HC Deb 26 April 1961 vol 639 cc416-7
26. Mr. Brockway

asked the Lord Privy Seal what resolutions on the subject of the Congo were voted on at the United Nations General Assembly; which delegations voted in favour, which against, and which abstained, in each case; and how the British delegation voted.

Mr. Heath

Three resolutions on the Congo were adopted by the General Assembly on 15th April. Two of them, sponsored by a group of Afro-Asian powers, dealt with Belgian and other foreign personnel, and with a Commission to investigate the death of Mr. Lumumba. These were adopted respectively by 61 votes in favour, 5 against, and 33 abstentions and 45 votes in favour, 3 against, and 49 abstentions. Our delegation abstained on both resolutions. The third successful resolution, sponsored by another group of Afro-Asian powers, was based largely on the recommendations of the United Nations Conciliation Commission. It was adopted by 60 votes in favour, 16 against and 23 abstentions. We voted for this resolution.

A resolution sponsored by the Soviet Union, demanding the recall of the Congolese Parliament within twenty-one days, was rejected by the Assembly by 29 votes in favour to 53 against, with 17 abstentions. Our delegation voted against it.

The details of votes cast by other delegations to the United Nations are given in the verbatim record of proceedings, a copy of which is in the Library of the House.

Mr. Brockway

While regretting the abstention of the United Kingdom representative on the first two resolutions and applauding his opposition to the Russian resolution, may I nevertheless ask the right hon. Gentleman whether the third resolution did not give great prominence to the need for the reconvening of the elected Parliament of the Congo? Will not the right hon. Gentleman give every possible aid towards that reconvening so that the elected representatives of the Congo can decide their own Government and their own form of their State?

Mr. Heath

Yes, Sir. We have always believed that the Parliament of the Congo should be reassembled as soon as conditions permit. We voted against the Soviet resolution because it specified the very limited time of twenty-one days. Otherwise, we recognise the desirability of Parliament's meeting.