilities there, I will gladly give it to him in answer to a Question. At the moment, matters are being handled by the Governments concerned in their own countries.

16. Mr. Rankin

asked the Lord Privy Seal whether, as joint chairman of the conference which appointed the control commission in Vietnam, he has considered the note sent to him by the liaison mission of the North Vietnam High Command about military collusion between the South Vietnam authorities and the Phoumi Nosavan supporters in Laos; and whether he will refer this matter to the Commission for their attention.

Mr. Heath

No such Note has been received by my noble Friend, who is the joint chairman of the Conference. According to the North Vietnamese Press, the liaison mission did, however, address a complaint on this subject to the International Commission on 10th October.

Mr. Rankin

Despite the fact that no Note has been received, does the right hon. Gentleman agree that it is essential to preserve the neutralism of the Government of Laos? Does he realise that attempts are being made to destroy that neutral position? During this month 16 million United States dollars have gone to General Phoumi Nosavan for that purpose. Where they came from is anyone's guess. In addition, 500 cases of ammunition and certain aircraft have gone. Will not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, if neutralism in Laos disappears, a very grave situation will develop in South-East Asia if Laos and South Vietnam link up?

Mr. Heath

The neutral situation under the Geneva protocols was itself qualified in certain respects, but the plain fact is that this matter is at the moment before the International Commission and therefore there was no need for us to take action in the respects of the hon. Gentleman's Question.